“Obvious Advice is the Worst Thing About Facebook”

This morning my sister posted this status on facebook: “i’m past the point of yelling….i’ve entered the defeated stage.” I responded with something (two things actually) about how I was right there with her but this other woman, someone who I’m sure is a completely lovely person, responded with “It gets better, I promise!”

Really? Really? Was this response necessary? Of course it gets better, the fact that there are still humans on the planet proves that it gets better. If it didn’t get better then our parents would have killed us all when we were kids and driving them crazy and we wouldn’t be here to have kids of our own to drive us crazy (in what some like to call the great circle of life).

Why do people feel the need to post, or even say, things like that?

When I complain (which I do with some regularity) I don’t want reassurance, I know that “this too shall pass”, and that “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” (or permanently debilitated), and I know that “it gets better”. I don’t need you to tell me. I don’t want you to tell me.

If that’s all you have to say then I want you to leave me alone.

However, because I am nothing if not helpful and accommodating, here is a list of the kinds responses that I will accept.

1. Snark right back. I comment that I hate the weather go ahead and tell me that the weather hates me too.
2. Tell me to get over myself. This is best done with overblown and somewhat amorphous problems used in comparison (“really, your kids are crying? Well there are kids in Libya who can’t cry because their despot governmental leader will kill them if they do”) as compared to something more tangible (“Your husband worked all day? Well my sister’s husband just bankrupted the family and then took off leaving her alone with 4 kids under 5”) but really the point is the same either way, in the grand scheme of things I don’t have it so bad.
3. Give me your comparable story. This is not done in the spirit of one-upmanship, I don’t want to hear about how your day was so much worse because… just tell me about how yours was bad too, misery loves company after all. (Unless your day really was that much worse, if I’m complaining that I stubbed my toe and you broke your femur you can go ahead and tell me to “get over it you whiny little baby.”)
4. Blow it out of proportion. I tell you that I messed up dinner, tell me that you’re so sorry for my loss (of dinner) and you hope that with some time to mourn and some therapy I can move on and still make something of my life. There’s nothing like blowing something even farther out of proportion to give a little perspective.
5. Make me laugh. Seriously, something, anything. In context or out, if you can make me laugh you’re golden.
6. Give me an “amen.” If you agree with me, you know what I’m saying and you agree with me and have felt or are feeling the same way toss me a “sing it sister” and be done with it.
7. Just stay silent. Often when I’m complaining I just want to get it out. I don’t need your support, I’m not looking for your sympathy, I just want to get it out there. If I’ve done that then my job is done. You read it and if you have nothing to add then your job is done. Wasn’t that easy?

I have one more thing to say because as obnoxious as the pointless platitudes are there is one thing that makes me want to stab myself (and the commenter) in the eye it’s the (((hugs))). Seriously people.

When I Grow Up I Want to be a…

I recently read a blog post that talked about not being afraid of your dreams and about deciding where you want to be and then working towards that goal and following your dreams and all that hooey.

No, it’s not hooey.  It’s important and it’s true and it can work.

The problem is that you have to decide where you want to be.  I have trouble with that.

When I started this blog I wanted to be a writer.  I had written a novel and I was working(ish) on getting representation for it so that I could get it published and begin living the life if a world famous, best selling author (whatever that is) but… well maybe, probably I just didn’t focus on that goal like I should have but the little people around here needed to eat and one thing and another and I put the famous author thing on hold so that I could go back to school.

So now here I am trying to get into nursing school and I’d love, as soon as I’m done to go on and do an MSN program and then maybe go on to be a nurse practitioner.  I’d love that (I think) and I’d be good at it (I think) and so that’s my current goal.  BUT well, I know myself too well.  Odds are that before I get there I’ll decide that there’s something else that I want to do.  Maybe I’ll go back to writing or maybe I’ll take an entirely different and completely unexpected direction. After all, if you had told me 10 years ago that I’d be doing nursing I never would have believed it, I had NO interest in healthcare.  And yet here I am.

That’s all I have to say, no great over arching lesson, no conclusion even.

I believe that I can achieve my dreams, I just have trouble figuring out what my dreams are.

So what do you want to be when you grow up (as of right now)?

One Fine Day

The boys puked all night. (There’s some speculation about some bad popcorn.)  It wasn’t quite as much fun as it sounds.

I got up and we read scriptures as a family (a huge accomplishment when you consider that the kids are off track and we’ve historically been crap at reading if there was no school to put a deadline on it.)

I went and took my test (I got a 91, thankyouverymuch.)

I had to stay at school a little longer than usual to work on my group project.

I came home to two boys (no longer puking thank goodness) who were unable to stay apart and yet unable to get along while together.

Sean had to run some errands.  All three boys wanted to go.  He took them all. (Sucker!)

I’ll have to leave a little early for class today so that we can put the finishing touches on the group presentation before we do it and then watch 9 other groups do theirs and then have a lecture (the point of this is that class is definitely going to take it’s allotted 4 hours today).

Between the puking and the fighting I’m not that sad to have to spend my “day off” away from the kids.

That is all.

PS. The title of this post was chosen solely because that’s the song that was playing on the computer when I started this post. (Don’t you just love the Carpenters?)

PPS. Back to interesting posts tomorrow I promise.

PPPS. If you wanted to help me win a $10,000 bike (and help fight cancer) you could follow this link and donate $5 to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  I’m just sayin…

Commuting

I got out of work about an hour and a half early yesterday.  It was a beautiful day, about 65 degrees, slight breeze, the sun was shining in a Toy Story sky (you know the clear blue with the white puffy clouds dotting the sky).

The first part of the ride home is the best part of the ride home.  The hospital sits about half way up a mountain so the first part of the ride goes down.  Down through the U of U campus which is a great place to ride because the roads are twisty and turny but it’s a college campus so the people driving there are used to cyclist enough that it’s not too scary to ride the twisty  turny roads.  Because I got off early there were more than the usual number of cars on the roads and in a few places the roads go down to one lane without enough shoulder to pass me on my bike.  For a minute I felt bad for the people in the cars behind me but then I realized that the downhill was sufficient that I was going a good 25 of 30 and they shouldn’t be going much faster than that anyway.

Just off the campus I got stopped at a light and one lane over there was a guy on a fixie.  (A fixed gear bike is set up so without a freewheel which means that if the back wheel’s turning the pedals are too.  There’s no coasting.  It also means that you can (at least in theory) ride backwards.)  I’ve heard about fixies and their riders that they can stay on the pedals at a standstill and just roll the bike back and forth as needed to not fall over.  I had never seen it but it’s true.  Very interesting.

Around the corner, onto 13th E and Garth Brooks “Ain’t Goin’ Down til the Sun Comes Up” comes on the i-pod.  This song is just fun.  It’s upbeat and quick and a really good riding song.  I find myself pedaling hard enough that despite the fact that the road is relatively flat, I lose resistance (because I’m now coasting faster than I can pedal).

I make it to 8th S. and the road really turns down.  8th S is completely straight.  And it goes straight down.  I keep telling myself that one day I’m going to do it without hitting the brakes at all.  But not today.  Still, even with the occasional tap of the brakes I get to the light at the bottom of the hill with tears streaming from my eyes from the wind and a huge smile on my face.

I’m stopped at the light at the bottom of the hill.  Have a little drink, adjust my headphones.  The light changes and just as I get back on the pedals a guy blows right by me. He’s cruising.  I assume that he’s still working off the momentum from the hill.

We get stopped at the next light together.  “Sorry for passing you like that, I just was coming off the hill..” he says.

“No sweat” I reply, “If you’ve got the momentum use it.”

“Yeah,” he says, “but then you get stopped at this light.”

“This road’s awful for that,” I say, “I ride it all the way across the valley and I inevitably get stopped 7 or8 times.”

“How far do you take it?” He asks.

“I ride from 13thE. at the top of the hill across to the Jordan River Parkway Trail (about 13th W)”

“Oh wow, you are going all the way across.” he says, “do you do that everyday?”

“No, once a week” I say, ” every Tuesday.”

The light changes.  We both get back on our pedals.  He’s faster than I am.  Not surprising, most people are faster than I am.  But he’s not so fast that I lose him altogether.  He slows to make a turn and I wave goodbye.  “See you next Tuesday,” he says.

And I ride across the valley.  8th S. has a bike lane all the way across so I don’t have to worry too much about cars and despite what I told the guy at the bottom of the hill, today I’m only stopped at 3 lights on my way to the trail.

I pick up the Jordan River Parkway Trail, a paved trail about one lane wide, and roll through the first of a series of parks.  I have a choice here.  I can take a right and ride into a neighborhood and then back to the trail, it’s the technical route of the trail, or I can go left and go over “the jump” and along a dirt trail back to the official trail.  I’m feeling good, I take the jump.

I hit it just right, going quick but not too fast.  I hop over it and then onto the trail and for just a minute I get to pretend that I’m some kind of mountain biker, rocking the single track.  Then I’m back on the paved trail.  I roll through some sort of garden.  I’m not sure what park this is, it’s too far north for me to be very familiar with the area but it’s lovely, flowering shrubs, benches, fountains.

Out of the park, across the street and I keep following the river.

As I cross one street and get back on the trail, I pass a bench with three teenage boys sitting on it.  As I approach I see one hand something to another of them.  As I pass I see all three with their hands suspiciously tucked out of sight.  And I smell pot.  I find myself giggling, I can’t help it.  I feel good.  So good.  “I know what you’re doing” I holler over my shoulder at the boys, I just can’t resist.

Following the trail, river on my right, I see ducks and pheasants.  The train gate is open which I love.  When it’s closed I’m forced through a series of switchbacks designed to slow riders down so that they don’t get hit by a train.  It’s a noble endeavor, but I can’t do the switchbacks on my bike and I’d really hate to have to get off.

Across the train tracks and down under an underpass.  I keep rolling, feeling good.  Feeling fantastic.

It occurs to me as I cruise along that I would be sad to miss this, to miss the way that I feel.  Yeah, I’m sweating, I’m breathing hard, but I feel amazing.  This is why I have a body, I  think this is why I wanted a body, why I fought for one.  Suddenly that whole concept makes a lot more sense to me.

I make it to the duck place and I wonder if I’ll see the girl on the horse again.  Last week there was a girl galloping (cantering? ) a horse through the muddy sandy “beach” by the pond. she’s not here today, but she’s been here or at least someone on a horse has.  Dodging horse pies becomes a game that I play as I ride along.

I’m listening to Green Day and planning on taking the long way around to my house when I realize that if I take the short way I’ll be home in time for Sean to go to mutual.  I get off the trail and hit the roads for the rest of the ride.  I have to be more careful here.  The drivers on the west side aren’t as considerate of cyclists and there are no bike lanes.  Still I make it without incident, sprinting down the street to my house faster Alison, faster I chant in my head.  I always sprint down my street, may as well end the ride with a bang.

And then I roll into my driveway.

With a commute like this.  How could you do anything else?  It almost makes me sad that I only work one day a week.

Taking Big Bites

In my house, when there’s a child who needs spoon feeding that child sits by Sean.  Inevitably, sitting with their dad they’ll eat better than they do for me.  My problem is that I just don’t have a lot of patience for child feeding, I’ve got other stuff going on.  So rather than being patient and slow I load the spoon up, to try to maximize the amount they’re getting with each bite.  In my head, at least in my subconscious, this will make the meal go faster.  In reality it usually resulted in tears and an unwillingness to eat and a host of other inconveniences and the meal ended up taking longer than it probably would have it I had just given the baby baby sized bites.  But I didn’t, because that’s not how I do anything.

About a year ago I was spending a fair amount of time rock climbing.  Most of the time it was just me and a friend who was only slightly more experienced in the sport than I was.  But occasionally, rarely, I would have the chance to talk to someone who climbed a lot, someone who had some expertise in the sport and their comments tended toward the same thing.  “Slow down.  Plan your moves.  You power through the early part of the climb and burn yourself out and then you’re stuck halfway up the wall.”  In other words, take smaller bites.

Well, I’m not spending a lot of time climbing anymore (although I am planning on going in about 2 weeks if I can raise the final $45 [follow the link to donate]) but I am spending some time bicycling.  My bike is an $80 Walmart special 15 speed “mountain” bike.  I ride it to and from various nearby establishments, the library, the store if I’m not buying too much, school and as I’ve mentioned before, home from work.  And in all those rides I’ve changed the gears exactly never.  The bike is in the hardest gear and that’s where it stays.   It’s not that I don’t know that I’ve got options, it’s not even really that I don’t have any reason to change gears, I would occasionally really appreciate an easier gear.  But if I change gears then each rotation of the pedals translates to that much less distance, it makes my efforts that much less efficient and well, I take big bites.

I did the same thing about a year ago when I went back to school.  I took all the classes I could fit into my life as fast as I could take them.  The goal was to be done as fast as possible.  The result was an extreme case of burnout about halfway through the summer such that I almost didn’t take classes at all this semester (but then I was offered a spot in a class that I’ve been trying to get into for a while and I felt obligated to take it).  I was stuck halfway up the wall too tired to keep going.

What this means for me in school is that I’m going to try to be a little more patient, a little more willing to slow down, to realize that it doesn’t all have to be done now, to realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

What this means for me in cycling is that if and when I ever get the chance to buy a “real” bike (one that comes form a bike shop rather than from a department store, one that actually fits me) I’ll probably buy a single speed with a pretty steep gear.  I neither want nor need other options.  Sure, conventional wisdom says that what’s important is the cadence (the speed at which you turn the cranks) and not the speed at which you’re moving.  But that’s just not how I roll (get it? roll? bike? Ha!) I take big bites.

I Have Got to Stop Doing This

The first problem is that I let myself go weeks without blogging.  That may not be a problem for any of you (in fact, I’m willing to bet that there are a few of you who are a little relieved when I don’t blog (you’re welcome for this summer BTW) ) but for me it’s a problem because my goal was to blog at least once a week and for those of you non math majors blogging every three (or four) weeks is not blogging once a week.

The second problem stems from the first.  Any time I’m not blogging pressure is building up.  When I’m blogging regularly I don’t notice so much, very little pressure builds up in the course of a day or two.  Even a week is not too big of a deal but by the end of three (or four) weeks there is considerable pressure.  What pressure you ask? (Yes, I’m aware that you don’t care) the pressure to write a really good post.  After three (or four) weeks I feel like I have to have something really good to blog about something that will, ideally, explain my absence but more importantly, explain why I’m back.

I feel like I have to have this post that’s great, that makes you laugh — or chuckle at least — or better yet, makes you cry.  A post that makes you realize that I’m a fantastic blogger and that you’ve missed my wit and wisdom terribly and that blah blah blah.  My returning post can not be about my workout today (which was really hard so hard in fact that I only did half of it which was a little sad because I have in the past done more than half of it (although I’ve never actually finished that particular work out) but today I did do it harder than I’ve ever done before (squatted lower, jumped higher, did all the push ups on my feet rather than dropping to my knees) so I’m actually not too disappointed.  Especially when I factor in the fact that I noticed today that the helper girl (you know the two people who stand behind the “instructor” and do the workout all with perky smiles on their faces) was totally phoning it in!  Her squats were not deep, she was hardly jumping at all (she did not drop to her knees but I’ll bet (I have to bet because I find it hard to watch the TV while I’m doing push ups) her form was not good) I don’t blame her.  It’s a stinking hard work out (as evidenced by the fact that I did not finish it) .  But I thought it was funny.)  See?  That’s not a good retuning post!

Neither is the one I was thinking about about the fact that the deadbolt on the back door broke –luckily when we were all inside so as to not be locking someone out (although now that I think about it I’m not sure how (or) why being locked in in so much better than being locked out) — and after pulling it apart and deciding that it could not be fixed, Shaun went to fairly great lengths to replace it (after having spent the day just using the front door) so that we can have a back door that looks like this: Let’s move past the dirtiness and the marks on the door left by the venetian blinds (yes, I know how to fix that I just don’t really care) and look at the fact that on this door, right next to the lock, I have not one but two broken window panes that have been expertly “repaired” with cardboard and duct tape.  Yeah, we’d better hurry and get a new deadbolt in there, we wouldn’t want to leave our house exposed.  (In our defense (pun intended) that is corrugated cardboard and there are two layers of it.  We’re totally safe.)  See?  Again, not a great blog post.

I also though about posting about the very nice guy on the Jordan River Parkway Trail that I was riding yesterday who helped me with my tire (I had a flat) and perhaps to mention that while what we tried (pumping it up) didn’t work,  (because the problem with my tire wasn’t something that could be repaired on the trail, or indeed at home, it can only be repaired by throwing that particular inner tube in the garbage) I appreciate the effort just the same.  And I got  a lot farther than a I would have if he hadn’t helped me out which was good because I still had to walk a fair bit.  Also that I really need to start carrying a cell phone with me when I ride.  And possibly that I got really lost on the trail but I love that I live in Utah so I always knew that I was going in (more or less) the right direction and that I would eventually end up some where that I could identify.   And I did.  I just have no idea how I got there.  (I’m very visual and I can’t find anything without a mental map.  Unfortunately I can’t get my ride yesterday to coincide with my current mental map.  Good thing I can map my ride it and see an actual map and then I’ll be fine.)

I really should blog about the Pea’s 8th birthday, which is today, but honestly I’m not really a fan of birthday posts (except for yours, I love yours) so I’ll probably just say Happy Birthday to the Pea and leave it at that.  (For that matter, I could blog about my 12th wedding anniversary which is tomorrow but I probably won’t, I hit the anniversary once –read it here, it’s good– and that will probably do it for the next few years.)

The third problem (I’ll bet you forgot that I was listing the problems I’m having with this blog) is the layout.  I’ve had numerous comments on the layout here in the Wonderland and they’ve all been positive (which I love) and honestly I really really like the layout, I like the colors, I like that it’s feminine without being overly feminine and I used to love that the text portion is wide.  Now… not so much.  See the wide text thing is great if you’re going to write really long posts, or if you’re going to, say, post chapters of your book as blog posts (which is the reason that I wanted the wide text thing in the first place.  And I’m sure you’ve noticed how often I’ve posted chapters of my books as blog posts…) but if you don’t have much to say it can be daunting.  I write what feels like a decent length post and then post it only to click over and see that it doesn’t even fill the screen.  (Right there, I can see the next (last) post peeking up at the bottom of the screen.  I can see its title, I can even see the first line or two.  Heck I’ve hardly written anything at all. *Hangs head in shame.*)  So I’m thinking about changing it but, that’s a lot (and by a lot I mean some) of work, I’m not sure I’m up to it.

So there you have it.  The reason that I’m not blogging, or that I haven’t been blogging or that… oh forget it.

Being the Bug

It’s spring break this week, for me, not for the kids.  That means that for one blessed week I don’t have school, I don’t have homework, I get to be home EVERY NIGHT.  I was supposed to spend the week in blissed out serenity, smiling, laughing, exuding joy.

Yeah, it hasn’t been quite like that.

Sunday night I got 4 hours of sleep.  Despite that fact I managed to get the dishes done, get the laundry started, work out, dress the kids, and feed them and myself lunch, all by noon and all without yelling, screaming or tears.  I was on a roll.  I had a little nap, a little cheesecake, and despite the fact that I had one of the biggest, most painful zits I’ve ever had (and that’s saying something)  cropping up on my chin, I was fine.

And then I checked my email.

What I found was an email from IHC about the nursing program that I applied for, the program that would let me be done with school the very soonest that I could be done, the one that wouldn’t cost me any money, the one that despite knowing better, I was counting on.  I didn’t get in.

It was a blow, I teared up, I called Sean, I complained to my sisters but I was ok.  And then I realized that in addition to losing all my apps when I synced my iPod that morning (it’s complicated) I had lost everything else too.  My calender, my contacts, a list of all my usernames and passwords for all my accounts.  All gone.

I lost it.  I spent the remainder of the day weeping.  Wandering around tears streaming down my face, absolutely bereft.

The sun went down and then it came back up and I’m ok, I’m going to be just fine, I can (more or less) recreate my calender and I can probably get back most of the numbers and addresses in my contacts list, I may even have a paper list of all my usernames and passwords somewhere.  I’ll be fine, I’ll come up with a new dreams and work out alternate plans and it’ll be fine, my skin will even clear up.  Eventually.

But yesterday, well, sometimes you’re the windshield but me, I was the bug.

PS If I had your address and/or your phone number I probably don’t anymore so either get it to me or don’t whatever.

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