Thursday, April 28, 2011

Storms 'Brewing

Last night I had a panic attack. I thank the Lord for cell phones and Xanax, or that thing would've lasted all night. It's tornado season, and this one has been a doozie. Every year tornadoes cause lots of devastation in Alabama and cause lots of people to spend time in their basements when they'd rather be anywhere else. But never in my life has tornado season hit so close to home. Yesterday a series of tornadoes broke out and moved across Mississippi and Alabama tearing down everything in their paths. The death toll was in the hundreds. I had known it was coming all day - we had even moved into the basement at 5:30 that morning for a storm coming through. Schools were let out early and everything shut down. My migraine that is working on its fifth week has not slowed down, so the sirens blaring and the news scrolling across the TV screen was making it worse. Just before it was time for us to go to our basement, the weather man began reporting a tornado touchdown in Tuscaloosa on the same street as one of my best friends lives, and down the street from another best friend of mine. Then, the word "fatalities" followed. It was a quiet panic attack. Worrying so much I was shaking. And there was nothing I could do because they storm was upon us now. The rest of my family went up first to see the rest of the storm once we were safe, but I could barely make it up the stairs. I finally heard from my friend in Tuscaloosa Amy that she and our other friend were safe, though Kelli's house was damaged. That was all I needed for last night, and I could sleep.

Today has been a kind of surreal day. Knowing that those closest to me are safe, but not knowing about others, is a strange sensation. Hearing and seeing bits and pieces of the catastrophe makes it hard for me to put a real picture in my head. From just north of Birmingham all the way to Tennessee has no power. Other cities have no power or water. My family was lucky to only have a tree fall on my dad's carport. We also had shingles and insulation from houses that we will probably never see. They came in last night with a debris cloud. One of my brother's friends from school found a Mississippi license plate stuck in a beam in his yard. The beam was holding up a birdhouse, or something. It's amazing what weather can do. I've been avoiding the really gruesome details as much as I can. I checked on Kelli again, because I just couldn't stand hearing about her and not from her. Her house now has only two windows intact, and their side porch collapsed. My friend Sarah's future sister-in-law's house got destroyed while she was up here in Birmingham. Exams at the University of Alabama have been cancelled, except for the law students and the medical students. Which makes me feel faint, because I just remembered another friend of mine who's in school down there that I haven't checked on. Wow, mini panic attack. He's ok. When bad things happen this close to me, I take it very personally. When I can't see it, I'm not bothered so much. I looked in my Little Book of Calm, and it told me that it's ok for me to cry a little. It relieves the stress and soothes you physically and emotionally. So, it's ok to have a quick cry when you're worrying about all of your friends and  loved ones all over the state. And just remind yourself, that it'll get better everyday.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"In Your Easter Bonnet With All the Frills Upon It"

Well, folks, yesterday was Easter, the second most beautiful holiday in my world.And, even with this migraine I've now officially been having for one month, I enjoyed myself. We made deviled eggs in coleslaw birds' nests and bunny cakes, opened Easter baskets, listened to Handel's Messiah, and spent time together as a family. I also did a little bit of reminiscing about some of my favorite Easter memories...

My father loves Handel's Messiah. And so does my stepfather. Yesterday, when we were listening to it, I remembered one Easter when my youngest brother was about two or three. He didn't quite understand what the huge chorus was saying, but began singing along anyway. "Goodnight sheep," he sang, while the chorus sang, "And we, like sheep."

One Easter, the three of us kids came down to no chocolate eggs. Every year the Easter Bunny left a small, communal basket of M&Ms or Robin's Eggs on the coffee table. That year, the Easter Bunny had apparently forgotten that we had a dog who was able to reach the table, came back to find Sophie finishing off the chocolate, and called poison control to see what to do next. Luckily, Sophie was a big enough dog for that amount of chocolate not to effect her, but the Easter Bunny was sure scared.

Another favorite memory of mine is making bunny cakes. Usually there are three: Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail. But this year, we left out Mopsy, since he's made of cocoa, and I can't have chocolate. Plus, none of us really needs three whole cakes this year. One year, my mama even added a standing Peter Rabbit cake. So cute and so yummy. By the way, they are covered with coconut (one white, one toasted) and sitting in a coconut bed of grass and have candied faces with cut-out ears.

But my favorite Easter memory is probably standing in the front of the whole church with my father (and lots of other people) singing the Hallelujah chorus from the Messiah. It is the most beautiful thing you will ever hear. The hundreds of people singing and rejoicing at once, tearing up from the echoes of the choir throughout the sanctuary. Mama never goes to Easter services without a tissue.  I'm sad that I haven't been in a few years, and even since I haven't gone up to the front (my mother wanted me to go with my stepfather, but I couldn't partake in a tradition I have with my father with my stepfather - that's crossing the lines). I miss the Easter services more than I miss hunting for Easter eggs, although that was always fun.. Maybe next year I'll be well enough to go. 

Another thing I love about Easter is what it stands for. Even if you don't believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, at least you know that there are millions of people out there who believe in redemption, and that they will hopefully forgive you for something someday. Happy belated Easter to you all!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Worse than I Thought

Yesterday I was told some good news by my doctor: he doesn't think I have Meniere's Disease. This is good because it means I probably won't lose my hearing and I can eat more salt than I was before. My doctor thinks that I have migraines that are being set off by certain foods. There are so many different foods that can cause migraines, and they are different for different people. The main ones he told me were doable, until he came to the cheese section. Cheese is my favorite food. What am I going to eat now? So, I thought, "Well, at least I can eat Asian foods now." Wrong! Foods high in tyramine are often triggers, and this includes soy sauce, MSG, processed meats, OLIVES, onions, pickles, pinto and other types of beans, nuts, and avocados. Other trigger foods are soups (my other favorite food group), alcohol, kiwi, pineapple, plums, citrus fruits, dried fruits, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, smoked or dried fish, potato chips, fresh baked yeast goods (donuts, cake, sourdough bread, homemade bread), and chocolate. I've been on restrictive diets before (they change my diets about every three years). But this is ridiculous. I was so excited to be able to eat more salt, but they're taking away everything that had salt in it that I missed! Luckily, it is most likely that only some of these items will be triggers for me. But for now, I have to start at ground zero and work my way up to find what it is that makes me sick. It may even be triggers eaten in combination with other triggers that does this to me. Let's start praying that it's yogurt mixed with artificial sweeteners. That I can handle. I was really looking forward to eating olives and ham again - not necessarily together. No wonder I've lost my muchness - I'm too worried about my health to look for it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Wear Donald Duck Underpants"

Today I picked up a book that my mama gave me for Christmas called The Little Book of Calm by Paul Wilson. It's just a small book with lots of different ideas about how to relax - because I definitely need the help. Even though I'm one of the laziest people you'll meet, I freak out way to much. Anywho, I came to a page that I hadn't noticed before. The way to stay calm on this page was to "wear Donald Duck underpants," or keep around some things that remind you of a time when you were more "irreverent, uninhibited," and saw the "joyous side of life." My problem is that I keep to much of those things around, so that they become less meaningful. I have tokens all around my room that I know where special to me at some point, but I don't know why anymore. I think that if I can choose a few special pairs of "Donald Duck underpants" (which I wish I really had), then, perhaps the objects would be more important  and more calming, as opposed to just causing a chaos full of clutter in my life. I also thought it was neat to find this page during my search for my "muchness," or that person that I once was, but can't find the strength to be anymore.

On the opposite page of The Little Book of Calm, the suggestion was to "pretend you believe." It's amazing how little things like this can connect. The other day I thought I believed in all kinds of impossible things, but then I began to question myself. This book explains that if you pretend to be something (specifically calm), then your subconscious will follow and believe you, too. So, here I go, continuing my search for my muchness, believing that I can find it, and believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Today, I know it is late, but to get my beliefs in before breakfast tomorrow, I will believe that the chronic vertigo migraines that I was diagnosed with today will be gone by Sunday so that I can fully participate in Easter celebrations with my family; I believe that I will find my glasses that have been missing for the last 10 months; I believe that my doctor is wrong and that cheese is not a trigger for my migraines (it is my favorite food group, you know); I believe that I will have a job before my unemployment checks run out; I believe that my muchness will come strolling back into my life this weekend; and I believe that I will wake up in the morning to find that the house elves have cleaned and organized my room.  Now I won't have to believe anymore impossible things until after breakfast tomorrow.

Time for me to calm down and start believing. Goodnight! Now, where are my Donald Duck underpants?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I used to be much more... Muchier

I was never a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland. It creeped me out, to be honest. But, after having re-watched Disney's newest version of the movie, I feel like I understand where Alice is coming from. Yesterday I quoted the movie on Facebook, not expecting anyone to understand completely what I meant. A friend of mine, who I haven't seen in a while, but who is still important to me, knew what I was talking about almost instantly and posted a website for me to read. 

I feel that I have lost my "muchness." In the movie, the Mad Hatter says to Alice, "You used to be much more...muchier. You've lost your muchness." And I feel the same way about myself. It's this darned quarter-life crisis I'm going through, which I've been told is ridiculous, but, nonetheless, it's how I feel. This is why I relate to Hannah Montana when she sings about having to choose between who she is and who others want her to be, about where she's going in life, about moving on from everything she loves to find her own way in the world. But this post isn't about Hannah Montana, I could write a term paper on her lyrics. This is about me in search of my muchness. This is about me learning how to be who I am now, without forsaking who I was before. 

According to the website that my good friend Laura sent me, there are six steps to "Reclaiming your muchness." Today, I'm starting with step one. You must start by remembering what you liked to do when you were younger. 

I played make believe - my favorite games were pretending to be horses with my friends, and playing paper dolls, Littlest Pet Shop, and American Girls Dolls, with friends or by myself; if I were in a sandbox, I would pretend that I was at the beach; if I were in a clump of trees, I might be lost in the wilderness. Even though I was shy, I was competitive - I always wanted to be the fastest, the smartest, the best at sports, the fastest reader, you name it. I ran barefoot around the neighborhood with my friends - I never wore shoes in the summer unless they were mandatory. I babysat - I loved to play with kids and to feel like the caretaker, and I got calls from every mom in the neighborhood. I loved to sing - my brothers used to complain because I was always singing so loudly that it echoed through the house, and my mother had to ban singing from the table. I took long walks - I walked my dog almost every day, even if my best friend and her dog couldn't go with us. I went to church every Sunday - after several years of being forced to go, I fell in love with my church and the people there; I learned so much about my faith, myself, and about others, and about what was important to me. I loved to read - sometimes I would be reading as many as three books at a time! I got lost in my favorite movies - I would pretend to meet the characters from the movie Newsies and we would fall madly in love with each other (one newsboy at a time). I loved romance - starting from a very young age I would have my friends act out pretend weddings, scenes from my favorite movies, and surprise my unsuspecting "husbands" with pregnancies when we played house (I always believed that I would one day be able to surprise my real husband like that). Even just a few years ago, I went through a phase where I was the life of the party - the younger kids wanted to be like me, the boys wanted to be with me, and everyone else enjoyed my company (I don't mean to sound egotistical, but I used to be pretty cool - it was a time in my life that started when I was a kid, skipped a whole mess of years during middle school and high school, and came back for a little while during college).  I knew who I was, and I enjoyed being that girl.  

There are so many things that I did when I was younger that I still enjoy today. All of the ones I've listed go into that category.  I play make believe all the time, to the frustration of some of my friends. But it's different now. When I was a child, I believed that those things could actually come true. And now, even though I may believe more than six impossible things before breakfast, do I really believe them? Or do I just wish them? I know, I know. I just wrote a whole post about what impossible things I believe, but truthfully, I only half believe them. And most of the other things I've listed have fallen by the wayside, even though they are activities that I still enjoy. The article I'm reading about reclaiming my muchness says that we can learn a lot about who we are by looking at what we used to enjoy doing. And I still enjoy those things. Okay, so I haven't sprung any pregnancies on any pretend husbands in several years now, but the romantic side of me is definitely still there. I'm afraid that much of my muchness is being clouded out by my disbelief in the world, by my sadness at what my life has become, or not become, by my worry that things will never turn out the way I want them to. I want to believe in the impossible, and I will tell you that I do, but in the back of my mind I'm just not sure. 

From reading what I used to enjoy, I see that I was a believer, a striver, a caretaker, a romantic, a dreamer, a reader, creative, outdoorsy, good company, a child at heart, someone who was not lonely when I was alone, and satisfied with who I was. I just hope that I can find that girl. No. I am determined to find her.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Impossible Things

My friends know that I'm not the most serious person. I can be very serious, as you've seen in several of my posts, but I don't usually like to be so down to earth.  I try to keep my head in the clouds; it's much prettier and more exciting up there. It's also an escape from the things happening around me that I wish weren't going on. Yesterday I watched Disney's live-action movie Alice in Wonderland. Alice said something that struck a chord with me: "Sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast." I feel the same way, and I feel validation in knowing that others do too. When Alice asks her father if she's going mad he replies, "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are." And I truly believe that. Sometimes it's hard to accept what is happening in real life, and that is why I choose to believe so many impossible things.

So, let me tell you some of the impossible things I believe, though there are many more than just six.

1. Some day I will marry a wealthy man so that I can be a stay-at-home mother, do volunteer work, cook, and have someone else to clean my huge house and make my bed everyday.
2. I will never be sick again. This includes all of my pre-existing conditions.
3. I will someday be able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, with no consequences.
4. I will receive my acceptance letter from Hogwarts telling me that I am truly a witch.
5. One day I will open up my wardrobe and find myself transported to Narnia, where I will be named queen.
6. I will travel the world again, but this time, I will spend more than 24 hours in each city that I visit.
7. I will soon get a call from the Travel Channel asking me to host a show for them.
8. Foods that are bad for you will someday be good for you.
9. I will be able to live near three of my specialest friends so that we can fulfill our dream of being like the characters on How I Met Your Mother, but I will somehow still be in very close proximity of my family and my other dear friends.
10. I will never have to file taxes again. It's just a hassle.
11. I will have no more than three children, and I will not have to go through any type of fertilization therapy to have them.
12. I will never have to deal with the death of anyone I care for again.
13. Someday I will be able to travel through time to meet Abraham Lincoln, and we will be great friends.
14. I will be able to lose lots of weight by doing little exercise.
15. I will never lose touch with those who are important to me.
16. I will one day get a signature from every character in Disney World ever. But that's not impossible, as long as I can keep going back there on a semi-regular basis.
17. Tomorrow I will wake up to learn that I have a big beach house. More like a beach mansion.
18. Sister Hazel will play at my huge wedding  - also not impossible, depending on how much money I can scrape together, and if I ever get married (which is part of impossible thought #1).
19. I will have a vacation home at Disney World! That makes #16 much easier.
20. Someday bears and wild cats (like tigers) will make good pets, and they will love me.
21. All of my father's health problems will simply go away.
22. Animals will be able to talk.
23. What Not to Wear will come in and dress me and my mother.
24. I will have season tickets for the Texas Rangers every year, and they will continue to be one of the best teams in the Major Leagues. I might even marry a Texas Ranger...
25. Someday I will own a zoo and the animals will be my friends (because they can talk).
26. I will star in a Broadway musical with Julie Andrews.
27. I will own my own fleet of Boeing jumbo jets - at least one in each size, especially the 747 and the brand new 787. And the 777, because it's my favorite. Just imagine what you could do on one of those if you didn't have to seat over 200 people! It would be like a houseplane! Yes, I would make a house out of an airplane. Add that to my impossible list. I would probably also need a houseboat, though.
28. I will do everything I want while somehow having a positive effect on the environment.
29. Alcohol will be good for you and help you do things better. I know I am a much better bowler when I've been drinking, so why couldn't that apply to other things?
30. The parties thrown at my house will be legendary!  Especially at Christmas. There'll be bands and the best food ever and all the coolest people (you know who you are) and gift bags and mistletoe and reindeer! I can't wait.
31. I will be a famous author. Not only will my autobiography be a best seller, but I will also have a fantastical children's series that will someday become a classic.
32. When I grow up I will be President of the International Olympic Committee.
33. I will be a fashionista. People will want to wear what I wear. Sometimes that will include sweatshirts and pajama pants.
34. Burping will become acceptable in public.
35. I will wake up every morning with perfect hair and makeup.
36. I will someday live like a butterfly, traveling from city to city, but also manage to keep a schedule and routine and a normal home life.

These are just the impossible things I thought of today. Some of them are more impossible than others, but that doesn't make them any less realistic in my mind. I don't listen when people try to bring me back down to reality. I like where I am when I'm in my own Wonderland.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Waiting for my Real Life to Begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in I'll keep checking the horizon I'll stand on the bow, feel the waves come 
crashing Come crashing down down down, on me And you say, be still my love Open up your heart Let the light shine in But don't you understand I already have a 
plan I'm waiting for my real life to begin When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened But in my dreams, I slew the dragon And down this beaten path,and up this cobbled lane I'm walking in my old footsteps, once again And you say, just be here now Forget about 
the past, your mask is wearing thin Let me throw one more dice I know that I can win I'm waiting for my real life to begin Any minute now, my ship is coming in I’ll keep checking the horizon And I'll check my machine, there's sure to bethat call It's gonna happen soon, soon, soon It's just that times are lean And you say, be still my love Open up your heart, let the light shine in Don't you understand I already have a plan I'm waiting for my real life to begin

I have spent so much of my life waiting that I wonder if it will ever actually begin. I've been in limbo; in between. I've been waiting for high school to start, a new job, the day when I can move out, the next Harry Potter book, phone calls, a bill of health from my doctor, my next paycheck, my next day off, graduation. Each time I think that things are finally coming together, something changes and I'm waiting all over again. Right now I am waiting for several things. I'm ready to be healthy for once in my life. I need a job that pays me enough to support myself and pay for an apartment. I'm waiting for my real life to begin.

When I first heard the song "Waiting for my Real Life to Begin" by Colin Hay, I immediately knew that this applied to me. I have a clear vision of how I want to live my life, I just don't have the details in place. And, even if I did, I'm not in a position to fulfill them. I'm too unhealthy to find a job, let alone actually work. What I want is a steady job that I enjoy, a chance to stay close to my family and old friends while making new friends, and activities that keep me interested in life. I don't think that sounds too difficult - it's how most people live. I have a very close group of friends, and we are always coming up with great ideas of things we want to do together. But we never get to do them, because we are stuck in limbo. 

In four months I will be 26 years old. I'll be an adult in anyone's eyes - even my mother's. I don't want to be stuck in the in between, waiting for my life to begin, at age 26. I have a life to live, and I'm ready to live it. Of course, I know that I have done lots of exciting things in my life, but even then I was in waiting: waiting for the next phone call from crew scheduling, waiting to be a full-time flight attendant. Waiting. My question is: when does the waiting end and life begin? I'm not dumb enough to think that I won't always be waiting for something in my life, but does it always have to be so major? I'm prepared to wait for the weekends for the rest of my life. But I'm not prepared to wait to get well for forever. By the time my mama was my age, she was getting married for the second time (she was a widow at age 20). She had been working for years and had been independent for just as long. I'm afraid that I will be that 30 year old person who never completely becomes independent. How can I, when I can't get a job because of my illnesses? 

I thought my life had begun when I graduated from flight attendant training three years ago, but now I'm back where I started. I keep praying to find out what good can come from this, and the only thing I've learned is that I need to look to the future, not the past. I'm waiting to see what else I can learn.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Always Be Prepared

When I'm sick I waiver between feeling like my life is a complete waste of time and feeling like I'm getting a lot of things done. This go round, I'm gonna git 'er done! So far, I have caught up on TV and movies I wanted to see and made some plans for the future. I've shown my stuffed Kodiak bear where he and his family are from by watching Deadliest Catch. I've seen history in the making at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. I've cried to the movie Sweet Home Alabama, and counted it's inaccuracies (4). I've learned a lot about the history of Broadway musicals and watched a few of the old musical movies. I learned that Mandy Patinka was actually an attractive man in Yentl, even though he did have a full beard. I have also made some very important plans for the future.

I don't ever want to be executed, but if for some reason I am charged with a heinous crime and sentenced to death, I hope that that last meal thing is true. I've got mine all planned out. I don't want them to come and ask me what I would like for my last meal and butcher it because I hadn't properly prepared. So, I will request the following items, in no order:
1. Alaskan crab legs - King and Snow
2. Cheese fondue
3. Cheese grits
4. Maryland crab cakes
5. Sausage balls
6. Fried oyster poboy
7. Eggs benedict with extra hollandaise
8. Sushi
9. Shrimp fried rice from Chop Suey Inn (Homewood, Alabama)
10. Egg rolls from Chop Suey Inn
11. Pickled okra that my mama makes
12. Coconut tofu soup from Surin (Alabama)
13. Olives, lots of olives
14. Cheese pizza from New York Pizza (Homewood, Alabama)
15. Biscuits and gravy
16. Pizza sandwich with extra cheese from Subway
17. Lobster bisque
18. An Artichoke
19. Spinach and artichoke dip
20. Jalepeno Poppers
21. Crab Angels from Surin (Alabama)
22. Potato pancakes from the Bavarian Grill (Plano, Texas)
23. Potato croquets from the Bavarian Grill
24. White asparagus wrapped in ham and smothered in hollandaise with extra hollandaise from the Bavarian Grill
25. Ambrosia
26. Lobster ravioli
27. Pecan pie with whipped cream
28. Calamari
29. Chicken Wings
30. Fried Cheese

This would be my most wonderful feast ever. It also does not include the drinks, because I haven't gotten that far, yet. There are so many other things I'd like to add to the list, but I've narrowed it down. Who could eat any more than that? As a whole, this meal would probably kill me before I could even be executed. I would be killed by glorious food, and I think that's the way to go. All the seafood, cheese, butter, and salt, would be the best way to end my life. Is this morbid? I just want to be prepared. I am already prepared for situations like this: if I had to stock an Alaskan fishing boat full of food and supplies for the crew, I know what I would send. I also know what I would name my children if I had to have 20 kids and name them all J names like the Duggars, or if I had sextuplets what I would name them. I am also prepared for life married to a Major League baseball player without children (Kids make everything more difficult). These situations may seem trivial in everyday life, but when your everyday life consists of watching TV all day, the possibility that you may one day have something exciting to plan for becomes important, and I like to plan ahead. So, for now I'll make plans that probably won't come true, but if the time comes, I'll be ready.

I wish I could have that meal now, not get executed, and not suffer any consequences afterwards...