Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dancing With The Underdogs

Please tell me you have been watching Dancing With the Stars. Yeah, that's right...I just admitted I watch that show. Honestly, I'm not sure why...I probably had a hole in my line up on Monday nights so I plugged that in. There is something amusing about watching has been/trying to be up and coming stars trying to learn to do the cha-cha and the waltz while their sadistic ballroom partners yell at them. This season has not been disappointing, especially with the Hoff. He was voted off week one and he deserved to go but Lord was it funny watching him trying to shake his stuff with all the make up sliding off his face in rehearsals.

Well, this week we were down to the final four....Jennifer My Neck/Back/Insert body part Hurts Grey, Kyle in the House Massey, Bristol I Got Pregnant Right Before My Mom Was Named Vice President Palin, and Brandy I Just Want Everyone to Love Me and I Have No Last Name. Jennifer breaks down every week crying "I can't do it!!" because some body part has failed her then she goes out there and dances like she is in tip top shape. I'm so sick of listening to her say "I have to remember I'm 50". Hey, you know what Jen, Mama Brady who is almost 80 danced her tail off and she never complained once about her body parts or age so shut your dance hole. Kyle is good...nuff said there. Brandy and her dance partner Max seem to hate each other and fight every week in rehearsals....often with Brandy huffing out of the room to "cool down". When the judges tell her how good she was each week she opens her eyes wide, blinks, tears up and then says "Really? Oh thank you!" like she is surprised. Cut it, Brandy. You are good, you know it, and they tell you that every week so it shouldn't be surprising anymore. Then she tells Max how much she loves him even though we just saw a little short of her telling him how mean he is to her.

Then we have Bristol. Now I have to say, she has grown on me. She seems like a nice girl who ended up getting pregnant by a tool...and unfortunately the whole world got to share in the news when her Mom was picked to run for VP. Hard enough to have to tell your parents that you are pregnant in high school but to have the whole world know? Ouch. I think she deserves a break in life and it came in the form of DWTS. Now, she is a "technically good" dancer but the girl is wound tighter than a high strung poodle and has major issues shaking her tail feather, which at times, can be uncomfortable to watch. Understandable of course, because the last time she shook her tail feather a baby fell out.

WELL...fast forward to the results show and everyone is expecting Bristol to get voted off. But out of left field, Brandy gets voted off instead. Honestly, I thought she could have won it she was that good. I think I laughed for two days straight. GO BRISTOL!! I love that the average girl next door is in the top 3...rather than those you expect to win because they have a dance background. Brandy is probably still curled up in the fetal position crying "I thought you liked me!!" It would be even more hysterical if Bristol won the whole thing and Jennifer joined Brandy on the couch crying like a wounded animal.

I like the underdogs. I just hope Bristol can loosen up and bring her bootie and her girls next week. I think you know who I am rooting for here. Even if you don't watch the show on a regular basis, tune in for a good chuckle next Monday night at 8.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Would You Like a Scarf or a Poncho?

Several years ago my sister-in-law had a psychic come to her house to do readings and I think I was first in line. As a planner and one who likes to know the answers, I couldn't wait to be told what would happen in the future. During my reading she told me I needed to get creative again...that it was really missing from my life. And it was. But honestly, who has time to be creative...unless you are in an artistic career. The most creative thing I was doing at that point was changing my eyeshadow from brown to lilac. That stuck in the back of my mind for years though, and I kept trying to find time to be more creative. Back in high school, my senior year english teacher told me I should really pursue writing but to me it seemed like something you did on the side for fun, not as a career. In college I sold a few paintings. Believe me, I am no Picasso, but painting and drawing was something I always loved to do. When I had kids, I channeled my creativity into making homemade birthday party invitations, designed "whimsical" parties, and whipped up fun snacks and treats that looked like animals and flowers. Clearly I focused my artistic energy into my number one priority, my kids...not myself.

Fast forward to my sabbatical and I suddenly had time to rediscover my artistic interests and I did so first, by grouting sea glass and shells into my tub surround. It gave me the boost I needed to get the creative juices flowing again. Then I upped the stakes and signed up for a watercolor painting class. I found myself painting for two hours one day after the kids left for school. The picture I created that day is now hanging in my living room. I didn't feel guilty for one second about "wasting" that time. That is what Stressed Out Kelly would have called it. Instead I felt accomplished, creative, happy, and peaceful. One of the first pictures I made was of the sun setting over the sea. I loved it so much I framed it and put it over my tub. Every day I look at it and smile. And not because it is some fantastic painting but it reminds me of Little Kelly and the things she used to love to do. Every day I get to see a piece of the old me and it reminds me to keep pushing myself to pull off those old layers and get back to the real me.

Last week I joined a knitting circle. Okay, I know what you are thinking....I am not turning into an old lady. Just like 40 is the new 30, knitting is the new painting. Over the summer, I had conversations with a few friends about getting together to knit. My mother in law is an incredibly accomplished and talented knitter who has tried to teach me over the years, but since I am a type A freak, my wiring says I need to have goals and be measured on my accomplishments...which weren't many when I was responsible for self motivating myself to knit. So, the idea of a group of people getting together to learn a new skill AND be artistic...with deadlines...was incredibly attractive to me. And let's be honest...I love to chat with my girlfriends so add that into the list of benefits and I could hardly contain myself.

There are 3 of us in the circle...or perhaps I should call it a triangle. Our "Ringleader" is a very experienced, accomplished knitter who is a patient, natural teacher. She also has ten bins of yarn and about 30 sets of knitting needles, all in tidy organizers. Holy Knitting. One of the things I like most is watching her relive her memories of learning from and knitting with her mom, who passed away two years ago. As a mother, I would find great pride in having Mimi or Jack talk so fondly about something we did together..and to realize what an impact it has had on them in their lives.

Our other member is a great, intermediate knitter who learned the craft from her mother in law. She came with her fantastic knitting needles and beautiful chunky yarn in the bag that her mother in law had knitted and felted for her. I arrived with my leftover halloween candy in a plastic baggie, a bottle of wine, Mimi's knitting needles, and multi color pink/purple/orange yarn. Whatever bitches.

In the first half hour I was outed as a "tense knitter". Yeah...maybe I was tense because I was working with the Martha Stewart of Knitting and her Sidekick. I was determined to be good at this and did okay for the first few rows. I got home and knit for a solid hour...like a woman possessed. Insert the sound of tires screeching. When I stopped to take a look I realized that although I had started with 30 stitches, I now had 42 stitches on my needles...and somehow I had knit two holes into my scarf. What the what?! The next day I picked it up again and ended up with Knitters Thumb...is that common?

Here are the top 5 things I have learned so far (and by so far I mean one meeting of our knitting triangle):

5. According to our Ringleader, if you can't see your mistakes from a galloping horse, they are fine. I can actually use my scarf as a headpiece, complete with two eye holes, for my galloping horse so I know this isn't a keeper.
4. You might start out making a scarf but end up making a Barbie blanket. Roll with it. Be flexible.
3. Things that are homemade are just that. They are made with love, have mistakes, and not only reflect the personality of the person they are made for, but also reflect the person who made them. In my case, if I make something for you, keep a sense of humor about it.
2. Taking time to do things that you enjoy and energize you are worth every second.
1. Sometimes you think the moment is about you but then you realize its bigger than you. Here I was thinking that we were just getting together to knit and learn a new skill, but what I realized is that each time we get together in our triangle, my friend has an opportunity to feel closer to her mother. That's priceless.

So, do you want a scarf or a poncho for Christmas?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Admittedly, it's been awhile since I last posted a new entry. I apologize. I have recovered from being curled up in the fetal position while Mimi was away. I wish I had a picture of our faces when we first saw each other when she got back from her trip. I'm not embellishing...she was really excited to see me, she hugged me so tight...and of course I dropped a few tears. Then I proceeded to drive into a rock when pulling out of the school...I was giddy that she was home and didn't see the boulder on the right side of my car....let's just say there is some damage to my car and Timmy was none to happy. But my baby was home!

I am now in an all out funk. I have been looking for a job for a few months and it isn't pretty. Most of the jobs I am interested in are in Boston...just the place I was trying to avoid. And they seem like very time consuming jobs...I am so afraid of getting myself back into the same circle of working like crazy and feeling like I have no choice to put my family on the back burner. If anyone knows of any great internal communications or event management positions in the metrowest area that affords a work life balance, please feel free to contact me! I have been lucky to have spent the time realizing what I do/don't want and I know I want to work in an industry that I am passionate about..becuase then it doesn't feel like work...it's just life. I also am passionate about working for a company that is socially responsible, meaning that it is committed to improving our world in one way or another. Obviously I want to work someplace where having a work/life balance is respected but I know that I have to draw that line and stay true to myself. I also know I am asking for a lot but at least I know what is important to me. Honestly, I couldn't have told you what was important to me in my future career plans 6 months ago...that would have taken too much time that I didn't have.

Luckily, Halloween came along to distract me. I love Halloween. When we were single, we used to have big Halloween parties with Tim's brother and his wife. One year we made a coffin about 3 hours before everyone arrived. While the boys got out their saws and nails, Lyn and I stuffed a body to put inside. His stomach ended up being a pasta dish...his leg was made out of chicken bones....it was a blast! We had the best costumes...one year I was Nancy Kerrigan and spent the entire night walking on ice skates. The next morning I had a sprained ankle but at least I didn't have a busted knee. One year, we went as the cult Heavens Gate, even building bunk beds about 2 hours before everyone arrived. We filled the beds with stuffed bodies wearing capes, wearing nikes, and having bald heads. Those were the days.

So, when my kids were born, all I wanted to do was craft homemade costumes. For about 10 years, I was jones'ing to heat up a glue gun, sew something, to bedazzle and bejewel fabric in some way. In the "early days" the kids didn't have a choice...Jack was a red M&M on his first Halloween and Mimi was a sunflower. I crafted those and we waited in our house for someone to ring the bell...and no one, not a single person, stopped by. We lived on a dark, windy road and there were no kids nearby. I have a lot of pictures though...they looked cute, believe me. Then they had a mind of their own and they wanted to buy the popular, commercial costumes. Of course I complied..I wanted them to be happy. Inside I was dying a slow craftless death.

This year I came up with a great costume for Jack...I would make him "road kill". He would wear a black sweatsuit adorned with yellow duct tape road markers...and in the middle of his stomach would be a flat squirrel with its guts and eyeballs hanging out...complete with plenty of fake blood. I was SHOCKED that this was met with complete disapproval. Apparently, when you are in middle school, this is NOT a cool costume. Huh. I just thought...boys...blood....dead rodents...clearly this will be good. Not so much. Instead he ended up being a hobo...Tim was a hobo EVERY YEAR for Halloween...his mother used to offer to buy him and his brother a bag of candy if they just skipped going out. Instead, he dressed in the same costume each year...because it was easy. I think we know where Jack's genes are coming from....

Mimi decided she would like to be a smore...since we camped so much this year, she felt this was a great idea..and I couldn't have agreed more! "We" spent two weeks on her costume....and in the end, duct tape became my friend. We used cardboard, markers, pillows cut up and taped on for fluff...even made a marshmellow hat....it gives me shivers just thinking about it. She is lucky I didn't go to each and every door with her saying "Look what I...we made!!" When we were done Mimi said "You should make Halloween costumes for a living , Mom!"....oh, if only I could...

So, let me add to my list of career aspirations...internal communications, event management, and Halloween costume maker extraordinairee....let me know if you hear of any openings in those areas...