Posts Tagged With: sanity

Friday Letter: The Traffic and Song that Never Ends

Dear J, J, L and L,

Finger puppets might save your sanity.

It all started with Lambchop, although I don’t remember when he began riding along with us in the car. I just know that one day we found ourselves sitting in traffic amongst a zillion other cars going nowhere and getting there at five miles per hour. More than likely, two of you, (guess which two) were arguing or whining in the back seat. No doubt the radio played nothing but the Macarena or advertisements. And most likely the AC failed in its efforts to cool our car just as summer arrived.

Whatever the circumstances, I remember putting Lambchop the finger puppet on my left hand, and letting him wildly sing his signature song whilst dancing out the window.

“This is the song that never ends…it just goes on and on my friend…somebody started singing it not knowing what it was… and they’ll continue singing it forever just because this is the song that never ends…”

Here’s a reminder if you’ve forgotten that ditty:

The Song That Never Ends

One of you in the back half of the car probably slunk lower in your seat or said something profound like, “Mooooooooom!!! Stoooooooop!” or may be not. Maybe you laughed. Maybe someone in a car behind or beside us laughed.

Then Lambchop changed the words. “This is the traffic that never ends…it just goes on and on my friend…somebody started driving once not knowing where they were…and they’ll continue driving now forever just because this is the traffic that never ends…

Lambchop was a hit. I laughed. Ya’ll laughed. Tension dispelled, at least momentarily.

From then on I was on a quest for other finger puppets, which it turned out, were rare and hard to find. (Pre-Amazon and Google, y’know.)

FullSizeRender-3 copy 2

Moose, the finger puppet. Who could resist this smile?

This guy, Moose, joined our car late in the game. He liked to sing “We wish you a merry Christmoose,” if memory serves me correctly.

There may have been others, but some of our more traumatic years seem to reside in a foggy region of my brain that I’m unable, or unwilling, to access. But Lambchop, for sure, spent a ton of time on the dashboard, reminding us of the threat or the possibility of performances while stuck in traffic.

Now the most traffic I encounter happens while trying to cross Greenfield road on my bike. And of course, your father doesn’t appreciate the finely honed skills of finger puppet singing. So Lambchop now lives in the closet with all the other stuffed animals. I found Moose covered in dust next to a certain restaurant gift card on my dresser.

If you remember the names or songs of any of our other sweet car companions, remind me. Good times ought not be forgotten. In fact, perhaps they ought to experience a comeback.

Hey, whatever it takes to maintain your sanity in traffic seems like a great idea.

May all your roads lack multiple four-way stops and frequent construction zones. And may you laugh daily and often.

Happy driving!

Love ya tons,

Mom

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Categories: children, Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters, Fun, Traffic | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

A List to Remind Me That the Sun Shines

Aspens. My favorites.

Aspens. My favorites.

MSH reminds me when I start ranting about something and threaten to write about it on my blog, that I always intended for this project to lean toward the positive and optimistic.

Then I remind him that I’m also “keeping it real” which might not always come across as roses and sunshine.

Keeping It Real

How real do I feel comfortable with here on the blog? How real am I comfy with in person? All last month I’ve debated this with myself. And I didn’t write much during that debate. Lost my groove, I guess.

A path of shadow and sunlight.

A path of shadow and sunlight.

I felt braver a couple of years ago. Bolder. Speaking my mind came easier. Opening up about my life happened naturally and with less reserve.

This past year, in many ways, I’ve caved in on myself. I’ve tucked in the frayed edges. I keep the strained or raveled seams covered. I’ve inched toward a more hermit-like life. I used to do that during the month of January every year. I saw it as a naturally occurring regrouping and recovery from the two or three-month holiday season.

My January recovery session during the past year stretched into eleven other months. Maybe longer.

An online friend of mine wrote a (somewhat annoying) glowing top ten account of his past year for the following reason:

“Things can get difficult, and you never know when I might need to remind myself that these things happened, and how and what I felt like when they did.” ~ Brad McBride

Good reason to write up a top ten, you gotta admit. Even if it annoys semi-irritable people like me.

I’ve just survived a year (2014) where I needed to remind myself of happier times to get myself through the day or the week.

I’ve also just been through a year (2014, yes, same year) with some amazingly wondrous good things happening. I mean A-MAZ-ING! Happiness like nothing I’ve ever known.

Talk about a paradox.

I’ve felt lost and found, abandoned and loved, forlorn and supported, ready to give up and anticipating greatness, numb and electrified. At times hope eluded me and then there it shone like a stunning sunrise nearly blinding me.

So what would be my top ten good things for 2014?

  1. My oldest daughter’s new baby girl
  2. The volunteer work I get to do
  3. Hanging out with my favorite teenager while driving her to and from tutoring
  4. Spending time with a certain three-year old
  5. Snuggling from a fun-loving one year old
  6. Almost the entire family together for a weekend in November
  7. A Christmas concert extraordinaire
  8. Summer sunrise walks
  9. My family reunion – time with Mom and Dad
  10. Sitting in a high mountain meadow for hours with MSH

See, my life’s filled with wonder and joy. I just forget sometimes. The difficulties can cast such deep long shadows that block out the sunlight in such a way it almost feels like night. I just need to step out of the shade and let the sun warm me from time to time.

Am I Right? Or am I Write?

This blog has been a source of light for me as well. It’s like a conversation I have with myself to sort through things and make sense of the world. So I add a number eleven to my list.

11. This writing thing.

So I’ll keep things real. The good, the ugly, the stunning, the what-the-heck. Life as I see it written down right here just for me.

If you want to follow along, you’re welcome to join me. Just don’t make too much noise. It is morning, after all.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Hope, Mental Health, Sanity, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thirty Days to More Sanity

As if life isn’t already busy enough.

You too?

Yeah. I know. I’m surely crazy!

I’ve decided to accept the challenge this November.

No, I am not going to grow a mustache or beard, as easy as that would be now that I’m over a certain age. Not sure a female can really man up the same way. And I’m certain I don’t want to grow facial hair.

No, no. I am not attempting to write a novel in one month like participants in NaNoWriMo commit to.

Photo by joergens.mi

Pomegranates! Photo by joergens.mi

No, no, no. Neither am I celebrating or becoming more aware of pomegranates, veganism, pancreatic cancer, sweet potatoes, pet diabetes, sponges, manatees, gluten-freeness, inspirational role models, banana pudding, impotency, peanut butter lovers, entrepreneurship, healthy skin or thirty-plus other possible November commemorations.

I don’t even want to get my Christmas shopping done in the month of November. — Gasp! Get this woman some oxygen, STAT! — (Questioning my sanity at this point, aren’t you?)  In fact, I don’t want to purchase a single Christmas related item at all during this singular lunar phase of the year 2014.

My only goal for November?

Survive with my sanity intact through the end of the month.

You think I jest.

I jest not.

Juggling complete with theme music in the background!

Juggling complete with theme music in the background!

In case you haven’t noticed there’s this trend, obsession, thing monstrous idea that involves packing the months of October, November and December so full with causes, goals, events and busyness that a person can hardly breathe.

I refuse to participate in such nonsense. I just want to enjoy life, and be with people I love or at least like a lot. I don’t want to recreate some Pinterest-worthy scene to photograph and share on various social media platforms.

Of course, along with the added busyness, life throws its usual and not-so-usual curve balls and flaming batons and razor-sharp knives and expects you to juggle them while it sets you down on a cliff edge when it darn well knows you’re deathly afraid of heights.

And yet.

And yet, I have decided to jump in on NaBloPoMo.

Sounds almost obscene, I know. But in reality I think it’s a link to my sanity. Let me explain.

NaBloPoMo otherwise known as National Blog Post Month encourages, nay, offers prizes and incentives to, bloggers to post every single day during the month of November.

Why would I do such a thing? Most months of the year I barely post three times a week to my blog.

writing photoWhy indeed.

Because Writing (capital W) keeps me sane. Because Writing lets me download the contents of my swirling mass of thoughts and chaos to a manageable medium. Writing softens life’s blows. Writing helps me make sense of so much senseless nonsense. Writing helps me breathe better. Writing acts like nasal strips for the soul. (too much?)

Taking on the daily blog post challenge increases my writing time and hence, (yes, hence) my sanity.

If no one else reads what I write, that’s okay. It’s all for me all the time anyway. I’m just being selfish. I’m claiming the month of November for myself, come what may. Well, I’m claiming at least five hundred words a day for myself.

It’s a big step, but I feel empowered and excited and overly sleepy already.

Have I taken on more than I should? Will I feel saner in thirty-one days? Will the universe conspire against me?

No. Maybe. Yes, most certainly.

I’m standing on the cliff edge and taking the leap toward sanity.  I sure hope my parachute opens when it’s supposed to.

Wish me luck!

NaBloPoMo_November_0

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~Ray Bradbury

Categories: good ideas, Sanity, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Denial, Arizona, USA – Not Exactly A Travel Brochure

Greater Roadrunner, Phoenix, Arizona, USA Fran...

A Roadrunner! I’ve seen these occasionally here! haven’t heard them go “beep, beep” though. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people think I live in Phoenix, Arizona. That’s not exactly true. I live in one of the suburbs of Phoenix.

But where I really live most of the time is in the State of Denial.

Most people spend some time here once in a while. Some spend more time in Denial than others. It’s not exactly a vacation destination, but it’s a nice break from Reality.

And as we all know, Reality can bite.

Living in Denial helps me ignore these funky spots I have that probably should be seen by a dermatologist. Skin cancer happens to everyone else after all. Not fair-skinned light-haired teen year sun broiling with baby oil before the invention of sunscreen people like me. Besides it’s not urgent. It can wait til after Christmas, Valentines, Labor Day or Thanksgiving. I’ll get to it.

See how that works? Handy isn’t it?

Living in Denial saves me worry about so many things:

  • Unpaid debt
  • The future
  • Retirement
  • Getting older
  • Planning in general
  • How I fritter away my time, especially when it’s past bedtime

Hanging out here in Denial also allows a kind of all’s right with the world point of view:

  • Those elected officials surely are looking out for my best interests.
  • That smooth tread on my two front tires needs some attention, but really, it hardly ever rains here.
A couple in a Hammock.

Reminds me of my days spent in Denial. Looks comfortable, doesn’t it?(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Living in Denial helps me maintain my sanity. It’s very basic a way to cope with the stresses of life. Imagine my neuroticism if I actually thought about all the hazards out there. I’d probably never get out of bed. There’s a long list of things I just don’t let cross my mind while I’m lounging about here in Denial:

  • Our financial instability
  • The unknown
  • Relationships that need my attention
  • Not having a college degree and my utter lack of employable skills
  • My spiritual insensitivity
  • Pending death of my best friend
  • My children’s and their children’s future

And that doesn’t even touch on the big Capital Letter topics like War, Starvation, Disease, Genocide, Global Warming, National Debt, Pollution, Violence, Crime, Safety, or Corruption. It’s enough to make your heart stop and your tear ducts run uncontrollably.

Two American Alligators (Alligator mississippi...

Look how cuddly! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can you blame me for wanting to vacation here in Denial? I’d take up a permanent address except there’s a strict temporary residency only policy. I can’t even get a Post Office Box here. Go figure.

Denial is a strange but comfortable and balmy environment, not unlike Florida, I hear, minus the alligators. There are some harsh reality checks when you have to leave Denial and return to Real Life.

If you can’t find me at home in Reality, at least now you’ll know where I’m hiding.

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Categories: Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Listening for Sanity

I haven’t heard  the song “All I want for Christmas is a hippopotamus” yet this year.

Christmas in the post-War United States

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a loss.

Nor have my ears been accosted by anyone’s version of “Santa Baby.”

Sigh.

No one has blasted me with “Grandma’s Been Run over by a Reindeer.”

Oh my.

“Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” hasn’t yet bounced and jostled it’s way through my head.

Phew!

Amazingly, I’ve missed every single rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock” that seems to inundate every sound wave in the hearing world this time of year.

What will I do?

Feel at peace, perhaps?

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas music.

Here’s some nice alternatives to the usual noise blaring on the radio or over the store’s sound system.

Any tune by Vince Guaraldi, whose songs you’d recognize if you’ve ever watched a Charlie Brown cartoon, is a welcome background sound. “Skating” is a nice example.  So is this one.

I also hum to myself, often an unrecognizable song, sometimes a composite of a few mismatched songs. That’s my favorite. Whistling is nice, although a little more noticeable.  People might wonder what you’ve been up to if you sound that cheerful. Exercise caution with the whistling thing.

Classical holiday music, without lyrics, is my solace this year.

I know, I’m so boring. And I love it!

This year I’m choosing to find Peace on Earth, in a different way.  Nothing groundbreaking.  Just a simple change in the music I listen to.

In the car, the radio is OFF.

I’ve got a music app that allows me to choose the soundtrack to my day.

The World Is Too Much With Us; Late and Soon

The World Is Too Much With Us; Late and Soon (Photo credit: xdestineex)

I feel blessed beyond words. To be able to block out the world, somewhat, with two little ear buds, attached by a thin wire to a miraculous little device in my pocket, is a balm and solace in my life that I am so grateful for.

When “the world is too much with us” I have an instant retreat. Music covers me like an umbrella and keeps the rain of chaos and frantic busyness at a distance. I can breathe in slowly and deeply and move with deliberate and unrushed steps.

Anything with a Windham Hill label, like George Winston, or Jim Brickman works nicely for my sanity level.  Jon Schmidt with the Piano Guys is always a great choice.  Choosing anything with the word Philharmonic soothes the soul with caressing notes and gentleness.

I’m just keeping a grip on reality as best I can here. So far, it’s only the 12th of December, it’s working.

If music is the handrail on my daily path providing balance and peace, then play on.

 

Do you have any music that soothes and smoothes your day?  I’d love to get some more suggestions.

 

Categories: Joy, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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