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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Interviews, Incomes, and Ideas....

Well, I had an interview via phone today with a company out near my ex's family.  it seemed to go well and I should hear by the end of the week or early next week if I am invited in for a face to face interview with the next person up the chain.  If that goes well there will be a final interview with the director of that division of the company.  And if that goes well, I may have a fair paying job, so a move of nearly 5 hours would have to commence and we would have to start the process of finding the right schools for the kids, and hopefully getting into an area where they are easy to work with as a team and not an "us and them" attitude school district.  But anyway, I made it to the first step in a potential job process.  Getting back to my career after four years away from it is an exciting possibility.

 As much as I like the way the schools have worked out for the kids here and that I enjoy being with family, and enjoying the peace and serenity of the mountains, there are just no jobs in my field here.  And the jobs that I could get outside my field barely pay above minimum wage, and few are year round.  So, I while I am doing fine now with the driving thing, that ends with the end of the summer school year in August.  I do not yet make enough in my writing to consistently support my family.  I grew up in a situation where we lived hand to mouth, barely making ends meet even with growing most of our own food, heating with wood, and not having things like hot water or consistent heat.  I know what it is like, as a child, to not be able to do or have the things that other kids have or do (and I am not talking big things).  While I do not begrudge the way I grew up, it made me a more resourceful person, and helped me to appreciate what I had and do have now.  I do not want my children and myself to live in the constant state of extreme stress that it can cause.  As unlike growing up, I rent instead of own and have no way to raise chickens for eggs or have a large enough vegetable garden to grow a years worth of food for preserving.  So the stress would be incredible in meeting basic needs of shelter and food, in addition to luxuries like heat, hot water, and electricity.  (I was 15 years old before we had hot water at my house, most of my childhood water was heated in pots on the wood stove and poured into the tub for bathing, or the sink for washing dishes, etc..).  Yes, I could spend some time fixing the old trailer we moved out of last year and thus live essentially rent free with a small wood stove to supplement heat, and I COULD make each dollar stretch as far as I have to.  People, friends and family members, do it all the time.  It is amazing how little you can actually survive on (my last 3 years adjusted gross incomes were less than $10K as an annual income for a family of 3, so it can be done, its just very stressful).  And if I have to do it (as we had to for various reasons), then of course I will and will find the joy and appreciate that I need to in that situation.  But if I don't need to do that...if the kid's additional care needs no longer NEED me to be a stay at home mom....if I am qualified for a higher paying job and can find one....If I can move to an area with more opportunities and still have loved ones around to help with the kids (that is the biggest thing, as you need family and friends support around)....if I can find a better situation than just surviving...shouldn't I do that? 

So, my idea is to blanket out my resume (more of a Circum Vita as it is four pages long these days and list only selected things, so it really is a CV not a resume) to a wide variety of jobs that I am qualified for, would enjoy doing, and are in an area that makes sense on a number of levels.  I also think I will pursue the idea of going back to school through a couple of programs that I still have time to apply for.  Having been out of the loop for so long at a mid-level career experience level makes it difficult to reenter the workforce without going a different avenue.  So I have a bunch of ideas that I am working on and sending out feelers to see what comes of it.  Of course, I plan to continue writing, and hopefully that will eventually translate into a self supporting hobby.

Monday, May 23, 2011

can you really lose...

Can you really lose 80 pounds in 80 days? Well, yes, I believe anything is possible.  Does that mean that I will lose 80 pounds in the first 80 days of this blog?  No, as I am working on transformation of my whole life, not just focusing on changing that one (albeit very big and pressing) issue in my life.  I am not fat because I eat too much and do not exercise enough ( that is only part of the symptoms which need to be treated along with the cause).  If I were 10 or 20 pounds overweight, I might be able to just say "whoa, my eating and exercise habits are out of whack, I have to change those." and be able to get back on track.

When you are twice the size you should be, as I am, there is a LOT more going on than just poor eating and exercise habits.  I am not saying those are not part of it, as obviously they are.  But there are more intense underlying causes that have created the poor eating and exercise habits in the first place.    life, at least my life, is very spiracle in nature.  Most people consider life to be cyclical (though some see it as linear, which is just not in my ability to see, as things tend to repeat until you deal with them), but I see my life more as a spiral.  With a circular cycle, you just go round and round, in the same spot.  But with a spiral you are always moving forward, but the edges of your spiral are in particular issues.  So you deal with part of it and move forward dealing with other things, and eventually you come back to address the issues again, but not from the same vantage point as you were before.  Each time you move through that given area of space (sorry, I picture it in my mind as my spiral path intercepting part of a large nebula and having to successfully manage the problems that arise in order to move to a place in the spiral that is not touching the nebula--if you watch Star Trek or any kind of space traveling show, you understand that each nebula is different and you never know what joys or trial a nebula will bring), you deal with the issue that it holds.  Once you have successfully dealt with all of the issues that are negatively impacting your thoughts, spirit, or actions (most of them subconscious), you will be able to move past that nebula and those issues and not have to keep spiralling through it.  Some nebula's are huge and you encounter them multiple times in your life, and others you encounter and move past after just a couple of rings of the spiral journey.

My spiral has the flexibility of a slinky, instead of a nice firm forward path, I seem to jump all over the place, like someone set the slinky on the top step a long winding staircase and in just keeps flipping and flipping.  That is called the curse of indecision....NOT a healthy way to live. 

So, how did this spiraling journey of mine take me from a skinny little kid (like 5-6 years old) to an very large teenager (overweight by 12, obese by 15), to (I hate this term but it is the technical term) morbidly obese adult.  I am now 36 years old, and have been in that latter category for over half of my life (yes for about a year and a half in my mid-20's I was in the middle category, and I was nearing that middle category again a few years ago before I married and adopted two kids, but that soon turned back into this MO category). 

You don't become MO merely by acquiring bad habits, because with bad habits you eventually wake up and go "Damn, what am I doing to myself!?!"  and you make the commitment to switch to better habits.  While at the core, the biological reason that I am--- {({morbidly obese})} (boy that makes a booming echo in my head when I say it, like a deep James Earl Jones voice echo reverberating off the hill sides (yes I made up my own symbols for booming echo {({echo})}) is that I have historically had poor eating and exercise habits that dominate over any healthy eating and exercise habits I try to motivate myself to.  In order to lose the weight that I need to lose, I need to develop, at my core, healthy eating and exercise habits.  I need to increase my metabolisms ability to burn energy, I need to increase my body's ability to use insulin properly (as it is biochemically extremely difficult to lose weight when you have high blood sugar and rogue insulin that your body is not using, because the resistant insulin keeps the fat burning switches from being turned on in your body, which is why it is so hard for people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight especially once they go on medication which increases the amount of insulin so that the glucose can be used and provide necessary energy to the cells (a very important thing) though only mildly helps with the problem of getting the resistant insulin into the cells, thus locking the body out of fat burning mode without a lot more exercise than would normally be required--it really is a catch 22 in a lot of ways).

Anyway, somehow this blog is just a  mental meandering of all sorts of things that pop out of my brain.   Anyway, As I have been focusing on transformation in my life, looking at weight loss, I believe that God (or whatever you may call that source of all, the universal mind, the powerful consciousness, the Source....) God hears my call to treat my physical body with more honor, heads my call to move towards overall health and wholeness in body soul and mind.  And thus my slinky like spiral journey is being moved through the nebulas that I most need to address and correct, to bring to a state of reconciliation and wholeness.  I think that is why my journey has brought me back home, has opened my eyes tot he conflicts that I have with those beings that I started this life walk with, my family.  I can not transform anyone but myself, and I have no need to.  It is my own reactions, my own subconscious thoughts and feelings, my own definitions of myself that I need to address.  The proverbial plank in my own eye that makes it hard for me to see what is really in front of me, and how my actions and attitudes create the problems in my life.  Over the past decade plus, I have dealt with numerous life transforming issues--trust issues, fear issues, sexuality issues, faith issues, confidence issues, etc....  Through that I have come to recognize my strengths and be proud of the person that God created.  I have been able to look at my weaknesses and be confident that is okay to ask for help in areas that I do not excel, and to offer help in areas where I do excel.  But even with working towards a sense of greater trust in myself, in God, in life as a whole; even with reducing my overall sense of fear (something I am still working on, as we all are, most people just call it worry or anxiety, but at its root it is fear); even with coming to grips with my sexuality and dealing with some past traumas int hat regard and coming to embrace all parts of myself; even with growing from a borrowed faith (which I believe is what the faith we grow up with is) and into a faith and understanding of and with God that is personal; and even with a tremendous increase in my confidence that I am a capable, able amazing Creation--even with having addresses at a very deep level those extremely important aspects of life, I have yet to overcome the two massive manifestations of problems that have plagued my life and kept me in the illusion of separateness from who I really Am and separate from God (because if you are; living with the illusion that  you separate from who YOU are, you are also separate from the Great I Am).  For me, those two murky, difficult to break areas of separation are my physical body healthy (namely my weight issue) and my financial stability.

So, my quest for transformation continues,.  I have experienced great transformation in many areas, but for some reason these two areas are stuck.  I believe it is because these two areas have deep, subconscious roots that go back to very early childhood, back to the times when my sense of self in this physical manifestation of life was forming.  These conflicts with family, if I let them go unthought out, will be meaningless.  I need to look very closely at what I was thinking, feeling, and saying deep down inside myself, and as I do that, i can start to uncover, release, and correct some of the root maladaptive thinking patterns that have given rise to my current habits.

To change my present I need to learn from the past so that I can have and provide a better future.  One thing I have learned with this conflict with my mom is that I really have a deep seated belief that my mom can not understand me.  I have a child right now that I have a lot of difficulty comprehending. 

I can not change the things that were said to me when i as a child.  My mother loved me then and loves me now even though she had and has trouble understanding me, and she did the best she knew how to do.  She wanted me to "be normal" and have a better life, which she thought that "being normal" would bring.  But it did not bring that, for me it brought pain, it brought the fear of being different, it brought the feeling that I was wrong, and I think that part of what I am trying to hide behind my layers of excess adipose tissue is this sense of "I am not normal."  I am not blaming my mother, she was acting out of love in trying to help me be more "normal".  And I recognize that.  Part of the reason I recognize it more poignantly now is that there are so many days my brain scream "why can't you just be a little more normal!"  when I am dealing with my eldest son.  Note, my brain screams it not my mouth, because I know how much those words would hurt.  My son does the best he can, and he is an amazing, intelligent, unique person.  And as I have been realizing lately, maybe I have come home so that I could realize that I need to do something different for my son than my mother tried to do for me.  Out of love, she wanted me to be more normal, more like all the other kids.  but I am not.  I am unique, I have an eclectic sense of the world and of life and of myself, I am not linear or cyclic, I am not a square peg or a round hole.  Not amount of trying to "make me be normal" is going to work, as I am atypical in many ways.  In some ways I am sure it helped, it helped me develop the ability to look through other people's eyes and try to act in a way that was socially and culturally acceptable (I know it took a while, my bright green polyester pants and stained peach tee shirt--my favorite outfit when I was in like 5th grade--was not exactly in keeping with the norm though I never understood why you have to look a certain way, shouldn't you just be able to wear what is comfortable?).  But in an effort to help me see the world as others saw it, I do not have the social difficulties that my father contends with (brilliant, amazing and eccentric man that he is).  My mother also helped me expand my inborn sense of empathy for others, to feel with them what they feel, and to use that to try to help them feel better. 

My son G has a strong ability to feel energy, but he has no idea how to use it in a helpful way.  He is an energy magnet, anything high energy attracts him.  Unlike the ability to feel the differences in emotion (like my youngest son, I (and most people) feel when someone is sad, happy, angry, etc... and can read those emotions)  G on the other hand, feels energy, excitement or sorrow, anger or fear--if it is an emotion that emits high levels of energy he is drawn to that person or situation and does what he can to feed the energy.  Now this is great when someone is excited and joyous, as he can feed that and grow it for himself and the other person.  But it is not good when it is a sad or angry energy,a s he feeds that too, and tries to grow that energy.  Which means if he finds a person that screams when he annoys them enough (usually either a younger child or a girl his own age) he will bother and bother and tease and provoke them until they scream, and then his need for energy is satisfied.  This makes him a very difficult person in social circles.  These are the times that I want to scream "why can't you just be normal for a couple of hours". 

These are the times that the growing insight into my own childhood (and how my mother tried to help me be a person she could understand better) begins to makes sense of where I am.  I know the sense of self loathing that comes with not being the "right" kind of person.  I was (and still am I suppose by some people) labeled as over-sensitive, a dreamer, or thinking too much.  However, I have learned that I am sensitive enough to care for other people, especially social outcasts, and to be able to love a person and not give up on them even when many others have.  I dream big dreams, and know that the ability to dream big creates a better world for me and for my children, and that I can help other people figure out what their dreams are for thier lives, what they are being called to deep down.  And I think--a LOT.  Some people say they have a two or three track mind, that keeps rolling through, I have counted over twelve different thought processes going on in my conscious mind at a given time, Only God knows how many in the subconscious mind.  I lose track after that because that observer part of me usually get swifted away by one train of through or another.  So year, I DO think a lot.  And yes, if I do not control the train station, chaos can ensue, reducing my productivity.  But when I am mindful of the tasks at hand, and can seperate the tracks that I need to focus on from the others (allowing them to run uninhibited int eh background), then I can get an amazing amount of things done.  

Okay, so anyway, I kind of like this just random mental meandering, allowing my thoughts to go wherever they want to as I type.  I guess one of the things I am trying to say is that as I go through this loop which is helping me see some of the roots of my sense of self, and how my family played the roles they did, doing what they thought was best out of love, and out of a sense of wanting me to have a good life, it helps me to let go (or at least start work on letting go) some of the negative feelings I have about myself and some of the untrue perceptions I have about my how my family thinks of me.  I look at my son, and I see myself in him.  not that we are a lot alike, but that we are in similar situations--not fitting well into anyone's idea of who we should be, just each being our own person.  He, like me, has issues with fitting in in social situations.  He has trouble understanding what is asked of him.  He has trouble understand what he is doing that is not correct.  A couple of big differences between us is that I WANTED to fit in and tried really hard to do what was asked of me, and quench my uniqueness.  He does NOT try to fit in and actively tried hard to do exactly what you asked him not to do (the joys of a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder).  He had a hard start to life.  He was prenatally exposed to drugs and alcohol.  He was severely neglected and abused in his birth home for the first 13 months of his life.  He bounced through 5 different foster homes before he turned three years old.  He gave up.  He was failure to thrive for a while.  He gave up as a toddler, in order to protect what he had left of his infant sense of self, he drew inward and gave up.  I had a loving family, who loved me even though I looked like a green lizard thing when I was born (that is what  my dad said :p).  My family was young and economically poor, but they loved me.  I did not give up. 

I had a great advantage over my son.  Even though I was quirky, and nothing like a social butterfly, I had a supportive and loving family that did what they thought was best for me, even things that I found painful.  I can see in hindsight, that those growing pains did help me (trust me it would be very easy to lose myself in my thoughts and stay there if I had not been shown how amazing the rest of the people in the world were too, and how to relate in ways that build strong and lasting friendships--my mother's gift, not my father's).  It helps me to look at this and to figure out how to be a parent to him in a way that celebrates his uniqueness while at the same time helping him to relate to people in a more meaningful and socially acceptable way.  I have found my frustration with him growing lately, and my patience shrinking.  I believe that nothing happens by accident, and that this period of time and the conflicts that are arising are happening because there is something that I need to learn.  I have been seeking wholeness, seeking a stronger connection with the Great I Am (God), seeking a transformation out of my unhealthy thinking and behavioural patterns so that I can truly be the amazing person that I was created to be, instead of hiding behind my shells of excess fat and financial stresses.  In seeking honestly, I encounter a number of challenges.  And I think working thorough these challenges is helping me understand myself better and understand God better.  And understand the path, the journey that I am on better too. 

So can you lose 80 pounds in 80 days?  Sure.  Will I prove it to you by losing 80 pounds in the first 80 days of this blog.  Not, as that is not my intention.  My intention was never to prove it, my intention was and is to share my path of transformation, my journey in real time as it is happening.  And yes, I actually do expect to lose 80 pounds in 80 days, I just don't know which 80 days that will happen over, so keep following along and we will find out together...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Warm days and clean carpets and family roles...

So it has been lovely weather (aside for the persistent rain or drizzle every few hours).. The kids and I actually wore shorts yesterday for the first time.  Today was touch chillier, so even though G and I had shorts on early in the day I had him change into pants for the afternoon.  The kids were so cute this morning, J was sitting on the toy tractor and G was pushing him around the dandelion filled yard ( I LOVE dandelions, seriously, I think they are happy and beautiful).  So it was a gorgeous morning. 

Starting last night and finishing up this morning, I empties all the furniture out of the living room (except my blanket chest and some stuff I had in the corner behind it as no one has been in that area for months and I had no where to move it to).  I did all this so that the floor was ready for a steam cleaning.  Magic Carpet, owned by my mom & step father, did a beautiful job.  My step father is very good at making hopelessly messy carpets look 1000X better.  So, aside from a problem with miscommunication causing grief between my mother and I, it was a good day. 

For some reason I have miscommunication problems with family, most other people in my life seem to understand me, but if email is involved (and half the time even face to face conversation) there is bound to be miscommunication somewhere, and this one started our as a miscommunication face to face (talking about a particular thing which related to carpet cleaning, but somehow the two got tied together), over five different conversations (where I had hoped to unhook the two ideas), and I tried to do one final clear up via email to my step-father, and made it go from bad to worse--so there are days I feel like i am cursed when it comes to communication with my family.  Because how can something as simple as discussing a carpet to be cleaned lead to five confusing conversations and a final email that is meant to clear up the confusion, thus causing hurt, anger and more confusion.  But, well it is family, and I will keep trying to express myself more clearly. 

I am loquacious (in case you hadn't noticed by the volume of my writings), and so I do have a tendency to be confusing (as so many different things relate to each other in my mind, but not in other peoples minds, and I tend to talk about more than one idea at a time--which leads to the unplanned wedding of a couple of different things, which I have trouble undoing.  So I need to keep working on myself and trying to find a way to communicate with them more effectively.  Perhaps other have had issues with my communication but have just never reacted drastically to it.  Most people tell me I have good communication skills and convey my thoughts well.

I suppose when it comes to family, well, they are a whole different ball game.  In an article called "Branching Out: Going home for the holidays can mean getting stuck in old family patterns -- or growing into something new."  By Sally Kempton in the November 2010 issue of Yoga Journal (page 55-61), she states "If you think you are enlightened, go visit your family."  She talks about how when you go back to your family of origin, you are wrapped in all of the joys and sorrow, successes and failures, pride and disappointment, and all of the other experiences that you had gone through together.  Later Kempton said, "Memories, rivalries, and disappointments are only a piece of it. More basic is the forced encounter with parts of yourself that you thought you outgrew years ago, and the equally insidious confrontation with the ideas that family members have about who you are."

This idea has been set forth by many people.  That your family of origin can never really see or understand the person you have become, because their unconscious expectations of you (and yours of them) are rooted in many of the growth experiences from your growing up.  The buttons that you have were mostly installed by the family you grew up in, so they are more likely to push those old buttons or, if you have worked on deactivating some of those buttons, they may just expect you to react a certain way and react accordingly.  I have a not so unconscious expectation that my mother can not understand me, and can never fully know who I am.  Much of this comes from her telling me that she just can't understand me as I went through my teen years, and her often frustrated exasperation about how I am so much like my father.  Which was exasperating to her, as she never really did understand my father.  I find it to be a compliment mostly as I adore my father, and I know that he is one of only a handful of people who truly has a mind that works the way mine does (not that we think the same, as we differ on a lot of opinions about a wide range of topics,  but rather the way we process and use information, the pattern of our thought processes, is very similar).  I have come to understand that our particular pattern of thought processing is fairly unique, which is why i have taken to explaining things in detail when trying to convey information, as I find people used to have trouble following me.  In college I met my friend Lisa and we shared this unique way of processing, so I loved our conversations, no need to explain the weird jumps we made.  Others would be so lost, but we got each other, and it was such a rare and wonderful thing.  I miss her, as it has been a long time since I have talked to her, just because life grew us apart. I still keep in brief touch through email and her husband's facebook page (she is too busy to have one of her own), but I long for a nice long conversation over lunch.  My best friend from college, Kay, who is still my best friend now nearly 19 years later, has known me long enough and spent enough time with me, that she can usually follow my weird conversational jumps without me having to use a segway, which is pretty amazing too.

Anyway, away from that aside, I was saying, there is a large body of articles and papers out there regarding this phenomenon with adults dealing again with their fairly of origin and finding so many old road blocks and relationship discomforts coming to the forefront.  I believe it does have a lot to do with old memories, buried feelings, expectations based on a persons behaviour from years before, and the inability to mesh the newer identify o the person onto our preconceived notions of them.  Lord knows that when I can step back and try to look with new eyes, I learn a lot about myself and my family member that I just couldn't see before.  I think my communication difficulties with my family speak to both my perception of them (or more honestly my perception of their perception of me) and of their perception of me (or their perception of my perception of them).  It is all very confusing and exhausting in so many ways. 

I have many times in the past year, wondered about how wise it was to try to move back home after 17 years of living as an adult on my own (or with friends or near certain family members--basically living away from home). 17 years is a long time, and a person changes a lot in 17 years, not at their core, but how they express and experience, and share that core changes greatly in that time.  Now, only 2 years back home, and without a social life outside of family and far away friends (anyone that tells you raising two kids with special needs does not drastically alter their ability to have a life outside of the kids sure does not have my kids--it is extremely isolating, especially the medical issues when they are very young (J) and the behavioural issues of autism which do the opposite of improving with age (G)).  But as J gets older and G is trying as much as he is able, I am hoping that the tide on this will begin to switch soon.

Anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself, the past two years living at home (well in my own place, but it is such a small town, it is nearly the same as moving back home with the parents) I am finding that much of my sense of self and my self-confidence has been eroding back to that teen-age level, and as I have very few fond memories of my high school self and had less self-confidence than you can imagine (like many geeky, flabby teenagers), this is not a desirable direction to be moving in.

So my communication ability with my family seems to be reverting back to those old levels, where I always felt misunderstood and alone, and I think this is God's ways of opening my eyes to the regression that I am undergoing.  It was this weird, month long communication glitch with my mom, which I do not like as I really like the friendship my mom and I have and have been continuously building, that has made me look inward at what is going on with me.  I think it may be time for me to move on again.  To stand back on my own two feet without worrying about what other people think of the path that I take.  To get back to reclaiming myself and building an amazing person instead of reverting slowly back to that person that i did not like.  To move forward and build strong, respectful connections with my family based on the incredible (though never perfect) person I know I am not the teenager I used to be.

There is actually a lot more I would love to put down on paper (like the analogy of quicksand and living in this particular limbo, the harder you try to fight against it the faster it seems to pull you down, so needing to calm down and focus on finding a stick that I can reach to pull myself up with), but I am really tired and I have to get up early to try to put the furniture back in the living room before I wake the kids.  The floor takes 12-14 hours to dry, but the air is so damp it is taking longer than I had expected. 

So I am off to bed now.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just touching base

To my faithful readers, however many you may be (one, two, twenty...), I wanted to touch base and say i am still here.  I know it has been a few days since I last posted.  Last week blogger was down for almost 3 days, but it has been back up for a couple of days and I have not been posting.  Sorry about that.

Last week the kids were out sick both Thursday and Friday.  They both had fevers, cough and clogged heads.  They still both have post nasal drip and Josiah is very congested, though the fever part is gone.  J has been having a neb treatment before bed and his inhaler before school to help keep him clearer.  G is much less affected, though he also seems more tired.  poor G slipped in the tub last night (he was trying to get on his knees from a sitting position, so it was not a horrible slip) and bumped his cheek bone hard on the side of the tub.  He was NOT pleased about having ice put on it to minimize the hurt, especially as he had just been in a nice warm tub.  But he didn't look too worse for wear this morning, a little bruise but no swelling.  I told him that this was why I tell them no horseplay in the tub, and he looked at me strangely and said "I was not playing like a horse".  Mr black and white.  I tried to explain that it was an expression about playing by jumping around and spinning and acting crazy silly.  But still this morning he was saying he wasn't playing like a horse.    So I don't quite think he got my explanation.

I have done very little writing these past couple of weeks.  mainly because I have not been able to snag any of the first come first serve assignments at Writers access.  I should probably check first thing in the morning before I wake the kids up, but usually it is nearly 10am when I check and any early morning assignment have been snagged.  And then it is hit or miss through the day.  I should be concentrating on writing for Associated Content or writing for my website, or concentrating on getting some other gigs, or maybe even writing my book ( I have two in progress one non-fiction and one science fiction).  

Instead I have been spending a great deal of time applying for jobs in a variety of areas, considering going back to school as I have never had this much trouble finding a job.  A problem with a few things--being out of my highly technical and fast paced technical career for over 4 years (and thus 4 years behind on technology which changes rapidly); being over qualified for most positions that require a B Sc degree and NOT having a MSc degree to back up nearly 10 years of experience; and thirdly, the fact that I am not wholeheartedly committed to getting back into laboratory research even though that is the extreme bulk of my experience and qualifications.  I have toyed with the idea of training for a different profession for a long time, of answering a calling that has been on my heart for over a decade, that I have managed to ignore.  So I am starting to look into that path a bit, as it seems many of my other paths are not open to me.

Obviously I am keeping a very open mind.  I have not heard back yet about the farm opportunity.  I have not yet had any responses to the resumes I have sent out for a variety of biology jobs in a variety of places (yes, I think staying where I am is really not possible, there are no higher level jobs (I could keep going as I have been doing a bunch of inconsistent odd jobs with little overall dependable pay--the bulk of which could be earned over the summer) or I could move (thus starting the process of finding the right education opportunities for the boy s again--for which G is particularly difficult and the one most drastically affected by any move we make) and find a consistent, regular job with adequate pay, or I could see if there is still time for me to get my application in for jumping into an educational program which would take me down a new career path, which would again necessitate moving unless I do an online degree program, however, with hat comes expense and the possibility of having to take out MORE student loans, unless I can get a grant to pay for it (which is possible if I stay in NY as I have never used my TAP grant).

So I am still flittering around in that limbo of indecision.  A place I have spent far too much time.  In one of the many books I have read recently (I can't remember which one), the author talked about how id you are in say Las Vegas and want to get to Los Angeles, but don't know exactly how to get there, just a basic direction, if you head in the basic direction and keep going, you will eventually come to Los Angeles, even if you don't know specifically how to get there.   You just commit to the direction and keep moving that way, you will get to your chosen destination. However if you set out in that direction half heartedly, and change your mind and start heading in a different direction, and change your mind again and try to get back to Las vegas, and change your mind again and start on a different path, you could literally wander in the desert for a LONG time before you reach anything like a fulfilling destination.  The sucky part is that then you are always traveling, struggling at times to deal with surviving in the desert (sound familiar doesn't it--like Moses and the Israelites...), knowing that there is place for you, somewhere you need to be, but without having committed yourself heart soul and mind to moving towards that "promised land" no matter what obstacles, then you will forever be lost, wandering in the desert of fear and indecisiveness.  Which is kinda where I am...

There is much more I want to say about that, but it is Wednesday and J has Aquatic PT so I need to go pick him up now...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What a beautiful day!! Changing the way I think...

Today there is truly not a cloud in the sky.  It is a brilliant blue and incredible.  I had a great walk around the pond this morning.  The water was lovely, the new bright green grass, the emergence of a variety of colorful flowers.  I enjoyed over 5 trips around the pond and went out on the boardwalks the go through part of the marsh.  I reveled in the red wing black birds, the ducks, the turtles, the frogs, the robins, the pigeons, the fish, the water itself---it is exhilarating to enjoy this amazing creation.  Life is definitely better when you focus on that which is beautiful.  As it says in Philippians 4:8 (NIV) "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

There is great wisdom in Paul's words in the above verse.  People throughout history have conveyed the same sentiment many times--the idea that the things that you focus on can and do effect your life in profound ways.  Throughout Philippians 4, Paul talks of being gentle, living by example, and holding on to faith in Christ.  As I have been moving through an intentional transformation, with some steps forward and some steps back and a few steps sideways, upside down, and inside out, and a couple of episodes of just sitting down...well you get my drift....I am finding that to truly change anything in life, one must change the way your think first.  This is both harder and easier than it sounds.  Harder because we are creatures of habit, and habitual thought patterns require as much commitment to change as our physical habits do. 

In order to quit smoking, having all the strategies in the world are not going to help you quit until you are committed to being a non-smoker.  When I made the final decision to quit smoking before I became a parent, it was unlike any of the other times that I had attempted.  Usually when I said I was going to try to quit, it was a half hearted commitment, usually focused on a good idea, like the desire for better health, the desire to smell better, the desire to not spend so much money,the desire to breathe better, or whatever other of the many reasons that I could have come up with.  But until my commitment was full, until I was just "trying" to quit smoking, until I could get my mind, heart and soul committed to the idea of being a non-smoker (not a former smoker, or someone who had quit smoking), it was only then that I was ready to quit.  You could say I "did it for the kids", but that was not it, no excuse is big enough to warrant a habit change.  It has to be a commitment.  I have known many who "quit for the kids" but then they sneak smokes when the kids aren't looking, they smoke at work but not at home, they didn't really quit smoking, they just quit smoking in front of their kids.  Which is admirable, as kids are less likely to pick up the habit if they do not have significant exposure to it as an okay lifestyle habit. But they have not quit smoking nor have they become a non-smoker. 

Once we decided to adopt, both A and I stopped smoking in the house.  Before we ever had a child living in our home, our indoor home environment had been smoke free for over a year.  And the combination of factors and internal decision making that made it possible for me to truly become a non-smoker did culminate with the arrival of my first son.  I smoked my last cigarette at the airport before boarding a plane to Texas where I would spend a week with my son (we had spend time with him in Texas prior to this so that he would know us and I went out a week ahead of his fly home date so that it would ease his transition some).  Since that cigarette, I have smoked only two cigarettes.  One when A's brother's baby (our niece) was born with massive special needs and a very poor prognosis (the drs were surprised she made it through the birth).  And once when A started drinking openly again in May 2009 after Matt's death (two weeks prior to A's mother's death), and after we had already been through one round of relapse, lies, belligerent meanness, and steps back to recovery in 2008/early 2009.  Neither time was satisfying for me, and so it was not really a decision not to smoke again, I just don't feel the desire to smoke.  I am not an ex-smoker who craves a smoke or has to battle against the desire to light one up.  With my commitment to quit smoking, as it was an internal change, not just an external one.  When I put out that cigarette at the airport, I knew it was my last one.  I barely remember a withdrawl period, I do not remember having strong cravings even during those first few days, and know that any fluttering of a craving or a desire to have a smoke were short lived and not strong. I had gone not from being a smoker to being a smoker who quit, but from being a smoker to being a non-smoker.  It was not the desire to quit that helped me change the habit, but it was the thinking of myself as a non-smoker.

Why am I still jumbo sized when I am an intelligent woman who is well versed in biology and understands how to eat and exercise correctly?  Why do I still carry around nearly double my ideal weight in excess adipose tissue?  Is it a lack of understanding of the health risks associated with carrying around excess weight? no.  Is it a lack of understanding of how carrying this excess effects my daily life and physical ability to move? no--trust me with knees like mine, I understand acutely the physical pain that carrying too much weight causes with each step I take. I do know that I WANT to lose weight, I desire to be a healthy weight, and I know the steps that I need to take.  And I can say and think that I am committed to attaining as healthy weight.  But there is one thing that will always tell you where your ACTUAL commitment is.  What you are Truly, at a spirit level, committed to doing.  And that is reflected by your actions.  I have not lost my excess wight because I am not spiritually, mentally, and physically committed to being a person with a healthy body.  I focus on what I do NOT like about my body or the situations that being in an unhealthy, overweight body bring into my life.  By focusing on what I do not like, I can not focus on the opposite, loving myself and my body.  Until I can see myself and accept myself as a healthy, slim, fit person, it will be harder to change my habits.

Each step towards a healthier, fit, slim body brings me one stop closer to changing those internal habits.  Then my thinking can change increment by increment.  Everytime I make the choice to select a healthy food over a less than healthy food, if I do it because I am focused on my desire to be healthy and to live better, then I am one step closer to changing that internal habit.  If I make that choice because I am fat and an trying to lose weight, then I am NOT one step closer to changing my internal habits.  Even though the external action is the same, and the external choice is the same, the internal, lasting change is not present.  Which is why people can lose a lot of weight, and go off their diet and gain it all back.  They have not changed the way they think about their body, their self image, or their habits. Sometimes even when we start out not focuses on changing the internal, as out body changes, we start to love what we have become, and start to love having a healthier body, and so our internal focus shifts from negative (hating fat and out of shape body) and into a positive habit (loving being healthy).  It is the shift from focusing on the negative and battling against it, to focusing on the positive and reaching towards it. 

Attitude and focus are vital to changing.  This is why working on mental, physical and spiritual aspects of ourselves is vital to enacting lasting change.  Without a connection to God, without the Source bringing energy to my spirit there would be no reason to keep trying to change myself, my community or my world into something better...there would be no reason fro transformation.  And the help that I get from my God in my transformation process is invaluable.  so I will continue to strive to focus in "..whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."  Because that Spiritual teaching helps make me, my family, my community and my world a better, more excellent, more noble, more true, more right, more pure, more lovely, and more admirable place.

Focus carefully....

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 54--the kids are stressed......ughhh

So today, the kids had a good day at school AND it was payday, so I took the kids out for ice cream after school.  G and I shared a banana split (as they are on special this week at Stewart's), but J did not want it, so he got a little dish of rainbow sherbet instead.  They were very good at the shop and seemed to be in good moods until we got home.  Then J threw a tantrum about G beating him into the house (as J can't walk, it is up to me to make sure he has a fair shot at winning if they are racing), but they were not racing, they were just getting out of the car.  But he threw a conniption anyway.  He was easy to bring out of it by talking to our cat, Horus, who was waiting on the side of the driveway meowing at us.  Then we came in and they wanted to play Monkey Ball on the game cube, and as it was 4:00, I told them go ahead (video games are limited to 4-5pm, as they were getting addicted).  They were playing and G kept jumping erratically in a very small space almost landing on J many times.  I kept telling him that if he wanted to jump he needed to move to the other side of J where there was more space.  Four times I said it, and finally I just picked him up and moved him over to where it was safe for him to jump.  And he had a TOTAL meltdown... full blown teary sobbing....when I asked him what was wrong he said he wanted to win but J won. However he kept playing and within seconds he was fine again... 

Some days I feel like I live in the twilight zone.....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 53--There is great joy to opportunities....

There is an amazing thing that happens when you have been focusing on something that you have wanted for a long time and suddenly an opportunity that MAY bring you close to it enters your life.   The same thing that brings apprehension and fear, along with joy and anticipation, excitement and amazement.  If this potential opportunity does come to fruition in my life, it will be bigger than the biggest dream that I have had for this aspect of my life, and also come with great responsibility.  Transformation....changing the experience that I have here, the way I view and interact with the world, that is what hopes and dreams are about.  So why is it so nerve wracking when a potential opportunity presents itself?

I have an interview on Sunday (I know it sounds like an odd day for an interview, but it works out perfectly).  If the interview goes well and they like me and I like them, and we can negotiate an agreement that is useful for both sides, then I could potentially become the live on manager/farmer of a very large 950 acre organic sustainable farm.  They are ready to make the farm into a working farm that can financially sustain itself and everyone working on the farm.  And, as they have other obligations and do not need the farm to support them, they would like someone with vision, ideas, some experience with agriculture, and a desire to farm.  I replied to their ad on a whim and told them about my background and desire to farm )in a professionally written way, not like this exactly), but that I had not done any large scale farming and our little family farm growing up was just to support us, though it was organic.  I did work in agricultural research at Cornell for over 7 years, but it was not organic farming, it was commercial and basic research, not practical application.  I also talked about my wonderful time at ECHO ( where I volunteered on a working demonstration farm for 7 months.  It was that time at ECHO that reawakened my desire to have living/working farm.  They are interested in meeting with me--this Sunday. 

I never expected a response, not that I did not want one, on the contrary, this is an amazing gift even to be considered.  It makes me so excited, and such a high energy good feeling is never detrimental.  I have so many ideas for taking a farm forward--farmers markets, u-pick operations, potential contacts with NYC restaurants (via the owners who used to co-own a restaurant in NYC), pasture raised poultry for egg production and sale, a section of the farm set up as a public demonstration farm for sustainable backyard farming, possible retreat opportunities, etc...  there is so much that I can envision with a farm so large.  So while it is extremely exciting, it is also a daunting, and scary in some ways....

There is a part of me that relishes this time that I have right now, where I really do little of impact on the world, have responsibility really only to my own children, and really am just surviving.  To step forward and even entertain this idea, it would mean a life of meaning and purpose, risks and successes,  things that work and things that do not, and multiple responsibilities to self, family, and many others.  I think my greatest apprehension is in the fear of failure, the fear of letting others down.  But in that also lies the greatest possibility for creating something great, something that can help others and be amazing for me and my family.

The idea of raising my children on a farm, eating mostly food that we have grown ourselves, the health aspects of living that lifestyle, the amazing adventures we can have just in our daily lives....well that is the most wonderful anticipation possible.  I have in depth understanding of how much work it takes to farm, and the idea is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

So that is where I am this week.  Preparing mentally for this interview on Sunday, and enjoying the up part of the whirlwind of emotions.  I have enjoyed walking around the ponds this week (did I mention that the farm that I hope to manage has many I would have new ponds to enjoy on my morning walks), and am enjoying the beautiful  flowers that have been blooming all over.  Today is chilly (around 30 degrees this morning, now up to 37 and a drizzly cloudy day), but it was a nice walk around the ponds at the big park.  The ducks are always beautiful.  The willow trees are really setting leaves now, and with a mix of yellow and green, they look really cool right now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Oh my gosh I forgot to write about it....

A got a job!!  The car salesman is back in car sales.  While A has a degree in social work, there is always a point of burn out.  When A started selling cars after we adopted J, it was  match made in heaven.  A became number 2 in sales in a large dealership within a couple of months (beating people with years of experience), and stayed int eh number one or two spot for the duration of employment, which was longer than any job I had seen A have.  And A LOVED the work, loved making people happy getting them into a good car, loved the thrill of making the sale, loved the camaraderie and the competition with colleagues... 

But A's feelings and emotional health got tied up in success.  So when the car industry tanked and it was so hard to make a sale and get a bank to finance people, A's income and number of sales dropped, though still number one or two in the company, everybody dropped.  Then A's mother was getting weaker and weaker, and A started drinking again back in 2008 and it all just fell apart.  So to see A getting back into car sales, even though it is stressful, high paced, high energy, and commission based, it is amazing to see for me.  AND it means that A will not be at my house all the time, and I can relax more easily and feel more comfortable at home.  Hopefully A will get an apartment soon and move out of my Dad's house.  And then the boys can have time with A in an easier way for all of us.

I am glad that A and I are developing a good friendship.  And i am so glad that A is moving forward and taking steps towards building a new life.  I know I have been a bit of an enabler, and that some people may see me as not making the right choices with A, but I also know Who I am and what I need to do for myself.  in many ways, so many ways, my life would be easier if I just had walked away completely.  And when A was 200 miles away that would have been easy, but well, it did not sit well with me.  So I reach out and do what I do for reasons that are hard to explain.  But suffice to say that I am okay with them.

Day 50--seems like the last 30 days have not been well focused...

Well, I started off well on my first 80 day challenge, but let stress and life stuff get in the way of creating a better, more healthy me over the last 30 days or so.  Now we are on day 50.  The great thing about life, is that each day is a new day.  Each day is a day to start over fresh if you want to.  Even if you make a lot of mistakes one day or for a whole week, or a whole month or a number of years, each day you can wake up and know that you can start right from where you are and begin anew.  You don't have to wait for something to happen or some event to transpire, the change we seek is within ourselves, the power to choose is a gift we are born with, the great gift of God, and you can choose at any moment to change your direction.  Even if it is one you have been headed in for years. 
So it starts with a breath.  A decision to take one step in a better direction.  A choice to choose peace over retaliation.  A choice to choose a healthy breakfast over a non-healthy breakfast.  A choice to reach out to in prayer and rely on the Source of all creation or to keep depending only on ourselves and stay disconnected.  A choice to speak a word in love to a family member or to speak out in frustration or anger.  A choice to follow the calling of our hearts or to stick to the "safe" road that we are on.

Today is a new day.  I have new neighbors living in the other half of the house now.  I can no longer pretend I have a house to myself as with the other half of the duplex rented, I have to actually keep the kids toys and such out of the way, tie the dog on a cable when I let her out (she is used to having full run of the yard, but she is unpredictable around strangers and other dogs, and is very barky, so I have to keep her tied out my end of the house), and actually have to make sure I am not in front of a window when changing my clothes as I am so used to just flipping my shirt off and putting my pajamas on wherever, but that might be a shocker to my neighbors.  What is the good of living in the very rural mountains if you have neighbors right on top of you? :) 

I have been dong a lot of research on starting a small farm.  I grew up on a small farm, and would love to have a small organic farm with pasture poultry for my children and myself, and sell some of the produce and eggs as well as using them for my family.  I have often looked into this over the years, and as I get older (I know 36 is not old, and that is exactly my point, why wait until you are too old) the desire to be living on my farm grows daily.  When I lived in the Ithaca area I looked a a couple of hobby farms, but at the time I did not want to commit the resources.  Now I am not  in a good financial place to do anything, and not in a good area to make money to get out of my financial pickle to begin pursing my dream of a farm.  But I decided rather than look at what I can not do right now, I can take time to look at what I CAN do, and what I CAN do is learn, read, study, and prepare myself for the day when I will start farming myself.  I have spent a lot of time in agriculture.  I grew up on a small family organic farm (no pesticides or chemicals--unofficially organic).  I studied biology in college.  I worked in two different agricultural research lab groups at Cornell.  I volunteered for 7 months at a demonstration sustainable outreach farm in Florida, bridging the gap between research directors.  I even had a small backyard garden and apple trees in my house down near Ithaca before I moved back up here. 

Ask and it is given...

I seek a farm, a place to raise cage free chickens, grow vegetables, and have some fruit trees.  An opportunity to allow my family to get back to the basics as I grew up.  A way to share both what we grow and what we learn with others through farmers markets and offering educational demonstrations on the farm.  A chance to learn and grow as a farmer, an environmentally conscious person, and a spiritual being.

That is where my focus has been for quite a while.

The basics of my day today.  I enjoyed a long and joy filled walk and walking meditation around the pond today--5 laps.  The number of people walking around the pond is increasing as the weather improves.  I enjoyed my time at the library, studying farming stuff and seeking new writing assignments.  I enjoyed the wonderful report for both boys today, that they had very good days at their schools.  I had a small breakfast sandwich this morning with a cup of coffee.   I had yogurt with oatmeal for lunch, and a small bag of popcorn.  And  lot of water.  I also had some grape pomegranate juice.  I had toast with PB for  a snack when we got home.  I made a nice meat and bean chili for dinner, which we had with a slice of bread and butter, and water to drink.  I had seconds too.  I ate some jelly beans in there somewhere too...

I am going to go to bed here pretty soon.  I have some cleaning that I need to do tomorrow while the kids are at school for a one time job (did some yesterday, will do some a couple of days this week--at a retirement home, some spring cleaning of hallways, windows,yard clean up, etc...), which is good as every little bit of $$ helps.  I hope to write again everyday...see you tomorrow!