The Kangaroos Were Very Lazy and Dirty

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone is walking around lying? Enhancing the truth about their finances, marriage, ambitions, emotional state, sexual orientation, political beliefs, etc. Why is everyone so afraid to be honest? To be real? Perhaps it’s rejection that makes people fib. We are afraid people won’t like us or want to be with us if we allow people into the dark corners of our lives. Social media is full of people pretending. Catching up with old friends has become a one-upping  contest. Have we become so ashamed or embarrassed or fearful about our circumstances and beliefs that we have come to the point of lying to anyone who will listen just to make ourselves feel better? Instead of reaching out for love and/or support, we push people away with photos or memes that pretend everything is OK. We put on our “game faces” and smile like everything is just peachy when we’re really falling apart, worried, scared or fearful of offending. 

Lies are essentially secrets and often, secrets are bad. That is of course unless someone is throwing you a surprise party or giving you jewelry. Secrets are difficult to keep and tend to snowball into deception from the people we love the most. We hide behind our secrets, burying our shame or disappointment somewhere deep within us. My most recent epiphany has lead me to believe that we need to stop hiding, face our fears…and meet life head on.

I have come to believe that all this lack of truth has more to do with avoiding reality than intentional deception. People have started to believe the lie that is their life. It’s easier to live in an altered state rather than face the truth. I’m not a psychologist but I am pretty sure this is not a good thing. People mess up. They lose jobs, end relationships, love the “wrong” people, struggle with addiction, are lazy, and support a candidate different from the norm.  It’s OK. Own it. Learn from it. Don’t hide from it. Hiding behind the lie leads to more lies, more distrust, more shame and more complicated relationships. Everyone wants to bury their face in a pillow and hide when things don’t go the way we want them to. However, it’s when we embrace our true selves, warts and all, or an unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, that we can be free to be who we were intended to be. Free to learn from our mistakes, lend a hand to someone going through a difficult time (without judgement) because we have been in their shoes. Only with an honest accounting can we carry on, doing the best we can, in our most imperfect way. By facing our reality head on, without putting precious energy into lies, deceit and feelings of shame, we don’t allow our disappointments to define us. The more we accept things for what they are,  the less we will succumb to the sadness. Acceptance makes us better able to deal. Deal with the pain that is relationship. Deal with the disappointment of our bank account balance. Deal with the frustration in our limitations as people. Deal with whatever hand we get dealt in this game of life.

Sounds good. However, many people, including myself, ask an important question. How? How do we smile when our heart is breaking? How do we trust when we are betrayed? How do we get out of bed when a situation is tapping every ounce of energy we have in our body? From what I’ve learned, you just do. Literally one foot in front of another. After we freak out and scream to the heavens “Why me?” a million times over, we need to get up and forge ahead. Giving up simply can’t be a solution. Hiding from our reality won’t fix anything. Meeting the situation head on is the only way to move forward. 

I’ve been handed my share of shit to shovel. I cry. I scream. I try to hide. I am far from perfect when it comes to battling my circumstances. I’m the poster child for, “Why Me?” A recent situation has proved to be one of the worst. I found my self in a place straddling between my reality and my sanity for a happier place. Just when thoughts of I can’t do this… and  It’s too much…started to twirl through my head, I was taught a lesson from a most unexpected person.  A young lady, wiser than her years, has been dealt a shit hand. Despite the feces, she got up, kept going and manages to make it through the impossible without giving up. She’s eleven. This kiddo doesn’t ponder her situation to the point of becoming paralyzed, she just deals. She doesn’t wallow in “woe is me – I’m staying in bed today -It’s too hard – I can’t – Why me”. She simply accepts her situation for what it is and continues moving forward. It’s this ability to look at life clearly with no misconceptions and find a way to get through the toughest of times, that will be what allows her to survive. Despite all the crap sent her way, her resiliency to flourish using that poop as fertilizer instead; it leaves me awestruck. 

Time will ultimately tell how well she has managed to deal with her situation. However, right now, in this moment, she simply does what needs to be done and makes her way through a relationship minefield. She looks at things plainly and honestly.  Sometimes it makes me cringe because in my fairy tale she should be carefree and dreaming of rainbows, butterflies and unicorns. Instead she’s serious, prefers sloths and chases away the nightmares with an armor of reality. Seeing her resilience is how I know that I will be OK. If she can come out from under the covers and face her reality then I simply have no excuses. She has taught me that you can’t sugar coat shit, just hand over the damn shovel. So stop lying to everyone, but more importantly, stop lying to yourself. Life is better lived with a good grasp on reality instead of a fantasy world we create as a crutch. See things as they are and embrace whatever presents itself the best way you can. The postcard I recently received from my eleven year old inspiration (sans sugar coating) states “the kangaroos were very lazy and dirty”. And indeed, they are. 


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Turn of Events 

Well…we got to Montreal. And then we left. As we cleared the Canadian border we received word that my sister was rushed to the hospital. She’s quite ill but I don’t want to get into all the details just yet. Please keep us in prayer. 
As soon as we got word and made the decision to head back, Blondie and I got to work making the arrangements. The hotel was easy. We notified them that we would be staying one night and they canceled the remaining nights without penalty. I called Amtrak from the train and they reticketed us quickly and even refunded me $22. The only hiccup was the 3 and a half hour bus tour of Montreal we were scheduled to take on Wednesday with Grayline. It was after 5pm so I left a message at the local office and emailed both the local and corporate office with all the information. Local and Corporate pointed the finger at each other regarding a refund or credit for future tours. I sent a strong email to both fully explaining the situation, notifying them that they were the only vendor giving me a hard time and I am now waiting to see what the end result will be. I will most certainly let “the world” know either way. I can be your friend or worst enemy when it comes to customer service. 
The short time we were at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott in Old Montreal was a positive one. The room was fabulous with lots of room to spread out and the usual ammenties. It had a nice layout and wall of windows. Sigh…There is a trendy French restaurant attached where we had dinner. The food was very good but the lighting lacked. I though it was just me who couldn’t see well when I ate a chicken bone by accident but when the guy at the table next to me dropped his fork three times and the waiter dropped a plate next to me that shattered into a million pieces, I knew I wasn’t the only one having trouble navigating my way through the dark. I enjoyed listening to all the diners speak in French and the Hipter atmosphere. 
After a few hours rest we were up, enjoying the complimentary breakfast before getting a cab back to the train station. Everyone we encountered was very nice and sympathetic to our situation. After about an hour we boarded the train and made out journey back. We arrived back in Poughkeepsie around 7:30. My son-in-law, Mattman, had just finished his shift saving lives (he’s an EMT) and picked us up at the station. I have another post I’m working on all about our train experience (20 hours in two days means there is a story to be told!) that I will try to post in the next day or two. 
For now we are off to the hospital. 

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Don’t Throw Mama from the Train 

Hello. I’m back after a little break. Things got a little heated with my last post and I’m honest enough to admit it made me uncomfortable. I’ve also been a little busy with Blondie getting ready to graduate and start her new life in Washington DC and the bride and groom exchanging their newlywed status for that of new parents. That’s right! I’m going to be a grandma come this September. Of course, I’m too young and cool (ok…wacky) to be called Grandma so I’ll be known as Lulu. It fits, right? Mr. B is adorable and has chosen Pop-Pop as his grandfather “handle”. We are very excited about all the good things that are happening in our family. 

That said, today’s post will be one of several as I  write about my current adventure.  I am sitting next to Blondie, and across from my mother, on Amtrak’s Adirondack train en route to Montreal, Canada. I’m taking my mother there for a few days to celebrate her 70th birthday. It’s a 9 hour train ride from Poughkeepsie to Canada and costs about $120 round trip. We are loaded with water, sandwiches, chips, cookies and other goodies. I’ve also brought a book, a deck of cards and my iPhone. I’m posting now because I understand the wifi gets bad after Saratoga. See you all when we arrive in Montreal! 

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Squandered Opportunities

The other day I asked a friend if she watched the news last night. She told me “no”, and then went on to explain that, with two little children at home, she almost never watches the news on TV. She worried that what they would see would be too scary or the information presented not appropriate for their young ears to hear. I couldn’t help but smile. It’s refreshing to see a parent spare their young ones the angst and horror that is so often our daily news. Earlier this same day I was speaking with a colleague who marveled at how much information parents give their children. As we prepared to watch the new president take his oath of office, several little ones mentioned that they thought Donald Trump was a mean man and they were afraid of him. A few others told us that he was “not their mommy or daddy’s president”. What does that mean? If I am having a hard time understanding this kind of comment how the heck is a five-year-old supposed to make sense of it?  I thought my colleague did a tremendous job with this touchy subject by pointing out our new president’s grandchildren. She explained that he was not only the new president but that he was also someone’s grandpa. This is something the children could relate to. Her explanation humanized a man that so many have demonized. Continue reading “Squandered Opportunities”

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Little Lessons

We are approaching the inauguration of a new president. People are losing their minds. Those who did not support the new guy are waiting with twisted faces from chomping on a lot of sour grapes. Those who did support him are anxiously waiting with eyes glazed over for HUGE changes to occur. The rest of the world is scratching their head and trying to figure out how exactly Omarosa ended up in this whole puzzle of a presidency. It’s a mess really. This whole political “season” has been. Family members are estranged. Friends no longer communicate. Social Media has become a minefield. I don’t know how to talk to people I have known for decades. Sigh… As some of you may remember, I am a teacher of kindergarteners. I can tell you that five and six year olds are smart. They don’t get tripped up by labels , only their own shoelaces. They aren’t “political”. Kindergarteners are very practical about life. So for today’s blog post I thought I would list things I have learned from my kindergarteners that have helped me deal with our current political situation. Continue reading “Little Lessons”

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Happy Birthday Mr. B

I met this guy a while back. 28 years ago to be more specific. I picked him up in a bar. Ok…I lied. I met him in a bar. My best friend introduced us. He wasn’t even actually introducing us to become an us. My friend, a guy, had been going on and on and on about his new friend whom he wanted me to meet. I was away in college in Massachusetts so the next time I headed home for a visit we made plans to get together. I met up with my friend at a local bar that was, ahem, lenient about underage drinking. I had been there a while and was just getting ready to leave when this guy I was supposed to meet finally showed up. He was late (something I would later learn is a common event). I can still remember what he was wearing. It was a kelly green sweater that was tight in all the right places. I was VERY intrigued. I was VERY interested. I gave him my best flirty, “hello!”. And that’s when he asked SOMEONE else to dance. Continue reading “Happy Birthday Mr. B”

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Grit and Shit 

I know several people who have had horrific things happen to them; they’ve gone to hell and back. You wouldn’t know it if you met them. They don’t dwell in the past or wallow in their sorrow. They simply live their life without excuses; without complaint. They have a grit and determination that leaves me in awe of them.  Continue reading “Grit and Shit “

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Pursuing Peace in 2017

I am on a quest for peace. I want to feel calm and serene in a world that does all it can to make me crazy. Like many people, I often feel pulled in a million different directions. Trying to make sure that my husband and children are happy, my students are learning, and doing enough for the friends and families in my community keeps my days long and my nights sleepless. I wake each morning full of good intentions to eat better, exercise more, keep my temper in check and complete my never ending to-do list only to fall into bed frustrated and exhausted.  Now that 2017 is around the corner I have started thinking about my annual resolutions. Usually I want to start a reading program, exercise challenge, photography class or savings plan. It lasts a good two weeks before life gets in the way of my good intentions. In the end I have decided to leave all the usual resolutions at the curb and instead pursue peace. I have decided to make peace…with myself. Continue reading “Pursuing Peace in 2017”

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Fleeting Moments

As Christmas fast approaches I can’t help but get sentimental about holidays past. Days filled with decorating, list making and excitement as Santa’s arrival approached. Presents hid all over the house from spying eyes, the pitter patter of tiny feet scurrying upstairs as Mr. B and I patiently wait to fill stockings. Nowadays wrapped presents are in plain view, decorations are put up in quiet solitude and stockings will be filled well before bedtime arrives. The fun gifts that once required batteries and “some assembly required” now are replaced with much more practical choices that read “dishwasher safe – top rack only”.

When your children are little everyone tells you to savor the moments as they are fleeting. It’s true. Just when you think you’ll lose your mind if you step on one more Barbie shoe, Barbie’s handler is graduating college and in need of pots and pans.

So,  here is some holiday advice for younger parents living in the “Santa” moment. Continue reading “Fleeting Moments”

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Tourist Spot? I think not.

*I originally wrote this blog post two years ago after visiting the 9/11 Museum in NYC with Mr.B. I’m posting it today in remembrance of all those that lost their lives and for those who are surviving, despite the tragedy that changed us all. 

Yesterday my husband and I took some time and visited the new 9/11 Memorial Museum. The facility is well thought out. Attention to detail has been paid. Visitors will come from all over the world to learn about what happened. Some, to pay their respects. This is good. Then why, do I feel so bad? Continue reading “Tourist Spot? I think not.”

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