In the Last Three Minutes…

I’m a news junkie. I love watching the news. That is to say, I only like watching the local news on one particular station. I don’t necessarily like watching MSNBC or CNN, so when I come home from work in the afternoon, I have a set schedule of news that I watch. The local news channel airs at 4 pm on one channel, and then at 5 on a different channel. So when the program ends at 4:57, I immediately switch over to the other channel so I can watch the same people deliver the 5:00 news. The thing is though, when I arrive at the designated channel at 4:57, I am left with three minutes of “The Young and the Restless”. I am not a soap opera watcher. I can imagine that I might like watching them, after all, I was a huge fan of 90210 back in “the day”. I like trashy dramas, to a certain extent.

So for quite a while now, I have watched the last three minutes of this particular soap opera nearly every day and I have come to the conclusion that the last three minutes are the most drama filled and, somewhat ridiculous moments of the show. I can’t say that I have watched an entire episode in order to make that judgement, but now that it’s summer break, I just might do that one day.

Watching these last few minutes of the show every day started to get entertaining, so much so that I started a list of what I saw on various days of tuning in at the end. Here are some of the highlights:

-murder plot revealed, a found gun, both think the other will kill him

-a blind man can see again, what he saw was scandalous, though he’s not telling anybody he can see again

-a person knocked out in a fire, a ship explodes

-a plane crashes

-a pregnant woman goes into labor while being locked and hidden in a  utility closet

-an evil stare down between two men as one man has the other man arrested for felony embezzlement

From these final moments, I have learned that nobody is safe in a soap opera. I’m pretty sure that even the most innocent of characters is subject to scandalous drama happening. But then again, would it even be considered a soap opera if drama was happening to only some of the characters? Also, when do these people have down time? Is there a day that goes by in this world when it’s just a regular day? But again, what would be the fun in watching people have a cup of coffee while they surf the web in the morning? Or sit in front of the t.v. at night and knit, like I do? Clearly I am not one to be involved in a soap opera, fictional or otherwise. And for that, I am grateful.

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Avoiding Facebook on Fathers Day

A moment ago, my phone rang. A number I didn’t recognize came up, but the location was familiar. There’s only one person that I know who lives in Michigan and this call had to be from him, my father. Either my heart leaped or my stomach sank, I can’t tell which. A strong emotion was evoked nonetheless. To the empty living room around me, I said that I’m not answering it. A whirlwind of thoughts encompassed my mind…had something happened to him? Is he o.k.? The phone eventually stopped ringing and the voice mail alert tone sounded. The message that I listened to was automated and clearly selling something. I wanted to cry. I still do.

The history of the relationship with my father is one in which there are more negative memories and feelings than there are positive ones. Since my parent’s divorce in the middle of my first year of college, I have gone back and forth from being very sure that I hated him, to trying my best to maintain a relationship with him. To say it hasn’t been easy is an understatement. Two years ago, though, I gave up trying. Ignoring the fact that I was getting married to the man who was there for me when he wasn’t, was the proverbial last straw. Not long after my wedding, I went as far as to unfriend my step-mother on Facebook. Seeing her post pictures of their life together, when he continually made no effort to include me in his life, made it all the more painful.

Since declaring that “I’m done” with him, and nearly accepting the fact that my future children will not have a grandfather (my husband’s father died many years ago), thoughts of him continually remind me that I can’t possibly leave things like this. There will come a time when I regret this decision to remove him permanently from my life, and then, it may be too late to change things. Putting away laundry last weekend while listening to music brought up the feelings again when “Thank You” by Alanis Morissette popped up on my playlist:

“How about that ever elusive kudo?”

“How about me not blaming you for everything?”

“How about how good it feels to finally forgive you?”

With Fathers Day coming up this Sunday, I know I will see a barage of posts from my friends proclaiming their love for their fathers that will include sweet pictures. Last year, I made it a point not to go online much that day. It’s ironic, though, because just today, on Facebook, I saw someone post a meme that said: “Forgive them, even if they are not sorry”. It reminds me of something else I saw that said: “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got.” Every where I turn, there is something that reminds me of this wound that is not healing. How do I forgive? How do I let go? How do I move on from the grief that I feel over the loss of this relationship?

Whether there is an answer to any of these questions, or whether I can even do any of these things right now…forgive, let go, move on…I just don’t know.

With the tears now dried, I’ll just have to accept this day as a loss…I did not stick to my diet and I did not exercise, and a scab-covered wound was picked open by a telemarketing phone call. Tomorrow is a new day, and with a new day, I’ll take solace in knowing that time tends to heal pain. Perhaps there will be a moment of clarity mixed in there somewhere and I’ll know what to do to handle this, but for now, there is only heartbreak.

A Teacher’s Summer

During summer vacation, it’s very rare that I wake up before nine or ten o’clock. My husband leaves for work around 6:30, but unless he comes to kiss me good-bye, I don’t take notice. I have acquired an obliviousness to his alarm clock and subsequent sounds in the bathroom and bedroom as he gets dressed. So it was to my surprise that last Thursday I woke up as he was leaving. He had indeed come to give me a kiss, but this time, instead of immediately closing my eyes again, I kept them open and made the quick decision to get out of bed. I had a newfound morning energy that I was grateful for. Perhaps it is necessary to explain that the night before, I had prayed hard that I would be able to get up early enough to go walking/jogging before the oppressive summer heat and humidity kicked in outside. Realizing that my prayers had been answered, I quickly dressed and prepared for my exercise excursion. All of this was done with haste, as I didn’t want an opportunity to lose the motivation that had worked it’s way into my morning.

The app on my phone told me that I only traveled 2.5 miles that morning. This was certainly not the exhausting 4 miles that my husband and I had walked the weekend before on the river trail near our apartment. But, with a pretty painful burn in the region of my shins that had started not long after walking up the hill to get out of our apartment complex, I was still impressed with myself. Today is Sunday for another two hours, and I can’t honestly say that I exercised again like I did Thursday. There will be more days like that though. I am determined to make it happen.

For the past several summer breaks, I have always been determined to lose weight. With nothing distracting me, no work to make me tired at the end of the day, I always knew that summer break was the perfect time to really take charge of a diet and exercise regime that I desperately need. My physical health is a big obstacle in the path of motherhood. With excessive weight, it has brought on diabetes and high blood pressure, all of which will greatly diminish if I lose weight. Doctors have been telling me this for years, and yet, I have not done anything about these health conditions other than continue to get my medications refilled. With two weeks of summer already gone, I know it’s not too late to start the regime that I got a glimpse of on Thursday. A line from a song that I like says: “Surprise ’em with a victory cry”. That’s exactly what I want to do in the fall. I want to go back to school and surprise everyone with a different version of myself. Looking thinner is a bonus, but truthfully, I just want to be healthy.

There is so much inspiration around me that I simply can’t ignore. There was a dream I had a while ago where I was running and I wasn’t in pain from the effort, I wasn’t so out of breath that I couldn’t speak, it felt good to be running. My oldest sister had weight loss surgery around Easter and from pictures I’ve seen of her on Facebook, she looks fabulous! I don’t want to be the only one in my family who is not taking her health seriously. And while there are so many other people and quotes and stories I have heard that I’m drawing inspiration from, I am most inspired by a stranger in an SUV. About nine years ago, I was planning to go tandem skydiving and while I was within the acceptable weight limit, I was determined to lose a few pounds anyway, just to be on the safe side. I decided that running around the neighborhood was the best way to do this, actually, it was my only choice. So while I was running up the sidewalk, passing several businesses along the way, a lady in an SUV was pulling out of a bank parking lot. She rolled down her window as I jogged by and she yelled “You go girl!” I will never forget that. It has sort of become my exercise mantra.

Tomorrow begins a new week. There is opportunity waiting for me on the other side of the night. I am one teacher who is determined to make the most of her summer. There are no rules for summer vacation. Nothing says that I have to sleep in every day. Setting an alarm clock in June is not blasphemous. I will make this happen. I can do it.