Archive for February, 2013

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R.I.P. Thumper

February 24, 2013

Well, at least they waited until the Chief was home. Crookshanks, the mighty huntress, took down Thumper. We got her off the bunny only to have Hedwig the Lazy do a sneak attack and bring it in the house! Thanks to the engineering design masterpiece that is the greyhound condo a simple shake of the cage got said poacher to leave the kill and we were able to remove the cage, bunny and all. Welcome home, Chief. 😛

He is now searching the internet for all the worst case scenarios, what to do, etc… phone calls and vet visits I’m sure. Yeah.

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Yeah!

February 23, 2013

So the weather held off.

T2 got to have her concert.

No more strange dream phone calls.

Unless you count all the texts from the Chief wanting to know how long the concert is going to be.

He was standing at Olive Garden by the time we got there. Good thing too because he got our name on the list before it became an hour wait. Still was an hour but we only had to stand there for 50 minutes.

Welcome home, Chief.

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Year of Listening Strikes Again

February 22, 2013

I had the strangest dream last night. Or this morning, rather. And I had this dream within the 30 minute snooze between alarms. Seriously, I can go into deep REM sleep just like that.

It wasn’t exactly a good dream. I’m trying to listen to what it is telling me–everything in the dream relates to the stress in my life. Talk about garbage download!

The dream took place in real-time–it was about this very day.

The weather was bad but they hadn’t canceled school. I am hoping and praying the weather holds or passes and T2 All-District Chorus concert, which is being held at one of the remotest schools possible, happens as scheduled. You see the proposed make-up date is for my annual scrapbooking/birthday weekend. UGH! I do not want it to be rescheduled. Call me selfish. Additionally the make-up date is the day T1, the Chief, and T1’s award mentor are supposed to visit the campsite where her project will take place. A little less selfish sounding if I throw that in, don’t you think?

In the dream I am actively trying to listen to weather reports and whether school is canceled. (I was doing this just before I hit snooze, assuming no immediate reports were a good thing.)

Suddenly I hear someone calling my name. Then a strange high-school aged boy comes into my room and asks if T1 can take two sandwiches to school for lunch. What on earth is she still doing home and why is a teenage boy in my bedroom asking a question for her? I go out of my room and to the front door only to find T1 is standing there in a pair of penguin pajamas she hasn’t worn in like three years so you can only imagine what it looks like on her pre-teen curvaceous 5’5″ frame now. I believe the teenage boy says something to the effect of “It’s okay. I can give her a lift to school.” Uh no. And not dressed like that. I order her to her room to change and get a lot of eye rolling. I tell said unknown teenage boy he can go on his way and I will drive her to school.

Then T1 and T2 appear in my room both wearing shorts. T1’s are bordering on Daisy Dukes. “Are you nuts?! It is snowing! Go change! And if you are late for school it is not my fault!”

My cell phone beeps. I have a message. I know who it is from. But my phone is dying. When I try to turn it back on, I get this “On Fire” icon letting me know that the phone is on the verge of exploding. (I have an MP3 player that is the biggest pain to load playlists and it has really been frustrating me lately.) Interestingly, the phone is also slightly chewed. (With the Chief gone and the dogs not getting their daily exhausting walks, they–really just Crookshanks–have gone after the remotes and my phone in recent weeks. My phone was spared but my case and clip were not and it is now naked.)

I finally get the phone on without the impending explosion. I call into voicemail. It is a hushed voice, like the person called in the middle of the night.

“Listen, I didn’t appreciate what happened tonight. I don’t appreciate your complaints or picking on me. I’m not at the same organizational level as you. Get over it. Stop putting me down. And what about you? You want to go hiking? Then go hiking. 6 inches of mud never hurt anyone. Stop putting it all back on me.”

This stresses me out and feels so real that I am wrenched awake. Heart pounding. Did this person really call me? What part of all this was real or just my sleeping mind barfing up all the stress?

I was meeting this person in just a few minutes. I actually had to ask if they called. Yeah, I know–I could have just checked my phone. But I know what the cryptic questions and hushed words were all about. Stress and frustration.

I’m more upset about the cryptic words than I am about the fact my pre-teen tried to walk out the house dressed like who knows what. I have to laugh about that part.

I think I’m supposed to listen to the words or what they’re not saying. I have to not take some of this stress, or maybe all of it, so personally. I have to listen long enough for a chance to better myself and the situation. I have to make sure I’m not the one always on the attack. Had I been? Does this other person see it that way in real life? This person has a very thick skin and gives as good as they get but I have other people in my life who also had really thick skins that in recent times have just proven that their skin has grown too thin (either to my actions or stress in their lives) and their backlash happens in such a strong and hurtful way whether warranted or not. Have I pushed this person too far in my frustration with the situation?

Should I just walk away? That is the “taking it too personally” response. I will never get anything positive out of it if I listen to that voice.

Take a deep breath and listen. Ask questions to improve myself and situation. It isn’t personal and even if it was, you just can’t please everyone. No one can.

So what would Freud say about this one…?

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Listen. Speak. Don’t Speak.

February 19, 2013

I think I’ve mentioned that one of things I regret the most is to not be able to make amends if I am in the wrong. If someone has an issue with me and has not come to me, how can I know? How can I fix things?

The same can be said if I choose not to address someone. Currently, I don’t have enough data and can only make assumptions that surely if I was in the wrong they would have said something to me by now.

If this is my Year of Listening I understand that in order to listen we have to sometimes stop speaking.

Choosing not to speak out of a general lack of desire for confrontation isn’t the same thing.

I want to be able to change, to improve myself. I will guarantee you though that 95% of the time my initial reaction will not always be pleasant. But given the chance to dialogue, to process, then the end results are worth it–I guarantee you I will apologize and do all that I can to repay the wrong.

It seems simple enough but we as a society so rarely go through the discomfort to the end result. It is easier to make assumptions, to assume that initial defensiveness or anger is how a person truly feels or “there is no reasoning with them–they’ll only bite my head off.”

I have encountered a few people in my life that will have the epitaph “They were having a bad day” on their tombstones. Everyone excuses the bad behavior of these individuals with this phrase and the rest of us just have to stomach it. I’m baffled by that because I have never been able to get away with that. It seems I eventually have to make amends for my bad days. And honestly I’m okay with because I do not want that for my epitaph but I’ve often pondered why people get away with things, why these excuses are acceptable.

I’ve had some recent interactions with one of these “Bad Day” people who naturally earn a very defensive posture from anyone who interacts with them–I’m not the only one and I had to confirm this. I had to stop speaking to see anything of any value in what they were saying. I have to try to answer without a chip on my own shoulder. I have found that with these “Bad Day” people you have to subtly pepper your conversation with your own “bad day” just to get them to realize we all have our own struggles. You certainly cannot point out their behavior is negatively effecting everyone (affecting? ugh I never get these two straight).

I’ve responded to the best of my ability. I was asked if it felt like a relief to have done so. “Honestly, no. It was agonizing. Every word had to be chosen carefully. But I do feel I did my best and in that I’m okay.”

And now I have to stop speaking. I have to allow the ball to stay on their side of the court. If not, it negates in-roads I may have made to get them to listen. I have to actually let it go. I have to listen.

Because listening is the only way I won’t be taken by surprise. I feel so vulnerable. What will be handed back to me? What mistakes will be shown to me, even though their “Bad Day” doesn’t give them the right to behave badly but they still do with such a strong belief it is everyone else’s fault?

If I am listening, if I am holding on to my desire to have the chance to change, then I have to give that to others. If I am listening I cannot assume “surely they would have spoken to me by now” if I have given offense. Couldn’t they say the same of me with each passing day I stay quiet? I have to face the discomfort of opening up a can of worms and the possibility my “Bad Day” created a problem.

Yup, the Year of Listening. Some times you have to speak, even if it means getting corrected.

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