Monday, April 27, 2009

More like Maxine....

So here it goes, the great confession: I’m going to be 50 this year…the great five oh. Well, that was no secret so not much of a confession. But what amazes me about myself is that at almost 50, I still worry what people think of me. Why can’t I be a little bit more like Maxine?

One of the things I stress to my kids is to take responsibility for their feelings. Someone once taught me that you have a choice for how you feel. You can choose to be offended or to see it in a different perspective. I believe that. For example, at work the other day, one of my employees was distressed that I wasn’t going to force someone else to stop doing something silly. My karate coach (ok, I’m supposed to call him Master…just can’t do it…I only have one Master and He doesn’t force me to do a bajillion kicks until my muscles turn to jelly…but I digress) taught me (and my kids) a phrase: Choose your battles with sense and honor. Well, the battle at work had no honor and it didn’t make much sense. Sometimes it is just best to ignore the ridiculous. All this leads up to my employee storming away in a hissy fit spouting that she wished someone in our workplace would grow some cajones. That in itself I found hysterical since most of the men that I work with might have cajones but wouldn’t know where to find them or how to use them. But you’ll have to go to previous posts to understand that comment.

My point is that I could have gone home feeling insulted thinking that my employee didn’t think I had the guts to do what she perceived to be my job. Or I could find the humor in the situation and move on. I chose the latter as I’m sure you surmised. It’s funny but at work, I can take that path without hesitation. I’m not sure if it is because I’ve had so much practice or if I don’t hold people there is an high regard. It’s definitely not a conscious decision …so, in some respect, it’s troubling to think that I am not bothered by what they think.

But then there are my friends, specifically my church friends. I think I hold them in such high regard that I’m afraid to let them see the real me, warts and all. It is kind of difficult typing this since I know at least one of them will probably read it. And it seems counter intuitive to feel this way about the people that I know love Christ with all their hearts and I know love me as well. But this is where the lesson that I emphasize to my children that they can choose to feel a certain way goes down the drain. Two events occurred where I am so disappointed in how I chose to feel.

I asked two of my sisters in Christ to apply their artistic expertise to my children’s rooms. They paint wonderful murals and my kids deserve to have special rooms considering the past several years have been difficult for them. So these two women were going to come over last Friday to check out the rooms and start envisioning what how they wanted to design them. But my house was a wreck…and I was embarrassed. Actually, that was an understatement, I was so stressed out it was ridiculous! I finally just cancelled the meeting. Now, these women are two of the most caring individuals I have ever known. But I was so worried about what they would think of me because my house was in disaster mode. It was one of those weeks where I worked 60+ hours, an off week for the cleaning lady, and too busy to enforce the clean up rules with my kids. Dinner was on the fly due to soccer practice inbetween late night meetings for my job. And the fact that I am not a super-mom (as in a superhero). But considering I always think I should be “more” in every respect of my life, I am in a constant state of “not enough”. More of a mom, more of a maid, more of worker, more of a boss…you get the idea. Anyway, it was stupid for me to choose embarrassment instead of seeing the humor in having a room with literally not an inch of floor showing due to dirty clothes, unrolled sleeping bags (an impromptu fort built by my son) and a ton of garbage bags filled with clothes and toys that needed to be sorted for a garage sale that will probably never happen. Seriously, how many people can claim that not one square inch of a room is not being utilized in some form or another?? If I was Maxine, I wouldn’t care.

The second incident that happened was a comment made with purely good and caring intent. This woman (a different one than the artists) doesn’t have a hurtful bone in her body. But my feelings were so hurt by a something that she said that I can still tear up thinking about it. Now how silly is that?? It was our first day in our new digs for our church plant. We were finally moving from a living room to a school building. We are using an auditorium that has those seats with a desktop that can swing down next to the seat or put up to write on. So here we are setting up for the first time and we are checking out the seating. There is a couple of pairs of seats that do not have the arms with the desktops inbetween them. So I chose to sit in one such pair of seats. Much roomier without those arms. One of my fellow core group members states “oh, I’m so glad! There is a seat that you can be comfortable in! I was so worried for you when Jeff first said we were moving to a school”. I know she meant well. I certainly, intellectually, know that she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. I also know that I chose to let those words hurt my feelings.

For any reader who isn’t aware, I am a woman “of size”—the p.c. term for fat. When I was 30, I was thin, muscular, and damn good looking. For a variety of excuses, that changed in the last ten years but I still see myself as I was at 30. So when someone makes a comment such as this sweet woman who meant no offense, I am dumbfounded. Hard to remember that others don’t see me as I see me. I know she wasn’t putting me down. But I chose to let it bother me way too much. Isn’t that silly?

So why can’t I be like Maxine…….?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Praise God!

An addendum to the last post:

The senate passed the fiscal year 2009 (which runs from Sept 08 to Aug 09) Omnibus bill which in layman's terms means it passed the budget that funds my clinic!! YEAH!!! The bill was identical to the one passed by the House so therefore it is now in the President's hands to sign into law. Next the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) can issue a Notice of Grant Award (NOGA) (don't ya just love acronyms??) to the county. HRSA has 45 days to issue the NOGAs. Then the county will allow us to file a request which then goes to the Commissioners Court who will then vote on our funding. The requests normally has a 2 week deadline and the Court meets twice a month.
So today is March 10th, ...say the President signs it by Friday (the 13th...yikes!). The HRSA issues the NOGA 45 days later...hmmm...around April 29th (ok, I guess it could be sooner but HRSA is an arm of the government...45 days). Then the county sets a deadline for May 15th (they always set it for a Friday...even though they don't work on Fridays...go figure). So it will go to Court around the last week of May. And we will see our funds by the first week of June.

And that, my friends, is our efficient government at work.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


What does it mean to be stressed? According to

stress /strɛs/
1. importance or significance attached to a thing; emphasis: to lay stress upon good manners.
2. Phonetics. emphasis in the form of prominent relative loudness of a syllable or a word as a result of special effort in utterance.
3. Prosody. accent or emphasis on syllables in a metrical pattern; beat.
4. emphasis in melody, rhythm, etc.; beat.
5. the physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another; strain.
6. Mechanics.
a. the action on a body of any system of balanced forces whereby strain or deformation results.
b. the amount of stress, usually measured in pounds per square inch or in pascals.
c. a load, force, or system of forces producing a strain.
d. the internal resistance or reaction of an elastic body to the external forces applied to it.
e. the ratio of force to area.
7. Physiology. a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.
8. physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension: Worry over his job and his wife's health put him under a great stress.
9. a situation, occurrence, or factor causing this: The stress of being trapped in the elevator gave him a pounding headache.
10. Archaic. strong or straining exertion.
–verb (used with object)
11. to lay stress on; emphasize.
12. Phonetics. to pronounce (a syllable or a word) with prominent loudness: Stress the first syllable of “runner.” Stress the second word in “put up with.” Compare
accent (def. 18).
13. to subject to stress or strain.
14. Mechanics. to subject to stress.
Origin: 1275–1325; (n.) ME stresse, aph. var. of distresse
distress; (v.) deriv. of the n.Related forms:
stressless, adjective
stress⋅less⋅ness, noun
Synonyms:8. anxiety, burden, pressure, worry. Unabridged

So many definitions for stress. But none of them truly express what it means to be stressed out. At least not for me. But I guess the definition is not important. It is the response to it; the unwinding of the stress; the letting go of it. And how do you do that? Prayer, of course. But why is that the hardest thing to do when I'm stressed to the max? ...guess that is the question of the day. Since I don't have the answer, I think I'll take another xanax and hit the sack.......
To be continued..... that I've had some sleep and some great worship time and some great community with my church group, I'm ready to complete this blog.
Here is something to think about: Congress and President Obama have been busy, busy, busy with the stimulus package, revamping health care, the stimulus package, the stimulus package, the stimulus package, and oh, did I mention, the stimulus package? But do you know what is not happening? Passing of a federal budget. This budget is for the federal fiscal year which is September 2008 to August 2009. We are now over 6 months into the fiscal year and congress still hasn't done one of its primary jobs. First, congress wouldn't pass anything until after the election. Now it is too busy to do it. Gee, in most well run corporations, a budget is developed and approved before the fiscal year begins. But I guess expectations of the government being smart is a pretty sorry assumption.
And how does that affect us? That means that those of us who work for entities that are funded by the federal government are starting to run out of funds. And unless the feds get their butts in gear, this is going to affect a lot of people. For example, if government funded medical clinics start closing their doors, then lots of folks will have no option for every day health care except for the emergency room. Have you been in one of those lately (an ER)? The last thing ERs need is even more inundation of non-emergent cases. Do you want to be ambulanced to an ER that is extremely busy handling people with the flu so your treatment is delayed? And if you don't have insurance or the money to pay cash for your services, then you too need to be worried about the federal budget...or lack of one, since clinics will be closing. And you too can share in my stress.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pimp this bum.....what?????

What happened to preserving human dignity? How did exploiting a human being become a way to reach out and help? If you haven't already, you will probably get an email advertising a website that is entitled Pimp This Bum. The "star" of this site lives under an overpass just a few miles from my home. My pastor posted a blog that can explain it much better than I. Check it out at: I just hope the ones that benefit from this "project" are the ones that really need the help.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In love....FINALLY!

It's official. I am head over heels, top of the world, high on life, smiling all the time, in love....sigh..... And to think just a week or so ago, I thought I'd never find my Bobby Ewing. I thought I'd never gaze into a sweet face, have his head tilt to the side, a smile appear on his lips, and slowly bend forward to place a kiss on my nose. But it has happened.

About two weeks ago, I was dutifully attending a retreat with the board of directors of the organization where I have spent the last six years slaving away. It was one of those bonding days with people you'd rather not bond with but are obligated to at least fake it. We spent the day sharing our views on how life ought to be...well, how the organization ought to be. I'm not really into these things (obviously) but it is a necessary evil when you are trying to define the vision for the organization.

During a sidebar conversation (a.k.a. as two people incredibly bored who start to whisper to each other about anything that doesn't have to do with the task at hand), with a very sweet and caring board member, we realized that both being single, we had a lot in common. After swapping a couple of "i wish" stories, she decided that she had the perfect mate for me. He was blond haired, brown eyed, very intelligent, youthful, caring, affectionate. Everything a woman could dream of...sigh....

So we swapped emails for a week, finally exchanged numbers, talked for a few hours and then arranged for a time and place to meet. Though I wasn't sure if it was the wisest thing I had ever done, I decided to bring my kids with me for the great introduction. I knew my daughter would be fine but my son had to like him or it just wasn't going to work. So he might as well meet them right from the get go.

When we first got to his home, my first impression was that he was absolutely adorable. My son hid behind my leg for a little while but within 15 minutes or so, we were all best of friends. I thought, what the heck, let's just bring him home and make him part of the family. Some may think this was a hasty decision. But so far, it's been working out nicely. So meet the love of my life: Parmley, my newly adopted soft coated wheaten terrier. Ain't love grand....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Where is my Bobby Ewing???

I told my mother when I was in my early twenties that if I wasn’t married by time I was 35 then I would get myself pregnant one way or another. After she recovered from her fall (caused by passing out after hyperventilating…ok, I feel a tad guilty about that permanent scar on her chin when she nose-dived head first onto the kitchen laminated floor), she assured me that Mr. Wonderful would find me if only I would just let things happen naturally. But what my mother didn’t get because she never looked in the mirror at herself was that I inherited (from her) a nasty habit of wanting to control my own destiny. I had a plan….

I was 22 years old and it was apparent that Mr. Wonderful was nowhere to be found in New Jersey. However, my obsession with that wonderful nighttime soap opera, Dallas, convinced me that Mr. W would be found in Texas. He would be wealthy (like Bobby Ewing), adorable (like Bobby Ewing) and witty (maybe a little more like JR Ewing). He’d live on a big ol’ ranch with tons of land. I’d be able to empty out the SPCA monthly and fill my land with cats and dogs and anything else that might wander within. And, of course, he would be totally committed to ME!

Not exactly how it worked out….

So fast-forward 26 years. I didn’t marry Bobby Ewing. My husband was more like Tim the Tool-man without the paycheck. He thought he was very handy. Now that we’ve been divorced for 5 years, I’ve had to fix almost everything he thought he “fixed” back in the day. Ok, I will admit, my idea of fixing is hiring somebody to do it. But at least I hire somebody who knows how to do it RIGHT! But I’ve lost track of my point….what was my point…? Oh yes, why did I marry him. To our credit, I think we both convinced ourselves that we were in love. In hindsight, for me, it had to do with my biological clock (and the statement I made to my mom). We got married 17 days before my 35th birthday. If my mother hadn’t been suffering from Alzheimer’s by then, she would have been releasing a huge sigh of relief (but still cursing me out for the scar on her chin). But I had done it. I landed a man who would give me a child.

So I got the kids and got rid of the husband. And here I sit still wondering …where is my Bobby Ewing??? I’ve tried a ton of websites. It’s amazing how many creeps are out there. I guess that the older we get, the less good guys are available. Therefore, the ratio of creeps to singles is growing exponentially. I won’t even tell you what one guy did via his web cam after chatting with me for less than 3 minutes. Let’s just say he’s very flexible and he has no secrets….NONE! I was actually laughing so hard at his absurdity, it took me a full minute to close down the window. And don’t be fooled by “Christian dating” websites. I have had some pretty obscene approaches from men on there too. I work in the heart of the gay community so straight, available men are few and far between. Several people have recommended finding someone in church. But my church is just being planted and we are small in number. I absolutely love what we are about and am not about to leave to go to some mega church to find a man.

So what’s a middle aged, single mom to do? I guess it’s time to truly give up control to God and believe that He will put someone in my path in His own good timing. Do you think it would be too much to ask if he looked just a little bit like Bobby Ewing???

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Same Ol' Same Ol' New Year's Resolution

Watching the Chevron Houston Marathon yesterday, I was reminded that I had yet to address my New Year's Resolution...from 1999. I was going to one day run a marathon.

During the marathon, the network interjected feel-good stories when the running became too monotonous to watch. (The only thing that kept my attention was the constant scanning through the crowd of runners in search of my boss who was running the half marathon). One story was about a 300+ pound woman who started running two years ago...and ran the marathon on Monday after losing half her body weight. They didn't mention her age but she didn't look that much younger than me. (But of course, I'm stuck in a time warp and still visualize myself at 30 years old).

Speaking of age 30, back then I was single and loving it! I started playing adult soccer right after my 30th birthday. I seemed to have a talent for defensively driving the ball away from our goal. Within a month, I was recruited to play on another team. By the end of the season, I was playing on 3 teams and competing around the state of Texas. In between practices and games, I was at the gym lifting weights to strengthen my legs even further. Needless to say, I was in the best physical condition of my life.

Fast forward two years, while playing in a co-ed game, I went after a ball that was being driven down the field by a very aggressive gentleman. I slid down to kick the ball away and our ankles got tangled up....and snap...literally...went my ankle. My soccer days were finished, and , so it seems was my figure. When you play 3 games a week and have 3 practices a week and go to the gym during all your free time, YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT! Being laid up for several months and told I should never step foot on a field again, my eating habits were the only thing that didn't change in my life. Before I blinked, I had gained 100 lbs. Add to that two kids, a failed marriage and the typical depression that followed, and I have become that same woman I saw in the feel-good story yesterday...sans the ambition to do something about it.

So now, 19 years later, 7 months until my 50th birthday, I started to look at different philosophies to losing weight. I had the lapband done two years ago. But alas, I am not one of those people you will see on Dr. Felix's TV ad as a success story. Dr. Felix told me that I just needed to show a little self control and then the band would work for me. HELLO! If I had self control would I be fat???? Yes, I admit, I thought the band would be my "magic pill". Intellectually, I know there is no magic pill. I know smaller quantities, healthy choices and a work out plan will get me there. I've known that all my life. Knowing it doesn't equate to doing it. Why don't I do it? That's the bazillion million dollar question.

So I started looking around for a new "philosophy" that would set me straight (or flatten my belly or at least lower the number that plagues my scale). I checked out Nutrisystem and found out I'd have to pay $300 for 28 days of food...which I know I would supplement with something from the dairy/frozen food section of the grocery store...hence, that will not work. Once again, I thought about Weight Watchers but find their meetings not very inspiring. I liked going to First Place a few years ago but was mortified when the scale they used did not go up high enough to record my weight.

But what it all really comes down to is this: I've tried it ...if it is out there, I've tried it. All except one it up to God. And why is that the one thing I have never succeeded in doing? Maybe that's the bazillion million dollar question....