Settling In

There are a handful of people I’ve met through life that I know will be with me for life. Friends that are truly kindred spirits. People that just get me in every possible way. And I’ve had periods with every single one of them where we didn’t talk very often, even lost touch for months or years. But when we re-connect it’s as if we had just talked yesterday. I’m so thoroughly grateful for these people whether I really have talked to them yesterday or not.

I got to have lunch with B today. I haven’t seen him since I was pregnant with The Boy. He’s lived in three states since I saw him last. He and his wife had a baby girl (who is gorgeous and looks just like him) not too long after we had The Boy. They’ve lived in four different houses. Life has been up and down with lots of change. But he looks exactly the same. And I just can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see him.

B and I became friends at a point in time in my life when I was in the middle of a huge paradigm shift. I was entirely fluid in my being and trying to figure out who and how to be. He was an extraordinary friend through that period and beyond. He has been one of my best friends for about 15 years. And probably will be for the rest of my life. I know that I can go to him and always expect nothing but honesty and kindness (even when those two don’t necessarily go hand in hand) and I know that I will always feel completely, utterly safe with him.

And he got to see me as a mom today, because the kids came with me to lunch. He was a bit taken aback to watch me walk into the restaurant with The Girl on my hip and hand in hand with The Boy. And I got to watch him help The Boy figure out a word puzzle on the kid’s menu.

It’s a lovely thing, to see each of us a bit more settled into our own skin.

7/30/09 - Freaking Out

***Sorry this is late - I'm blaming this one on Mojitos.***

So I got the interview schedule with my alma mater next week. I scoffed at first at the idea of a “schedule” for my interview as I thought I’d only be meeting with a handful of people. So I thought maybe a couple of hours at most, if they included a campus tour. I was really, really wrong. They have me scheduled back to back, starting at 8:30am straight through until 3pm. I am fairly sure I’m meeting with just about every single person in the non-faculty administration, including the president of the college. Yep. You guessed it. I’m totally freaking out.

Here’s why I’m freaking out. Because I have not been in this big of an interview for a job I wanted this badly in probably my whole life. Because I have been trying to break into higher education professionally for a while now and can’t quite seem to make the jump from nonprofit to higher ed. Because of this, the only experience I have in higher ed is when I was a student. And because I have been not working long enough that my confidence in my ability to tackle anything they could throw at me and prevail has dwindled. I’ve only had one client in the last year, almost completely by choice, so I feel like I’m rusty. And I desperately do not want them to see that.

So. I am giving myself through the weekend to just go ahead and freak out. Get it out of my system. And then I am going to throw myself into research and prep next week in the hopes that it will get me focused and centered enough to remember that I can do anything I set my mind to. Everyone else is already pretty sure I have this job in the bag; I just need to believe it myself. And if it’s meant to be, it will be.

I am really excited at the core of all of this freaking out. And that is definitely a good sign. That my well of confidence really is full, there under the surface. I just have to slough off this silly skin of fear and embrace it.


Teaching Love and Jack

Today was a jam packed day. I really thought I would just be driving to meet my mom to pick up the kids, have a picnic and drive home. But then I remembered that tonight was the meet and greet with The Boy’s teacher at his new school. So we barreled home through the rain and hail to have enough time to unload the car of luggage and toys and reload it with all of his school supplies and off we went. We met his teacher and she is wonderful. I talked to her about how he is a kinesthetic learner through and through and because of that, he has a hard time with words and reading. She took it all in stride and started brainstorming with me on the spot different ways to help him learn and different ways to adapt her teaching style to his learning style. I loved her immediately.

And my mom got adopted today. We met at a park to let the kids play while we had a picnic. I got there before they did and noticed a stray dog wandering around. I watched him for a while and then lost track of him when the kids arrived. As we were saying our goodbyes, this dog came and laid down right by my mom’s car. He very slyly crept up onto the floor board of the driver’s side of the car. Then sneakily made his way behind her and crawled up on the back seat and went to sleep. As if he had always been there. As if he had been waiting his entire life for her to pull into the parking lot and pick him up. He was utterly and completely at home. My mom shrugged, patted his head, smiled in defeat and drove away. She has named him Jack. I’m going to call him Jumping Jack Flash because he popped their front gate like a friggin’ gazelle when she took him home. She’s in love with him already.

And I have more news to share about my impending interview. I am totally freaking out. Which is fine. I will get over it soon. And I’ll be back tomorrow.


Wily Universe Renewal

The call came today. The one that I’ve been hoping for, but didn’t really expect to receive. My alma mater called today. Even as the HR Director was saying hello and asking how I was, I fully expected her to say that they had chosen who to interview and I wasn’t one of them. And then she said the exact opposite of that and said they wanted to interview me next week. Next week?!? Normally that would be more than enough time to figure out childcare and preparations. But this interview is in Nebraska. And The Boy starts school on Monday. A school whose handbook clearly states that parents should not take their children out of class unless absolutely necessary.

So as I could feel the adrenaline starting to pulse with the anticipation of having this interview in a week. I could also feel the panic start to set in as I was quickly trying to figure out how to make all of this happen. I asked if I could call her back so I could make arrangements, called my husband to see if he could get the time off, which he couldn’t. Called my mom not really expecting her to be able to help much except to brainstorm with me. Sent emails to all of my friends who still live in the area around my college to see if they had any ideas. And waited for inspiration to strike, or maybe the fingers of the universe to reach down and work their wily ways and just make it all work out.

And you know what? Those fingers got right to work. My mom called me back to ask what day the interview was and then to tell me that she’d be here the day before I had to leave to drive back there and would stay through the weekend to help with the kids. Just like that, it all worked out. It’s moments like that that renew my faith. Moments like that and the fact that my dear friend R had her sweet baby boy today, on her birthday.

Moments like that, healthy babies and the fact that my mom is a rock star.



So here’s the downside to getting so invested in silly TV shows. You spend entire afternoons allowing yourself to get completely sucked into some show concocted by someone much funnier/wittier/smarter and a much better writer than I could ever be. I spend all of this time getting to know these characters within the context of the world that has been created. Speculating on who is the bad guy and who is the good guy. And then out of the blue, some mealy-mouthed punk walks up behind Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood and shoots him right in the head. One of the best gunslingers in the history of the Wild West gets gunned down by an idiot out of the blue for no good reason. And I sit on the couch waiting for it to be some sort of cowboy stunt to get this prick out of Wild Bill’s way as the realization dawns that there is so no such thing in this time period. And then I’m yelling at the TV on the verge of tears because one of my most favorite characters is now gone forever. And it’s only the fourth flipping episode!

I’m a reasonably intelligent woman who has a well documented my love of brain candy TV, but seriously. I was screaming at the TV begging it to not be true. Hoping that Montana (Bullock) finds this dipshit and guns him down in the street. And yes, I’m aware that if you don’t watch Deadwood, that you have no idea what I’m ranting on about this time. But bear with me. Because tomorrow is my last day of staycation and then I promise that I will plug the holes in my Swiss cheese brain with things like getting The Boy ready to start first grade and getting back to the pro bono projects I started and grocery shopping and coming up with a plan to save us from financial ruin.

But for today and tomorrow, the only soapbox I want, the only item on my to-do list, is to be simultaneously enraged and saddened by the sudden death of this character on this show that I’ve only just discovered and now adore.


TV Daydreams

We have discovered a whole new world of TV addiction I’m afraid to say. We have given in (during this staycation I’ve elicited the complicity of my husband to this new obsession) to watching TV shows on DVD. It’s something I didn’t really ever understand the appeal of until I got the entire series of Firefly on DVD for Christmas. There is something extremely appealing about being able to put on a show that you know will only last about 50 minutes as background noise or to pass the time and know for certain that there will be zero damn commercials. It’s a wonderful invention.

So we’ve used the last week to start watching shows that always intrigued me but, because we never got HBO or Showtime, passed me by (much to the dismay of my inner pop culture freak). Shows like Weeds, Dexter, The Wire and Deadwood. And now we are completely and irrevocably sucked in to these shows. I’m glad that two of them are finished in a way because I know that this new found obsession is finite in two of four cases. Which is a very good thing since absolutely none of them are in any way child friendly. They are crass and foul-mouthed and hilarious and crude and violent and brilliant and witty.

Finding myself laughing at a suburban mom drug dealer in WAY over her head, or a serial killer with a moral code is a bit on the unsettling side at first, I’ll give you that. But that quickly moves over for the pure joy in watching something brilliant, even when it does make you uncomfortable or gives you goose bumps. And there will always be something flat compelling about watching someone just be really, really bad. Whether that is in the Wild West or the streets of Baltimore. In these four shows alone, you can see just about the whole spectrum of human nature and failure, fear and fortuned. It’s fascinating.

Because at the end of the day, I am a suburban mom making it through the day loving my family to the best of my ability. I think it’s ok to borrow someone else’s daydreams occasionally.

7/25/09 - Teachers to Remember

***Sorry this is so late...my brain is swiss cheese and I'm on staycation.***

When I think back over the number of teachers I have had over the past years, there are several that stand out. Mrs. C in elementary school for not letting me quit and resign myself to being stupid when it came to math. Mr. T and Mrs. G in high school for encouraging my creativity and inherent rebel nature without compromising my intelligence. Drs. W, R and McP in college who all played a heavy hand in taking me from high school drop out to passionate over achiever with a mission. I will remember these teachers for the rest of my life.

And there is one more that I will also always remember. My first grade teacher, Mrs. H. When I stepped into her classroom I was bright, excited, creative and vibrant with my want and willingness to learn. I was pretty much a typical precocious six year old girl who taught herself how to read at the age of 4 because she got tired of not being able to read what was going on around her and who started writing stories not long after. And I was ambidextrous. I loved that I could do everything with both hands. Especially write. More from a place of convenience than anything else. It was just really nice to be able to write with whatever hand happened to find the pencil first.

Mrs. H answered that little piece of convenience by rapping my knuckles with a ruler every time I wrote with my left hand and a stern clucking. Whenever I worked ahead on any given assignment, she answered my want to learn more by humiliating me in front of my classmates. When I would beg to go to the nurse on the verge of tears with a migraine she would refer to me as a crybaby in front of the whole class. She was, in essence, a bitch in the first order armed with a classroom from which to rule.

The Boy starts first grade in a week. And I am equally excited and terrified for him. I am keeping my fingers crossed for him to find the teacher who encourages his journey instead of de-railing it.


Lighter if Not Better

Everything’s going to get lighter, even if it doesn’t get better…

That is what I am hoping for more than anything right now. I don’t foresee it getting any better for a while yet, but if it could just get a little lighter, I think I’d have a fighting chance of getting through it all with some grace.

The last time I felt this way was right after college. I had just spent 4 years working my ass off to get a triple major done in the normal 4 year time span and was getting ready to start another 6 years towards a PhD. I was daunted and burnt out and exhausted. Now I’ve been working diligently for the past almost 6 years to raise my amazing son and 3 years raising my gorgeous daughter and through one reason or another, I’ve spent the last 6 months afraid for them. And fear takes so much energy. Energy that I couldn’t spend on work and thus we are in the financial situation we are in currently. Energy that I couldn’t spend on recharging myself and my passion. Fear for your children is an all consuming thing that takes every ounce of energy you have.

Probably a mother more enlightened than myself would have given up the fear a long time ago and came to the realization that regardless of whether they are on the playground or in the hospital, they are individual beings that each have their own karma to live and work through and even though I can stand by them to guide them, they will have to walk their own paths. The sickness and pain over the last several months are part of that path and all I can do love them through it. The fear does no one any good.

So here I am. Feeling a bit dramatic, but trying not to show it. Struggling through the daily grind while being grateful for every “normal” day. Resenting the non-change of every moment while relishing the inherent gifts. No wonder I’m burnt out. No wonder I’m so tired. It’s like living a dual life. And even though I’m a Gemini, I’m not that good.


Babble, Babble, Babble

I don’t know what to write about today. My staycation is half over and I haven’t really done anything of use the entire time. I’ve been watching a lot of movies. My husband and I have been totally obsessed with the second season of Dexter and equally obsessed with the first season of Weeds. Now we are going to have to wait for Netflix to bring the next disks to us. I hate waiting. But I’m pretty sure I’ll get over it.

If you can’t tell already, this is just going to be a stream of consciousness post. Because I seriously just don’t have anything else for you today. I’ve turned my brain off while the kids are gone. I’m not really talking to anyone unless I have to. Since the kids have been gone, I’ve gone to Target and that is it. Normally this type of behavior is me hiding. Not wanting to deal with the world. But this time it is purely because I want the quiet. I want to not have to take care of anyone. I want to just hang out with zero expectations or responsibilities. I just want to be.

I have been in such constant emergency mode that I just needed some downtime. Serious, serious down time. And so that is what I’m doing. And I am being totally unapologetic about it. There is a huge to-do list that I probably should be working on. There are bills to pay. There is a garage sale to get organized so that we can get the sucker done, make some money and finally clean out our garage a bit. There is laundry and a very dirty house that are practically begging to be cleaned. There are just so many things that I have been putting off and shoving to the side that I should be doing. And I just flat refuse to do any of them. It sort of feels like I’m throwing a silent little temper tantrum. Quietly giving the finger to my sundry of responsibilities.

I don’t know. I’m totally just writing whatever comes out my fingers. Won’t you all be thrilled when I turn my brain back on?



I started my day by asking for people to send me quotes about life on my Facebook page and here are some of what I got:

“You never get away, you just get somewhere else.” - Unknown

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an unchartered land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." - Helen Keller

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than to be crowded on a velvet cushion.” – Thoreau

“I'd rather spend my time looking at the sky than listening to Whitney Houston." - Robert Smith

"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are.” - Unknown

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” - Maya Angelou

“We can't all be saints.” - John Dillinger

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

“…real life sucks losers dry. If you want to fuck with the eagles, you have to learn how to fly.”– Winona Ryder in Heathers

That’s a pretty good representation of how I feel about life in general actually now that I link them all together like that. Life takes courage, hope, a tremendous sense of humor, a willingness to daydream, a bit of tragedy and cynicism, topped off by a sweet dollop of pop culture wit. Yep. That just about sums up my world view.

And I think one thing I’m discovering on my staycation is that I’ve lost touch with some of these things a bit. The daily grind has just about ground my sense of humor to dust while the constant sense of emergency has brought my hope and daydreams to their knees. I’ve pretty much just been in survival mode. It’s hard to keep perspective in the midst of that.

But through the quiet and calm these past couple of days I actually caught myself thinking that one way or the other, everything will work out. It always does, why should now be any exception? I always am exactly where I should be.



The Boy made it through the night with no complications which is a huge relief as the docs said that the first 24 hours post-concussion were the sketchiest. So with the promise that he wouldn’t be doing anything to endanger his general brain health, we got him and The Girl packed for the annual end of summer sojourn to my parents’ house for the week.

Off to Alamosa I went yesterday to meet my mom for the kid hand-off. And even though I really, really need the week of peace and quiet and aloneness, it was hard for me to let them go. Three of the most important people in my life all in the same car outside of my line of sight, driving away from me. That was hard. But they got home ok of course and are letting the fun commence by going swimming today in an effort to combat the relentless heat.

And my children will have a grand time this week with their Nana and Papa just like they always do and I will have a nice quiet week. Not quite a vacation, but it will have to do for now. And my hopes are high that perhaps the stars will align and I’ll get a call for an interview or two this week. Something that will allow me to move forward even just the tiniest of steps.

I will watch sappy movies and let any excess tears that may exist out of my system. I’ll read. I will sit in my jammies all day if I want. I’ll clean and catch up with some friends. Hopefully I will get some good news that J had the baby and both new mama and babe are happy and healthy. I’ll construct my days however they happen to fit together and let the chips fall where they may.

By the end of the week hopefully I will have replaced the crabbiness with some renewed joy. Replaced the constant state of alert with some peace. Replaced the worn down fatigue with rejuvenation. Or at the very least, replaced the thick coating of dust on my entertainment center with a newly clean and shiny surface.

7/20/09 - 5 year old Brain Scramble

***Sorry this is late, once again. Life keeps making me fall behind.***

I think The Boy assumed that I was getting bored what with my mom going home and no longer in my charge. What with The Girl being healthy. What with his infection under control and my strep being banished back to the rock under which it originated.

So in his boundless kindness, he decided to spice things up a bit by jumping off of a 6 foot slide and landing on his head yesterday. A very sweet co-worker of my husband’s offered to watch the kids for us so we could have a lunch and movie date, so I didn’t actually see it happen. When we picked him up he had a pretty big lump on his head, but he was asleep before I was out of the parking lot. When he awoke however, he was screaming and vomiting. So I called the doctor immediately and told them what was going on and only started to get worried when they started talking about calling 911. I told them that after our last experience that it would take me less time to get him to the ER myself than it would by calling an ambulance. So into the car we went. The Boy was completely white and out of it. And I was walking that recently well worn line between focus and hysteria.

We got to the hospital where The Boy promptly threw up in the waiting room at which point they hustled back to a room where we waited for someone to take him to get a CT scan. And then we waited and waited and waited for the results.

The good thing was that the more time went by the more he returned to himself; the more back into focus his little being came. The CT results came back normal, which was a huge relief. The diagnosis? A concussion. The treatment? Rest and don’t let him scramble his brain again for at least 6 months.

And me? I find myself with nothing else to do but laugh. I mean seriously, at this point what the hell else am I going to do? So I am laughing and breathing and wishing desperately for a vacation.


The Half Blood Prince

I finally got to see Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince today. I was so excited to see it. The past several movies have been so good that I had every reason to believe that this one would be as well.

After having re-read the book just a couple of weeks ago, I had some questions about how they were going to fit it all in. This book more than all the others, except maybe the last one, has the most history and the pivotal pieces of information. There is a tremendous amount going on in this book. And I knew that it wouldn’t all make the cut, but I was worried about some of the choices they might or might not make.

And as it turns out, I had every reason to be worried.

It’s not a bad movie, don’t get me wrong. But I really disagree with a good many of those choices. Such as making up an entire scene which did nothing to move the plot forward (I think they just needed to make sure the special effects people were earning their keep) and then cutting out several other scenes that are vital to the story. I mean they cut out the hugely gigantic fight scene at the end. They cut out entire characters. They cut out huge pieces of history that are important to understanding the quest that Harry must now undertake.

The only thing I can hope for is that in organizing the last three movies (because they are splitting the last book into two movies you know) that they rearranged some of the plot points to make the movies flow better. I’m hoping against hope that that is their reasoning, because otherwise I’m not entirely sure how they got JK Rowling to sign off on this movie.

It just makes me sad I think, more than anything else. And disappointed. Except for a few scenes here and there, it just really didn’t feel like the actors had their hearts in this movie. And I guess that’s the crux of my response to this movie. In an effort to consolidate a gigantically huge story, they cut out its heart.

7/18/09 - Logic vs. Heart

***I'm so sorry that I forgot to post this last night!! What can I say, I done got all wrapped up in Weeds.***

Babies, babies everywhere! I am surrounded by babies! Makes the whole “let’s be rational about the decision to have another baby” thing awfully hard. There is absolutely no part of me that wants to be rational when it comes to deciding to have another baby. It completely goes against my nature. And I’m a pretty rational person, overall. I use logic all the time to make decisions, navigate life and exist. I’m a huge believer in logic and reason as a rule.

But when it comes to having babies, I consciously throw reason right out the window. I just don’t think it’s a decision to be made using a rational mind. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s not a whim or an impulse. I spend a lot of time thinking about what time of year I’d like the baby to be born, namely that after being in my third trimester during the hottest part of summer with The Boy, I will never again be pregnant when it’s hot. But also to make sure birthdays are spread out evenly; so that every kiddo has their own birthday and doesn’t have to share it with another holiday or another person’s birthday. I spend an incredibly large amount of time thinking about names; it’s my most favorite part, the choosing of a name. I plan and think and think and plan. But almost all of the planning has to do with after the baby arrives. The actual choice to get all knocked up in the first place? That is something that comes entirely from my heart.

Which would be why we’ve gotten pregnant at two of the worst possible times. With The Boy I had just lost my job and was trying to figure out which way was up. With The Girl I had just landed the job of my dreams and knew it would take an inordinate amount of time, which it did. I just spent all that time trying my best not to throw up all over my board of directors.

Reason dictates that this would be the worst time of all to get pregnant. But man is my heart screaming for it to happen.


Baby Hankering

“A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.” – Groucho Marx

I found this quote today as I was trying to find some sort of inspiration to kick start my writing. And found that it actually got me thinking. That Groucho Marx man, he was a philosopher in sheep’s clothing he was.

When I was four years old, I asked my parents for a big brother for Christmas. It was at the top of my list and really, really important to me. I didn’t get it, of course. There are some things even Santa Claus can’t do. But I did, incidentally, get EVERYTHING else on my wish list that year. I spent much of my childhood hoping for siblings. Even though I knew they would never come. Even though I had surrogate siblings in the form of Brother J and Across the Alley T. My entire childhood is populated with these two friends; they truly were like siblings. Bickering and fighting, coming up with imaginary friends and games, embarking on backyard adventures to rival all. Such sweet memories. But at the end of the day, I came home alone.

So I always knew when it was time for me to become a mother myself, that I would definitely have more than one. And we do. And they are getting so big! The Boy asks me regularly for a little brother, which of course prompts The Girl to ask for a little sister. Which just makes my womb hurt. Because I want more. I have always wanted a big, unruly, boisterous family. Probably exactly because I am a resistant only child. And I have several friends who are having their first babies (J is due today!). One who is going to have their third. And being surrounded by all of this birth and anticipation just makes my womb hurt more.

These critters are expensive however. And getting pregnant while I am trying to go back to work is just about the worst timing ever. And The Girl is finally potty trained, which means no diapers for the first time in almost 6 years.

But man do I want another baby.


School Zone Approaching

After waiting for close to six months, I finally got the call a couple of days ago that The Boy got into the school we were hoping for. I went to tour the school with the kids at the beginning of the year and it was one of those things where it just clicks. The building isn’t gorgeous. The classrooms aren’t perfect. And the neighborhood where it is located is not anywhere I would choose to live. But the school counselor knows every single student’s name and something important about their lives. All of the teachers invited us into their classrooms, pausing their lesson for a moment to introduce themselves. The teacher to student ratio is pretty low given what he had last year in kindergarten. They have gym, art, music and Spanish classes every single day. There is a section in the student handbook that specifically asks parents to not schedule appointments or any other out of school time during the daily allotted literacy time. Kids are evaluated every quarter and encouraged to learn where they are; constantly pushing their limits while respecting their current level of knowledge.

It was just one of those things that clicks. I knew I had found the right place for The Boy to learn and continue to look forward to going to school every day.

The only drawback is that to make up for all of the daily extra classes in addition to the core academic curriculum, they start school earlier than other districts. Like in two weeks early. Normally this would have me jumping for joy, but he just finished summer school. So that means he only really gets two weeks of summer vacation before he is thrust into school for real. This is a school that does not mess around and they will be expecting his best every day.

I know he can do it. It just means that I have to cram a whole summer’s worth of fun into the next two weeks. Which is hopefully going to include some time down at Nana and Papa’s house; I need a summer vacation too after all.

We have to play hard so he can work hard.


Dare to Dream of Beaches

I spent entirely too long this afternoon doing what my mom calls dream building. I call it torturing myself by wishing for flights of fantasy that I don’t get to have. As usual, this revolved around travel. I’ve been hearing how even though people can’t really afford it right now, it’s the best time to travel because prices are so cheap. Resorts are slashing prices in the hopes that people will come whether they can afford it or not. So as I was thinking back 8 years to our lovely honeymoon on the beach of the Riviera Maya, I thought why not see if the travel agency that we booked the trip through has a website. And it does. Of course.

So I spent the afternoon looking through all of their destinations, looking at hotels and all inclusive travel packages. I found one perfect for a family trip in St. Croix. The hotel has an entire pool devoted to kids including its own water park. It has a kid’s center where you can sign up your offspring for daily activities so that you and your significant other can enjoy some kid free time snorkeling or exploring or just laying on the beach while people bring you the tasty beverage of your choice. It sounded like heaven. I even found one deal where my husband and I could steal away for a long weekend next week for much less than $1000 total, all inclusive. It was so tempting I had to make myself get up and walk away from the computer.

I could just really use a good surprise right about now. Something out of the blue, planned just because it would make me happy. Or totally unplanned and just serendipity because the universe finally has decided to take some pity on me and give me a vacation instead of a weekend spent on the couch with strep. Yes the strep weekend was sans children, thanks to my husband, but you know what I mean.

I could use a sojourn into footloose and fancy free for a few days. Renew my hope in daily life. Rejuvenate my world view. And partake in some damn tasty beverages.


Dreaming Stories

I woke up with a dream lingering in my mind. It was equal parts strange and beautiful and I’ve been trying to hang on to it all day and somewhat unsuccessfully. As the colors started to define themselves in my memory and the characters started to reveal their voices to me, I thought wow, this might be the start of a lovely story. But then the day began, with the whining and the to do list and the everything else and as the day has worn on, the dream has started to fade. I’ve forgotten most of the characters now and the circumstances; mostly it’s the colors that have stuck with me at this point.

And the colors were so extraordinarily vivid for a dream like this. There were the most gorgeous shades of orange; bright golden, shimmering hues of orange that billowed in the air like clouds. And every possible shade of brown I could have ever imagined. We were in the desert and it was lovely. I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen a landscape like that before. It was a little like when I wrote about seeing southwestern Colorado for the first time; really seeing all the variance in color and texture where before I had only seen scraggly bushes and dirt. It was like for every minute I looked at the barren rock and sand and dirt, new colors emerged, new levels of texture and dimension. And interwoven into everything were the vast oranges.

It really was beautiful.

And there were camels. I think. And we were on an adventure of some kind. I can’t remember much more than that anymore though. The whos and the whys have been swallowed up by the farmer’s market and playing in the fountain and cooking dinner.

It’s the first time in a very, very long time that I’ve woken from a dream and thought about writing it out. Letting the dream guide my writing into something that probably would not have occurred to me awake. So I am a little sad that I lost it, but at least the colors stayed with me, it’s just about worth losing the rest just for the colors.



After watching Public Enemies the other day, I had a thought cross my mind that I would love to write other people’s memoirs. I would love to sit down with them and ask them to tell me the story of their life. Ask for permission to read old letters, talk to loved ones, record their vivid memories so that people after them can learn and smile and relive their greatest moments. I would love the research of it. I would love the depth of it. I would love the opportunity to get to know someone that intimately, to trust and be trusted.

Plus it would save me from having to prattle on about me or some misconceived character I’ve come up with. I’d much rather write about someone else.

So, when an old friend asked me to take a crack at his bio for a new retail website he’s launching in a couple of weeks, I jumped at the chance even though I was out of my mind with strep and wasn’t at all sure that I’d be able to meet his deadline. I thought at the very least he’d forgive me and find someone else if I ended up flaking out on him. But the opportunity to try this was something I just couldn’t pass up.

I’ve been working on it off and on all day and I gotta say that it’s a good deal harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it would easier with a stranger, someone I don’t have personal history with. Because I’m having an awfully hard time writing about him and his history without putting him into my own personal context. We’ve known each other a long time, so it’s hard for me to see him objectively. And that’s what a bio is; an objective look at a person’s history and what brought them to this particular point in their lives.

I’ll keep at it. Typing and erasing, typing and erasing. And I hope that I’ll figure out how to use our history and context to enrich the bio. But I think I’ll go with a stranger next time. Someone to get to know as we go along.



“What do you reckon that makes us?”
“Big damn heroes sir.”
“Ain’t we just?” – Zoe and Mal, Firefly

So I’ve spent all weekend lying on the couch. Watching movies. Willing myself to get better.

And it’s worked. I can now swallow once again without wanting to cry, I can stand up without wincing and my body temperature is almost back to normal. Thank all that is holy for antibiotics and for a husband who was willing to drive my mom to meet my dad and take care of the kids all weekend. Who was willing to brave Target on a weekend for me.

Ok, enough chit chat. What I really want to babble on about for another 250 or so words is a little show called Firefly. This is a show that I quite simply adore and could watch over and over again. Stupid FOX cancelled this most excellent program after one short season, but I, of course, have the entire series on DVD. So I spent most of yesterday watching movies and all day today watching Firefly. And it really is Joss Whedon at his best in my opinion. He’s not taking himself too seriously. He’s not trying too hard to prove anything. He’s just writing characters that he loves and telling stories that make you laugh and root for the good guys who steal stuff.

Well. And there’s Nathan Fillion. Who can do no wrong in my eyes. Ever. Captain Mal Reynolds is without a doubt my most favorite character because at the end of the day he is a just a big old loyal teddy bear who you just don’t want to fuck with. And how can you not love that?

And most of the time the writing is just whip smart, crazy witty and stays in my head for days. I have to consciously remind myself not to say “Shiny!” all the time. And it makes me want to get a Chinese dictionary and slow down those parts so I can translate them. Even though I know they’re only the cuss parts, I still want to know.

It is just a gorgeously written flight of fancy that does a body good.


Life After Sickness

My husband and children packed my mom into our car today in preparation to take her halfway home where my dad would meet them and take her the rest of the way. It was supposed to be me and the kids taking her. But strep decided to enter my world and rearrange the furniture to its liking. So instead of driving, I’m laying on the couch weighing the pros and cons of taming my growling stomach versus having to swallow anything.

We have had our fair share of trauma this year. And it’s only July! But here is the funny thing about traumatic events. Life just keeps moving forward. It doesn’t seem to notice if you are wrapped up in a bubble of fear or danger or anything. It just keeps moving forward. Doggedly putting one foot in front of the other, relentlessly pushing everything forward. So I find myself with not only a sense of whiplash, again, but also just like I am actually living two separate lives.

There is the part of me that is constantly thinking about ways to help a friend of mine who is raising funds for her daughter’s healthcare, and the part of me that is thinking of ways to fast track another’s friends application for nonprofit status, and the part of me that is searching for a job, and the part of me that is trying to keep up with all of my friends and their lives. But there is also the part of me that almost lost my mom three short weeks ago. And the part of me that has been lost to pain and sickness the last couple of days. And the part of me that was really worried about The Boy the past week or so.

And I just can’t quite figure out how to reconcile these two people. The “normal” functioning part of me that can see the world around me and my responsibilities and place in that world. And the part of me that is shaken to the core whose head is spinning faster than is humanly possible.

How do I bring the two together to function and process at the same time?

7/10/09 - Progress

Antibiotics: rock the Kasbah. Pestilence: die sucker die!!

The Boy’s nasty little puss pockets are drying up nicely. And after dragging myself to the doctor this morning and learning that I have Strep Throat and getting antibiotics as well, I feel as though I may someday soon join the land of the living. A couple of doses of said antibiotics have given me hope that tomorrow might be slightly brighter and less painful.

Mom is going home tomorrow. The kids and I were going to drive her back home and stay with her for about a week or so. Even though it would mean that The Boy would miss a week of summer school. I really wanted to make sure she got home and settled in with routine and docs and such. But it seems like I’m not the only accomplished caretaker in my mom’s life. The medical practice she works with has really taken the ball and run with it. They have her set up with a cardiologist already and have already laid down the law saying that she can’t come back to work until she has a permission letter from her cardiologist saying it is ok. I have her friends ready and willing to make sure she keeps taking her meds and that she’s not doing too much.

It has been almost three weeks since her heart attack. So she’s half way through the prescribed 6 week healing period. And other than the cough from the bronchitis that she just can’t kick, she seems to be doing really well. Her energy and stamina are returning and the traces of cavalier attitude that were making me so crazy before seem to have worn off as well. I think she’s starting to see this as an opportunity to really slow down and focus on what’s important.

So I feel good about letting her go home now (she’s laughing at the “letting” part as she reads this, but also knows how true it is). But I feel awful that I got so sick and couldn’t take her myself. Hopefully the three weeks she had with me will hold her until we come to visit next month.

7/9/09 - Spreading Pestilence

The pestilence is spreading. The Boy has some sort of nastiness spreading across his chin. And it has jumped from his chin to his elbow to boot. There are some strange crusty, puss filled lesions that have covered his chin and hurt so badly to touch that tears spring to his eyes if I come near them. This is one of those strange things about motherhood. I always kind of thought that once I became a mother that my aversion to all things that ooze and leak and spread would disappear. But not so much. This is really gross.

So I took him to the doc today to see what was up. Turns out he has a dermatological staph infection. Now to put this into the context of my brain, we had a dear family friend die from a MRSA infection in his jaw bone not too long ago. MRSA is essentially a staph infection on steroids. So for the doc to tell me my son had a staph infection on his face kind of freaked me out a bit. But she put him on a full body, megaton antibiotic to hopefully bring the fight to the infection. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that within a couple of days all will be well and these things on his face will dry out and disappear.

My own personal pestilence however is showing no fear in the face of the Vitamin C and other such weapons. In fact it appears to be laughing in my face as the vice has tightened around me and my throat now hurts so badly that I don’t want to eat or drink anything simply because it means I’ll have to swallow. A fever has kicked up to join the party as well so I’m going between shivering and sweating. And even though I’m sure the sweating adds a nice bit of sheen and color to my otherwise currently pale and pitiful face, it’s not all that attractive.

I may have to drag my silly ass to the doctor tomorrow if this doesn’t get better and but quick. Lying in a tortured lump on the couch simply won’t do for much longer.


7/8/09 - Caretaker Down!

***I crumpled into a sad little mass last night and could not even hold my laptop, so I'm sorry this is late, but better late than never right?***

I woke up this morning with what felt like a huge lump in my throat, and not in the verklempt can be reined in sort of way. In the it’s hard to swallow because it hurts and there is a foreign body lodged in my throat sort of way. It’s been coming and going throughout the day. And I figured I was probably getting sick, because you know, that would make sense for the caretaker to get sick at the absolute worst possible time right? Right. (A tight smile crossing my face while I rattle off a whole litany of cuss words in my head.) But I jumped right on the Echinacea, Vitamin C and garlic with the hopes to at least shorten the length of whatever pestilence had found me once again. Yes. I’m being dramatic. It’s freaking July; there should be NO sickness in my house!

The good thing is that my alma mater called me back today and did a phone interview right there and then. Which was unexpected. But in a good way. I hate waiting. I’m pretty sure I’ve fairly documented my overall lack of patience for you at least a dozen or more times at this point. We talked for about 15 minutes or so, she only had about 3 questions for me, but it was a good 15 minutes and she made it sound like she was going to recommend moving me into the face-to-face interviews portion of the process. As if she was reading my mind, she said “If you don’t hear from us for 2-3 weeks, PLEASE do not freak out, we WILL be in touch!” That was a nice piece of pacification that I’ll hold onto for dear life as the time stretches out and our checking account dwindles.

I’m just babbling away today. I think because as the day wears on, I’m starting to feel as though someone has locked me into a giant vice and is slowly tightening away on my entire body. I would say it felt as though I was hit by a truck, but that implies that the incident was over and it’s clearly not. I’m going to bed now.


Jobs and Jobs

So I heard on the job. The big job that I interviewed for more than a month ago now and wanted so badly I was already decorating my office? Yeah, that one. I got an email first thing this morning saying that “although I was extraordinarily qualified, they had chosen a candidate that more closely matched the qualifications.” Yes. I am bitter. And you would be too! I have 9 solid years in my field, have great references and have an incredible success record given the plethora of organizations (each with a fantastically ambitious mission statement) with which I’ve worked. I know. I know! It’s a tough job market and employers are able to cherry pick on whatever little tiny elements of qualification or requirement they want. I get that. I guess I just thought I’d make it at least to the interview stage more than I have. Although, granted, if I had made it to the interview stage and then still not gotten a job by now I’m pretty sure I’d be taking it much more personally.

Essentially? I’m whining.

But I also got a call from my alma mater today. I missed the call of course because they chose to call my cell for some reason and my cell lives in my car and we went almost no where today, so I never heard the sucker ring. When I did get it, my heart took off racing to who knows where and my head started swimming with “should I call them back now even though I know they’ve all gone home for the day?” “Are they calling because I screwed something else up in my application and they’re calling because they want verification that I actually went to their college?” I don’t know. But I did call them back and left a ridiculously nervous message on the voicemail and hopefully they’ll call me back tomorrow morning. And then hopefully? They will schedule a phone interview which I will breeze through sounding intelligent and competent. Then they will ask me to come there for an interview and they will woo me and give me the job on the spot.

A girl can hope right?


Antidotes to Stress

I can always tell when I am feeling overwhelmed and in need of mental space and down time.

I usually start with movies. Ultimate brain candy types of movies. Then move onto TV, again with the brain candy. These come first I think because they’re relatively easy to do with or without children; I can zone out just as easily to Star Wars, Over the Hedge, Ben 10 or The Secret Saturdays as I can with Transformers, The Matrix or American President.

When movies or TV don’t do the trick, I immediately throw myself into reading. I hardly ever search out something new; instead choosing to go back to well worn favorites that take me on some fantastical ride through imagination and wonder, and far, far away from anything even remotely resembling my daily life. And this level varies by degrees I think. When I just need some temporary diversion, something that speaks to me but is a quick and lovely read, I usually reach for Christopher Moore or Tom Robbins or David Sedaris. But lately, and this is how I know I’m just about at my stress max, I’ve been reaching for the more heavy hitters. Those books that exist entirely in a world of fantasy and fairytale. Completely other worlds created from the depths of someone much more creative than I. So I picked up Eclipse on Saturday morning. And Breaking Dawn on Sunday afternoon. Thinking that over a thousand pages of Edward Cullen would surely mollify the stress monster within. Give me a weekend off to cavort with vampires and romance in my head.

Not so much.

So I picked up Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince last night. Thinking, well it would be nice to read it again before the movie comes out next week. Knowing all along that I was just trying to extend my sojourn into a world of magic a wee bit longer.

If this doesn’t work I’m afraid I’ll have to pick up The Lord of the Rings again. Journeys into Middle Earth are usually reserved as a last resort sort of thing, but it may very well come to that.

There could be worse things.


Handle with Care

I’ve sort of always had this impossible image set for myself.

One of the perfect friend who always remembers everyone’s birthday, how they take their coffee, always has something perfect on hand to say to celebrate or soothe and can always be counted on to come through for every imaginable situation.

One of a perfect mother who never gets frustrated with her children, who always has fun activities planned to further their education and creativity, who above all else puts their needs and wants ahead of my own.

One of a perfect wife who always cooks scrumptious meals in perfect timing, who keeps a clean and organized house, who is always ready and willing to support my husband in whatever way he may need.

One of a perfect daughter who is always grateful for her parents teachings and sacrifices, one who is always available for their need or want and one who is always willing to return those sacrifices.

One of a perfect citizen who is always informed and prepared to act on my civic duty, one who contributes whatever wealth I may have to those who have none and one who is constantly aware of my personal responsibility to my fellow human beings.

And I think my biggest self doubt comes from the fact that I’m very few of these things. I yell at my kids daily. I haven’t vacuumed for two weeks. I can’t remember the last time I watched the news. I hardly ever say thank you to my parents outside of cheesy greeting cards for one holiday or another. The list could go on and on, and it does most days. I reel through countless ways in which I do not live up to these images I’ve set for myself.

But I suppose one of the things I’m trying to learn is how to reconcile my need for my own personal perfection with the restraints of every life. In short, I’m trying to learn how to give myself a pass. Hoping not to let myself totally off the hook to pick up a life of mediocrity, but instead to handle myself with as much care as I want to handle others.


Philosophical Love

There was a moment in college when I remember falling hopelessly in love with political philosophy. I took a class the end of my sophomore year that just really took me into the fold.

I grew up discussing politics with my dad over hot turkey sandwiches at Whitespot and pie at Village Inn. I was always very interested in knowing who my parents voted for (my dad would never tell me, my mom always would) as their answers invariably always helped form my own mental vote for what political race we were discussing. Political topics always seemed to get my blood boiling in a way that none other could and I never missed an opportunity to jump on a soap box for a political discussion without much care about the outcome. It was almost always about the discourse for me. The dialogue. The sharing of knowledge held dear and dearly defended. It wasn’t until my senior year in college that I got really invested in winning the debates into which I entered, and that only came from a place of ego. Of wanting, and needing, to be the best in whatever class in which I found myself.

After that first political philosophy class, I came home that summer spouting off Rousseau and de Tocqueville, Locke and Hobbes. As if I had finally uncovered the secrets to the universe all in their writings. As if I was surely the first person to have these inspired epiphanies. As if I had all the answers.

It was incredibly freeing to be that attached to other people’s beliefs. Even though it lasted a short time. Because even though so many of these writings felt kindred in their intention and certainly in their delivery, they were not mine. I could adopt them and riddle off quotes and commit all of their theories and words to memory, but that would no more make them mine than if I had attempted to assign my name to them.

The true gift that this new found love of political philosophy gave me was the permission to take their ideas and run. To be inspired to think for myself in the company of brilliant thoughts.


Public Enemies

Oh Johnny Depp, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, Jack Sparrow, Cry-Baby, Ed Wood, Sam, Roux, George Jung, Sir James Matthew Barrie and now, the magnificent, John Dillinger.

Mom and I went to see Public Enemies today and it was amazing. In a way I didn’t really expect, but amazing nonetheless. I really expected Johnny Depp and Christian Bale to fight for attention on screen, but either Melvin Purvis really was a spineless fool who did not in any way command attention and Christian Bale nailed that role so perfectly as to also not command any attention, or Christian Bale just wasn’t trying. But I hardly noticed him, which was a strange thing to realize halfway through the movie. After Batman, John Connor, Jamie Graham, Thomas Berger, Laurie, Patrick Bateman, Quinn Abercromby, Alfred Borden, and Dan Evans I’m so completely accustomed to focusing entirely on him that I forgot he was there. I don’t know enough about Purvis to know what he was like in real life. All I know is that he paled in comparison to Dillinger, but I think most everybody did.

And I have to give it to Billy Crudup for playing J. Edgar Hoover with such relish, but without going over the top.

The attention to detail was amazing. The costuming, all the different cars and guns, even the vernacular was spot on. It was so easy to just find myself tumbling down the 30’s gangster rabbit hole. The shoot outs were brutal and sharp and loud; no punches were pulled to save the audience their popcorn. The only thing that caught me as strange was that Dillinger wasn’t ever smoking. In a time where just about everyone smoked, it seemed odd that he didn’t. I’ll have to look that up to see if he smoked or not, although I’m sure that Johnny already did that research. Mostly I now want to know more about Dillinger.

The one piece of dialogue that has stuck with me throughout the day came not from Dillinger however, but from Carey Grant from the movie footage from Manhattan Melodrama – “Die as you have lived, all of a sudden.”


Movie Day

So I got all kinds of excited about the whole applying for a really great position with my alma mater thing. And then I get home today and check my email and see a message from the VP of Advancement asking me to resubmit my cover letter for the correct position.


I feel like such an ass.

I am usually so completely meticulous about things like that. I have never made a mistake like that before. And I am mortified that when I finally did make that sort of mistake, that it was for a job I really want and with my college for Christ sake.

I quickly fixed the cover letter and sent it right off to him. Sending a not so silent prayer to whoever was listening to please let them not hold this against me. Even though I know from very recent experience that employers are seriously cherry picking in this economy and any little, tiny thing will kick you out of the running; no matter how qualified you happen to be. So keep your fingers crossed for me on this one. I really need this. We really need this.

On a lighter note, we took the kids to see the new Ice Age movie today. And I was pretty sure I was going to hate it. Because let’s face it, even the first Ice Age wasn’t all that great and from the previews for the third one, it looked like they had given up on all attempts to be even remotely smart and funny and cut straight to the Three Stooges. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Three Stooges as much as the next guy, but I don’t really want to drop $50 (YES that is what it cost to take my kids, me, my husband and my mom to a movie) to watch them.

But I have to admit that it was sweet and silly and cute. It dove frequently into the shallow end of the funny pool, but overall it was a movie that I was glad I took my kids to. Dinosaurs, mammoth babies, Skratt and feeling like a real ass, great day all in all.


Crabby is as Crabby does

Crabby. Crabby, crabby, crabby. Ccccrrrraaaabbbbaaaayyy.

That is me today. I had a headache for most of yesterday which made the migraine turn by late afternoon. I went to close my eyes to try to steer clear of blindness and woke up almost 3 hours later. And I have just been out of sorts ever since. I didn’t sleep for anything last night and woke up soooo much later than I regularly do. So my discombobulation is just compounding on itself. Which is translating into mucho crabbiness.

Crabby because my mom cannot stop coughing (you know, because a heart attack wasn’t enough, a chest cold had to find her too). Crabby because it’s hot. Crabby because I can’t get a moment of quiet. Crabby because I’m tired of cooking. Crabby because I just can’t seem to pull it together enough to get us to a farmer’s market. Crabby because it’s the end/beginning of the month and I don’t quite know how to get all of our bills paid. Crabby because I can’t find a job and just don’t understand why. Crabby because The Boy keeps asking me the same questions over and over again. Crabby because The Girl is insisting on wearing winter clothes in the middle of summer and then complains about being hot. Crabby because all the dogs need baths. Crabby because I should just get over being crabby and can’t.

I sort of feel like the whole last week, that I have spent organizing and keeping track and monitoring with little trace of crabbiness or over reaction, has just come crashing down on my head. I feel like all the fatigue, sadness, fear and trauma all landed squarely on my chest all at once. But it’s not translating like any of those emotions. It’s just translating into me being uber-crabby. And I can see my mom and husband trying not to engage the crabbiness that is me right now. I can see them just taking deep breaths and moving away from my crabby bubble.

And maybe they have the right idea. Maybe I just need some quiet time to decompress. Maybe I just need to be left alone for a couple of hours.