Thursday, December 31, 2009

NYR #2

Gratitude and Purpose

Quite often at the beginning of yoga class the teacher will ask us to set an intention for the class. Usually my intention runs along the lines of "survive the class so I can get a cup of coffee afterwards" or "only swear on the inside when the pain sets in" or "do NOT roll your eyes every time she tells you to do a pose that is difficult."

But sometimes, before I can stop it, an actual intention comes into my head. Monday it was "gratitude and purpose." I don't know where it came from, but those two words did stick with me during class and for the next couple of days.

I'm trying very hard not to write down my usual resolutions like lose weight, go to bed early every night, not swear in front of my kids, etc. Even though of course I have every intention of starting a diet tomorrow and going to bed on time and reading instead of watching t.v. and never ever raising my voice to the kids. You get the idea.

I'm trying to dig a little deeper and find something solid to place the things I do on. I want to try and get past the surface and build a solid foundation for myself.

So resolution number two -- to approach every day, every moment with gratitude and purpose. No matter what it is I want to try and find something in each situation I can be grateful for. Even if it's pain or loneliness or fear. And to find the purpose in each moment. The deeper purpose, the reason I do the things I do -- whether they are the things I have to do or the things I want to do.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

NYR #1

December 26 has always been my New Years Day. I can't help it, I'm so glad the craziness and pressure of Christmas is over.

I love Christmas. This is kind of a new thing for me. It's always been the hardest holiday for me, but the last few years it's gotten better and this year my family was actually shocked that I was the one pushing to get the tree up and listen to the music and all that. And actually like it.

That said, damn, I'm glad it's over. December 26 is definitely one of my favorite days of the year. Maybe my favorite. It always feels like a clean start.

Of course I start thinking about resolutions. So here's my first one:

NYR #1 -- Do One Thing At A Time

Yeah. That's tough for me. I'm constantly trying to do more than one thing at a time and I never finish anything because I'm so sure I have to get the next thing done. Except I don't finish that either.

So I'm going to slow down. Focus on the one thing I'm doing and do it completely. Even if it's a little thing.

Really this is about slowing down and listening to myself. Which is what all my resolution's are going to be about. I find myself spinning and lost most of the time and I only have myself to blame.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Not Totally Decorated White Tree

There it is. My not-quite-totally decorated white tree. It's standing in the corner of my room and I love it.

The boys put the balls on (OK, that doesn't quite sound right) and I haven't managed to distribute them more evenly - or buy more since they keep stealing them to put on their mini trees.

I don't know what's happened to me this year but I'm all Christmassy and cheery.

I think it might be the magic of the white tree. What else could it be?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

this time i'm back for reals

Good grief. I was all ready to blog every day. Or every other day. Or twice a week. Or when the moon was blue. Or whatever.

And we didn't have wifi at the beach. I know, I know. Poor Me.

Yep, we spent Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law's condo at Myrtle Beach. It's kind of a family tradition now. The boys were in heaven and I don't think they sat still for one second. It's just go go go when we are there, although I managed to turn most of the activities over to their dad.

I even managed to read two books -- Strength In What Remains by Tracy Kidder and Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. Both excellent.

We got home Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. and by 7:00 the fifth and final Christmas tree had been purchased. We started decorating last night, after which I was ready to murder everyone in my family. Merry Christmas to me.

So, hopefully this time I'm really going to start posting again. It seems like the first post after a long break is always a throw-away....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

i don't even know who i am anymore

You like? It's my 18 inch pink Christmas tree on my desk. J11 decorated it. Tomorrow I'll show you my six foot white Christmas tree that's going up in my bedroom.

When we get back from the beach we'll be putting the live tree up in the living room.

This afternoon we're going back to the craft store to buy the boy's 18 inch trees for their room.

I don't know who I am anymore.

I've always pretty much disliked the holidays. Dreaded them. OK, at moments hated them.

Yes, it is all tied into my childhood. No, I am not going to bore you with all that.

I think I'm done with that.

I KNOW. That. Is. Huge. To say the least.

Maybe it's the Lexapro. Maybe it's all the yoga. Maybe it's the journaling. Maybe Stacie is just wearing me down with all her retro cheer.

Whatever. I'm so excited about Christmas, more than I ever have been. And I gotta say, kinda feels good.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ok ok OK

I'm posting already.

I don't know what my problem is. That I can't come here and say something. Anything.

So what's been happening?

• Just survived 10 days of a sick seven year old -- not the flu, not strep, not pneumonia, but took an antibiotic to kick it

•Husband has been in school since September. He's getting certified for HVAC work. We thought he would be finished in May and would be working this summer, but yesterday he informed me that if he goes to school until August he'll get a two -year degree. Yes, I managed to not throw a total freaking fit at the idea of three more months of school

•A new yoga studio opened in town and I'm finding my practice again. Best thing ever.

•Despite going to yoga three times a week I'm gaining weight.

•Can I blame the weight gain on going back on Lexapro for anxiety? Let's just go ahead and do that.

•Yes, the anxiety is directly related to the unemployed spouse, the scary economy, and the fact that my job is slower that it has been in 15 years.

OK. So I really meant to participate in NaBloPoMo. Are people even doing that this year? But I didn't. But I really miss reading everybody's blogs and writing. So I'm going to try and get back here and stop avoiding all the things I really want to do.

That's really the thing I feel like all this yoga has been doing for me -- making me stop long enough to realize I'm constantly resisting real, positive change in my life. Things I really want to do, that I can do, that I just refuse to do because I am basically always terrified of making progress.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Born From My Heart

Even though he's eleven J11 still likes a good snuggle now and then. He crawled into bed with me this morning just before it was time to get up and I wrapped my arms around him and said, "You are a kid after my own heart."

He replied, "Well, I was born from your heart, so that makes sense." I hugged him tight, then carried his reply with me the rest of the day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I wrote this in college. It was an imitation exercise in freshman comp class. I don't remember the piece it was based on. It's the only thing I'm proud of that I wrote in college. Or maybe ever:

In the first place, October makes me feel content. Autumn does have this effect. Autumn brings cool evenings, and it is cool evenings that relieve the restlessness of summer nights. They are not chilling, these fall nights, they are only refreshing; the air is brisk, not to mention startling, and it hurries me along to my room, even as I look up into the sky and notice the intense brightness of the autumn stars. October speaks of warmth and protection. It points out what is perfectly obvious yet seldom realized: that the fall and winter months are a blessing, that cold requires warmth, warmth requires companionship, companionship requires love, and the two seasons bring people together and make them dependent on each other. Sometimes the weather proceeds further and forces us to depend wholly on our neighbors, something we fear. But as to the immediate effects of fall, it fills a need in all of us. It brings us together. People together cannot, by consequence, be lonely, and the gathering of friends on a cool October evening is thus the exact antithesis of a desolate being. October makes me feel content.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Anchor, My Compass

We read Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel every night before bed. Most nights D7 lays next to me, his head resting on my shoulder. The more he gets to know the story, the more questions he asks. What happened to the other steam shovels? Where are the pictures of Kipperville and Kopperville? What does the word "rather" mean (Henry B. Swap smiled in rather a mean way)? J11 wanders around the room getting ready for bed, setting up his Bionicles, interrupting the story.

We read three books every night. D7 and I. I also try and read out loud to J11 every day.

Once stories are done, they each get a glass of water. I tuck them in. For just a minute I lay next to J11 and sometimes he tells me things. Things he is afraid of or worried about. Things that were said to him. I kiss him goodnight. I get up, walk to D7's bed. Lean over and his arms reach up and hug me. He always says, "I love you" first. Sometimes he asks me to stay and usually I tell him no, he's to old. But sometimes I crawl in with him and wait for him to fall asleep. Because sometimes he's that scared. Not often, but sometimes.

They anchor me. My kids. I think right now they are my anchor. I'm lost. I am. I'm lost and scared and lonely. I feel like I'm pushing hard towards something, towards somewhere, but that I have no idea what or where it is.

But when the kids come home from school. When they get up in the morning, or we sit and do homework. When I tuck them in. They anchor me, point me true north, plant my feet solid. I need them right now as much as they need me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Grace in Small Things

Have you seen the Grace in Small Things site? I've been reading Schmutzie for a while and have been wanting to participate in GIST, but hadn't gotten started. Because I am so webstupid it's taken me a couple of days to figure out how I wanted to do this or where I wanted to do it. So first I tried it on this blog, then I started another blog just for GIST, then I finally figured out the best place for me to do this was actually at the GIST site. So, in case you are interested here's where I'm participating.

Are you still reading this?

And by the way. Coming up with five things every morning that I am thankful for or appreciate? Way harder than I thought it would be. But I think it's good for me. Because I've been fighting the panic again. And the anxiety. And a complete lack of focus. Which brings on the panic. And the anxiety. And the lack of focus. You get the idea.

So over at GIST I'm going to try and be a little thankful every day. Here? Your just gonna get the same old Madge you've always gotten.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grace In Small Things - Part 1 of 365 (?)

I've been meaning to do this, but don't really have the faith in myself that I can keep it up. Still, think I'll try. You can see what it's all about at Grace In Small Things.

1. A new scarf started.

2. My overgrown lavender in the front yard (and the challenge of saving it)

3. Parker Palmer's A Hidden Wholeness

4. Football starts tonight!

5. J11 telling me loves me -- when no one else is around and when I least expect it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Little Whine About the Swine

Swine flu that is. Well, we think it is. We've heard that Georgia has the highest cases of the H1N1 (or they did last week) and that some doctors don't even test for it anymore, they just assume that's what it is.

All four of us seem to have it. It's not actually that bad, just kind of pesty. Mild fever and coughing/congestion. J11 has been sick for five days and D7 for three. I'm not sure if I'm sick or just insane from being housebound. I have not left the house except to go to the grocery store or drug store since Friday.

OK, so that's pretty much what my life is like all the time, it just seems worse now 'cuz the rest of the family has been here with me.

It took me 40 minutes to get a hold of someone at the pediatrician's office -- does not bode well for the appointment we have in 90 minutes. Tried to avoid the whole go-to-the-doctor thing, but J11's cough is getting worse every day and D7 is right behind him.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wait! Those are GUNS!

A couple of weeks ago Bass Pro Shop had a community/kids event and my husband took the boys. J11 tried archery and came home with a bow and arrow set. D7 tried paint ball guns and we promised to buy him one before the next weekend.

A few days later we took him to Academy Sports to pick up a paint ball gun.

So I naively stroll into Academy Sports with the guys. I've been in the store a million times, checking out sports equipment, buying shoes for the boys. Stuff like that.

This time we headed to the other side of the store. I don't know what your sports stores are like but here in Georgia, we's gots us some huntin' supplies. Dang. We head straight to the paint ball gun area -- a whole freaking wall of them. I'm just standing there, hands in my pockets and I start looking around and damn. These are GUNS people. GUNS. All of a sudden I'm totally freaking out -- on the inside. My baby wants a gun that shoots stuff. We actually start having a discussion about paint guns vs. pellet guns. I recall my brother and cousin having pellet gun fights in the house and my thigh getting caught in the crossfire.

We start wandering around, back towards where they are selling real guns and there's a couple of good ole' boys wearing camo and checking out the merchandise. D7 looks up at the plastic deer mannequin target shooting thingy (god knows what they call it) and says, "Look! a Deer!" I respond (my voice raised about an octave), "yeah. a deer!"

D7 is all, "What's that for" and I'm all "stupid people shoot them for fun 'cuz they are mean and stupid."

OK. I didn't say that. I just told him some people hunt or something not graphic. D7 says, "We're not buying that. We don't shoot deer."

I reply kind of loudly, kind of loudly enough for the camo boys to turn around and look at me, "Damn straight we don't shoot deer."

Then I hauled my liberal, non-NRA, pretty much a vegetarian, ass straight out of the gun section, and tried to remind myself that target shooting is good. It's fun. I've done it. I liked it. And it's OK that my baby is getting a paint gun.

My boys are growing up and gravitating towards their father (thank god) and doing lots of guy things. It's good. They are both huge mama's boys and it's time for a little (ok a lot of) separation and some manning up.

I really am OK with the paint gun thing, and the idea of them being taught how to responsibly handle fire arms and to use them recreationally. We are so NOT a hunting family that I really doubt that's something my kids will ever try and if they even think about it, yeah, I'm going to be all over that.

It was just another one of those moments I didn't see coming where one minute my kids seem like my babies and then I turn around, open my eyes, and have to admit, yeah, they growing up. It's good. It's just a little shock to the system sometimes.

Plus, hello. Those are GUNS.

Note: This isn't an open invitation to discuss the pros and cons of hunting. I don't get it, but I'm not gonna be mad at you if you and yours do it.

Second note: Yes, I deleted all my pretty orange stuff and my blog roll (oops) and went back to a really plain template, 'cuz I always felt a little cluttered (and it was easier than decluttering the house)

Monday, August 31, 2009

one step forward, two steps ---- aahh i'm falling.

ever feel like that? like maybe you are making a little progress and then bam! you don't just feel like you took two steps back, you feel like you fell off a cliff?

i don't know why i put so much pressure on myself to accomplish something. and when i say "something" i actually mean just that. something. i don't have a particular goal in mind. why can't i be satisfied with the fact that i managed to send the kids off to school with all papers signed, lunches packed, the laundry started and i'm not completely behind at work?

why do i always want more? is it the universe telling me i'm not satisfied? nah, it's probably just the media. i don't know. i'm rambling. i'm venting. i put to much pressure on myself. and then sometimes not enough. i feel everything crashing down around me and i want to run away.

i'm tired of pushing and pushing and pushing, but i think the real truth is i've actually just started pushing and it's new and scary and i want to stop and hide.

a few months ago i made this comment on another blog post about blogging. i said "blogging, like life, is an ever-evolving process--something that has to be held lightly so it can reform itself when necessary and lead us where it needs to."

i liked it. enough to write it down and save it at my desk. 'cept i took out the two first words and just said, "life is...."

and it is. and i read that all the time and tell myself to let go, to hold onto all those things i love a little less tightly. to be careful and gentle with myself. to stop pressuring myself.

the trick is there has to be some push in there and that seems to be what i fight with myself the most -- the balance.

blech. i'm not sure what this post is about, but it just feels like it's time to start writing here again.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Angel on Earth

I love NPR's Story Corps. This morning I heard this interview by an 11 year old. She is interviewing her mom who is a nurse for cancer patients. It is about the sweetest thing I have ever heard.

You need to go listen to it.

I am in bed suffering from either allergies, juryitis and/or just the blahs. But this story made me feel better. Hope you like it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

jury doodie

I had a summons for jury duty Monday. Guess what? I ended up on the jury of a civil case that is supposed to last until the end of the day Thursday.

All I will say is that it is excruciatingly boring. That said it's hard not to remember there are two parties sitting there that have a lot at stake and we are all trying to pay attention because I think we all really want to do what's right.

That said. Boring.

Today was the boy's first day of school. Luckily I had time to drive them to school and walk D7 into first grade. Of course he did great and barely even said good-bye to me. Actually, he didn't say good-bye to me.

I missed picking them up, but they both had a great day and my brain is fried and I can't wait until Friday.

Hope you are all having a great day.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back. To. School.

For the most part this is how I feel about the boys going back to school:

This will be the first year D7 is in school until 3:00 p.m. Eight glorious hours sans children. Sure I have to work. But I have to work when they are here and to all you people who say I am oh so lucky to work at home (OK, I am pretty lucky) let me tell you it is no party with kids running around the house, clients calling, the boss calling, video games going, children being hungry. I love not having to deal with homework and projects and deadlines and all that but man am I ready for the quietness of no children in the house.

On the other hand I have to keep myself from grabbing D7 every time he walks by, throwing him in the car and heading for the border. Either one, I don't care, just don't take my baby away from me and what the hell let's throw J11 in for good measure. Fifth grade sounds scary to me and I'm not going. He's headed into some possibly rough, definitely awkward years and maybe we can just run away and pretend they are not going to happen anyways.

I guess we'll stay in town and Tuesday morning I'll drive them over and yes I may shed one tiny little tear as D7 walks into school. But I'm pretty sure I'll be dry-eyed and possibly even dancing by the time I get to Starb*ucks. A. Lone.

Friday, August 7, 2009


A quiet street stretches out in front of my house and parallel to that street is the backyard of a retirement/assisted living apartment complex with a large pond and park for the residents. Everyone in the neighborhood walks their dogs on the no man's land between the complex's fence and the road.

Every fall and winter Canadian Geese land and decide they have come far enough south. This past spring I noticed a few had decided to not head back north and by early summer I knew why. Mommy and Daddy were waddling along with four or five fuzzy little babies behind them. Eventually we figured out their were two families and we've loved watching them grow this summer, catching a glimpse of them once or twice a week. Seeing them evolve from fuzzy little chicks to young geese with brand new feathers.

This morning I was walking the dogs along the fence and heard some honking above. I looked up and almost gasped. The babies, still not full grown, were easy to recognize, trailing behind their parents and forming the familiar V.

They were flying.

I’d like to think it was their first flight. Maybe it was. I wish I could have watched the lessons taught leading up to this morning. The attempts, the progress, the failures.

A few years ago my best friend Jennifer found some letters I had written to her at least ten years ago. She called me and read part of these letters and we laughed (and OK cried) at all the lamenting of unfulfilled dreams and lack of progress we were making and that we still, years later, felt exactly the same. . I can’t tell you the hundreds of phone calls, e-mails and chats we’ve had centered around the same subjects.

Yesterday Jenn e-mailed me an MP3 of this song. She wrote the lyrics (along with Greg Cox) and this is the first demo she’s had cut. You can read about the other musicians involved here.

I’ve listened to the song quite a few times and I still can’t get through it without crying. First of all, it’s a damn good song and one I would connect with even if I didn’t know her and the story behind it.

But mostly what I feel when I listen to it is that I am seeing her fly and in this case I have watched the progress. The lessons, the efforts, the failure. The fighting. The pushing ahead with the writing and that elusive process we call creating.

I’ve watched her push herself. Attempt to take off, fly a few feet, land, and try again. I think it is as miraculous and unexplainable as those young geese I saw this morning. I think it is beautiful and I am beyond proud of her. She’s flying. She’s finally flying.

I can’t wait to see her soar.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August and Everything After

August always wears on me. Pulls me down, flattens me out. It's the time of year when I feel like there is nothing ahead of me. Nothing to look forward to. Everything I do is because I have to, not because I want to.

The kids are bored and anxious, hovering between dread and excitement about school starting next year.

I want to crawl into bed, pull the cool sheets up to my chin and wake up sometime in October when the cool, perfect weather breeds optimism.

I feel like I should be doing something right now. Something big. Something life-changing. Instead I'm pushing myself just to check the mundane things off my list -- laundry, dishes, cooking. I'm fighting that feeling that life is slipping by and when the kids are gone there will be nothing left. Like I lost myself.

Maybe that's what happens to me in August. Maybe the heat presses it out of me. It's when I wonder how I got here. To Georgia. In this house. This life. How I was so unfocused and is it to late to find my way now?

I guess not. It's just right now. I'm realizing I still don't know where I'm trying to go.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Home Alone

Today I packed my husband and boys off to the beach for four days. FOUR DAYS!!! I am home alone for four days. They have been gone for eight hours and I have to tell you -- still. not. lonely.

It's like heaven. So far I have napped, read, napped, read, shopped, bought a lot of junk food (that I'm eating in bed, thank you very much) read some more, walked the dogs, blogged, and did I mention the reading?

It was so nice to pack for them and not myself and when I was helping load the car and I saw all those annoying things my husband does when we travel that pretty much drive me insane I was practically giddy that I didnt' have to deal with it.

I'd try to write something more profound but I'm to anxious to get to the ranch dip, chips and the last 100 pages of my book.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mad Men/Simpsons

A couple of days ago I decided I would try and post every day.  Here I am at 5:00 p.m. with no ideas, but I just saw this on another blog and I love it.

If you love the Simpsons and/or Madmen, you'll like this:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

you should read this poem

Found this poem by Tony Hoagland in they July/August issue of Poetry.  


Don't take it personal, they said;
but I did, I took it all quite personal--

the breeze and the river and the color of the fields;
the price of grapefruit and stamps,

the wet hair of women in the rain--
And I cursed what hurt me

and I praised what gave me joy,
the most simple-minded of possible responses.

The government reminded me of my father,
with its deafness and its laws,

and the weather reminded me of my mom,
with her tropical squalls.

Enjoy it while you can, the said of Happiness
Think first, they said of Talk

Get over it, they said
at the School of Broken Hearts

but I couldn't and I didn't and I don't
believe in the clean break;

I believe in the compound fracture
served with a sauce of dirty regret,

I believe in saying it all
and taking it back

and saying it again for good measure
while the air fills up with I'm-Sorries

like wheeling birds
and the trees look seasick in the wind.

Oh life!  Can you blame me
for making a scene?

You were that yellow caboose, the moon
disappearing over a ridge of cloud.

I was the dog, chained in some fool's backyard;
barking and barking:

trying to convince everything else
to take it personal too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

School? School? School!!!

Is anyone else ready for school to start?

Yes, I have lamented about it on Twitter -- acting like I just can't stand the thought of summer being over.

And I kind of can't.

But mostly.  Yeah.  Pretty ready.

True, there is a corner of my heart that is screaming and gnashing it's teeth at the idea that my baby is going to first grade.  I don't like that, not one little bit.  Same part of my heart is pretty horrified that my oldest is going into fifth grade.

At least once a day, for a few seconds,  I look at both of them, think of the upcoming school year and consider throwing them in the car and heading for the border.  Either one, I don't care, just please don't take them away from me and put them in that mean, cruel, boring world called school.

But this morning, alone in the house, the kids off on a kind of field trip with their father, I am wondering how I will survive the next two weeks until I can get those whiny, needy, constantly-hungry boys out. of. my. house. 

So yeah, two weeks and counting till school starts.  We're buying supplies today, maybe some pants (damn you school dress code).   Maybe we'll bake some cookies.  Go swimming.  They'll stay up late, wrangle some extra time on the Wii or TV.   

I'll keep holding them close while I can.  And counting the days.  I am so counting the days.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vacation recap. OK I'm ranting

I got home from El Salvador two weeks ago and immediately planned a road trip with my family to Maryland to see my mom.  I had to go up for work and the kids/husband were feeling restless.  'cuz they never get to go anywhere (i'm rolling my eyes while i type this).

Things I do not particularly like, in no particular order:

•road trips with my family

•preparing for road trips with my family

•staying with my mom

•watching my mom poke and needle and drive me and my family crazy

•not being home

I really meant to post while on this trip but within five minutes inside my mom's house she had started in on me.  First attack:  "looks like D7 has gained weight since i last saw him" -- the truth is he has lost a bit.

We did have some good times.  Took the kids to some of the museums on the mall in D.C. and J11 is old enough now to enjoy them.   It's so nice to see him recognizing pieces of art or history that he has studied in school.

D7 is still a little young and you would have thought we were torturing him dragging him around for a few hours.  Although he did provide us with the most entertainment while at the museums.  Example:  While walking through the mammal section of the Natural History Museum (or whatever it's called) they started playing a loud video on a huge wall video screen and D7 covered his ears and yelled, "OK!  I am out of here!"  

Also, my mom's thermostat doesn't work. She thinks it is 78 degrees in there.  But I think it must be closer to 90.  Really.  It was horrible.  And humid.  It was not a dry heat.  Sleeping was impossible, especially with little legs and arms clinging to me all night.  We got home, walked into our 85 degree house and breathed a sigh of relief.  

Also every time I tried reading blogs or doing anything on-line she would peak over my soulder and ask what I was doing.  Even my kids have learned to not do that.

Apologies to all of you out there who have wonderful, or at least healthy, relationships with your mother. I know I always horrify you with stories of my completely dysfunctional relationship with my mom.

Anyways, we are back home.   Pretty much my favorite part of a trip.  Today is unpacking and laundry and errands and I always feel like when I get home I see things a little differently then I did when I left.   Being gone always gives me a better perspective, at least for a while.  I guess that is really my favorite part of vacation.    I'm dying to get to the quilt I started hand-quilting and I found a bunch of new knitting projects.  Have a girl's night out coming up this week, I hope.  A couple of yoga classes...  Yep.  Definately glad to be home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Unexpected Milestone

You know those milestones you mark off as your babies become toddlers and then small children?  The first smile.  The first tooth.  The first step. First day of school.  The first lost tooth.  

Here's one I wasn't expecting.  Buying my eleven year old son his first pair of men's size shoes.  I know.  I am totally freaking out.  

I took him shoe shopping this morning. He loves running and has been walking a mile or two every day with his dad and brother and needed new shoes.  

I grabbed the seven's in the boy's section but they were to small.  I know it sounds crazy, but the whole thing was a little surreal.  We went to the men's section, grabbed a pair of eights and tried them on.  

They fit.  

Really I got a little lump in my throat.  I think I started talking to him differently right there.   My baby.  In man shoes.  It's not right.

Except that it is.  It is right.  He is growing up.  And I like it. I like seeing his sense of humor develop and seeing him observe and figure things out.  I like having conversations that are closer to adult conversations then kid conversations.  I even like when he rolls his eyes at me when I try to joke around with him.

And the fact that he picked out a stuffed animal on the way out of the store?  Yeah, I liked that too.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Letter of Explanation

Dear Neighbors One Street Up,

About eight years ago, pregnant with D7 and trying to placate J11 -- who was J3 at the time, I decided to take J3 and the dog to the park.  It was about 4:00 p.m. and I was trying to get through that late afternoon/pre-dinner period that is sometimes a challenge with toddlers.  

The park is about three blocks from our house and to get to it requires crossing a very busy, two lane road.  Quite often our cat Tom would come with us to the park.  He loved going on walks with us and I loved how he would just hang out at the park and then follow us back home.   I would pick him up and carry him across the busy street.  Sometimes he would just run across.

I remember that day getting about half way to the park, seeing Tom, and thinking I should turn around because it was getting late and traffic was picking up.  But J3 was cranky and I was tired and just wanted to sit down for awhile.

We made it the park, the four of us -- J3, me, the dog, Tom.  I'm sure we had our usual good time at the park, I don't remember.   It was almost dinner time when we started home and reached the main road we had to cross.

I had a dog on a leash and a three year-old.  I picked J3 up, turned around to look for Tom, wanted to pick him up to.  But was afraid to try and cross the street seven months pregnant, holding a toddler in one arm and the dog leash and a cat with the other arm/hand.  Besides he always made it.

Not that day.  We waited for a gap in the traffic and started across.  But Tom hesitated. I made it to the other side, turned to watch for Tom.  Turned in time to see him start running and then get smashed by a car.  It was horrible.  Heart-wrenching.  I remember he kind of flew up in the air, jumped, ran across the street to where we had started.

Of course I ran back over, with dog and child, all pregnant.  I remember J3 laughing, because Tom had looked so funny to him, hopping and flailing.

The woman driving the car pulled over and her friend explained she had just lost a cat a few weeks ago.  They offered to stay with him (he was still breathing) while I ran home and got the car.   It seemed to take forever to manage to get back home.  The toddler, the dog.

By the time we got back Tom was dead.  Everyone was crying (except J3-who didn't understand at all).  I carefully put Tom in the car and brought him home.  I laid him out next to the house and waited for J to come home and bury him.

Tom was one of those pets that really gets to you.  One of the special ones.  He was a stray who followed me home while I was on a walk when we lived in Maryland.  It was three days after a horrible blizzard and he was very sick.  We saved his life, taking him in.

And then I took his life with my carelessness and selfishness.  I did.  This is one of those times in life where I can't really make any excuses, except that I was stupid.  I knew there would be lots of cars.  I knew I was taking a chance.  I killed Tom and it still haunts me. I still miss him.

Now we have Daisy.  Sweet Ms. Daisy.  Another stray.  Just came to the house, skinny.  Took us in, loves my boys.  She is our cat.  Another one of the special ones.   The boys adore her and love on her and can't get enough of her.

She also likes to walk with us.

So.  Dear neighbors who live one street up, a street that is only two blocks long, but very very quiet.  That is why on many mornings when I go out for a walk, I spend 30 minutes walking up and down your street, back and forth, with a gray and white cat following and calling out to me.     

Monday, July 6, 2009

a little rambling

I'm done with my self-imposed reading deprivation.  It ended right in the middle of a business trip to El Salvador.  I cheated less than I thought I would.  

Now I'm sitting in my hotel room waiting for a couple of miscellaneous meetings and cleaning up around our office before I head to the airport and home.  

I just realized yesterday that my whole reading deprivation was going on at the same time I was producing videos about literacy projects/classes in El Salvador.  Classes taught by local women in their neighborhood.  They go door to door looking for students.  This organization has sixty classes just in San Salvador, teaching thousands of people to read -- most of them adults or elderly.

I had to make an effort not to read for a week and they are making huge sacrifices to learn how to read.    Such a huge contrast.

Well, now it's time for me to go and I didn't really say any of this quite right.  I don't think I even figured out what I was trying to say.  Just wanted to get something posted....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

still. not. reading.

So.  I'm still not reading.    No blogs, books, magazines, on-line articles, newspapers.  Nothing.  

Gotta say it's pretty weird.  

No I don't feel like I am having an amazing, cathartic, artistic awakening.  But I do feel like it's kind of been a good thing for me to do. 

I've been working on my quilt.  This is kind of a big deal for me because it was this thing sitting on a shelf in my office/sewing room. I walked by that quilt every day and every day thought to myself, "I need to get started on that."  It really bothered me that I wasn't working on it.  Now I am, and that feels really good.

I also played the piano.  First time in months.  Also another one of those things I walk by every day meaning to get to, but never quite do.

The thing about the quilting and the piano and even writing here is that when I don't get to them because I'm so busy with life I convince myself that those creative outlets are really not that important to me.  That I don't need them.  That they are not part of me, an important part of me.

But they are and I do need them and somehow this setting aside reading, making some space in my brain has given me a little time to think about that, get comfortable with the fact that I need those things, and to look for places in my day to fit them in.

Tomorrow I get on a plane for four hours -- yes, I am breaking the reading fast for that.  Trust me.  I have a brand new copy of The Monsters of Templeton which I can not wait to start.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Slowing Down

So have any of you done The Artist's Way?  This is my second try at it.    Today I hit week four -- the week of  Reading Deprivation.  Yeah, you are supposed to go one week without reading anything. 

Today was the first day of no reading and I have to say I was a little freaked out by it.  I kept wanting to wander in and mess around on the internet.  My son was excited because he figured it would mean I would play with him more.  Silly boy.  

OK.  I actually did play with him more.

I also pulled out the first quilt top I started when I started quilting three years ago and finally basted it.  Finally.  I also did a lot of sitting around doing nothing, which was nice.  I took a bunch of little 15 minute naps.  

I slowed down.  

I slowed down and I was a little more aware of my constant anxiety and I tried to let go of it a little.  

Maybe that is what it's about.  Slowing down, giving yourself permission to breath, be still, wonder, think, imagine.  

I did a lot of stuff around the house as well, in fact I had most of the chorish things done by 11:00 a.m. -- and usually I'm still struggling with them late in the afternoon because I've stuck so much in between working on them.

I don't know, this reading deprivation seems like it might be a little bit like hitting the reset button.  I think I might like it -- at least for a week.

Come next Saturday though?  Pretty sure I'll be doing some reading.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My First Time

I must have been about 12 or 13.   I hopped on my bike and rode down to the Woolworth's on Main Street.   I had been saving my money to buy one of those K-Tel compilation albums.  I'd had my eye on it for awhile.  The one song I wanted the album for?  Rock With You by Michael Jackson.

It was my first album.  Remember having to pick up the needle and setting it down in just the right spot to get to the next song?  After awhile you would never miss.

Pretty soon my album collection grew, and included David Cassidy and Leif Garrett  (you know you loved them too) and I forgot about that first album and that song I bought it for.

Even though I was one of those crazy chicks in high school with all four walls of her bedroom plastered in Michael Jackson posters, a drawer full of the magazines and books, who wore out two Thriller cassette tapes (I still have the third one somewhere) this is the memory I keep coming back to  -- me on my bike, riding down main street in a small town in Minnesota, walking into Woolworth's, picking up that album, my heart racing just a little as I paid for it.     

Thursday, June 11, 2009

a poem and unemployment update

I am officially downgrading my husband's chances of unemployment from 99% to 91%.  This is incredibly optimistic of me.  But what the hell. It's Thursday and I'm making mojitos tonight. Go me. 

There is some negotiating going on but because we are OK living off of my income I am comfortable with him not taking a cut in pay (50 percent cut is what they first offered him) and telling them to go jump in the lake.  

I realize we are much luckier than many people in this economy.  Like the guy I heard on NPR the other day who said his family would be OK if they did blah blah blah and stopped buying paper towels.  I'm still buying paper towels so things are not so bad.

OK, here's the poem from today's The Writer's Almanac:

Horses At Midnight Without A Moon

by Jack Gilbert

Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods.
Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt.
But there's music in us. Hope is pushed down
but the angel flies up again taking us with her.
The summer mornings begin inch by inch
while we sleep, and walk with us later
as long-legged beauty through
the dirty streets. It is no surprise
that danger and suffering surround us.
What astonishes is the singing.
We know the horses are there in the dark
meadow because we can smell them,
can hear them breathing.
Our spirit persists like a man struggling
through the frozen valley
who suddenly smells flowers
and realizes the snow is melting
out of sight on top of the mountain,
knows that spring has begun. 

"Horses At Midnight Without A Moon" by Jack Gilbert, from Refusing Heaven. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ten Things Tuesday -- The Unemployed Edition

Looks like The Man will be unemployed July 1 (we are 99 % sure).  

Ten things I am not looking forward to during his undetermined time of unemployment:

1.  Less money.

2.  Being the only one with a paying job.

3.  Him in the same house as me 24/7.

4.  Watching major home repairs not being done while he looks for work on-line while watching MSNBC/CNBC/The History Channel and (god help me) the Military Channel.

5.  Constantly asking him to make major home repairs instead of spending hours on-line while watching MSNBC/CNBC/The History Channel and (god help me) the Military Channel.  Oh, and looking for the job.

6.  Slowly watching his soul leak all over the house while he doesn't find work (can you tell I've been through this before).

7.   Delegating (on a daily basis) chores around the house -- like making the bed, doing the laundry.

8.  Finally giving up and just making the bed and doing the laundry myself.

9.  Finally really giving up and definitely not making the bed and barely doing the laundry myself.

10.  Drinking copious amounts of vodka to forget reasons 1 - 9 . Oh, wait I LIKE this one.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why I am Glad School Is Over

OK. Really I am done with school. Done.

First I lost the address and the directions to the pool party J10 is going to today. I have to pick him up at 2:30 and have no idea where to go -- I'm waiting for the school to call me back. I swear, I saved that piece of paper. I swear I did.

Then I just discovered that I gave one of the teachers a gift card to Barnes and Noble that has been used. Yeah. That's not embarrassing at all. I bought five cards because I wasn't sure if D7 had one teacher's aid or two. Yeah, I am totally THAT mom right now and I don't mean that in a good way. Because at the beginning of the year he had two aids in the room, but then one of them had to go and have a baby, but I wasn't sure if she was back or not. 'Cuz I'm all involved and always know what's going on at school.

SO. I have five cards, I find out I only need four. Sweet -- a gift card for me, the hard-working and always in-the-know Madge. Of course I spend it. Of course I do. Of course I put it back in my purse where all the other cards are just sort of floating around in their little gift card thingies that they are glued to with that very lacking weird adhesive crap that doesn't work.

So today I am giving out my last gift card to J10's teacher. I have two cards in my purse. I figure one of them is the one I used. So I call the number on the back to check the balance to find out which one I used.

Guess what? I didn't use either of these cards. Crap. I just gave a teacher a card with no freaking money on it and I don't know who got it. Yeah.

This is why I am glad school is out for the summer. No more projects. No more slips of paper with important info to keep track of (and then lose), no more homework, no more clean uniforms needed. No more embarrassing scenarios like the one above......

Happy Summer to me.

Oh. OK. Using my super-sleuth deductive skills I think I narrowed it down to the speech therapist. Good, she is the one that is most familiar with my, how do I say this? Inability to function? Yeah, that covers it. She's getting the extra card.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Caching Up With Madge

Good grief. It's been ten days since my last post. At least.

So what's been going on? My dog is incontinent. I know. It's so awesome. Once the frequency of the urinating on my bed or any blankets that fell on the floor increased to once a day I finally decided to take her to the vet. The solution is a pill twice a day. So far it is working. But I have to wonder for how long? At what point am I putting diapers on her? And how disturbed am I that so many people have asked me if she is wearing diapers yet?

What else? My baby graduates from kindergarten Wednesday. Yes, they do the cap and gown thing. Honestly I think it's a little much. But damn, they are so cute who cares?

J10 has a week of school left and then we are officially on summer break and for the first time I'm really looking forward to it and not freaking out about handling work and the boys. I am so lucky (blah blah blah) to work from home, but it's kind of tough to manage work and the kids for 12 weeks. Of course now I look back and wonder how I did it when they were babies and toddlers but I did.

I'm back to the whole insomnia thing but this time instead of laying in bed for 2 - 3 hours and second guessing every single inch of my life I'm just going to get up and blog. Such a better use of my time.

OH! I almost forgot. Shameless plug for a friend's blog: Please check out The Trifecta. This is not a mommy blog. Which is exactly why you should go there (and no I am not saying I dislike mommy blogs. I love them. I am one quite often.) It's actually written by a guy. A cool guy. God knows the blogosphere could use some more of them (and no I am not dogging my two or three known male readers -- I heart you guys. immensely.) I will now stop apologizing. Just go over there and check it out.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yeah. I'm THAT mom.

Early last week D7 brought home a note from school announcing that Friday (yesterday) was Pet Day and the kids should bring in pictures of their pets for show and tell. We have two dogs and a cat. D7 was excited about taking pictures in and I promised to print some for him.

I've been having trouble sleeping and I've also developed a lovely patch of hives on my arm. Yes, it is completely stress related. Thursday night I woke up around 2:00 with my arm itching. I was up for two hours until I took a triple dose of Triaminic Allergy medicine. I figured if kids 6 - 12 need two teaspoons, 42 year old women needed six teaspoons. I also added two (or three?) Advil.

I woke up at 7:00, crawled out of bed, made breakfast, crawled back in bed for 20 minutes, got up, made sure everyone was dressed and out the door and crawled back into bed until 9:00 (isn't this fascinating? I'm setting the scene ok?).

At 9:00 I crawled out of bed, made coffee and sat down at my desk where I discovered I had things to take care of ASAP. About 10:20 or so things slowed down and I started cleaning my desk off.

That's when I found the note about Pet Day and that show and tell would begin a 11:15. Crap. I had about 45 minutes to take pictures of the pets with my phone, print them, shower, and get to school.

The next 35 minutes were filled with snapping photos of the pets, unsuccessfully syncing the iPhone with the computer -- photos wouldn't download. Finally realizing I had to e-mail the photos to myself. Trying to print them, dealing with three or four paper jams -- each which meant I had to restart the printer. Can you imagine my language during this? I think you can. My office is an old sun porch and I am in there cussing up a storm. Loudly. The whole neighborhood could probably hear me.

Finally, about 11:03 I had photos of each pet.

I threw on some really horrible sweat pants, t-shirt, baseball cap since the whole shower thing hadn't happened. And the whole laundry thing hadn' happened for a few days. As I'm hopping in the car the neighbor's painter, who was painting the window trim, about six feet from my office, looked at me, smiled, and said, "'morning!" yeah. ha. I said "hi' hopped in the car and kept swearing under my breath. I said out loud to myself, "yeah, i'm THAT mom." The crazy one. The unorganized one. The swearing one. The unshowered, driving like a maniac always three steps behind one.

The whole way to school I was muttering "I'm THAT mom, I'm THAT mom."

I walked into the classroom minutes before show and tell started, handed Dave his photos, and sat down in the back.

When it was his turn D7 told the class about his three pets and sat down. There were a couple of kids who had pets but hadn't brought pictures. I don't know how they felt about it, but I knew how D7 would have felt. Because we had talked about it and I knew he was really looking forward to it.

On the way out of the classroom I ran into a teacher's aide I knew and she asked me why I was looking so harried and stressed out. I told her what had happened and she just smiled and said, "Yeah, but you made it. You're a great mom!"

Yeah. I am a great mom. I busted ass and made sure I followed through on a promise to my kid.

The whole way home I kept thinking to myself, Yeah, I'm THAT mom." But this time I was smiling.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Poem Thursday - Bukowski

I don't think I had read any Charles Bukowski until tonight. I think I like him. I just read a handful, there were several I liked.

I liked this one. It made me think of a friend who loves gambling and is headed back to work today after a bit of a vacation:

gamblers all

sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think,
I'm not going to make it, but you laugh inside
remembering all the times you've felt that way, and
you walk to the bathroom, do your toilet, see that face
in the mirror, oh my oh my oh my, but you comb your hair anyway,
get into your street clothes, feed the cats, fetch the
newspaper of horror, place it on the coffee table, kiss your
wife goodbye, and then you are backing the car out into life itself,
like millions of others you enter the arena once more.

you are on the freeway threading through traffic now,
moving both towards something and towards nothing at all as you punch
the radio on and get Mozart, which is something, and you will somehow
get through the slow days and the busy days and the dull
days and the hateful days and the rare days, all both so delightful
and so disappointing because
we are all so alike and so different.

you find the turn-off, drive through the most dangerous
part of town, feel momentarily wonderful as Mozart works
his way into your brain and slides down along your bones and
out through your shoes.

it's been a tough fight worth fighting
as we all drive along
betting on another day.

I liked a 340 dollar horse and a hundred dollar whore too. check it out, if you'd like. I think I am going to have to find out some more about Mr. Bukowski.....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

she writes one long nonsensical paragraph

so what i really want to know is when it stops, when it ends. how is it that other people are so sure of themselves, of their lives. of their beliefs? this has really been bothering me. i've mentioned i grew up in a conservative, cloistered denomination. wasn't really plugged in there, as far as buying into all the doctrines, but you know, was comfortable in the community because it was all i knew. then i left it. then i became a baptist. i know. frying pan/fire kind of thing. not sure who is the frying pan. who is the fire. not sure. thing is i love my church. i love quite a few of the people i've gotten to know at my church. even though there have been times i have been horrified when some of the really conservative freaky stuff comes flying out of their mouth like stuff about abortion or racial issues. it's enough to make me want to pack my bags and get the hell out of here. but of course it's not quite that easy because i have roots here, kids, family. and my kids love their school. best school ever. except for the whole conservative freaky stuff. so then i find myself connecting more with people here in the blogosphere and i start questioning again what am i doing here and then i start looking back at spots in my life, forks in the road where, quite franky, i simply went the wrong way. and then i start seeing people that seem damn sure about where they are and not just that but so damn sure they are so right about everything. and the people that think they are so damn right? they scare me. they scare the crap out of me and really i guess they are everywhere. those people make me want to run and hide. i'm a runner. really i am. a hider. a questioner though. i do question. i do believe 42 is to young to have decided i know everything and that my narrow little world is the only right world so even though i live in what sometimes seems a very small narrow little world at least i do not believe that i have to fit into it that i can go out of it even when i'm here. the thing is i didn't know i would be so dissatisfied and angry at 42. no one told me and also i think that i thought that by the time i hit 42 everything should be on track and perfect which is just stupid and i hope i hope i hope i don't teach my kids that there is some kind of end goal in life but to rather really, and i know it's a total cliche, but i hope they learn to enjoy the journey and all that. to see the beauty in the little things, the joy and peace in a quiet, rainy, may afternoon, a cat sleeping next to you, spewing stupid crazy shit out into the internet. i hope they can be o.k. with the wondering. and the wandering for that matter. i hope they stay a little truer to themselves than i have, although i think that is what i am angry at myself for. not being true to myself and also not admitting that actually i do know what i believe and i am a big chicken shit so much of the time. and that is not where i meant to go with this at all. and if you are still reading this maybe you should wonder why you are still reading it and also sorry for the no caps, but really i hate caps.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Taking The Day Off

When I was growing up Sunday was a work around the house day. I was raised in a SDA family and Friday night sundown to Saturday night sundown we did not do any work of any kind at all. We didn't shop, we didn't do laundry, we didn't even fill the car with gas. We went to church, hung out with family and napped. Actually not a bad way to spend a day -- although it was a very very legalistic environment.

Sunday was a different story. My mom was a single working mom and rose early on Sunday and got right to it. Laundry. Yard work. Errands. Projects around the house. Gardening (not the same thing as yard work -- trust me).

I found out as an adult that my grandmother would actually show up on Sunday mornings and say , "Ok, what are we doing today?" or worse, "Today we are going to......" and she would have some big project for my mom to do IN OUR HOUSE. And my mom would just do it (this is obviously a whole 'nother post).

Sadly I have inherited the work-like-a-dog-around-the-house-on-the-weekend mentality. Although I've mellowed a bit. I'm not an SDA now, so Saturday, like many people, is my day to do stuff around the house.

Yesterday I had a wonderful girl's day out in Atlanta with a friend and came home to a house that looked worse than usual.

So of course I hopped out of bed this morning, even though I was feeling exhausted and kind of yucky, and tried to get right at it. I made this ridiculous, impossible to do list and immediately felt overwhelmed. I wanted a nap. I wanted to sit on the deck and read a book. I wanted to sew, and blog and just chill. All day.

And then I realized something. I can do that. I can totally take the day off. I can lounge, read, sew, blog, sleep. And it's all going to be here tomorrow. And the world isn't going to end. In fact, the world is probably going to be a better place.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poem Thursday -

This poem was on The Writer's Almanac a couple of days ago. I only spent a few minutes this morning, but I couldn't find much of a bio on Sharon Bryan. I did find this link to a couple of other poem.


by Sharon Bryan

Middle age refers more
to landscape than to time:
it's as if you'd reached

the top of a hill
and could see all the way
to the end of your life,

so you know without a doubt
that it has an end—
not that it will have,

but that it does have,
if only in outline—
so for the first time

you can see your life whole,
beginning and end not far
from where you stand,

the horizon in the distance—
the view makes you weep,
but it also has the beauty

of symmetry, like the earth
seen from space: you can't help
but admire it from afar,

especially now, while it's simple
to re-enter whenever you choose,
lying down in your life,

waking up to it
just as you always have—
except that the details resonate

by virtue of being contained,
as your own words
coming back to you

define the landscape,
remind you that it won't go on
like this forever.

"Foreseeing" by Sharon Bryan, from Flying Blind. © Sarabande Books, 1996

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

School Projects

Yesterday J10 turned in one of those do-at-home school projects. It was an Arthurian shield. We worked on it last week.

I hate school projects. Hate them.

Honestly. It looked like shit. I love my son more than anything in the world. Love him. The kid can't draw. And that's OK. I'm OK with that. That is not my issue here. I have two -- other parents and me.

Other Parents

There are two fourth grade classes in our school. The other class turned their shields in last week and they are proudly displayed in the hallway at school. So I had a chance to check them out. I don' know what instructions the other teacher sent home but the sheet I got specifically said children were to do their own artwork and it was to be drawn -- not printed off the computer. Some of those shields looked like mummy and dada had called up a local ad agency and hired an art director. I don't really care what they are teaching their kid. I care that my son's work, that already is, shall we say, lacking, has to hang up next to the professional's stuff. Or at least something that was done by an adult. Saturday while he was working on his shield he started saying things like, "this looks horrible" and "i can't draw." Yeah, I said all the stuff I thought I should about doing your own work, even if drawing isn't your thing, you are so good at other things, etc. etc. etc. But it really cranks me that he's not on a fair playing field and he's to young to really understand that. So he's left feeling inadequate. I wish those parents realized what they were doing to the kids that are following the rules.


So. We're working on the project Saturday. He has to draw four things on the shield. We've made shield, divided it into four sections, he's put his motto on it, drawn one of the illustrations, has three left. We are leaving in two hours. He has to have it done before we leave.

I sit at the table with him. We talk about what he'll draw to illustrate his hobbies, his future plans. After finding every possible excuse not to start (I need water, I need to go to the bathroom) he finally starts working. But it's all "I can't do this." "I don't know what to do." etc. etc. etc.

Forty-five minutes in my patience is gone. The husband is sitting on the couch watching t.v., surfing the internet and interjecting positive reinforcement statements like, "get to work!" "stop screwing around" etc. etc. etc.

Finally I lose it. I'm saying things things like "hurry UP!" "get to freaking work" my voice is getting louder and louder. my husband is chiming in, louder and louder. J10s face is clouding up, his eye's filling with tears. I finally pull this one out - "Do you think I LIKE my job? Do you? Do you think I like going to work every day? I HATE it!!! But I have to. There are things in life you HAVE to do. No one likes working! But we all have to! NOW GET THIS DONE!!"

The whole time I am saying this I am thinking this "what the F@ck is wrong with you? why are you setting him up to think he has to hate his life? to hate working? to not find something fulfilling? WHY ARE YOU YELLING???"

J10 bursts into tears, yells "you always yell at me! you guys make me feel HORRIBLE"

And he's right. I was making him feel horrible.

He grabbed a marker and started coloring and of course totally screwed up what he was working on and then he really burst into tears.

The worst thing was? It was like looking in a mirror. Everything about J10 and his approach to this project is me. me me me. the lack of belief in himself, the procrastination, the doubt, everything. As soon as I was done ranting at him and looked him in the eye it hit me. hard. i knew how he was feeling because i had felt it a million times. i still do.

I took a deep breath. Told him we could fix it. Cut out a new piece of posterboard, glued it over the ruined section so you couldn't even see it, the whole time telling him I was sorry, that nothing is life is not fixable (which actually isn't true, bu we'll get to that later in life I guess -- some things you can' do over, some things are not repairable), that we could fix it, that I understood.

So, yeah, I calmed down, we ended up having fun. sort of. and finishing the project. I feel horrible still though. I don't know how to help him, not with the big things, like changing his attitude and how he feels about himself. I hope I can help him figure some of that out sooner than I did. That's all I'm hoping for.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Perfect Post

Sometime during the night I wrote the perfect post. It was lyrical, precise, elegant. It described how I’ve been feeling perfectly – in about six or eight sentences. I should have gotten up and written it down but I was half asleep.

Maybe I was dreaming.

I remembered it mid-morning, somewhere between the relay games and sno-cones during field day at school. Not the exact words, but that it had happened. That I had put words together in my head that were just right, just the way I wanted.

At 10:00 a.m. I couldn’t remember a single sentence.

Maybe I’m a different person at 3:00 a.m. than I am during the day.

Maybe it’s that there isn’t any noise then. There isn’t anyone needing me. I’m not feeling pushed and pulled and wanted or taken for granted. I’m not awake enough to let self-pity sneak in or to remember what it was I was worrying about when I fell asleep.

Maybe 3:00 a.m. is when I believe in myself the most.

Maybe I’m just dreaming.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poem Thursday

Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton, 'We are All Writing God's Poem'

by Barbara Crooker

Today, the sky's the soft blue of a work shirt washed
a thousand times. The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step. On the interstate listening
to NPR, I heard a Hubble scientist
say, "The universe is not only stranger than we
think, it's stranger than we can think." I think
I've driven into spring, as the woods revive
with a loud shout, redbud trees, their gaudy
scarves flung over bark's bare limbs. Barely doing
sixty, I pass a tractor trailer called Glory Bound,
and aren't we just? Just yesterday,
I read Li Po: "There is no end of things
in the heart," but it seems like things
are always ending—vacation or childhood,
relationships, stores going out of business,
like the one that sold jeans that really fit—
And where do we fit in? How can we get up
in the morning, knowing what we do? But we do,
put one foot after the other, open the window,
make coffee, watch the steam curl up
and disappear. At night, the scent of phlox curls
in the open window, while the sky turns red violet,
lavender, thistle, a box of spilled crayons.
The moon spills its milk on the black tabletop
for the thousandth time.

This Scares Me

OK. I've been meaning to post for weeks and I can't seem to get back here. Or get to your blogs either. My boss sent me this video this morning and it really scares me.

I don't know why I feel compelled to post it. The longer you watch it the scarier it is. That the congregation is cheering him on, that they probably think he's been filled with the spirit. That he can imitate his preacher so well. That even though he's not actually preaching he's getting the same inflections he sees every week -- it's just an act for him. How often is it just an act?

That his parents think this is ok -- I don't know what they really think, but I'm assuming they either think it is adorable, a blessing, a sign, or all of those, I don't know. It creeps me out.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

life is to short to wear stupid pants

I need some type of warning device that goes off whenever I begin to ask my husband this question:

"Does this look OK?"

Maybe a big red flashing light in my room or some sort of bracelet I could wear that would shock me when I look to him for fashion advice.

This morning as I was dressing for church I pulled on a pair of black cropped pants from last summer, a new sweater with 3/4 length sleeves and a pair of black patent flats. Hmmmm. I wasn't really sure it was working. But I was close to running late. The man was still in bed (yeah, his platform bed) and I handed him his glasses and uttered those fateful words, "Do these shoes work?"

"Yeah," he says. And it's always with this little lift in his voice -- like he's trying to be really helpful or something.

I'm such an idiot.

Actually, I don't think it was that bad. But about half way through the second service at church (I'm in the choir so usually end up in both services, for at least part of the service) my mind was wandering and I was eyeing the outfits on the 500 women out there in the congregation. I had already deeply examined the women in choir during sound check. I do not advice entering a church in the south unless you are feeling quite fine about your appearance 'cuz the southern girls? They can dress. My confidence in my outfit, or maybe I should say my reluctant decision to wear my outfit, was fading.

So I'm up there singing Palm Sunday type songs for the third time and I'm totally thinking about clothes. I know. I'm thinking about my stupid pants and that really I hated them all last summer and I think I had sworn to get rid of them. And then I had an epiphany, right there in church, up on stage, in front of 800 people.

Life is to short to wear stupid pants.

Why didn't I just get rid of them last year when I started hating them? Cuz they still fit? I mean, really, I'm not even sure I'm supposed to be wearing cropped pants. Isn't there some kind of age rule or something about them? I'm not good at this. I don't know. But I can tell you this -- I really hate those pants.

So I came home and threw them in the bag for Goodwill. Good riddance I say. Life is to short.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Dog is Pissed

and other reasons I've been gone for a month

Sam, our 11 year old mutt, has a little behavior problem. When she's upset with us she pees on our bed. I know. It's nice. It started about six or seven months ago. I called the vet and they said they thought it was behavioral. She was randomly peeing on my husband's side of the bed.

About a month ago my husband built himself a platform bed. Yeah, I'm going to blog about this soon, I'm sure. So now my husband sleeps in a bed above me and I have the king all to myself and can I tell you? It's so freaking awesome. More on the whys of this later.

So right after he moved into his new bed she peed on his blankets when he left them on the floor (why are his blankets on the floor instead of his bed? I wish I knew). We think she was mad at him for not being in a place where she could sleep with him.

My mom visited for eight days. She spent the first seven nights at a hotel, but the last night she slept at our house (and I was out of town -- yeah, my husband was mad). Well, my dog was so worn out, as were the rest of us, by my mom's visit she peed on the bed my mom was sleeping in WHILE MY MOM WAS IN THE BED. No kidding. That's how freaked out, nervous and worn out this family is when my mom visits.

Last Saturday we packed up the kids and went to the beach for spring break. We got home Thursday, picked up the dogs from the kennel, and Sam has peed twice on our beds. Yes, we are ready to kill her.

Today I'm trying to catch up on laundry -- which includes all the bedding.

I opened my Reader today and there were 1000+ posts in it. 1,000. I'm a little behind. Of course I cleared it out and am starting over with reading.

It's been crazy busy. Plus it's spring in middle Georgia and honestly it's kind of mesmerizing. You just want to be outside and you kind of walk around in a haze, taking it all in.

My six year old turned seven, my mom visited, I had a girls trip to Atlanta for the quilting Shop Hop, I spent six days at the beach with my family and played seven or eight games of mini-golf.

I have lots to post about -- my husbands new bed (did I mention it's awesome?) the wisteria, my son's obsession with mini-golf, my reaching the end of the rope with my kitchen (I think) Facebook (OK every blogger ends up blogging about FB eventually).

I've missed writing, I've missed reading. I've missed all of you.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Poem Thursday - Lucky You

You are so lucky it's Poem Thursday or you would be hearing about how D6 is home sick AGAIN. Three days last week with a cold/cough/fever. This morning he threw up.

Oh, I wasn't going to tell you about that.

So I'm in a Mary Oliver/Billy Collins/Pablo Neruda rut.

If anyone has some suggestions of other poets I should read please let me know.

But for today -- Mary Oliver. This one is from Thirst.

A Pretty Song

From the complications of loving you
I think there is no end or return.
No answer, no coming out of it.

Which is the only way to love, isn't it?
This isn't a playground, this is
earth, our heaven, for a while.

Therefore I have given precedence
to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods
that hold you in the center of my world.

And I say to my body: grow thinner still.
And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song.
And I say to my heart: rave on.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ten Things Tueday

Ten Things I'm Going to Do Today

1. Take D6 to the library

2. Try and find all the library books that are due

3. Get the evil eye from the librarian because I will be checking out books with other books overdue and not found yet.

4. Talk to an old friend from college that I haven't talked to since college -- she's calling me tonight.

5. Try and help J10 figure out how to manage homework -- as in have a long-term plan for projects and upcoming tests (huge massive sigh).

6. Read

7. Play even more Scrabble and Word Twist on FB.

8. Make risotto

9. Get my kids and husband to try the risotto (this probly will not happen)

10. Take a nap (ok, this is probly not happening either)

Monday, March 2, 2009

3:01 a.m.

If I would have gotten up and written at 1:57 a.m., when I first woke up, I'd probably be asleep right now.

I feel like my life has turned into one of those crazy stop-motion films and it's taking me to long to set up the next shot.

I know it's all over when I end up on my back, eyes wide open, staring at the window covered in one of those temporary paper shades.

The light comes in like the light before it snows. Except of course it doesn't snow because it's Georgia. Except it did snow yesterday and the boys have an actual real snow day tomorrow, so my insomnia has an added sense of holiday to it. Nice. Helpful.

I know I'm in trouble when I end up on my back because I can't sleep on my back. I sleep on my side. Semi-fetal, blankets pulled up close to my mouth, hands tucked under the pillow, sometimes fists clenched. I figure it's all about safety. Protection.

I figure it's all about growing up scared and alone and waiting.

I've had two therapists tell me I was probably sexually abused by my brother and that I've repressed it. Both therapists I only saw once or twice. Both listening to me spill out a brief history of my childhood and recent experiences and quickly telling me I was abused, listing the signs, putting the fear of God into me and then sending me on my way.

My other two therapists, the two I spent over a year with -- one in my mid-twenties, the other in my late thirties -- seemed to dismiss this theory. Or rather, they took it in with that neutral expression in which they take most information from you. My last therapist seemed to think I had plenty in my present to work on, thank-you very much. She was right, I did.

At this point I've decided if it happened, it happened, if it didn't it didn't. The abuse I do remember has been enough to deal with.

My brother called me several months ago --the first time I had talked to him in nine years. The reconnection that seemed about to happen during that phone call never really took. I don't know. I know my reasons for keeping him out of my life, I can only guess at his.

Now it's 3:19 a.m. I still don't feel sleepy, I'll maybe catch up on some blogs cruise Facebook, read some mail, but eventually I'll put the computer down, stay here on the couch, roll over to semi-fetal, pull the blankets up close to my mouth, close my eyes and wait, still kind of scared. Still kind of alone.

Friday, February 27, 2009

again, just kind of here

ugh. when will this end? it does kind of wear me out having a sick kid. he's mildly sick, nothing serious, just hasn't shaken it. in fact, he was bouncing around all morning. i gave up after lunch and laid on the couch. fell asleep while he was narrating something to me about something or other.

then we took j10 to the eye doctor for an eye exam, with d6, just along for the ride.

ok, the people working there commented on my reading skills. i'm just sayin. if you need someone to read a reptile book out loud in public you should call me.

yeah, the eye exam was so fun. j10 kind of freaked out and the eye doctor (who does not have children) started quizzing me about him, had he been through anything traumatic, blah blah blah.

i'm standing there in my really ratty cardigan, hair drooping, cold coming on, makeup? i have no idea if i got that far today. i'm standing there exhausted and wanting to say 'well, he's had me for a mother for 10 years? whatcha think that's been like? traumatic?

but i didn't. i gave her a mini lecture on sensory integration disorder, got him settled back in the chair and focused and then high-tailed it for home when it was over and took a little nap at 5:00 p.m.

i swear some day i'm going to get my sense of humor back.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just Here

I'm just here cuz I said I would be and I'd like to actually follow through on something for once.

It was kind of a long day. D6 stayed home with a cold and around 9:00 my mother-in-law called and asked if I could spend the day with her. So I packed up D6 (books, toys, snacks), drove out to Nana's and realized she needed to see the doctor. Which meant going to the walk-in clinic since she couldn't get into her GP. Three fun-loving hours later, with D6 now running a fever, it was discovered Nana is not eating or drinking enough. She had knee replacement surgery three weeks ago and just hasn't gotten her appetite back.

So it's been a long day, and probably a few more busy days ahead, but it's good.

I'm so glad Nana called me instead of trying to soldier through on her own. Now we know what we have to do -- force her to eat and drink. So that's what we'll do. Hopefully without D6 developing pneumonia like he has done twice in the past twelve months.

So I'm just here tonight cuz I said I would be and that's about it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

i get it, i get it.

this is one of the tough ones right? in the middle. the middle ages. middle aged. oh, don't tell me i'm not middle aged at almost 42. you know i am. come on. 42 plus 42 equals 8fucking4. right?

so in the middle, taking care of the kids, hoping against all hope they make it.

in the middle, watching our parents age, struggle, refuse help.

wondering -- are these the good years? the great years?

yeah, i know i was all morose and creepy yesterday. i'm a little not that much like that today.

my youngest stayed home with a cough/congestion and we are endlessly reading animal books in between me working.

my poor mother-in-law, who would not at all be pleased i was blogging about her, tried to drive herself to a doctors appointment 90 minutes from her house. she is recovering from knee replacement surgery and is having a horrible week, lots of pain, doesn't want to ask for help. i think she's hit a wall this week, feeling completely alone, her husband dead three years, and struggling through this recovery that is probably more than she thought it would be. she sounds bright and forced on the phone and i know she is near tears. we're doing what we can, what we should, and what she'll let us.

it's sunny and in the 60s today -- or will be. i can go wander around the backyard and check on my spinach, parsley, cilantro and lettuce i planted a few weeks ago. i can get the mail and check on all the pansies i planted in january that have somehow survived and are starting to look like something.

it's not all bad, it's mostly good. but i wish i could get at that little nagging part of me that won't let go -- telling me to not forget myself.

oh, that's it isn't it. that's the trick. taking care of all of them and not forgetting myself. that's where i'm headed, that's what i'm trying to do. at least for today.