Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mama Bean really just wants french fries

I had a revelation today. For a little while now, I've realized that, when it comes to potato chips, I really just prefer plain ones best. During my pregnancy with Sprout, I could sort of only eat plain, because anything flavoured flared up my heartburn. But even before that, I knew in my Heart of Hearts I preferred plain chips.

I think I was ashamed to admit it because plain chips are to salty snacks what vanilla ice cream is to sweets. And it's bad to be vanilla. It's boring and staid and predictable and boring. Also, boring. But, shame be damned, it's just what I like! Plain chips are simple, salty, greasy, and delicious.

(I may as well admit I like vanilla milk shakes more than any other flavour of milk shakes.)

(Also, even if I prefer salty snacks, let the record show I have a well-developed sweet tooth. A sugared molar, if you will.)

Anyway, here's my revelation. The reason I like plain chips so much is because they taste like french fries. And I love french fries. LoooOOOoooOOOoooOOOve them. McDonald's. With extra salt. Yes, really. I love how they're crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. I love how they get a bit spongy with oil. I love how they don't hurt my mouth (unless they're too hot, and even then, they taste so good fresh, it burns sooooo good.) I love french fries, all. day. long.

I like plain chips because they're the closest to what I actually want in my belly, the softer gentler form of fried salted potato, the french fry. 

And get this, when I do eat a flavoured chip, I prefer those that are like something you'd put on a fry; Ketchup flavour! Au gratin, which is just Cheese!

This is so obvious to me now, I wonder why I bother with chips at all. They are both equally accessible. They cost about the same, financially and calorically. In fact, french fries can be bought and delivered through the window of my car! On the other hand, the enjoyment of chips is not temperature dependent, and fries really lose their allure once they're cold. And, to be honest, I shouldn't be eating either, because I'm supposed to "changing my lifestyle."

What's your favourite flavour of chip?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mama Bean wishes she'd never made this Lenten commitment

Here are some disjointed thoughts I have had today:

-Sometimes, when people care about something, they don't care who they hurt defending it. Even if their defense is justified, I have to hold out that hurting others in the process is not. (That makes it war, right?)

-Some people only want you to see what they see in a picture, leaving no room for the joy or beauty you see from your angle, and then they lose twice; they've rejected the friendship you brought in your willingness to share your point of view, and they're blinded to the beauty you brought with it.

-I used to think honing your Rhetoric Meter was something that could be learned and practiced, but I increasingly wonder if it's a factor of personality. As frustrated as I get at others' inability to hold onto the Big Picture over and against what I see as the trivialities of details, they probably get just as frustrated at my inability to hold onto an idea with simple passion, over and against the complexity of the bigger reality.

-In conflict, I experience a rush of adrenaline that makes me shake uncontrollably. I also have a similar reaction to action or suspense scenes in movies.

-There is no happy ending where everyone stays friends.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mama Bean adjusts your spine, not "the" spine

Sometime in the past year, I heard the language I was using with patients in a new way. When I explained what I was adjusting and/or why, I'd catch myself talking about "There were some areas in the low back to work on" or "I really focused on the neck and base of the skull" or "With the office work you do, it's common to find muscle and joint imbalance along the right side of the neck."

I realized, to this person in front of me, trusting me with their pain and their health, it wasn't "the" low back or "the" neck or "the" whatever - it was their low back, their very own neck, the whatever belonging very personally and uniquely and exclusively to them. And my language needed to reflect that.

So, I have been more intentional about answering questions or offering explanations that address the person directly. "There were areas in your low back that needed work." "When muscle imbalance disrupts your spine, it's necessary to address both alignment and muscle tone." 

I'm not perfect at it every day, but I want people to know that I see them, and not just a faceless set of joints and muscles in front of me. And I have noticed the same sort of language glitches in other service professionals addressing me. It's good for me to be sensitive to how that makes me feel, because then I know this sort of semantical detail does mean a lot, it does make a difference. It is important for me to bring this into my practice and use it to serve people with more compassion.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mama Bean is in flux

  • A continued flow or flowing, a flood; the flowing in of the tide
  • Constant or frequent change, fluctuation
  • The discharge of large quantities of fluid material from the body, especially the discharge of watery feces from the intestines
  • A state of uncertainty about what should be done (usually following some important event) preceding the establishment of a new direction of action
To say things are in flux is an understatement. I might even say things are in crisis, or at least critical flux. And so, I am in crisis mode. I have vast quantities of stress and responsibility blended smoothly with low quantities of patience or other emotional resources. It is a maelstrom.

I can't necessarily blog openly about any of the details. Many important relationships and professional consequences depend on the maintenance of discretion. So.

I will say this has revealed to me how my NJness shines through in such crisis/flux states. INtuitive, see the Big Picture; Judger, make a Plan. If I only I didn't have this pesky Feeler complicating things, making me sensitive to relational needs. It would be easier if I could be coldly logical and Thinker-like about this.

My NJ gets frustrated by the S(ensing) and P(erceiving) I am seemingly surrounded by. I want a bullhorn, "Let's keep our eyes on the big picture here, people! These are the essential things, list a) b) c)..." And while it seems to them I am glossing over details right now, it is only because getting hung up on those details prevents action on the Plan, and when it's the best Plan we've got, acting on it really becomes fairly imperative. So keep your negative Nit Picks to yourself * humph *

It seems what the folks around me really want is (endless) affirmation of how they've been victimized, how their anger is justified, how Wrong It All Is. And guess what? It is. It's wrong and I'm angry and I am victimized, too. This is all true. I'm sorry. But we cannot allow anger to paralyze us. We cannot allow sadness and helplessness and intense emotions to seize our faculties completely because there are other people depending on us! Like, isn't this obvious? Do I really need to explain this? Hell, I am depending on you! So snapoutofitalready. srsly.

I wrote about Lent being like a flood - and a flood of change and upheaval and chaos it has turned out to be. Change is the only constant right now, everything is changing in fast and slow ways all at the same time. Maelstrom. And it does all feel a bit like watery feces, a great pool of watery feces permeating my day. There is great uncertainty. And uncertainty smells...

The great flux that has eclipsed all the other flux results in this: I will have much greater responsibility at my job. I will have much greater financial and relational responsibility, to keep everything and everyone running. My job will become much less part-time than it has been thus far. I will see less of my children, at a time I feel it critical for them to be seeing me more

This all feels like a weight, and I will admit, after a day of putting on the strong NJ face, in the private moments driving or writing or waiting to fall asleep, my stomach clenches in that vice of anxiety, my mind swirls with unanswered hopes, and my heart is not settled. I feel to cry. The moment to moment stays mundane, the central role of my job is unchanged and still enjoyable, I still celebrate the good and happy of my days. But the undercurrent flows... and I am desperately staying afloat.

(I missed two days of LentenBlogging last week because I went on an "extended Sunday" weekend retreat with the women from my church, and did not have time to pre-post as I had planned. It was a blessed blessed escape from reality, and I treasured every minute.)

(This Season of Flux seems to have descended on a number of my friends at the same time. I feel us all swirling. If something has anchored me, it is continuing to pray for them, for their own flow of watery feces, prayer that we all come out of this dry and relatively unscathed. I am looking looking looking for the reasons behind it all, and prayer seems the only way to find those...)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mama Bean looks for the love in between all the hours of the day

There are 24 hours in a day. Let's say we sleep from 11 to 8, that leaves 15 hours. Let's say sometimes we spend an hour waking, clothing, and feeding ourselves and two beastlets; 14. From 9 to 12, one or both adults are working, and someone is watching, playing, snacking, napping, diapering, and lunching the kids; 11 hours remain. From 12 to 5, the babes take turns sleeping, and the adults are elsewhere (except Wednesdays), leaving 6 hours. At 5, one adult goes to fetch the kids and bring them home for feeding; most days the other adult is still working. Anytime before 8, there will be dinner, playing, killing time, bathing, calming, and bedtiming, with one or both adults; 3 hours are left from 8 to 11. Three hours of television, internet, hobbies, potentially exercise (but not usually). And brushing teeth. Can't forget that.

The truth is, from Monday to Friday, I have three hours awake and alone with my husband. On any given day, one of us might want to go out and exercise or run an errand. On any given day, we might need to write a sermon, do some homework, balance business accounts, make a birthday card. On any given day, we might go 23 hours until we crawl into bed next to each other and say, "Hello."

Hello. I love you. Good night.

If marriage was supposed to be this magical phenomenon that allowed me to live my whole life with my husband, instead of living apart from him and talking on the phone each night and going on dates each weekend like we did when we were dating - if marriage was supposed to be some fantabulous improvement on that situation... well, I think I'd at least like my weekend dates back ;)

At least we get to share a bed. He is warm and comfortable and stabilizing there, every night. I do like that.

The truth is marriage is about giving each other what's left over at the end of the day. That's not romantic or glittery or anything close to the Hollywood fairy tale. It's exhausted and gritty and full of dregs. I don't store up my most sparkly witty charming self for my Friday date and movie anymore. I am sad to say, more often than not, after patients and children and dickheads on the road, after cooking and cleaning and shuffling the papers from one side of my desk to the other, after living the rest of my life, my husband ends up with the worst of me. The tired drained usually unhappy worst of me.

And he loves me, still. And he tells me all his secrets, still. And he gives me his worst, too, after all his give give give to others others others. And I love him, still. And I tell him all my secrets, still.

The secret is, marriage is work, but it's the best work I do. The truth is, nothing fills me or sustains me or propels me more than the truth I find after 23 hours, curled up on his chest, with nothing to give him, nothing but my breath... my heartbeat... my hand in his hand. 

He will take my nothing, and I will take his, and we will build a life together, out of thin air. Out of the worst of each other, we make the best we can. And when I can stop to see it? O God, how beautiful it is.

The secret is, marriage isn't anything I thought it would be, but the truth is, I wouldn't be so grateful for him if it was any. other. way.

He didn't get a valentine this year. But every day, I give him my what's-left, my nothing's-left, my breath. And he loves me, still. And that is what fills me up, for another 24 hours, for another 7 days, for the rest of my life... <3