Sunday, July 30, 2017

Today is a good day.

I rode my bike last night.  Only for 20 minutes or so, but my butt is sore this morning, so it totally counts for something.  It felt so nice outside, and feeling that breeze on my face as I pedal along - I really love that feeling.  I told Jimi last night I wanted to get up and go to the gym this morning - some mornings he stays in bed while I get up with the girls, and I wanted to make sure he knew I had a plan for the morning and it required him to be up and at 'em.  (He's so good to me, I am trying really hard to not set him up for failure, and I know that if I hadn't said anything, and he tried to catch a few more minutes of sleep, I'd end up pissed at him for ruining my plans I made in my head and never shared with him.  That's not very fair, and he never does that crap to me but I do it to him all the time.  So I'm working on it.)  Cora had us all up by 6, and she and I were both super congested and coughy.  I nearly talked myself into skipping the workout, but dammit, that's what I do every other day.  If I want to feel better, to do the things I enjoy, like working out, I have to stop making excuses and skipping shit all the time.  I'm 37 and I've never stuck with anything I've started except this marriage and parenting these girls and I'm probably only sticking to these things because Jimi is just amazing and parenting isn't one of those things you can just quit doing.  So I went to the gym. I walked Finn first, even.  And then I went to the gym, and it was as awesome as I remember.  I felt strong and got sweaty and my muscles got that awesome shaky feeling - I love everything about working out except trying to get myself to go do it.

The girls are sweet today.  Loving and laughing and playing together without fighting and not whining.  I bought mini ice cream sandwiches and some fruit snacks at the grocery yesterday - they are a hot topic of conversation today.  Geneva has been asking for fruit snacks and trying to negotiate her way into some all day - the final agreement is she can have some with snack, at 10 a.m.  She has to eat her carrots first, though.  (She chose carrots - the other options were broccoli and cauliflower, but carrots won out.)  That's good - she eats carrots by themselves.  Broccoli and cauliflower require Olive Garden Italian Dressing for dipping, as does salad.  But they eat veggies, dammit.

Looks like we have a Costco trip in our future today; Cora needs more Claritin. I still need to address that laundry.  Oooo!  Tonight is Game of Thrones.  I love Sundays.  I love today.  I love this silly little life.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Priorities.

Oh, it was so good.  Almost all of it.  We went to the library for preschool playtime, where the girls listened to stories, played games, made crafts, and had a snack.  Then we went to the park.  Cora was asleep when we got there, so Jimi stayed in the car with her while G ran for the playground, and Finn and I hit the trail.  I let him off leash a little ways in, and it was going fine until he pooped.  I stopped to pick it up, he kept going and disappeared around the corner.  I called for him for a few minutes, trying to decide if I should backtrack or continue on.  I'd just decided to keep going when I heard his tags and saw his fluffy white tail bobbing along in the green of the trees.  To my pleasant surprise, he wasn't covered in poop.  I fully expected him to be covered in poop.  He likes to run off, find poop, and roll in it.  Good boy, Finn.  When we made our way back to the playground, Cora was just waking up and the girls were both ready for their hike, so we went back into the loop again.  We kept Finn on his lead this time.  G kept saying how wonderful this was, and how much she loved hiking with her whole family, and saying, "Thank you, Mommy, thank you, Daddy, for taking us here today."  She is so stinking sweet.  Cora wanted to run, which is good, because she's a slow walker, but when she runs she keeps right up.  She also wanted to run along the edge of the trail and wiped out a few times because of it.  I just knew the child was going to end up down in a holler, but she managed to keep her footing along the most treacherous parts.  (There were no treacherous parts.)  We stopped at the grocery on the way home and I ran in alone to grab the few things we needed, then we went home and the girls at ham and carrots and cauliflower and had a special fruit snack treat when they were finished.  Then I let them watch something, because we were all tired.  After their show, they played upstairs a little, but G really wanted to ride her bike, so Jimi took them outside while I stayed in and took a nap.  I've washed one load of laundry.  I've folded zero loads of laundry.  We had a great day, though, so we've got that going for us.

Go take a hike.

The weather broke in the last few days and now, this spectacular morning, the air is crisp and cool and it makes me wish we were camping.  Jimi said last night we can take the girls this morning to the park - but not just any park!  The park with the hiking trails!  It has a great little playground for the girls, and a short half-mile loop trail just past that.  The trail is easy and I think the kids will dig it, especially with promises of more playground playtime at the end.  I could sure use a good hike in my life.  I'm thinking of taking Finn and leaving Jimi at the playground with the girls so I can get an extra hike in - a half mile sure goes quickly.

Cora was up at 4 this morning, but Jimi got her back to sleep.  And then Geneva was up at 6.  It's Saturday, people!  She was so happy and giggly, though.  It's hard to be grumpy when you have a giggly four year old tickling you.  I let her have fruit flavored marshmallows after her Cheerios, so I'm probably the best mom ever...if you asked her right this minute.  Actually, she may not talk to you if you asked her right this minute; Netflix has Secret Life of Pets now, we discovered this morning.  Guess what they're doing right now?  Those girls I said weren't allowed to watch TV this weekend because we need a reset, a break from screen time?  Go ahead.  Guess what they're doing.

I'm drinking delicious coffee.  I really enjoy coffee at the kitchen table, with a laptop open to a blank screen and an open window of time to fill it with words that aren't important to anyone but me.  But that makes them important, right?  Even if they're only important to me, I still count, and things that mean something only to me still mean something.

I said 37 was going to be the year I stopped caring so much about what others think of me.  I said I was going to speak my mind, stand up for myself, say the words that are hard to say.  I said I wasn't going to be so afraid.  I'm doing a shitty job.  Part of this funk I'm in, it's fear.  I'm scared of things happening in the world around me and I retreat into myself and into my home, clinging to the things that are safe and familiar and mostly unchanging.  I need to be more brave.  Stacy and I had a good talk last night about the importance of saying hard things, speaking out when things bother you, saying "this is not okay" to someone who isn't treating you well.  I'm really good at giving her advice on how to do more of that; I'm really terrible of putting that advice to work in my own life.  Not that I have a bunch of people around me treating me poorly; the opposite, in fact.  But things that bother me, I sweep under the rug or work to ignore in the moment because I don't want to cause a stink, I don't want to be "that" girl.  Like when a co-worker says, "Yeah, I really jewed him down on the price..."  I want to punch the guy in the face.  Not literally.  I want to say, "That's a racist comment and I think you should reconsider using it in polite company."  Well, no.  What I actually want to say is, "Have you been living under a fucking rock? Do you hate Jewish people? I know that was a popular phrase a few decades back, but times have changed and it's not cool to be racist anymore.  Don't say that shit around me."  Either may make him stop using the phrase in my presence; neither will endear him to me, and may even cause conflict.  That's my hang-up.  I care way too much about what other people think about me, and I will avoid conflict at every possible turn unless there is just no other option.  Why do I do that?  Why do I allow someone else's opinions so much importance that I tamp down my own so as not to contradict theirs?  Especially in situations like this, where one of us is obviously right and the other is so obviously wrong?

I already have a bit of a reputation at work, I think, for being the liberal hippy.  The women's rights advocate who bristles at being called "hon" or "babe" by men just a bit younger than my father whom I've never met face to face but have been tasked with providing them excellent customer service, so I laugh and say you're welcome and roll my eyes and pretend it's no big deal even though it really does fucking dig at me because he would never in a million years say that to a man in this position and I know he doesn't mean anything by it but still, why is it okay?  Why is it 2017 and I have men who are strangers calling me honey on the phone when I'm simply trying to sell them steel?  Why do I have to laugh at their not-so-veiled flirtations and innuendos?  I'm not a prude; but if I object, if I don't brush it aside without blinking, I'm the problem.


Ugh.  I didn't intend to go down that rabbit hole this morning.  It's a deep hole and I don't want to be there today - I want to be outside, in the woods, hiking with my family!  And what else?  We are out of just about everything except condiments and dried beans and rice, so I probably should get to a grocery at some point this weekend.  And, surprisingly, our laundry situation is out of control; I think I have 6 baskets of clean clothes that need to be folded, and at least 3 loads of laundry to wash and dry behind that.  It never stops, maybe because I never get caught up.

Jimi did get our kitchen sink handled, though.  It's been clogging for the last week, and by Wednesday night, there was no amount of sulfuric acid that was going to unclog it.  We had a load of "clean" dishes in the dishwasher, with a pool of murky yellowish/brown water in the bottom of the machine.  The sink was full.  (We create a lot of dirty dishes.)  Jimi got an appointment for a plumber to come out, and at 9 a.m. Friday, I got a text:

My stomach dropped.  I told my coworkers I'd be back, and went outside to call him.  He sounded sick when he answered.  "So, uh, we're fucked, huh?" I said.  "Ha!  No, it's fixed.  The plumber told me to say that."  Nice, huh?  $99, problem solved.  Big sigh of relief.  And now those dishes that were in the dishwasher are actually clean and put away.  I'd like to tell you the sink is empty, but I try not to lie.  















.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Back on the horse, or something.

It's overcast outside, hot and humid and the air feels pregnant with rain but it's only managing to do something that can't really even be called a sprinkle, and even that is only coming once every couple hours for 15 minutes at a time.  I took a walk at lunch anyhow, a brisk 20 minute walk on a winding path in a private park not too far from the office.  It was hot and I probably need more deodorant, but whatever.  It felt good to move. 

I'm in another one of those funks I get into - the one where I don't want to interact with anyone, where I don't want to do anything but sit and scroll through mindless crap on the internet, where I can't get enough carbs into my diet each day.  The internet is a dangerous place for my stress these days, though - every new click reveals some new vile thing happening in the world.  It's safe at home - at home, in my kitchen and living room and bedroom, I'm safe and the bad stuff is not around.  And a few weeks of avoiding the gym and eating like crap, it makes me feel bad and my clothes don't fit and then I fall into this spiral of self-loathing…

Anyone else?  I'm not the only one, right? 

Baby steps, that's what "they" say - baby steps to making better choices.  I'm not a baby steps kind of girl. I'm more of a "one big giant leap", "change all of the things all at the same time" sort of girl.  And then, when I fall down on the tiniest part of that, I quit it all and go back to into my misery spiral.  This morning, I decided to start tracking my food again.  I'll drink plenty of water, eat good things, won't overeat, hell, I may even go to the gym tonight…And then I bought some candy bars.  And ate two of them. Because, Yum! Carbs!  So the last thing I logged was a Butterfinger bar.  But hey!  I logged it!  That's a real improvement for me.  Normally, I only log for the first half of the day, until I make a bad decision, and then I quit logging and decide I'll start again tomorrow. 

Geneva and Cora - those little girls.  Geneva told me this morning she wants pizza rolls for dinner; pizza rolls and salad and grapes.  I didn't even know she'd ever had pizza rolls - apparently that's a thing they eat at daycare for lunch.  I sure wish I could afford to send my kid to the daycare that serves them actual real food, but that school was more than my mortgage each month for one kid.  I'd be better off quitting my job and fixing their food myself, except then I couldn't afford to buy real food for them either.  Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.  I'm super against not-real food; we're having pizza rolls and salad for dinner.  It's not fake pizza, it's "different" pizza. Square pizza. That's what Geneva said.

I've had a hard time writing because I haven't known what to write about.  I started thinking no one would want to read random snippets of my life, and so what's the point of writing if I don't have some profound essay or pronouncement to share?  I forgot why I started this boring blog in the first place - because I like boring blogs.  I don't read many anymore, but I still love coming across one of those rare sites where people share the mundane day to day details of their lives; the intimate portraits they paint of the lives they lead.  And really, as much as I love the dream of someday writing an amazing best seller, a more realistic goal is to just write.  I should write for myself, so I can look back and see how far I've come.  I should write for Jimi, should he ever wonder how I really feel about him.  And I should write for those girls, so they know how much their mommy loves them and what our day to day was like when they were itty bitty.  I feel so much guilt already over the parts I've missed and forgotten by not writing them down as they happened, but I am forgiving toward myself because I know these last few early years have been a whirlwind and I've done what I could.  Besides, who has time for regrets?  Life is so short.  Too short for that.

So yeah, tonight we're having pizza rolls for dinner. I bought more construction paper yesterday, so maybe we can spend some time coloring and cutting and gluing tonight - that's always a fun activity.  And we still have lots of water balloons we can play with, so long as we bathe in the Skin So Soft first so the skeeters won't eat up poor little Cora.  I'll try to keep them from watching too much TV and will probably fail miserably by 7 p.m., although if we make it to 7 p.m. without turning on the TV I will consider it a well-fought battle.  I wish we could ride bikes but the heat is so stifling it sucks all the fun out of playing outside.   I'm sure they both need a bath.


I love our boring little lives.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Struggle Is Real

I want to write.  I do.  I also want to do yoga every day, go hiking, ride my bike, eat less than 1800 calories a day, not drink so much, not yell at my kids, get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep...the list of things I want to do is so long.  Besides, I don't have anything interesting to say.  I just have a lot of blah blah blah - I'm not doing anything special or magical over here.  That's not true.  Those two little girls are pretty special and magical, and raising them...well, that's why I don't write anymore.  At the end of the day, I'm either too tired to find words, or too ashamed of my behavior to talk about it with anyone.  Rationally, I know I'm not a bad mom.  In fact, some people may even say I'm a great mom.  Sometimes I am.  Sometimes I am really shitty at this parenting thing, though.  I am short-tempered and too demanding and my expectations are way too high for a 4 year old and a 2 and a half year old. I'm trying to learn how to go with the flow, to not stress over the little things, to follow Geneva's instructions and take a step back and ask for help when I'm frustrated, to take a deep breath and count to four when I feel so mad I want to roar.  It's hard sometimes.  Life is hard, even when you know you're on easy street.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Night Whatever.

Everything in the news makes me heartsick and disgusted and scared.  Our collective apathy makes me feel weak and vulnerable. 

I try to remember that I am only responsible for, that I can only control, my actions - that I cannot take on the guilt of the bad people in the world.  I try to remind myself that what I have did not come from taking from the have-nots.  I want to do more, I should do more, to help those who have less, who need more, but some days it's a struggle just to get to the end of the day.  And then I feel terrible for not pushing a bit harder, as if my not making a bunch of sandwiches for homeless people is directly causing worldwide hunger to not be fixed already. 

Ugh.  The world is so ugly. 

This is why I stay home all the time.  It's safe in here.  It's full of funny happy people who love each other, even if they hit and scratch and bite sometimes, and yell, and cry and whine...still.  Way safer than your average public gathering these days.  Also, I'm always tired.  And taking the girls to other peoples' homes freaks me out because I'm afraid they're going to get on your nerves or break something or stain something.  And I still have stupid terrible mom guilt any time I leave them with Grandma because I feel like I'm imposing on my mom and abandoning my kids all at the same time, so it makes it hard to let loose and have a good time, ya know? 

This was supposed to be a Facebook post, not a blog entry.  Whatever. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

My First 5K!

Guys, I did a thing! 

I've wanted to do a 5k for a long time, but there are lots of easy excuses to not do one.  Back in January, though, my friend Melinda told me she was doing a Color Run in June, and I was all, "Sign me up!"  Back then, my insurance was through Humana, which has a program called Go365 that allows you to earn points for physical activity, and those points translate into dollars.  I accumulated $250+ worth of points in less than a year, and a 5K was good for a few hundred additional points.  Of course, my company changed their insurance carrier a month ago, so I don't have the incentive program any longer, so my W00t! at completing a 5K was minimized.  Also, I twisted my foot in a bad way a couple weeks back - heels and cobblestones do not mix well.  I've not quite been limping, but my foot hurts.  The 5K was scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, and as of Friday evening, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it. 

Saturday morning, though, I woke up, got dressed, downed 3 Ibuprophen with my protein shake and headed for Waterfront Park. 








So, the Color Run is a color run because there are checkpoints along the route where people throw powdered colored chalk on the participants.  I expected to be much more colorful by the end, honestly. 

Holly had done this particular run before, so she was in the know and warned us about the dust and advised a bandana would be a very good idea.  She was very right. 




See those steel studs on the bottom two floors of this building?  I sold those.  That's what I do these days - I sell steel studs used in commercial and residential framing.  Turns out, I'm not terrible at it.  Who knew?














Friday, May 26, 2017

Kushner

When you read about Trump's Senior Advisor and Son-in-Law trying to set up a secret communication channel with Russia, ask yourself - "Do I think he would have done this of his own volition, without the knowledge and express permission of Trump?"

I know you can't convict on circumstantial evidence, but dammit people.  There is so much smoke, a fire is all but guaranteed.  And not some little tiny bonfire either - this is an all-out wildfire and our Democracy is what's burning. There's nothing partisan about this - these people are hiding treasonous acts, and the story is going to come out.  It's okay that you voted for him and put us in this terrible position - well, it's not, but we can't change the past now, can we? - but we have to come together as Americans and move forward with reason and rational thought.  You wouldn't accept this from any previous President, none of it.  This is not normal.  This is dangerous. 

I don't know what I want you to do other than admit that this man is a piece of shit and he's destroying our country bit by bit and needs to be replaced immediately.  We need a new election. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A rainy Derby Saturday.

It's almost 7:30, and we've been up just over an hour.  Well, Cora and I.  G got up about a half hour ago, Jimi's still snoozin'.  I love easy mornings like this - breakfast, TV, smiles and giggles and only a few meltdowns.  4 year olds cry a lot more than I would've imagined; there's a lot more whining than I'd considered.  We're working on it.  Our house is generally noisy and chaotic.  I don't realize that until we mingle with others, in their homes or for extended periods of time.  The shell-shocked look that they get, our friends who don't usually spend time in the company of 2.5 and 4 year olds, it's amusing and alarming.  I always apologize for our crazy, but I'm not really sorry.  I mean, I feel bad that we're SO MUCH and I know it can be overwhelming for people not used to it, but we are what we are, and what do you expect from a 2.5 and 4 year old?  I try to keep our visits brief with everyone except the grandparents.  Only at my mom & dad's house do I feel like I can take a break for a minute from my constant hovering and worrying, like I can take off my mom hat for just a few minutes and relax and not have to worry that one of my kids is going to break something or fall down the stairs; the girls are so enamored with Granny and Papaw, they don't bother to get into any trouble.  They just soak up the love and attention from grownups who never make them do things they don't want to do. 

I'm away from home 3 nights next week.  I've already got that anxious pit in my stomach; I already miss my family.  I'm also excited about 3 nights sleeping alone with no one waking me up at 2 a.m. insisting I change beds, hours to read the new book I picked up last weekend and haven't cracked open yet.  Why is everything in life so complicated, with so many conflicting emotions?  Why am I so emotional that even a quick business trip requires psychological gymnastics?  I love my people and I want to be with them...and I'm still sort of convinced that as long as I'm here with them, they're safe from whatever dangers are lurking out there, and that if I'm not around, they're vulnerable.  I'm only a little crazy, I swear. 

I've tried so hard to stop reading the news, but I can't and I guess I shouldn't.  It's so heartbreaking and scary.  How has our nation become so hateful?  What are we going to do? 


Monday, April 17, 2017

The all clear.

Geneva had her first dentist appointment this morning. She doesn't have any cavities. I'm over here doing cartwheels in my brain.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The funk.

I'm pretty sure Geneva has a cavity.  I'm barely holding back the panic and feelings of failure.  I'm beating myself up for not being more diligent about getting her teeth brushed, for not getting her a dental appointment until her 4th birthday.  I'm terrified of what they're going to tell us.  Ugh.  This is not one of the things you're supposed to drop the ball on, Natalie.  WTF.

(deep breath, 1, 2, 3, 4...)

It is what it is.  I can't change what is.  We can brush our teeth twice a day like it's our prayers and we've suddenly converted to the religion of Enamel and we're very devout.  On the up side, I think Cora's teeth are okay...one out of two ain't bad?  ...heh... heh...  Ugh.

Cora had a bad stomach bug over the weekend, and is only now finally back to normal (5 days later).  They bring home every single thing that rolls through that daycare, I swear it, and we all take turns being the sick one. 

....and then, just now, Cora woke up grabbing her ear and saying "owwie owwie". 

This has been the sick year.  We're almost at a year since they switched to daycare centers, which is when the funk began.  Surely by some cosmic design this means that magically at a year they will have developed an immunity to all of the crud, or at least built up enough of a tolerance that Jimi and I won't have to take turns taking off work every week. 


Monday, April 3, 2017

The stories she will tell...

"You know what my great great grandmommy told me?  She said Pool Head Cover Off.  And then I came to you.  A better mommy.  You're a better mommy to me."

You know those "creepy things kids say" emails that used to float around and still appear occasionally on clickbait sites?  This is Geneva's contribution. 

She's been talking about her great great grandmommy, Donna, for weeks.  She says Donna died when bad guys broke into her house and killed her.  But she shows G all sorts of things and tells her all sorts of stories. 

Pool head cover off.  Pool had cover off?  A little kid drowned in a pool in the backyard of our home, years before we bought it but recently enough that we found little McDonald's happy meal toys in the backyard and basement and upstairs for years after we moved in.  The story we've heard is he snuck out the back door during a family event of some sort - a birthday party or baby shower or something - and got into the pool when no one was watching.  He was only little, 2 or 3.  Our neighbors remember it and have told us their versions.  The pool is long gone, and I use this story as a reminder of why we don't buy one of those >$200 pop-up things at Wal-Mart for some summer fun and relief.

I don't think G is the reincarnation of the kid who drowned in our backyard 15 years ago.  But her ramblings tonight were a little creepy.  Kids say the darnedest things. 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

_______ Makes Me Happy.

If my day could go exactly as I wanted, exactly as I planned, with only my own wants and needs and desires mapping the way, how would it look?  I make up little stories all the time and tell myself, "If I didn't have to work, I could do that all the time," but when I have time off, time to kill, I often wonder what I should do or what there is to do, or, worse still, I lock up at the prospect of all of the things I could be doing and end up doing nothing because I am unable to make a decision.  I keep telling myself I should make a jar of things to do, and when I find myself without an immediate plan, I should pull something from that jar and do that thing.  Why don't I do that?  I should.  And for the girls, too.  For them I'll call it, "No TV Today". 

 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My new addiction.

I spend too much time reading the internet.  Reading about things that don't directly impact me, or things that do, but they all have something in common - I can't do anything about any of it.  Well, not much, at least.  I'll meet with a group of women later today to bask in political conversation, in a place where we can yell and bitch and gnash our teeth and complain and cry and be aghast and angry and motivated, where it won't be a huge social faux paus to say things like "Who gives a shit how the soup is, our President is a Russian puppet!"  We'll talk about how scared we are and how small we feel, how helpless and impotent.  We'll talk about the things that scare us the most, the issues we feel need the most immediate attention - and then one of us will remind the rest that we ARE NOT ALONE.  That I may be one person, but when I join my voice with theirs, we become a chorus, and there are choirs practicing this particular song all over our country today, right now.  And we will feel less alone, and a little less afraid, a bit less weak, a smidge stronger.  And we will start to write.  We will each write a letter or a postcard to our representatives on each topic each woman identified as the one most important to her, and we will mail our choir song to the people whose job it is to listen to us sing...

And that makes me feel a little bit better.  It doesn't feel like enough, and it isn't, not by a long shot, but it is what I can do today, while I also do the other stuff, the real stuff, the stuff I should be concerned with, the stuff I was concerned with before the political took over my brain...you know, the real stuff.  Like loving my husband, loving my children.  Raising them to be good people, teaching them to give a fuck about other people.  Because that's what we do as parents, right?  We try to teach our kids to be good people, to be compassionate.  Be super smart and funny and awesome in every other way too, but from the get go, at the start, be a good person.  That one thing is the most important. 

I don't know how to balance.  I don't know how to stay woke and not be deeply depressed and sad and angry.  I don't know how to reconcile my love for my Trump-voting fellow humans at the same time I am vehemently hoping for the worst of his policies to have the worst impacts on his voters just as a big fat "WTF WERE YOU THINKING I TOLD YOU SO!"  I am angry at the people who voted for him.  I am angry at them for putting our country, our safety, our very freedom at risk.  I am so angry - and not just on my own behalf.  I am terrified for my children, and I am pissed at his voters for stealing a bright future from them.  See?  I can't balance. I'm all doom and gloom - as I see it, unless he's forced out of office quickly, and our Congress mostly replaced in 2018, we're fucked.  Who needs clean air and water, anyhow?  Who needs our rich history of welcoming immigrants with open arms?  Who needs a respected leader believed to be ethical and moral?  Who needs separation of church and state?  Who needs educated citizenry? 

I cannot compartmentalize, this shit leaches into my thoughts during every conversation.  I could easily turn every exchange into a lecture about current events.  I am not fun at parties anymore. 

Every day I tell myself, "I'm just not going to go down the rabbit hole today, I'm not going to Twitter or Facebook or Reddit..." but I do, and I am like a fucking junkie, getting hits/new tweets/statuses every time I pull that page down to refresh, getting more enraged and outraged and indignant and shocked with each new blow dealt by digging journalists or overreaching strategic advisors...

My dad told me a few days after the election, "The United States has survived the Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression...it has survived bigger things than Donald Trump."  Sometimes, for a few moments, I'm able to step out of the noise in my head and look at it from thirty thousand feet, and I can see that he's right, and it makes me feel better.  Sometimes I tell myself that I am a married white woman with a comfortable income living in a comfortable middle-class home, with plenty of food, access to affordable healthcare, with reliable transportation and two happy healthy little girls to raise - stay the fuck out of politics.  Why do I care?  Why can't I just bury my head in the sand like so many of my friends and not read the shit, not pay attention, pretend it isn't there?  It's not like I am actively working to change anything - I haven't been to any rallies or protests or community events.  I'm just reading shit on the internet and getting pissed off, occasionally releasing a little tension with a bitter tweet or facebook share.  WHY? 

When I'm driving alone, usually I'm trying to find the answers to all of these big issues we're facing - how do you convince people that insuring everyone is the only answer to our healthcare problems? How do we get people to stop being afraid of each other and realize we're all the same? How do we convert coal- and oil-industry workers into entrepreneurs in the renewable energy fields?  I'm asking myself how I can be part of the solution.  Sometimes the answer feels like the big obvious one - run for office if you want to make the laws.  That feels way too scary and hard and like something that couldn't possibly be something I could be successful at, though, so I keep digging and thinking and trying to come up with something, anything.   And then I remember that I can't even get a handle on my laundry situation, so I'm really wasting energy focusing on the wrong shit here. 

I got up at 4:30 this morning, on a Sunday, so I could sit alone in the dark with my cup of hot tea (can't grind coffee beans at 4:30 if you want everyone else to stay asleep) and read Twitter and WP and Reuters and NYT in the quiet stillness, without interruption.  I was going to sit here and bathe in the bad news, just splash all around in it.  I'm glad I came here instead.  I think this is probably better for my mental health.









Sunday, March 5, 2017

Happy Birthday Geneva!

She's 4 now.  My sweet baby who made me a mom turned four years old today.  Well, it's after midnight now so technically her birthday was yesterday, but she was born at 11:36 p.m., so this time four years ago, I still had her naked on my chest.  Or maybe we were trying to nurse for the first time.  We weren't to our room yet, I know that - it was after 3 a.m. before I finally ate, after 21 hours of labor and only a quickly-slurped cup of potato soup Jimi snuck in to my room and slid to me between the nurse's check-ins.  Grilled cheese and fries, that's what I had that morning.  Everything was bland and a little soggy, the way hospital food always is.  I was high on endorphins and the amazement of what I'd just done, and I couldn't stop staring at that little bitty face, that teeny button nose.  She had some bruises on the bridge of her nose and across her brow and a teeny little red strawberry mark on her chest - those all faded long ago.  She's 4 now. 

She can spell her name and writes it with a little nudging.  She's learning to write numbers.  She can "read" - I know she's memorized these books, but it's really neat to hear your child of not-quite-four recite words from a page. 

She's so persistent.  She is so determined.  She's so moody.  She's kind and sweet and good.  She tries so hard to please.  She is a caring and thoughtful and loving big sister, to Cora and Finnegan (whom she calls her "puppy brother".  She has recently started telling me she wants a people brother, but I shut that shit down because no.).  She is bright and sunshiny and full of laughter and goofiness and fun.  She is also grumpy and whiny and petulant, but usually only for a short time. 

She is exactly like me. 
A better version, of course.
Poor girl.
Lucky girl.
Awesome girl. 

I sure hope I'm able to do right by her. 
I hope I can be the mom she deserves, the mom they both deserve.


Happy Birthday, Hiku baby.  You are my sunshine.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Love

I love how happy and full of life my girls are - how easily they laugh, how well they play.  Geneva makes up the best stories, the funnest games, and Cora's right there, right in the middle, picking up every nuance and detail Geneva puts down, playing along flawlessly, filling in the gaps, as if they were created from the same DNA, just slightly reorganized...

They are the best parts of every little thing.  They are the hardest parts of every little thing.  It is magic that they are able to do both of these things, all of these things, at exactly the same moments - and somehow, from the chaos, create beauty.  Exquisite, breathtaking, heartbreaking chaotic beauty. 

I love them with every part of myself.

Friday, January 27, 2017

I don't give a *&$#

I said to Maggie that 37 was going to be the year I stopped giving more weight to the opinions of others than I give to my own.  Well.  I think I said something more like, "I'm going to stop giving a fuck what people think."  Same difference. 

I decided to start practicing on New Year's Day 2017, figuring I'd get a 4-month head start.  It's hard to learn this particular skill, after a lifetime of being overly concerned that everyone around you at the very least isn't mad at you, and at best, is completely comfortable, well-fed, thirst-quenched, and content with all of your most recent actions and opinions.  That last bit there, the way I've lived my entire life, I inherited that shit honestly.  I think.  The women in my family hold opinions, but we don't ever want them to hurt anyone else's feelings.  My Mom, my Aunt Pam, my Cousin Stacy.  Maybe we're not all that way, maybe it's just us.  I don't think Granny was that way.  I remember Granny being more of a "That's just the way it is, whether you like it or not" sort of woman.  Like when she wouldn't let me win at Skip-Bo - "If I have the cards to play, Natalie, I'm going to play it, whether it helps you or not. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."  Such a hard lesson to understand - the lesson of learning to just roll with it. 

I imagine there are about 3 people still seeing my Facebook updates. That's cool.  I can't help the soapbox I keep finding myself on.  I hold back as long as I can, and then I burst with a flurry of political rants and posts and shares...I just want people to love each other.  Stop being so fucking afraid of each other, realize we're all the same, we all want the same things, we're all fighting the same invisible battles...

We don't have to be afraid of each other.  It's bullshit for us to be afraid of our neighbors.  We are all full of the same nervousness, the same awkward fear of rejection.  My self consciousness is exactly the same as yours - we're on a level playing field, we are equal. 

I love you.  I want the best things for you.  You do you your way.  But I get to do me my way.  That's the deal.  We both want what's best for each other, but we each get to define that for ourselves. You don't limit me, I don't limit you.  (Basic "don't kill each other", "don't cheat one another", etc etc apply, of course.) 

This is our only future.  This is the only way forward.  This is the way for my family, what I teach my children.  Please teach yours the same? 

What were your resolutions?  How are you doing at sticking to them? 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Revolution Begins At Dawn.

I am so tense.  Reading Facebook infuriates me these days.  Reading the news makes me want to break things. 

What is happening?

We need, right now, to identify the people we want to fill our Congressional seats two years from now.  We need to identify them, and we need to do everything we can to help them hone their message and get their name and their platform out into the world and we need to get them elected.  We have to start now. 

We're going to march, me and mine.  I don't know how I'll convince Jimi, but we are going to march against tyranny. Against oppression.

That sounds so grandiose, so dramatic.  But this is real actual life, right now.  I can't even believe this shit is happening. 

That's what I say every day when I read the news: I can't believe this shit is happening. 


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I love everything. I'm scared.

Geneva told me I'm a good mom and that she loves playing with me. 

Cora asks for me when she wakes up a lot of mornings now, rather than daddy.  It's okay that daddy is still her favorite, but it's nice to be wanted, too. 

My husband is the best husband, and I don't know how anyone familys without a Jimi.  He's the glue, man.  He is everything.  Everything.

My mom and dad are always there when I call them - they keep the girls when they're sick or because we want to go out, they buy me tires because it's almost Christmas and they know it's not a convenient time for me to spend an unexpected $600, they love us unconditionally and always are there to listen or give advice. 

My friends...my friends are the best friends.  They think I'm awesome despite all the evidence I give them to the contrary.  They love me even though I'm just me. 

I love my job.  I'm good at it.  It's not my dream, but I work with great people, and we have fun while we're doing what we have to do every day to make our dreams happen. 

I have a safe place to live.  I have reliable transportation.  I have access to adequate, affordable healthcare.  Our dog is a good boy except when he isn't, but even that isn't SO bad, in perspective. 

My life is everything I've ever wanted.  I'm so full - of happy, of shame, of joy, of hope.  If I could get some sort of guarantee that it won't end in the next 46 years or so, I could live my day to day happy and without a care in the world...

I'm scared for everyone who is not me.

I don't say that with sarcasm or to be witty or tongue in cheek. 

I'm scared for parents of sick kids, parents of kids with learning challenges of all sorts.  I'm scared for single parents.  I'm scared for parents who don't have extended families, or who are far from home.  I'm scared for women and men who are underemployed, underinsured.  I'm scared for those of us living paycheck to paycheck, with outstanding loans on our only modes of transportation, living in areas where there is little or no public transit, little or no upward momentum...

I'm scared our President is going to make my 401k go away.  I'm scared I'll regret not doing better at food storage.  I'm scared those will be the least of my fears...

I'm scared.


Monday, January 23, 2017

I love the gym.

It's late.  The alarm will sound early.  I love the gym. 

My legs and ass hurt.  The good hurt, the sort that says, "Oh yeah, I did something good for myself" and also "holy lord how in the fuck will I ever get my ass all the way down there on the toilet seat without dying?!"

You know what I mean.  If you don't, go do 36 squats and 36 lunges and report back in 24 hours.  Or just stab yourself in the upper thigh and ass cheeks.  Whichever.

But I'm going to go back tomorrow.  And Wednesday.  Thursday, Friday, Saturday...it's like I'm daring myself to see what will happen if I actually stick to this. 

Well, this week.  Today.  It is only Monday, after all.  I would've skipped this morning if it weren't for the fact that Melinda was meeting me there at 5 a.m.  Not like I can stand her up, you know? 

I soaked in Epsom salts and now the stabbing isn't quite so awful.  And for the record, I really don't mind it...I just have a hard time controlling the grunts and groans that associate any squat-like movements. 

But I'm totally fine. 

I'll do it again tomorrow.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Love Women.

I'm so proud of the women in our nation and around the world who marched yesterday.

I wish I could've been in it. 
I was afraid, I admit.
I am scared of our new president and I was scared of what the marches and protests would become and I wanted to take my girls, to be part of this with them...but I was scared and I kept us home.
I tell myself it's because they're so small, they wouldn't have remembered anyhow...but that's bullshit, and I know it, and I won't pretend you wouldn't see through the excuse immediately. 
I can't stop reading links with pictures of protest signs. 
God I love women.
I'm so impressed with their strength and bravery and intelligence and their will...and I haven't even gotten started on the women I personally know and love! 
I feel buoyant today after seeing images from yesterday.
I feel hopeful. 
I'm not as scared.

Well, until I got to the article about twitler's media guy's press conference where he insisted the inauguration, arguably one of the least-attended in history, was in fact the most widely attended ever, which is an easily verifiable falsehood.  These fuckers remind me so hard of 1984...and then I'm scared again. 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

It's a great morning.  The girls are watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood via several technological advances (tablet, Fire Stick, Internet, TV...nothing is simple anymore, is it?).  I've done my morning warm-up, I have coffee, and, most exciting, I have a new laptop!  I can type again!  Gosh I've missed having an actual keyboard.  Not that I do all that much blogging anymore, but there is something intrinsically therapeutic to me about a keyboard.  All the click, click, click.  I used to play with my momma's typewriter - wishing desperately I both knew how to type and had something to say. 

I've seemed to pick up lately on stories where people say, "from the time I was a little kid, I just knew it's what I wanted to do...".  The kid who made costumes for his GI Joe dolls and grew up to costume Broadway.  The woman who knew she wanted to be a scientist.  I've found myself wondering, "What was that thing for me?" and I keep coming up blank - I used to say I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer.  I think I just said that because I thought they made a lot of money, though.  I'd love to help people and fix people the way doctors do, but I couldn't be less interested in the idea of 13 years of college, hundreds of thousands in loans, and literally holding someone's life in my hands.  Nope.  I need a bit less stress, please and thanks.  And lawyers - I know and have worked for too many for that to have come to fruition.  I just like to argue.  I hate to research, unless it's something I'm interested in, like Mormons or pregnancy.  I'm not down with student loans.  I'll never be a lawyer.  But just now, remembering Mom's old electronic typewriter - that brings back childhood passion.  (I also have a desperate love of office supplies that's been cultivated from a young age, which I guess sort of fits, because except for those few retail jaunts early on and in the middle after city moves, I have always had office jobs.)  Writing, though.  I love writing.  I've always loved to write - to type, specifically.  And if I could ever get the hang of dictating (words, not countries), I think I'd love that just as much.  Getting the thoughts out of my mind and onto paper in a way that makes another person read it and say, "I know exactly what you mean here and it makes me feel exactly the way you meant for me to feel" - there's not much better in the world to my heart. 

Hmm.  That feels like an epiphany of some sort.  I should probably do something with this realization, huh?  Maybe I will.

When you were little, what did you dream you'd grow up to do?  Are you doing it?  Do you still want to do it?  Now what do you want to be when you grow up?  What are you doing to make that happen? 


Monday, January 2, 2017

Even just a few words counts as something.

Melinda.  She always tells me to come here, to say things. I should, I tell her, I need to.  I always mean it. I always have the best of intentions. Right now, my laptop is dead and so is my 90 wpm typing skill without an actual keyboard. Forgive brevity until the issue is resolved, I  ask of you. 

But I will come here, and say some things. Because she said so, and because it is good for my soul. 

Resolution time!  I'm going to finish some of the things that I start. I'm going to stop putting the opinions of others before my own.  (Except for doctors and other professionals, of course. Be reasonable.)  I'm going to follow my happy. I'm going to grow things. I'm going to be an awesome mom.  I'm going to be the best wife.

I'm going to live the fuck out of life, that's what I'm going to do. 

How about you?  What will 2017 bring for you?

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