Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's Tuesday and I'm Fragmented

I guess I'm just going to write my fragmented thoughts on Tuesday (when I remember.) (See, this will differ from writing my fragmented thoughts on, say, Monday because on Tuesday, it will be INTENTIONAL. Got that?) It's not alliterative (like Friday Fragments) but it seems to be sort of happening that way.

I am lazy.

It is summer.

I'm not going to push my fragments into the corner until Friday if they really want to come out on Tuesday. I might sprain something.

************

Okay, so there's a good chance that when the puppy has been chasing Scout around the yard and I let him in that he will drink a lot of water very quickly, rush over to see me and vomit on my shoe. Don't ask me how I know this. (But I've ordered new shoes.)

************

Three days of sunshine and counting. The gratitude I feel is almost indescribable. I never realized how much my mood and mental health depend on a regular dose of sunshine.

************

Thanks to my friend Sherry, who is a recent Austin ex-pat, I found a new blogger called the Homesick Texan. It's SUCH a good blog and so well-written and it's ALL ABOUT THE TEX-MEX, BABY! I don't mind linking and coding for this woman because she got Sherry all excited about making tortillas and Sherry has been bringing me some when she comes over. I rarely ever get to actually eat one (my kids are like a pack of jackals when they see the tortillas coming) but Sherry says she got the recipe from the Homesick Texan so I plan to try to make my own. Feel free to have a moment of reverence for the almighty tortilla.

************

Every time I want to complain about the ginormous move from Texas to New York and how ha-a-aaard it was, I think about Sherry and I shut the heck up. Yes, Sherry, too, had to sell her house while her husband was commuting to New York. Sherry had a child to worry about (and said child is a teenager and thus not quite as adaptive as the younger set) and once her house sold, she had to move to an apartment while her daughter finished the school year.

And she did it while battling breast cancer. Successfully.

She humbles me.

I knitted her some socks (my universal response to life-threatening situations) and when I give them to her, I'll make her model them for the blog. They are beautiful, for a beautiful, and strong as all heck, person.

************

While my friend Kathy and I were in in Niagara Falls, we took the kids to a water park. An indoor water park, the likes of which I've never seen. I actually put on a swimming suit and rode the tubes down two of the rides but then I was kind of sidelined because I had to walk up the equivalent of five flights of stairs barefoot and my FULF was not very happy. So I sat there, people watching (the place was like a sauna and there was no way to knit) and I noticed something.

The men, regardless of their size, shape, level of fitness or BACK HAIR (ewww), were all just happy to be splashing about. The WOMEN, on the other hand, seemed to fall into two groups: Those Who Were Toned or relatively toned and were wearing two piece bathing suits and standing around very self consciously, sucking in and adjusting their bathing suit bottoms, and Women Who Had Given Up. The latter group was dressed in one-piece bathing suits (usually black) and were chasing around packs of kids, regardless of their size or fitness. But they could be heard to complain about how fat they were and how embarrassed they were to be out in bathing suits. This group, however, was not sucking in.

[Obviously, these are gross stereotypes. I, for example, look like I'm in the Women Who Have Given Up category (Jane was looking for me at one point and she said, "Do you have any idea how many moms there are here who are wearing black swimsuits?") but I was still self conscious and sucking in.]

(Are you guys noting how not only are my digressions becoming increasingly parenthetical but now I'm even using different forms of brackets to denote different levels of random thought?) (Because I rule, that's why.) (Or maybe because I have way too much time on my hands.)

Anyway, it occurred to me how sad it was that we women can't ever just be happy in our bodies. An ENTIRE GENDER feels like crap about itself physically. Even the women who have earned the right to feel great about themselves through exercise and diet aren't happy --I know this because when I think of how I thought I was soooo unattractive when I weighed 125 pounds of solid muscle and how miserable I was, it makes me want to throttle me.

Surely there is something we can do so that our daughters don't inherit this total schizophrenic perfectionistic mindset? I'll be darned if I know what, though.

************

Today, I saw a pink Mary Kay Cadillac with an Obama sticker on it. It was a totally euphoric experience in cognitive dissonance.

************

Why, YES, it is possible to make yourself incredibly sore just from decluttering. What?

No, seriously, I am so sore it would make you laugh. I think it's from doing what are basically squats from floor to standing for two straight days. Why, hello there, hamstring muscles! But y'all, look at the incredible job the girls' did on their rooms. I think it would have helped if I had "before" pictures but given the amount of stairs I traversed in order to take boxes of clutter and paper and recycling out of their rooms, going back down for the camera had to wait until today!


Above is Jane's room. Jane (8) gets extra points for NOT filling any boxes to take to the basement. I don't know if you all have noticed but she's fairly DECISIVE about things and she could say "Stay" or "Go" and not think about it again.

My lovely Ana, 11, who has the Clutter Gene, filled about six boxes of stuff she wasn't QUITE ready to part with completely and we stashed them in the basement. Still, it's a huge effort and I am so proud of her--I know that it's not easy. Here's her room:




The girls have inspired me to continue my own decluttering efforts. Just seeing how much happier they are in their rooms when things are neat and orderly makes me want to get my whole house in that state. If I keep this up, though, I'm just warning you that there is no way I will be able to get off the couch and answer the phone before the 37th ring. Wow, I'm sore!

************

This puppy is NOT broken nor deceased. Just sleepy. It did occur to me the other day that Austin will never learn his name at the rate we're going because none us calls him anything but "Puppy!"

Monday, June 29, 2009

Darn.

As part of our massive reorganization (thanks to you fabulously smart and orderly people), we've been decluttering in the girls' rooms this weekend and Ana's room is taking a zillion times longer than Jane's because Ana's such a clutter cat. So I was trying to get her to go do something else while I clandestinely filled my garbage bag with useless plastic crap treasures and I said, "Hey, if you need a snack, you are welcome to take it and eat it at the computer."

She said, "Oh, thanks." but then she didn't go anywhere.

I said, "You can help yourself to some Oreos."

She looked at me in consternation.

And she said, "I'm afraid to leave you alone in my room."

She's on to me.

Darn.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

OH MY GOSH! LOOK AT THAT SKY!


Y'all!

The SUN is shining. The sky is BLUE!

It's a beautiful day!

I am energized like a... something ENERGETIC!

DUDES!

SUN!

HAPPINESS!

All the other thoughtful posts I've been writing and had planned and blah, blah, blah will have to wait!

I made the girls and two auxiliary girls pancakes from scratch this morning because the SUN IS SHINING (and I'm out of mix.) There is much happiness about the trampoline--especially now that it's been dried off. My husband is outside on a bike ride. My garden doesn't seem to have totally succumbed to rot and blight from the endless, endless rain. (PS: My friend Donna's husband won the race to see who could get an edible tomato fastest. I'm not sure he knows we were racing but we were and he won so handily that if he DIDN'T know we were racing, I'm not going to tell him. Because my tomatoes? Not even a hint of color yet.)(Unless you count brown. Sigh.) (Ah, yes, a new parenthetical picture--I am hitting new heights with my digressions! Woohoo!)

*********************

(Clever Demarcation of Time Passing)

Okay, so, uh, the sun is still shining but as soon as I wrote the above, two girls collided on the trampoline resulting in tears and recriminations and then our neighbor poked his head over the fence and asked us if we could put bells on the cats since they have been leaving DEAD BUNNIES in his yard.

(Which, incidentally, means that I can't tease about the neighbor about having mob ties because A) he was very nice in the way he handled the whole situation and B) he was really concerned about those baby bunnies. I'm thinking most hardcore mobsters wouldn't be broken up about rabbits OR they'd take care of it by dispatching the cats post-haste.) (And yes, I learned everything I know about organized crime from watching The Sopranos.) (Shaddup.)

************************

Okay, so both cats have bells on their collars now --well, actually both cats have collars now and those collars have bells on them. We've not been so lucky keeping collars on the cats. There was some hissing involved but I'm choosing to believe that it wasn't directed at ME, but rather the collar itself. (Work with me.)

The dogs have both had baths. I took the neighbors a tray of pastries along with a handwritten note that I'd written on my "Pretending To Be A Grown Up" stationery. Austin has a new collar, too, since his collar seems to have gone missing, what with all the wrestling and all.



And we're on our way out to dinner at some friends--recent Austin ex-pats --who are cooking Mexican food.

Dudes, isn't it amazing what a little sunshine will do for a girl's outlook?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Help Me, Clever Readers

I interrupt the other posts I have in the works (about things Canadian, due to our recent trip there) to beg for help.

Last night, we had an impromptu guest for dinner, and I was embarrassed by my house. I could tell you that we've had a lot of house guests and a sick Jane but the basic part of the house looked pretty okay. The general state of things was not the embarrassing part. The part that embarrassed me was the Clutter.

After our guest left, I said to my husband, "I am normally a better housekeeper than this." and my husband said, "You're a GREAT housekeeper. Really it's just rooms like your office where you have no system and things pile up."

I said, "Maybe I should hire some sort of professional organizer to help me." And he said, "You need a mom to come help you throw stuff out."

(And this from a man who still has the parachute pants he wore in high school in his closet. Not that I'm bitter.)

But he's right. (Hate that.)

Here's what happens: the house-cleaning crew comes every two weeks. I beg, threaten and cajole to get my wicked spawn and spouse to clean up their clutter before the crew arrives. Anything that's left over gets put into a brown paper sack which gets stashed someplace --normally my office which is also the home of the puppy's crate and my ball winder and swift when not in use. That room is a disaster and now I have all these bags o'crap to go through and cull.



This is not a system.

This is a recipe for a fire hazard. Plus, it's driving me crazy and it's not teaching anyone anything about cleaning up after themselves.

So, given that I can't come up with a system on my own, I am asking YOU, dear reader, how do you deal with your clutter?? What do you do with important papers that you might need or kids' artwork that you can't throw out? Where do you put your coupons so you actually remember them? How do you manage to keep track of the things you need to return to the store? How do you organize your pantry and closets? How do you keep your roommates from creating large stacks of clutter everywhere?

I'm pretty good about recycling everything that needs to be recycled when I first handle it--kids' daily schoolwork and junk mail, etc. Where I really fail in organizing is:

A) keeping a detailed calendar with important dates (We're leaving for Germany in two weeks and I have forgotten the exact date. Because I didn't write it down.)

B) in figuring out where things need to go. If I had a permanent place for things (a system) I could keep everything tidy. But I never know what to do with leftover parts from projects (like those wrenches you get from Ikea when you put together a shelf or chair) or articles from the newspaper that I want to refer to again...

I need your help. Please tell me everything you know about setting up some sort of home organization system. Bonus points if you don't mention The Fly Lady. If you send me something super helpful, I will send you one of my books or yarn or something else groovy and maybe edible. We'll talk.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Postcards



I haven't written because the girls and I took a flying (literally) trip to Canada to Niagara Falls for the weekend. We met up with one of my best friends (one of the Kathys) and her daughter Jessie.

We meant to come in Thursday but our flight was canceled as Long Island got 1.5 inches of rain. (ENOUGH WITH THE RAIN!) So we came Friday morning, flew to Buffalo and drove to the Canadian side of Niagara.

We've really had a wonderful time. First of all, it's spectacular. But also, my friend Kathy is like ...some long lost member of my family. I wish we hadn't neglected to be born into the same family because, dudes, we could have been serious trouble in our younger years.

Realizations from Canada:


I really like Canadians. I mean, as a species. And I realized why—every Canadian I know or that I have met on this trip, is VERBAL. I have yet to meet a strong silent Canadian. I asked Kathy, "ARE there strong silent Canadians?" and she said, "Well, um...No." I find I like that in a country.

It also explains to me why I didn’t really engage with the Ballet a few weeks ago when we took my mother-in-law. I mean, I didn’t engage to the point where I kind of fell asleep during the second performance. But see, NO WORDS. I could admire the grace and strength of the dancers –the sheer athleticism and dedication to their craft –but I don’t CRAVE the Ballet, the way I do, say, live music or theater. It’s just kind of interesting to me that I need words. I’d make a good Canadian, I think.

Kathy and I had this whole conversation about how we’re not really maternal with any children but our own and then every time we saw a baby, we cooed and waved and if one was crying, we stared at the mother with distrust of her ability to soothe that baby. Hand her over, Sister.

The hotel we stayed in was a Hampton Inn, which is one of those budget offshoots of the Hilton chain. The staff was so good-natured and laid-back, that it was a really pleasant experience. Like, you can forgive a lot when the staff lets your kids swim an extra 30 minutes or looks the other way when you bring your bottle of wine down to the lobby to sit and chat. I forgot to register my rental car and when I came down after the first day and told the front desk, the clerk said, “We don’t REALLY tow, just between you and me.” I don’t know, it was such a relief from the normal, overly officious hotel staff I’ve run into. It made the fact that each movie we rented for the kids cost FIFTEEN DOLLARS a little more bearable.

AND there was a glass elevator, which excited the kids to no end. Inside both elevators were these signs, though. Here's one:


We just didn’t get them. I mean, someone had gone to a lot of trouble. Kathy had the best suggestion, though. “Maybe it’s to give people something to talk about in the elevator.” Makes sense to me, especially in Canada.



Niagara Falls is beautiful --really beautiful --but the town is all about tourism and the prices are really high for everything. In fact, at one point we all went to the restroom and while I was still in a stall, Jane, who was washing her hands, said, "OH MY GOSH, Mom, they charge for paper towels here!!"

I said, "No, Sweetie, I don't think so."

And she said, "No, it says right here: Napkins are $.50."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This Motherhood Gig


My girls had their hair cut yesterday.

Jane (8) woke up, announced that she wanted to chop six inches off of her hair and asked me to make the appointment.

She didn't have to ask twice. I don't choose to battle my girls about their hair because, well, it's THEIR hair but I was really hoping they would agree to get haircuts before all of our travels this summer. Ana (11) agreed to have her bangs cut and the rest evened-out.

Jane did, indeed, get EIGHT inches cut off the back of her hair. She loved her new haircut so much that she kept running around asking people if they wanted to "fluff" her hair.


This morning, she got up at 5:45 because she was so excited about going to school with her new haircut. "I'm so PRETTY!" she kept saying in wonderment. And then she'd ask if she could brush her hair again.

Uh, yeah.




Ana got her bangs trimmed and the rest of her hair shaped but she was less enthusiastic about her new look. She alternated between wishing she had gotten a drastic cut like Jane's and thinking that her bangs were too short. This morning she seemed near tears at the thought of walking into her classroom. I kept trying to bolster her confidence by telling her beautiful she looked and how nice it was to see her eyes and those amazing eyelashes but she kept blinking back tears.

On the way to school, we chatted aimlessly about a few of her friends and I said something about one of them and there was a bit of silence and then she said, "But SHE'S got a boyfriend."

Oh.

Oh, my love.

Oh, Ana.

And you know, I sat there and the protective Mama-Bear feelings rushed right through me like an adrenaline rush. Because the lesson I wanted to give her, I couldn't. There is no way to reassure her that there will be so many more important things that build her self-worth--so many things that have to do with WHO SHE IS--than the arbitrary bestowal of some fifth grade boy's affection.

I could have said it but I didn't. Because I remembered exactly what she was feeling. And because I remembered that I was about 30 when I learned that lesson.

This motherhood gig--why is it that no one tells you how much more painful it's going to be to go through these life lessons the second time around?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday Fragments

Okay, so that's not as alliterative as "Friday Fragments." Maybe I should have called this post "Monday Montage." Only now it's TUESDAY and I got...nothing. Nothin', I tell you.

I've resisted the urge to do some sort of fragments-based sort of post because, well, I kind of hate the mandated customs of the blogosphere. Because I am a prig, I guess. I mean, I love to read M.E.'s Friday Fragments. And I love Love Thursday. It was the Wordless Wednesday that got my hackles up --the very nature of blogging is all about words! If you want wordless blogging, you should be a visual artist. But even the visual artists I know use words on their blogs! Blogging is another word for WRITING. (At least in my priggish, frustrated-English-teacher world.)

Onward to all sorts of fragmentation.

**************

This a video of the song my washer plays for me when it is done washing. I know, I know, just when you thought I couldn't GET more pathetic.


**************

My Father-in-Law arrives today for a week. I am SO LOOKING FORWARD TO HIM. I am so looking forward to him that I am cleaning my house, even though the house cleaners come tomorrow and even though he will not care. I just really like him. I can't wait to show him my garden and I can't wait until he meets the puppy. I think he's going to like both.

**************

Our new puppy barks in his sleep. It is HILARIOUS and I will try to get it on video, although it is a little less predictable than the washing machine song.

**************

Today is Scout's 5th birthday. I will be making a cake--for the humans to eat. I can't tell y'all how big Scout has stepped up in his new role as big brother to Austin. He is patient, plays endlessly, gentle in his lessons (mostly) and even seems to have mostly overcome the submissive urination thing. He even shares his bed (sometimes) with the puppy. Happy birthday, Scout!

(Also, my sister. Happy Birthday, Sisu!)

(I don't REALLY put her birthday lower on the rung of importance than Scout's but it made me laugh to put it in this order on the blog. And given that it is STILL FREAKING RAINING HERE, anything that makes me laugh is a good thing.)

**************

Some days, I eat my lunch at 10:00. This is a dirty little secret that I have only shared with MadMad but I am outing myself in case anyone else out there does this, too. Mostly I do this because I'm bored but sometimes, like today, I eat because I am hungry. I didn't eat dinner last night because the rain was making me too sad and I had a huge migraine all day anyway. So I just finished my lunch. Only y'all? It turns out that Sushi before noon is just a bad idea. Really, trust me on this if you decide to eat your lunch early.

Ice cream, however, knows no such time sensitivity.

**************

Ana has been peppering her conversations with French phrases lately, which cracks me up since she knows no French and I have no idea where she even picked them up. This morning, in her honor, we had croissants. Hey, now that I think of it, this is quite the International Day of Food I am having. Croissants and Sushi. (All before 10:00 AM.) (Ick.) Bon Soir!

**************

Jane (8) wrote a little piece about her special person earlier this year. As you might imagine, I HATED this. (NOT.) (As always, click to enlarge.)

**************

So, that's it: my post of fragments. Only it occurs to me that it's not really such a different style from my NORMAL way of posting.

Oh well. I'll ponder this while I watch the rain and wonder if my tomatoes are getting enough sun...

Friday, June 12, 2009

In Which I Concede Defeat

Before 9:30 in the morning.

I awoke this morning to a basement flood after a night of storms. MORE storms. Storms upon storms upon days and days of rain.

I was a bit disappointed to realize that when I prepared the coffee for this morning, I forgot to actually, um, put the COFFEE in the coffee pot.

I can't find my cell phone anywhere. (How will I play Scramble?)

I put my shirt on inside out.

I was trying to reach one last dish to put in the dishwasher as I was running out the door to take Jane to school (in the rain. Have I mentioned the ceaseless, soul sucking, spirit-crushing rain?) when I whacked my FULF right into the open dishwasher door. The whole foot went numb. (Knowing me, I probably fractured it and will discover this two years down the road.)

I was just about to take my cue from one Edward the Cat () (I swear, I am 12 years old. Employing parenthetical photos makes me laugh out loud.) and just go back to bed when I looked outside and in the midst of all the gray, something caught my eye.

I put on my galoshes and slogged out to my garden and this is what I saw:
The first Zinnia of the season. Undaunted and beautiful.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Teachers Love Me

Today was the carnival at Ana's school and I was a volunteer.

These things are rather tortuous for me because I am shy but I have that weird Army-brat camouflage that makes me talk maniacally.

And sweat.

But one of the class mothers had an injured child and couldn't work the carnival at the last minute so she called me.

I arrived at the school, signed in, picked up my name tag and reported for duty.

I needed my hands free so I wore my purse across my body for most of the three hours that I spent at the school. And honestly? I enjoyed myself and I enjoyed making the kids laugh and I had some fun talks with some of the other mom volunteers.

And then when I got home, I walked into the bathroom and discovered that for most of the day, my name tag looked just like this:

Because Becca Asked...

These pictures were taken on the last sunny day, which I barely remember because it's been rain, rain, rain ever since. The puppy is even bigger than he looks here...



(Oh, and if y'all are wondering why I always have annoying banjo music, it's because You Tube won't let me upload a photo montage with a copyrighted soundtrack. How it even knows that I have a copyrighted sound track employed is beyond me. But that's why.)

PS: Thanks to Coop's rear end for making a cameo appearance and brightening my day.

PPS: Although Austin APPEARS to have more than the usual number of legs, he really only has four. Unless he hits the hardwood floor going too fast and then this number doubles.

PPSS: I do so love to watch the puppy run. It makes me laugh every time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Modern Fable

Once upon a time, a shy Southern belle moved from Texas, where she had lived for 33 years, to the Northeast.

The clash of cultures was both inevitable and hilarious.

During her first year, the Southern woman (let's call her Barb because her name is...well..Barb) learned a lot of things that are never taught in the South.

Things like honking one's horn in traffic --despite her deep conviction that if she honked at someone, not only was she inviting someone to blow her head off (Texas being one of those states where the right to bear arms is taken literally and legally) but that she might be considered RUDE.

She learned that if she waited to be ceded the right-of-way, she would wait through many changing of lights and/or seasons.

She learned that giving people the benefit of the doubt was to invite their contempt.

She learned to speak up for herself. (Well, she's LEARNING to speak up for herself.)

She learned that the nicest tradespeople/contractors/service people in the world would screw her over in a heartbeat if it meant a few more dollars in their pockets. And that the prevailing attitude when she called them out on this was, "Well, you can't blame a guy for trying."

Barb tried to kill everyone with kindness and a sort of obliviousness to the blatant rudeness in her interactions with people. She learned that even positive interactions left her feeling bruised. She toughened up. She made some truly good friends who transcended the cultural divide and looked the other way when she said, "y'all" and tried to convert them to recycling.

Barb still thought she could still keep her innate Southern courtesy intact AND live productively in New York.

Until one day when she drove her youngest daughter to school in the driving rain. She unloaded her daughter from the van and gave her an umbrella and stood and watched as she crossed the crosswalk and headed into the school. Barb stood, waving, for an extra ten seconds so that when her small daughter turned around, she would still see her smiling, waving (and damp) mother.

And then the crossing guard yelled at Barb to get in her car and get moving because there was a lot of traffic and it needed to keep moving.

Barb got into her car and a little fire started burning.

She drove out of the parking lot, taking her life in her hands as usual and by the time she reached the cross street, her mouth was set in a thin, grim line.

She did not cry.

She did not feel like she had been sent to the Principal's office.

Barb was, in fact, very, very angry.

She ran through all the things she could have said. All the points to be made--like it took as long for the guard to yell at her as it did for her to send her daughter off to school on a good note. Like the fact that she often waits five minutes in line because other people drive up beside her and block her in. Like the fact that the tone the woman had used was both offensive and condescending.

Barb drove on, resolving not to use the drop off line anymore but to park her car and walk her small daughter up to the school doors to say goodbye.

By the time Barb reached home, though, she was past any idea of in any way modifying her OWN behavior.

In fact, by the next morning when Barb repeated the trek to drop her younger daughter off at school, she was toting a Texas-sized can of WHUP-ASS.

She was, my friends, spoiling for a fight.

She pulled up into the drop off line, put the car in park, helped her daughter with her backpack and watched her cross the crosswalk.

And then she stood there, waving and smiling as her daughter looked back one, two, three times.

And then Barb, turned and looked hard at the crossing guard, daring her to say one single word. And said, "Have a nice day" before getting in her car and driving away.

And that is the story of how a recovering Southern belle unleashed her hostility in defense of her right to be a warm and loving parent.

Which seems ironic on many, many levels.

Y'all, pity that crossing guard for the next time she yells at Barb.

Quick FULF Update

Many longer posts in the works but I wanted to thank you all so much for your well wishes and to assure you that my foot is better. We had gone into New York City to the Ballet and I refused to wear my running shoes with the orthotics (vanity will be the death of me) so I inflamed my foot. Then I did a massive house cleaning and walked for exercise and my foot threw a tantrum.

I took the anti-inflammatory and I spent most of yesterday (because it's raining torrentially --endlessly, mind-numbingly, soul-sucking-ly) on the couch. Much better today.

Thank you all so much for your concern and the nice, nice notes. I was really touched and because of how great you all are, I managed not to sink into the deep black hole of despair. Y'all are just awesome.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Unexpected

Today was a really good day.

The puppy slept through the night.

It only rained in the morning.

I got to walk with my friend Donna.

My house is really clean because my mother-in-law is visiting and also, we had an appraiser come by as part of our refinancing so I made sure the house looked really good.

I got to see my spouse in the middle of the day when he brought us all lunch and met with the appraiser.

My younger daughter and I made the best ever mac and cheese (ya'll do not even want to know how many cups of cream and cheese are in it) and she pronounced it, "Perfect!"

I showered before noon.

But I had an unexpected visit from my nemesis today.

This afternoon, my foot started hurting and the more the day wore on, the worse the pain got. Even though I am wearing my orthotics in my running shoes.

And you know what? Just that quickly, I had forgotten what it is like to have that kind of grinding, teeth-clenching, soul-diminishing pain to deal with as a constant.

And just like that? I was back under the Wall of Pain, where the pain is so loud that it's hard to find the goodness in the day.

In people.

In myself.

I have some anti-inflammatory tablets I can take but I've already had a glass of wine so I remembered them too late. The best I can do is to go to bed and pray that tomorrow is better.

I'm pretty sure it will be. I think I just overdid it today between walking and cleaning house.

But it reminded me that some time ago, I resolved not to have gone through this bout with the hopelessness of chronic pain in vain. That I wanted to use my experiences to help others who might be facing the same thing and unable to hear anything over the noise of that pain.

I'm not sure what that looks like or what talents I have that can help but I think I've been called. I was given a reprieve and I feel pretty certain that this is why.

I am listening hard for the "how."

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Five Dollar Anti-Depressant

I awoke to another gray and rainy day.

It’s been raining FOREVER. We’re stuck inside; it’s even beginning to get the new PUPPY down.

I slogged through the morning. My older daughter Ana was easy to rouse this morning because she had a pretty new shirt and some new socks to wear to school. Remember the days when coordinating socks and shirts could brighten your whole attitude?

I drove her to school and as she was getting out of the car, her best friend Nina was also arriving and --are you ready?-- Nina was wearing the same exact shirt!

Remember when wearing the same clothes as your best friend was the best and coolest thing ever? Remember that?

I got Jane up and ready (Jane is learning how to yo-yo and this is just a HUGE DEAL) and I went to the grocery store. In the rain. My feet were wet and my attitude was poor so I decided to stop by the Starbucks. I ordered my coffee and paid the $2.65 with my gift card (left from my birthday) and as I turned away, I had this momentary impulse and gave in to it. "Here," I said to the Barista, handing him a $5 bill.

He was astonished. "What's this for?"

"Just because I'm in a really good mood and I've always wanted to do this. Have a truly spectacular day!"

Sometimes, you can create your own reality for $5 and some coordinating socks.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Love (My Job) Thursday

Please pardon the radio silence from this end. It's been a busy couple of weeks with our new puppy and all the poop and all, and now my mother-in-law is here for a visit so I'm busy with all that's involved with having a house guest. Plus, drinking.

It's funny because I had one of those "Man, where did the last decade go?" moments yesterday and then when my mother-in-law got here, it was reinforced even that much more. Yesterday, I was in the grocery store parking lot and something in the car next to me caught my eye. It was the exact same car seat that I used for both of my kids as toddlers --same blue plaid cover on it, even. (I would link to it but the fabric has apparently been discontinued. I bet half of y'all had the same seat--the Britax Roundabout?)

It was amazing to think of how many times I buckled and unbuckled that car seat and how different it is now that my kids are out of car seats altogether. I wonder sometimes if there is any other experience like parenting small children--so incredibly hard and so relentless and yet we just wouldn't trade a single moment of it away. Even with the puppy, I would very gladly skip over a few of his phases. (For example, I'd gladly jump right past the phase we're in now where he puts both feet in his water dish and tries to dig up the cooler water from underneath. Hardwood floors, you know.) (Also, the digging of small holes all over my yard, I could pretty much do without that one and not ever miss it.) But with my children, I would do every minute of it again --the potty training and the tantrums and the ear infections...

So, then my mother-in-law arrived and it turns out that my older daughter Ana is now taller than her grandmother.

Whoosh, there it went --eleven years of my life. The BEST eleven so far.