Fortune cookie wisdom #18

All the news you receive will be positive and uplifting.

This particular fortune cookie was received by my husband.

Do you believe in luck? I’m not much of a superstitious person. But I must say that my husband always gets the best fortune cookies. I think if anyone has good luck, he certainly does. After all, he’s married to me. Can’t be too much luckier than that. He he.

Seriously though, sometimes I think rainbows come out of his backside. Many times he has been out fishing or sailing and storms seem to part around him. The sun seems to shine down on anything he wants to do. How can that be explained?

Do you know someone who seems to have bad luck due to no fault of their own? My mom and my son Alex would fit into this category. It is not even supposed to rain and they are the type to get drenched.

Alex just has bad luck.

His car got totaled within a couple hours after he got it.

Alex was almost scammed when trying to sell an item for us a few months back. The scammer urged him to take the check to the bank right away upon receipt before the bank closed for the day. The check was for a lot more than the item was worth. He was supposed to pay the “mover” the additional money when he came to pick up the item. Hence the scammer gets the item and the money. Then the check bounces. My husband figured out it was a scam before any major damage was done.

But it didn’t end there.

There was a bank error that showed there were two bounced checks instead of one. There was only enough money in his account to cover the cost of one bounced check. That caused his account to be over drafted which caused a lot of fines. I went to the bank with all of the paperwork and they said that since it was a bank error everything would be taken care of and his account would return to a positive balance. I thought everything was taken care of even though I still received over draft statements in the mail. Then we got contacted by a collection agency.

I was furious. My son wants to apply for an apartment after graduation. He can’t have any collections on his credit report. I went back to the bank. Apparently they never took care of it the first time. I am hoping that everything has been resolved and that his credit has been restored. Yesterday my son received a random check in the mail for almost $2,000. This time he won’t be cashing it.

He got ticketed for doing cheerios in an empty church parking lot. He lost a job he was promised because he never got the acceptance email. He made it to state one time for wrestling and wasn’t able to compete because he pinched a nerve in his neck an hour before he was supposed to compete. He got injured his first week at a new summer job. I could probably list a few more things.

I think it would be wise to prepare for rain at Alex’s graduation party.

But as for Paul, bad things can turn into something good. For example, the night before we went on vacation we spent the evening in the ER. Paul’s blood pressure was so high that the dental hygienist wouldn’t allow him to get his teeth cleaned and advised him to go to the doctor. When we got back from vacation, Paul had a physical scheduled to finish applying for his captain’s license. When he got to his appointment, they saw that he was recently in the ER for his BP. He was told to cancel the appointment and follow up with his doctor to get the medication levels right first.

If he didn’t go to the ER for his BP, he would have failed his physical. It would’ve been a headache and many months of paperwork before he would’ve been able to finally apply. He is taking his captain’s license application to the post office as we speak. You can bet he won’t be getting a flat tire on the way.

Are there people in your life that seem to have good or bad luck? How do you explain it?

Can you fix me?

I have been having a debate with myself forever over what is coincidence and what is meant to be. Do things happen for a reason or is there no rhyme or reason?

When we bought our house almost a year ago, we had some problems with the dryer. It was taking forever for the clothes to dry. I really didn’t notice it after awhile. But then other things started to break. The fan went out in our refrigerator. The dishwasher started to leak. I needed to get someone out to the house to fix these problems. While the guy was here, he might as well check the dryer.

I started to time how long it took to dry clothes. Three hours for a big load! I knew it was long but I didn’t realize it was that long. Maybe I just needed a new dryer?

The guy came out and pulled tons of lint out of the machine. It was backed up into the vent inside of the house. Big time fire hazard that I wasn’t even thinking about fixing until other things started to break.

Why did I ignore the biggest problem that needed fixing?

I think that I ignored it because it was still working, however dangerously and inefficiently. It only became a problem for me when something else wasn’t working at all.

This past week I went to see the counselor alone for the first time. I never would have set up an appointment by myself for myself. My husband insisted on talking to someone when we were having problems with our son. Now our son is doing so much better and here I am going to the counselor talking about myself.

I asked the counselor if she could fix me. She said that she could not, but I can. How come I ignored this for so long? I want to fix everyone else, but don’t want to work on the broken parts of myself.

I think the way I’ve been living my life has been working, although at times not very well.

The counselor asked me what are three things I wanted to keep the same about myself:

  1. My grit/determination
  2. Honesty
  3. Continue seeking self-reflection/growth

Then she asked me what are three things I want to change:

  1. Worry less/relax more
  2. Healing
  3. Be at peace

When discussing these goals, I realized that I was afraid. Part of me wants to stay the way I am. The demons I know aren’t as scary as the unknown. My anxiety and inability to relax has given me great determination as a runner. My depression and quest for full healing and making peace with the past is what I attribute to my honest self-reflection as a writer.

If I am able to change the things that I perceive to be negative in my life, will I still be able to keep the positive outcomes that was ignited by my pain?

Will I still have grit if I have nothing to run from? Will I still be able to write if I was totally happy with my life? Would it be worth giving up some of my grit in order to be at peace or relax more?

Would I even be me anymore? It was very confusing.

Some of the negative things in my life I turned into blessings. If I get rid of the bad, would I purge the good that came out of it as well?

Do I have to give up the good things I have to get the good things I want?

I guess the big question I can ask myself is why I didn’t do anything about the major problems until something else wasn’t working?

Why didn’t I start writing my book until I lost my job?

Why didn’t I ask for help until my house was almost on fire?

I was so upset when I lost my job, when my son was acting up, and when several appliances stopped working. But I now believe that God used these things for my own good to spur me into action that I needed to take. Maybe I am wrong, but I can’t believe that any of these things have been a coincidence.

 

 

 

Another weekend, another party!

Another weekend, another party!

I wonder why my son always hangs out with his friends?

Friday night, game night. Shuffling the cards we have been dealt.

Saturday, a murder mystery party. Strangers in even stranger clothes.

Will the weekend adventures never end?

My son came home late last night. Who is in the house tonight? Strangers that he’s never met. Dressed up in some garish garb. Food prepared, glasses clink. Questioning who the killer is.

We talk and laugh the night away. I wonder if he thinks it’s strange?

Then an unusual thought occurred to me. I had more friends over this weekend than my parents did my whole childhood. Maybe that is what he would find strange. He doesn’t know the me from back then. The person I spent half my life being is just another stranger.

I wonder why my son always hangs out with his friends?

Another weekend, another party!

Until next weekend…

My psych eval (25 years later) part 4

Her OCD predisposes her to ruminate and obsess about anything.

I really had a hard time coping with the things that were happening in my life. At the time of the great isolation (the years my brothers and I were homeschooled due to Matt’s violent behavior at school), I reached to God for solace. I believe this faith and hope  prevented me from ending my life. I prayed that God would heal my brother and fix my family.

I was unusually devout as a teen. But then something horrible happened. After awhile every time I prayed, horrible images would pop into my mind. My prayers contained more obscenities than my brother Matt’s spew of Tourette’s. I felt horrible guilt over this and for awhile stopped praying altogether.

Then I became angry at God. Why did you do this to my brother? Why did you do this to my family? Why did you do this to my mother, the most devout person I knew?? How could you give us so much more than we could handle? Are you even there to hear my prayers? I was miserable and the flicker of hope grew very dim.

It took awhile to get through this rough patch. I decided to start praying again despite the unwanted thoughts and images that popped into my mind while doing so. Eventually it went away. Although I think I always had some degree of faith, I can’t say that I have a lot of trust in God or anyone. I realize that one of my biggest flaws is being distrustful.

I am probably a horrible example of what it means to be Christian. But maybe this happens to everyone sometimes? Kind of like the impulse to punch someone for no apparent reason? I thought I was the only one that felt this way. I thought I was crazy to have those thoughts. I tended to ruminate about it instead of just letting it go.

Now I think that it’s crazy if you act on the thoughts instead of just having them. A lot of times Matt acted on those thoughts. I was afraid that someday maybe I would be like Matt too and not be able to control those impulses. But so far that hasn’t happened in my life.

I think that God did hear my prayers for a healthy family. He just didn’t answer them until later in my life.

 

Fortune cookie wisdom #5

You are careful and systematic in your business arrangements.

Boooorrrrriiinnnggg! I’m not sure why I kept this fortune cookie. It is true, I am careful and systematic in pretty much everything I do.

However, I don’t think I am very careful about what I say when it comes to blogging. I talk too much and that is something I am not known for doing. Look at me! I sit down almost every single day and talk about myself. No one cuts me off. No one is thinking about what they are going to say in response. I don’t have to worry about having to get a word in edgewise.

It got me to thinking…Is this blogging platform dominated by introverts that don’t talk a lot in real life??

Bear with me for exactly 286 seconds…

Here are some top characteristics I want in a friend that I also offer as a friend:

  • Honesty, I want friends to tell me the truth instead of saying things to make me feel better.
  • Introversion, I would rather not hang around with loud bossy people.
  • Integrity, I don’t want to have to worry about friends hitting on my husband.
  • Humor
  • Intellect, I need deep conversations not small talk.
  • Structure, I don’t do spontaneity.
  • Neurotic, totally sane people drive me crazy.
  • Eccentric/crazy
  • Adventurous
  • Justice, I want fairness…I want a clearly defined right or wrong. (I tend to see things as black or white/all or nothing).
  • Determination, I don’t want a friend that bows out when things get tough.
  • Motivation, I want a friend that strives to be better than they were yesterday.
  • Industrious, I can’t stand laziness. I can’t sit still.
  • Realistic
  • Reliable, just do what you say you are going to do.
  • Trustworthy

So, I pose this question to you…

Are most bloggers introverts? Do we think this is a good place to tell our story because people in real life don’t listen? Do introverts still have a need to speak up quietly? Why would I tell strangers more about my life than friends? Am I inadequate at having real life relationships? Why does it feel safer to talk here for the world to read versus talking to a close friend behind a closed door?

I really want to know…Do most bloggers have the above characteristics?? Or am I just attracting the people that have these characteristics because that is how I am??

What are your thoughts?? If you follow my blog, how many of these characteristics do we share? If you are just passing through, what about you??

Am I making a sweeping generalization that most bloggers, especially those that post in the personal genre, are introspective introverts like me?? Or do I just attract people like me??

I notice your personality shine through in every word you write…Why wouldn’t you notice mine?

I know I totally got off the fortune cookie topic today. Whoops!

A brilliant mind, a truant heart

The other day I got a call from the school, during an office lunch, telling me that my son didn’t show up for school. WHAT???

I was almost done eating when I got the call. Good thing because I lost my appetite after I saw that the school was calling. To think, we were actually having a nice conversation about our children. I smiled and waved at another high school mom sitting with a stranger at the next table. Things were going well. I had a lot of stories to tell.

We were listening to our sales guy tell the story of how recently he made evening plans with his adult son. His son called him multiple times but he did not answer. He was at a sales networking event and forgot his phone in the car. His son thinking his dad may have had a heart attack, tried to enter his dad’s house from the unlocked back sliding door on the deck. His son in a rush slipped on the ice, ended up falling through the deck, and broke his leg.

Then the call came from the school. What? My son is not at school? He left early for school today. Why would he get up really early to not attend? Did he run away? Did he get in a car accident and die? He has to be there. Please check again.

I called my son. He said that the school marked him as absent, so he left. I might as well not be there if they say I am not there. That mentality almost makes sense.

Let’s back up a little more.

My son was working on his solo and ensemble pieces before school. Sometimes his practice would spill into first hour. Music means everything to him. Timeliness, not so much. He was working on some very challenging pieces. Last year he was the only sophomore in the history of the school to ever get a perfect score at state in band for his solo. This year the second chair, a senior, played his solo from last year and totally bombed it. It was too hard. This year he picked a graduate level solo. We were really worried that he took on too much. He was feeling the pressure.

My son has a great passion for music and puts everything into it. Although I admire his dedication, I wish he would save some for math and science.. He barely passes although he has the capability of being a straight A student. It is sooooo frustrating.

That morning while his practice moved into his first hour class, he was marked as having an unexcused absence. This could have been easily resolved at the office with the vouching of his band teacher. But instead, my son walked out.

I remained cool, calm, and collected through the whole incident. Although my son admitted that he made a mistake, he still needed to have a consequence for his behavior. This is where things get tricky. In a few months he will be 18. If we punished him too harshly then he would rebel. If we were too lenient, we would be unhappy. Truancy cannot become acceptable.

We ended up finding the fine line through a lot of thought on our part. He did admit to his mistake and said it wouldn’t happen again. If he didn’t admit to the error of his ways, we would’ve had a big battle on our hands. That would’ve changed things.

That evening we had a very long discussion with Alex about his future. What will colleges think when they look at his transcripts and see bad grades in the core subjects plus truancy? We talked to him about our concerns. Surprisingly, we had a very mutually respectful conversation. It was the best heart to heart conversation in a long time. I’m glad I kept my cool. I think if I didn’t handle it right, we would have had completely different results. It was not easy.

Maybe, just maybe, everything will be okay??

Someday I will look back and laugh at this. Yes, probably when he has teenagers of his own.

 

Dark doors

The other day my son asked me why he is so dark.

Immediately I said that it was a part of his personality. Maybe it is something that you could work on. Oh my, did he get that from me??

Then he said, “Not my personality mom, my skin.”

That was a few days after he took the Ancestry DNA test. I told him that we would find out soon. I also heard that the test could match you up with long lost relatives or maybe famous people.

Famous people? Then I got to thinking some more.

Why are my oldest two kids freakishly talented at music? This past weekend my son made it to state as a junior for his graduate level solo and ensemble piece along with 2 other pieces. My daughter was involved in a big singing competition, made it to a difficult level, and earned the opportunity to sing for a big opera star. She was invited to compete at an event in Boston. So far they are the only sibling duo to receive perfect scores at state for music in their high school.

There aren’t any professional musicians in the family. No one had a garage band. Not even one music teacher. Just a haphazard bunch that played an instrument for awhile or sang in the church choir.

Was it because of the early childhood piano lessons? The family involvement in community theater?

This got me thinking some more…

Maybe Paul’s real father is Jim Morrison from The Doors. It makes sense. It was the 60’s and Morrison was alive back then. So it has some face validity. Talking about his face, my son does resemble him a little. They have the exact same scowl.

But, if Paul’s dad is a rock star…why did his mother fail to mention that? This is where my theory gets a little tricky.

I guess we’ll have to wait for the Ancestry DNA results to come back.

What if we find out who Paul’s father is? What do we do with that information? Maybe Paul has siblings? Or a hefty inheritance that no one has claimed?

Or maybe we are cracking open the door to Pandora’s box.

 

Thailand, parting thoughts

This is going to be my last post about Thailand…parting thoughts…general observations and comparisons..

Really, though, comparing the culture in Thailand to that of the US is like comparing apples to oranges. We are all fruity in different ways. Seriously though…there are so many ways that I wish we were more like Thailand, and other ways I am glad we are not..

I had a hard time with the young Thai girls with braces in the clubs. Technically, there is no pimp in prostitution there. If a customer would like to borrow a girl for awhile, he needs to pay the club owner a ‘fee’ to take an employee from their work shift. It bothered me to see young girls in this position.

In America I think most prostitutes would fall into the category of drug addict or runaway. In their culture, they view it as a girl (or lady boy) providing a service. A lot of these young folks take the money they make and send it home to support their families. I could never accept money from my children that was made in that way, but I also was never in a position that I had to.

Our tour guide gives some of his paycheck to his elderly father. The father spends a lot of the money on the lottery. Again, that would not fly in America.

The Thai people also think that putting a parent in a nursing home is a big no-no. The Thai people are very family oriented. Divorce is not common. There seems to be a cohesion of the family unit that is quite lacking in America.

The people dressed and acted very similarly to one another. The school children wore uniforms. The men and women dressed very plainly and modestly by our standards. Most wore monochromatic light colored clothes, not bright clothing with wording. They didn’t have dyed or crazy hairstyles. The women didn’t have tattoos nor shaved hair. They didn’t have gauges or seem big on piercings. Even the prostitutes looked very similar to each other. In America, we take individuality to the extreme.

The culture is very peaceful and relaxed. The people are not at all rude, hurried, or unfriendly. I suppose it is a little easier to deal with life if you strongly believe in karma or that someone you don’t like will come back in the next life as an insect. I personally think that Christians could learn a lot from the Buddhists in how to get along with each other. Here we squabble and fight over ever little issue. How are we going to handle an eternity in heaven together?

The people of Thailand did not generally beg for money. They took pride in bargaining and selling their wares at the market.

In Thailand, if people talk negatively about the king, they could face incarceration. I love the freedom of speech. But, geez, don’t Americans take it too far sometimes?? All we hear is fighting about religion, politics, and practically everything really. There is no respect anymore for someone that has a different opinion and yet we tout ourselves as being tolerant. We try to teach our children to respect authority, yet we dis people left and right. Enough already.

I think all schoolchildren should see what life it like in another country. Heck, maybe everyone should travel. Not only did I get the opportunity to see another culture, but I got the chance to see my own beliefs and culture differently. It enriched my thinking. I learned something about someone else and myself in the process.

Some of the things I thought were important really don’t seem all that important anymore. I don’t even care if the toilet paper faces up or down anymore. I am now happy to have toilet paper. I have a new appreciation of western bathrooms, even the crappiest ones.

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The restrooms in Thailand were quite different from ours. The hotel rooms had a regular toilet with what looked like a kitchen hose sprayer next to it. How were we even supposed to use it? We were a day into the tour when I experienced the first bathroom without toilet paper. I started carrying some around with me after that.

This was a public bathroom that we stopped at. I really didn’t even know what I was supposed to do. Plus there wasn’t any soap to wash your hands with. The public school bathroom was very similar. The western bathrooms there were tiny in comparison to ours. We had to pay at times to use the restroom. One of the perks of paying for the bathroom at the floating market was free internet. Seriously? The bathroom wasn’t wonderful enough that I wanted to hang around for the internet.

What a fascinating place and culture. I’m sad that our journey has come to an end. But I have a lot of pictures, all 750 of them, to remind me of our travels.

Thailand, Day 7

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Today we left paradise and headed to the city of Ayutthaya. On the way we stopped by several street vendors. The first place was selling chickens and rats. They were out of snake.

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Our tour guide purchased a rat and said that we could sample some for lunch after it was cooked some more. These rats were from the patty fields, but with the accent of the tour guide it sounded more like pedophile rats. I did not try this Thai delicacy, but Paul did. He said it tasted like beef. I wimped out after watching the documentary about rats not too long ago. But I assume there is a big difference between NYC sewer rats and Thai rice patty rats.

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I did try the sticky rice made with beans. When I think of rice and beans, I typically think of Mexican food. This tasted like an extra sweet rice pudding.

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We also sampled a burrito with what looked like my hair wrapped inside. It was almost too sweet.

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We watched the vendors make the burritos and hair by hand. Our tour guide said that it was their version of cotton candy.

A few things happened today that are worth mentioning. First, our tour bus almost got hit by a semi. I wore my seat belt on the bus every time after that. The tour guide said that the country has a problem with the drug speed, especially with semi drivers. They take it so they can work long hours. When they get into accidents, they run off. Not too long after our close call, we saw an abandoned semi tipped over on the side of the road.

Also, when we went to the rat vendor, there were birds and a squirrel locked in cages. The squirrel was really agitated and wanted to get out. I thought that was peculiar. Was it next in line to be cooked? I mean, they eat rat. Why not squirrel? Our tour guide said that the Buddhist people will come and pay money to set the caged animals free. Then at night, the birds fly back into their cages only to be sold and set free again the next day.

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The next stop on our trip was to the Summer Royal Palace. It was a breathtakingly beautiful place.

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This is where the royalty stayed in ages past. In the middle left of the picture is an area where the royalty could see who was coming by looking through the slated windows, but no one could see in.

Centuries ago, no one was allowed to touch royalty. Then one summer day, the queen had a boating accident. The people watched her drown because if they touched royalty generations of their family would be killed. The king was so heartbroken that he abolished the law.

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This lizard found his way inside by the other animals.

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I don’t have a lot of pictures by the Royal Palace. Today was the hottest day (over 100 degrees). I was not allowed into the palace with the shirt I was wearing. I had to buy another shirt to wear over my shirt. I already bought the pants I was wearing. First of all, all of the wild pants I bought were not worn by locals only tourists. I think it boldly proclaimed that I was an idiot that didn’t bother to pack pants or acceptable clothing.

To tell you the truth, I was getting very irritable at this point. I never wore so many clothes on such a hot day before. I felt overheated, sluggish, and weighed down by all of the crap I was carrying. Don’t let my smile fool you. I think I was suffering from WAT (What, another temple??) syndrome. At this point in the journey, I was starting to feel a little templed and palaced out.

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In the evening we went to see the ruins of the former capital. It was beautiful at sunset.

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Look at the back of my shirt. The back has a knitted material that you can see my skin through. Oops. At least I had something that matched the wild pants though.

If you look to my right, you can see the statues of the Buddhas with their heads cut off. The heads of the Buddhas were made of gold and were stolen when the city was raided.

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We loved visiting the ruins, but for others it was their backyard.

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Running out

After our nice talk yesterday, I was feeling optimistic. Maybe it was the sunshine, warm weather, or all of the endorphins kicking in from being outside running in such nice weather. I don’t know..

I got home from my run yesterday and I felt different…almost what you could describe as happy. That has worn off now. All that is left is the dull throbbing ache of my ankle. Yes, it still hurts!

So I came up with a plan. I am going to stop running for one whole week. Then I am going to go for a run. If I am not in pain…Great! Problem solved. If it still hurts after one week, then I will call the doctor.

Please remind me to call the doctor when I show resistance. I am counting on you to appeal to the small sliver of my mind reserved to rational thinking.

Other than that, I really am sick of talking about it…I have 2 other posts swirling around my mind from last week yet that I have been itching to write. So, I will give you an update next Tuesday after I go for a run.

I hope and pray that my ankle is okay!

Oh my…I just had a rational thought…You have never seen me without running for an extended period of time, have you??  I’ll sum it up for you with a quote from one of my favorite running shirts.

You say I’m crazy for running. You should see me when I don’t run.

Things might get a little bat $#!+ around here. Ha ha ha ha ha…