5/31/09

Landscape Therapy

Listening to anything from the Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine album is really dangerous for me while driving.

We drove to Alamosa today to meet my mom to pick up the kids and bring them home. My husband drove there (happily bopping along in his new car of which I am totally jealous as it has a plug in for my iPod Touch) and I drove home. We put the music on shuffle, the kids went to sleep and I just drove. And when NIN came on, I drove entirely too fast. I got flashed by a county sheriff outside of Alamosa actually. So then I slowed down. A little.

But while we were driving there, I got totally absorbed in the clouds and landscape. Southwestern Colorado can be a bit on the drab side. Which is why I have mostly ignored it on the many, many car trips we’ve taken through there on the way to my parents house in New Mexico. But today I just really looked and it’s actually really beautiful. Granted, it’s spring, so everything is super green and starting to bloom. But the rocks and mountains and plains desert is just really gorgeous. Also the sky was amazing today with layers upon layers of fluffy white clouds.

I almost always drive everywhere we go (chalk it up to a major control issue what with my mom losing half her leg as a passenger in her own car), so I hardly ever get to just watch the scenery go by. And it was a lovely opportunity to do that today. It almost felt like a luxury. To just disengage and let my eyes slide over the landscape taking in the colors and textures. Or take voyeuristic peeks inside of the farm and ranch houses as we passed through small towns. Instead of planning how to accomplish my ridiculously long and complicated to-do list. Or obsessing about our finances. Or thinking about my overall lack of patience when it comes to things like waiting for the job people to call me back.

All in all, it was a perfect way to end an extraordinarily busy week. Good music. Beauty. Driving. Perfect.

5/30/09

Deflation

I don’t know what to write about today. I’m drawing a complete blank.

We bought my husband a new car. Well, new to us. His old car was pretty high in miles and just about to be in need of close to $2000 in work. So we decided to look for a newer one with fewer miles instead of putting a bunch of money into a car that would most likely drink it up and then ask for more before too long. And we found him a great replacement. With the help of a great salesman. Although it was incredibly time consuming, it was a great car shopping and purchasing experience.

Until we went in today to follow up with a couple of things (like the fact that we discovered that we couldn’t get the driver side door to lock) and learned that they were having a hard time getting us financing. Apparently even if you have a high credit score (which we do) banks are turning down requests for credit left and right for just about anything they can find. In our case they say our revolving debt is too high. Which I actually agree with. It is too high. But it’s nowhere near as high as it was 6 months ago. We’re making progress. And because of that progress, because of how hard I’ve been working to get our debt down, it just pisses me off that it’s not enough. It pisses me off that this otherwise exciting and fun experience just got the joy sucked out of it so fast it took my breath away.

It will work out, either way, it will work out some way or another. It always does.

But on my last day sans kids, it’s put me in a bit of a sour mood. Disappointed, defeated and frustrated. It just drives home for me why I need this job. Takes the shine off of it and reminds me that not only will this opportunity be fun and exciting, but will also help us tremendously financially.

So my fingers are staying crossed tighter than ever and hopefully when I wake up, I’ll have pulled out of the pout.

5/29/09

Lovely Tired

Holy crap am I tired. It’s been a very busy week. And I’ve been kid free, so really, I have nothing to complain about. Except that usually when my parents take the kiddos, it’s a huge break for me and other than hanging out with some friends that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like, I usually just hang out and do nothing. But this week has been really busy!

Between getting ready for my interview, being nervous about my interview, finding clothes for my interview, being nervous about my interview, finding shoes and a new bra for my interview, being nervous about my interview, seeing friends, hanging with my husband, being nervous about my interview and car shopping for my husband, it’s been an extraordinarily busy week. And now, I am really tired. Like the kind of tired when you’re eyes are stinging just because they’re open.

But I went out with some of my most favorite women tonight for dinner. And one of them announced that she was pregnant again and I almost cried I was so happy for her. This will be their third baby and while it’s been a long time coming, it’s been hard for them to make the decision to have another baby as well. Her second pregnancy was really hard and traumatic, so she’s been afraid of having to go through that again. And with good reason. But I just know that this pregnancy will be awesome and healthy and at the end of it they will have a fat, healthy, happy baby to show for it. I’m really just thrilled for them. And jealous. So at least I now have one more person through whom I can live vicariously, because man are my baby hankerings getting out of hand.

And I got to take another friend out for a pedicure this afternoon. She’s pregnant with her fifth and she could (should!) go into labor at any time, so I decided she needed some pampering. And it was lovely to be able to just hang out with her without any kiddos biting at our ankles.

It’s been a lovely week, but man am I tired.

5/28/09

Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names

I had the biggest interview of my life thus far today.

I have interviewed with panels of people ranging in numbers from 1 or 2 all the way up to about 15. Huge panels of highly accomplished and immensely educated people. I have fielded questions from people twice my age and thrice my IQ. I have navigated through academic, human services, public health and grassroots vernacular. I have already held the highest post in the nonprofit realm; and before I was 30 years old.

All of that, in the context of today, was nothing. Not because I interviewed with 20 people or because they were all Nobel Laureates.

Today was so huge because this job, this particular position, is such a tremendous opportunity and would be so much fun that I’m not entirely sure something like this will come along more than once. This job would give me the opportunity to build a position from the ground up. To grow a department with an incredibly important (not to mention one that has given The Boy countless hours of joy) piece of city government.

After asking the interview committee what their vision was for this brand spanking new position, I sat and listened to them tell me all about an incredibly amorphous vision that wasn’t really a vision at all, but more like an outline for something they didn’t really know anything about but was incredibly important to them. And the fact that it is so important to them, that they are willing to take a risk and think outside the box in an effort to find new solutions to very, very old problems, really got my blood pumping.

And I gotta say that I kicked some serious ass in the interview. I answered all of their questions. I asked questions that got them thinking. I was upbeat and inventive. I was funny and smart. I kicked some serious ass. I walked out of there feeling great (other than the fact that my feet were killing me after walking the 6+ blocks from my finally found parking spot to the interview in new shoes).

Now it’s up to the fates, but I kicked some serious ass.

5/27/09

Impulse vs. Presence

Here’s a question that popped into my head today – where is the line between being present in every moment and being impulsive?

I’ve spent the last year really focusing on learning how to be present in every moment and then to summon the courage to be authentic in that moment, for better or worse. And I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I am really present in just about every moment, and I’ve been able to raise my awareness enough that even when my head wanders out of the present moment, I can recognize it and reel it back in. I can catch myself when I’m dipping my toes into the past or future when the fear or anger descends with no other provocation other than my brain getting away with itself.

But yesterday and today I’ve been wondering about how and if that presence of mind could easily translate into impulsive acts. Like today when I nonchalantly handed over my credit card for Webkinz for the kids and bras for me. Or several sake bombs and enough sushi to gorge a very, very large cat. Or shoes (I’m still searching for sassy sandals, please let me know if you find any).

To be fair, I almost never spend money on myself. I’ll spend money on the kids or other people in a heartbeat. But hardly ever on myself. The kids are gone and I got a wild hair up my ass and decided to go shopping. And I’m pretty sure I spent entirely too much money on things I didn’t necessarily need (although, also to be fair? I only have the one bra, so it’s not too much of a splurge to have a rotation of three).

So I guess the answer to my question is that if I were to chalk up the impulse shopping to being in the moment and following my whimsy regardless of right or wrong, that’s pretty much bullshit. But knowing that I made the choice to splurge and buy myself something pretty the day before the biggest interview of my life and then to roll with the consequences is the kind of being in the moment I’m proud of.

5/26/09

I am a Writer

I am a writer.

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I taught myself how to read when I was four. I started writing short stories in kindergarten. I don’t remember illustrating those stories; I’ve never been much of an artist. But I have been a writer. For as long as I can remember. It’s not really something I do per say. It’s just an integral piece of who I am. Who I’ve always been.

When I am sad, ecstatic, frustrated, irate or just about anything else, the first thing I do is write. I constantly have pieces of stories and dialogue running through my head. I am constantly figuring out how to put into words anything I may be experiencing at any given moment. Not being able to stop long enough to transcribe those parts and pieces of stories begging to be written is why I started this blog. But I’m finding, lately especially, that there is less story writing and more journaling happening here.

Which is fine I suppose, although I cannot imagine that it’s all that interesting to read. Not to mention, I’m sure that I’ve given you whiplash the last couple of months. What with the not so very subtle glow swinging to the utmost defeat of motherhood and the bubbling joy of discovery to feeling like I’m having my feet pulled out from under me by sickness or bad days or whatever. I know I’ve been feeling whiplashed, so I can’t even imagine how your head must be swimming.

But even though I am so relatively sure that my posts for the past 4-6 weeks don’t make a lick of sense, I’m still a writer. Even though I think the majority of my posts for most of the time I’ve been engaged in this project have been silly and self indulgent, I’m still a writer. Even though I have the tiniest handful of readers, very few of which are moved to leave comments on my daily blathering, I am still a writer.

Through the up, down, good, bad and in between there will always be a piece of me that knows exactly who and what I am.

I am a writer.

5/25/09

Technological Impatience

My laptop died a couple of days ago. I shut it down before I went to bed and when I turned it on the next morning it was broken beyond repair. It was totally healthy when I shut it down and then with no provocation, it just gave it up and died. So my husband has spent the last two days trying everything he could think of to get it working again without having to totally re-install everything. I managed to get all the most important stuff off and onto a jump drive before it died completely, but he still ended up having to re-install the entire operating system and start from scratch. This laptop is about two years old, so maybe if this were the first time we’ve had to do this I would have been a wee bit more patience with it. But this is the FOURTH time we’ve had to either re-install the operating system or restore the whole fucking thing to factory condition. FOURTH!!! That’s just ridiculous. I mean there are all sorts of conditions that would have given me more tolerance for a hiccup here and there. But this sucker was new when I bought it so one would think that I’d get a bit more mileage out of it. Let’s just say that the Mac vs. PC commercials now have a whole new meaning for me.

I have a hard time summoning patience with technology is most cases anyway. I just (naively I suppose) expect it to work. So when there are glitches in my DVD player, or the TV or my iPod or my computer it just really pisses me off. It. Should. Just. Work. All. The. Time. Period.

And when it doesn’t, my husband just shakes his head and laughs (quietly) at my irritation and tries to fix it as quickly as possible so that he doesn’t have to listen to me bitch endlessly about how stupid some electronic device is or isn’t. So I’m glad for his tolerance of my lack of patience.

But I swear to all that is holy that if my computer fucks up again, I am throwing the sucker through the window.

5/24/09

Movie Day

My mom drove away with the kids today. It’s become somewhat of a tradition that they spend a week at the beginning of the summer and then another week at the end of the summer at Nana and Papa’s house. It gives me a break after school ends or right before it begins and it gives them some all-out playtime. My mom does her very best to spoil them rotten and they just really, really love it down there.

So we decided to have a movie day today. So we went to see Terminator: Salvation first and it was pretty incredible. I was a little wary of the director seeing as that his crowning glory was the Charlie’s Angels movies, but I have to admit that it was really pretty good. It was different that I expected it to be. The first three movies were by their nature almost completely John Connor centric. Save his mother, save him etc. And this one really gives more storyline to the machines. Which is interesting and a part of the story that we’ve not yet seen much of.

Then we decided to go have a drink and some munchies and chatted for a bit before going to see Star Trek. I saw it alone the weekend it came out, but have been wanting to see it again. And it was just as brilliant the second time around. Except for the very small baby the people sitting next to us decided to bring along and then get all huffy with when she wouldn’t sit still and be quiet. I mean she was probably 3 or 4 months old max. So that was irritating. Mostly because I just wanted to take her from them and go outside and play with her. Stupid people bringing babies to movies!

Now I have an entire child free week in front of me. And, admittedly, most of it is already planned. But it’s always nice to be able to set my own pace and schedule for the day. And it’s nice to have some peace and quiet. And by the end of the week, I’ll be hankering to smother my babies in kisses again.

5/23/09 - It's a Tinkerbell/Soccer Party!

**In a haze of 3 year-old birthday party adrenaline and the ensuing sugar rush, I forgot to post this last night. Sorry!!**

Today is The Girl’s birthday party. In true reflection of who she is, it’s a Tinkerbell/soccer party. She picked out all Tinkerbell decorations, invitations, thank you notes and cake but desperately wanted to be able to play soccer with all of her friends. Oooooookkkkkkaaaaayyyyy.

So I ordered the Tinkerbell cake. And I found a new little place here that does soccer classes and parties starting at age 2. I was a little nervous since it was new and I didn’t really know what to expect. But I gotta tell you, it was amazing. The kids had an AWESOME time playing all the games and actually learning some fundamental motor skills for learning to eventually play soccer. And the coach? The coach was just about the coolest guy I’ve ever come into contact with as far as someone who chooses to interact with kids on this level. He let them chase him and beat him silly with Styrofoam noodles and he was able to keep them completely engaged and moving for the entire 90 minutes. It was truly amazing. The Girl and all of her friends (and a couple of The Boy’s friends as well) had a blast.

The cake was super yummy and the presents she got were so completely perfect for her. Her Nana R and Papa T got her first American Girl doll and matching dresses for her and her baby. The Girl named her Tasha and immediately put on her matching dress and almost needed to sleep in it. She got an assortment of Tinkerbell toys and a wonderful sticker/coloring book with fairies and Tinkerbell. And she absolutely loved the dress up chest that her Dad and I got her.

She just had a really good birthday. My mom was able to come for the party and it’s always a good thing when Nana comes to town.

Watching her turn 3 and have so much fun just leaves me smiling. It just thrills me to see her so happy and to have the chance to watch her embrace the celebration.

5/22/09

Birthday Girl!!

“Please don’t shoot at your sister. It’s her birthday.”
“But I’m shooting birthday stuff at her. And I think she likes it.”

This little exchange took place between me and The Boy this morning as I was making French toast to start off The Girl’s birthday day extravaganza. I thought it was sort of sweet, and really, really funny.

I always make a huge deal out of the kids’ birthdays. We spend the whole day of their birthdays doing all of their most favorite stuff. We got to Toys R US (aka The Big Toy Store) where they get their birthday announced on the loud speaker and they get to pick out a toy. We go to our favorite local toy store (aka The Pizza Toy Store) and they get to pick out something little after we’re done eating the best pizza in town. And they get to pick a fun activity for the afternoon, which for the past couple of years has been Chuck E. Cheese for both of them. They love it there because they get to play games and run to their hearts content. I don’t mind it because it’s totally empty in the middle of a week day and they get to run to their hearts content without me having to follow them all over the place. Plus the salad bar is pretty good.

Then there is the birthday party. But the biggest birthday celebration always happens on their actual birthdays and it’s usually just me and them. Which I actually kind of like. I’m pretty sure that as The Boy gets older he’s not going to want it to just be me, but for now, it’s actually really nice to just have a whole day of frivolity to just spoil them rotten and play.

I love birthdays. I love to spoil my friends and my mom and my husband. I love to make a big deal out of them. I love to throw surprise parties. I just love them.

And today My Girl turns 3. She’s huge and brilliant and funny and beautiful and free-spirited and creative. And I, quite simply, adore her. Happy Third Birthday my amazing girl!

5/21/09

Graduation Day

The Boy graduated from kindergarten today. Yes. I said graduated. It’s a milestone, in my opinion, to go from kindergarten to first grade. From pretend school to elementary school. Because even though the advent of serious competency testing has moved kindergarten from all frills and finger paint to something a bit more serious, let’s face it, it is still mostly arts and crafts with a good dose of reading thrown in for good measure.

This year has been a wakeup call for him in a big way. And for us, as his parents, in a lot of ways as well. His eyes have been opened to the fact that not everything in life is about play and fun. That there are times that you just have to buckle down and work if you want to move forward. You have to commit yourself to learning new things or you get left behind. And he’s starting to learn that the world does not revolve around him every moment of the day.

For us, for me especially, we’ve learned that we may need to hold his hand a bit more. To provide some additional guidance on how to prioritize. On how to make choices. On how to take his blinders off. I think I’ve been thinking (most likely because he’s my first born and therefore can do little wrong in the greater scheme of things) that he’d just get it. Life would just arrive at his door step and he would greet it with the gorgeous manners with which we’ve equipped him and run gaily into the sunset of ultimate success. Watching him struggle so completely with learning how to read has shattered that day dream and brought us all down to earth. In a good way.

I have no intentions of lowering my expectations for him. I have however, learned how to look at progress towards meeting (and exceeding) those expectations in the grandest spectrum of color instead of just black and white. And that in and of itself is a tremendous gift.

I am so thoroughly proud of my boy. I am so thrilled to see what is next on this road of adventure for him.

5/20/09

Website Pondering

Ok. I just saw a commercial for a website called onlinebootycall.com. There are so many things wrong with this I am not at all sure where to start.

Let’s start with the fact that the actual name of the website brings more questions to my mind than clarity. Is it a cyber sex site? Is it a dating site? Is it a place to find people with whom to only have booty calls? Are said booty calls online only or do you actually meet in person? Maybe I’m a little out of touch, but I just need a little more description than that.

Also, the commercial? Featured this cavemanesque looking man proclaiming to be the founder and CEO of said website. He goes on to say how this site was about looking outside the box. Forget the flowers! Forget the candle light dinners! Forget the wooing and chivalry! The last frame of the commercial is of some skank throwing a bouquet of flowers at a man in a button up shirt laying sadly on the ground and then parading out of the shot on the arm of the original cavemanesque gentleman.

There’s also a website out there whose sole purpose is to hook up married people who want to cheat. I’m actually a wee bit intrigued by that one. Not because I want to cheat but because I want to see how it works. Is it all dark and steamy or is it all guilt ridden and hesitant?

I also wonder if these websites are successful in any way. I mean the cutting edge commercials surely point to the magnitude of their success, but I would really love to see some numbers on these suckers. I mean seriously, what kind of advertising revenue do they see? What does their customer base look like? I love to just steal a look at their books.

And call me old fashioned and crazy if you want, but I’m never going to throw a bouquet of flowers at anyone. I love flowers. What I don’t love? Scary steroid men in polyester shirts and fake tans whose own personal heroes died in the 70’s of some horrible brain eating STD.

5/19/09

The Boy vs. The Choice

The antibiotics are in my system now. And they’re working hard. I do feel a bit better today. I’m still exhausted and hacking mercilessly, but I’m no longer actively begging to be taken out back and put out of my misery. And my fever finally broke. So I think we’re heading in the right direction.

But because I still feel pretty crappy, I have zero patience. The Boy has become relentless is his “I’m bored!” “I’m hungry!” “I want to do something fun!” His incessant baying for me to entertain him constantly has been wearing on my nerves quite a bit lately, but now that I’m sick I have lost even the smallest mote of tolerance I once had. He is one of the smartest and most creative boys his age I’ve ever known and this unending dependence upon me to give him things to do has been intact since his birth for the most part. The only real change has been in the complexity of what keeps him entertained for any given amount of time. It used to only take breastfeeding or dangling keys in front of his face to quiet him down. Now it takes some complicated obstacle course of activity to garner his attention for more than 30 seconds.

And it’s not that he can’t focus. He has an intent, and at times intense, ability to focus. When he wants to. And that right there is the key – when he wants to. Which is true for all of us to some extent I suppose, but the only other person whose entire existence is so completely dependent on choice that I’ve ever seen is my husband. The Boy has to choose to focus, to engage, to pay attention, to be entertained. Once that choice is made he’s good to go and can play or work or whatever for hours. But without that choice being made, it’s an endless volley of irritating questions that pushes me to the very edge of sanity.

Perhaps instead of trying to put him off or redirect him to something else, I should focus more on getting him to make choices. Maybe that will save both of our sanity.

5/18/09

Pitifully Sick

I am sicker than I’ve been in a very, very long time. What I thought was just a cold has turned me into a sniffling, hacking, weeping ball of sadness. I’ve had a low grade fever going up and down for the last three days and my cough has gone from a moderately productive, raspy, every so often annoyance straight to a socked into my chest, horrible barking, entire body wracking and unceasing complete pain in my ass. And pretty much everywhere else.

It’s become so bad in fact that I called my sweet friend L this morning in tears to beg her to have her husband (who is a doctor) talk to me and make it better. And I felt awful about it because I was pretty sure today was his day off. And I know when you have a day off it’s usually packed full before the day’s even begun. And the last thing you want to be doing is working. Especially when some crazy friend of your wife’s calls pitifully and begs you to make her better.

He listened to me cough and asked me a few questions and given that had just increased his to-do list for the day, was very sweet. So he called in an antibiotic prescription and hopefully by this time tomorrow I will be feeling much better. I hope that I will be able to get a good night’s sleep tonight and by tomorrow the coughing will have quieted a bit and reverted back to being productive. By this time tomorrow my fever will have broken and I will once again gain joy from hearing my children’s voices instead of their delightful questions and tinkling giggles making me want to jump in front of a bus.

Mostly I’m just tired of being a pathetic lump on the couch (although I am now completely caught up on all my DVR’d shows and I got to scratch my The West Wing itch). I’m tired of my own personal to-do list looming in front of me. I’m tired of being incapacitated by something out of my control. I’m so ready to have my entire house and everyone in it healthy!

5/17/09

Thrill to Read

Every time I pick up one of these books – the kind that suck you in and become an obsession – I’m reminded of why I love these escapist stories. Of course I admire the years of research that go into writing such an amazing tale and the author’s craft of writing is also a thrill. Ultimately what sucks me in the most is the fleeting chance to pretend I’m someone else for 400 pages. Whether that be a brilliant symbologist in search of the Holy Grail, an artist with an ability to paint an alternate reality, Christ’s bodyguard or many others it’s the chance to live through another character’s eyes, to walk in someone else’s shoes.

Ten years ago my path was laid out before me, ripe for the taking. I was going to be a constitutional scholar after getting a PhD in Political Philosophy and a JD in Constitutional Law. I had great dreams of bringing the glory of the constitution back, renewing its relevance to everyday life. I had dreams of being an expert in something that mattered. Not realizing that has made me second guess myself for years now. Falling by accident into a 9-year long career of nonprofit fundraising and grant writing made me an expert in that field and has been rewarding and failure-ridden.

There is still a part of me that longs to be an expert in something that is thought of so highly. Perhaps that’s my ulterior motive for writing. Because, especially while writing on a blog, there is no counterpoint. I get to be the one and only expert on whatever topic I’m babbling on about at any given time.

I think mostly though what really reels me into these stories is the adventure of it all. Not that I’m hungering to be chased by the police or assassins, but the thrill of discovery through thought and detection totally gets my blood pumping. I’m such a research dork at heart. That’s why grant writing was so attractive to me, it’s just writing research papers that you get paid for.

But even the most high pressure federal grant applications don’t get my heart rate racing like a good book.

5/16/09

In Search of Sassy Sandals

So here’s the thing about my Mojo Boots. I can’t wear them in the summer. Ack!!! I’ve been finding myself wishing for rainy or chilly days so that I can still wear them. But we are in full swing spring here, so their days are limited.

One would think that this would be just the excuse I need to go shoe shopping. But there are two problems with that. The first is that while I typically love to go shoe shopping, I really detest shopping for sandals. Like so much else about my body that has changed since having babies, my feet have widened. So it’s almost impossible for me to find cute, sassy, strappy sandals that are even remotely comfortable. And even though I’m willing to wear shoes for a short time that aren’t Birkenstock level of comfort, I do need to be able to actually stand up and walk in them without crying.

The second problem is that I’m actually pretty sure that I won’t be able to find any sandals that will measure up to the Mojo Boots. Because sandals just carry a different kind of attitude with them. An open, sexier kind of feel. And that’s not necessarily something I’m entirely comfortable with as of yet.

The Mojo Boots make me feel powerful and badass. Sandals tend to make me feel a bit more exposed. And I guess that if I can find that perfect pair of sandals that they too will rise to the level of appreciation and acclaim that the Mojo Boots have. I have to give sandals a chance I suppose.

Mostly what this all boils down to is embracing summer. And I’ve always rebelled against summer. Because of the heat and the change in wardrobe and, well, the heat.

Summer means the baring of suntanned skin, the trickle of sweat running down my back. The tank tops and the shorter skirts and capris. Running through the sprinklers or playing in the pool with the kiddos. Embracing summer is a bit of a risk for me. Because it means embracing my own inner sexiness. And it’s time I suppose. Now I just have to find those Sassy Sandals.

5/15/09 - The Girl's Moving on Up

**Sickness took over my brain last night and I flat forgot to post this. Sorry!!! **

The Girl’s last day of school is today. This was her first year of preschool (well half year I suppose since she didn’t start until January). And there is part of me that cannot believe how big she is. In two short years, she will be in Kindergarten. That is amazed to look at the growth chart in her classroom and see how much she has grown in five months. And she’s continuing to take on her father’s body type by getting so much taller but actually weighing less than she did in January. Although some of that may have to do with the whole pneumonia thing.

Her preschool is doing a big end of year celebration party tonight with dinner and an art show. The Boy went to this school for three years, so I’m pretty accustomed to the end of year routine. They’ve done an art show at year’s end ever since he started going there. So we’ll now have a piece of art from The Girl to add to the collection. And she’ll get to be called up to the front of the room and have her teacher (whom she adores and insists on giving hugs and kisses before she leaves) give her a certificate of completion for this year. And she will beam as she runs up there amid all the other parents clapping for her and me catching as many pictures as I can.

Some people think this routine is a little crazy for a two or three year old. That having a graduation or a celebration for anything but high school or college is just silly. But after seeing the smiles that light up the faces of my children and after seeing the pride they have in their accomplishment, I am no longer one of those people. I understand the danger of over-praising kids for doing things that they should be doing anyway. But moving up through the levels of education with pride and success and a growing love of learning is always something to be celebrated in my world.

I will snap entirely too many pictures. And I will clap and tear up. I am her proud mama.

5/14/09

mur, mur, mur, blah, blah, blah

I don’t want to write today!! I don’t want to write today!! I don’t want to write today!! I don’t want to write today!!

I’m tired of straining for a creativity that is just not there at the moment. I’m tired of trying to come with new and interesting things to say. Especially on days like today where I am so entirely immersed in daily grind and to-do list bullshit that writing some provocative and/or interesting is just really far away from my capacity.

I’m whiny and irritated that I have this fucking cold and I’m tired because the children aren’t sleeping worth a damn and I’m busy with a bunch of stuff that in a week simply won’t matter and all of this is keeping me from doing what I really want to be doing. I want to get back into the pro bono projects I’m working on and dropped when the whole seizure/pneumonia thing happened. I want to be manifesting getting a job so I can stop stressing about our finances. I want to be getting excited about summer and everything that goes with it. I want to be drinking cocktails with my girlfriends!!

Granted a lot of this I am the only one keeping myself from achieving progress. I’m whiny and unbalanced and flailing. And that’s a choice I suppose. A choice made either consciously or subconsciously as a response to everything with The Girl and life in general right now.

And it’s a strange place to be because even though I’m all scattered and willy nilly, I haven’t really lost any of the confidence I’ve cultivated over the last year. I haven’t really lost much of the direction or conviction. I haven’t really lost much of the progress I’ve made. I’m just confidently scattered I suppose. And it’s a goofy place to be.

But here I am. So I’m trying to continue to just be with everyday and take it as it comes. Keep my head up, my shoulders back and my eyes on the prize. Keep breathing and keep on keeping on so to speak. I mean I’m bound to figure out which way is up sooner or later right?

5/13/09

LOST

I have documented the extent of my TV addiction on here before. It’s my brain candy time. It’s my fantasy, fun time. But what I’ve never really said (that I can remember anyway, things are starting to fall through the cracks of my memory) is that there are only really a few shows that I get so into that I look forward to them every week. That I get emotionally involved with the characters. That end up becoming more than just brain candy and wind up becoming leading members in my own personal pop culture.

LOST is one of those shows. And jiminy fucking Christmas did they do the cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers on the season finale tonight! Truth be told, I almost gave up on LOST last season. It got boring and there no longer seemed to be any point to the mythology. The questions were getting asked simply for the sake of asking them not because there was ever going to be any answers of consequence. Well this season it really kicked back into gear and it’s been ohmygod good. And now the season finale that had me cheering and crying and laughing and crying. And I have to wait until next YEAR (yes that says year, as in 2010) to find out what’s going to happen. Which will, in and of itself, be bittersweet. Because next season will be the last season. They announced two years ago that the series would be finite, with a very foreseeable end in sight. And to be honest, I haven’t really cared that much about the series ending until tonight.

Tonight’s episode was a perfect example of why I got so hooked on this show to begin with. I even found myself not cussing out Kate every other thought. I actually found myself sort of rooting for Jack. It was just a brilliant episode. Totally kept my brain engaged and my butt on the edge of its seat. This was an episode that made me want to jump into the crazy LOST fan sites and research and nurture theories to post on those crazy fan sites.

Oh yeah, it’s just that damn good.

5/12/09

Sick Again, Sick Again Jiggedy Jig

Ok, so I am sick. Again. And I’m fucking pissed off about it. It’s spring. We’re having more 80 degree days than not. There are flowers being planted. There are lawns being mowed. There are vegetables already poking their little green heads above the gardens in which they are planted. My children are having field days for Christ’s sake. Head colds are supposed to be completely outlawed once all of that starts happening. I woke up yesterday with that my nose is itching but I’ve got that yucky sickly feeling in the back of my throat. I spent the majority of the day trying to talk myself into it just being allergies and/or a super dry throat. Or maybe all of the above. I realized that I had failed miserably when I was laying on the couch last night with chills, feeling like crap and uber crabby about the whole thing. I woke up this morning feeling even worse. And spent all day trying not to rip my children’s heads off every time they asked me anything. Or moved. Or breathed.

And really, I’m not all that sick. I’ve certainly been sicker than this. Recently even. But I am just like at my boiling point with sickness and not feeling centered. I’m tired of sickness in this house. I’m tired of my sweet friends having to deal with sickness. I’m tired of feeling so totally strung out and crazy.

How do you get over whiplash? I mean seriously. The Girl is fine and healthy. The Boy is fine and healthy. My husband is fine and healthy. Why can’t I get my feet back under me with all of this? It’s starting to feel pretty ridiculous. I mean seriously. Get over it already.

Maybe I should just go to H’s house and let him get me resoundingly drunk again. Clear the slate. Start from ground zero. He’s been hinting at wanting to throw some wood in the chiminea, throw a bunch of darts at or near the man-shed and drink many, many beers and/or any other tasty beverages he happens to have on hand. Hmmmmm…tasty beverages and darts…

There just might be hope for me yet.

5/11/09

Where Does God Live?

The Boy: “Where does God live?”.

Me: “I don’t know where he lives. Some people think he lives in the sky, some people think he lives in the stars, some people think he lives in the trees and the oceans and the earth, some people think he lives in the moon and some people think he lives in your heart. Where do you think he lives?”

The Boy: “I think he lives in the stars. That’s where I would want to live.”

I have absolutely no idea where this question came from today. We are not a religious family. I’ve never been baptized and neither have either of our children. I mean I went to Catholic school for first through fifth grades, and I went to youth group in high school (solely for the friends, not the church) and was one class away from a religion minor in college (solely from an academic point of view, I loved studying the mythology behind religion), but that is the full extent of my religious involvement. I have always had a hard time with religion. I’ve grilled many friends into the ground about their faith and beliefs, many to the point where they just ended up yelling at me to leave them alone. I’ve read and researched and studied. I’ve tried to do religion. Because I would love to be a part of the community inherent in religion. And I would love to have the certainty that faith gives you; the trust. But it has always been a struggle for me.

The Boy went to a Jewish preschool for three years, but that is the full extent of his religious exposure. And this is the first time that he’s ever asked me about God or anything else religious for that matter. He started singing the Jewish children’s songs from the age of 2 and would re-tell me the stories he heard (particularly the ones with his name in them). But that was about it.

I find myself both grateful for and scared of this question. Scared that I will provide wrong answers. Grateful that I get another crack at understanding this level of faith through my son’s eyes.

5/10/09

Mother's Day

“When I was younger I was so full of expectations for myself, and was utterly unafraid to demand that those expectations be met. While I am still unabashed in my expectations of others and when it comes to responsibility and being a mother, myself as well, I find that I no longer expect myself to be happy, beautiful or excited about any of it. There was a time when I expected myself to not only succeed in everything I did to the highest extent, but to do it with style. Now I just try to get my teeth brushed every day.

When did the ideas of mother and beautiful become mutually exclusive in my mind? Why can’t I celebrate my happiness in being a mother on Mother’s Day instead of only that which I’ve sacrificed? Mother’s Day has almost turned into a day to glorify the martyrs of motherhood instead of a day to celebrate the being of mother.

I want to celebrate my ability to grow, carry and birth a new life. I want to celebrate my ability to soothe with song and breast in the middle of the night. I want to celebrate my ability to guide with strong voice and body. I want to celebrate the gift of my children and what they’ve given me.

I want to look in the mirror on Mother’s Day and think, celebrate yourself you beautiful mama. And then I want to believe it.”


I wrote this two years ago on Mother’s Day. And I spent today mostly on the couch watching movies and playing with the kids as they ambled in and out of the family room. They spent most of the day outside with their Dad working in the yard and riding bikes. And I’ve been thinking about this piece of writing from two years ago. Wondering how and if I’m different now.

I’ve been working on re-building the bridge between my own brand of beauty and my identity as a mother. It spent about 18 months in the planning stages, but was put on an accelerated construction plan and it’s almost done. The bolts are being tightened and the belief is coming into focus.

5/9/09

Mi CASA

I was a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for a little more than two years. I saw the ad for the volunteer position in the New Mexico small town newspaper where I was living at the time and immediately had mixed feelings. It came at a time when I was trying to decide if I wanted to go into the direct service or administrative field of social services. I knew that this would give me valuable training for direct service, but I also knew it would be extremely hard on me emotionally and most likely take an immense amount of time even if it was just a volunteer position.

But I jumped in with both feet and really just threw myself into it. Most CASA’s work on several cases over the course of a year. I had the same case for the entire time I was involved with the organization. It was a family of four children who was being raised by their grandparents. Their mother was a serious addict and every single child had a different father. The kids were taken away from their grandparents because they were found to be keeping these children in cages and keeping them so drugged that the oldest (he was 7 at the time) had started noticeably drooling in school. And it came out later that the grandfather had sexually molested the little girl and that he had severely beaten all four children.

I came onto the case about three days after the children had been removed from the home. And I stayed with them for more than two years. I celebrated birthdays. I worked with the treatment team to try to figure out new ways to work with the oldest when he started showing signs of developing a sociopathic nature due to the level of abuse he had endured. I became good friends with the foster family.

I still think about these children and wonder where they are today. I wonder if they ever found a family to adopt them. I wonder if they were able to find happiness. I wonder if those two years that I will never forget, made any difference to anyone except me.

5/8/09

Assignment to Violence

I just watched a story on the news where a school district close to here had a teacher who gave an assignment to students to conceptualize and illustrate an act of terror on the US. The teacher claims that the original assignment was lost in translation and takes full responsibility for not describing what he was actually after well enough. Imagine if you will, students bringing this assignment home and then trying to explain to their parents why they were drawing pictures of strange people with lots of guns and bombs aimed at the White House. The parents then went immediately to the district to complain and the district then came down on the teacher for giving an assignment that was in direct conflict with the district’s zero tolerance policy for violence. The Superintendent was interviewed on the news saying “Here we are giving these kids an assignment that could potentially get them expelled for doing the assignment.” The assignment was cancelled and any and all completed assignments were “destroyed.”

Now don’t get me wrong. If The Boy were to come home with this sort of assignment it would most definitely take me off guard and probably my gut, reflexive response would be one of anger as well. Anger that a teacher was asking my son to think up a new way to be violent and then figure out how to perpetrate that violence. That’s just really something for which I personally have zero tolerance.

But it makes me extremely curious to see what the initial, and mistranslated, concept for the assignment was. I want to know what the point of it was; what the teacher was trying to convey. Because I tend to want to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt. I tend to want to think that he was trying to broaden horizons and encourage critical thinking.

The news didn’t give any information on what the original intent was for the assignment of course. They just focused on the drama and scandal behind the whole thing. But it makes me wonder if we’ll ever be able to look at things like terrorism with rational and critical thought instead of just reflexive emotion.

5/7/09

Summer is on its Way

It’s the second week of May and I have a sun burn. How crazy is that?!? After almost a week of rain and/or snow depending on the random whimsy of the weather gods, the sun is shining and it’s bloody hot. I’ve been so happy to see the sun, that I’ve been unabashedly sitting in it. Yesterday on the deck while catching up with my mom and then watching The Boy’s last soccer game. Today when I met up with a couple of friends for a play date. We took the kids to the park to let them run off all the pent up energy and I sat and chatted with girlfriends. And it was lovely. But now here I am sitting on the couch and my back is very, very hot and the headache that I’ve had for the past four days is pounding with a newly revived and heat induced fervor and I am officially sunburned for the first time for 2009.

And even though I’ve actually enjoyed being slowly baked the past couple of days, I’m so not ready for this kind of heat every day. I’m not ready for air conditioning. I’m not ready to sit on the edge of my bed every morning staring blankly at my closet cursing summer clothes under my breath. I’m not ready to exist with a constant, and unattractive, sheen gleaming from every inch of exposed skin due to constant sweating. I’m not ready for summer!

This is a yearly thing for me. And it usually coexists with either my first sunburn or my first heat related migraine. This year it happens to follow on the heels of both. I love the surge of heat after the cold and rain and snow of winter and early spring. But after, say, oh two or three days? I’m totally over it. And I would willingly retreat back into rain and cold and snow. For, oh, say, two or three months. Then I’d take a couple of days of heat and then right back to the cold. Perfect.

But instead, summer is coming. We’ll put the pool back up soon. And I’ll buy this summer’s bottle of sunscreen.

5/6/09

Whiplash

I have been feeling really weird and out of it lately. And as I was trying to explain the whole thing to my mom this morning, something dawned on me. I think that mother guilt is almost easier to deal with than the simple not knowing when or if something will strike.

I’ve had several instances that should definitely be nominated for the “Worst Mother of the Year” award. Like when me opening The Boy’s door to his room caused his first tooth to be knocked out. Or when I let The Girl swallow a quarter last year which then got stuck in her esophagus and had to be surgically removed. Or when I let The Boy fall down an entire flight of stairs when he was just starting to crawl.

But this whole seizure thing with The Girl came out of nowhere and I didn’t do anything wrong, nor should I have done anything different. So there really is not any guilt surrounding it for me. At least when there’s guilt then I can learn from my fuck up and do something different in the future. With this, I just have to wait and see. She may have another seizure tomorrow or she may never have another one again.

And this not knowing; this inability to change anything in my mothering to prevent this, in addition to the suddenness of it all has caused some fairly severe whiplash. I was plugging along really well. Applying for jobs, kicking ass on the pro bono projects I had taken on, starting to build on the late night idea for a pretty cool foundation, remembering all the stuff I needed to do for both kids’ schools. All the everyday sort of stuff as well as the ongoing work needed for this journey was coming along pretty well. I was focused and alert and completely in the moment. It was good.

Now? Now I’m all achy and weirded out and fuzzy. And I feel like I’m floundering trying to find my bearings again. It is a very strange feeling to know that you did everything right and still ended up smacking into that brick wall going 80 mph.

5/5/09

Eavesdropping

“I’m all about babysitters these days.”
“Well that’s because you’ll have another one soon, demanding all of your attention and demanding boob access.”
“Not these boobs. Bottles only thank you.”

This was a conversation between two other mothers on our way out of preschool. As you can guess, one of them is very pregnant and due at the end of the month. They are both wonderfully sweet women. But I gotta tell you, this comment really took me off guard. And since it’s occupying most of my brain right now, I thought I’d write about it to try to get it out of my head so I can focus on other things. Like the migraine hangover I have. And everything that needs to be done.

I’m just completely flabbergasted. I guess I’m na├»ve enough to think that every woman would want to breastfeed their babies the moment they emerged from the womb. I have to say that before Elijah was born I sort of took it for granted that it would just be something that I’d be able to do with little to no problem. Until I read a breastfeeding book. And even though it was a really liberal, really fun book, it still scared the shit out of me. Because it broke my illusion and told me that nursing was work.

And it was work. But worth every minute of it. And I chose to let my children self-wean when they were ready. This meant that The Boy nursed until he was 22 months and The Girl nursed until she was 30 months. Now I can fully understand not every woman wanting to take on that sort of time commitment. I was lucky that I had the space and support to do it. But I simply CANNOT imagine choosing not to nurse at all. Not only is it totally confusing, but it makes me very, very sad.

Nursing my children was such a gift and such an avenue for soul level bonding for us. Not to say that it’s the only way to bond. But because I had the choice to nurse my children, I couldn’t imagine ever choosing a bottle over that opportunity.

5/4/09

Coin Toss

Ok so I wrote a bit the other day about some of the things that make me a good mom. Let’s flip the coin and expose the underbelly of my current guilt about the things that make me a bad mom. Won’t this be fun?

The biggest thing right now is how unabashedly I put my children in front of the TV. I essentially lost two weeks with the whole The Girl’s having a seizure and also has pneumonia thing. So I’m totally behind on everything. My husband flipped his housewife switch yesterday to get us caught up on laundry, but it’s probably not all that sanitary to walk around my house barefoot right now. And we have an upperclassman worthy science experiment going in our master bathroom. And I’ve totally slacked on the pro bono projects I’m working on for friends and have totally put the foundation idea down and backed away. So we come into the house, I turn on the TV, pick up my laptop and commence ignoring of the children.

The other thing is that they both love to ask me the same question over and over. And usually by the third time I’m yelling the answer. It makes me crazy that they can’t listen enough the first time.

I’ve been so wrapped up in my own mental to-do list what with school ending for both kids in a couple of weeks, The Girl’s 3rd birthday approaching rapidly and trying to arrange summer activities that their pleas to go outside in the moments of sunshine to play have been ignored. I put them off on something else so I can get back to what I was concentrating on.

They eat pieced together meals or too much fast food as of late because I find myself almost always forgetting to take something out of the freezer and/or lacking the inspiration to do actually cook. Ketchup and ranch dressing are official food groups in this house.

Mostly I just feel so totally strung out that I’m missing these days of my children’s lives. Everything just whizzes past and I have no energy to stop it. It’s a good thing we have a DVR.

5/3/09

Crazy Spring

Spring is such an up and down kind of time. We have 70 degree weather one day and then a string of rain and clouds. Gorgeous sunshine for a week and then a vicious snow storm out of the blue.

All of the erratic weather tends to do a real number on people’s moods. Mine included. I have a love/hate relationship with the weather generally. I love the sweet kiss of sunshine on my shoulders, but I hate being hot more than anything else in the world. I adore the way walking in the rain feels, but too much of it gives me serious cabin fever. I even sort of love the dastardly and abrupt spring snowstorms merely because they keep me guessing.

But I do have to admit that the crazy weather occasionally does a number on my mood. Less because the rain makes me depressed per say as that when it does rain and all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a movie, I have two children riddled with spring fever bouncing off the walls and whatever part of me they can wrap their hands around. So I find myself wishing for sunshine so I can kick us all outside.

I look forward to the bounty the summer holds (minus the heat). I love making a weekly tradition of going to the farmer’s market. I love going to the People’s Fair and The Renaissance Festival around my birthday. I love watching the children help my husband in the garden. I love having all the windows open at night so there is a fresh breeze that blows over my face while I’m falling asleep. I love planning meals around whatever happens to be in season and smelling gorgeous that week. I love watching the kids play in the sprinklers or the fountains. If it weren’t for the bloody heat, I’d want it to be summer all year long.

So I guess in a way that bearing through spring and its ups and downs is the price we pay for the splendor of summer and everything it offers. And it’s worth every up and every down. Except for the heat.

5/2/09

Sigh...

I have a ridiculously large crush on Hugh Jackman. I just adore everything about him. He’s just about one of the most charismatic actors ever. And he’s almost hurt your eyes gorgeous. To top it all off, he’s just over the top talented. He sings. He dances. He can play everything from Wolverine and Van Helsing to Curly and Leopold. Every single interview I’ve ever seen with him shows him to be just the most down to earth, kind and funny man. Seriously. It’s ridiculous the amount of twitterpation this guy stirs up in me.

My husband and I went to see his new movie, Wolverine today. The critics pretty much hated it across the board. Which means that they’ve hated his last two movies (they also raked Australia over the coals, which I loved because not only can Hugh Jackman do no wrong in my eyes, but neither can the director, Baz Luhrman), which is just not very nice. I always get worried when the reviews come back badly for a movie I really want to see. Which doesn’t really make any sense as I always go see the movies regardless of what the silly critics say about it.

Now granted, I’ve only been learning about comic books and the characters therein for a relatively limited time, so I don’t have the serious fan criteria that some do when a movie like this comes out. But I gotta say that I just loved it. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it was too damn short. But other than that, I thought it was awesome. The effects were great. The action scenes were gasp inducing. Most of the characters were really well developed and nicely played. Liev Schrieber as Sabertooth was just flat amazing. I wish they had given Ryan Reynolds more to do as I’ve loved him since he was Berg on Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place.

I had to come home and watch the first of the X-Men movies. So not only did I get a double dose of superheroes today, but also of Hugh Jackman. Now that’s a lovely way to spend a Saturday evening.

5/1/09

Warm Fuzzy Theft

Would you like to know the fastest way to drive a mother who is already having a crappy day straight over the edge? Be a checkout clerk at the grocery store she has been going to for the past 7 years and make her feel like a horrible mother for letting her kids have those stupid “Paid” stickers they keep at the register. And then if you’re really feeling cruel (and/or stupid depending on how you look at it) make the kids feel bad about it too.

My children have been taking those stickers ever since they started carrying them. I don’t even notice it anymore it’s been so long. They only take one per kid, so it’s just not a big deal. But today, this woman saw them each take one, came around the counter and snatched them out of my kids’ hands with a rueful look in my direction and said, “I’m sorry, but these are all I have left so could you please control your children?” Seriously. Seriously?!?!?

And I was so completely taken off guard that I didn’t take her to task for it. And I should have. I should have had her call her manager over and put into perspective for each of them that they were just stickers for fuck’s sake and how they go about treating their loyal customers. Not to mention how wrong it is to snatch things out of children’s hands.

Instead I walked out of the store with tears in my eyes. Because not two minutes before all of this a really nice woman had let me cut in front of her in line. Because she could see I was at my wit’s end and just needed someone to give me a break. So I was all full of warm fuzzies from her kindness and then this stupid bitch of a check out woman not only snatched stickers from my children, but snatched that warm fuzzy from me too.

So now? Now I’d really like to drive back there and give her a piece of my mind. But instead I’ll just bash her here. She was mean. And not pretty. And she had stinky breath.