Friday, October 19, 2007

You talk, I'll listen

"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Me.
Happy Birthday to Me.
Happy Birthday et-ceteraaaaaah.

Happy Birthday to Me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Silver thread

Hello princess.

I trust that you are doing well
I hope that you are soaking up the sunshine (regaining your energy)
I think of you fondly and frequently
I wish the best for you

If you have wings, then you must fly
So take the wind, and sail high
I will ask the sun to kiss you for me
(look to the sky and pucker up!)

I will be here, on the ground
holding this silver thread
so small it's invisible - weightless too
a tiny connection between me and you

Whenever you're ready
just reel in that string
and you'll find me again

and You can rest your wings
and I will greet you warmly
and You can tell me stories of your adventure
and I will bathe in your beauty

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Declared normal

Victory in Life Department:

When my son was 10 years old, a mental health professional said that that I should "strongly consider" placing him in a full-time (residential or live-in) treatment center. Although I rejected this opinion outright, I still tried to listen to their warnings, and for a while, I was giving him powerful drugs to "keep his mind stable". I was told that he had a permanent mental disability, and that he would probably never be able to lead a normal life.

After a while, I could see that the drugs were doing a lot more harm than good, so I just stopped giving them to him. I came to my senses and rejected their professional conclusions. I staunchly defended my right as a parent to make decisions in the best interest of my child. Instead of relying on the opinions of the experts, I decided to believe in my son's ability to adapt himself to the world around him. Instead of sheltering him from normal kids and normal activities, I did the opposite. I signed him up for archery lessons, then fencing lessons, then Boy Scouts, and then Karate. That's right, instead of putting him a room with soft padded walls, I let him play with bows and arrows, knives and fire, swords and nunchucks. I had an intuition that being around "normal" kids was the best treatment he could get, and to this day I defend my right to make that decision.

Skip forward 8 years. Yesterday, a group of specialists (educators and mental health professionals) summarily decided that my son no longer has any of the symptoms that would enable him to qualify for special education services. In other words, my son has been declared "normal", and he will be required to finish his last year of high school in a regular old classroom. He is going to have to earn his diploma the hard way, and if he sticks with it, he will graduate along with the rest of his class at the end of the year.

You probably can't appreciate what this means - but for my son to be called "normal" after all of these years, it's wonderful. I'm so glad I listened to my intuition. (Thank you, God)

{Hint": there is a reason that they refer to it as "practicing medicine".}

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Thanks, Eh?

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends.
We all have much to be thankful for, especially this year.
{I'm very thankful to have people like you in my life.}
Have a blessed holiday!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Laugh til it hurts

Okay - you wanna know what makes me laugh?

I've been watching "misheard lyrics" on youTube for the last hour.
...I swear - my ribs are HURTING at this point!!

After working on my department's 2008 Staffing Justification spreadsheets all week long, this was somehow the perfect way to unwind!  (Enjoy!)

#1 - Sean Paul - Temperature
#2 - Fallout Boy - This Ain't A Scene
#3 - My Chemical Romance - Black Parade
#4 - Taking Back Sunday - Make Damn Sure
#5 - Nightwish - Wishmaster
#6 - Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter
#7 - System of a Down - BYOB
#8 - O-Zone - Numa Numa
#9 - Nelly Furtado - I'm Like a Bird
#10 - Sonta Artica - Respect the Wilderness

#11 - The Fray - I'll Look After You

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Smoke Free (Again)

Okay - this is the last time for me.

I don't ever want to experience "quitting smoking" again.

It's sort-of like jamming a fork in your ear and twisting your brains into spaghetti. Except in this case, you don't get the satisfaction of dropping to the floor to finally die, no - you have to keep on twisting that fork, over and over, until you finally get all of the splinters out of your brain.

I had been smoke free for most of the summer, but one day I decided to cheat (inner voice: "c'mon, it's only one cigarette. It isn't going to hurt you. You have to live a little".)

 UGH. I hate the addict in me.

Anyway, one cigarette led to another, until I was back to my regular habit. (It doesn't take long, either. Less than a week to go from smoke free to totally addicted again.)

At first, I tried to hide it from people. After a while, it became apparent that I was back to my old ways. Some of my friends at work banded together and decided that they were going to try to help me. Fortunately for me, they were very clever about it. One morning, I came in to work and there was a little sign above my desk. It said, "Please be patient with me. I am quitting smoking, and I need your support." It offered several tips on the kinds of behavior that I might be displaying, and suggestions on things that a person could say that would be seen as supportive of my efforts to quit.

Strangely, I hadn't even decided to quit at that point. Still, I thought it might be a good source of motivation, so I left the note on display. A few days later, someone left a book on my desk, "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" by Allen Carr. There was a handwritten note from one of my colleagues: "may this aide you in your quest to stop". That was it. No speeches about how it was unhealthy. No talk about how much money I would save. Just quiet support from some people that cared about me.

I was expecting a confrontation. I was waiting - just waiting - for someone to start nagging me about the smell of smoke or something else they could complain about. I was ready to defend myself. I had all of my regular excuses handy. "Look, I have only one vice in this world, and I shouldn't have to give it up." "Yes, I know you can smell smoke on people - but not me. I brush my teeth, wash my hands, and spray Febreeze on my clothes every time I take a smoke break. Most people can't even tell." "Yes, I know it will eventually kill me, but everybody dies anyway, so why fight it?"

The confrontation never came.

Nobody challenged me. Nobody nagged me. They just went about their business and left me to my own thoughts. This got me thinking too. "Why aren't they asking me about it? Do they really care about me? If they really cared, they would be willing to challenge me." "Why should I go through all of the hassle of quitting if nobody really cares?"

I know it sounds stupid, but these are the sorts of thoughts that go through the head of an addict like me. We'll make up all sorts of BS to justify continuing our habit. Smoking is such a flexible medication, too. You can justify almost any occasion as a reason to have a cigarette. "I'm bored." "I'm tired." "I just got off of work." "I'm too wound up." "I'm too this, too that, etc etc).

I guess all of the internal dialogue came down to this: "I don't like to smoke." "I don't even like the smell of smoke." "It makes me feel like sh*t." "It robs my energy." And in the end, it doesn't matter if someone else "cares enough" to challenge me on this issue. I need to challenge myself. I need to quit for myself.

And that is what I did.

I don't even remember the day, exactly. I think it was a few weeks ago. I just stopped.

And oh - I've paid the price since then. You don't just suddenly feel great when you quit smoking, no. You feel awful. Your energy levels are gone. You get a cold and a sore throat. Your sense of smell and taste is way out of whack. You become an emotional cesspool. Full of bile, full of anger, full of doubt, and yet empty and depressed.

I've heard it said somewhere that quitting heroin is easier than quitting tobacco. Although I wouldn't want to find out, I wouldn't doubt that statement either.

I've done this to myself several times now (started smoking, then quit). This is the last time for me. I don't ever want to feel that terrible ever again. I know this is a source of weakness for me. I have to be extra careful this time. I can't allow myself to "cheat", because one slip could lead me right back to where I started.

Last night, I experienced the first positive side-effect of quitting. I got some of my energy back. Actually, that's an understatement. I got A LOT of energy back. A power surge that kept me going through the night and all of the next day too. It turns out that forcing myself to work out (in this case, helping a couple of friends move their furniture and belongings to another house) triggered this response in me. I remember this feeling. It feels good. I want to feel this way more often. I don't want to go back to my old ways.

To all of my family and friends who have had to put up with me while I was breaking free of this monster (again!) - I just want to say thank you. I know that I've got some more work to do (and issues to resolve) before Iget through the rest of this, but I'm past the crisis point now. The worst of it is behind me. I'm on the road to recovery.

To anyone out there who is smoking from time to time, thinking that they won't get hooked like I did. please hear my warning: "stop smoking now, and don't look back". To anyone who is really hooked and doesn't think that they can ever quit, listen to me when I tell you: "you can do it. you can quit, and you will feel better. the pain of quitting is temporary; it will not kill you. and in the end, you will be free again. you will be yourself, all of the good parts of yourself, without the addiction. Despite what your mind might be telling you, you don't need chemicals to survive. You can quit and live better."

Please don't congratulate me. Your words might trigger a defensive response in me. If you want to help, do so silently. Encourage me with your mind. Hope for the best. Pray for me, if that is your way. That's the sort of energy that helps. And even though I don't like to admit it, I really need a little help from time to time. Just ... don't ... mention ... it.

And if you ever see me with a cigarette, please grab the nearest blunt object, reach your arm way back behind you, and then hit me, square on the head, with as much force as you can possibly deliver. Knock me out cold. Put me in a coma. Kill me if you must. Any way you look at it, you'd be doing me a favor.

I plan on never having to quit smoking again. This is it.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, October 1, 2007


When I say, "I love you," it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman.”
Spike to Buffy