Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fear of the Unknown (Part III)

Fearing the unknown is something we all do.  Sometimes we are thrown into situations that scare us but if we treat it right it will allow us to grow, becoming more comfortable with who we are and what we are capable of.  This is exactly what happened to me one evening last December.

My husband and I went to see Dialogue in the Dark, which I highly recommend.  I knew a little about it, what I considered was enough to know.  It is an interesting concept though and one that I was hoping to learn a little something from.  During the experience,  you are guided through different scenarios that a blind person encounters on a routine basis.  You stroll through a park, cross the street, order lunch, make other purchases, ... Not only was it to show us how physically demanding it is to not have your sight but also how much those who cannot see have to depend on those who can.  I was a little nervous about this and had already convinced myself  something was going to go wrong when the lights went out.

Bobby, our guide,  was ready for us.  He is blind.  In fact all of the guides here are visually impaired to one degree or another. You go into this experience with a handful of others.  Most seemed pretty eager to be there.  I, on the other hand, was not so sure. We were told to go into this room where acrylic cubes were arranged in a large circle.  We all found a seat.

After some instruction the lights began to dim.  I paid close attention to everything that was being said.  It's in my nature to follow rules and it's actually a comfort, especially if it's a new experience.  Rules provide boundaries.  Boundaries are a good thing.  If you follow the rules everything will be okay, or so I thought.   One thing I forgot to mention is that if all else failed I could depend on my husband to stay with me. Right?

As soon as we started the journey it was like he had disappeared.  I no longer knew where he was and I was on my own.  I wasn't counting on that.  I'm still okay though. I just need to make certain I can still hear the guide's voice. As long as I keep up with him I will be able to do that.  I tried to listen for my husband's voice.  His voice was distant but I could hear him having a good time up ahead of me. That's all that matters, right?

The voices started getting farther and farther away.  I heard the faint voice of the guide telling us not to go through any doors and to stick with the group.  Okay, I can do that but everyone sounded so far away.  I was trying to catch-up but it didn't seem like I was making progress.  I found myself tripping over things. Finally I hear the guide's voice get a little louder saying,"We are about to enter a room.  Remember don't go through any doors that aren't already opened for you."

 I then realized I was no longer just at the end of the line. I was by myself.  Panic started to set in.  I was still in the room that was full of closed doors.  I kept thinking to myself that the rest of the group cannot be too far ahead, although I really didn't believe it.   I began feeling my way around encountering door jambs every couple of feet, or so it seemed.  It was a small room and yet I could not find a way out because I was not supposed to "go through any doors that aren't open." I tried to recall why and quickly remembered that all of those doors lead out to the parking lot. It was dark outside and we were in downtown Atlanta. I didn't think that was a good combination for me to be caught up in.  That's when true panic set in.  Not only was I using my cane but also my hands to find my way out as I was saying to myself,"This is exactly what I thought would happen.  Where is my husband and why do I not hear voices any longer."

Frantically,  I took the cane around every angle of the room.  Still not finding a way out I began crying.  The crying turned to sobbing.  I just sat in what I perceived to be the middle of the room until I could cry no longer.  Still no one came.    I felt so lost and all alone. Then all at once I heard a voice in my head that said," Pick yourself up and open the nearest door."  I had exhausted all of my other options so that's exactly what I did.  

Same picture just different lighting

Before I let the door close behind me I listened for clues as to what might be on the other side.  Silence. Through the door I went. After a few steps I began to hear voices that sounded as if they were above me, still so far away.  After following those voices I was able to rejoin the group.  I wanted to scream I was so happy.  I also wanted to scream at my loving husband because he apparently had no idea what I had just gone through.  I am glad I went through what I did but it totally rocked my world.  It taught me to have a little more faith in myself, a little less dependence on others and that in the end it's all okay. Don't be afraid of the dark because you are never alone. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fear of the Unknown (Part II)

As for me, I don't even have to be in the water to activate the fear button.  That night, on the way in from the beach, we were walking through the breezeway to get to the condo we were staying in. Let me just say it was dark and I was paying more attention to the kids walking in front of me than my own safety.  

The kids had already rounded the next corner and my husband and I were kind of far behind them.  The next thing I knew my husband, due to his iPod induced deafness, boomed "Watch Out!"  Automatically I frantically looked around.  In front of me, on the concrete sidewalk, my eyes immediately caught sight of this black thing scurrying across my path.  I screamed and he laughed.  

Okay, he had me this time.  The rat, or other rodent I thought I saw, wasn't there.  In it's place was a black strap.  It was the ankle/wrist strap to the boogie board I was carrying.  When I looked around to find whatever it was he was warning me about the strap mocked my movement.  The kids got a big kick out of it too.  It was enough just to hear Mommy was scared.

When we got back to the condo I poured myself a tall glass of Sangria and was in for the night.  Once again it's all good :)

Fear of the Unknown

Being out in the ocean you never know what you might encounter; the brush of a crab, the sight of a dolphin fins or the dive bombing pelican.  The later I witnessed safely from my place on the beach, with the rest of the family enjoying the brief turbulence  of the waves.  Periodically I would look up from my book just to make certain everyone was where they should be.  Glancing up I had to do a double take to make certain I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.  Sure enough a pelican came barreling down on them.  It looked close but I was told later it had only gotten within 5 feet.  Boy was I glad I was still on the beach.  My son recanted the exact wingspan which was 15 feet.  He's also 13 so most things in his life are extended or stretched.  My husband is puzzled as to where this characteristic comes from.  :0)

Now my 10 year-old has not developed that style of telling stories.  Usually she just tells you as it is, without embellishment. Which is why I did believe what she told me but wasn't really able to offer anything up besides, "It's the ocean.  Things are going to brush up against you."  I think if she could see what it was she would have felt better about it.  She was, in her words, "Lightly pinched by a crab." Being out there in the ocean with her didn't make her feel any better and she carefully and methodically made her way to the beach.  I felt bad but also it was a little funny.  She wasn't hurt and the pinchers left no mark except on her pride. Something got the best of her and she didn't like it. 

 Later, due to the crab incident, my daughter felt the need for me to Google "The daily life of a crab." She wanted to make certain that crab, or any other crab for that matter, would not invade her space tomorrow.  "Crabs only come out at night when the tide comes in." This satisfied her until the next morning.  

We got up, ate breakfast and headed to the boardwalk leading to our spot on the beach. There is a small pond by the entrance to the boardwalk and occasionally you can see a turtle's head pop up and small fish swimming around.  My son pointed out the turtles, several of them this time.  As my daughter bent over to take a closer look my son added,"Hey, there's a crab in there too!  A BIG blue one!"  My cover story was blown but it was all okay in the end.  Her enthusiasm for the surf overwhelmed her fear of the sea creatures.  All is good.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Right Now

It is absolutely beautiful out here on the beach in SC. We've walked the beach, rode bikes on the beach and rode waves at the beach.  Nothing like the feeling of your feet in the sand, a breeze blowing your hair and sunburned skin.  

Two people in this family burn easily, my daughter and my husband.  My husband has been lovingly nicknamed "Lobster Man," due to previous over exposure. Those two try to keep up with the brown bodies but every time they end up in aloe land; aloe vera on their front and back sides. 

Not only do I love the sun but also the sounds at the beach.  These sounds are mesmerizing to me; the sound of the waves, the calls of the birds and the laughter of the children, especially my children. 

Friday, September 17, 2010


It's amazing what a convertible can do.  I'm not even a "car person" but in a convertible I've found I can take a mini-vacation.
The story goes, my husband was in need of a new car.  Well, a "new to him" car.  As we've gotten older we've gotten a bit smarter. We decided not to buy a brand new one.   One type of car he was looking at was a convertible.  I didn't really care.  When he asked me what I thought I told him to get what he wants.  I also added, "Within reason." Between my husband's and son's research they found the perfect car.
Notice I said they.  Not that my 13 year-old is hoping to get his hands on this car in 3 years or anything.  After negotiating my husband was able to get quite a deal so...  he now has one, a convertible.  He has had it for 1 day.  Last night my 13 year-old son begged his dad to let me drive the car the next day.  It was my carpool day and usually I have 4 kids to chauffeur to school but my son let me know I would only have 3 tomorrow.   Perfect timing. 4 seats and 4 people works.  The kids were excitedly texting one another last night about the ride.  I, at that point, was excited not because I would be driving the new car but because my son was excited. It takes a lot to get my son excited.  Cars and airplanes will do it though. This car wasn't just any car though it was his dad's Mustang Convertible. Well, he was more than excited.  He was on cloud 9.
My husband, on the other hand, seemed a little nervous.  That night he gave me a walking tour of his prize making certain I knew how to put the top up and down "Just in case." He also gave instruction in what other buttons did what and reminded me to take notice when pulling out of the garage because,      " It's difficult to judge how close you are to the garage."  Thanks honey!  I've only been driving for 20+ years :)   The whole time I'm thinking,"Okay,  so what's the big deal? It's a car."
Morning finally came and we left to pick up the first passenger.   Pulling out of the driveway I began to get a little taste of the power. Did I mention it's a Mustang convertible.  It's not a GT but enough power to get me into trouble. We made it to our first stop and before my son's friend got in he asked if he could just  jump over the door into the seat.  I had him rethink that one.  Too many variables.
On the way to school the kids were making comments and having conversations like they usually did.  Normally my super mom hearing would be working overtime to make certain I didn't miss anything that may come in handy later.  Who's dating who, what teacher did what, ....  Not today!  Today I was in my own little convertible world. I didn't have a clue as to what they were talking about and nor did I care.  I managed to pick up everyone without incident and we pulled out of the subdivision. The red light provided the opportunity to get another glimpse of what the car could do. I stepped on the accelerator as I normally would and soon realized this isn't the van.  The top is down, wind blowing my hair around and about 5 minutes later we are at the school.
Yes, school is literally right around the corner so I didn't get to experience a lot of time behind the wheel on this trip.  I dropped everyone off hearing, "SWEET!" in the background.  Another 5 minutes and I was headed to yoga.  I know, for some reason that just doesn't sound right.  Driving a convertible, especially one that has more capabilities than what I'm used to,  is an experience.  It is more than a car.  I use to consider yoga my only mini-vacation but not anymore.  I let my husband know he could keep the van and that I really liked my early birthday present. His only response was "NO WAY!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Meant to Be

I just realized, at that moment, that we were meant to be together.  Even the times when we haven't gotten along so well;  we still managed to make it through to the other side.  After all that we've been through,  we've still managed to find that comfortable place each time.  It comes with such ease. No thought.  We come together to share.  Easy. Easy like the choice between staying in your bed when you can, sleeping in when you can.  A knowing that when your head hits the soft pillow you just want to stay there.  Comfortable,  like a cup of tea first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed.    Like getting lost in a kiss or a touch.  It's surrendering to the moment. Surrendering to what is.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

More Than Just Yoga

Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings I try to devote yoga.   I really look forward to it and after a little over 6 months, my body actually craves it.  The days I can't make it to class I practice at home but it is not the same for me.  I need the intermingling of other energy with my own.  I need the personalized instruction and insight. You cannot get that from a DVD.   So for me it's more than just stretching, it's a spiritual practice.  This is my time to check-in with myself.  It is my time to erase the board and start over.  I am able to focus on who I am instead of my disjointed and irrational perception of me. I feel more grounded, more sure of myself.  The instructors have an uncanny way of knowing what each of the students need during class; the poses we require, the words our heart needs to take in.  When I leave class I feel as if I've been rebooted.  Not only does my physical body feel better by working hard but my intellectual self feels more rested and powerful. I walk out of there with the "I can handle anything!" attitude.  It is important to feel unshakable.  Then when bad stuff starts happening it is not so bad.  If you believe in your own power you can handle anything :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Double Rainbow
It is amazing what faith can do, even a little of it.  Having faith in something motivates you.  Without faith motivation is lost.  Without faith you can feel stuck and possibly hopeless.  Without faith you are not in charge of your life.  You leave your life to chance.  You leave your life.

Faith comes and goes, sometimes a bit erratically.

Hoping that next wave won't be the last!

Ye have much faith!
                            This picture proves that sometimes you can have too much faith in someone.  My daughter wanted to believe her brother when he said," I promise I won't get you wet!"   My son wanted to get the upper hand on his sister for being so gullible, which in his mind means putting up with a lot.  Faith in something or someone is used as a life rope to many.  

                               Too much faith in people who show you that you shouldn't trust them can lead to wounded pride and possible devastation with the thought you can't trust anyone again.  

               Along with faith in others there needs to be true faith that you are meant to be where you are for a reason. Things are always changing.  Situations are always changing.  Faith gets us through those tough scary times.  

A possible reason we go through the bad, good and ugly is to experience relationships and how those chance meetings can change our lives.  The ripple effect is you do not realize how that one encounter could affect someone else.  Someone else's life.  It does not stop there.  What transpires is incalculable.  

       Completely unknown is when it will happen. Look at it as a lesson.  My son's lesson was not to take advantage of his sister's love for him. As he tells me, "Karma baby always wins out." My daughter learned not to be so trusting but only after several years of what is pictured above.  

If in the past someone has taken advantage of that trust don't forget what you learned.   Use that knowledge, especially if it is your sometimes obnoxious teenage brother. It's best to try these things out on family first.  

            In any given situation try not to judge the person because we do not know the circumstances.  We usually assume the driver who cut us off is just an incredible jerk.  Maybe, just maybe he just learned he lost his job, his wife, his child. There is usually more to the story.  So much energy is wasted on trying to figure someone out.  It is impossible.   Too many variables to do that.  

We need to work on ourselves.  We cannot change or fix anyone else.  No matter where we are in life or where we go we need to focus on change within. Having faith that we are where we are meant to be for this moment. So "Have A Little Faith."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's Expired!!!

Okay, I know that sometimes I am totally guilty of not throwing things out when I should, food that is. Actually I don't throw out the other stuff  but donate it. Anyway,  I do sometimes forget to go through the pantry and the fridge to make certain things haven't passed their prime. Occasionally there is the furry fruit or  green cheese.  One thing is for certain, I will check a prepackaged item's expiration date,  that's just one aspect of my quirkiness.

I've always been the one to check the expiration dates on items I, or my kids, may potentially eat.  I'm not going to eat something that has gone too far beyond that date in bold.  My thoughts are they, the manufacturers, put a date on the product for a reason.  Sometimes it's because it would simply taste a little better before that date and other times the date means don't consume it for other reasons.  I don't know, maybe it could turn rancid or turn into other things.

   My husband, on the other hand, was apparently born in the 30's.  He swears that date is stamped on the product to speed up your purchases.  It's a conspiracy.   The date to him means nothing regarding whether a product is good or bad. 

 What originally set me on my path to "eating more cautiously," as I like to call it,  began many years ago.  My parents had the same attitude my husband does.  Growing up, I use to think it was completely disgusting to find a food item that had expired the previous year.  Since then the years have started piling up and so have the expired products.  

Just recently my retired parents went away on a much longed for trip.  They would be gone an extended amount of time.  I don't live nearby but my brother does.  He happens to feel the same way I do about expiration dates.  Over the holidays, when I'm back in town, we make a game out of finding the oldest prepackaged food.  We usually hit pay dirt at least twice during the week. 

Today he  stopped by mom and dad's place to check on a few things while they were gone.  They needed him to make doubly sure that nothing was left in the fridge, or other places, that could go bad or had already turned that corner. Amazing isn't it? While he was helping out he thought he'd play a solo game of "It's Expired!" He began poking around and  not too long after that I received a text with pictures.  Following is what he came up with 

Pesto from 2006
BUT the winner is-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Peppermint Extract from...... drum roll please.......
1966 !!!

I almost peed my pants from laughing so hard.  My parents would have just said,"Oh Pam," as in "Good grief. What is the big deal?" Really,  I guess it's not a big deal as long as I don't have to eat it:)