Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tick, tick, tick...what do the heart and time have in common.

I recently saw an amazing video about the human heart, as told by a heart surgeon. (link below)  I have been pondering this subject (as is typical with my obsessive-compulsive nature) and want to share a few observations with you.  As shared in the video, when the first recipient of an artificial heart was being prepared for surgery, with all the questions his wife might have asked (risks, complications, etc) she only had one question.   It was "if you replace my husband's heart with a machine, will he still be able to love me?"  

Because it seems we feel so much, right there in the center of our being.  It is what keeps us alive right up until that last beat, that last moment in time.  That's it....our commonality!  Time doesn't matter to us anymore when our heart stops beating.  But on the other side of that coin, time matters very much when a heart stops beating of one we love.  We are still here.  Our heart aches, can mimic a heart attack and actually has a diagnosis of broken heart syndrome.   People with otherwise healthy hearts have died from this ...some just wished they would.

So I wonder why we don't measure time by our heartbeats instead of minutes?  Wouldn't we put so much more thought into how we spent (or didn't spend) our....heartbeats?  If the average heart rate per minute is 60-80 beats per minute and I use 70 for an average, that is 4,200 heartbeats per hour.  In an eight hour work day, you will spend on average approximately 100,800 heartbeats.  (I could have easily missed a few beats there....)

Realizing that we all only get a certain number of heartbeats in our life, how should we spend them?  Like minutes, you can't get them back.  They can be wasted on trivial things; you know what I'm talking many times did you watch the same TV shows or play candy crush?   And if we only get so many, here is a real conundrum.  When we workout, run a marathon, all those healthy things...are we using up our heartbeats quicker OR do we earn extra "life's" like in the video games because we are doing all the right things OR doesn't it matter one way or the other because our number of heartbeats AND life's clock are synchronized/predetermined and will cease at the expiration date for this world (even though we all have one, I am glad we aren't marked with one). 

We have all these sayings connecting the heart and time.  I will be there in a heartbeat; give me a minute; time froze; my heart stopped.   The hardest one....l wish I could turn back the hands of time.   We can't.  My heart skips a beat on that one.  

I am walking a new road (as this blog states) and while I wander, I am taking some heartbeats to ponder things I never made time (or heartbeats) for before.  Thank you for spending approximately 140 heartbeats with me now.

May the beat go on,

Until next time,

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Is there a short perspective or love?

This week I am enjoying spring in Kansas City.  And we have actually had showers and flowers and a little wind.  Nothing too dramatic but the temperatures are warm and the city is familiar and it's good to visit a place I used to call home.  It's been three years since I lived here and as I look around, a few things have changed but not so much I get lost in the shuffle.

What has changed more than the city is my perspective.  I remember when I first moved to Kansas City.  It was 1997 and more was changing for me than just my address.  I was newly married (not for the first time but definitely for the last time) and I was a first time "other mother" to three kids new to me (now we had five).  We decided for good measure to have one of our own and she was on the way.  It was an exciting time filled with opportunities that had potential to be blessings or go downhill from there.  These things were dependent in large part on me and my perspective.  When we first moved here, I remember being a bit overwhelmed by the traffic when compared to Topeka, Kansas and it took me awhile to get used to the fast paced flow.  I also did not know my way around for quite some time and this was well before the convenience of GPS on the phones.  I wandered around aimlessly many times, trying to find my way back home (or to the store, mall, work, etc.) until I had mastered a few direct routes.  Whenever I mentioned the possibility of a short cut to my kids, they groaned.  (I was famous for short cuts that didn't pan out).

That could also describe my journey as a new parent to another persons' child.  Loving them was always the easy part.  Actively raising them with another is the challenge.  Blending a family coming from two different perspectives takes time, commitment and what I mentioned above.  Everyone had to get used to a different pace; we all wandered aimlessly at times....maybe even with attitude.  And we didn't figure out the shortcuts for years.

But WE DID!   I live in Austin now and when I prepared to drive in the Kansas City traffic these past few mornings I really had to question what I was EVER concerned about.  Now the traffic in Austin is a REAL challenge. 

And 17 years later, our blended family now includes daughter-in-laws and potential son-in-laws and grandsons (and a granddaughter on the way).   We are a large, messy, loud, loving family and if we were all swimming, we would most likely be swimming in different directions.  But I guarantee you we would all be in the same pool.  We would have to be - what if one of us needed a life jacket, or just someone to dog paddle with for a little while?  We are in this together now.  Sure, we may splash water on each other from time to time, and someone gets dunked on occasion, but only by one of us.  WE ARE FAMILY.  And I love all of them.

Sing it,
Until next time,

your pal, Kari

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Going through changes, and not just my clothes

I am going through some changes, and I don't just mean my clothes.  But let's talk about that for a minute.  I have joined a group of neighbors recently in a boot camp that starts at 5:30 a.m. (allegedly twice a week).   We are pretty fluid in our meeting times because not only am I going through some changes, so is the weather here in Texas, and there is not a one of us in our group who are interested in working out in 30 degree weather at 5:30 in the morning.  Okay, so back to the clothes.  I may or may not sleep in my work out clothes, so I can roll out of bed and report to duty minutes after waking up (something I was never able to accomplish when I was working).  After an hour of pretty intense muscle discovery, it is time for a shower and my first change of clothes of the day.  It's still early and relatively cool so this means yoga pants and a long sleeved shirt.  By noon, I am now ready for my shorts and a tee-shirt if I am moving around at all (check it - outfit #3) and by sunset, it is now time to change back into long pants and a long-sleeve shirt.  This is a lot of time spent on wardrobe changes and we haven't even factored in on an appointment or date that would requirement special attention because I would have to LEAVE THE HOUSE.  It can get pretty crazy.

But where was I...oh, talking about going through changes.  It is amazing how perspective can change when one recognizes how little we really control.  I used to be very caught up in ruminating over what I would have done differently (past) and strategizing over plans still unfolding (future).  Unfortunately while I was busy focusing on things that now could not be changed, or agonizing over things that may never come to pass, I missed out on THAT day.  And THAT next day, and all the days that followed because apparently I wasn't interested in living in the present.  It only was interesting as a future concept or a past already spent.  The things I have missed.

And that is what has changed.  Last night I went to Madi's school music program where I allowed myself to be present for every song.  The words and melodies sung by those talented choirs touched my heart, lifted my spirits and a time or two, brought tears to my eyes.  We shared an experience.  I made a choice to be present.

As the saying goes, you must be present to win!

Until the next time,
Sign me,
The winner 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

You can run.....but I can't!

We have all heard the saying, "you can't run from your past".  But what about the more general thought of "the past"?  I had a call the other day and for a minute was enjoying the voice and general conversation, visiting about days gone by until I realized that the past (from my perspective and the one I had made peace with) and the past my caller was calling about, were about to collide...from his innocent memory's perspective. 

Yes, I tried to run.  The weather was not conducive for running away and as my sister (bookend) will tell you, I am not a runner.  But it was fight or flight and I chose to fly (well, run).  I set the speed on my treadmill for as fast as my little legs could carry me and went for as long as my anxiety ran high.  (You didn't really think I was running away OR going outside in bad weather, did you?).  Three miles later (with an average speed of 3.5 mph and significant calories burned), I felt better....FOR NOW.

How is it that THE PAST - not necessarily MY PAST, can have such an impact when I have moved on?  Surely I am not the first one to find myself in this predicament.  Let me paint a picture (something my art teacher from 7th grade will also tell you that I cannot do well so let's go story form).  We will use my favorite analogy of that darn car accident again with the three witnesses.  This time, I am the witness that reported the driver was texting while driving, however, the other two witnesses were friends of the driver.  You know what happens next.  My story was not believed.  I did the right thing, told the right people and at the end of the day was left with a story that only I could believe.  Fast forward....three years.  Now, others who were injured by this same driver in other fashions are coming forward.  They remember my story that no one believed earlier.  They want SATISFACTION.  They are tired of being played for a fool by this particular rule breaker, and it's time to sing like a canary (or like Mick Jagger) that while they can't git not satisfaction yet - they are ready to go for broke.

The example above is only an analogy, and the names have been changed to protect the innocent (well, except mine).  No one was actually hurt in the creation of this example.  However, I have a gut feeling that there will be more to come on this hypothetical situation of THE PAST, not necessarily my own.

Perhaps a made for TV movie.  I do miss my microphone days.....

Until then,
your pal,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Truth (and family) are stranger than fiction!

Do you ever feel that there might be cameras recording what is going on in your life at any given moment?  Otherwise, how did it get to be so ridiculous!!  Sometimes I truly feel like I am (or should be) starring in a comedy, sit-com.  Just 30 minutes, once a week; I don't want a 24-hour reality show, just the highlights.

This past weekend we traveled back to Kansas City to visit family and surprise Terry with a party in his honor for his 35 years of officiating football.  Son Tyler was the main instigator and made sure everything was ready to go.  I was responsible for getting Terry to Kansas City.  Since he had just been back a couple of weeks prior, I couldn't play the "it's time for a quick visit" card and I am never one to cry wolf with an "emergency" card.   Always a bad idea any time.  So I decided to wing it and not tell him anything, buy the tickets and go with the fact that it also happened to be his birthday weekend so Madi and I could commandeer his time using that excuse.

Everything was good, flights on time and he was truly surprised when we got to the airport.  As we were lining up for the last leg of our flight in Houston, I was just looking around when I heard a man say "Are you looking at me"?  Unfortunately I made the mistake of looking up and over, and yes, he was talking to me.  I just smiled and looked quickly away.  But no, this guy wasn't going to let it go.  He said, "hey, I asked you a question".   I did the quick shake of the head that means - No - knock it off and Madi  who was also in line, looked at me like "MOM" (because obviously I must have done something to deserve this treatment.  He was speaking quite loudly and continued to toss out badgering comments my way.   A couple of women behind the guy started smiling and laughing and I finally said, "knock it off".  He said - "Knock what off, do you want to hook-up in Kansas City or what"?  I was mortified, told him his pick up lines were about 20 years old and to leave me alone before my husband came back.  He started laughing so hard he was coughing. We won't discuss how many people were looking at us by this point.  I was looking down.

Luckily the line started moving and my #16 boarding pass got me quickly on the plane.  But it wasn't over yet.  Here he came behind Madi and making a spectacle of himself in the aisle proceeded to take the seat next to me.  Yes, the obnoxious man in the airport and my husband Terry was one and the same.  I felt like I was an unwilling participant on Modern Family.  Who was this man? 

For me, the moral of this story is - if you are going to take a man on a weekend without explanation - you must be prepared to encounter a man you may or may not know to spend that weekend with.
On the way back, although the party was a great success and it was good to see everyone, Madi and I dodged the first boarding call and made a run for the gate rather than risk standing in line with Clive.

Can you blame us?

Until next time,
your pal,

It's never too late to do the "right" thing

Even this is my opinion! What is "the right thing"?  Many times over the years, I have heard people say "I want to do the...