Monday, January 30, 2012

I Am Blessed...

This weekend, I spent LOTS of time with some of my favorite little peeps. Saturday was my youngest nephew Harrison’s 4th birthday, and I joined my sister and her family to help celebrate the joy that is Harrison.

I had a blast watching that energetic, hyped up little boy run around the house. We shared my frozen Mountain Dew, which might have helped contribute to the hyper activity now that I think of it. OOPS! We played Legos and did some car crash testing with his new cars (HA!). We all went to Taco Bell (Harrison’s expensive dinner choice) for his birthday meal and then had yummy chocolate cake together afterwards. On Sunday, we had a BIG birthday party with lots of friends and family gathered together. It was awesome!

I came home last night pretty exhausted from my full weekend, but it was worth it. And today, I woke up feeling quite blessed.

I’m not a Mom myself, and I think those chances for motherhood are slipping past me. And I’m not being negative when I say that. I’m being real and honest. The clock is ticking after all. 

But while I’m not a mother, I am an aunt, and I love that role. I love spending time with any of my 5 nieces and 4 nephews! I love those precious moments! I’ve watched them develop from infancy to where they are now…
  • one is married and living in another state
  • one is getting ready to graduate high school and head to college
  • one is more than ready to get a driver’s license
  • one is singing in the school choir and trying not to be too boy-crazy
  • one is in junior high and psyched to be a teenager now
  • two are in the third grade - one is into fashion; the other is into Legos
  • one is in kindergarten and starting to read
  • one is getting ready for preschool and loves all things Darth Vader (Harrison).

Yes, I’m blessed to have such amazing “little people”** in my life. I have the opportunity to get the youngest ones hyped up on sugar and then send them back to their parents. I get to have fun with them and spoil them in my own way. I get to bond with them and hear their dreams as they share their hearts with me. I’m very fortunate. Thank you, LORD!

**DISCLAIMER: I probably need to stop calling them “little people.” I’ve been passed in height by 5 of them now, and the other 4 (all under 10 years old) are not far behind. YIKES! It’s rather sad that I am the height target they are all shooting for, which at just over 5 feet is not much of a goal. HA!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Let It Go, BUT...

Most of us don't enjoy confrontation. Yes, there are some that do, and I've met a few of those people in the past. But I think the majority of those I'm acquainted with aren't crazy about having to confront people. I know I'm not. I don't like it. I'll do it when the situation calls for it, but it's not something I look forward to.

This morning I woke up wide-eyed with my alarm. I'd been having a most interesting dream where I was hashing things out with someone that had misjudged me a couple of years back. It was a vivid dream that felt so real, and I woke up rather disturbed about the whole scenario.

At first, I was angry that I hadn't really gotten to say those things I said in my dream. I was thinking that it might have been therapeutic and cleansing in a way to get those things off my chest and clear the air. But at the same time, I was upset with myself that I apparently still think about this situation. Even while I am sound asleep, I'm contemplating what-if scenarios in my head.

I thought I had let it go. I really did. I didn't realize that part of me was still dwelling on that incident, but somehow, I'm still holding onto a piece of the pain. I'm nurturing that fragment, and if I allow it to, it will fester.

Earlier this week, a friend posted this Little Wonders video by Rob Thomas on Facebook. (The song was featured in the animated film Meet the Robinsons, which I've blogged about before.) And today it's a fitting reminder that I really just need to let it go.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Invisalign Braces

Less than 24 hours into my first experience with Invisalign braces, I would call my behavior distracted. This is probably going to take some getting used to...
  • I am tasting plastic - pretty much nothing else but plastic.
  • I don't feel any pain, but I certainly haven't forgotten that I have something on my teeth.
  • I slept just fine all night with the braces in my mouth.
  • I can't keep my tongue from rubbing over the rough surfaces on the edges. 
  • I miss drinking my red Crystal Light and my Diet Mountain Dew. It is recommended that you only drink water (aka clear liquids) while wearing Invisalign. (SIGH!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm Happy for Indianapolis, but...

My name is Melanie, and I don’t like American football.

There I said it. Don’t judge me too harshly. I’ve never liked football really. The last football game I enjoyed had nothing to do with the game and everything to do with a cute boy off the field. I was 15. And while I am on this full disclosure kick, let me be completely honest…

  • I didn’t know who Tim Tebow was until  2 weeks ago. No shame here, but I had to Google him to find out. HA!
  • I didn’t know who was going to be playing in the Super Bowl until my company hung up banners for the 2 teams and with a little sleuthing I figured it out.
  • I’m not going to watch any of the Super Bowl coverage. I’ll probably watch Downton Abbey instead. Yes, I prefer watching a program about an English country estate to that of viewing a bunch of men in helmets chasing each other around a field.
  • I won’t be participating in any of the Super Bowl events around the city. I’m not crazy about crowds or insane traffic, and so I’ll probably stay home and read a book.
So there it is: I don’t like American football.

It doesn’t mean that I am un-American. My 17-year-old nephew already tried that line of logic with me. He suggested that my European travels have warped my ties to my native soil. HA! Silly boy! I didn’t like football long BEFORE my overseas excursions.

It doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of Indiana. Are you kidding me? I support plenty of things in Indiana. I’m a member or a frequent visitor of many of the local museums, the zoo and cultural organizations around the city of Indianapolis. I love introducing guests to local attractions, and I spend plenty of money each year exploring my current state of residence.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t like sports period. I grew up on hockey and baseball. I played soccer, softball and rugby at summer camp. I’m not anti-sports at all. I especially love the Olympics, and this July, I’ll be watching with special interest as London plays host to the 2012 Olympics.

I just don’t like American football. It’s not my thing. It’s not something I am interested in or feel compelled to care about. I’ve explained it all before to most of you, and I don’t need to repeat myself.

You have your interests, your likes and dislikes; and I have mine. I’m happy for you, and I will support YOU as you pursue your interests and passions. And I hope you can learn to do the same for me...even though football just isn't a part of my life. 

Oh, Florence!!!

My church choir is planning a trip to Italy for late April / early May 2013.  
  1. I am delighted at the prospect of returning to Europe.
  2. I’ve not been to Italy yet and am eager to see it.
  3. OK, quite honestly, the travel committee had me at the mention of Florence.
I became transfixed on the idea of Florence after reading E.M.Forster’s novel, A Room with a View, and seeing the exquisite 1985 film with Helena Bonham-Carter and Maggie Smith. Pure magic! I’ve been longing to visit Florence ever since. Perhaps like Lucy Honeychurch and her cousin Charlotte Bartlett, I am seeking an adventure, but I’m afraid I don’t travel smartly without my Baedeker.

Of course, there are other exotic places on the tentative itinerary that draw me in as well. Dreamy locales such as Venice, Milan, Cortona (Tuscany) and Rome – these certainly add to my momentous excitement. Truly, I think I could be ready to leave tomorrow if necessary. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Borrowing a Line from "Something Borrowed"

I have a little book of quotes that I update with favorite lines I hear in a film or on TV, read in a book or catch in a conversation. Tonight, I wrote down another good one. It was in the movie Something Borrowed.

This was my second time watching the film, and as before, I was crying throughout a couple of scene. One scene in particular touches me for some reason. Rachel and Ethan, two close friends, are discussing Rachel’s recent love life turmoil and how she feels like second place or the runner up in her relationships, and Ethan decides to bare his soul and tell Rachel how special she is to him...
Rachel: “I want to be someone’s first choice.”
Ethan: “Yeah. You are…You are home for me.”
It’s a sweet moment. However, Rachel and Ethan don’t go off into the sunset together. She loves another and doesn’t feel the same for Ethan despite his heartfelt confession. But his simple line telling her that she is “home” for him, moves me deeply. I want that.

I don’t like all the aspects of Something Borrowed. The main characters are flawed and make some selfish choices, hurting each other along the way. It’s not always pretty or neat and tidy. But that is, after all, what REAL life is like. It’s messy, and we’re all stumbling to get through it as best we can. In a way, we're all searching for our ideal "home" - whether that is found in a location, a person or something more...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Swan Lake: Pure Magic

On Friday night, I went to see the ballet of Swan Lake featuring the Voronezh State Ballet Theatre of Russia. This was my first viewing of the actual ballet. My only experience surrounding the Swan Lake story was through the film, Black Swan, and so I was rather curious about seeing the full ballet and learning more. I was not disappointed.

I've seen several other ballets over the past few years, but this was by far the most prestigious and advanced company I have seen perform. I was fascinated by the prima ballerina, Svetlana Noskova, as her Odette/Odile floated across the stage. She made it all seem so effortless. The fact is that the entire company danced impeccably throughout the evening. I was struck with their precision and the beauty and passion that seemed to emanate from their movements.

I was mesmerized by Tchaikovsky's music and discovered that I knew more of the score than I thought I did. It was hauntingly familiar and beautiful.

After the show, it took us nearly 3 hours to get home from Wabash due to the accumulating snow on the roads, but I think it was well worth the effort to see such a sensational performance and to experience the beauty and music that is Swan Lake.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Saying Goodbye to a Dream

I grew up secretly dreaming of becoming a ballerina. My sister and I would twirl around our living room floor and practice our “moves.” It was a rather silly pipe dream now when I think about it.

  1. My parents were against dancing. I don’t think they would be morally opposed to going to a ballet themselves, but they never would have allowed their daughters to take ballet lessons. Ballet is after all a form of dance.
  2. I have no natural grace or elegance. None. No kidding. I’m a chunky klutz that always dreamed of being more lithe and airy than I truly am.
  3. I have no “moves.” Seriously, have you ever seen me dance? Few have and lived to tell about it. I’ve got no sense of rhythm or general idea of how to move to music at all. Never have had. It’s rather sad.
So, truth be told, I don’t really think I missed “my calling” to become a dancer. I just think my thoughts on becoming a ballerina were merely a dream aspiration - one that I couldn’t pursue even if I had wanted to. I'm not bitter or angry about it either. It was just NOT meant to be, and the world is not weeping over the loss of the next Pierina Legnani.**

A few years ago, I went to a few ballet performances here in Indianapolis and loved every minute of it. I finally got the see The Nutcracker live and more modern works like Dracula, etc. It was mesmerizing and wonderful! I was ecstatic!

Soon after my friends and I opted to purchase season tickets to the ballet. This was our first time buying season tickets for ANYTHING, and it was exhilarating! We went to one magical performance on our season pass, and then the Indianapolis Ballet Company went bankrupt and closed down. It was so sad. (SIGH!)

But when I think back on it, it was also rather hilarious. It was certainly NOT hilarious that a company went under, we lost our investment, most importantly dancers lost their jobs, etc. But it was comically ironic that the first time we had ever paid for season tickets for anything, the company goes under. Hmmmm...perhaps this is why I’m still hesitant to buy season tickets for anything else? 

Tonight my friends and I are headed to see another ballet, Swan Lake, and I confess, I am giddy with excitement and anticipation. I've been twirling around my apartment all morning in preparation for this evening's performance. However, I now consider myself a patron of the arts rather than an active participant, which I think works out best for everyone.

**DISCLAIMER: I have not become a ballet history expert in the past 24 hours. I just googled something about ballet yesterday, and Pierina's name was mentioned as one of the greats. So I'm still not ready for the ballet category on Jeopardy! or anything like that. HA!**

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do...

Breaking up is hard to do…especially when you don’t recall how you got hooked up in the first place. Odd as it may seem that day is rather a blank slate for me. One moment I was free and untethered, carefree as a bird. The next moment, everything changed. Suddenly my whole world revolved around him, and we have been cosmically connected from that day on.

Isn’t this what every woman dreams of? To find that special someone who comes in and sweeps her off her feet? To be pursued and chased? To be loved for herself alone? Naively, I thought that was what I wanted, too, but I’m not so sure about that any more. It always looks blissful in the movies, but it’s much less romantic than Hollywood lets on, believe me.

You see, I had my doubts about him from the beginning, but he seemed so sure about us. He was convinced that we belonged together, and his confidence was alluring. I found myself falling under his mesmerizing spell. Call it karma or fate, I was drawn to him. What is a girl to do?

I tried to end our relationship three times. I tried to make it clear that there was no room in my life for him, On my third attempt, I thought that he understood and got my message loud and clear. I was sure it was the end of us, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

But then he showed up 4 days later, acting as if he had never left my side, and despite my best attempts to ward him off, I could feel myself being drawn in yet again. He’s a stubborn brute really, and I’m not sure what the attraction is that pulls us together, but I know of it's power. Even now, I think we’re done, but I know that he might reappear at any minute reminding me once again that we are one, and I’ll be putty in his embrace once more. I’m weak. I can’t fight him off anymore on my own.

Thus, I finally opted to seek out some more professional help. It was time to admit that I couldn’t sever ties with him on my own. I felt trapped and needed help in removing him from my life and putting boundaries in place to keep him from returning once more.

And so today, I visited an ENT, who gave me great hopes that together we can rid me of this immortal sinus infection. He believes we can take preventative measures to keep my infection from returning and end this vile parasitic relationship. I am thrilled. Sadly, this is my longest-running relationship in like forever, but, alas, it really needs to end. Honestly, I’ve never been quite so ready for a breakup. BRING IT!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Free to Be Me

I'm me. Tried to be someone else once. It didn't fly. So you're stuck with me…

That’s my opening line on my Twitter profile. Sure. It’s kind of odd to start there, but it is reality. That is the way I’ve been viewing my life for the past couple of years.

I’ve started showing my real self. I’ve stopped faking, stopped trying to be someone else, stopped trying to please other people, stopped trying to blend in and stopped trying to be like everyone else.

In exchange, I started to focus on pleasing the only ONE who matters. And when I let go of caring about the rest, I was FREE. Free to be real. Free to be open-minded. Free to listen and form my own opinions. Free to love. Free to disagree with those that I love. Free to be myself. Free to see myself as HE sees me.

It’s not pretty all the time. In fact sometimes, it’s downright ugly. But seeing that reality prompts me to step back, allowing HIM to transform me and truly set me FREE.