Sunday, May 31, 2009
"A female grasping her head by her arm can repeatedly be spotted thinking in Wildcat Stadium very late at night. Locals here who have noticed this ghost argue this ghost is the ghost of a vacationer that was murdered while traveling through Wink some decades ago."
When I moved to Wink, Texas back in 1985, I was immediately whisked away by a group of local girls who insisted upon taking me to Thunder Road. The legend of Thunder Road goes something like this:
"A bus driver and a load of kids stalled on the rail road tracks. The door became stuck on the bus and the driver and all the kids were trapped. A train came barreling down the tracks, hitting the bus and killing everyone on the bus. Legend has it that if you drive out to Thunder Road late at night and park your car on the tracks and kill the engine that the spirits of the bus driver and children will try to push the car off the tracks. To capture this phenomena you must sprinkle baby powder on the rear window and back of car."
The eerie thing is, that right when I started writing this blog...thunder began to roar.
Like I said, I being the new girl in town was whisked away to witness this event and to have the daylights scared out of me. We drove out to Thunder Road, made our way down to the tracks, killed the engine and sat there in the dark. There were four girls and we were all volunteering the other to get out and put the baby powder on the car. Finally, one of the girls got out and did the deed. We sat there for a good 5 minutes in the dark, quiet...hardly breathing, until someone suggested we had been there long enough.
We made our way back to Wink and stopped just short of the tennis courts. We conspired and decided that we were going to fake the hand prints and freak out the boys that were practicing tennis. To our surprise, hand prints were already on the car and rear window! Small child size prints and one set of large adult size prints, suggesting that of the bus driver. I don't think anyone believed us, but I knew and the other girls were certain that we had experienced a truly paranormal event.
I live in Wink home of the Roy Orbison Festival, and I love my little house. Last summer the kids and I planted 11 trees, tore down an old cattle guard that was posing as a fence, created a fire pit on the empty side lot, found big rocks and painted them different colors to line the pit, made a totem pole out of the old standing utility pole on the lot, and repainted the kitchen. We put a lot of time and effort into the house and have come to be very proud of it...not because it's the biggest and prettiest house in the neighborhood, but because we've made a commitment to invest in our home. Change is uncomfortable, but if you manage it well the change becomes the victory you can celebrate.
Whatever situation I'm faced with, I will always state clear goals and find the most efficient path. I knew back in 1996 that I wanted to leave New Orleans. I was newly divorced with a child of 3 1/2 and I decided the two of us needed a change. Why Colorado? Well, when I went out there with a friend for Spring Break, this will sound pretty silly, but it was the very first time I had ever seen the mountains.
You know that song...purple mountain majesty? There they were, standing majestic and purple in front of me...my mouth fell open, eyes filled with tears...at that moment those ancient grand mountains beckoned to me. I had to answer the call. Within 3 months, I resigned from my job, packed all my belongings into a U-Haul truck and headed to Colorado. I didn't have a job or even a place to live.
I stayed in a hotel room for a week...I was running out of time. I contacted a house renters association and this lady brought me from place to place. Nothing felt right and in the meantime, I set up an interview with a DME company for a billing position. After the interview, I picked up a paper and looked through the rental classifieds. An add stood out...2 bedroom home in Golden, fenced back yard, playhouse...that was it. Yes, it was more than I wanted to pay, but when I pulled up into the driveway of that sweet little house...I knew that this was where Justin and I would begin our lives in Colorado.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
The festivities in Wink included door prizes, cash awards to seniors, mechanical bull riding, sumo wrestling, swimming, XBOX tournaments and lots of food and soda. I dropped my son, the freshman, off around 10:00PM; feeling rather confident that he would be safe and cared for. All his goofy friends, beaming ear to ear waved goodbye to me. Not more than 30 minutes later, I heard a car pull up outside the house, lights were flashing and then a forceful knock on the door. I turned on the outside light, looked through the glass panes on my front door and saw the local Law Dog (I'm a huge Tombstone fan) with my son and his friends standing with their heads lowered behind him. First thought, "OMG, what did they do?" I opened the door and stepped outside. Law Dog asks, "Are these your kids?" Okay, I only had a few seconds to respond, thousands of thoughts are running rampantly through my mind, neurons are firing, synapses are connecting...first reaction was to deny that I knew them or even have ever seen them before, but I swallowed and accepted responsibility for my little piglet. "Only this one. (I pointed to the one in the above picture with his hands on his hips wearing the striped shirt) The others are his friends." Law dog, "What would you like for me to do with the others? Shoot 'em?"
Wow, they must of done something really bad...for him to suggest shooting them. I simply shook my head and said, "Sure." That's when giggles broke loose within the four fiends... Law Dog helped the four pull a prank on poor old mom, he only gave them a lift back to the house because Justin had forgotten something. You can bet your bottom dollar...I won't be living this one down for awhile. Secretly, I was pretty pleased with the creativity and that they weren't in any trouble after all!
Friday, May 29, 2009
I normally don't kiss and tell, but today...I am. For a very long time I didn't converse with anyone. Over the past 8 months I've reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. I'll list them in the order that they appeared...and their contributions.
Bret - I dated him a very long time ago, when I was a freshman at Houston Baptist University. Bret is intelligent, witty and yes, ladies...he's available. Bret helped awaken the desire to have social contact again. He got me to sign up on Face Book, start IM, sent me a router, shared some fascinating books, talked into the wee hours and inspired me to believe in myself.
Garland - A friend from high school that was one of the first to friend me on Face Book. I've always liked Garland, he was the Valedictorian and I was the Salutatorian. He was and still is very smart, clever and just has brilliant insight. Through Garland I've met two other people that I really like.
Lara - She's the most positive person I've ever known. She's beautiful, poetic, compassionate, a great parent and wonderful friend. She and I talk on the phone now almost every other day, I can truly say that I love her with all my heart. We will be meeting in person for the first time this August. Oh, I almost forgot...she's an excellent photographer!
Durango - I don't even know his real name, but I've so enjoyed reading his travel blogs. Durango has reawakened my desire to explore and travel. I love reading about the places he's been and I also like his other blog about his stuff that he does in Fort Worth.
Robbie - He's an old friend from New Orleans, about the time I used to frequent the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Robbie has gone through hell and back...survived and is now living to tell his story. He has inspired a new confidence in myself and thinks I should write a book. His belief in me is outstanding. Also, Robbie thinks I'm sexy...that's a first. ;) Here's just a sample of all the positive stuff he says..."If you were to look at each occurrence in your life as a petal from a rose, think of the garden you have experienced...and better yet, the meadow that awaits..."
When a person loses touch with his fellow humans, he becomes smaller...less in substance. His existence shrinks, purpose dies and life dwindles. Okay, I know that this has been sappy, but I don't care...thanks for being a friend.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
It was a big let down, considering I'd heard about the "glory" days of when the Roy Orbison Festival was awesome. They had big name performers such as Ray Price,Red Hot Chili Peppers,Earl Thomas Conley, and Rick Trevino ...but that was in the past. It seemed that a few of the old timers only wanted Roy Orbison impersonators, so the big performers no longer came.
Year after year, the Roy Orbison Festival dwindled. They changed the month about five years ago to April and then the following year didn't even have a festival! Winkites were tired of being let down and someone(s) needed to step in and get the festival back on track! After all, the whole point was to commemorate Roy Orbison.
This year Wink has a new mayor, and some fresh blood on the committee. People are excited and talking it up. The Roy Robison Festival will feature the Pretty Woman Contest, the Roy Orbison Museum, a car show and parade, flea market, vendors and a street dance.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Since I was running late already, I didn't return any one's call. I needed to get to the gym to see one of my most favorite people, Jesse. Jesse is always smiling and very positive, I love to be around him. He is definitely not a toxic person or even has negative behaviors to contend with. Jesse is also a brain cancer survivor, but the doctors were not able to remove Jesse's tumor because of it's location . He retired from the Navy as a disabled veteran. He had been in Albuquerque last week getting treatment at the VA and we couldn't work out together. When I arrived at the gym, Jesse had his hands on his hips, gave me a scolding smile and said, "You're late!" I mouthed, "I'm sorry."
Jesse then proceeded to relate an incredulous story. After receiving treatment at the VA hospital in Albuquerque and upon returning to his vehicle, he spotted a police officer writing a ticket. He questioned the officer about the ticket, the officer replied that Jesse had parked illegally in a handicapped parking space. Jesse then pointed out that his license plates allowed him to park there because printed on the plates was Disabled Vet. The officer stated that New Mexico doesn't recognize Texas disabled plates because there isn't a wheelchair stamped on the plates.
At first I thought that this officer was just having a bad day, you know, missed his morning coffee or something, but then Jesse said it happened again in a parking garage, he received another ticket for the same offense, so apparently New Mexico isn't honoring Texas plates!
I did a little bit of research and found that in the state of New Mexico...disabled veterans can't park in handicapped zones, that they also must have a placard. If you're a disabled vet from any other state...beware!
As I'm relaxing on the bed in my dermatologist's peel room with my face burning like red hot chili peppers, I told her what my esteemed colleague said about scrubbing off the dead skin with a loofah. She emphatically replied, "YOU CAN'T DO THAT!" Of course, I wanted to know why. She then responded matter of factly that it causes scarring and sometimes infections. Well, I surely didn't want that!
Sunday morning, I woke to find that my facial skin color had metamorphosised to a dark marroon color. Feeling rather foolish, I put on my biggest and tightest smile (since my skin now looked like leather stretched across a bowl) and went to church...I had to go...I'm the pianist. People at church were polite, didn't ask questions, just smiled and shook their heads slightly.
I finally returned home and kept going into the bathroom waiting for something to happen. It never did. Monday morning I checked the mirror...no peeling. I thought that maybe my face would peel completely today and there would be no worries when I returned to work Tuesday.
Tuesday morning, I awoke...horror stricken...to find that my face had started to peel, but only in patches. I stared at my reflection for a long painful time. I applied the exfoliente, but to no avail.
So, here I sit at school with my face looking like a diseased hairless cat with psorasis, all the while my precious boys asking non-stop questions. Of course, I won't admit to having purposefully done this to myself, and reply that I merely got too much sun this weekend.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Every year when Memorial Day comes into to view, certain images have been engraved onto my mind. I know no other way to pay homeage to those who volunteered or were drafted, but to give credit to a poem and song that already pays respect.
I distinctly remember being in the 5th grade, in Mrs. Wilson's social studies class, we were given the opportunity to memorize poems and do a collage. She assigned me; Flanders Field. I've always had the capacity to understand and express full emotion rather quickly. I silently read through my poem...I had listened to stories from my grandfather who served as a medic in WWII, in a mobile unit on the front lines. The poem became too real for me and I burst into tears...my teacher was horrified; I explained to her that my grandfather knows some of them that lie in Flanders Fields, he's shown me pictures...and now my heart is breaking.
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Friday, May 22, 2009
My friend Lara just listened to an inspirational speaker that said not to pursue happiness, but instead seek success and with success comes happiness.
Milestone 2: Empower Yourself and Others
I changed resistance into empowerment. I stopped being a victim, acting as if all these things were being done to me. I would often say, "hey, can't the BIG GUY stop picking on me? I've had enough..."
I do have to recognize the emotions inside of change and allow for time to acknowledge them. I can't control what happens, but I can control my reactions. My response to change can effect the outcome. I learned to ask questions and listened carefully to the answers. I focused on the things that I can control. I identified the things that can make me successful.
In the middle of my job search, I found out that we've, West Texas State School in Pyote, Texas, been given a year reprieve. This is great, because now I can teach summer school and bring in the extra money I needed to take care of a few things. These things include small items like a new dryer, because mine squeaks and howls like a banshee to bigger items like paying for my divorce. The divorce, a thorny thistle wood, has lingered on for four and half years, but finally I'll have the power to hire an attorney and get er done!
Although the school will be open for another year, I've decided that if I get the position at the elementary in Wink, I will accept the job. The reason being, it's stable, I won't have to go through the stress of wondering if the state school will stay open and my son will graduate from Wink. I love working with the boys at the prison, but the stability of my own family must take precedent.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Now to answer those burning questions and give you my plan to weight eradication:
1. Weigh frequently. Don't wait for your clothes to become snug before realizing you've put on a few pounds.
2. Get rid of all your fat clothes. Seriously, this must be done! Don't keep the 16's and 14's...ask your skinny friends for hand me downs until you can get new clothes. In fact, one of my friends offered me a pair of size 8 Capris...I took them with no shame!
3. Avoid diet foods...they're a scam! Fat free foods have more sugar, sugar free foods have more fat...don't fall for it! Granola bars, cereal bars are loaded with processed sugar.
4. Avoid these three ingredients when shopping at the grocery store: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Enriched Bleached Flour and Partially Hydrogenated Oils. BAD, BAD, BAD...
5. Start some kind of physical activity; walk to the post office, swim, have a water gun fight with the kids, try lifting weights. Did you know that lifting weights reverses the aging process...no kidding...I saw it on Ripley's Believe It or Not!
6. Think like a skinny person that hasn't been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.
Yes, things have to change, because I have changed. Organic pasta, cereals and bread fit into my lifestyle changes well, they don't contain the processed and refined sugars. I eat plain old grocery store fruits and veggies, skinless boneless chicken breasts, fresh fish, wild rice and I might try tofu, but not just yet...;)
I took measurements when I started:
Waist 24" 24"
Hips 42" 40"
Bust 36" 36"
Thighs 26" 22"
I acquired a workout buddy at the gym and his advice on upper arm exercises have produced some incredible results in just a short period of time. My description of the exercises may lack in detail, but I'll do my best. My upper arm workout consists of the following:
Pull bar down to waist high, hands over. Push bar down towards thighs and bring bar back to waist height. 4 sets of 12.
Pull bar down to waist high, hands under. Pull bar down towards thighs and bring bar back to waist height. 4 sets of 12.
Lower bar to shin height, reach down and pull up to waist...this is the starting point, with hands close together and over...pull bar up to under chin and release back to waist. 4 sets of 12.
That's what I've started with, using 60 pounds.
I also do 4 sets of 25, standing crunches...as well as 2 miles on the elliptical trainer. Resistance set at 6 and cross ramp at 15, so that I mimic doing bleachers at the football stadium.
Not ready to wear the dreaded swim suit...maybe, in a couple of months. Whatever the outcome, I feel fantastic...and that my friend is what matters the most.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The weather turned sour, lightning and a bit of rain, and we packed up the truck and headed for the next destination of Fort Davis. We had reservations at the Stone Village Tourist Camp, we never stayed there before and our eagerness to arrive and check out the camp escalated. Before arriving, I spoke with the camp manager, Randall, and found him most pleasant over the phone. The pleasantness did not end with the phone, his attentiveness and enthusiasm to ensure a pleasurable stay endeared me to this little camp.
The next morning, we went hiking at the Fort Davis State Park. I chose a 1.5 mile hike that ended at the Indian Lodge, but somehow we must have started on the wrong trail and what should have been a leisurely hike turned into a 3 mile trek. Although, three miles doesn't sound so bad, try it with a grumpy, hungry and tired 8 year old. Annie endured and we finally made it to the lodge and had a wonderful lunch.
We spent the evening at the camp, with our host Randall attending to our every need. He built a fire for making s'mores, played his guitar, brought plenty of towels for the pool and pretty much spoiled us rotten.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Some mothers expect lavish gifts on this day; expensive jewelry, costly lunches, lovely bouquets of flowers...but the best gift I truly believe...is the smile on my child's face, knowing that she thinks I hung the moon...;)
Happy Mother's Day
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Today I spent 9 hours online applying for every opening available. The problem is this...there are actually plenty of teaching jobs; which means hundreds of possible locations. I'm having trouble deciding in which direction I go. I have at least figured out that I don't want to go West, so right now...I'm looking East. I've also concluded that I will stay in Texas.
I experienced a feeling of being overwhelmed today; what do I do with my house? Do I sell it or rent it? My son doesn't want to leave; he's begging to stay in Wink with a friend. I completely understand the way he feels...I moved in my Junior year, thank goodness a transplant from Kermit made me feel at home. Where will I go? How do I pay for all the expenses? Should I leave the kids with my mom and dad and then move them up later? The questions go on and on.
The irony is that a few months ago, after being contacted by a long lost love, I contemplated and even considered moving out to where he lives. After things cooled down...and the reality of changing everything settled in...I adamantly refused to leave. Of course, by not attempting to build that relationship and giving serious thought to moving...I crushed any hope of rekindling the romance. It's ironic because originally, the plan was that when the school year was over...I was selling the house, moving to "that place" where I would have some sort of support system. Now, I'm selling the house, moving to "unknown place" where I will not have a support system. Hmmm...lesson learned...give things a chance, make room for change, accept love willingly and for heaven sakes don't turn away open arms.
It's time for a new beginning. The stages of accepting change are just about the same as the stages of accepting death. First, I was definitely in DENIAL. "I can't believe this is happening." Well, I had better believe it and be prepared for the next stage, RESISTANCE. I resisted because I felt out of control; I was completely exhausted today and disoriented. The next step is EXPLORATION. This is when I'll see the positives and imagine the possibilities. I'm not there yet, but I will be. The final stage is COMMITMENT. This is when I embrace the change.
Next time, I'll demonstrate how I'll take the stages of change and turn them into milestones, which allows me to actually control the process, move forward, and remain powerful.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Endings signal new beginnings
It's appropriate and ironic that my post about change is occurring simultaneously with a possible major life changing event.
Previously I posted about taking risks and mentioned that I stepped out of my comfort zone and accepted a position with West Texas State School; for those who are not familiar with this school, it is a correctional facility for boys. Throughout the school year...I've experienced tons of changes; I had to develop a persona that allowed me to function within this new setting. Trial and error were my best and closest friends; over all...I maintained and continued on.
Today, I found out that the Texas state senate has ordered the closing of West TX State School as well as Victory Fields. No big deal, right...I can just hop over to the next little town and teach there.
I knew that the winds of change were coming...as quoted from a dear friend of mine...and I don't just want to move onto the next little school. We tend to think that during change we are losing stuff, that it subtracts something from us. We cling desperately to what we think is our life line...when maybe, the true life line is out there and we have to let go in order to grasp our saving coil.
I was going to post about something in my past and how I was able to undergo changes, but since I am now experiencing a major life change...get ready for the journey!
I'd have to say...that last night as I was undressing for my bath...I admired...that's right I said it...admired my body in the mirror for a full 3 minutes. I enjoyed what I saw, and for the first time in ages...I felt sexy. That's kinda of strange saying it out loud, but it was so cool!
I'm wearing a size 8 comfortably which does pose a slight problem...I own only one pair of size 8 pants...oh, well...that's a problem that makes me completely happy!
What I've noticed about the weight loss is that...the weight is dropping from the "right" areas...normally, I would see a drastic drop in my face and breasts...only the upper body, but this time, with the help of the HCG drops...fat reserves in my thighs and buttocks have diminished. So, my bottom half is matching my upper half...way cool.
Goodbye pear shaped body...hello barbie...;)
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Someone makes a sarcastic comment to you about you
response: "I think I hear some feedback in there somewhere. Is there something you're trying to tell me?"
Someone gossips about another person to you
response: "I would feel horrible if someone said that about me."
Someone who constantly whines and complains to you
response: "What can you do to make this better? What pieces of the problem do you control?"
When creating your handy dandy anti-toxic scripts, remember to use "I" statements...that way you're letting the toxic culprit know exactly what you expect from them. Sometimes it's just a toxic behavior that you're trying to squash...not the person.
As you assess the relationships in your life, you can decide how to deal with toxic behaviors or people. Remember, this is not about changing a person...we don't get to do that. The goal is to manage our responses, protect what we value, and create highly functional relationships.
Now go out and become a TOXIC AVENGER!
Friday, May 1, 2009
We don't choose to align ourselves with toxic people on purpose, but at times we passively accept their behavior. Which means we endorse it by default.
There are basically two groups of people in this world, those who give us encouragement and those who suck the life right out of us! We can have bad days where normally we would be uplifting and encouraging, but find ourselves struggling just to smile, so that doesn't count. These life draining people; I've read about and have experienced first hand. In of my readings, I found that they were called physic vampires.
At work these people look like this: "argue incessantly, debate trivial points, gossip, terrorize meetings, whine, draw others into negative conversations and manage the rumor mill"
In life these people look like this: "criticize, attack, divide, they insinuate things and then leave you wondering, they love exposing your weaknesses to the world, they use sarcasm, twist the truth and cross the line of integrity"
Ask yourself these questions to see if you may be involved in a toxic relationship:
1. Is there anyone planting negative, critical beliefs into your life right now? When you are with this person, how do you feel?
2. Is there a relationship in your life that is pulling you backward, blocking your growth, and undermining your progress? What is that costing you?
3. Is there a relationship marked by broken trust, unresolved conflict, and destructive communication? How much of your strength are you giving to this?
4. Is there someone in your life who compromises your boundaries or ethics? What impact is that having?
5. Are there behaviors you are passively endorsing to avoid conflict? What do you risk with your silence?
Sometimes I held onto toxic relationships because I got something from it. You're wondering what could I have gotten? In one instance my grievances were validated. Another time I stuck around because of loyalty. I didn't want to abandon or hurt this person so I stayed. I only became weaker. A big mistake is to try and diagnose their problem...don't do it! You'll get sucked into their weird dysfunction!
Next post, I'll show you the scripts and ground rules I've created in order to deal with some of the toxic relationships that were in my life. These rules and scripts are new for me, I've only worked with them for a few months, but it has changed my life!