Sunday, August 29, 2010


I read something today and it reminded me of a few things in my life that make me smile and sigh happy sighs. In the big scheme of things, I suppose they are small... yet each one is truly impactful in my life.

1. I have awesome friends. I have the kind of friends that call to ask if you want to take a car ride so you can rest some place other than the two places you don't really feel like resting anymore; the kind that call to remind you for the 10,000th time about the horse that walked into a bar since they know it will make you laugh again and again because of its sheer stupidity; the kind that come and pick up your kids and take them blueberry picking, then bring them home and make blueberry bread with them; the kind you can call in the middle of the night to come sit in your house in case a child awakens; and the kind that deliver treats, DVDs, and, more importantly, their company. I'm not sure if everyone has these kinds of friends, but I do, and I appreciate them.

2. I don't have to work if I really don't want to, which is a blessing in and of itself. That said, I have things in my life about which I'm passionate, that I love to do. While there have been moments when I've worried about sacrificing time with my children in order to pursue these things, my jobs are flexible enough that I can usually strike a balance. Ultimately, though, whether the kidlets are watching me work with a child who has special needs or they are visiting my place of employment and wanting to be there more and more, I'm hopeful I'm setting a good example for them, teaching them to be compassionate, service-minded and inspired.

3. I have a sense of humor about everything. I can't imagine going through life without one. I could never take myself too seriously. To those that do, my deepest sympathies, for, as I've said time and again, I have learned that laughter is not only life's lovliest music, but also an amazingly powerful medicine upon which I rely heavily to get me through some of the tougher times I face.

4. I like to ride my bike. I like it enough that it doesn't even bother me to ride it on the trainer when that's my only option. Not only does it make me feel that even though my body's failed me, I can still do something for myself, but also it affords me the opportunity to catch up on a few t.v. shows or watch a DVD that a friend has delivered.

5. I've hiked and backpacked in amazingly beautiful and remote places where, often, I didn't see another soul for days on end. I've seen things that few other people have ever or will ever see. I have, perhaps, the world's ugliest Italian leather hiking boots. They cost a fortune back in the day, on my first year teacher salary, no less, but I needed them because they were warm and completely bulletproof. I girled them up by buying thin, pink bungee cord to use as laces. I still have 'em on there. I wish I had a sum total of all the miles I've hiked in them through the years. They've gotten me safely up my share of fourteeners and once kept me sure footed hiking through the Grand Canyon in the pitch dark. I love those stupid boots. It's not so much the boots that make the impact... it's the knowledge of the places I've been and the places I will go, one step at a time, under my very own power.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Preschool Moment

Sometimes, with my cold, dark heart, I forget that there are people in this world that are so inherently good it makes you want to spontaneously hug them. I had one of those moments on the night of my first open house at Exhibit C's preschool a couple years back.

As you may recall, Exhibit C is a medical enigma and the decision to send him to preschool, how he should be placed, which school was right and what modifications would need to be made, all weighed heavily on me. I decided on a highly accredited school with an outstanding reputation that also had a transitional kindergarten option. During the application and interview process, I talked with the appropriate staff members to fill them in on him and I felt good about the decision, even though it did feel a bit formal to me for a preschool, perhaps a bit less warm and fuzzy than that which the older Exhibits attended. As parents, we sometimes do a fine job of second guessing ourselves in these situations, don't we? After registering him, I was excelling at that, and soon found myself sitting at the back to school open house wondering what the hell I was thinking and how on earth I could consider sending my medically fragile child into the big bad world at the tender age of 3.

I liked the teachers and everything they had to say during the meeting but I still couldn't shake the uneasy feeling I had. I wondered if I ought to wait a year but then weighed that against how socially and cognitively ready he was for school. Walking down the hall on my way to the parking lot after the meeting, I ran into the preschool director. I stopped and smiled and somehow she must have read right through that, for she looked at me, smiled right back, then held onto my arms and said, "Cranky Princess, there are no problems that can't be solved here."

I hugged her and thanked her then continued down the hall, tears in my eyes, knowing the decision was good and right.

Exhibit C will attend kindergarten there this year. Since that hallyway moment, I've never once questioned the decision to send him to that school at that time. He has thrived. The director is still there and I *heart* her even more than sparkly tiaras and pedicures.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Career Change

I think I'm in the wrong line of work and that my passion for writing is greatly underutilized given that I do jumping jacks for a living.

Therefore, I was thinking that my mad writing skillz could be better highlighted by a bit of a career change. Picture this: custom, high-end eulogy writing. Work with me here, folks! I am considering opening some sort of online Eulotique. Brilliant, no?! If someone gives me a general outline of a person's life, I would be most excellent at stringing together all that boring crap to make it sound exciting, inspiring and noteworthy. For a small upcharge known as a "Last Laugh Fee", I would be willing to include some humor,'cause Lord knows if you people don't giggle a little at my funeral I'll be both dead AND cranky and that sounds like a combination you want to avoid at all cost.

I would also be willing to go ahead and write your eulogy for you before you're pushing up daisies. This way you can ensure that whoever gets nominated to read it at your service actually knows something about you and can therefore speak eloquently, and with some degree of accuracy, about your life and accomplishments.

One simply can't put a price on the final words one speaks about a loved one. Wait. I can.

Inquiring Minds Wanna know...

This is still fun, in case you were wondering!

Friday, August 6, 2010

National Dance Day

I was a fan of the National Dance Day concept. It's silly and stoopid and all kinds and sorts of cheesy... but the ability to dance as if no one is watching and do so with a huge smile on your face is, in fact, priceless. Inspiring a huge number of people to do it across the country on a given day? Even more so.

In my line of work, we "dance" as if no one is watching on a daily basis. We make a living by putting ourselves out there, standing in front of 6 or 60 people who walk through the doors with a variety of agendas, who maybe are there just to check off the box for the day, or perhaps to blow off steam, deal with stress, train hard or to simply get lost in the moment and be entertained. They look to us for all of these things and more and the best we can do is hope that we deliver and connect with each and every one of them on some level. The only way to do this, really, is to be genuine, regardless of how much of ourselves we must leave exposed.

For me, this is the way I handle myself professionally as well as personally. There is some emotional risk involved, of course, as we're all only human with sometimes fragile egos, but I believe the benefits far outweigh this risk.

So here goes, my very favorite National Dance Day celebration, from my kingdom to yours. Watch it and smile and maybe, just maybe, dance right along with the princesses... as if no one is watching.