:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

COFFEE POST 7: Don't Drink the Poop! (Stephany)

Happy 2011! It feels like forever since I’ve posted here in COFFEE-ville. After all, it was LAST year! Heh, heh, heh… yeah, lame joke. I’ve heard it about 2.7 billion times in the last couple days from students, and I’ve survived; so, you get to roll your eyes at it, too! Happy to share, thank you very much!

I have to tell you a very funny story that has absolutely nothing to do with COFFEE or the new year or anything relevant, but it is SOOO FUNNY. I think so, anyway!

My youngest, E, will be 4 in February. He’s one of those kids who notices EVERYTHING and remembers the tiniest details. He will say things like, “Mama, remember that time at Ronald McDonald’s house when that girl was crying because her toy fell on the floor and you said that’s why we shouldn’t take our toys into Ronald McDonald’s house?” And I have to think – HARD – about whether this happened, when it might have happened, and how the heck he remembered it. Eventually, I can usually find it in my cache from a couple months before and say, “Yes, Eli. I do remember that. And that is why we don’t take our own toys into Ronald McDonald’s house.” Wow. There’s almost always a connection for him, too, but I swear I can’t figure it out most of the time. He gets it, I guess, which is what matters. That kid has a MEMORY. Scary.

ANYWAY, we were sitting around playing a game and watching tv not too many evenings ago. A commercial came on for Pull-ups training pants. He thought carefully and said, “those kids are still babies. They poop in their pants. Uncle Jason drinks poop, Mama. Did you know that Uncle Jason drinks poop?”

WHAT??? I argued with him for about 10 minutes, patiently saying intelligent things like, “no, Uncle J doesn’t drink poop, Eli. You shouldn’t say that. It’s not true, and it’s gross.”

He continued, confident in the fact that his Uncle does, in fact, drink poop. “Mama, he DOES TOO drink poop. I know he does. I saw him. He drinks the poop out of a red cup.”
That stopped my argument cold. I started laughing so hard. My child was RIGHT, at least partially right, anyway. Holy Poop!

See, my brother chews tobacco – a lot. And when we are at my parents’ house, he always uses a red plastic cup to spit in. That way, no one ever confuses it with a drink. Gag… blech… NASTY!!!!!!

Anyway, I’ve always told the kids (from when they were tiny) that tobacco is “ca-ca.” It’s still called that around my house. SO, Eli, seeing J put that stupid cup of crap to his lips, thought he was DRINKING POOP!!!!!! I was able to explain to Eli that his Uncle wasn’t really drinking poop but spitting poopy stuff into a cup to throw away, and he got it. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard, though, and that story got more than a couple belly laughs over the holidays, too…. Maybe you had to be there, but that’s good stuff, I’m telling you!

Okay, back to business… I took a vacation in my last post from my original COFFEE goals to whine and moan about end-of-semester crud – my apologies for that. It’s part of the job, and I shouldn’t complain about it. I also set a couple of extra goals for myself. I have to brag a bit about those, by the way, because I accomplished EACH OF THEM!!!

1. I got the work done. I had everything graded and entered before I left school for the break. I did NO WORK over the vacation, except to glance briefly at the plans for the first day the night before we went back to school. YAY, Me! That was HUGE!
2. I was focused and PRESENT with the kids! We were enjoyed our outings and time together, so there wasn’t a LOT of downtime at home. When we were home, though, we did even more things together than we usually do, and I reserved as much work (or incorporated the kids into it) as I could for when they were down for the night or otherwise occupied. It felt good, and they appreciated it a lot. I will continue this practice… Truly, I’m committed to this.
3. I did relax and enjoy the break. I did keep activity to a meaningful minimum. I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see, but I made the absolute most of the time away from school. It was liberating, to say the least. I’m going to apply this concept to life in general.
4. I wrote – a lot. I reflected on the year, on my life as it is to this point, on the kids, on my “situation…” I dispensed some much-needed and long-overdue forgiveness to a few other people and also to myself. I focused on blessings, and I embraced those I love as often as I could. I also embraced the Season and the time… it was awesome.

It was a good break, a much-needed break. It was well-spent time, and I’m thankful to have had it.

And now, back to COFFEE… since it’s been awhile, I’m going to just list my COFFEE project goals and give you the quick down & dirty update on each.

1. U 2.0 – The end is near. Officially Unmarried 2.0 is sooooooo close. I can almost taste it. I still have my moments of panic and fear, but mostly I feel empowered and brave and good. Please continue to pray and/or keep your fingers crossed for me.

2. The Caffeine Kick – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!! I’m good here. One cup a day, and I’m not craving more than that. Some days I have my morning Joe, others I wait for an afternoon soda. But I really don’t want more than that anymore… Who knew that was possible? I didn’t! And my headaches are practically gone, which is always the biggest sign that I’ve won the battle w/the stuff.

3. Training for the Half – FOURTEEN weeks to go… HOLY CRAP! If it weren’t for being petrified of having to look P in the eye and tell her I’m not ready and Tom Holland’s wisdom, I’d be nowhere on this. For real. I’m back to eating normally again and have gotten back into the gym groove, and I’m better. I WILL BE READY. I will finish this Half.

4. Book project – I took a break and didn’t do a whole lot on this over the past month. I have contacted several other sources for their stories, so I hope to be very busy on this project in the next month or so…

5. Pondering studenthood – I actually had a couple conversations with key people in regard to going back to school. I did. It’s a matter of deciding how big I want to go. Will a specialist’s degree be enough, or do I need to go all the way to the doctorate? THAT’s the million-dollar question. I’m getting my questions and doubts addressed, and that’s progress.

6. Co-parenting – We made it through the holidays with some back-and-forthing for the kids. It might not have been ideal, but it went. They enjoyed Christmas, got lots (two separate Christmas events’ worth) of cool gifts, had fun on New Year’s Eve, and they are okay. It was difficult and heart-breaking at times, but it was alright. We made it, and ultimately that’s what matters. We’ll keep on keeping on; and as long as the kids are at the fore-front, we’ll keep making it.

So my six goals are down to five, and that feels good. It’s GUUUUUD. Very good. The five remaining goals are long-term, day-by-day goals, but I’m excited to tackle them.

Isn’t it funny how we get all excited about tackling challenges at this time of the year? I mean, I used to write resolutions and such, but that’s really all they were – written resolutions with no action to back them up. I can’t think of but a couple that I actually acted upon or that resulted in some kind of change in my life. That makes me wonder: why is it that we take this time each year to think about what we want and where we want to be? And then why don’t most of us see those things through to fruition? Seriously. Why?

I guess in a way, each of us COFFEE chicks chose challenges and resolved to tackle them when we signed up for this adventure. Following each other’s journeys has been exciting and empowering and uplifting and encouraging. We’ve each accomplished some things, and we each have boldly declared that we’ll be better for this experience. I know I am.

So what’s the difference? What makes a person take action and commit and then follow through? Also, what holds us back? When I’m honest and look at all the resolutions that I’ve made and didn’t act on, I can see that I wasn’t committed to making change. That was mostly because I’ve been such a chicken-$h!t about change, about life really. And so, despite the fact that I could have bettered myself or my life by making those changes I claimed to want to make, I let fear of failure and fear of success and doubt and all that other poop win. I drank the poop, if you will. Huh. Gag… blech… NASTY!!!

Well, COFFEE chicks, I gotta tell you that I’m so proud of us. Proud that we all accepted this challenge, proud that we put it out there, proud that we are finally leaving the poop in the red cups and drinking in the good stuff of life! SO, as we venture boldly into 2011, I beg of you to join me in focusing on the good and please, please, PUH-LEEZE, don’t drink the poop.


Wendy said...

Stephany- Bravo!! It's so refreshing to hear someone say that they were present, focused, relaxed and ambitious, especially at holiday time. That is truly inspiring to me and I am really happy for you that you were able to make that special time of the year genuinely special. In today's social/emotional economy, that is a feat!

I totally agree that a lack of commitment to our goals, mixed with fear is what holds most of us back. I tend to set goals that my head fully agrees with, when my heart is just not on board. The friction between the two is usually what bites my progress in the buns...

Eli sounds like a real firecracker - gotta love the keen observations of an (almost) 4 y/o... that is too funny! And I like how you used the illustration later on to tie it all together... well done, Maestro.

Katie said...

Miss Stephany! This was a great post! And congrats on so much achieving!!! Does your head hurt? Are you sore? Are your knuckles bleeding? All of these things I associate with such high levels of personal achievement!

Wow, you are an inspiration to me, truly. It is wonderful to bask in the glow from missions accommplished. I bet even Tom Cruise basks once in a while.

And I think it's awesome that you regard Eli as the memory bank - clearly he is in early preparation for a NASA recruitment program.

And, you're totally right - the excitement of new challenges can really blind someone (i.e. ME) to the actual difficulties of really earning the goal. Maybe that's why it's so hard to actually follow-through. The excitement factor gets us hooked, but the work poops us out (thought I'd throw in the poop reference to continue the chain...). My coach (or maybe Dr. Phil?) once said that the third day of anything was the hardest. The curiosity and excitement will get you through the first day, the determination not to let your first day be your last will get you through the second, but by the third you really know what you're in for, and that's when the work starts.

I think you are well past your third day, girlie, and are taking those long-legged strides into new things. Congrats.

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

First off, GIGGLING! I will NEVER drink the poop (although once my sister accidentally drank out of her husband's poop cup.... wrong Sonic cup indeed!)!!

Your son sounds absolutely fantastic. I am going to take a muster at guessing he must get those "smarts" from a certain cool and rockin' mama of his. Oh yeah, I remember Miss S; you are one smart smart cookie.

Awesome on your goals!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO! Way to go.... Give me an S! S! (Sorry, couldn't help but reference a few old cheer days with you. ). :)

Regarding your impending "Officially Unmarried" status, I can tell you that when I changed my status, it was actually TEN days before I knew it was official. Long story with attorney dropping some balls, but anticlimactic this sure was. Anyway, hugs to you Awesome S. Really, awesome awesome awesome.

amy said...

HA! My very own brother drinks that same kind of poop, and just now on facebook I saw where he had to have a root canal. He's never been a good teeth brusher, and I suspect that people who don't brush teeth AND drink poop will have many root canals in their lives. DON'T DRINK THE POOP.

You know what I do around this time every year? Avoid the gym, willfully. As opposed to the other 300 days out of the year when I just avoid it casually and out of sheer laziness. For about 3 weeks in January, though, I do not get near that place--waaaay too many people, and they're all so crazy! One January, I watched a girl jump on and off 5 different machines in a matter of 20 minutes. And there was no circuit training involved--she just...kept jumping on and off of them. Like a kid hopped up on pixie sticks.

Also, I ate some cookies someone left in the teacher's lounge today. Because I could tell: they left those there as a way to say: This is it! THIS is the year I resolve to not eat aaaanymore cookies! I'm done with the cookie eating!

I, however, will not begin that resolution until February. Everyone knows whatever resolutions you make in January are just wishful thinking; so don't even go there until at least mid-February. Is my philosophy. About resolutions. And stuff.

Lots of good vibes and prayers for Stephany, U 2.0...you are brave and strong and good, and you will be okay. I feel it all the way through the internets.

And you'll make the right choice for you regarding specialist vs. doctorate--whatever you decide will be okay and perfect, because it's what's best for you.

I can't even say anything about training for/running a half-marathon. I'm currently trying to psyche myself up just to register for a 5k. That's big stuff, S! BIG stuff!

So you've been brave and strong and positive. And you're progressing towards your future fearlessly. AND you've birthed a memory miracle for the world! You may only have 5 COFFEE goals left, but you are a whirlwind of accomplishments already. Woo, Stephany!

T-Free said...

Wowsers! You certainly have had a productive last few weeks! I am so impressed. I'm also glad to hear that you got a nice, relaxing vacation and moved through the co-parenting holidays smoothly. These are such good things.

The poop drinking story is hilarious! I will not drink the poop, I promise! Their little memories blow me away sometimes. My son does the same thing, remembering moments and details I have long since forgotten. I have decided that his memory is better than mine because his brain's memory space still has room, being all fresh and new, but my brain is all old and full. Haha.

Great blog. Here's to a poop-free 2011! :)

patresa said...

hahahahahahaha! and ewwwwwwww. DON'T DRINK THE POOP. got it. i will write that down! what a clever observer mr. eli is! (dangerous!)

and SOOOOOOO impressed with getting all of your work done so you could actually ENJOY your break! i failed at that on a regular basis and spent every break with something hanging over my head. good for you. good for your kids. good for your soul. nice work.

co-parenting on the eve of U 2.0. can't imagine how hard that would be--ESPECIALLY over the holidays. props to you for moving forward with a tough decision even though it's hard.

i have no doubt at all whatsoever that you will not only finish the half, but you will finish at least 30 minutes ahead of me. seriously. if you have to say anything into my eyes it will be over your shoulder as you're smoking me.

writing to explore and hash things out. lOVE.

studenthood! exciting! EdS, PhD… i promise to call you "doctor" either way.

high five, big s!

Holly said...

Great job you on your successful holiday break! We're in similar situations in our lives....I believe that we'll both not only survive, but thrive as a result of the changes we're going through.
I love the question you pose about what makes us and so many people want to make changes beginning in January and then not follow through. As you say, fear of failure and fear of success is huge!
Posting on COFFEE every two weeks is a little bit like training for a race. I can show up for a short race and finish. I might even do okay. But if I train for it, I'll do better and get more out of it. I'll wear my race tshirt with pride! We are so lucky to have this project-it's a huge motivator on so many levels....to have a better post, we might "train" more diligently, we have our fears addressed as the come up by gentle loving people, AND have a laugh every now and again!
Out with the poop!