A Poem

I decided to revisit my fifth grade gifted and talented class days and try my hand at poetry again. I call this “Sketch of a Typical Morning in the J Household”. Just a rough draft, nothing serious. I’m not liking the way WordPress adds a whole giant space every time I go to the next line, but whatryagonnado…

[Dreaming]

Hubby and I walking through Central Park

What is that ruffling sound?

Zzzzzzzz

Is hubby crinkling a plastic bag?

Zzzzz

Tap tap click clack

Is that a train approaching?

[Roll over]

[Yawn]

*Giggle

That doesn’t sound like hubby

Heavy weight on my body

Something squishing my cheeks together

[beautiful dream fading]

*Giggle

That’s not hubby.

Eyes flutter, open halfway

I look to my right. It’s Y.

Up at 6:30

the usual.

Busy as a bee arranging blocks in a line and shuffling papers

Better get up before she gets to the fridge

She always does.

Come on, Diane, you can do it

Up, up, up!

….

Outta bed sleepy head!

….

Where’s mom with that annoying Time to Get Up song when you need her?

Ughhhhh

Why do I NEVER feel like I had enough sleep…

Oh I know. Probably because each child generally wakes up at least twice…so I really DON’T get enough sleep…

And now I’m pregnant….

Woe is me… Ok enough of the pity party

[Finally extracts self out of bed as slowly as humanly possible]

Let’s see the mess she’s caused so far

Ok, not too bad, only three toy baskets overturned.

At least all the food is still in the fridge. Let’s count our blessings

“Y, let’s go into the other room for a few minutes until big brother wakes up” (maybe mommy can even steal another few winks…)

10 minutes later (or 15? Who can tell)

*Footsteps

That’ll be him!

“Morning, darling”

*big hug

Time to start the day

Any legit poets out there, I’m open to constructive criticism, but be gentle please! I’m rusty after…17 years 😉

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February 9th, 8:15 pm

Every once in a while, I still think to myself, “Hey, I should call mom; she always wants someone to call her.”

I remember she felt lonely a lot. She used to tell me she had “empty nest syndrome” (I’m still not convinced this is a thing). She wanted me to call her every day if I could, but she accepted my intention to “do my best to call every 2-3 days”. Even if we talked for 10 minutes, she was grateful. And if I said “I have to go so-and-so”, signing off real quick, she was completely understanding. I should have talked longer. 

I miss her voice. I miss her “Ok, darling, thanks for calling”s. I hope I remember her voice forever. I wonder if there comes a time when you can’t really recall on your own and you have to go back to your collection of videos. 

I have a million videos on Facebook (that’s my default dumping ground for ALL photos and videos- I set most to private, but I’m sure it’s not the most “private” option out there, so I need to make it a point to switch over). If I scroll down far enough, I get to the ones of mom. Reading T a book with him on her lap, following him around in the garage area at church, together at the doctor’s office, playing guitar on the stairwell, staring awkwardly and smiling into the camera when I zoomed in on her. She was a smiler. Though the smiles finally started to fade as she got weaker. 

I want to hold her hand again. I want to lean on her and feel her arm around me again. 

I can’t think of a conclusion to this. There doesn’t seem to be any resolution or lesson learned or grand finale to this train of thought. Just ongoing feelings. (Why am I such an emotional being?!) That’s the funny thing about writing. It usually comes in neat, organized parts that fit in nice, little packages and feel complete and resolved and settled. Life is nothing like that (at least not my life ha!).

And with that, I will simply end awkwardly and abruptly.

Toodles!

Honey, I’m Good

I cannot believe I missed this one when I wrote that list of current favorite songs.

“Honey, I’m Good” by Andy Grammer! 

To me, this song represents a glimmer of all that’s left that’s good in the world (ok, there are lots of good things left in the world. I’ll change that to “left in pop culture”)

I won’t say I agree with every detail of the video, but the main idea is magic: Love is real, love is strong, love is worth fighting for. It should be exclusive (read: monogamous), loyal, committed. For all the disappointing songs out there about being loose and promiscuous, thank God there are a few with a moral message.

Honey, I’m Good by Andy Grammer

Thanks, Andy 🙂 

Road Trip

My daughter wants to type this blog post. She’s sitting on my lap PreSSGING al

l the fun buttons!! I think she has a future in writing 😉

I have proceeded to lay her upside down on my lap. That worked for about 2 seconds. She’s up again and I’m holding her on my shoulders. Ah, parenthood.

So, this past Labor Day weekend, my dad and I drove my little ones to the “home place” – my mother’s parents’ old house in North Carolina. What could be like an 8 hour drive with the usual two short meal + bathroom breaks turned into about a 12 hour drive (we made 5 or 6 stops). That’s to be expected, though, with a 3 year old and a 1 year old! We had a few challenging moments, but no major meltdowns on the way down or back up, so I consider it a huge WIN!! I’m so glad we did it. I’ve been wanting to take that drive with my dad for a while now. We bonded over political conversations and the Frozen soundtrack on repeat. And it may very well have been the last time we got to see the house, as it is now for sale.

It’s a beautiful, red brick ranch style house. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, huge basement, and an attic. In its prime it had the most cozy, comfortable, right at home feeling. It hasn’t been lived in for a while, now, so it’s changed. Even so, the memories remain! My cousin and I doing somersaults and backflips over the living room sofa, playing the (now terribly out of tune) piano and opening presents (I think I asked for Barbies fourteen years in a row…) together with my aunts, playing pick up sticks with Grandmother in the dining room (she never let me cheat!), picking figs with my Granddaddy (I LOVE fresh figs!), making home videos with my uncles.

We spent a few hours out in the big, grassy, front yard (a nice change from the parking lot we usually play in). I showed my son how to climb the trees I used to climb and pet the caterpillars I used to pet (someone recently brought to my attention that the fuzzy caterpillars are often poisonous! Why did no one tell me this before?? I may have been risking my life and my child’s life this whole time…)

OF COURSE, we stopped to see my collective best friend – D’s entire family. A whole nother rush of memories! Sadly, we could only spend one day together, so I could only have like one half conversation with each individual… Also, my children have me running this way and that every 90 seconds, so it’s hard to carry an actual fluid conversation to begin with. Anyway, there’s always next time!

I took some cute photos along the way. Had to commemorate my children playing with all these wonderful people and beautiful animals we don’t normally get to see. Enjoy!

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(Please excuse the quality. iPhone brags about their photos on billboards, but apparently those are taken by some markedly more skilled photographers than I!)

How To Love Your To Do List Book Review

A good friend of mine recently published a book which is now available in paper and electronic form on Amazon! He is approaching the top 500 in Kindle books!

I would NOT endorse his book if I didn’t enjoy (and benefit from) it. It really is worth the read! And for a limited time, it is available FREE (that’s right, folks!) There is no good reason for you not to go check it out. You’ll get through it in at most several hours, and then you can jump right into making it all a reality in your life!

Here is the link!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FWME6GE

A sage and wise reviewer (wink wink) wrote:

I am 100% satisfied with my purchase! Sam Uyama has written a thorough yet simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to create the most effective To Do system, and therefore have the freedom to relax and enjoy life sans unnecessary stress. (Because life is so much more than your To Do list! 😉 ) Complete with practical and immediately applicable tips (my favorites are create “Next Action” oriented To Dos, categorize To Dos into separate lists, create a Tickler File, and designate Most Important Tasks), this book provides a pathway for those looking to be more efficient. In addition, Sam shares helpful (might I add life changing) organizational apps and websites along with free downloads of templates he created himself. To top it all off, he showcases a witty and endearing sense of humor throughout.

Special thank you to Sam for writing such a handy little guide aaaand for allowing me to sneak away with an advert as my entire post for this week (This girl is tired).

Me Before You

I’m eating dessert before dinner (as usual) thinking about my little ladies’ day out (nothing a little girl time can’t fix). We treated ourselves to a real live movie.

“A movie? What’s that?” – most moms

I am recently, FINALLY getting around to going to theaters again. We also got pedicures complete with massage and exfoliation! My calves are so soft!

So, we watched this movie called Me Before You – you may have heard of it? Causing a bit of a stir in some parts. I’ll give you my little review.

***SPOILER ALERT***

This adorable, bright spirited, warm hearted, incredibly expressive girl (Louisa, played by Emilia Clarke) lands a job as a caretaker for a young man (William, played by Sam Claflin) recently paralyzed from the neck down because of an accident. She comes from a humble family and she has been supporting her parents financially for some time. She takes the job because she’ll take any job, really. Will is a strikingly handsome, witty man who is bitter about his injury and resultant resignation to his wheelchair. He is depressed and hardly breaks so much as a smile for the longest time; that is until quirky, friendly Clarke finally gets through to him.

I expected a sappy, happily ever after love story…maybe a few rainbows and unicorns… Boy, was I wrong.

The man kills himself. We don’t see how, but we witness him making arrangements with some company which aids people in ending their lives. At the end of the movie, his parents and his new love interest stay by his side and say their last good byes.

I cannot come to terms with this. Perhaps it’s my upbringing. My faith (and my gut, really) tells me that suicide is not the answer and that the way we come into this world and the way we leave this world are things that should be left in God’s hands (well, this is tricky. I don’t think God actually plans each person’s death specifically. But I definitely don’t think we should have the opinion that we are only responsible and answerable to ourselves and that we can decide when we don’t want to exist anymore). Every single person’s life is infinitely precious and irreplaceable. Each person leaves a unique, meaningful imprint on the world that absolutely no one else can.

I can’t put my finger on what message the creator was intending for this movie (originally a book). I suppose she wasn’t trying to cater to the hopeless romantics, the so-called idealistic audience members…or then again, maybe she was? Maybe in her mind, this was the most romantic thing Will could have done – to allow Louisa a better life, even through his death. Regardless, it just doesn’t feel right to me for him to be gone; for him to just end it. I wanted them to grow old together! They would have been beautiful.

I couldn’t help putting myself in the place of Will’s mother. What would I do if it were my son? If my son were asking me in all sincerity to help him end his life? If he showed and explained just how deeply he was suffering (physically, mentally, emotionally) and how unfulfilled he felt; how disappointing his very existence was. Will says in the movie he’s been “waking up every morning already wishing it was over”. It almost makes me sick to even imagine having to wrestle with this decision in my own family. -end of serious bit-

If you’re reading this, I assume you’ve seen the movie (or never intended to, so didn’t mind the spoiled ending). If you’re like me, and you were left with a deep and profound void in your heart that could only be filled by Will (or at least Sam in one role or another) finding true happiness, I have good news! There is a movie out there that will do just that! (Ok, there are probably several, but I’m not the biggest movie watcher…I haven’t even seen The Hunger Games – For shame!, I know). It’s a few years old. “Love, Rosie”, it’s called. So cute. Total redemption for me.

My Love Affair with Chocolate

If you really, truly care about me, then you know that I really, truly care about chocolate. I really consider it one of the greatest things on the planet. It’s my best friend, my lover, my confidant. I go to it when I’m happy, when I’m sad…ok, pretty much any time at all when I’m feeling any way at all. Chocolate never lets me down. It solves all my problems (temporarily).

When I was pregnant, I craved chocolate even more than normal (if that’s possible). I went to sleep thinking about chocolate, dreamed about chocolate, and then woke up still salivating. I’m pretty sure there have been studies done that show it boosts our endorphins or something like that. Haven’t taken the time to go and look those up, but all that’s really important to me, personally, is that it’s delicious and it makes me feel GREAT.

I have shared more than a few choice statuses on Facebook – things to the effect of “How much chocolate is too much chocolate? *Feeling crazy*” and “Have you ever forced yourself to go to sleep early so as to prevent yourself from eating even more CHOCOLATE?” I may have a problem.

Speaking of chocolate, I friggin LOVE Entenmann’s Rich Frosted Doughnuts (I refuse to surrender to the madness and spell it “donuts”). I have found myself sitting in my kitchen on many occasions in utter awe wondering how in the heck they make those things SO INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS. I finally decided to check the ingredients….and I have something very sad to report.

THE MAIN INGREDIENT IS OIL. (Pro tip: the ingredients listed on a food product are listed in order from greatest to least amount contained). Even more than the bleached enriched flour (now that sh*t’s in everything)! Makes sense. That’s how they get that perfect gentle crunch on the outside. Cooking it in such a way with all that oil so as to make the outer shell just slightly crunchy – like chicken nuggets, but less crunch.

Unsurprisingly, discovering this sad reality has not deterred me from consuming an unhealthy amount of them every chance I get. My best bet is to just stop buying the things. That way, I don’t have to worry about my lack of self control. I can’t eat them if they’re not around!

Any other chocolate lovers out there? What chocolate dessert can YOU not resist?

A Day at the Deli

I’m working at my in laws’ deli today. They took a little road trip to South Carolina (my husband and 3 year old in tow!) to attend their younger son’s graduation from basic training (Whoo!!! Congrats, Soldier! We are so proud of you!)

So, I started working yesterday evening, then closed up shop at 12:30 am (ending my adventurous day by ushering out a homeless lady), lay in bed for what felt like an hour (but I was too scared to actually check the time), only to wake again less than 3 hours later to open up shop again at 4:30 am. I don’t know about you guys, but I am proud of myself for killing it (but not killing myself) the past couple days. Pretty impressive, I say.

I am typing this out on my iPhone (because why not? I’ve got nothing better to do in between tapping on my cash register). Also, I figure once in a while, I should write spontaneous posts and impress my (again, hundreds and thousands of) readers with my ability to be hilarious on demand.

Anyway, the lack of sleep is starting to get to me. My “You’re welcome”s have turned into “Y’wuhcums”. I also just this moment was caught staring, mouth open, at a customer for 3 seconds before snapping back to reality and handing him his change. 

I thought I was immune to sleepiness at this point because of all the sleep deprivation that comes with motherhood (and worsens with mother-of-twohood). But I guess this is another level of tiredness. I’ve been carrying boxes around and rearranging drinks all day in order to avoid dying of boredom during the lulls. Thankfully, I’m off soon! 45 more minutes, Diane! You can do it!

As I mentioned, my son is on a little trip with his daddy and grandparents and I am just so proud of him because as far as I’ve heard, he is being cooperative and well mannered (and to my greatest relief, not crying inconsolably for me). He was so good when we said good-bye! (The new robot I bought him helped) My little boy is growing up! I miss him!!! 

Also, I need a nap. 

That Tingly Feeling

You may or may not have heard of the sensation that has been named ASMR or autonomous sensory meridian response (not a scientific term) by Jennifer Allen. As far as I know, it’s only recently coming into the limelight and being talked about. There are still no official studies done or scientific definition of what is happening to the brain and body during an ASMR. While some may brush it off as “junk science”, I’m here (as your highly intelligent, 100% reliable, internet blogger friend) to tell you that it’s a real thing.

Like many “ASMRers” (another unofficial term), I’ve been experiencing ASMR since childhood. My earliest memory of ASMR was during my piano lessons at the age of 8 or so. My piano teacher had a subtle Chinese accent and a soothing, gentle voice with a particular aspect I couldn’t explain that would trigger a particular sensation I couldn’t explain. I still can’t quite explain it. It’s definitely pleasurable, definitely calming, and definitely not sexual. When I experience ASMR, I feel intense tingles/vibrations all throughout my scalp that feel like they’re coming from deep within. Some say their tingles extend to other parts of their body, but mine just stick to my cranium. ASMR causes me to go into a deeply relaxed, meditative state. Some compare the feeling to the high you get from a mild drug. I’ve never tried drugs, so I can’t say, but it sounds feasible.

My personal triggers are voices. Certain voices that have a particularly soothing, melodic sound to them. 9 times out of 10, it’s female voices. I have talked on the phone to total strangers and gone into a trance just listening to the sound of their voice, almost forgetting to comprehend what they are saying. One time, a woman from the wedding hall where I got married left a voicemail on my phone. I saved that message for six months! All of the people who have brought on ASMR remain distinctly implanted in my memory. It almost sounds creepy (I hope none of these people ever happen upon my blog and realize I’m talking about them!), but again, I assure you, this has nothing to do with physical attraction. Apparently, a common voice trigger for many is Bob Ross, the painter featured on “The Joy of Painting” on PBS, though he doesn’t do it for me. Or maybe I haven’t given him enough of a shot. (Note: His videos were not made with the intention of triggering ASMR as far as I know.)

I don’t have ASMR every time, even with the same recording. I suppose it has something to do with my state of mind. I have to be relatively alert (i.e. not half asleep, which is pretty hard to come by nowadays!), yet relaxed. My most recent ASMR occurred while I was feverishly trying to figure out the new healthcare system and which of the ridiculously expensive health insurance plans we should shackle ourselves to. A lovely woman named Mayra Alvarez had me way too happy to be listening to what qualifies as a “Life Event”. If you’re interested, you can watch the video here.

I never actively went looking for these experiences over the years. I was just pleasantly surprised when they occurred. I have a feeling that if I do decide to “go looking” for them (thousands of Youtube videos await!), the whole thing might lose its sort of mysterious sparkle.

Beyond voices, people have reported triggers such as the sound of nails tapping against a surface, the sound of hair brushing, and seemingly very popular is whispering. As you can see, a common trend is that of sound, though some people’s triggers extend to touch and overall experience (there are lots of “role playing” videos popping up).

All very interesting stuff! …Or, is it? Well, to me, it is because I have experienced ASMR, though undoubtedly, there are many who haven’t. So, have you or haven’t you? If you haven’t, are you intrigued? Would you like to try it out? You can easily spend days on end watching video after video after video on Youtube. If it works, great (Some rave it cured their insomnia!)! Mission accomplished! If not…you will be left wondering which would be worse: continuing to watch yet another second of this mind-meltingly mundane nonsense or eating nothing but cat food for the rest of your life. I’ll leave you to it!