The Tipping Point Against Your Throat

They say you don’t know when the tipping point (reference to The Tipping Point, published in 2000 and still very popular today) is about to happen. You only see it in hindsight. One decision, or a few, by one person, or a few, that suddenly causes a snowball effect to happen for your business. (Or, really, for anything in your life.) Those crucial, sometimes incidental, decisions that make our lives what they really are.

Kind of a long way of saying, “The devil is in the details.”

But I feel like I’m at the edge of a cliff. Not a bad cliff. A pretty cliff. With lots of foliage and butterflies and even trees. A nice place, except for the inherent cliff-iness of the whole thing. Because it’s a long way down and I’ve come really far and now….now it’s time to go even farther.

I’m scared. School is not something I’ve ever been good at and now I have to be sure of myself and my ability to succeed at something that has always been very difficult for me.

Sometimes I feel like I’m too old to be amazing but too young to actually have any real power.

School always makes that feeling, that in-between, not-good-enough feeling come into painful focus. It hurts to think I may not be good enough, especially when I know I can be. I do have the potential for…I don’t want to say greatness, that sounds way too over-the-top. I never wanted to be great, just…good enough.

Maybe I am having trouble verbalizing it because what I want is to not want. I want to enjoy the moment, the day, my choices, this life.

Enjoy it without always having to think twenty steps ahead. It’s a strange feeling to have a five-year-plan and realize it was only made so I did not have to think about my path now. I could just allow my path to happen and my only job was to be me. Inside my life, living it, authentically me.

Now, see, for authentically me …. that means I have to be vulnerable (because I am) I have to be trusting, and as wise as I am able.

…and kind.

Just when I think my dual nature of dirty hippie vs. dirty capitalist has come to an end and one side has clearly won the battle of myself – a day comes along, I wake up, and there she is. Me. Back for another fabulous round.

Sorry if this gets a little wonky and off topic. My need to replace my theology book has the part of my brain that thinks about religion out and getting un-dusty and having a field day with belief and thought and need and want and worry and trying to lecture me from afar.

But right now, I’m trying to decide if I should go to the bookstore now, or this evening. When will there be less people? When will this chore be best accomplished? Now, methinks. Because who knows what will happen later.

I have to re-read the book … because I forget if it’s mentioned that people remember the tipping point as the point where their muscles were all bunched or it was when the release happened.

Did this post make any sense?

The Balancing Act We All Act

The most difficult part of my whole marriage is when both my husband and I are working. The schedule balance is filled with potential emotional landmines of “who has the more important project” and feeling stifled because we can’t do exactly what we want when we want.

Add to this already potentially bad power-struggle the belief my husband has – that I can somehow get copious, high-quality amounts of work done when the kids are home. He has every right to think so because for most of my working-from-a-home-office career, I have been doing just that. Most of you know the story about having a crawling baby grabbing my leg while feeding the other baby in one arm and typing with one hand on the computer keyboard to get a project done. (and crying, because that was the worst day of my career)

I’m a little bit older now, and I just don’t have that kind of energy anymore. You just cannot tune out kids the way you tune out babies when they babble. But basically, I do a lot more strategy now and it requires my train of thought not be interrupted by random kiddie catfights.

The thing is, my husband has never been able to concentrate with the girls in the house. It’s one of the main reasons we have a brick and mortar location. It allows him to work in peace and silence.

So, the fact that he thinks I don’t rate the same peace and silence just because I’ve done it the other way in the past is entirely unacceptable to me. But it’s tough to show that I need the peace and silence to concentrate when he has seen me, for years, accomplish so much with the kids under my feet. It almost sounds, to him, like I’m just being a spoil-sport and wanting what he has just because he has it.

It’s not about deserving an office or deserving peace and quiet. It’s about efficiency and good parenting. I would like to be a parent to my children when I’m home, and working on work when I’m not. I would like a more “normal” working environment because I could get things done twice as fast and maybe, just maybe, leave work at work once in a while instead of having to think about it 24/7 because the office is right there waiting for me to be productive and impressive and amazing.

So it’s a little rough right now trying to get schedules in place. Especially this time, because my husband has been doing his thing and I’ve been a stay-at-home-and-hating-it mommy for almost a year now. Maybe a little over a year. It’s kind of a blur because of the total dislike I have for the whole thing. I have the utmost respect for SAHMs who love it, but man, this is just SO not my bag. My sense of self is tied up heavily in my own accomplishments, and as much as I love my kids and spend time with them and talk to them and teach them, it just does not trip my trigger the way having a Fortune 500 company on my resume does.

I don’t know why.

I do know if I devoted myself entirely to my kids and not my own growth that I feel I would be a stagnant mother and would run out of stories and interests pretty quickly. I do think I’m showing my children that life is about learning no matter how old you are and life is about having personal freedom as well as choosing your responsibilities and excelling at what you choose to do. I do not want to raise daughters who think their sole purpose in life is to be mothers. I don’t have a problem with anyone else choosing that life path, it’s just not my choice of life path.

So I have to figure out how this all balances and then present my husband with a solution that will work for both of us. I’m not sure why this can’t happen as a conversation and why we can’t schedule a meeting and set things up in a way that will be a process, followed by both of us. Maybe it can be done that way and I just haven’t found the correct way to broach the subject.

We shall see.

I swear, if nothing else my life is always interesting. Thank goodness I dig interesting.

Any suggestions? We already use Google Calendar to keep our meetings, etc. separate as well as having the calendar for the kids’ activities and school stuff. (Oh, that reminds me, I have to put all the days off for the school year into the Google Calendar. Kill me now. It would be a kindness.) So it’s all in there, I just need to figure out how we can play fair when someone adds something to the calendar and the other person doesn’t see it right away and then schedules something verbally and a disagreement ensues.

Because if I don’t see the entries and ask a question, I assume he remembers his calendar enough that he can tell me. Maybe it’s me who needs to be more cognizant of the calendar rather than verbal communication when it comes to the schedule.

Huh.

Why School Is Going To Be Different This Time

I have a long, painful history when it comes to going to school.

You see, I’m too smart.

Not too smart to learn. I certainly don’t know everything. Heck, I don’t know a fraction of everything. I’m not the kind of smart where I make other people feel bad. I love to hear stories from people no matter how smart they are. I don’t consider intelligence a “must have” in a friend. I respect that just because someone does not think as fast as I do does not mean they do not have more information or better information or specialized information I can learn from in their brain-place.

Basically, I believe in the value of others.

So, when I’m in a classroom and the dichotomy is such that the teacher is the “know-er of things” and I’m supposed to be the “receptacle of knowledge” it makes me uncomfortable. Because, inevitably, there is something about the subject I know that the teacher either skips or does not mention. Or another classmate makes a “not quite right” analogy and instead of trying to see where the student is coming from, the professor blows them off or says something that isn’t entirely kind.

Before this time, I would bring it up and ask, make it a point to show the others in the class that no one is perfect, not even the teacher. I thought I was showing my classmates and teacher we all had value and should be more than just note-taking automatons.Needless to say this ended up with me being frustrated, the professor throwing his or her education in my face as if that meant anything other than they were a very good note-taking automaton and leaving, never to return. A total case of me being a Miss Prissy Pants without realizing it. I thought I was making a stand and really I was making a stupid mistake. Every. Single. Time.

This time? I’m going to shut the F up and take notes. I’m not going to try and stand up to the powers-that-be and let my distaste for academia be my guide. I’m going to use my networking skills and my communication skills to determine the best way for me to get an A in every class I take.

I am not going to make things more difficult than they need to be in order to feel challenged.

In fact, I’m going to do my best to NOT feel challenged at every possible turn. An education with the sole purpose of attaining a piece of paper, like fitness, is a marathon…not a sprint. As such, I need to conserve my energy and keep a balanced, steady pace to get to the finish line. That is the only way I will be fit and have that Masters degree I so covet.

No more the difficult student, no more the outspoken champion of the people. No more temper-tantrums and one-upmanship in the classroom. I’m just one student, doing my best to screw up the bell curve for everyone by doing the right thing – and by right thing I mean exactly what the teacher wants and expects from an A student.

My Life List (with inspirational props to J. Money)

Over on Budgets Are Sexy, J. Money has a life list.

It’s different than a bucket list, because I’m never going to die. That’s right. I’m a vampire. Or something. Honestly, I don’t know how it’s different but this is just a list of a few super-fun things I’ve always wanted to do but are now on my fun goals list.

  1. Hop the next train. While J. might think planes are the way to go, I’m a romantic and taking the next train to wherever it’s going has always been a dream of mine. Maybe I watch too many movies. I’d also like to be wearing a flowing scarf and a “traveling suit” with a pair of pumps straight out of the 1940’s when I do this. I do not care if I look silly.
  2. Rent the Vizcaya for a party. This is the most beautiful home I’ve ever seen, with a backyard that looks out onto the water and another backyard used often for magazine shoots because of the garden’s amazing quality. It’s open air and the breeze and the light and … well it’s just magnificent.
  3. Live in a hotel. More specifically, a large suite in a hotel. I’m not sure if I’d prefer Chicago or New York. I might alternate based on the year and my mood. If my children live in some weird city like Fairbanks, Alaska then I’d rotate that in as well. I mean, come on, your laundry is taken care of, your food is a phone call away, you never have to make the bed, and you can make one phone call and someone else will make reservations or plan your whole evening with transportation for you. This would be, honestly, my #1 most desired retirement plan. I’ve never been attached to stuff, and so it would not pain me to not have nick-knacks around. When I am old I truly hope to be agile enough that home-base is nothing more than a place to sleep before you begin enjoying the next day.
  4. Give lavishly and openly to charity. I want to be on boards, I want to be called a philanthropist in print, I want to be known for being an amazing person. Then I want to start a not-for-profit like Modest Needs to help people who just need a little nudge and match all donations and get corporations and other outlets to match other donations. Or maybe just work for Modest Needs if they decided they wanted a blogging, social media, or internet marketing presence greater than they currently have. It’s a great concept and one that made me cry with happiness the first time I heard about it.
  5. Be Immortal. This is sort of like number 4 but not. If you live anywhere near Chicago you’ve heard of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. I want to have a Foundation large enough that every child watching Sesame Street when I’m long gone hears my name on the public radio channel or hears my name while listening to public radio. I want to be immortal through philanthropy.
  6. Do something cool enough that the family is FOREVER branded by it. You know, they’ll talk about great-great-great-great grandmother Jen who ___________ and that’s what makes our family amazing. It’s in the blood to be great. Blah blah blah.
  7. Order random stuff that’s not on the menu. Just because.
  8. Send My Kids to Summer Camp. For like two weeks. Just gone. At camp. See you later, alligator. I always wanted to go to camp and never could. The reason it’s kind of a big deal is because I’d have to let them go that long without having a panic attack that they’re being attacked or violated by random woodland creatures without me around to protect and guide them.
  9. Be Invited to an A-List Party. I don’t care if it’s bloggers, journalists, PR people, or…whomever. I want to be specifically invited with a paper invitation to an event that is both terribly exclusive and horribly fun. Preferably with people I’d want to party with, of course!
  10. Speak at TED about why TED is ludicrous and elitist. Ok, I’m kidding, I’d just love to speak at a conference. I’m not niched so I wouldn’t even know how to begin deciding what to speak on, which is step one to becoming a real speaker. I’d like to be a part of the National Speakers Association as well.
  11. Find the right person and tell them my solution to the whole immigration debacle in America. using already-in-place laws and streamlining processes I think we could fast-track a whole buncha people and weed out the small percentage that are the people everyone holds up as “normal.” This probably requires being or becoming besties with at least one politician. (This is purposefully vague. I’m not anti-human and I’m not anti-immigration. Hell, I’m not anti-mostanything. I do think that undocumented workers cause problems when they are taken advantage of by establishments knowingly exacerbating the problem and then blaming it on the workers. Which is kind of some serious bullcrap.)
  12. Join MENSA. So I can be elitist. Then maybe I can speak at TED. About immigration solutions. *grin*

That’s all I can think of right now. I’ve done or am doing or about to do almost everything I’ve ever wanted. Of course, I haven’t had hugely high standards for getting things done that were amazing. I’ve seen a movie alone, I’ve been picked up by a handsome man at a upscale hotel bar while drinking a martini…all the cool stuff is in my memory banks, not my life list.

What is YOUR life list? Or your life list for right now!

What I Love About Workout Videos

Workout videos show someone doing the workout and instructing you at the same time.

What I hate are workout videos with voiceovers. Can’t stand them.

Also, sometimes the music doesn’t quite match the steps. Since I follow the music I find that my brain can’t handle that I’m moving just a little bit off from what my eyes are seeing and trying to interpret as “the moves.”

It’s especially frustrating because the Bollywood workouts I so love have both of these problems. I want to do them, but just can’t get the hang of it. Especially the feet. There’s so much shuffling it’s like watching a boxer shift the weight from one foot to the other. I just can’t “get” that.

But a nicely produced workout video with clear instruction and an instructor that tells me what’s going on and keeps me entertained while working out? That’s not only helpful, but an inspiration. It’s one of the reasons I love the Tracey Mallett DVDs so much. She also has a “not superwoman” in each of her videos you can follow if you aren’t up to doing the routine full-on. It’s a great workout.

  

Maybe this should have been in reviews – they are amazon links after all – but it’s about fitness so that’s where it’s going. Plus, these videos are a part of my regular workout routine, they weren’t sent with the intent to review.

You know, I’m going to have a hell of a collection of workout DVDs by the end of the year, I think. Not because I want to collect them, but because I really enjoy workout videos and working out in my home.

Classes are nice too, and I’m going to look and see what’s being offered at my local fitness center, but in the meantime I will sweat in my living room, enjoying every minute and feeling successful with every step!

I Need Workout Socks

Either that or just a hundred more pairs of regular socks.

Socks seem to be the most difficult thing to keep track of in this house. They get put in laundry baskets and then moved around until you can find five single socks of five different types but there isn’t a pair to be seen.

Plus, even when I do have socks in pairs they’re in my drawer in my bedroom. The same bedroom the baby takes a nap in. So, when I put her down for a nap, if I don’t remember to grab socks on my way back out of the bedroom…I can’t workout. I’m not a big fan of barefoot workouts, or I’d just pop in a bellydancing workout.

I got a great recommendation the other day from my bellydance instructor for what DVDs to get on Amazon so I can do more bellydancing at home. Once a week just isn’t enough for me! (Yes, these are amazon affiliate links coming up, if I’m going to link them anyway, why wouldn’t they be? LOL)

  

So I’m thinking I’m going to pick those up soon and add them to the rotation. I still need to get through more than just the Core Rhythms Quick Workout, but I’m afraid to do the full workout until I can get through the five minute one!

Do you have any interesting ways of keeping track of your socks so you don’t end up barefoot and not-worked-out when you want to be? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

My Calendar is Starting to Scare Me

I used to glance over at the calendar bar on the side of gmail and not really process what I was seeing. Reminders for weekly chat room sessions and the occasional doctor’s appointment.

But now there are playdates, doctor appointments, local events, school information, birthdays, meetings with friends, etc. It doesn’t sound like a lot but now I have to be there at my gram’s doctor appointments (well I don’t HAVE to be but it makes her happy) my kids will be going to school every day, I have to keep up some form of social life (I refuse to give it up) and soon there will be conference calls and meetings to attend for multiple companies as well as homework due dates and important other school information going on there.

I am about to have the most scheduled life around. Because there is no way I’m powering through this next year with chaos as my co-pilot.

I have always dreamed of having an organized life. A house where everything has its place (and is IN that place) – where the children always pick up after themselves and every holiday was a reason to cloak the house in holiday stuff that would  be neatly put away at the end of each season. Note: We do have holiday stuff. It’s in the attic in tupperware containers and it is neatly put away. We never seem to have the time to get it out and actually decorate with it!

So here I am at what seems like a crossroads. I know I’m done having children, even if my heart stridently disagrees with me even as I type this. Once the youngest is done there will be no more sleepless nights (except the odd nightmare or thunderstorm or sickness) there will be no more crawling and pulling everything off of tables and couches and chairs. There will be no more puddles of pee on the floor because we have to let the baby “air out” to get rid of her rash. No more potty training, no more waiting for someone to talk instead of screaming and wildly flailing to tell me what they want. The crossroads of having a grown-up life and being forever past stage ONE of mommy life. I look at my older girls and wish, with all my heart, my 10 month old was already four. Already in school, already learning and having conversations with me that don’t involve me doing all the talking.

I enjoy my preschooler and my kindergartner more than you could possibly imagine. I enjoy them more every day as their verbal skills improve. My heart sometimes skips a beat when I see them run down the block because they are so beautiful. I want to cry when my four-year-old walks into the room I’m in and, for no reason, says, “Mommy. 9 plus 9 is 18. I just wanted you to know that.”

Yes, baby, I want to know that, too.

So I want to be a super-organized super-fabulous mommy that gives my kids everything they need while keeping the calendar tamed and make sure we don’t over-schedule and miss all the fun along the way.

Because the fun is what makes all this other crap worthwhile.

A Little Tidbit About Hydration During Workouts

I am so excited!

I’ve been thinking this whole “drink before you get thirsty” is some seriously counter-intuitive b.s. but couldn’t prove it. Luckily I don’t have to because Active.com has gathered up some studies about hydration and what and when to drink. Here’s a snippet:

Here’s a look at the old and new views on hydration.

Old: Drink ahead of your thirst.
New: Drink according to your thirst.

For years, sports nutrition experts advised athletes to drink “ahead of thirst,” that is, to drink before getting thirsty and more frequently than what thirst dictated during exercise….

Visit Active.com and read the article to learn even more about hydration!

All Doctors Offices are NOT Created Equal

I walk into my appointment downtown at a fairly busy clinic and I’m greeted with, “Hey girl!” and “Hi Jenny!” They smile, because they know I’m going to make them smile. The whole appointment process is smooth and they’re smiling and I’m laughing and it wouldn’t even be clinical except for my feet being slung up into stirrups.

Contrast that with talking to my surgeon’s office. They’re clipped, sound unhappy and overworked, and almost refuse to smile. It worries me because these are the people in charge of some serious shiz in bodyland. From calling for results and being told they don’t have them to calling back and being told I need an appointment they can’t give them out over the phone it’s an office of insanely UNhelpful people, the surgeon included.

Why is it that one office (far busier and catering to a far lower socioeconomic group) is so easy to smile and laugh and enjoy themselves, while the other office is tight lipped and practically angry that they are being bothered from doing…what?

It has always confused me.

When I find offices I like I cling to them with every last breath. I will drive on the expressway to the city in the worst rush-hour traffic on the Dan Ryan to get to my lady-doctor every time. Sure, there’s a lady-doctor closer, but it’s just not a friendly office.

I wish people were less closed and more able to smile. It’s sad there are so many people in a people industry (nurses) and customer service that cannot be bothered to give even the barest of polite responses. It’s just too much effort.

And that is a true tragedy. Because they either do not care about the suffering or worry of others, or are numb to it. Neither of which are good ways to live a life WORTH living.

So Many Doctor Appointmenst So Little Time

Regular maintenance is important for the whole family.

Today three of our five family members have doctor appointments, including me!

The scheduling was a horrendous mistake on my part, two kids getting shots at 7am and then me having to be downtown by 9:30am is just not the way you want your Friday morning to start. But hey, I did it and I’m going to power through the best I can.

I’m lucky my kids and I can go to the doctor. So I am thankful today.

For that, for great friends I’ve never met (like Leah) and for great friends I already have in my life and see in person.

But you know what, I’ve spent a lot of time not being an ass. I’ve learned how to be kind, I’ve learned to appreciate other people. So maybe I’m not lucky, maybe I’ve earned amazing friends and the trust of others.

I still have my hood rat ghetto moments, but they’re pretty few and far between. Plus when they do come out it’s usually because ghetto hood rat recognizes the same and wants to come out and play. So as long as you’re not a GHR you will probably never even see that side of my personality.

Which is a good thing, because it’s TOTES unprofessional. *laugh*

Oh yeah, and if I talk to you today, I may sound half out of my mind. The baby didn’t sleep hardly at all last night and was in bed with us most of the night. Keeping me awake. So nice of her to let daddy sleep and save her “love kicks” for MY face. SuchACutieWootieSnuggaWuggaBabyBoo! *barf*