Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In honor of the first day of a new semester... God help me...

By Christiane Reeves

I return to school in the fall of 2004
My baby was two
She hadn’t completely weaned
and I was afraid of leaking milk and staining my shirt
One more thing to set me apart
Mark me an outsider
A young old woman
amidst the suffocating youth and simplicity
That I had given up so long (not so long) ago
for motherhood
Which doesn’t count on a resume

I sit tidily in class and take equally tidy notes
that I lend to a girl who has missed classes
To nurse post-concert hangovers
I overhear the he-said-she-said
as I walk between classes
And wonder if we can make our mortgage payment this month
If I have anything left of value to sell for some extra cash
As girls wobble by in their Jimmy Choos
texting W-T-F-? O-M-G-!

I take a detour into a pizza parlor for a beer
The smiling boy behind the counter winks
before he cards me

Friday, January 8, 2010

Christy and Lisa's rules for livin' on the edge

If we're going to live on the edge, there need to be a few simple rules. Christy and I have taken it upon ourselves to come up with a list.

#1. No shame. Shame does not work here.
#2. No sensoring. Need to let the F-bomb fly? Go for it.
#3. A glass of wine, a beer, a small cocktail is a perfectly acceptable way to unwind from your day. A shot of Kalua in your morning coffee is also okay.
#4. No giving up (unless it is really and truly a lost cause)
#5. Booze is a perfectly acceptable gift for your children's teachers, because we know they need it too!
#6. Fancy shoe Thursday. It's a must.
#7. It's okay to lose your shiznit once in a while. It's to be expected.
#8. Be proud of your bad mommy moments. What doesn't kill them, makes them stronger.
#9. When your child crawled, walked, talked, or potty trained is completely irrlevant in relation to other's children. Parenting is not a contest.
#10. Rules were made to be broken... but not these rules.

If you follow these rules, you'll escape the war and be livin' on the edge with us in no time.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Weight Loss & Healthy Living Challenge!!!

I have set so many New Year’s resolutions to loose weight, eat better, and be more active. Not only have I failed to keep those resolutions but, especially in the last year, I have become even more complacent with my health and wellness. I am sure some of you out there can relate. When I think about the factors that contribute to my failure to keep my resolutions, there are three things that come to mind: (1) lack of accountability, (2) lack of motivation, (3) lack of support, and (4) lack of time.

I have a friend who is organizing a New Year’s weight loss challenge. She and a groups of friends will all contribute $20 to a winner’s fund and spend the next six months working together to keep their New Year’s resolutions to loose weight. During the six months, the groups will participate in blog discussions on health-related issues in an effort to provide one another with tips on staying fit with busy schedules, tight budgets, etc. At the end of this six months, the winner of the challenge will receive all funds contributed.

Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? I thought so. Unfortunately, being that this challenge is happening in Louisiana, I cannot participate. So I would like to organize something similar here. Who is with me? Who wants to make changes that will not only benefit themselves but their loves ones? Who is willing to accept the challenge to loose weight and work towards a healthier life style AND put their money on it? The more participants, the more support, and the bigger the prize!

Who ever is interested should either respond to this post or email me at Christiane.Reeves@ucdenver.edu in the next week. From there, we will set a time and date to meet, weigh in, and discuss logistics. Additionally, if anyone has “expertise” related to health and wellness that they would like to contribute to this endeavor, tell us about it! Perhaps we can feature you in a blog post or have you host an in-person meeting. We will need all the help we can get.

Best wishes for you and yours in the New Year!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year to all my girls!

It's the last day of 2009! I'm thankful for all of you this year. The friends I never see (but want to!), the friends I see often (who get me through every day), and the friends that I've been through so much with, but have never met. Some of you I've known for my whole life, and some of you not so long. This year I've watched some of you fall in love, get married, have babies, lose loved ones and children, go to college, buy houses, hit milestone birthdays, and so much more! It's been a year to remember (good or bad), but bring it on, 2010. I hope this year is the best one yet, for each and every one of you.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Addicted to Unhappiness

I have a book entitled Addicted to Unhappiness. It came as a free gift with Parenting with Love and Logic. Who knows why but that’s besides the point… The general premise of the book was that some people have unhappiness ingrained so deeply into their worldviews that anything that deviates (EG happiness) is abnormal and, thus, stressful. To avoid that stress, they intentionally seek out and dwell on negativity in their lives. It makes sense when you think about it and I know a couple of people like this, who seem to be addicted to unhappiness and find ways to maintain a sense of tragic equilibrium. In contrast, the people in my life who have experiences true tragedy, misfortune, and oppression tend to focus on maintaining a positive worldview and effecting positive change in their lives. Sure, everyone has their moments of negativity, their blue funks, but these people don’t stay there. It’s an interesting dichotomy.

I think I was there for a long time. I have done my fair share of wallowing in the mud and bemoaning my powerlessness of effect positive change. I have sought out people who and activities (and professions, for the love of Pete!) that allowed me to wallow and revel in my negativity and bitterness. My name is Christy and I am addicted to unhappiness. Not only did my negativity affect myself, it bled out into the people around me, to the degree that it sent some people running. After all, emotions are contagious. Daniel Goldman described the concept of emotional contagion in detail if you are inserted in further explanation but, again, I digress...

I eventually discovered that it required way to much energy to keep seeking out negativity to dwell on. I had to divert my attention away from the positive stuff and actively redirect it to the minutia or the stuff that I could not change. I eventually realized that that energy might be better directed to being more proactive in effective positive change. Additionally, it struck me that maybe in my “supporting” others while they wallowed in their own self-pitting and bemoaned their powerlessness and my justification of their bitterness and despair, I was not helping them at all but enabling their own addictions to unhappiness. In retrospect, those people would have been better served had I not facilitated that negativity.

Perhaps this is controversial and perhaps I am pissing some people off. Whatever. I think we need to be pissed off sometimes. And I am not telling people to respond to someone’s unhappiness by telling them to suck it up and look on the bright side. I am not saying that significant obstacles and oppressive conditions to exist for some and not for others. They do and it pisses me off. What I am saying is that we need to redirect the majority of our energy from maintaining a state of being a passive victim of circumstances to becoming more proactive. Sure, it’s hard. It takes A LOT of energy to effective positive change. But isn’t it worth it in the end? Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

I think one of my resolutions for the New Year is to be a better person. It’s a stretch, I know, but humor me. And one of the ways in which I am going to accomplish this is by not enabling addictions to unhappiness. I will offer an ear to listen and a shoulder on which to cry for a while, but there is only so much support you can provide before you hit a point of diminishing returns; or at which point you are no longer helping but hindering. You can only provide so much sympathy and support. At some point, your someone need to recognize the power they DO have to make positive changes and make them rather than focus on the obstacles and become overwhelmed by them. Or nothing is going to change at all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Open Letter to My Christmas Dinner Menu

Dear potentially delicious dishes,

As you know, I host Christmas dinner each year. And, each year, something goes horribly awry. Being that we (my nuclear family) are usually surrounded by family and friends who truly enjoy the company and the festive atmosphere, the quality of the food is probably not nearly as much of an issue as I am making it out to be. However, I am having nightmares about this year’s culinary catastrophe. Therefore, I implore you to hear me out…

Dear Brussels’ sprouts, why oh WHY do you never turn out as good as you look on the Food Network Holiday specials? Why can you not perform for me as well as you do for Paula Dean, Tyler Florence, and Ina Garten? Do I need more butter? More pork fat? Nutmeg? Do I need to move to the Hamptons, San Francisco, or the South? Tell me what it is that you need and I shall comply. I am here for you with an open and eager heart (and equally eager taste buds)! I only ask that you return the favor… or flavor as the case may be.

To my mother in law’s green bean casserole, I appreciate your elegant spin on a kitchy post-war classic. I really do. But you’re over doing it. You are trying too hard. We love you dearly… at Thanksgiving and Easter. Any more often than that, and you are imposing on our good graces. Some things one should enjoy in small, occasional qualities. You are one of them.

Fruit cake, fruit cake… need I say more? Anything that needs to be soaked in Rum to be palatable is not worth the time and effort it takes to prepare it. I’m sorry. It’s not you… it’s me. Let’s just be friends.

Last but not least, Yorkshire pudding… my long lost love. We are like ships passing in the night! I understand and respect your delicate sensibilities. However, I have not had a good Yorkshire pudding in nearly 20 years. Despite chilling my batter, adjusting the the egg to flour ratio, making high-altitude adjustments, using different pans, you still refuse to rise to the occasion. What have I done to offend you? Am I no longer sexy? Tell me, and I shall rectify the situation! I need you… you complete me.

In closing, I would like to say that although the friends and family with whom I am grateful to share the holidays find humor in these gastronomic malfunctions, I am running out of patience. After 14 hours of cooking, I want a delicious dinner. If they want to laugh, I shall bellydance naked in a Santa hat and bangles as I serve dinner. But for the love of all that is good and holy, let it be a delicious dinner!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Starting the liquid diet...

We're 5 minutes into Christmas "Break". Literally, we've been home from school for FIVE minutes and it's begun. Mom we're bored, mom what can we eat?, oh now there are high pitched screams.... heaven help me. "Mom, Mom, Mom, Moooooooooom"... direct quote from my screaming 7 year old.
Christy tells me she's looking for a recipe for homemade irish cream. Bring it on, sister!
So, I survived making my rounds at three elementary school christmas parties. Kindergarteners are loud, second graders are goofy, and fifth graders are just rude. I gave each of the kids teachers a bottle of wine. Turns out, that was exactly what they wanted. I'm the star pupil now. My kids were surely have straight A's this semester. Never again will I give another teacher a gift card. They're so gift cardy, you know?
Oh, lord. The screams are increasing here in the land of Christmas Break. I can't even think right now. I'm done already. I'm starting the liquid diet.