Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Carnival Tummy

Sunday night our family had a serious case of Carnival Tummy.  You know the feeling when you visit an amusement park, partake of all the junk you never get to eat in everyday life:  cotton candy, slushees, pizza, hot dogs, and if you're lucky enough to live in the south, fried candybars and oreos.  Then you run from ride to ride being tossed and turned, jostled and jiggled, flown through the air and dropped on a dime.  Up and down, side to side, until you eat more, repeat the cycle, and as the rides are closing, stumble out to the parking lot to go home.

At which time you notice something's not right midway down.  You have a general feeling of blech.

And some of us experienced this Sunday with our Superbowl Party.  Everyone chose their own treat to share.

Mel - Dip Divine

Randy - 7 layer dip

Kennedy - vegetable tray (she's the only one who's ever lost it literally as a result of carnival tummy)

Ellie - brownies

Steve - sour gummy worms
Wally - colorful licorice

We added some rolls and chicken to qualify this as a meal, plus a little candy the adults could stomach, and for good measure, we threw in a soda for everyone.  We said grace and let them have at it.  About 8:30 we had requests for barf bowls.  Two kids were late for school Monday morning because the effects had still not worn off.

The feeling made me wonder if I am experiencing Carnival Tummy in other parts of my life.  In 2010, for the first time in years, I have spent a lot of time with my hopes and goals.  Permitting myself to dream about what I really want was as unique to my normal life as fried oreos to a Weight Watcher.  I have so many desires for this new year, and as soon as I started really thinking about them without judgment of what I "should" do and want, the flood gates were opened.  My list of big ideas and places to go is almost 5 pages single spaced, my pile of books from the library is more than I've actually read total in about 10 years, and I have already filled a whole journal since January with my writing.

But after a month, I'm feeing the effects of all this riding and tasting.  I'm feeling motion sick.  And exhausted.  And bloated.  And heavy.  And overwhelmed.  And scattered.  This is not what I was promised by those who say "dream big, play to win."  Maybe they didn't realize my appetite.  Or that if you haven't been to the carnival in over a decade you might get lost in all the lights and offerings.  You might shove it all in and ride every ride because you're afraid you won't get to go back for another decade.

Steve once told me during an episode of Carnival Tummy he wanted to take everything out of his tummy and then put some stuff back in.  He might be onto something.  My big ideas are like the Superbowl Party Buffet on steroids.  I can feel them and taste them and I want to try some of all of it.  Putting something on hold feels like deprivation and defeat.

But I'm realizing that when I cram it all onto one plate at one sitting, I can't really savor the Divine Dip anymore.  The sour worms get mixed up with the vegetables, and they all end up tasting like goop.  So I'm taking Steve's advice.  Take everything out, and put some stuff back in.  And to give me courage on the taking out, since I don't want to give up on any of it yet, I think I'll pack a to-go box for later.   And give myself a season-pass for the carnival.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Free To Go

She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language, and the birds fluttered around writing "yes." 

So said the notebook I bought my sister to record her big ideas, crazy dreams, and best moments of her new adventure.  I bought her a bird pen to symbolize the "yes" and the freedom to fly, and gave her this song you're hearing.  And then I loaded her 10 suitcases (well, to be precise, Somebody and Big Miss loaded them- I just admired their handywork) and 4 children into Great White and we were off.  Well, mostly she was off.  Off to see a part of the world I can only dream of, off to eat new foods and meet new people, off around the globe to live in New Zealand for a year.

I have teared up many a time in the last few months - savoring the sewing for Halloween, the shopping for Christmas, the partying for New Year's, knowing it would be our last, at least for a while.  The sorting, packing and planning has been fodder for many laughs and tears.  I have fought the tears while selling the table we spent so much time sewing and laughing and dreaming at, looking at the clock on her stove as I left her house the last time, and telling Big D that I was not going on the airplane with him.

Our time here together has ended with parties and celebrations, cousin sleepovers and breakfast toasts for a wonderful year.
 Who wants ANOTHER poptart?

And tonight I feel a little lonely.  A little left behind.  A little empty.
                                               Happy Cousins         Sad Cousins
And a lot excited.  I am so happy for her I can hardly stand it.  And, thankfully, there is a tinge of excitement for myself as well.  Because she leaves me with fabulous gifts.
Funny faces with Auntie Holly

First, she gifted me a front row seat to watch how the windows of heaven open when you follow your intuition.  She has planned this move in less than 6 months, yet everything seemingly out of her control fell into place (with some serious elbow grease).  I am amazed at how easily she took care of big stuff like finding a renter for her house, selling her husband's business, wrapping up a life here, all of which did not happen until she took the leap of faith to say yes to what sounded like a far-fetched crazy idea to everyone stuck in their normal lives.  And watching this makes me feel silly that there are many times I won't commit until everything is already lined up.  Oh me of little faith.

The second gift I received from Holly is the desperate sadness of knowing my best friend is leaving.  Sadness isn't normally something I consider a gift, but this time it forced me to realize that I don't have to leave the hemisphere to have a great adventure, the only thing trapping me are the limits I put on myself.  No one else is going to tell me "yes", nor should I expect them to.  And so, I am giving myself a book for my own big and crazy ideas, a pen with a bird, and these words from the song I gave her:
Dream, and the way will be clear,
Pray, and the angels will hear,
Leap, and the net will appear,

Right outta nowhere...

You're going somewhere,
and all you need to know,

is that you're free to go!
The last gift is something she gives us all, a way to stay connected and a way to experience New Zealand daily.  She and I will be updating our new blog Drop Zone S2 (named after the spot I left my puddle of tears today at the Atlanta airport) daily with a picture of her day and one of mine.  So join me on my new adventure, and start one of your own.  The only thing we need to know, is that we're free to go!
Drop Zone S2 - waterproof mascara hard at work