To My Dad

IMG_5991Anyone who knows me well knows I don’t like Hallmark holidays. I dislike the idea of being pressured into buying something for someone simply because it’s a day to spend money on something specific.

However, I can appreciate the special days we celebrate in order to remember certain people in our lives. At the same time, I feel I could do a lot better at showing my appreciation for people every day, but that’s a subject for another post.

Today, I want to give honor to my dad. The man I can depend on to make me laugh when I need it. He sends the funniest post cards from half-way across the world that end up in my mail box just when I need a reason to smile. He’s a role model for my kids and I’m so glad they have the chance to get to know him better. My dad seems to accept me the way I am, the decisions I make; without judgment and without trying to change me. I want to be like him when I grow up.

Even though there’s a big distance between us, a lot of time zones, and we can’t be in touch as much as I’d like, he’s there. I count on his prayers, his words of support, and his love. He has been an example to me for years now of following a dream, of living life for others, of making the important things count. I hope he knows, not just on this day, but on all days how much I love him; how much we all love him.

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Rush

I got around to watching the movie, Rush, last weekend. I enjoyed the story as I knew Niki Lauda from back when I was following Formula 1. Although he was no longer racing at that time, he was often at the tracks and we all knew his history. I personally enjoy true story movies, especially about people I know of.

There is a very interesting element in the movie that goes well beyond the racing and the telling of Niki’s story. It is also the story of two men and their outlook on life. Two men who had entirely different ways of dealing with life and entirely pole different outcomes because of it.

Niki is hard-working to the point of being obsessed. He sees problems and works to fix them. He has long-term goals and fights for those goals. On the other hand, there’s James. He wants the win just as badly, but will do anything to get it. He knows little about the cars he drives and instead pushes those around him to make the decisions needed to make him faster and better. He spends all his free time drinking, sleeping around, and it’s suggested that he takes drugs. His motto is to live by the day and seems entirely happy doing so.

We see Niki in a position where he almost envies James’s lifestyle. James is the first to marry and to a model, no less. He’s popular, while Niki doesn’t make many friends because he’s determined and takes no nonsense. We get the impression that Niki would like to live like James in some areas, but at the same time he understands that as long as he wants to win, he has to act like a winner. He makes plans that he knows will affect the rest of his career and even his life. He eventually marries the woman he loves and continues to race against his greatest rival, James.

Then the unthinkable happens. Niki allows himself to not do what he knows is best. He knows it’s too dangerous to race, but he gives in to those who think they know better and races anyway. It results in an accident that nearly costs his life. At this point, he can choose. Does he accept his fate, does he passively sit back and accept that he’s not meant to do what he set out to do? Instead, he fights. He hurts. He makes himself get back in that car, fear and all, knowing that those he loves are just as scared for him, and he races anyway.

In the end, James does win that one race and he goes on to party like only he can. Niki warns him that if he wants to continue racing, he’s going to have to train, make modifications, and get back in right away. James says he will. Tomorrow. That’s James’ whole way of thinking. Just on the day. He thinks he’s having fun. He thinks life is where he wants it. Instead, he ends up alone. His friends leave him because he finds others to make the money for him. His wife leaves him because he can’t sustain the relationship. He dies young, almost alone, and without much to his name.

I know the feeling of wanting to live each day as if it were the only one. And there is some truth to that. We have to live each day as if it were our last, but at the same time, we also have to plan and fight for our future. I’m so done living passively and expecting that nothing more will come. I hate the expression “what to do?” almost as much as “that’s just life”. Our future is what we make it. I have the choice to just let things happen or to stand up and make a change, hurt as it may.

Sure, some things are “just life” and we have to learn to roll with the punches. But just letting each day go by without even trying to effect change, no matter how small, won’t get us far.

I read an interesting comment today that resonated with me in reference to this movie and what it made me think of. It went like this:

“The only reason why you’re staying where you are instead of doing what makes you happy is because you’re scared.

The only reason you are not doing what you want is because there is still some part of you which doesn’t trust in the part that believes.”

1536432_301348696680866_1884855014_nI’m aware that not everything portrayed in the movie was entirely the way things happened in real life. But for the sake of the way the movie affected me, I’m writing it from the standpoint of the movie, not real events.

 

It’s kind of obvious that I haven’t been writing for myself much lately. Well, I write in my mind a lot, and I have a fair number of unfinished posts which I just never posted.

It’s not just writing; I haven’t been as open lately in general. I avoid chats and discussions other than with my closest friends. Because of some comments that were made that I bother people with the things I say, I’ve been careful about what I say and to whom. My intention was never to get on people’s nerves.

It’s occurred to me though that this is my place to write. This is where I get to express me. I miss writing. I miss putting my thoughts down and expressing myself through the written word. When it comes down to it, no one is forced to read this and as such, it’s still my place.

In general, writing is easy for me. I can express myself better in writing than I can when I speak. Having an outlet where I can put those thoughts down also means I can edit and make sure I’m happy with the outcome. Why would I want to punish myself because there are those who don’t like me? I don’t write to get affirmation or approval, especially from those who anyway don’t see things the way I do. I’m happy to debate and discuss, but shutting up shouldn’t be an option, not as long as I’m not hurting anyone.

Not writing is only hurting myself. I like documenting the path I’m on and I enjoy going back over old posts to see how far I’ve come.

So for those who use my expression here as a means to judge me, just close the page and use your time elsewhere. I won’t mind.

As for me, I’ll continue to write about my experiences and the path that life takes me on. Feel welcome to join me or not, it’s entirely up to you.

A Reason to Smile

Last week, I had dental surgery. Since I already had a few procedures done last year and I knew this surgery was coming up, so it didn’t entirely take me by surprise.

What did take me by surprise was the way my mouth swelled and bruised. Extra work was needed to extract a wisdom tooth which hadn’t grown out yet along with the other planned work. By the morning of the next day I looked like a chipmunk that had been in a brawl.

When CC saw me first thing in the morning, she couldn’t help herself; she burst into laughter. I had a quick look in the mirror and wanted to laugh as well. But alas, laughing, or even smiling hurt so much I had to stop right away.

Now for me, that’s kind of a big deal. I hadn’t realized it, but I do enjoy laughing and smiling—a lot. Now, I couldn’t use my humor to get through this time, I’d have to either keep my jokes to myself or try to laugh without smiling—which ended up sounding more like ah, ah, ah rather than ha, ha, ha.

Now I sit here, a few days later; the swelling has gone down some, and smiling no longer makes me feel like crying. As with most things that I take for granted, I appreciate the ability to smile and laugh all the more.

At the same time, I’m reflecting on how much I’ve changed in the last few years. I actually miss laughing when I can no longer laugh. I’ve learned to use a sense of humor to get through sticky or difficult situations. I like that I can make myself smile instead of dwelling on a negative situation. Little things make me happy, like a fresh cup of coffee in the morning, the moment my children walk through the door after school, or seeing the moon shine into my window at night. I feel I’ve learned to be more grateful for the little things, live in the moment more, and find the funny in more situations.  

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Why I’m pretty sure my dental surgeon thinks I’m crazy

Today was really not my day. I woke up feeling feverish and tired and didn’t really want to keep my appointment with the dentist. But, knowing how difficult it is to reschedule, I took a short nap, had a cup of tea, and made my way to the dentist. I opted to walk, since it’s not that far away.

I get to the dentists and the receptionist kindly tells me she has no record of an appointment. Didn’t I get a letter from the surgeon saying why I needed to see the dentist and what procedures needed to be done? I smiled sheepishly and said I was pretty sure I was supposed to come into today for the measuring of the tooth I’m having pulled.

She sent me to the waiting room, but was back within a few minutes with a huge grin on her face. She told me that the appointment is indeed today, but I was supposed to be at the dental surgeon instead. Thankfully, there were people around in the waiting room and reception area who could laugh with me at my silly predicament.

I rushed home, calling in advance for my bicycle keys in order to get to the other office. I left my earphones in and put my music on because if there’s one thing that calms me, it’s music at times like that. Of course, I was on time at the dentist’s, but by now I’m dreadfully late. I decide not to let it affect me too much, they knew I was on my way, and getting killed in an accident wouldn’t make things better. I got there a good half-hour late, took my headphones off and tucked them into my pocket.

I breathlessly arrived at the dental surgeons reception area just as he was coming out of his office and spied me. Everyone kind of chuckled as I walked in and tried to explain that I’m just messed up today. You have to remember, in at least half the appointments I had with him, I was on meds and kind of loopy. Today I proved I don’t need meds to be loopy.

Of course, I didn’t see the last vacant chair at the end of the waiting room until someone pointed out that it was there as I was still standing. After stumbling over everyone’s feet to get to the chair, my name got called and I got to stumble back out. It was then that I realized I still had my headphones tucked into my pocket, and having my phone and headphones in my pocket was probably not a good idea when going for an x-ray. I pulled the headphones out just at the second I remembered I didn’t even turn off the music yet!

So, music starts blaring from my back pocket. I fumble with it, trying desperately to turn it off, dropping it on my toes and drawing out the time the music is filling the little office area. By now, I’m just laughing at myself. What else can I do? It takes me a good minute to tuck my headphones into my purse and remove my ear and nose stud. Just as she’s about to fit me into the vest, she looks at my head and reminds me that I’m wearing a clip. Oh thanks, I forgot I put that there.

Thankfully, I manage to get through the rest of the interview without messing up much more. Other than the little squeal of pain (which is a good thing, because it means my nerves are all still working!), he was pleased with how things are going and we worked out when I need to go to my dentist for real this time.

I really wouldn’t be surprised if their whole office sits and talks about the crazy lady who mixes up her appointments, stumbles around, and doesn’t even need meds to get loopy.

Down Time

It’s been a very busy last couple of weeks. I won’t bore everyone with details, but I haven’t forgotten about the blog. I have posts in the works, there are just other priorities at this point.

My new blog is up and running! After some serious glitches and a complete wipe, it’s back up and running with new posts regularly. Thanks to everyone who offered support and shared links to get me going. In case you haven’t seen it yet, check it out at http://www.idonotno.com

CC spent 5 days in the UK with her class–she totally rocked the experience and had so many great stories and pictures.

School is over, we’re finally having holidays and for a change the weather is playing along. This means I get to try and cram to complete all my work as fast as I can (or else stay up late) so I can spend time doing things with the kids. CC’s birthday was a success, though we’re still waiting for the swimming day :)

I got to travel as well, visit my sister in Frankfurt and take my exams at last. It all went well, but it ate a chunk out of work and energy.

Today a new emergency came up: I had to call the ambulance to take my mom into hospital. Things are looking a bit better, but she’s still very weak. Prayers for her and all of us are appreciated.

I’ll post more soon; I feel the need to express in writing again.

Singing in the Rain

It’s been raining these past few days, raining a lot! It’s like April in May or something like that. Either way, it’s a lot more than we’re used to and it’s bringing some challenges with it. I’m aware that there is flooding in some areas, but thankfully it seems to be under control now.

Of course, it means some adjusting on our part, too. The girls have a newspaper route that they do on a weekly basis, with my help. Normally, we’d go by bike and get it done in about two hours. This week, the delivery of the newspapers was a day late, so we had a late start. By the time we were packed and got about a third of the way there, it started to rain. I’m not talking about a few drops–we’ve dealt with those before by sitting it out under a roof–this was a full blown storm. Lightning flashed, and it began to pour within minutes. We quickly turned around and made it back, drenched to the bone. We laughed the whole way home, feeling about as close to monsoon as we have in a long time.

The next day, CC and I decided instead to go by bus to the destination and walk the papers in case it started to rain again. It was dry when we left, but after about half of the route, it started to rain again. This time it wasn’t so strong and we had to complete the distribution, so we just kept going. It wasn’t long before we were pretty wet again, thankful that it wasn’t all that cold and that our coats kept us relatively dry for most of the time.

By the time we were done with the route, we were drenched, though. We had a 15 minute wait for the next bus, so we shared headphones and sat down inside the bus stop–thankfully completely dry inside–to pass the time. But this was CC and I in a situation that just begged for some crazy. We were tired, cold, and wet. There was no way we were going to just sit there and quietly think about our situation. Within a few minutes, we were singing out loud with the music and laughing as we tried to drip dry whatever we could. The bus eventually came and everyone turned to stare at the two wet girls grinning from ear to ear.

We made our merry way home, but needed to stop at the store for groceries before going home. Again, we were quite the sight, coming in there so wet our shoes were squeeking! We grabbed what we needed, laughing at anyone who stared and enjoying our moments of fun. As we walked back home, rain still pouring down, I had to break into song again. This is the neighborhood we live in, so I’m afraid I may have embarassed my daughter just a litte, poor thing. But since I try to say “I don’t no” more lately, I had to give in to the need to belt out a song. I added arm movements and did a bit of a double step as we crossed the street.

We warmed up quickly, I did get sick–thankfully not too sick, my body is fighting hard, but the experience was one of laughter and fun. It could have gone differently, we could have ended up getting negative about how cold we were, complaining about the squishy feeling in our shoes, and cursed the clouds for dumping on us. But we didn’t. We had fun, we created our own atmosphere and laughed, sang, and even danced a bit. It was a joyful experience in the end.