Sometimes you have to get out of your head

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When Lara and I were running our business together, we started buying Leonie Dawson's journals to help us think about the previous year and plan for the new year. I've stopped buying them now because I never really have time to finish them and that bothers me irrationally. They're great tools to get you thinking about how things went, what you'd change and how you want to move forward. I did best with it the first year we got them. 

But my favorite part was a really short section that asked for a list of five things to do when a break is needed. The concept of identifying a finite list of ways to get out of work mode so I could return to a more productive head space was kind of revolutionary for me.

Since I'm going through my 52 Lists for Happiness in my own little way here on the blog, I immediately thought of that list when I came to the assignment about things that help you get out of your head. So, here goes:

  • Stories are the best way for me to turn off all the noise around me. I can escape into a book and let everything else fall away. (I try not to let it fall so far that the laundry doesn't get done.)
  • Music is so healing. I can be frustrated or mad and a fun song with a great beat will take me to a whole new space where I can relax and stop stressing.
  • Those days when you're hyperventilating and wondering how you're going to manage situations, there's nothing like having a chat or a glass of wine with a good friend. 
  • Taking a long walk helps me wake up when I need a jolt of coffee. And it can help me get out of a room so I can get out of my head when I really need to.
  • Movies and TV shows that have great storylines can be just as effective as a book for providing a vehicle to another world that doesn't share the same worries.
  • Getting immersed in creative writing can get me well and truly lost in another world. Unfortunately, it's not such a great way to pause work for only a short time unless that means hours or days.

I'd love to say I knit or crochet to escape, but I'm not consistent at practicing or even good at either one. I do both on occasion anyway. The jury's still out on whether such crafty activities are true escapism for me. I think I might be entertaining a fruitless idea that I'll one day be somewhat decent and grow to love them. I probably need to embrace my non-crafty status and stop buying yarn.

Please throw your own suggestions for getting out of your head in the comments - anything that works for you might help someone else. (Like moi.)

It's the end of the world as we know it...

This morning, something really horrible happened. 

I swore that I would NEVER, EVER, EVER let this happen. 

It was one of those things that - while I absolutely do not judge other parents for allowing (heck, some out there probably like it) - it just simply wasn’t going to occur in my home with my child. 

I have been determined in this for twenty years - yes, more than half my LIFE! - ever since I first heard that song. The one many of us loved to hate.

Is it the end of the world? Of course not. Don’t be silly.

Is it the end of my sanity? It’s entirely possible.

So, what exactly happened? 

THIS is what happened:

Just HOW did this happen? And WHO is to blame?

The real person to blame is the creator of the show. Seriously, I have no issue with purple or dinosaurs. I just object to annoying purple dinosaurs.

Matt has to share the blame, too. He just sat back and let it happen. How could he do this to me?

Lastly, I blame Netflix. Oh, they have their pretty little interface that showcases all those wonderful shows and movies and they make it super easy for even a 3-year-old to navigate around everything, finding “fun” new kids’ shows to watch and enjoy. Shows like:

The Backyardigans - I think it’s pretty cute. It’s only annoying when Brandon wants to watch the same episode over and over and over and over again. He’s three - it happens.

Arthur - I’m still trying to figure out what some of the characters are supposed to be. They just aren’t a discernable animal to me, but at least it seems somewhat realistic to life with children.

Franklin - It’s weird to me that a turtle, bear, duck, rabbit, beaver, fox and whatever other animals are in this show would play together. But at least it teaches some good lessons.

Little Bear - The music in this one is so calming to me. It also makes me want to give Brandon the biggest hug when he calls me Mother Mommy after hearing Little Bear call his mom Mother Bear. So cute. It is a little like Franklin with the whole “animals playing with their prey” thing. 

Jimmy Neutron - Geekalicious kid movie. This is one even Matt and I really enjoy.

Clearly, children’s programming is so not my thing. Netflix seems to have every one of the 493,284 13 versions of The Land Before Time movies - EXCEPT the only one that’s good: the first one. Good thing we bought it a while back.

Those are just a few of the ones I can watch without getting too stabby.  I keep trying to get Brandon to like Babar and Inspector Gadget. Unfortunately, he insists on watching shows that never should have seen the light of day, such as:

Caillou - Is there a whinier child on the face of the planet? Or wimpier parents? 

Max and Ruby - WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS!? Why is no adult responsible for these children!? I’m hoping their parents find them and stop letting them play on TV. This is a good solution.

Thomas & Friends - The constant sniping in every episode of this show grates on my last nerve.

I shudder to think what he’ll be watching in a few years. I might have to start scouring eBay and other sites to find some Belle and SebastianTransformers, He-Man, ThunderCats, Silver HawksShe-Ra, Jem and Holograms, and other decent cartoon shows that I got to watch as a kid. Because, frankly, the stuff I see these days is just not that interesting.

Can you tell I was sandwiched between two boys based on my TV watching as a kid? :)

What are some of your favorite shows you wish your kids could see?

Day 14 - A hero that has let you down.

Photo Credit: Kym Shumsky (Relishing.ca)When I was younger, I was fascinated by made-for-TV movies. There was the one about the brain transplant patient who gets the brain of a tall, svelt, beautiful woman and is confused when she looks in the mirror to see someone fairly average when she expects to see a very different picture.

Then there was the one with the identical twin sisters (played by the same actress, of course). One twin fakes her death and then comes back to impersonate her sister and steal her husband - or something like that. I don’t think I was supposed to be watching that one.

The melodrama in the fictional movies would likely have me splitting my sides laughing these days. (You have to admit the brain transplant one was priceless.) As I got older, and we got cable, I got to see them all on repeat on Lifetime. Made-for-TV movies are great late-night entertainment. (Trust me on this.)

Then there were the movie accounts of real-life people. Fictionalized biographies, I suppose. All of them had plenty of melodrama (or they wouldn’t make the cut on Lifetime). There was one fictionalized biography that affected me pretty deeply. The Karen Carpenter Story aired on CBS in 1989 and I remember my reaction to it as if it was yesterday. And let me just say from the start that I get way too invested in stories like this.

I had some knowledge of The Carpenters’ music before watching this movie. My parents owned several LPs and I listened to them along with The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, and (my personal favorite) Simon and Garfunkel fairly regularly. 

Listening to Karen Carpenter sing was intoxicating. I wanted to be her. She was the first really cool person to share my name and that was pretty exciting.

Until I watched her story.

I got angry when I realized what she did to herself. How could she DO that to herself!? Why didn’t she see how amazing she was and take care of herself? I was only 11 and I didn’t realize how troubled she was. It was years before I was able to listen to her music. I don’t think I had a full awareness of her death before watching the movie.

I’m well aware now (though I wasn’t back then) that the movie doesn’t accurately portray her life and death, but I am still amazed at the disappointment I felt over the fictionalized account of Karen Carpenter’s existence.

Image Source: Facebook | Lost PinupThat kind of childhood disappointment looks very different as you get older and change the lens through which you see the circumstances. I no longer feel the anger and dismay that I remember so well from over 20 years ago. I don’t feel let-down either. But it is terribly sad that Karen Carpenter died so tragically.

I think it’s terribly sad that any person (particularly the female gender) gets to the point that they abuse their body to fulfill an impossible image that is, frankly, not even that attractive.