Friday, December 2, 2016

Weaning: The End of an Era

It's been over 48 hours, and I'm calling it: after 1,367 days, my milkies are officially retired. 

I was afraid we wouldn't make it past the first 3 weeks, but we survived thrush, teething, night feedings...  And then there was a new baby - learning to nurse a newborn while in the same room with her still-nursing sister.  Learning why God gave us two? 

3 years 8 months and 26 days of interrupted nights so I could nourish and comfort and bond with my babies.  Countless sour looks and tilted heads when I answered "Yes, we're still nursing" as the weeks and months and years ticked if I were doing something wrong, something unnatural.  The early days when it was ridiculous for me to not be giving them bottles full of rice cereal at 3 months, completely wrong for me to not feed them purees from jars at 4 months, just weird for me to give them whole pieces of banana and avocado at 6 months...I've been feeding them all wrong from the get go.  "Just give them a bottle, it'll be easier."  "They'll sleep better if you'll stop breastfeeding and give them a bottle with cereal."  "They're too old to still be nursing, Natalie." 

I did what I thought was the best.  I do every day.  I wake up every day and make the best choices I can in the hopes that I'm making a good start, a good life for them.  It's been time to end this, but I needed, for myself and for Cora, to make it to Cora's second birthday.  I also had to find a way to cut them off near that date without it becoming "Cora turned 2 and the milkies went away," because Geneva is serious about her milkies and I could honestly see that becoming a therapy talking-point in her later years if I screwed this up.  We've been talking for a few months about how milkies are only for little babies, and when babies grow bigger, the milkies dry up and go way. So when we were driving home Wednesday evening, and I told them that the milkies were almost all gone, they didn't freak out.  That night, we nursed before bed as usual, and I told them that was the last time.  The next morning, they asked, but didn't fight me when I gently told them no and redirected them.  Same at bedtime last night, and again this morning.  I was out tonight when they went to bed, but G was still awake when I got home - she asked me to lay with her, but didn't ask for milkies.  This is a huge positive and it makes my heart so happy - I've dreaded and delayed this because of my fear of how the transition would go.  Once again, my kids are better than I give them credit for - they understand when we talk to them, and if we don't give them room for argument, they don't argue.  Well.  Sometimes. 

This has been such a huge part of my life for so long; I'm sad that it's over, but only because it's always sad for me when chapters close.  It's exciting too - maybe now the girls will start sleeping through the night and we can get some actual sleep and not be zombies all the time!  But also, the girls are growing up, and that's so exciting - they're such neat little people, and I just love watching them turn into the awesome people they're going to be.  And I'll always be so grateful and proud of my amazing body - I didn't just grow them inside me and bring them into this world, I nourished them and kept them alive, too.  That's miraculous.  I got to be an active part in two miracles.  That's a pretty good feeling. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

We're all sick, so we're skipping the family gatherings this year to stay home and try to recuperate together. We've been to Kroger twice today - Jimi went out this morning for meds and some miscellaneous fixin's to help us create a mini-Thanksgiving dinner, and within 2 hours I was back for pie plates (totally thought I had one) and convenience foods because, well, sick + toddlers = we need easy stuff. So far the menu for tonight is: Bacon Spam, Dressing, Mac & Cheese, Ve...getable Soup, Corn on the Cob, Salad with Olive Garden Dressing (that is an important detail if you want the toddlers to actually eat the salad)...

(We were originally going to have chicken breasts, but dammit, I love bacon spam, and it's way easier than thawing and dealing with raw chicken, so eff it, guess what's the main course tonight? Go on. Judge me.)

Also, I'm baking a Derby pie, because I love pecan pie + chocolate chips. We don't need it, but I'm going to eat it anyhow, and without guilt. Same with those TGIFriday's tater skins I bought.

I'm thankful that our sickness is temporary and mild. I'm thankful for my husband whose good humor and self control holds our family together when the females in the house start to lose their minds. I'm thankful for my little girls, who are miracles by whom I will never stop being amazed. I'm thankful for a warm home and plentiful food. I'm thankful for amazing family and friends. I'm thankful for my new work home, and the happiness that comes from a job and coworkers you genuinely enjoy.

2016 has been so awful outside of the walls of our humble little home - there is so much anger and fear and cruelty. I'm thankful for the privilege that has kept us mostly insulated from most of the awful - we are so fortunate to be in a position to literally decide we just don't want to see it anymore, and we can turn it off and walk away and pretend it doesn't even exist. I try hard to remember to be thankful, and to look for the good - there is so much good.

I hope your day and weekend is full of love. I hope you have people tell you they love you, and I hope you have people to say it to. I hope you get good strong hugs that make you feel safe. I hope there's warm delicious food to eat. I hope you have a comfortable place to sit while you eat your meal, and afterward, I hope the dessert is sweet and the coffee strong. I hope the conversation flows easily and is sprinkled with laughter. I hope you're able to find time to do whatever it is that recharges you and makes you feel awesome. I hope this Thanksgiving is the best Thanksgiving ever for you and yours.

I love you.

So yeah. Happy Thanksgiving, yo.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


I went to bed at 10 o'clock.  I felt sick, full of nervousness and fear.  I woke up several times throughout the night, but didn't peek at my phone until sometime after 3.  I don't think I actually went back to sleep after that. 

I had to be at work early - I had meetings with 4 customers today.  All of whom were positively giddy over the election results.  I sat in a room with three men while they laughingly discussed how their small children asked "Is she going to jail now?", and how they just hoped they held off on convicting her until after Obama is out of office, so he can't pardon her.  It took every ounce of my professionalism and self-restraint to not walk out of the room, or worse.   

I listened to yesterday's Moth podcast episode - do you listen to Moth podcasts?  You should.  This one was a story about a family's voting legacy - one that began with literacy tests.  I cried. 

I still feel like I need to just let it go and have a good cry.  I got myself going this morning by repeatedly reminding myself to not stress over things I cannot control, to focus on the immediate things in my life that I can do something about - like calming G down because she hates these white socks and wanted the pink socks.  I remind myself that I voted for them, for the ideas I have about the world I want them to grow up in.  I read Facebook and Instagram and most of you are hurting today in the same way I am; you're scared like me; you're worried what this all means. 

So, for now, I'm just going to keep on keeping on.  I'm going to teach my little girls to treat others as they want to be treated. I'm going to surround them with this amazing village of ours, full of brilliant and compassionate people who aren't scared.

I'm going to try to learn to be less scared, too. 

I can't believe how depressed I am over this shit.  I feel like someone died. 

I hope.  I hope.  I hope. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


I just want to take a nap and wake up when it's all over. So much nervous excitement! I woke up a few times throughout the night, excited and scared and nervous and anxious...all of the feels. Like that tweet said, Christmas Eve and the night before a life-endangering surgery.

I held my almost-2-year-old as I stood in line this morning to cast my ballot. We've been through three elections in this home, at this polling place, and we've never stood in line. We had to par...k outside the gates because the lot was full. I fought back the misty tears that threatened to spill over. Jimi held our 3 year old's hand. I thought of what this day is going to mean for them. More mist.

I filled in that bubble that wavered in and out of focus because of my emotional tear ducts, surrounded by the usual chaos of life with toddlers, urging Geneva not to shake the polling booths as I cast my ballot, trying to keep Cora from dive-bombing out of my arms onto the floor. This significant, historic moment, rolled up and mingled with all the normal day-to-day.

I voted for them. I voted for their future. Because, I gotta be honest, this election cycle has brought out a lot of feelings of guilt for this shit show we've brought them into. I'm hoping that tonight will remind me of the inherent good in the world; that most people genuinely do want to do what's best for their fellow human.

Just two hours ago.

I'm disgusted.  I hope I wake up and the tide has turned. 

I'm so scared.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election Eve

It's almost over.  YAY! 

I have a feeling I'll drink a few tomorrow night.  Hopefully in celebration and not despair.  I'm meeting clients for breakfast Wednesday, so at least I'll be able to feed a hangover if necessary.  Though I don't think I will be able to take any gloating...

I hope we have a clear winner this time tomorrow.  I hope it doesn't drag on and on and on. 

I hope it's a motherfucking landslide.

I'm With Her. 

Forward, not backward. 

Love, not hate.

Hope, not fear.

Go Vote. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I miss sleep.

We've had a rough week.  Well, not really, but we've not slept much.  Maybe it's Halloween, the changing season, the unseasonably warm weather - for whatever reason, the girls have had a hard time going to bed, and then they've woken around midnight every night, and again at 3 - it's been rough.  Jimi and I are both operating on very low levels of rest, so we're grouchy and exhausted and a little delirious at times. 

Our girls have never been great sleepers.  Maybe for a night or two when they were itty bitty.  Mostly, they've gotten up at least once or twice (or five times) a night for their entire lives.  When you consider that I also was waking several times a night beginning at about month 5 of my pregnancy with Geneva, that's 4 solid years of shitty sleep for me.  I'm so fucking tired. 

I blame myself.  Of course I do.  I'm their mom, it's obviously my fault that something about them is not ideal.  Right?  Seriously, I think it's because I've nursed them on demand for so long, because I've never sleep trained them, I've never consistently made them stay in their beds and cry themselves to sleep - so of course Geneva runs into my bedroom at 2 a.m. and demands I go lay down with her, because "3 year olds are very little and need their mommies!" (as she tearfully explains).  Of course Cora wakes at 3:35 every morning and refuses to even pretend to attempt to go back to sleep until her diaper has been changed and her belly has been filled with milkies. 

Cora turns two on the 15th of this month.  I'm done.  I'm cutting them off.  It's so far beyond time to end this sweet period in our lives that it's no longer sweet - it's a sour burden that I dread and resent and man, that's not how it's supposed to be. 

I don't know how we're going to do this just yet.  I've started taking to them about how mommies only have milkies when the babies are little and need the milkies, and now that they're both such big girls, mommy isn't going to have milkies anymore, that the milkies will go away.  Geneva understood this to mean: "Your milkies are going to go away because we're big.  Then you'll have little nipples like me."  So we've got some more talking to do, but I think she mostly gets the idea.

I'm just so tired.  If this doesn't work, I'm going to have to start sleeping on a blowup mattress upstairs.  They wouldn't think to look for me upstairs.  And I bet after a few nights of mommy not responding to their middle-of-the-night wake-ups, I bet they'd cut that shit right out.  We found an article recently that talked about how it's been scientifically proven that children behave worse in front of their mothers than in front of any other adult; I'm so glad it's not just true in my home.  My girls aren't bad, they are very sweet and wonderful - they're just manipulative as fuck when it comes to me and I'm a sucker.

So that's where we are in the Fowler home at 7:26 this lovely Saturday morning in November.  I don't know if it's actually a lovely Saturday or not - it's still dark outside.  We turn the clocks back tonight, so it can be dark when we get to work and dark when we get home for a few months, to challenge our society's mental health status. 

I'm a ray of sunshine this morning.  I should probably take a nap... 

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Hi Facebook!  I've been avoiding you for days now because all of the politics makes me angry and sad and anxious.  My brain is quieter now than it has been for weeks, and I haven't dreamed about Donald or Hillary once in the last couple days.  But I also missed some great pictures and announcements and opportunities to find out what's going on in the lives of the people I love.  But I spent way more time playing with my kids and walking my dog.  Why is Facebook so good and bad both at the same time?

I got a new phone.  It seems pretty cool, but I'm still really bummed about those lost voice recordings.  So incredibly bummed.  When Jimi and I first started dating, I had a hard time understanding what he meant when he talked about attachment being the source of all pain, and how as a Buddhist, he strives to let go of attachment.  I thought he was just trying to creatively tell me he wanted to hook up with other chicks, but that wasn't the case.  He was talking real deep stuff, and while I can grasp the idea and concept, I'm really really bad at the practice and application of avoiding attachment to things.  I catch myself thinking about those lost singalongs with my sweet girl, and I get so deeply sad knowing I'll never hear them again... I have to remind myself that I enjoyed them in the moment, and again later the times I listened to them or played them for others, and it's okay that they're gone.  I have her, we will sing so many more songs together.  We will tell so many more stories.  I shouldn't waste those potential moments mourning moments that are already over.

I read too much Facebook.  It's still really noisy. 

I just decided I really do like my new phone.  So at least there's that. 

Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I've decided to mostly stay away from Facebook for the next month, at least until after the election is over.  My feed has become a 24/7 blast of screaming election noise, and I can't take it.  I wake up in the middle of the night panicked at the idea that Donald Trump could be our next President, worried how I can convince everyone I know to not vote for him.  I am so disappointed with it all.  And you know, it's all based on where we get our news.  It's entirely possible in this country for two equally intelligent people to come to completely different conclusions based on which station they tune their radio to on their way to work in the mornings, which channel they're watching when the nightly news comes on.  And we surround ourselves with people who think like us, so we repeat the same stories to each other, making fiction into fact, or embellishing fact into fiction. 

Anyhow, Facebook moratorium.  Sort of.  Mostly.  For today, so far.  I turned off the notifications on my phone, but I didn't delete it.  So there's how you know I'm not completely committed here.  I can feel a difference already, though.  Seriously.  My mind is quieter, I'm not as anxious.  I'm legit scared about the potential outcomes of this election, but I can't bear to think about it anymore.  I'm practicing my serenity prayer, practicing the power of positive thinking, reminding myself that I cannot change the way things will be - that I only have one vote.  I do not have the emotional strength to try to change peoples' minds.  I do not want to have debates with people I respected up until we started this election cycle.  So I'm going to try really hard to avoid any mention of politics for the next few weeks.  I'm not going to think about what is hanging in the balance. I'm going to focus on my family and myself instead of rich people who don't give one single fuck about me.  I'm going to do the best I can each day to recognize and appreciate how awesome this life is, right this minute, and I'm not going to worry too much about the big looming questions of the future and what may be.

Tonight, for example, after dinner, instead of me sending the girls off to play while I got more and more angry at the internet and all of the dumb people on it, my phone stayed in my bag, and Cora and I took Finn for a walk around the block.  It was awesome - we chatted and ran and laughed.  She's getting so big so fast, and I'm missing so much of it just for the fact of having to work and be away from her most of the day 5 days a week; I really should try harder to not waste the little time I do have with them with my face buried in a screen, my blood pressure spiking over things I can't control. 

They started a new daycare this week, and I'm so glad and excited for it.  This one is so far above and beyond what we had; they have a curriculum! they have two teachers in every classroom! they have cameras recording constantly! they are organized!  In short, I love this new school. It's closer to my office, and so far seems to have adjusted our commute in a way that gets us home in much better time.  Or maybe that's just the shifted traffic pattern now that the bridges and roads are opening back up along the KY/IN border, but whatever. 

Life is good.  I need to remember that in the moment, and not just at the end of the day, after a beer or two, when I'm getting all sentimental and reflective.  Life is so so good.  And so short.  I should not sweat the small stuff.  It's all small stuff.  When did I get so uptight?  What's got me all wound up and bitchy?  Maybe I need to disconnect from everything for a while, see if I can get down to the fundamentals.  I'm sure there are journals and study guides out there that help you discover yourself, right?  I'm not going to spend my money on one, but I'd consider reading some information like that online for free. 

I'm starting to talk crazy talk.  I think maybe it's time for bed.  Sweet dreams.  :)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

As a mother of daughters, to all mothers of sons:

As a mother of daughters, to all mothers of sons:

I respectfully ask that you please, please take this moment, in light of the most recent political news, to speak to your boys and young men about how to treat women.

Talk to them about how you grew up being told that you needed to watch what you wore so you wouldn't be assaulted.

Talk to them about how at every party you've ever been to, you had to remember to keep your drink with you, with your hand over it, and not to accept drinks from anyone, regardless of how well you knew them, so that you wouldn't be drugged and raped.

Talk to them about how you don't walk the dog or run alone before dawn or after dark without pepper spray or a weapon of some sort.

Talk to them about how you're always on guard in a room full of men, even in professional settings where you should feel safe.
Talk to them about how you've laughed at jokes that weren't funny because to speak out would've labeled you a trouble maker.

Talk to them about the times you were touched in ways that weren't okay, but you allowed it because you didn't feel safe saying no.

Please, tell your sons that it is never okay to grab a woman by the...anything. Tell them it's not okay to touch women, ever, unless they're being explicitly invited. Talk to them about how consent is absolutely necessary and required before each and every sexual act. Teach them that locker room banter describing sexual assault is disgusting. Teach them that a "boys will be boys" attitude assumes all men and boys are predators. Teach them that not all men are predators; teach them to not be predators. Teach them to respect women. Teach them to treat every woman they meet with the same respect they'd give you, or your mother, or your daughter.

Brock Turner's mom wishes she'd had an opportunity like this. Don't pass it up. You may think you've done a fabulous job with your young man, and you probably have, but talk to them about this anyhow. Make sure you've said the words that need to be said, not just implied them. Leave no doubt in his mind about what the expectations are. This is really important.

Please. Do this for my girls, for your daughters, for your mothers, for yourselves. Do this for your sons. This is really important.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Politics makes me sad. The world makes me sad.

I want to post something political, but I don't actually want to have a political conversation, I just want to convince everyone I know to not vote for one particular candidate, and we all know how super successful those facebook posts are, right?  So I won't.  I'm really terribly sick of this election; it is too scary to think too long about the potential outcomes.  I skim over the articles I really want to click on because I know it'll just depress me more and I can't control a bit of it so why should I even give it any space in my head?


That being said - you're not going to vote for Donald Trump, are you? 

I am a mother of daughters, two sweet little girls who I want to have every opportunity in this world I've brought them into.  Therefore, I cannot vote Republican.  It's a moral issue.  Republicans, the ones who make the laws, at least, do not empower women.  I will not vote for one, or for anyone who is pretending to be one. 

I believe in  science, from climate to reproduction - there are people who go to school for a long time to know a whole lot about that stuff.  Republicans, the ones who makes the laws, at least, ignore these people in favor of religion and the alter of the almighty dollars.  Therefore, I cannot vote Republican.  It's a moral issue.  

I said I don't want to talk politics, dammit. 

There is so much awfulness in the world.  Why do we allow ourselves to be inundated by it?

I'm going to practice keeping myself safe.  I think it's going to require stepping away from the internet. Facebook, specifically.  Maybe until the election is over? Maybe forever?  Maybe for just the next hour? 

I have to find a way to not worry about things I cannot control.  Syria.  Syrian refugees.  This fucking shitstorm election.  Cops killing brown people for being brown.  Homeless people.  Broke single mothers.  Rich hating the poor.  Men hating women.  Women hating women.  Me learning to hate people I used to respect because they're fucking sheep. 

I need to not give the awfulness space in my mind.  Andrea told me once, "If I can't do anything about it, I just do not give it any space in my thoughts."  I cannot for the life of me figure out how in the fuck that works in actual daily life, but I have to figure it out.  The sad seeps into everything.

I am at the top of my game - everything is going my way - and I'm not happy.  I don't think it's because I'm doing anything wrong, or because I'm lacking something.  I think it's all the noise.  I think it's just too much sad and terrible and tragic and awful, and it gets into my brain and I can't shake it.  I worry constantly about things I cannot control or fix or help, and I feel guilt and more worry because I cannot fix or help or control those things.  Maybe I need a therapist.  Hi, person reading my blog.  Welcome to my most recent therapy session.  Today I'm discussing my particular version of crazy. 

I just want to make the world a happier place.  A safer place.  I just want us to all take care of each other.  I don't understand why we're all so afraid of each other.  We're all fighting the same battles, trudging through the same trenches.  Why do we try to hold our neighbors down?  Don't we all rise together?   

I don't want this path we're on to be the legacy we're leaving for our children. 

That last sentence sounds trite, but I have never written anything with more truth behind it. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The awfulness is just too much.

I just wanted to chill out for a few minutes, let my mind go numb as I scrolled through the bullshit fluff on Facebook and reddit.  Except the horrors of the world popped up, a little baby, bloody, crying, thank goodness the sound didn't play.  Syrian horrors.  Oh God, those poor, poor people.  What the fuck is wrong with the world that we allow things like this to happen? 

Jimi gets frustrated with me.  I think about it too deeply, I go down a rabbit hole of depressing that you can't logic your way out of.  There's nothing he can say to make it better.  It is awful and it is and it always has been and always will be and of course that's depressing as fuck because just think about it for a moment.  Sure, war is in the Bible.  I'm still mad about that time Jesus said there would always be poor people - couldn't God just fix that problem?  So no forgiveness here, no understanding on my part.  Why, if God so loved the world, would he let us tear ourselves apart and destroy each other?  For the same reasons we have things like childhood cancer and pedophiles, I suppose.  A just and loving God, you say, eh?

I want to go somewhere where things like this don't happen.  We don't have bombs killing babies in the US, right?  Oh.  Wait.  We do, don't we?  We're not safe here, either.  I mean, I guess technically, the bombings here are pretty rare.  The police are way more dangerous.  Especially if you're black, especially if you're a black male. 

What I really want is for all of the killing to stop.  That's all.  I just want world peace.  And enough food for everyone.  And a safe place for everyone to sleep.  And for everyone to have a best friend.  That's all I need.

Monday, September 19, 2016

If you were all I had, I would have it all.

I'm holding tightly to the last few moments of this extended weekend, drinking hot tea with spiced rum, reading reddit, trying to get a few more of these gushy feelings out into the world.  I took a hot bath laced with Epsom salts and essential oils and nearly fell asleep.  My hips feel better, though, and my entire body is super relaxed and loose, with that delicious still-warm feeling my skin gets after soaking in too hot water, all soft and moisturized. 

Jimi's watching some series on Netflix.  I wonder what it would take to distract him...

We spent our day cleaning and grocery shopping and meal planning and playing and laughing.  Jimi got the gears on his bike adjusted, I took my time at the gym.  We ate well, healthy.  Tonight we took the girls up to the park for an hour or so, letting them run out all that energy.  Our house is not nearly as clean as I'd like, our laundry not as caught up as I'd prefer, and I only made it as far as the hallway with the vacuum. 

I'm so fucking happy.  I got the living room, hallway, and girls' bedroom vacuumed.  The girls helped clean up/pick up without argument, and did a good job.  We have clean clothes for tomorrow, at least - and the rest of the week, too, once we get through that folding; there's always tomorrow for that. (Do you fight with your laundry, too?  Live out of baskets full of clean clothes, use your dryer as an iron?)  I have lunch made for the week for myself, healthy lunches at that.  I'm pretty sure of what I'm going to feed my family for dinner all week.  I don't even mind that we have to go back to work tomorrow - it's not like we hate our jobs.  My only hesitation is that I'm afraid I'll brag too much about how awesome this weekend was, how awesome my husband is, how awesome my life is...

I'm on top of the world.  Everything is awesome.  All of it.  Even the hard stuff. 

Chicago - a whirlwind weekend

This weekend has been amazing.  I was going to put "was" amazing, but it's not over yet.  We're home from our trip, but we still have the whole day tomorrow together, so the vacation isn't over just yet. 

He took me to Chicago.  As a surprise.  For a night.  To see a play, a musical, in a little independent theater.  He kept the surprise for weeks - and would've kept it longer, but yesterday/Saturday, after we'd dropped the girls with Mom, we stopped at the Waffle House to get some breakfast before heading out, and I told him, "Okay, tell me," and he did.  Chicago.  A swank hotel in the middle of the city.  A musical called Thrones!, a parody of Game of Thrones. 

The hotel is Acme Hotel Company, and it was fabulous.  Hip and trendy, with album covers on the walls of the elevators, a chalkboard hanging from your front door, a giant zipper on the black wall in the living room, orange orbital chairs, a giant hand on the bedroom wall at the head of the bed, glowing red lips on the bathroom mirror.  A dozen roses on the table waiting for me, with a card - "10 and 4 with the love of my life".  A mini bar with $5 beers and $5 M&M packs.  A view of the city from the 10th floor.  A bed with 4 pillows and no children.

We didn't sleep the night before. You know, kids.  And then we drove 5 hours to get there.  The show started at 9:30.  The plan was to nap before the show, but that didn't pan out. *wink, wink*

I was worried about getting to the theater on time, and figured if we arrived early, there would be time to walk around and grab a drink or something until curtain. We decided to take an Uber - our first time.  Neither of us knew how it worked, so my overly-cautious scheduled pickup got us to the theater more than an hour before the lights were scheduled to go down.  And there wasn't a lot happening right next to the theater - a few restaurants and a liquor store, but no good places to sit and have a drink.  The box office was open early, though, and so was the theater's bar, so we sat in the mostly-empty lobby and waited, giggling and taking pictures of each other.  I drank two little bottles of prosecco.  Well, one.  Most of the second I spilled on the carpet under my theater seat.  Oops.

The show was good.  Musical parody theater isn't necessarily my favorite variety, but I love a good show and the energy you get from the actors.  We were in the second row, practically on stage ourselves, and the theater was small and intimate.  Mid-way through the second act, it's time for Circe's Walk of Shame, and it was so hilarious I laughed until I cried for several full minutes.  Everyone in the theater did. 

I hoped we'd have the energy after the show for nightclubs and rooftop bars and nightcaps, but there was only enough energy for a forced nightcap at the hotel bar - and that only because they'd given us tickets for free drinks when we checked in.  I drank my free drink and went to bed, sad because the night was over, wired because of the excitement, thrilled to finally be going to sleep, and so in love with my dear sweet husband. 

It was after 9 a.m., Chicago time, before I got out of bed this morning.  That's 10 a.m. local time.  I slept in until 10 a.m.!  We got up and showered and had coffee and packed up - checkout was at 11, and I was starving.  For lunch, we hit Quartino, based on a recommendation from a friend who knows about these things.  We were not disappointed - sangria, dates stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto, pasta with braised beef and tomato sauce, all served outside on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning.  It was decadent. 

We walked to Navy Pier, because we needed to do something touristy that wasn't shopping.  It was a beautiful weekend for walking in Chicago - the temperature was perfect in the mid-70s, with a light breeze.  Too quickly, it was over, time to go back to the car and drive home. 

That husband of mine.  How did I get so lucky?  He keeps me safe, he works so hard to keep me happy, he does his best to help me stay sane.  He is a devoted and loving father, an equal partner, a generous lover.  I am so fortunate, lucky, blessed, smiled upon to have him by my side. 

When we first met, my brain told me to back away slowly and not get close.  Heartbreak and sadness and disappointment were inevitable if I pursued him - he as much as told me.  He was coming off a heartbreak of his own, much more recent than my still-recent divorce, and he wasn't ready for anything that resembled a relationship, he said.  He couldn't get involved with anything of any seriousness, he warned me.  I pursued him anyhow, followed him around so much he began comparing me to a puppy, tagging along at his heels.  I told him I loved him, knowing he wouldn't say it back, and he didn't.  Not that time, at least.  But what he gave me, along with all of these warnings, was attention and kindness and a safe place to land at the end of each day - a place where I could just be the Natalie I was, the Natalie I wanted to be all the time but had always, until recently, been too scared to be.  He made me feel safe.  I cannot overstate that.  When I was with him, all of the bad scary things out there in the real world disappeared and stopped mattering.  That's why I followed him around and pursued him, because it felt like I at least knew where I stood, and the good was so good, it was totally going to be worth it when the bad finally came.  You can't live your life afraid of things, right?  I couldn't walk away for fear that he would never love me, because I'd miss out on the way he, at the very least, thought very highly of me. 

And now look at us.  We're crazy about each other - my, ehhem, doggedness, resulted in him falling head over heels for me within just a few months, and we've been inseparable ever since. We're living our happily ever after.  It's not all rainbows and unicorns, sure, but that's what makes it so good.  Because even when life is hard, it's not that hard, because we're getting through it together. 

10 and 4, baby.  10 and 4.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Every day is so full, so busy, there's not time for much looking back and reminiscing. That said, our anniversary weekend is upon us, and I keep catching glimpses of life four years ago - how full it was of magic and happy and joy.  If we had a live-in housekeeper we could probably be that way again, all the time.  *sigh*  Just kidding.  There is still magic and happy and joy - it's just different.  It's different when two become three, then four.  The dynamic shifts, as you would expect when you make entirely new people and bring their wants and needs into the intimate inner workings of your daily life. 

As much as I couldn't have imagined this life then, I can barely remember that life now.  Everything is the same, but different.  Better.  So much better.  Which is amazing, because it was unbelievably good back then. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Wherein I gush more about my husband.

I cut my gym time short tonight so I could come home and write.  Then I got here, and I don't know what to write about. There was more sleep last night, more than the last few nights.  Then Cora puked on the way out the door this morning.  Then G told me a story about how she snuck into my bedroom last night while I was asleep and took my keys and my purse and my glasses and my phone and my necklace and got in the car and drove to the market by herself because she was a very naughty girl.  And then she told a story about her "superhero Mom Natalie, and superhero Daddy and superhero sister and superhero puppy".  She thinks we're all superheroes.  If we're not doing anything else right, I think we're doing this parenting thing pretty okay.  The girls are happy and loved and loving...the kids are alright.  We're doing just fine.

I feel better when I talk to other women and realize that while I thought they totally had their shit together, they're actually treading water or semi-drowning, just like me.  I don't feel better because I want them to have a bit of the same crazy I have - but yes I do.  I am so relieved and glad that I'm not the only one.  Especially when it's women who look like they really know what they're doing - then you find out they haven't done laundry in 4 months, they just buy new clothes for everyone every few weeks and charge it on the secret store card their husband doesn't know about.  I don't actually know anyone in that situation, but if I ever write a book, she may make an appearance. 

I'm falling in love with my husband again.  I never stopped loving him or being in love with him, but you know, it's hard when you have kids and jobs and dishes and laundry and a dog.  Saturday is our fourth wedding anniversary - next month, 10/19, is ten years since the night we "met".  We'd been introduced previously, but that Thursday night in October was when we each learned the other's name.  I'd had some vague plan in the back of my mind for years that I wanted to do something special to celebrate "us" this year, but, you know, life is hard.  That was a ball I dropped. 

Jimi, though.  Jimi always picks up where I leave off, or begins when I can't. 

I dropped the ball when it comes to planning a trip for our anniversary, but I didn't slack or forget to bring my A game.  Life is hard, but goddammit, this thing we've got is good, and I'm going to try to show him that I appreciate him.  Months ago, I discovered a thing called Battlbox.  It seemed like it would be right up his alley - something he would really love, that appeals to the camper/prepper/hunter/protector in him.  I waited until I thought I timed the box to arrive just before September 17th, then planned to run the subscription through December if he liked it - you know, for his birthday and Christmas.  Because I am lazy and also when I find something I like, I really like it a lot until I don't like it anymore because I've worn it out.  Long story short, he fucking loves it, said it's the best gift I've ever given him, and that was just the first box.  Awesome!

Because he loved this awesome gift so much, and because he loves me, or because he's just the most amazing man in the history of ever and just can't help being so fucking awesome, for our actual anniversary weekend.....

I don't know.  He told me to take off work on Friday and Monday.  I don't know the plan beyond that we're dropping the girls off with Mom and Dad at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, and that we'll be in the car for a couple hours, he said. 

I can't fucking wait.  Even if the few hours in the car part is bullshit and we're just coming back home to sleep and eat and screw in peace and quiet (or not), I'll be thrilled to have the time alone with my sweet husband. 

That sweet sweet man.  The one who for a decade almost has been my safe place, my comfort zone. The one who has made all of my dreams come true.  The best part of my life started when I met him.  Ten years in, I am still just aflutter and completely smitten. Moreso, even.  It's been ten years worth of amazing.  10/10, would do again.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

This is starting to become a pattern.

It's 4:22 a.m., and looky where I am!  I'd hoped to get to sleep past 3, but Cora had other plans.  Actually, she didn't have any plans - she had a nasty cough that choked her and caused her to throw up all over herself in bed, poor little baby.  So there was a bath and sheet changing and rocking...and now there is coffee and my laptop, which smells like yesterday's coffee because I left my cup sitting next to the computer when I walked away and Cora thought the coffee would look better in the laptop rather than beside it.  The keys are sticking slightly, mostly the lower right side of the keyboard, but the damn thing is working and the coffee creamer smell isn't horrible, even if it is a little too sweet.  Yay for not having to buy a new laptop this week!

I need to do laundry, but there's a big spider living down there right now and I'm terrified.  I just can't even with the spiders anymore.  I think later today I'll take the girls up to the park - there's a tree that drops hedge apples along the side of the road every year; I could grab some of those and put them around downstairs.  They're supposed to keep the creepy crawlies away.  I've tolerated the spiders for years and years, but they're getting so entitled  -  webs everywhere and teeny tiny baby spiders showing up every few months.  I appreciate that they're probably keeping other creepy crawlies away, but I have this rule about coexisting with spiders that requires them to stay out of sight so I can pretend they don't exist.  They're breaking the rules.

My goals for the day are the same as nearly every other Sunday - get the house to a state that sort of resembles clean, wash enough clothes to get us all through the week (bonus points for pairing outfits for the week tonight, too!), plan dinners for the week (maybe even do some meal prep), and somehow, in the middle of that, play with the girls in ways that enrich their minds and spirits, get them outside, get myself outside, walk the dog, go to the gym, fuck my husband...

There are never enough hours in the day.  Even if you start at 4 a.m.

I complain all the time that I need another three hours in the middle of my day, and another two at night. It feels like all of my problems would be solved with an extra day or two off each week.  Realistically, I know I'd find ways to fill those new-found hours with things that aren't on my to-do lists, but I'd get more done than I do now.    *Sigh* Maybe one day.

How do you manage it all?  What are your secrets and hints and tips and life hacks?  How do you juggle it all?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The things you learn at 4 a.m.

It's almost 4 a.m.  The house is quiet again.  I should probably go find a place to sleep, but the idea of making that effort pisses me off because I should be able to just go lay in my own bed and go to sleep, but toddlers.  So instead I've made a pot of coffee and I've decided I'm up and I'll just be up for the day and do some things I never make the time to do when the rest of the world is awake with me.  It's 3:56 a.m.

I don't write enough anymore.  Hardly ever.  I keep saying I'll do something about that, but I don't.  But I'm writing now.  Look at me.  Typing words and everything!  I guess next you'll be expecting me to actually SAY something with these words and writings, huh?  Baby steps.

I had lunch with my former boss yesterday.  It'd been six months since we'd seen each other.  He looked mostly the same - a bit thinner, maybe almost too thin in the face.  I blame stress; he's got that shit in spades these days.  I miss him, but I do not miss the stress.  Sometimes I wonder if I exaggerated all of the crazy I lived when I worked there, because six months out, it just sounds unbelievable some of the stuff I was used to.  But I didn't make it up, I didn't exaggerate - it was real and I wasn't crazy or incompetent.  It was what it was.  It was my Crucible.  I'm super fucking strong now because of it.  Right? 

Actually, I'm so insecure because of the crap I dealt with at the end that I constantly question myself now.  Nothing I do is good enough, in my mind.  I'm never doing enough.  I worry constantly my new boss and my teammates are going to decide I'm a complete charlatan, a total fuckup, and laugh and shame me out the front door. 

Well, I don't feel that way constantly anymore.  Not all the time.  Here's the thing - they love me!  They think I'm awesome.  They tell me that, and I believe them.  I know they're right - I'm pretty good at what I do.  Intellectually, I know I'm good at my job, and that I'm doing a good job.  Emotionally, I'm still trying to drop the baggage leftover from being abused at the last place.  I'm trying to forget the fear and the insecurity.  I'm trying to relearn workplace etiquette and expectations.  I'm trying to grasp the new definition of workload and responsibilities.  It's been 6 months.  Honestly, I didn't think there would be this transition period - I assumed I'd end one thing and begin another and that would be it, like flicking a light switch.  I didn't anticipate or realize that there would be emotional adjustments to go along with the change. Maybe because I had been there for SO long, and had been SO comfortable before it all went bad.  Maybe because the end felt like a bad breakup where I thought we probably still loved each other but we had to break up because we weren't healthy for each other.   

Despite this particular brand of crazy in my mind, I have not one single regret about leaving, or landing where I landed.  My new reality is so vastly different from my old one I - well, like I said, sometimes I wonder if I exaggerated or made it all up.  I am really enjoying the work I'm doing.  I'm forging relationships with my customers, learning a new business.  I have coworkers that I get to chat with all day long.  They're smart and funny and kind and helpful - the sort that I want to hang out with after work, get to know; they just seem like genuinely good people.  My boss is brilliant and sarcastic and has an easy confidence about him that makes me feel equally confident and self-conscious at the same time.  I feel on the spot when he asks me questions and feel like I give the wrong answer pretty regularly, but that's my fault and my issue, not something he's doing.  I'm struggling a bit with being the new girl, still.  I was Dan's go-to, right-hand, she-knows-all-the-answers person for so long...I miss being that person.  I want to be that person in this new life, this new world, but that role is already taken and she has a 10-years-in-the-industry head start.  New job, new environment, new role.  Starting at the beginning again is a challenge after being on top for so long. 

I'm starting to understand that maybe there are some emotional challenges and consequences resulting from this change that I didn't give enough consideration or allowance.  Maybe this has been harder on my psyche than I'd considered...maybe I'm not crazy as shit, maybe I really am just stressed by this huge change in my life.  Good change is still change, right?  Change is always a little hard, right?  Maybe just because I'm happy and thrilled and so glad to be where I am, maybe it's okay that I have struggled a bit at the same time.  Maybe I should've anticipated and been a little easier on myself.  I guess it's never too late. 

Okay.  What have we learned?

I'm totally insecure and feel like I'm not good enough/not doing enough.  This is not rational.  This is leftover baggage.  My boss found my resume on the internet and called me up and offered me a job because I'm awesome.  He thinks I'm awesome.  Evidence points to other coworkers also thinking I'm awesome.  I'm probably awesome and should stop thinking I'm going to get fired any moment or that everyone hates me.  Just go to work every day and be awesome. 

Being the new girl is hard because I want to be the one who knows the answers to all of the questions and who can fix all of our customers' problems.  And I want to be the one who sells the most steel.  I like to be first.  I want to be the best.  Six months in the industry is a tough place for this mindset.  But baby steps.  One thing at a time, and right now my job is to learn all of the things and call all of the people.  Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is my beginning.  No one becomes the favorite overnight.


Looky there.  I sure do miss writing.  Maybe I should do this more often. 

It's 4:50 a.m.  Let's go start the day.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday, after 2 beers

At some point, I started thinking it was a bad thing to toot my own horn.  I still want to toot my own horn, I just am scared to do it and feel as if wanting to toot it makes me a bad person somehow.


I love my life, every moment and every aspect of it.  I am aware every moment of how fortunate I am to live in this envelope of safety and security.  I am aware always that it could be taken from me in a moment, but I live as if I know that that will never happen to us - I complain because I am lazily secure in the false knowledge of our imaginary protected status.

"Bad things happen to other people, and that is so horrible.  That goodness that isn't us," she arrogantly thought as she gave her husband the side-eye, shooting him with daggers of anger over the still-full sink of dirty dishes.  I mean, he was home an hour before her!  What did he do - relax?! 

Good lord, the stupid shit I invent to be pissed off about.  As if we're going to be here forever.  As if we have time to argue over the fucking dishes.

Fuck a little dirt, right?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Getting to the end.

Geneva didn't ask for milkies this morning.

There is absolutely no reason I should feel melancholy about this.  But here I am, all wistful and a little sad.

I know she's not done, that tomorrow will be back to the status quo and I'll be annoyed and wish she would just wean herself already.

But one day she will be done, and she will wean herself, and I will miss all those times for all those years when it was just sweet bonding.

Parenting is so confusing.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Vote, but not for him.

I should not be allowed to drink and internet.

Especially during a presidential election.

When I'm facebook friends with my mom's friends and my coworkers and some of my super right-wing customers, even! 

I used to not be afraid to speak my mind.  Now I'm a big fat chicken shit who is constantly scared of confrontation rising from any posting that could possibly be conceived as controversial, because, quite frankly, I just don't have the fucking time to deal with people who disagree with me or have opinions that are vastly different from my own. 

I should probably log off, right? 

Don't vote for Donald Trump. He is almost literally the devil.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

You may regret reading this. I'm almost sorry in advance.

I vacillate regularly between feeling like I'm absolutely fucking winning at life and feeling like I am a complete screw-up who does everything wrong.  I remind myself constantly that I'm doing just fine - I'm not in a competition, and if I was, there are people who do things wrong way more often than I do.  The more I talk to the women in my life, the more I realize that we're all the same, experiencing these same crazy thoughts and emotions.  When are we ever going to be "grown up"?  Is that even a real thing, or just some illusory crap we make up when we're little  - maybe growing up really is just a literal thing.  Maybe we just get bigger, not anymore put-together. 

I know that's not true, of course.  I know some people who appear to have their shit together.  Appear to.  It could all be a farce - they all have secrets I'll never know about that cause them secret guilt and angst, I'm certain.  Because we all do, don't we? 

I almost lost my blog.  Again.  That happened once before, years ago, when I was just home from Texas and trying to get my shit together after my divorce.  I talked a lot of shit about my ex-husband in that blog - no lies or vitriol, just flat out facts as I saw them, even the dirty ones - and, well, he didn't care much for that once he found it.  I have a bad habit of using the same passwords, and he had someone hack my shit and delete it.  I didn't have a backup. I'm still really sad about that when I think about it, which is almost never.  I wrote something about my Granny that I'd really like to still have.  And I'd probably like to reread some of that tripe at some point, maybe.  Maybe not.  It'd be nice to have the option to ignore it. 

This time it wasn't that sort of thing.  This time, I had an expired credit card linked to my domain registration, and then couldn't remember the admin username or password to log in and make the necessary updates.  For weeks, I tried every few days to reset the shit, and for weeks, Google returned the same frustrating message: We cannot verify it's you.  WTF Google?  Did you not just send me a fucking message to this fucking account? 

Whatever.  So my domain expired on July 24.  I got a final notice on Wednesday, and so I decided to make one last-ditch attempt, vowing that I'd then call the helpdesk and talk a live person and make them fix my shit.  I'm not sure what different links I clicked on this time, but there in the middle of the screen I saw what I needed: "Your domain name may be (domainadmin@____)".  What the hell, I figured - I went back to the login screen...sure as shit, there it was.  Ta Da! 

And that's the story of how I secured my domain registration at least through 2019.  Goshdang I tell a great story.  :/


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I should be sleeping.

It's 11:20 p.m.  I've been home from the gym almost an hour.  I'm baking peanut butter cup cookies, drinking a beer, watching Jimi demonstrate his new workout stretchy band things. 

This is not an average night in the Fowler household. 

I keep telling myself, "You'd probably see quicker results from your gym time if you'd stop eating cookies after working out."  But then I reply with, "But I've EARNED these cookies," and it's true so the argument ends until next time and I eat the cookies and swallow every delicious bite of guilt.  We don't discuss the beer anymore - we all know I'm not giving that up. 


The highs and lows of parenthood continue to surprise the shit out of me regularly.  Three year olds are so moody I find myself cringing at the idea of dealing with this human as she morphs into a hormonal teenager - how will we survive?  She screams and yells and says, "I don't LIKE you!  I don't WANT you!"  She runs to her room and slams the door behind her. She hits her sister when she's not allowed to have a sucker. And then she says something like, "When I grow up, I want to be just like you Mommy, and drive my green car to Old MacDonald's and say, 'May I please have a large coffee with eight creams and sugars?'" and my heart skips a beat and melts and I just adore everything about this little creature we created who is so awesome and adorable.

The baby, the one who isn't a baby anymore, who is going to be two before Thanksgiving - the baby is the sweetest baby in the entire world, with a smile that lights up the room and the shittiest of moods.  Her temperament makes you forget that it's 3 a.m. when she coos and says "Mama!" and giggles when you walk into her room because she still wakes up in the middle of the night to nurse.  Every night.  But she's sweet and so you forgive...until that moment when you don't give her what she wants at the moment she wants it.  Then she becomes a screaming banshee beast who will scratch and claw and bite and cry until you placate her wants and desires. 

That's all before 6 a.m.  Every day.  This shit is not for those with a weak constitution. 


My new job is so fabulous and amazing and wonderful.  I love my job.  I love the people I work with, I love the work I'm doing, I love my boss.  We can take our dogs to work.  My bonus paid my car payment last month.


Now it's after midnight.  I have heartburn.  I need to go to bed. 

Sweet dreams. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A bad day.

On nights when I'm a bad mom, I hate myself.  When I've not been patient, not counted to four, not taken a breath, not thought before I spoke, not remembered that the person I'm angry with and yelling at is 3 years old and not exactly working with the same toolbox as I...I hate myself. 

tonight's one of those nights, did you guess?

It feels like they've cried for weeks, from the time they get up until the time they go to bed, over everything and nothing all at the same time.  We've been sick for weeks, all of us.  They started a new daycare.  Life is full of challenges to our daily normal lately, and none of us is handling it well but you'd think at least the grownups could manage to not lose their shit.  And we did, for the first week and a half or so.  By Wednesday this week, though, I was over it, and I asked Mom if they would keep the girls for us tonight so that we could just have a break, have a night to sleep.  (They don't do that, either.  They take turns waking up over and over again through the night - cora cries if she doesn't get milkies, Geneva cries if I won't go lay down with her. It's constant musical beds and demands and whining and I'm just so fucking over it.)  There was a meltdown en route to grandma's, though - G was losing her shit at the idea of staying the night away from us, from me specifically.  She's super clingy like that all of a sudden, in the last 4 or 5 days.  I blame the new daycare situation - it's a huge change.  And the fact that she's also felt like crap, right along with the rest of us, that makes for a volatile situation.  So we didn't go to grandma's, we came home.  We had a plan.  Our plan was to transfer the now-sleeping Cora from the car to the bed and then set G up in the living room on her cot with a movie and we could just chill and let her do her thing until she fell asleep.  Cora woke up on the way into the house, because the firefighters out collecting for crusade for children blew their siren and horn as they drove past our driveway as Jimi was getting her out of the car.  Fuckers.  So then I had to try to nurse her to sleep, because she wasn't down with just laying down with Daddy.  She wouldn't go to sleep. 


It was a bad night. It's over.  We made up before we went to sleep, and we both said sorry as soon as we woke up this morning.  I always hate myself when we fight.

Today is a new day.  I'm a better mom today.  So far, at least.  I went to Walgreens first thing and bought some Sudafed - maybe if my face doesn't hurt and I can actually breathe, I'll be able to be a bit more rational and calm when challenged by toddlers. 

Cora is napping.  She's eating everything she can get her hands on today.  Geneva is sitting next to me eating a lemon lime dumdum sucker and playing with playdoh.  We're friends today.  Jimi is watching something on Amazon and trying not to lose his mind, I think.  I encouraged him to get out and go do something without us today if he needs to, because I get it, and I don't want him to kill us all in our sleep.  I think we've both had moments in the last few weeks where we've thought "what the fuck is this hell that I'm in and how can I escape it?"

Parenting is hard, yo.  Somehow, it's still worth it. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I'm sitting at the beach.

The moon will be coming up soon...i know that because i can see Mars now, and i know the moon follows shortly after in the lower left of my panoramic oceanfront view. 

This is amazing. It's Tuesday. The girls are finally sleeping. Jimi and mom and dad are all in bed. I'm alone on the balcony with a hard root beer trying to suck up every single possible moment of this vacation.   It's been such a long time coming. I'm so thrilled to be here. I dont want to waste a moment. 

The wind is getting cold.  I should get a jacket or blanket or change into pants or something.   I want to go down to the beach and sit in the little chair hut thing dad rented for the week, but I'm a woman so the idea of going somewhere alone and isolated at night is scary.  Have to weigh the potential experience against the possibility of being raped and murdered, just because, you know, I  have a vagina and that's what society has taught me. Ugh. 

I'll probably stay here. Maybe. Still havent seen the moon, but it's coming.

I downloaded a star chart app last night and it scared me.  Maybe because it was red for night mode.  Maybe the bad new age music. Maybe I was a little too high. But i pointed it down, and it showed me constellations on the other side of the world,  in another sky, and it freaked me out and I had to turn that shit off and sit down.  I felt a little dizzy, a little sick to my stomach. It was odd and strange and a little funny.

I wish there was a cigarette lying around out here somewhere.

I've been swimming and lying in the sun and there's more of that on the agenda for tomorrow. Life is sweet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Full of awesome and vinegar (chips).

I pretty much love everything about life right now.

My husband is awesome.  My kids are awesome. My job is awesome. There's a lot of awesome.  Guys, my kitchen sink is clean.  My husband did that, cleaned up the dinner dishes after he emptied the dishwasher.  I mean, how much better can it get, I ask you?

As low as I was over the holidays, that's as high as I am right now.  I'm weightless.

Except that i tend to eat when I'm happy and im currently close to 20 pounds heavier than I was in October.   D'oh!  Whatevs.  I'm gonna go eat this pie and ice cream and drink a beer and watch zombies.  With my dish-washin' husband.

Fuck yeah.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Change is good.

I've been at my new job for three weeks, and I love it.  I want to say I should've made this change years ago, but things happen when they're supposed to happen, and this happened at just the right moment, I think.  I feel like any effort to make a change sooner couldn't possibly have landed me in such a perfect position. 

My coworkers are smart and capable and helpful and friendly.  My boss is smart, and seems to be a good manager.  The office is new and modern and comfortable.  The environment is relaxed and casual and everyone drops the occasional f-bomb.  The commute sucks, but nothing is perfect and if this job must have a downside, I'll take a 30-40 minute drive over mismanagement and assholes any day. 

I've discovered that I like podcasts – Limetown and Tanis and The Black Tapes and Women of the Hour have been my favorites so far.  I can listen to podcasts while I work – just listen along as I plug in numbers and letters.  For lunch each day, when the weather is nice, there are two parks within a short drive where I can walk.  There's also a Meijer and a Kohl's and a million delicious fattening food options. 

I can't get over how different this job is from my last.  I mean, they got my direct deposit entered in time for my first check to be deposited directly into my account.  That's funny because, at the last place, it wasn't uncommon for a new employee to still be waiting for their direct deposit to be set up after three months.  Also a new experience – when I have a question, they have charts and tables and places I can look and reference to find information.  This isn't a business run completely by passed-down tribal knowledge!  They have shit written down!  It's amazing. 

I am so happy I made this move, and I can feel the change in every aspect of my life.  I'm happier when I leave work, so I'm happier when I get home, so I am in a better mood with Jimi and the girls.  I have more energy to play, and their meltdowns don't result in a meltdown of my own as often.  I'm more patient, more inclined to say yes, more motivated to do the daily grind stuff.   My stomach doesn't hurt when I wake up in the middle of the night and think about work.  I don't have a pit in my stomach or that ever-present feeling of dread when I'm driving to work.  My life doesn't feel full of anxiety and stress anymore.  

Yay for Change! 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Timing is everything.

Today is February 28, 2016.

Ten years ago today, my world...the go-to line here is to say "my world shattered", or "my world fell apart," but ten years out, it doesn't feel like that anymore, so to write that feels fake and overly dramatic.  Ten years ago today, my first husband, whom I shouldn't have married in the first place, told me he wanted a divorce.  My whole life I've heard things like "You forget the pain of childbirth," and I always thought that was probably bullshit, until I went through it twice without pain meds and realized a few months out that the details of the pain were fuzzy and that it doesn't seem like it was all that bad when I look back.  I know that's bullshit, because it hurts like hell, but time softens the razor edges.  Heartache is like that too - it gets dull with time.  I guess that's why it feels disingenuous to claim my world fell apart back then, when he said those words to me.  I still remember those words: "Fuck it, I'm done. I'm coming back to El Paso, I'm getting my shit, and I'm done."  Or something like that.  That's probably not an exact quote anymore; it's been a long time since I remembered that day in any real detail. 

The truth is that by the time he said those things to me, I'd been hoping for so long that he'd say them that it was a relief they were finally out there.  So while I was scared and sad and heartbroken, I was also relieved and excited and ready to start a new life.  I was shaky with the anticipation and dread of it all; the dichotomy was so strong.  Change is always scary, even when it's good for you. 

In the aftermath of that breakup, my mom called me brave.  Of all the words she's spoken to me, those are the ones I carry with the most pride.  My Momma thinks I'm brave.  Because I moved away from home, across the country, to be with a man I loved...and because I moved back home, across the country, when he no longer loved me.  It would be easy to shrug it off, to diminish the chances I took with both of those moves, to say I'd been foolish, not brave.  Momma is right, though; I was brave.  I can totally do hard things. 

I quit my job this past Friday.  The one I used to love.  The one I'd come to refer to as a "soul-sucking whore".  I'd like to tell you that I was a brave badass and told them all to go fuck themselves before I walked out without warning, but that's not how it went down at all.  Not even a little bit.  The true story is that I started job-hunting back in November.  I created a brand-new badass resume; the benefit of doing all the things for nearly nine years is that it gave me a ridiculous amount of experience and crazy skills in so many different aspects of running a business - I am an absolute rock star on paper.  I went on a few interviews, one of which I bombed spectacularly.  That threw me into a funk for the end of December and most of January, so I stopped job-hunting and started eating instead.  I gained 15 pounds in 4 weeks, and avoided my friends for the better part of two months. I decided I'd stay where I was until annual bonuses came out in March, then I'd start looking again. 

Instead, a man called me in late January.  He said he'd found my resume online - one of the jobs I'd applied to in the thick of my search required creating/uploading your resume to the site, and I'd made it searchable because, you know, why not?  I never expected anything to come of it, and I was completely skeptical of this guy when he called me out of the blue.  But the work was similar to what I've been doing, and he said he could meet my salary requirements, so I agreed to meet him for an interview.  I liked him right away, but I was leery, and still licking my proverbial wounds from my magnificent flop back around the holidays. I asked questions in the interview such as "how often do your employees cry at their desks?" and "what's the worst part of this job?" and "how much time do you require from your people after hours?"  Things I probably never would have said if I'd been courting them, but I'd decided I was all out of fucks and if this guy didn't like me, it was no skin off my hide.  I hadn't gone searching for him, after all.  I didn't follow up with an email or thank-you card; in fact, I didn't even call him back on the day I'd said I would.  But he called me, and wanted to sit down again, so I met him and his right-hand-gal at the local Vietnamese restaurant for lunch one day.  I liked her, and I liked her answers to my crazy questions, specifically the one about crying at your desk - it was as if I'd grown a second head.  Apparently that's not normal stuff in normal jobs?  Who knew?

Less than a week after that lunch meeting, my (now former) boss called me into his office.  A VP had sent out an email (presumably while hung over from last night's scotch binge) that basically said I was incapable of doing any portion of my job correctly or effectively.  He didn't start the email off that way - in a style that is very much his own, he was responding to a problem I'd highlighted on one of his pet projects, and in his efforts to deflect blame, his message devolved into an attack on my professional reputation I've worked tirelessly to build for the last 9 years.  Thankfully, only my boss and direct supervisor were copied.  Thankfully, my boss knew better.  Thankfully, my direct supervisor, when confronted by my boss to discern if there was any truth in the accusations, could not provide a single solitary circumstance in which the VPs words would've been true.  I went home that night determined that I was going to find a way to be gone within a month - I could not work there anymore.  If that drunkard was saying untruths of that level about me in an email to my boss, who was he speaking them to out loud?  He was going to ruin me professionally within the company, and I'd spent too many years killing myself for that place to go out like that. 

The next morning, at 8:30, I received a phone call with a job offer.  With a twelve percent base salary increase.  With monthly bonuses.  Company paid cell phone.  Immediate vacation, insurance, retirement.  I waited until the following Monday before I turned in a four-week notice.  In retrospect, I should've given the assholes two weeks and been done, but I'm too dedicated for my own good, I guess. 

I'm hesitant to use words like Fate or Destiny, but it sure does feel like things in my life have a way of working out with excellent timing.  And I'm not religious, so I don't like to throw around the term Blessed very often, but more and more I find that's the perfect word to describe my life and the things that happen to me.

My divorce from my first husband was finalized September 29, 2006.  Jimi and I started dating less than a month later.  Ten years later, here we are - house, dog, two beautiful people we made with our love for one another.  It's amazing to me how different today was compared to that day a decade ago.  Everything I wanted back then is everything I have now.  My life today is the reason I was able to walk away then - my determination to have THIS life rather than THAT life.  Every tear was worth it; as in childbirth, every wave of pain was worth the life that was born from it. 

I'm so thankful my ex-husband was more brave than I and was able to say those words that set us both free from an unhappy marriage.  I wouldn't have this if he hadn't done that.  And I am so thankful for this life. 

I begin my new career on March 7 - I'm taking this next week to clean my house, declutter my head, have lunch with girlfriends, buy some business casual clothes, and, of course, celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the birth of my beautiful eldest daughter.  It's a celebration, yo! 

Life is awesome.  I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

This is not a list of resolutions.

I remember when it was just the two of us.  If the house was quiet, or if the house was loud, it was because that's how we wanted it to be.  Ours were the only whims to be considered.  I remember back when it was sunny all the time, when nothing could stop me.  If I truly have everything I've ever wanted, how can I feel so sad all the time?

It's possible I wasn't completely aware of exactly how literally they meant it when they said, "children change everything".  Everything.  EVERY THING.  I typed that really slowly, so read it slowly, okay?  And loudly.  EVERYTHING.

I find myself mad or sad at the end of the day, or in the middle of the day, or as I'm waking up, and sometimes I'm rational enough to think, "What exactly is making me feel mad/sad right now?  What am I mad at?  What is making me sad?"  and there's almost never an actual real reason.  There's never any one thing I can put my finger on, just a general sense of hopelessness, a feeling of being overwhelmed, of being pissed off over being inconvenienced or put out in some miniscule made-up way. 

A lot of it boils down to time, or lack of it.  There just aren't enough hours in the day to do all of the things.  And because there are children, there are many more things that need to be done, and because there are children, the logistics of getting those things done becomes a bit hairy at times.  All the time.  Every time.  I swear it feels like trying to run in quicksand; trying to get this mess cleaned up while stopping them from making that mess or making this mess worse, but you didn't catch the dog jumping up and taking half of the lunch off the counter, so you have to start that process over never ends, and it starts with the quickness of starters pistol and doesn't pause until at least 15 minutes after you've decided maybe you just are terrible at making your kids go to sleep.  I feel like a million bucks when I make it to the gym, even if it's just 30 minutes.  That's time I got to focus on me, just me, no one else needing me or wanting my attention.  If I was a New Year's Resolutions sort of gal, i'd insert some stereotypical line here about how I'm totally gonna go to the gym more this year.  I have great intentions in this department, resolutions or no.  Me Time. 

I gotta spend more time being thankful, though.  Less time bitching and more time playing and loving and thanking and hugging.  I love this life and I wouldn't change it or trade it; for a long time my biggest fear was that this would never be my reality. 


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