Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What a Lovely Day: The One Where I Sliced My Finger

What is this? Another post already!

On Sunday, I set out to have an epic Father’s day celebration since our girls were out of town enjoying Camp Nana & Grandfather. The plan was to have brunch, visit the Farmer’s Market, work on the yard, then go to a movie. We had a brilliant brunch, and headed over to the Farmer’s Market where we scored the largest zucchini I’ve ever seen. Yeah, everything in Texas is bigger, apparently!


Moments after this photo, a massive rainstorm hit and we were caught in it. We had parked a few blocks away and the walk to the car felt like we were in the middle of a splash park. The fat rain and strong winds didn’t hurt. It was still plenty warm and the cool rain was refreshing. I was actually laughing, because I love pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. On the drive home, I was literally sloshing in my seat from the downpour, all the while, a stupid grin graced my face from the experience.

When we arrived home, instead of working on the lawn as previously mentioned, I opted for a nap. No sense in attempting to mow during the rainstorm. It was such a glorious nap, too. I slept the hardest I’ve slept in weeks and was so re-energized, I awoke hungry. I remembered I still had my birthday avocados (doesn't everyone?), which needed to be eaten, so a snack of guacamole before the movie sounded like a great idea. The avocados were perfectly ripe, too. I diced the garlic. I had tossed in my salt. I chopped cilantro. I squeezed the lime. I spooned the halves of the avocado that didn’t have a pit into my bowl. Then, I took my Global Chef’s Knife to the pit to take it off--just exactly as I have done many, many times over the years. You know, each of those times I’d performed that same task, I remembered feeling quite proud at accomplishing such a dangerous feat--knife skills can be dangerous, after all! This time, however the pit just slid around in a circle when I tried to grab it with the center of the blade and an easy chop. Instead of just squeezing the avocado to produce the pit, I earnestly shoved the pointed end of the knife to the pit, so as to stab it in place…

….the pit easily tumbled out, the sharp knife easily sliced a 1 inch gash near the joint of my left index finger, and all together, like Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, all pieces clashed to the sink! I rinsed knife off, my blood pooled blood under the cool water, my mouth salivated because I was so hungry--all I wanted was some guacamole. I calmly called out saying I needed to get to a doctor, willing my finger to be ok, telling myself no less than 50 times that I didn’t feel the pain. If I can state it aloud and rationalize it to my brain to stop feeling the aches, I can likely suppress it. (Surprising myself with this ability: when we were at the ER later and the triage nurse asked me my pain level, I stated 1 on the scale of 1-10. It was by no means a 10, but I did expect to say something higher, because duh, we were at the ER!)

I did a quick check on WebMD to see what to do and how it compared to other lacerations. According to the Internet (ha!), I had between 12 and 24 hours before I needed immediate attention, so I said, let’s try to make the movie*. We cleaned it up the wound, bandaged it and headed out. Nevermind I could see the blood saturating the bandage. I clot well and I had a back up paper towel just in case. However, being Father’s Day, all movies were sold out unless you wanted to sit at the very front row. Dangit! Off we went to the ER, where I was gifted with some Lidocaine and five stitches.

The doc asked me if I’d ever gotten stitches before and I answered honestly, “Yeah, on my vagina.” He was a bit taken aback by my bluntness, and caught his stammering by saying, “oh..well, uh…you were likely numb from an epidural.” I interrupted him and said, “No, I felt it. Both my births were natural and the stitching was well, not pleasant, but after giving birth coupled with the hormone surge, the tiny pricks weren't really a factor. The birth itself was a 10 on the pain scale.” We continued to joke and he showed us proper stitching technique--in the event of the zombie apocalypse (his words!), then walked me through what to expect. As a result, I’m going to miss playing in the annual dodgeball tournament which will be later on this week, but the whole thing made for a great story!

That night, we stayed in and made a plan to go to the movies the next evening.

*The movie was Mad Max: Fury Road and in my opinion, such a clever and fantastic action movie with heart! I was overwhelmed, surprised, in suspense, and felt like I was a small child watching my first ever action film, only there were really strong female characters in search of redemption. I HIGHLY recommend you go see it! It may not be for everyone, but it was DEFINITELY my kind of film. I had been wanting to watch this film since it was released, but we didn’t have a sitter or time. While everyone else is raving about Inside Out or Jurassic World, I’m behind the curve saying, hey, check out Mad Mad, folks, because I agree with Rotten Tomatoes’ 98% rating! Go now, before it leaves the theaters.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Music Review: Joy Williams’ VENUS #JoyWilliams #O2O

“You are so afraid to say anything wrong that you are risking not saying anything at all. You’ve got to be brave. If you’re feeling mad as hell, then we’re going to write a mad-as-hell song. If you’re feeling broken beyond measure, we’re going to write a broken-beyond-measure song.”—Matt Morris on a conversation with Joy Williams

 

Have you ever been afraid to say what is in your heart? Have you ever censored yourself so much that you’ve forgotten what it was like to truly express an opinion outside of your immediate circle? Have you ever lived your life in a way that didn’t feel like it was authentically you? If you answered yes, then I think you will have an inkling of what Joy Williams is trying to express in her new album, VENUS. I didn’t listen to The Civil Wars much, prior to listening to this album. I knew they had broken up, but their departure from making music didn’t affect me because their melodies had yet to connect to my spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I was curious to know about them more after the myriad of accolades they received, but it was never more than in passing. Knowing that, here is my review of Joy Williams’ next solo venture: VENUS which is set for release on June 29.

At first listen, I could hear heartbreak. I heard sadness. I heard vulnerability. I heard honesty. I heard hope. I heard bravery. I heard courage. But this album isn’t an anthem for overcoming pain, nor is it one championing the heartbroken spirit. It is a collection of songs of one woman’s journey out of her own darkness, defining herself, and accepting her truth—as she defines it. Acceptance of self is a beautiful thing.  Many of the songs are quite relatable and are beautifully arranged.  Initially, I didn’t understand some of what she was singing about, so I dug into her personal history a little more. After twenty minutes lost into a Wikipedia wormhole, I learned that in her time since the departure of The Civil Wars, she’s been enjoying her time as a mother. She remains married to her husband and her former bandmate is married to his wife and has children himself. The duo that made up the Civil Wars met at a writing camp and shared a creative connection. The fruits of their labors were beautiful, but you know what, it was a relationship that had an eventual demise and deserved to be mourned. In the passing of such relationships, there exists a space of full of ache and lamentation, where remnants of all of the broken relationships from your past exist. And so I listened again with different ears. I better understood the pain she was feeling, as well as that optimism. This was especially evident in “One Day I Will.”

“Perfect is just not good enough” is probably my favorite line in this album. You will find it on the fifth track: “Not Good Enough.” I can see “Until the Levee” turned into a dance club remix with the powerful vocals and strong lyrics, like “drink the lonely down” and “stand here in the ache until the levee of my heart breaks.”

This album grew on me more and more after each listen. She has a beautiful voice and one that deserves to be heard. If you give it a listen, I hope you enjoy it, even if it isn’t until the third or fourth time you listen.

 

Find her online:

**I participated in the Joy WIlliams Venus album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.**

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Last Day of First Grade

Today is the last day of school for my eldest. We took a leap of faith and opted to send her to a Charter school instead of a traditional ISD. It wasn’t a good or a bad choice, but a choice that we’d felt was right for our family at the time. It is the end of the year and the biggest takeaways for the year have been:
  • she has improved in her Spanish language skills, so much so that she teaches her baby sister
  • she has a genuine hunger for knowledge, especially anything related to science – she has a basic understanding of photosynthesis, can identify different types of plants, knows the different types of clouds and what they signal, is aware of different climates and regions, and knowing all of that, she isn’t threatened by thunderstorms, earthquakes, or tornadoes
  • she has horrendous spelling, but that had never been an emphasis for the year <—not one single spelling test this year
  • she is doing fractions, complex addition, and basic division – this was made even more evident when she could divide food portions based on those fractions and she could estimate her per mile pace based on her finish times
  • she has increased her strength in compassion and kindness
  • she has improved her confidence so that when other kids are mean, she isn’t as bothered by it
  • she is still a dreamer and fiercely independent
Next year, I am unsure if we will go back to the Charter or the traditional ISD. Several months ago, I wrote her a letter to get my thoughts out. Reading it over, those same words still ring true to me.
You've always been a curious dreamer. Your eyes will often stare off and I will catch you dancing in the sunlight when I don't hear music. I am quite familiar with both of those things. I remember when I was a child, dancing to the music in my heart with the wind blowing against my wild hair, the sun kissing my face. I remember pirouettes in the rain. I remember watching the whole world in front of my eyes, with wonder and awe, unaware that mundane things weren't meant to attract the attention that captivated me in that way. No one else saw and heard as me. The colors were more vibrant, the music was louder, the feelings were stronger, but I didn't know how unique and special that was. I wouldn't know it to be special until I was older and some of it had faded, but I did my best to pass it on to you. 

Knowing what I know, I struggle with your school(s). They want to limit the dreaming and the dancing. They need to fit it into a time-box that you can only visit a few times a week. You need to learn and grow into a productive member of society, where, SURPRISE!, closet dreamers make the world go 'round! So many of the successful people I have been fortunate to meet and know had creative energy in common. They saw the world from a different perspective, one unseen by others and they are all very driven (ambitious).
My stress is this: Where should you go for your education? I endeavor to figure out a way for you to learn and excel at important subjects like reading, math, science, writing, all while allowing your creativity to flourish. Standardized tests won't tell me how you are progressing in life. They won't tell me that you are excelling at the things that matter most: because you can't measure the unseen and the unknown. But you must learn to multiply and divide because you will need those skills in life. You must know how to read and write, because effective communication is important in life. You must remain a curious dreamer—that is something you were born with, not taught!

My child didn’t get any fancy awards this year at their ceremony. I’d prepared her, as such. She was ok with it. Her response, “Mommy, that’s ok. I don’t need any awards or certificates.  I have plenty from the other things I’ve done. I am not the best student in class. I am not the worst student. Besides, you told me that I should be better than I was yesterday and that’s all I’ve tried to do. I feel like I am better than I was when I started.” It was a punch in my gut. I am very driven and want my children to be driven. However, their motivation to achieve is vastly different in the way that I measure my own success. She’s right. She’s listened to me. She’s applied it and is happy.
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I wasn’t surprised that when they called her name, what followed were: promoted to second grade and reading 1000 books. (Those damn log sheets were such a struggle for us over the past three weeks, I tell you. The child loves books and reads 1-2 hours a night. This is what happens when you aren’t allowed television during the school week and are restricted to movies on the weekends. Every where we went, she had a book! The thing was, she’d never written them down. She didn’t write them down while she was in school, either. When I asked her why, she simply said, “Mommy, I don’t write as fast as the other kids. I like to take my time. Plus, some of the other kids needed help, so I helped them or I just wanted to spend my time reading.”) She didn’t get the best student, most improved, most valuable player, best at music, best athlete, or any other academic award, therefore, she didn’t get a medal from the school. She told me that she was one of three kids in her class who didn’t get a medal, and she was ok with that. She also said she was so excited for her friends who earned their medals and gave them a high five. When I asked her if she wanted to maybe earn one the next year, she looked at me, thought about it, and said, “Maybe, but only if they think that my hardest work has earned a medal. Otherwise, no, I don’t want for them to just give me one. I want to be able to earn it. I am still going to work hard, as hard as I can, but sometimes there are just people who are better and that’s ok. It’s important to tell everyone good job for trying. Like you said Mommy, we all have different gifts and some of us are better at some things than others.”
Yep, some of us are better at some things than others.


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