Human Highlights: Surviving Stress

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.


Human Moment: Friday, June 23

Normally I look forward to writing these installments, making mental notes of my highlights and humanness during the week. I’m struggling with this one.

My week has been one continual human moment. I’ve been filled with stress, like a riptide that lurks just beneath the surface. At times it’s altered my mood, thinned my patience, and flared my tension spots.

But…I’m not ready to tell you about it. I try, but there’s a wall there, like a dam. A no. A not yet. I’m still processing. Still sifting. Still listening.

Even though I’m not ready to talk about it, I also can’t pretend that it’s not happening. I’m not a pretender. A dreamer, yes. A pretender, no. That’s why I’m struggling with this post.

Every word that I’ve typed on Commode To Joy has been true. I’ve shown you personal parts of me, my thoughts, and my life. To skip over this as if it’s not happening would be dishonest to me, thus, dishonest with you. I can’t do that.

So here’s what I can tell you: I’m having surgery Monday, tomorrow.

It’s a date that I’ve awaited long before it was ever set on the calendar. It’s an operation that I want, and at one point was willing to beg for. It’s also a very big decision.

In my 20s I became aware that I still had a lot of time left in life. (This was not a premonition. It’s an assumption that I’ll make it well into my 80s.) I realized there was still time for me to make decisions and then completely change my mind – without much consequence – thanks to youth.

I pictured life as a big hill, a ¾ climb followed by a ¼ downward slope. As you near the crest of that hill, big decisions continue to be made – marriage, children, career, where you’ll live, and so on. At the crest, you look back on your life and see the decisions you’ve made that have gotten you to this point, for better or worse. I knew that, at some point, my decisions would be with me forever; for life.

Choosing to get married? Big life decision. Wasn’t a difficult one for me to make.

Having a child? Big life decision. Easy peasy. We were ready. We had a child.

This decision? Big. No going back.

It’s easy and it’s not easy. 98% of me screams yes. 2% whispers no. That 2% has been making her presence known all week. She’s the stress, the undercurrent threatening to take me under.

If you know me, you know that I typically don’t operate in percentages. I’m black and white with decisions because I follow my gut instinct. Always. It’s never let me down or led me astray ever. Not once. Except my gut doesn’t always weigh in. Sometimes it lets me just live my life. It might offer guidance in the process, or it might not.

For this surgery? No gut instinct. I’ve got my head (98%) and my heart (2%), and my gut sort of shrugs. Whatever you decide Jamie. It’ll be okay.

My head knows that there’s no turning back from this surgery, and that scares my heart. But not having the surgery means that I keep turning in circles, and I can’t keep turning in circles. So I’m doing it. Majority wins, and here I go. Forward trajectory.

That’s what I can tell you.

I’ll also ask something of you.

Whatever your deity is, however you connect to God, Source, The Universe, Nature, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Mary, or your Angels. Whether you’re religious or spiritual. Whether you’re New Age or newly ordained. Please say a prayer for me. Please send me your high vibes and feel goods. Please think of me and wish me well. Don’t feel bad for me. Don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t add worry to this equation. Add love.


Because I do believe everything will be okay. And I also believe in the power of prayer. I’ve experienced firsthand what it means to have love coming at you so powerfully from so many directions that it washes away all undercurrents and leaves peace in its wake.

With a ready mind and loving (and slightly scared) heart, thank you.


Highlight: Friday, June 23

CrossFit. I went in the afternoon to get one last workout in prior to surgery and to work out some stress. With one round left of the wod, with accelerated heart rates, shallower breaths, and sweaty skin, my fellow CrossFitters started cheering one another on. Hootin’, and hollerin’, as folks back home would say. What began with claps ended with smiles and extra steam to attack that last round.

There’s something to be said for being with a group of people that are all experiencing the same difficulty and still take the time to support one another. It collectively lightens the load.


Life’s Little Lovelies: Saturday, June 24

A wedding, at a place surrounded by buildings, many of which my dad built. At a reception in the same room as my high school proms. Both people and food from my childhood. With Mark, right by my side.

It’s the first time we’ve breathed as a couple recently. Sure, we go out to dinner back home, but it’s not like this. Here we aren’t so close to our house that it’s tethered to us; a reminder that responsibility is just a short drive away. Here, it’s just the two of us.


We do a lot of grinning, which reminds me of when we dated. The sun shines off of his hazel eyes, and I feel a swell of how much I like him. Do I love the guy? Of course. He’s the family member I chose. But I also really like him. As a person. As a friend. As a partner.

At first I thought the wedding would be a distraction from my surgery. Nah; I didn’t have to keep shooing thoughts of what’s ahead from my mind. Instead, the whole experience was a grounding. It always is when I return to my roots.

What are your Human Highlights from the week?

Human Highlights: The Tesla

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.


Human Moment: I’m not writing one this week. I’m too excited about my Highlight.

Wait. Did I just write a Human Moment? I think I did. About defiance.




Highlight: I stopped by the hospital Friday evening to say hi to Mark. One of the docs leaving the parking lot offered to give me a ride in his Tesla. Duh.

I get in and he’s showing off how quiet it is and pushing all kinds of buttons on the giant touch screen that operates everything in the car. “Do you like going fast?” he asks. “Yep.” “You like roller coasters?” “I love them. I think it’d be fun to ride with the Blue Angels some day.”

He drives over a speed bump and stops. “Between here and the next speed bump, it’ll go from 0 to 50.” The next speed bump is roughly 60 feet away, but I don’t have time to process that information because he stomps the accelorator.

Feet kicking against the floorboard, shrieking laughter, one hand on the door handle and the other on Doc’s arm – I was having flashbacks of Mr. Freeze, a ride at Six Flags St. Louis that launches out at 72 miles an hour and takes my breath away.

For as much as I love hills, corkscrews, loops, and turns of coasters, I’d forgotten how much shooting straight out scares me. The Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Ohio blasts from 0 to 120mph. I’m not sure how my skin stayed attached to my face on that ride. I am sure that it was too fast for me.

I’m rethinking my statement about the Blue Angels when…

Next Tesla demo. Doc changes the driving mode with the push of a button on the fancy screen. My car has driving modes too, like reverse, drive, and one extra – sport, which is great for taking turns.

The Tesla’s driving option that Doc pushed? “Ludicrous”. No really, that’s a driving mode. It’s one notch faster than “Insane”, if you’re interested.

“Waaaaahhhh!!!! Whoooooo!!! Haaaaaaaahahahaha!” I hyena-d from the passenger seat. The good doctor leaned toward his window trying to get away from my loud mouth.

The Tesla goes so damn fast it tickles the lady parts. No joke.

The next time you’re at a carnival or theme park, observe the rides like the giant ships that rock back and forth. Note how many riders are female. That’s because those rides tickle the hoo-hah like you wouldn’t believe. Not in a turn me on way. More like an insane laughter type of way because how in the heck does it tickle there so much?

My husband says guys don’t experience rides that way. It’s a good thing, because in the case of the Tesla, your nuts would be in your bladder. Doc would have to surgically remove them for you.

Moral of the story? No moral. Other than I have no business ever driving one of those cars unless it drives for me. And, this was hands down the highlight of my week. All 2.8 seconds (times two).


Life’s Little Lovelies: The Forsyth Family Fest. This year Miller is tall enough to ride the spinning strawberries (same concept as the ever famous teacups). This boy likes rides too. Looks like we have a lot of theme parks in our future. And maybe a Tesla ride or two.

Strawberry Ride

What are your Human Highlights from the week?

Human Highlights: Walk Despacito

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.


Human Moment: We went on a “walk” around mom’s neighborhood. That translates to Miller pushing his Thomas toy until seeing something of interest and putting in the storage seat. Then he’ll stop, lie on the sidewalk, and push Thomas back and forth to watch the wheels work. At one point Thursday evening he announced that he had to potty. We mad dashed to mom’s yard so he could take care of business.

Take Two: About halfway around the walking loop – after filling Thomas with more items of interest (rocks, weeds, etc…) – we stopped to play with some little neighborhood girls. Fifteen minutes later we were on the move again until we halted for some good “bumps”. More lying down, more pushing Thomas over a deteriorated part of sidewalk covered with concrete chunks aka the bumps. At this point I’m reminding myself that it’s about the journey, not the destination…but I’m really over it.

Remember the days of yesteryear when you could go out the door and just…walk, briskly if you wanted? Get the heart pumping and the lungs expanding.

Instead my lungs were expanding hollering, “Miller come on, let’s go!” Mom’s house was in sight but far from reach teasing us from the end of the block.

“That’s it.” I commandeered Thomas. Desperate times and all. I thought it’d tick Miller off enough that he’d chase after me to reclaim his toy.

Guess what? It didn’t work. He once again *lay on the sidewalk and watched me crab walk that piece of plastic down the sidewalk.

The story (and walk) ends with me carrying Miller the final block home. Mom carried Thomas.

You saw that coming, right? If so, you’re steps ahead of me. Pun. Intended.


Highlight: I heard this song on Friday and have been listening to it on repeat pretty much ever since, so much so that Miller is now randomly saying Despacito. Obsessed.


Life’s Little Lovelies: For as long and drawn out as that walk was…I secretly enjoyed it. That’s the crux of being a mom. Your kid, the laundry, the dishes, keeping up with food and grocery shopping, the constant constant constant interaction and responsibility can rid you of patience and sanity, and still? You love it…


Miller is in the frame with me, unseen, because he’s still lying down.


…even if it doesn’t always look like you do.

What are your Human Highlights from the week?

*I looked up the past tense of lie. According to the interwebs, it’s lay. So while this looks incorrect, apparently it’s right.

Human Highlights: Holy Halitosis

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.


Human Moment: Tuesday Morning – Mark and Miller were awake and in the living room when I emerged from the bedroom like a bear from hibernation. I’m not a morning person.

Normally, I head straight for the coffee. Instead, I went to the couch to sit next to Miller.

“Good morning,” I said while giving him a squeeze.

“Mommy, go away!”

“Why buddy?”

“Uhhhh!” he said running to the furthest chair from the couch. “Mommy, you stink!”

“I do not!” I protested.

“Yes you do!”

I couldn’t figure it out. I mean, I hadn’t farted or anything. And then it dawned on me. My breath. Zero parts of me is a morning person, breath included. For a long time I’ve been thankful that Mark has a poor sense of smell. Apparently the same can’t be said for Miller. To confirm my suspicions, I walked over to the chair.

“Miller, I think it’s my breath. Smell,” I said before blowing dead dragon straight in his face.

“MOOOOOM!!! Go Away You Stink!!!”

I got some sort of stinkerish satisfaction (no pun intended, I swear) from breathing in his face. It’s like a second cousin to dutch-ovening someone.

By the way, he’s sent me away from him two other times this week. Once was completely unfounded; he’d just woken from his nap and accused me of just waking up too. I hadn’t, and my breath was *normal, thank you very much.

Also, this morning I was the first awake. When Miller started stirring, I went into his room to say good morning. He asked me to lie next to him, and then cautiously added, “But mommy, keep your mouth closed so you don’t breathe on me.”


Highlight: It’s not very often I have a pic of my highlight. This week I do.

Tuesday evening, the three of us went to the park. We were the only ones there (what?! how?), the weather was perfect – mid 70s and still – and the sunset was on point. Afterwords we stopped by Dairy Queen and took hot fudge sundaes to my mom’s house. If I could script my idyllic summer evening, this is it.


The eastern sky, as if mirroring the west bound sun.


Life’s Little Lovelies: Miller and I went outside this morning while Mark slept. He requested that I draw all of his vehicles and encouraged me every step of the way. Considering I haven’t taken an art class since 1998, I think I did okay. (Just pay the most attention to Thomas.)

Chalk Vehicles

Sidewalk chalk = instajoy for me.

What are your Human Highlights from the week?

*Technically, halitosis refers to chronic bad breath, not just the morning stink. For the record, I don’t have halitosis…but it made for a catchy blog title, so I went with it.

Human Highlights: Pantless, Slimy, Golf

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.


Human Moment: We have a lot of windows at our house. So many that I resigned to wearing pants regularly, because you never know who might turn up when.

Earlier in the week, it was late enough in Miller’s nap that before I started the shower I ran upstairs to check the monitor…with my pants around my ankles and a full moon in back.

At the top of the stairs I have a clear shot of the front door. As I cleared the landing, I noted two things simultaneously: A truck was parked in our drive, and a man was getting out of it.

I squatted mid stride and hiked up my britches. When I stood, the man spotted me and waved.

I’m telling myself that he was still getting out of his truck and looking elsewhere when I emerged from the bedroom. I’m telling myself that I was moving quickly and a bit of a blur. I’m telling myself that even if he was looking the island was blocking the “view”.

Right? Right?!


Highlight: Miller and I saw a commercial for Elmer’s glue slime. He wanted to make it, so I bought the ingredients. He had more fun counting and mixing ingredients; I had more fun playing with it.


If you’re interested, here’s the recipe for a single batch:

  • 4oz Elmer’s Glue (white not clear)
  • add 1-1/2 tsp baking soda, stir
  • add food coloring (and/or glitter), stir
  • add 1TBSP contact lens solution, stir


Life’s Little Lovelies: Couples Golf 2017 has commenced. Thanks to high handicaps and a few surprise clutch shots, we came in second place.

Shoutout to Regan for showing up – on her due date! – and playing all nine holes. Turns out golfing doesn’t induce labor.

Couples Golf

Hawaiian Night

What are your Human Highlights from the week?