Right before chopping off 10 inches!
2013 is the culmination of my 50th year of life. All my over 50 Pixel Pals are nodding their heads saying, "Been there, Done that." Of course, they know I'm only half way through this journey, and can understand my taking stock to see what's coming around the bend.
I, like all others before me, am feeling the clock ticking faster, and am responding with trying to do more by this mid-century mark. So, here is my 05 by 50 list for your reading and laughing pleasure.
I'll keep you posted as time goes by. I have until September 2013 to do these five things!Here's to the next 50 years!What did you do, or will you do by the time you turn 50?Mary Kathryn Johnson
- Go Skydiving
- Appreciate my curves enough so that I can walk on a beach in a bathing suit without sucking in my stomach
- Chop off my long hair and donate it (DONE!)
- Finish one of my novels
- Pay my monthly mortgage from writing
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
Say Bump and Take a Left
All that is left! LOVE IT!
Here is the second installment of my blog series for Venture Galleries, and I hope it saves a few well-meaning, but typical men from countless hours of torture from their wonderful, hardworking wives.One touch is all it took.
A hand on the shoulder would have done it.
She had all the power, and all the anger, and she just couldn’t do it. She couldn’t give him the satisfaction of being the one to make up first.
Walking into Starbucks for her morning Soy, Nonfat Mocha after Kindergarten drop-off, Jude was so engrossed in the events of last night, and the search for her debit card in her purse that she bumped into the person holding the door open for her.
Jude was surprised to see she had run into another Kindergartener mother – the one with the long salt-and-pepper hair.
“Oh, I’m sorry, how silly of me. I wasn’t paying attention. Thank you.” Jude said as both women walked to the back of the line.
“No worries,” replied the woman. “Having one of those mornings?”
“Yes!” was Jude’s exasperated response.
“Sorry to hear it,” the woman said. “Maybe the firefighters coming to school later this morning will take your mind off your troubles.”
“Oh My Gosh, I forgot all about that!” said Jude, sighing heavily.
The front of the line reached, they both ordered their respective drinks, and headed for the only available table, and with smiles, agreed to share it.
“How could you forget about the firefighters, most of the moms have been looking forward to their visit all week,” the other mother said with a sly smile.
“I know, right,” Jude replied. “It’s just my stupid husband.”
Bursting at the seems to commiserate with a comrade, Jude explained, “You know, is it too much to ask for him to help with the chaos at bedtime by clearing the table and putting the dishes in the dishwasher? But, getting him to do just that one little thing is like pulling teeth! He just plops down on the couch after dinner, watching ‘Pawn Stars', while I have to get baths done, and get the girls in bed,” Jude spewed in one breath, then sighed. “Last night, I was tired, and asked again if he could just help me out this one time while I got the girls ready for bed, and we got into a fight, because he wouldn’t do it.”
Jude took a sip from her Mocha, and asked, “Does your husband help with the dishes?”
The woman took her time with a sip of her French Roast before she replied calmly...(Read on)Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
MommyLoves to Chat!
Say Bump and Take a Left
Life-changing milestones just around the corner are making me more mindful of the time I have in front of me. The hourglass is running out, and if I live to 100, I'm half way there. Yes, I'm in my 50th year on this planet...if I lived on any others, I don't remember.
I also have a child just starting high school. Talk about a milestone...letting go. I feel very strongly the lyrical meaning of "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" by Sting. I am preparing to set him free, and it's scary and exciting all at the same time...just like when gave birth to him.
I now understand I must be more mindful of my actions, not just in parenting, but in everything I do.
I am one of those types who can get sucked into the black hole of links imbedded in everything I read online, so my day could easily pass by me faster than a toddler escaping his mother. Consequently, online is the one area I must fight to stay mindful every minute. To this end, I have started putting every little thing I need to accomplish each day on my calendar, and I adhere to my "social media posting/reading" time slot more strictly than any other. Because there are several wonderful writers whose posts I visit and comment often, I will need to make time to seek out, and read new writers weekly in order to expand my mental horizons with new information and opinions. I now know why posts and books are getting shorter and shorter - supply is following demand. I also use HootSuite to schedule regular postings to both Facebook and Twitter, and keep them scheduled at least 5 days in advance.
My mindfulness is also being applied to my writing. I have always been a "project" person - I get ideas, and if I don't write them down or record them on my iPhone while driving, they are lost forever...or until I happen to experience the same impetus to think of them again. This more than anything else has allowed me to get more writing done in a shorter amount of time! Since I am sort of a procrastinator...okay a lot of...even though I love to write, it is much easier to read. I can use a deadline as an excuses to lollygag all day, and power through my work at the last minute. With my new mindfulness that life is running out, I only allow myself this laziness occasionally, rather than weekly.
Back to my 14 year old...I only have 1460 days until he goes to college. Actually, I only have 12,030 HOURS of my son's time over the next four years until I let him loose on the world to make his own mark. (Yes, I'm also showing my OCD in having calculated this number four years in advance, considering extra time for weekends and holidays and only 6 hours during the school days, but if I'm confessing my procrastination, I might as well go all the way.) This number really made me sit up and say, "What?!" like I did when I heard Bill say what he did with Monica was not considered sex. I must have heard that wrong, I'm sorry, calculated that wrong...I don't understand...How could I only have mere hours left for my son to wake up every day to a breakfast I make, and go to sleep every night to my "L'amo"...? What about my youngest? He's turning 11 next month, and middle school goes by in a blink!
Hence, my mindfulness in everything I do. I won't overreact to this realization that I'm like Wile E. Coyote chasing after my Road Runner of a life. I won't wait outside the bathroom door while my oldest is inside taking a shower just to say, "I Love You" when he comes out - he told me that was creepy. I won't write for hours on end because I have so much to say, and so little time - my weak bladder muscles won't allow that.
I will simply be mindful of my thoughts and actions, and exercise my power of choice. I don't have time or energy to waste on petty thoughts, conversations and deeds. Life and love are too beautiful to cast a shadow on the world through my heedless actions.How do you keep yourself mindful of all you want to accomplish and enjoy each day? Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom
MommyLoves to Chat!
Say Bump and Take a Left
My Mother-in-law hated for anyone to touch her. I'm sure Jean let her husband touch her, but if anyone else, even her sons, touched her, she would flinch. She was the most rigid person I have ever met, shoulders constantly scrunched, and she walked a little hunched over. She and my husband mercilessly teased each other, and one of Duane's best ways of getting her was to grab her neck - boy would she jump. Not surprisingly, in her mid 60's Jean was diagnosed with Osteo-Arthritis in her back, neck, hips and knees. She couldn't even bend over to clip her own toenails, and when I suggested she get a pedicure, I received the most shocked and incredulous look ever.
So, I did them for her.
She didn't ask me to give her pedicures. In fact, out of pride she went months without tending her toes, but they got so bad, walking was more painful for her feet than her knees, and she finally relented the next time I offered. Every couple of weeks, I would sit on the floor at her feet, and groom them - clipping nails and cuticles, and filing calluses.
To say I didn't enjoy this task is an immense understatement! I dreaded it! A person's feet are the lowest part of their body. So, in my small brain, the person who touches them and grooms them must be even lower than that, right? Slave-like and subservient was my sad perception of Nail Technicians who give pedicures...sitting on stools, while the pedicure-ee sits in a raised, throne-like, vibrating chair reading a magazine or talking loudly on the phone, never once saying a word to the nameless person providing a personal foot-grooming and massage. I gathered these observations, and made this determination while getting manicures - a service given face to face, where I could converse respectfully with my manicurist.
I, like Jean, had never gotten a pedicure.
I continued my nail duties for my Mother-in-law until my husband and I moved away, chasing our careers. My Father-in-law took over, but within a few months Jean started getting professional Pedicures. She was finally able to overcome some of that touch anxiety (either that, or it was the lesser of two evils: Pain from her husband's nail clipping vs. a stranger giving her wonderful relief).
At the same time, my first quarter at the new job saw great results for myself and the company; so the female owner of this amazing Tech Head-Hunting firm took the all-female team out for a day at a spa. Oh Crap! I was either going to explain to my boss the reason I didn't feel comfortable subjecting someone to tending my toes, or I was going to have to swallow those feelings, and get a pedicure.
I decided to swallow. (cowardly, I know)
I explained that this was to be my first pedicure, and when all the girls looked shocked and sympathetic, I said I had never had cause to have one before. "I get regular massages," I told them (which was true), and thought pedicures would be overkill. My feelings of subservient Pedicurists were completely confirmed as I looked down upon the beautiful woman, eyes downcast as she filed my feet. Consequently, I did not enjoy the experience, and did not repeat it.
A few months before Jean died in September of that year, she confessed to me her regret at not getting over that "touching problem" sooner, consequently missing out on all that wonderful massage and foot pampering. She asked me if I had gone for a pedicure yet. When I answered her by way of my slave perception, she laughed, and said, "Sounds like you need to get over something too." Then she added, "Oh My Goodness! Did you feel like a slave all those times you did my toes?"
"No!" I replied a little too quickly. In that instant, I realized, and changed my perception.
From that day on, I got over my slave-nail-technician feelings, and now sit back in my massaging throne-line chair bi-weekly, and let my toes be pampered and my legs massaged. I silently thank my Mother-in-law for, among many other things, removing that future regret for me.
I'm sure she is right now enjoying a massage, and toasting me with a White Zin and a wink.
What fear or perception is stopping you from some simple pleasure, and more importantly, when are you going to just let it go and indulge?
Serving as a Federal or State Politician is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, serving their term(s), then going home and back to work. Do you know of any Politician who has actually worked at a job for more than 5 years?
I think the following should happen immediately:
1. No Federal or State Politician will receive any pension or tenure for his/her time in any political office. A Politician collects a salary while in office, and no pay from the American people when out of office.
2. Every Politician (Past, Present and Future) participates in Social Security. All funds in any political retirement fund move to Social Security immediately, and the accounts are then canceled.
3. Every Politician has the right to purchase his/her own retirement plan just like every other American Citizen.
4. No Political body can ever vote themselves any pay raise. The position held will receive a pay raise each year that is equal to 3%.
5. The only Health Care provided to any Politician is that which is also available to any other American Citizen.
6. Every Politician must abide by every law that is also imposed upon every other American Citizen.
7. Any contract made with any Politician during his/her time in office will be void as of 1/1/12, and no contract can be entered into during a Politician's time in office.
If you agree or disagree, please let me know. If you agree, please tell me how we can make these things happen immediately . . . not twenty years from now.
Next we can tackle the Unions in the Public Sector.
I am sick to my stomach.
'Outraged' does not even begin to describe my anger.
I have a 10 year old son. Big, beautiful brown eyes, and a dimple when he smiles, which is often.
I have a 10 year old niece. Freckles, fiery and all girl...who also plays a mean soccer game.
Two stories in the news made me do a double intake of breath when I heard and read them.
When Jerry Sandusky was seen in 2002 violating a 10 year old boy in the coaches' locker room at Penn State, no one called the police. Called the police????
Maybe its the 'mom' in me, but I'd like to think that if I walked in on that, I would have gone 'Mama Bear' on the supposed adult, and made him go limp in more ways than one!
An article by Bill Phillips
explains the possible reason the assistant coach, who actually witnessed the violation of the 10 year old boy, chose (on the advice of his father) to report the incident to Joe Paterno only, and not the police, was because psychologically, “Men are still socialized to not show vulnerability, so it’s easy for others to make us feel like we’re being too emotional, that we’re big babies.”
Men still know right from wrong. A man having sex with a boy is a scene very few people would find 'normal', so I wonder how long it took the memory of that 10 year old boy's face to cause that assistant coach to start suffering from ulcers.
I then read another article about a 10 year old girl giving birth
to a baby boy in Mexico. The girl was only 31 weeks along when she gave birth, so the baby stayed in the hospital, while the girl was released to go home. She visits the hospital daily to breastfeed. Breastfeed?
A 10 year old is breastfeeding a baby?
Here again, my small, naive mind cannot conjure such an image. The article went on to say that, "The Puebla state Attorney General's Office is now investigating whether the girl could have been raped and who the father is..."
Could have been raped?
Since the article also points out that the minimum 'age of consent' is 12 (which also sickens me), is there any other option besides rape?
I will not accept an excuse like, "she looked much older than she was", because once she opened her mouth to speak, SHE WAS 10!
Seeing a parent discipline a child in the grocery store using corporal punishment is one thing. Seeing an adult sexually violating a child, or the obvious result of such an act is quite another.
Why are there still adults allowing the abuse of our most precious gifts ~ our children? As Edmund Burke once said: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Why is anyone upset that Joe Paterno was fired?
I can't believe it just happened.
I smell rubber, hot asphalt and dusty, dry weeds. My legs feel like they have been smashed into the pavement, and are full of needles My whole right side is on fire, and I smell and taste my own blood.
I open my eyes and am momentarily blinded by the hot sun. I focus, and see a yellow line on the road, pebbled and uneven looking , and I look down at the bundle in my arms, a mass of blond hair, pink t-shirt, skirt and pudgy legs ending in sparkly sandals and pink painted little toes. No blood or odd angled limbs. Thank God!
I hear whimpering, and whisper, "Are you all right?"
Continued whimpering prompts me to repeat forcefully, "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, I think tho." the little first grader lisp whimpers back as she looks up at me. She has blue eyes like my son, light blue, almost gray.
Her whimpering starts to grow, becoming a little sob, and I adjust my left arm to brush her hair back as she starts to get up.
"It's okay, sweetie. It's going to be okay," I whisper as I lay my head back down on the pavement, hearing screams, running footsteps and car engines idling. I close my eyes as the distant sirens wail, and welcome the reprieve from the bright sun, but I still see the light shining through my eyelids, until, finally, painless, cool darkness.
Yes, I occasionally do cross walk duty, and actually take my life, and the lives of elementary school children in my own hands. And, yes, occasionally, I have dreams about it. This delusional dream of grandeur is very revealing of my biggest fear - children (especially my own) in danger. Thankfully, I am never a victim in these dreams...I always fight, and win the safety of the child, but the cross walk fear is very real.
The insecure, inconsiderate mom/dad going around on the wrong side of the road to cut in front of everyone else. The self-important mom/dad texting or talking on the phone while stopping traffic to cut in front of the next rightful car, then walking her/his child back to their car still talking on the phone as if the child is the grocery store clerk with whom kindness and consideration is apparently not required. The non-parent too busy to wait, passing on the right - sometimes off the paved road to get around all this 'child pick-up mess' - and speeding through the intersection, oblivious to the cross walk monitor holding the large stop sign...hence the dream.
Always show patience and kindness in the face of the impatient and unkind. Otherwise you become what you detest. It is one thing to be too insecure, inconsiderate and self important to let anyone else have the right-of-way, and it is something totally different to put children in danger.
"It's all right, sweetie..."
"It's all right..."
As your independence from me looms like the dark before the dawn, I can't help but reflect on the exciting journey before you, and my new role as your Mom.
Thinking of your Graduation, as you make decisions for your future - as you pack to leave home and study, I imagine sparkling excitement in your eyes, and yes, a little fear, but if I have done my job by helping you prepare for your life away from me, I know you will make most of the right choices. I hope you learn from the wrong ones.
You will experiment with all kinds of new things, people and events. Always remember...Don't put anything up your nose that you don't want in your brain... Please choose as wisely as possible, as these experiments can affect the remainder of your life, and the lives of others.
Marrying these thoughts with my current reality, I can answer your question confidently, my son:
"NO! You can't have your iPod back until your 8th Grade English is above a C-!"
The memory of my 38th birthday on September 3, 2001.
The memory of breaking both my legs on September 5, 2001.
The memory of getting these two casts, that, tower-like held me up whenever I wished to stand.
The memory of waking up to the contractors building a house behind us and their distant radio broadcasting something about airplanes, and the Twin Towers of New York City, and people jumping.
The memory of sitting on the couch, neon stumps propped up on a chair, stupefied by the repeated horrors I watched unfold on television.
The memory of details of a new world unfolding with new definitions of "terror".
The memory of delivering my second son on September 28, 2001.
The memory of getting my first cast removed, and replaced by a walking boot on October 19, 2001.
The memory of being able to carry my newborn son in my arms for the first time, because my second cast was removed, and replaced by a walking boot on November 21, 2001.
The memory of welcoming a new year with thankfulness for the wonderful gifts I had been given, lessons I had learned and personal growth I had accomplished through the fall (both literally and seasonally) of the previous year, and knowing that we have a choice to either grow anew or shrink with fear when faced with each new experience - whether positive or negative.
Every time I see the above picture of me and my pink and blue twin towers, I smile and make a choice.
What do you choose?