Monday, August 25, 2014

Zootune- The Epitome of Seattlites

Last week Kyle and I and my parents went to see Pink Martini at the Zoo.   Zootunes is the concert series that the Woodland Park Zoo puts on every year.  It attracts... well that is what I'm going to tell you.

The lines begin to form around 4 pm.  The seating is first come first serve on a grassy field.  Everyone packs in snacks and alcohol (the latter is forbiden).  Don't be fooled by the throngs of balding men and women in flowy clothing, they may look peace loving, but once those gates open the race for a good seat is on- I mean elbows were flying.  A zoo staff member stood center field waving her arms like an orchestra conducter saying in a sing song voice, "slow down, find your seats, slow down, find your seats."  Like that's going to help.

We found our spot quickly, right of center, thirty yards back.  It was a good spot - except for the 98 year old man in the wheelchair and his wife who's chair matched his in height.  She-who-will-not-be-named complained loudly several times that they were breaking the rules, "There's a twenty four inch chair height rule!! Why can't he sit on the side? I can't see!" She huffed as she poured her gin and tonic. When I replied, "Can you stop talking so loud?" she said, "Well I'm only saying what everyone else is thinking!" "Ya- lets take him out!" geeze...

The concert began as we ate our tomato-basil-mozzarella-balls on toothpicks, humus, tabbouleh,  olives,  garlic pork, crackers, and drank a couple more G&Ts.

It wasn't until an hour in that I really began to look around and realize that I was in the middle of an SNL skit about white people in Seattle.  For example, the people in front of us were eating seaweed, kale, and cucumber salad from PCC, SasQRUNCH, and drinking pure coconut water.   The family next to them included a bald dad with a thick goatee and nail polish painted orange toe nails, and four-ish year old son with long hair.  Several groups ahead was an all women bunch who couldn't help but show off their Latin dancing skills every time an ethnic song came on (which is often with Pink Martini). To the left was another group (mostly women) who mostly danced like Elaine on Seinfeld. 

I do love Pink Martini, but I was much more excited about the secret guest stars who came on about 1/3 of the way through.  Are you ready for this? The great grandchildren of Captain and Maria von Trapp! Squeal! I seriously love The Sound of Music.  It wasn't until my adult years that I really thought about what an incredible story it was, that it was true, and scary, and just crazy.  So seeing that the legend continues in this homeschooled sibling set of four from Montana (grandchildren of Kurt)- well, that was pretty exciting. Yes, they did yodel, and yes they did sing a song from the movie, and yes they did sing an Abba song- in Swedish.

Other noteworthy mentionables : China's dress (I need it), and Storm's biceps (she CrossFits for sure). 

In highschool, my friends and I went to several outdoor concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion in MD.  The only difference between those concerts and this one was where the alcohol is consumed (and everything else).  Zootunes is the old people version.  Old people have fun too, just in a more appropriate (weirder) way. 

The thoughtless man and his wife

She-who-will-not-be-named
The Coconut Water drinkers using binoculars for their failing eyes

Storm and her muscles (I know she's hard to see with the man in his too-tall chair)
People in appropriate chairs- Kyle calls them "Diaper Chairs"
THE dress

The von Trapps on either side of CrossFit

A couple of the Latin dancers
The toe nails

Us loving it

The Coconut Drinker on his bike next to my car 5 days later!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Existentialism

Why is there so much pain in the world? 
Why does God let his people suffer? 
If God is all good all the time, why is there so much evil?
Why doesn't He fix it?

What is the meaning of Life?

Warning: I don't have the answers, so if that's what you want you may as well quit reading now.  

      The other morning I was telling Kyle that I've lost my purpose in life, nothing brings me joy.  He asked what I meant.  "I don't feel like doing anything because it all seems meaningless.  I used to get excited to plan out my school year and now I think, what's the point, the test scores are the same no matter what I do.  I used to get satisfaction out of cleaning the house and now I think, what's the point, it's just going to get dirty again anyway.  Nothing I do makes a difference, so why do it?"  

     He said, "It sounds like you're having an Existential Crisis," (And people think philosophy degrees are useless). I said, "A what?" So I looked it up.  And yes, that's exactly what I'm having.  The things that stood out to me in the wiki article where: trauma, life has no meaning, and everything else it said (you should read it).  

     I usually try to work myself out of pits like this by finding a comforting Bible verse or quote, reading a book that gives me a pep talk, or watching Malcolm in the Middle re-runs.  None of those work (okay- Malcolm in the Middle does give me great satisfaction even if it's only temporary).  This time, I'm going to sit in it.  I'm going to be honest with myself and God about what I really think/feel and see what happens.  

     If this alarms you and you're thinking, "Oh my gosh! I wonder what happened?" The answer is nothing. Noooothiiiiiing.  It's aaaaalllllll the ssssaaaaammmmeeee. Everyday.  EEEEvvvvveeeeerrrryyyyday.



   


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Compassion and My Inner Child

Five months into therapy with Royal, I was watching a video on therapeutic parenting.  At one point, with a chuckle in his voice, the therapist said, "You know, behind every good therapist is a good therapist." It struck me.  I mulled over that line for the next couple weeks.

While I am NOT a therapist per se, I do have a child who requires therapeutic parenting.  When he first joined our family I was very optimistic about him getting past his difficult behaviors.  "It will just take a little time for him to settle in.  Then we'll be normal."  Three years later everything remained the same.  He was frustrated, I was frustrated.  It became no longer his problem and much more our problem.  I may have mentioned this before but second hand trauma is a real thing (like, scientifically proven with brain scans), and I have it.

So... I found my very own therapist.  I'd gotten to a place where anger and irritation seemed to be the only emotions I felt anymore.  How could I help Royal get out of his anger/irritation rut while I sat in it with him?

While I don't lounge on a couch during my "sessions," everything else is as cliche as you can imagine.  Besides the fact that I'm a 40 year old housewife, my therapist always begins by saying hi and then stares at me until I begin.  For an introvert who can't handle small talk, this is awkward yet a most rewarding way to have a conversation.  No BS, just straight to the heart of the matter.

This week our conversation wove around until we got on the topic of compassion
"Tell me what compassion looked like in your family growing up?" she said. 
"Um, ha ha, that's funny."
"Why?"
 I went on, "Well my mom is sort of known for her lack of tolerance towards pain and illness.  She would say, 'Stop coughing, I can't hear the TV!' or, 'I'll pick you up from school if you throw up. You're fine."
"How did this make you feel?"
"It didn't make me feel anything.  That was just the way she was."

There was more than that but you get the gist. 
Then she asked, "How do you react to your kids when they get hurt?"
"I used to just ignore them and tell them they were fine.  Now I comfort them but it is not a natural reaction.  After a 20 second delay I remember what I'm suppose to do and go to them."
Later I said, "Isn't it ironic that I know have a child who needs compassion ALL THE TIME? It's exhausting."
And like it was the most obvious thing in the world she said, "Of course this would exhaust you.  It doesn't come naturally to you!"

I'm not going to transcribe the entire hour's worth, especially the part about grieving for my inner child (I told you it's cliche), but that's just one example of how amazing this woman is.  I mean, how could I not have figured this out for myself?  How could she - a woman who doesn't even know me, filter through my rambling and pinpoint the exact things that I can work on?  Because she's a professional perhaps.

Among other things, I'm now working on being more compassionate and I think Kyle is really excited about this :)  Royal will benefit, Kyle will benefit, we will all benefit.