Sunday, December 06, 2009

Misty Mornings

I love mornings. I love having a chance to collect my thoughts (and read blogs) before everyone else gets up. I love listening for the pitter-pat of the boys feet as they search me out. The first hugs of the morning that are warm and strong. Funny conversations, cuddles on the couch, breakfast at a slow, leisurely pace - this is morning.

This morning I rose before everyone else. I wandered through the house. Put a blanket on Eric who had slept in the room with the boys. Tucked the boys back into their bedding, away from the cool morning air. Grabbed my robe and latest book and retreated to the couch.

In most ways this morning is no different than any other one. Tomorrow morning however will be the start of something new. A new out-of-the-home job for me - with hours early in the morning away from the boys.

Will paddled out first this morning. Saw me in the kitchen and ran to get up into my arms.
We cuddled on the couch and I started getting a little teary. He asked if they were "tears of love" which is usually what I tell him. This morning I was honest and said, no these tears were of sadness because I'll miss my morning time with him. He curled right up to me and said "It's not a big deal Mom."

He is right. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have the time with the boys that I do. I get to make a choice. I recognize the value, and cost, of me staying home with the kids...and the value and cost lost of me not working. So this new opportunity is perfect. It allows me to meet some of our family goals with little strain on the boys.

And yet, Will's wrong. Not because giving up my mornings is a big deal. That's not it. It's recognizing that the boys are growing up. They are at a place where who they are with during the day doesn't matter as much as it used to. Most of their basic needs, food, toilet, sleep - are things they can provide for themselves.

I'm not trying to devalue myself - or make it seem like they are past the point of mothering. Rather that as a mom one of the strangest parts of my jobs is that it is constantly evolving. Each new development and phase for them requires a new job description and skill set from me. And this new phase for me also marks a new phase for them. A more independent one.

Oh. I'm going to miss my mornings. What they are. What they signify.

But...for now...for this moment I am going to turn off the computer and tune into my son who just asked me to come play and qualified his request with "...because Mom, playing with me is your favorite thing in the world."

Yes it is.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Oh no.

I can hear my neighbors.

No, not doing THAT.

Yelling at their kid.

"Lay down!" "Put that down!" "Be quiet!"

Which means I can be heard.

And I've been real short on patience with my kids this week.

And have yelled.

I don't want to be judged on what I've said to my kids the past few days. Because I'm not usually that kind of parent.

Perhaps it is horrible to say that not wanting to be heard is a reason for trying to be a better parent. Perhaps.

But mostly, it's a good reminder that who I am really am is who I want to be around all the time.

Even when I've lost patience....

Monday, September 21, 2009


My nerves have got the better of me.

I just brushed my teeth for the 2nd time. In ten minutes. Because I forgot I had already. Then 1/2 way through spitting I remembered.

Leaving the workplace, one where I had a heavy emphasis on staff management, I looked forward to the day when I'd be back in the interview chair.

Having stayed at home now for almost five years has provided me with a better look at my strengths and weaknesses (if you prefer to call them that) as well as time to work on myself. These have geared me up for the discussion of why I'm qualified to return to my professional world someday.

For the first time in a long time I am facing an interview chair. In about forty minutes. I should be packing up my kids. Should be driving to drop them off. But no. My nerves have got me.

See, tonight isn't just any interview. It's not for a job. It's for a volunteer position. One that I've thought about and considered since April. Wanted to make sure I was strong enough for it. Could I face my fear of death and dying straight on? Hold it's hand even?

And what's got me nervous? Religion.

This is a hospital that is founded by a religion and run by a religion. Pictures of Jesus grace the hallways. One of my friends who worked there said one of the best things for him is that he can pray and ask for the spirit to be with him and it's not weird.

But see...for kind of is. Not that what they believe is weird, because it isn't. More that they might think what I believe is weird. They might judge me on the basis of my, um, non-religion. They might reject me for it.

They can ask these questions. They can ask them in job interviews and they can certainly ask them in an interview where someone wants to volunteer to work with people at the end of this earthly journey.

And these are questions I haven't prepped five years for. I know I'm strong enough to do this job. I know that I'd bring a lot to the people I would work with as they make their peace. I don't know if I can fully answer a "What do you believe" question....

I hope I can answer them. With truth for me and validity for them.

A Fall First

I'm getting excited for Fall. I've always loved this season - the change in temperatures, the colors in nature, and the chance to pull out clothes from the closet that have been neglected for 1/2 a year.

As you know, if you know me at all, I'm a function over form kind of girl. I wear clothes that allow me to get down and play during the day..and if I look cute then it's a bonus. In short - I look like a stay-at-home-mom. Sometimes I don't mind...sometimes I do.

Now, I've never been into fashion. In fact, two weeks ago at a Girl's Night Out I won a copies of the latest Vogue and Marie Claire - I picked the stack because it came with Root Beer. I didn't even realize the magazines came with it and wasn't quite sure what to do with them. When someone asked - I readily traded them for a salad bowl and hot chocolate. Function.
Then I surprised myself. I bought a purple shirt. Two of them. Both from the clearance rack. I was thrilled for a little color in the line-up of my normal black, brown, white, and red collection.

And then I got a surprise. I look good in purple. And it's one of the Fall fashion colors - as I was told by the woman who traded her root beer for my fashion mags.

So today, for the very firsts time, I looked up the Pantone Fall 2009 Fashion Colors! Here they are in all their glory:

And do you know why I looked them up? To incorporate some into my wardrobe? To mix-match colors with my new purple shirt?

Oh please. I haven't changed that much. I'm going to used them in my digital design projects :) Function.

Now it's time to look up who these Pantone people are and why they get to pick the colors! What a job!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

With great power...

The other day I caught up with an old friend. When it was my turn to talk about the news in my life I found myself speaking mostly about my running and triathlon training. Lately that has died down a bit...though I'm working to pick it back up again.

When I finally finished my ten minute long exclamation about running she said "wow. This has been life changing hasn't it."


I have no doubt in ten years when I look back at my life I will include this (along with the births of my children, my wedding, my college years, Will's Celiac diagnosis, and the death of my grandpa) as life-changing.

Here is why:

I find myself saying no to things I haven't had strength to before. Like Diet Coke. Like negative thoughts in my head. Like staying in grungy clothes all day.

I find myself saying yes to things I haven't had strength to do before. Like 5ks and triathlons. Like being in pictures. Like talking to strangers without worrying about how I look. Like volunteering at a hospital with people who are dying.

Finding a power I didn't think I have has helped me find power in everything else.

And it's not that I'm power's something other than that. It's wanting to take this strength and spread it around.

It's dying to allow myself to live slow. To ride my bike more with the kids strapped in the back. To craft the things I want for the people I love. To spend time, not money.

It's wanting to be strong enough to say "no" to all the little purchases and paying off the god-awful debt so money can go further, later.

It's wanting to be brave enough to saying "yes" to my Mom's offer to join her in Kenya next year for a humanitarian project even though I know once I go there, I won't be able to turn back to life as I know it now.

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's easy...

It's easy to look at what I don't have. Or what I could be. Or what I should be.

I injured my foot running last week. And it spurred up this tornado of emotions. Realizing that I'd have to take time off makes me think about how else to burn my calories which makes me think about the weight I have NOT lost, which makes me think of my clothes, which makes me think of the crappy running shoes I have, which makes me think.....

And yet, in the last few days as I've found myself drifting to that place little reminders (of how wonderful life is, of how much I do have, of what I am, and of who I'm striving to be) keep popping up.

It's always easy to be part of the tornado. To get swept up in the emotions and taken over by them.

So I'm stopping. I've planted my feet back firmly on the ground.

I'm grateful for that. For being able to stop

For reminders like THIS to stop. And reminders like THIS to keep going.

For days with just Walker. Playing cars on the carpet. Listening to his language, watching his hands. Oh, how he grows.

For evenings of solitude that occur without request.

For random YouTube videos that make me laugh or dance or both.

For cool tap water.

For realizing that I can walk or swim or bike even if I cannot run.

For new friends...something I have longed for and am finally allowing.

For me. In all my versions.

It is easy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wash, rinse, repeat...

There are moments when the monotony of my life frustrates the hell out of me. I've hesitated to post this because, like most things when written, they feel either (a) more overwhelming or (b) not such a big deal. Or both. And this is both.

Rise early, by myself.
Empty dishwasher.
Work. Usually a self created project.
Internet. Facebook. Perez. Online banking. Blogs.
Drop off spouse (who is most likely running late).
Breakfast. For the kids, homemade. For me, in a cup.
Make the beds. Dishes.
Clothes. For the kids. Me, maybe.
Make lunch. Prep for school.
Clean up toys.
Drop one boy off at school.
Errands, tasks, maybe an "adventure" to the library, or Costco, or some other place I where I can turn an errand into an adventure. The whole time trying to placate the other boy who cannot be happy without a new toy, or chocolate milk, or something else that I seem to always refuse.
Eat lunch.
Wonder if I'm a slacker since I don't post on my blogs...
Pick up the first boy. Try to placate him now too as we pass places I won't stop daily.
Read stories. Try to be a good mom. Try to put the boys first.
Make dinner
Pick up the spouse.
Eat dinner. Mostly together.
Bedtime for boys.
Run for me. Run for the spouse.
Push myself to stay up doing things I think I should do (email) and things I want to do (The Daily Show).
Bed. Read two pages of an intriguing book.

Wake, stretch, repeat.

The truth is that my life is full of things I love. My spouse. My kids. Running. Reading. New friends. Movies in the park. Bike rides with kids.

And while no one day is exactly the same, there is so much that is true from day to day to day. Some days, it just grates.

Even now, I have a child glued to my side, asking for things, grabbing at my iPod, the computer. "Mom, feed me." "Mom, listen to me." "Mom, he's bugging me." "Mom I need three Band-Aids." Anything. Everything.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Notes on old.

Old.  It's my new four-letter word.  Sure it's only got three letters, but if you say it in my direction you might as well be an f-bomb dropping sailor.

Here are the reasons why:

The Tipper and I
It was in the car when I was first confronted with my growing chronological marker.  I was groovin' to KISS FM when a new song came on.  Always in a quest for a good running tune I was drawn to it's beat and turned up the radio.  I couldn't really hear all the lyrics so I made a note to myself to look it up on iTunes and listen before I bought.  And then, the chorus came on.  "Shush girl, shut your lips, do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips".  Do they even know who Helen Keller was? Ugh - I am so offended by this song!  And it's not the shut your lips use your hips part - I've listened to songs much worse than that and liked them.  It's the "Do the Helen Keller" line.  What?  I mean really - what?And you see, herein lies the problem, I am offended by a pop song!  What?  

Age Spots
In one week I injured my knee, gained some water weight, plucked two gray hairs and got a rash.  Maybe each of these, if separated by time, would not be a big deal.  But together it was enough for me to both cry in the shower AND vow that no husband of mine will ever be changing my diaper.  I'll have Dr. Death on my speed dial.

Senator Boxer* 
The use of the word Ma'am in my direction is becoming a daily occurrence.  If store really wanted to make a return buyer out of me they'd tell their staff to call anyone who looks less than 40 "Miss".  (*click here if you don't get that reference - and yeah, don't get me started on that!)

On that same note, maybe I do look older than thirty.  My cute Japanese brother told me yesterday, when he was told I was the big 3-0, said "You don't look 30" and for a moment I worried he'd say he thought I was older.

Tick, tock, THUMP, POUND:
My biological clock is pounding.  Nope, not ticking.  Pounding.   Neither of my two children were created because my bio clock told me it was time.  I wanted a baby - but there was no sudden URGE to have one.  There were alternative factors at (or not at) work.  But now  I see babies everywhere, except with me.  Everyone's having them, everyone's doin' it.  They're the new fall accessory and my retail store is closed!  Not to mention that in my youth making the decision to have a baby was as easy as flipping a coin.  Whether or not it should have been this easy is another conversation.  Now, as a wizened 30 year-old I cannot just say "because it feels right".  

Five and Four:
Nothing makes you feel older than noting the age of your children.  I'm sure my mother would agree.  Will starts Kindergarten in one month.  Kindergarten.  Will.  Me with a Kindergartner.  3rd grade, 6th grade, 12th grade - they'll all be here before I know it and I'll be sitting at this blog (if I remember my password then) crabbing about their age.  Not to mention that my baby, my BABY will be four in two months.  Four.  It doesn't seem like much when I type it, but when I hold him and feel his oh-so-not-a-baby body, my heart sinks.  It's going too fast.

Generation Gap Close:
Icons from my generation have started to die.  I hate to say it, it's only gonna get worse.  MJ dying was a real eye-opener for me this week and not just because of the reaction noted worldwide.  Parts of my childhood are set to the tune of his genius.  Parts of my ascension to adulthood are chronicled by his regression back to childhood. Thanks MJ, for the good, and the Bad.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

There is no such thing...

There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Oh wait.  Yes there is.  One.  

"Are you pregnant?"

Actually most of the time it comes out as a statement, not a question.  As in the one my neighbor made to me tonight as I was walking, totally exhausted, carrying a sleeping child, while wearing my bathing suit.

She said "Oh, so you're pregnant."

We stopped to talk about her move (to the apartment above us) and the curiousness that stems from a move.   She stole a quick look at my belly and attempted to confirm her suspicion.

I guess my possible pregnancy has been the topic of conversation, along with my upcoming triathlon and whether or not I should do one while pregnant, between she and my other neighbor.

I like both of these ladies...but please.  COME ON!  I can think of so many other ways of figuring out if someone is pregnant or not without asking directly.  Like:  "So, you ever think of having more kids?"  or "Two boys, wanna have another and see if you can get a girl?"

Or, just don't ask.

But, if you do.  Do not, under any circumstances follow it up with the statement of "Oh, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean anything by it."

Yes you do.  You mean I look pregnant.  You mean that the six to nine miles a week I am running (not to mention the biking and swimming) aren't doing squat for the belly I acquired from two babies in two years, a year (or two) of less than stellar eating, and, let's face it, genetics.  I already know that.  Trust me, I already know it.  

It's ok that you thought it.  It's not ok that you asked it.  Keep the stupid questions to yourself.  

Monday, June 08, 2009

Tis a gift...

Dear Shell,

The last few days a strange phenomenon has occurred.  Life has been simple.  You have chosen simplicity, and in doing so, sanity.  That isn't to say that life hasn't been busy.  It has. Wonderfully busy.  Yet somehow you've managed to keep things simple and beautiful.  So here's a reminder of some of the things you done, sometimes on accident, and loved:

When you start being overwhelmed, slow down.  Take a few deep breaths.  Start with one step instead of looking at the big picture.  

Play with your kids.  Each evening you've stopped the "work" to play.  You do a good job of caring and educating them throughout the day - but you love to play.  And they need to see you do it.

Be outside.  It rained this week, and you played in it.  You threw your normal caution to the wind - not to mention your fear of messes.  The boys thought they'd won the jackpot to be outside IN the rain.  It was such a simple pleasure.

Speaking of messes - they clean up rather fast.  And the making of them often changes the mood of the entire family.  Make more messes.  

Put your nose into books more and less into the computer.  You went TV free for a reason. Remember what image you want the boys to see of you, and what you don't.

Dinners can be simple.  You've cooked each meal - even on the days when you wanted to just grab something.  The truth is that the boys won't remember what they are fed as much as they remember that we all sat down together.  And talked.  And that mom was happy during dinner.

Nothing has to be just has to be.

And lastly, you love to run.  Yep, you do. Can you believe it?  I cannot either...but it's true.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Breaking the wall

When I first started running, now almost six months ago, I never thought I could make it around the block.  

There is this street, just about 1/2 mile from us, where I used to run to and then run back.  I remember so vividly thinking "Shell, you just have to make it to Franklin."  My  heart would be racing, my mind a whirl of positive thought trying to push through negative energy.  I'd hit Franklin, feeling as though death was near.  Flipping back around I do it all over again just to make it home.  Some nights I'd get home and cry.  Cry because my legs hurt.  Cry because my pride hurt.  Cry because I was so ashamed of my body.  Cry because I never thought I'd make it past Franklin.

Last Saturday our TRI group got together.  We did a practice triathlon.  Yep, you read that right.  We wanted to see if we "got it".  Annie is about to start a busy summer - including our July 18th TRI date.  Autumn is getting ready to move for the summer (still close enough!).  And I just wanted to see if I could do it.

We met at a local university where they have free open lane swim.  We did our swim, bike and run all from that central location.  It hurt.  It was hard.  We had to choose the hardest 5k course in the entire state to run!  But it was doable.  In fact, I did it.  It took us 2.5 hours which isn't bad especially considering that our transition time was much longer than it will be on race day (we had to walk to our cars, put our bikes together, etc)

Fast forward to this morning.  I've got my workout schedule posted up in my kitchen (with my food journal) as a reminder of what I should be doing each day.  Today was a 5/2 for me.  Five miles on the bike and 2 miles of run.   The transition between the bike and the run is the hardest for me and the one that gives me the most nightmares.  I loaded up the kids and bike. Dropped the boys off at preschool and unloaded my bike.  I've planned out a route right by their school that allows me to drop them off, bike, run, and get home to shower in time to head back and pick them up.  It's lovely.  It's easy (not the route, but the routine) and it's practical.

As I ran back to the car today I realized something.  I've broken through the wall.  Not the wall of physical pain - that still exists and I still have to really push myself.  But the confidence wall. And I cried.  Cried because I am no longer ashamed of my body.  It's doing some amazing things for me.  Cried because I finished the run and thought, gosh I could go farther.  Cried because I am doing something I never EVER thought I could do.

This, my friends, is huge.  

Friday, May 08, 2009

Click, tick, whir.

Right now I can hear three things.

The tick of the clock.  Irregular because it needs new batteries.

The whir of the fan above me.

And the click of my fingers on the keyboard.

The boys, all three of mine, are biking to the store to get ice cream for a late night snack.  

We spent two hours in the pool this afternoon.  The heat had gotten to a temperature where moods, mine especially, were effected.  And it's only May.

The boys, minus E, were thrilled to splash around.  Their love of swimming came back almost immediately after going in for the first time last week.  And since that first time we've been back in every day.  And here it is, Friday.  A whole week has whirred past.

Dinner was spent on the back porch.  Or slab.  Whatever you want to call it.  I bought a table cloth and some cute summery plates.  A first for our family to have summerware - and our first time eating out on the slab.  Both boys spent most of the time worrying about the flies and when a grasshopper showed up on the wall their focus turned quickly from steak to insect.  

Tonight, with them gone, I've allowed myself time of quiet.  This is unusual for me because I tend to crave noise.  I'll turn on NPR, iTunes, or even a movie just to fill the void.  And it's because, like on nights like this, the tick of the clock and the whir of the fan remind me of how fast time is passing.  

If I don't hear it I don't have to think about it.  If I don't stop and stand still, I won't see it moving past me.  Faster than me.

The summer will go by fast.  I stared at my calendar last night and realized what fun we have planned.  Fun means fast.  Nights like this will come and go.  Soon, W1 will be in Kindergarten and nights like this will be harder to find.  

And I know that I will miss this.  That even on the days where I'm ready to be done with my children, I still know I will miss this.  Terribly. 

Ah.  Too much silence.  I'm wishing them back from the store already.   

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Wild Safari

Last night, after a particularly long weekend, I decided to grab my current read and climb into the bathtub.

I pulled all the toys out of the tub, turned on the water, and crawled in.

About two pages into my book I stopped and looked around.  I was surrounded.  It was a wild safari in the bathroom.

The giraffe told me that my best friend is quite tall, and hot.  I told him to back off.

The hippo told me to stop being a stick in the mud.  He wouldn't tell me what about.

The rhino reminded me to pay bills.  Or the alligator would come after me.

And the whale commented on how she'd like to be my size.  It's all relative I told her.

It took me a while to realize that I was imagining things - whales don't belong in the safari!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Not Mr. Darcy

My literary life has had a good start this year.  So far I've read about thirty books.  And that is NOT counting the many books I read each night at the end of the evening to the cute, clean children snug in their beds.

One book has sat on my bookshelf for years, begging to be read.  I've resisted for years.  Mostly because it is considered one of the (if not the) ultimate chick books of all time. 

Pride & Prejudice

So for the record.  I've read it.  Rather I savored it.  Having known the characters all these years it was like spending a week at a spa with each of them, getting to know them all better and understanding all the missing pieces much more.

And for the record, the reason I love it so much is not Mr. Darcy.  It's Elizabeth Bennett.  Mr. Darcy is swell and his character is fascinating...and blah, blah, blah.  

For me the real romance was falling in love with Elizabeth through the pages.  Identifying so much with her character, the personal journey she goes through, and the harsh realizations she faces of family, self, and love.  

I'm inclined to believe that most women who read this novel fall more in love with Elizabeth than Mr. Darcy.  Which in unfortunate for all those men, including my own husband, who believe their wives to be smitten with Mr. Darcy.  

Now that the record is straight, where I'm concerned at least, I must continue in the improvement of my mind by more extensive reading.  Good thing the library has three books on hold for me now!

Psychology of a Run

There is a reason I wear headphones.  I know when I've run in groups of people that sometimes the others have wondered why, when good conversation is to be had, I've got headphones in.

Let me explain why.  My constant running partner is the evil genius who lives in my head, Shelina.  No, I'm don't have MPD.  I'm not schizophrenic.  

Shelina is this figment of my imagination - this part of me, embodied by a woman, who holds insane power over me.  She gets to hear all of my innermost workings. And she uses it to her advantage.  

Shelina came into my life as I was leaving the work place.  Unsure of my role as a mother and feeling the great loss (albeit by choice) of my identity of a career woman she slowly crept in with her self-consciousness, doubt, and insecurity.  Since then she has ruled supreme.  

So, if I run without my earphones Shelina's language of self-doubt fills my mind and every few steps, especially when push comes to shove, Shelina steps in ready to fill the void with notions of failure.  

Slowly but surely I am learning not to listen to her.  Slowly.  

In the meantime my music makes beats my body cannot ignore.  Kanye urges me to push it harder, faster, and become stronger. When Lady Gaga shouts out to use my muscle carve it out, work it hustle - well, that's what I do.   Robbie, Cascadia and even Miley Cyrus provide such solid beats that my feet cannot help but pick themselves up.  On top of that I round every corner thinking "What if ____ is standing there?"  I imagine someone from my TRI group, or E and the kids, or Amy and Sarah (my running missionaries) standing there cheering. 

And with each step the old Shelly returns.  And Shelina is fading in the dust of my confidence.  I even have moments where I am not sad about where I am now, what I look like now.  Rather I'm proud of where I am at.  And these are significant wins in the battle in myself.  

(PS - I hit mile 100 for the year! Suck on that Shelina!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Haunting

The boys are at the grandparents.

E is in New York.

And I am here at the house relaxing and rejuvenating.

Or at least I am supposed to be.

My big goal was to get a good night of sleep. And I'm not sure why that is eluding me so skillfully.

I mean, I did ride ten miles on my bike and run a 5k yesterday. I thought for sure my body would knock me out.

Instead I woke up at 4:00am, as usual.

I did go back to sleep but was haunted in dreams by ghosts of people past. Not people who have passed. Rather people in my past.

Oh. I am tired of this. I am tired of being haunted by people and situations I cannot control.

The friends I am no longer close to.

The friends and family I cannot please.

Outside of the dreams I am torn between letting go of situations or continuing to try. The thing is, I am tired of being the only one who tries. And being blamed either way.

I don't know how to rid myself of these conflicting emotions...and the guilt.

I need an exorcism.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I've always considered myself a realist. That glass everyone is talking about - well for me it's neither 1/2 full or 1/2 empty. It's just there. Sitting on the counter. Needing to be put away or finished. And most likely it needs a coaster.

Then this morning, as I was walking back to my car, shivering, I realized something.

I'm much more of an optimist than previously believed to be.

See, every morning I put on a t-shirt and my favorite, old flip-flops and head out the door. No sweater. No good shoes. Definitely no socks.

Always hopeful that the day is going to be warm enough and bright enough to fill my flip-flop wishes. Always optimistic.

And even when it's just a little too cold - like it was this morning - I still don't change my shoes.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


The last couple of days I've delved deep into my drawer of movies to the TV show section.  For most of our marriage E and I have been TV free - which in our case means we own a TV but do not have it hooked up via any cable to any broadcasting.   We agreed to do this early in our marriage after, in our first apartment, we had cable (including HBO) for several months.  We learned that we are both easily addicted to TV.  Because of that we've turned to TV-on-DVD for any shows we hear are hits.  Our old library, in the downtown of a relatively urban city, had a plethora of TV shows on we really lucked out.  

Unlike the library our personal collection of movies - although supple - has gotten old.  On top of that I've been working on a bunch of projects lately and have found myself drawn to old (old is relative) TV shows we do have.  It's nice, for me, to have some noise on while I'm working on things and This American Life or my latest playlist don't always cut it. 

Anyway.  The show I've been watching of late is my old seasons of Friends.  I'm not particularly proud to admit this.  At one point in my life I adored this show.  Sitting in my apartment with Leslie and the-blond-Shelly, wondering if Ross was going to kiss Rachel this time.  Feeling so giddy when they got together.  Wondering why no one ever got Chandler.  At this point I find the humor a little too middlebrow, the laugh track obnoxious, and the whole duck/chick/monkey thing absurd.  I think our latest TV-on-DVD show, HIMYM*, has raised the bar a bit.  As have life experiences.  

Still, I watch it.  And for one really good reason.  It's episodic.  You can watch one episode and then watch another from another season without a lot of work.  The whole episode is so appealing to me.  See, in Friends each "friend" gets an episode, or episodes.  One show might be about Ross or Ross and Rachel.  Another about Phoebe and her insane singing.  Another about Chandler and the mess of women he dates.  Or Monica and the many way she's cleans (though I do love that).  You get my point.  It rotates.  

Things also end.  In Friends there are times when pivotal plot issues arise in one episode, maybe carry over for two or three other episodes.  MAYBE.  But more likely than not they serve their purpose in an episode and disappear.  Sometimes it even seems a little odd that the event or storyline was so quickly dealt with.

It's a nice break from life.  Life doesn't feel that way for me right now.  Right now it feels centered on a few specific characters and their trials, errors, adventures, and lives.  

This is my own problem - and quite frankly my own creation.  I don't have any other screenwriters - although E does get some editing rights.  Again, by my choice.  And I'm working on it.  But it just seems so big sometimes.  Like I really am not writing my script anymore.  Or rather that the plot lines I wrote so long ago, that I thought would disappear in an episode or two, are not.  And I feel lost in the plot line.

(*PS- given that HIMYM only has three seasons on DVD no one spill any spoiler beans here!)

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Usually a gain isn't something we talk much of.  Unless you're pregnant.  Or on a wrestling team.

But tonight I gained.  1/2 mile.  

Turns out that route I've been running for the last two weeks isn't 3.0 miles.  It's 3.4-3.5.  

Yeah baby.

Sideways laugh...

For some reason learning that Mr. Duggar's  first name is Jim Bob has made me smile all day.   Could it have been anything but that?  

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


In church on Sunday we discussed the concept of paying it forward. It's a premise of life I've always believed in but haven't always practiced well. Especially because I do little acts of, usually, random kindness rather that large acts of selflessness.

One thing that really stuck with me, particularly at this time in life, was a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson collection of essays:

"Read the language of those wandering eye-beams. The heart knoweth."

I have struggled making friends since our move from Zion. I've wondered what I've done wrong, am I not dressed right, or why people don't seem to notice me. It has become such a self-involved activity - without really meaning to be one.

Hearing this reminded me that I see plenty of wandering eye-beams, people who look at me and maybe hope that I'll talk to them, but I remain so focused on hoping someone will talk to me that I see past it. And yet, my heart knows.

This week I'm going to try looking at people's eyes, meeting their gaze, and starting the conversations. Maybe this will provide what both of us are looking for...

Friday, February 27, 2009


This morning I was banned by a friend on Facecrack. Yep, I went to view their page and everytime I clicked their name it took me right back to my own page. Banned. Blocked. Denied.

So it got me thinking. Of course I thought about why I might have been BBD'd - but mostly it got me thinking about the internet and my use of it.

Right now I have 200 friends on FB - a place where I share quite a bit of detail about my life, including photos, and I'm not always sure who sees it. I've changed privacy settings and have started limiting who I accept as a "friend".

And yet I love FB. I love the ease at which I can stay connected with people...particularly people I might not be able to connect with otherwise. I love being able to hop on, tell someone something, and then hop off. Our triathlon group has a page where it makes communicating between four busy people relatively easy.

It is just difficult to put your finger on what technology does and what you want it to do for you.

This site started off as a sort of journal. And then as more people started reading it I became more selective in my sharing. At the same time, when I did share I craved responses and didn't always get it. It has become this strange thing of relating feelings, thoughts and emotions for their own sake - and relating information for discussion or response. These two aren't always complimentary.

So, I'm revamping a little. I took the blog off my "displayed blogs list" so that when I comment on others' blogs they are directed to our family blog. Sometimes I think people come here, knowing bits and pieces of me, and are a little overwhelmed by the things I say. Or maybe not.

I also took off the blog roll. We still have this on our family site but I did not feel it was necessary here. I'm reverting back to journaling on here.

If you're reading this now - you are most welcome to stay my reader. I hope you do. And I always appreciate comments but don't need them. If you do read something that provokes you, you are always welcome to call me. I miss the phone calls. Blogs and forums and FB have all started replacing snail mail and the telephone - not to mention even email.

And yes, I finally updated the site so that the display looks better. Oh, I could spend ample time picking out blog designs. What joy.

Monday, February 09, 2009


I just noticed that my blog background was removed - so I found it again and re-uploaded it. However it doesn't quite work - so a facelift is in order.  It does make reading my posts a bit difficult - and I apologize. 

I'll change it as soon as I can.  Please bear with me.

I am putty.

Tonight as I was cleaning the house I started running through my massive collection of This American Life episodes.  If I was ever to have enough passion about a product to go door-to-door it would be this one.  I'd be a missionary or a salesperson for This American Life.  If you haven't listened to it already - you must.  See below for my recommended episodes.

As my iPod worked it's way down the list, starting with A Little Bit of Knowledge and headed towards Your Dream, My Nightmare I stumbled across one of the treasures.  Apology.  An entire episode devoted to apologies.  And in this treasure I found a nugget of truth for myself. 

One of the acts of the episode is David Sedaris reading from his book, Dress Your Children in Corduroy and Denim.  I've listened to this episode before - maybe even a few times on drives and such.  But tonight I heard him say something, while talking about his sister Lisa, that feels true of me.  (I'm using my dictaphone skills here and typing while he's talking - this material is all his!)

College hadn't quite worked out the way she'd expected, and after two years in Virginia she'd returned to Raleigh and taken a job at a wineshop.  It was a normal enough life for a twenty-on-year-old, but being a dropout was not what she had planned for herself.  Worse than that, i had not been planned for her.  As children, we'd been assigned certain roles- leader, bum, troublemaker, slut - titles that effectively told us who we were.  Since Lisa was the oldest, smartest, and bossiest, it was assumed that she would shoot to the top of her field, earning a master's degree in manipulation and eventually taking over a medium-sized country.  We'd always know her as an authority figure, and while we took a certain joy in watching her fall, it was disorienting to see her with so little confidence.  Suddenly she was relying on other's opinions, following their advice, and withering at the slightest criticism.  "Do you really think?  Really?"  She was putty.  

It's frightening to hear it stated, so clearly, from the voice of a stranger.  As if he'd called my siblings, cousins, family and friends and then read it outloud on stage.

I don't like it - but it's true of me.  My prescripted life plan veered off the path a while ago. While there are parts of my now that I love and cherish,  I know I look at where I am versus where I thought I would be with disappointment, angst, and anger.  

Somewhere I lost that umph I once had.  Kind of like Stella and her groove.  And I'm just trying to get it back.  

For more This American Life brilliance - check your local NPR stations for schedules or subscribe to their weekly podcast.  You'll discover some jewels.  Or check out these episodes for purchase either at their website or on iTunes.  

#270 Family Legends  (Act Two is AMAZING!)
Switched at Birth  (I listen to this one every month.  I still cannot get over it.)
(I better stop here - I could just keep going, and going...)

Do you feel like you can listen to one within the next week?  Can I call you and follow-up?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Keep on keeping on...

I've been waking up far too early.  Again.

This is a pattern that emerged for me a few months ago and then disappeared.  Or so I thought.

4:00am.  That's when the call to arms goes off in my head.

Actually it's more like this:  

At 2:00am I wake up.  Stretch my legs and roll back over.  Fall into a deep enough sleep to get some funky dream going.  This morning's was about being at Coachella. Each night my dream reaches some critical, dramatic stage at which point I open my eyes, still dazed and confused, but alert.  I look at the clock.  Maybe it says 4:00.  Maybe 4:15.  Maybe even 3:45.  I try in vain for 20-30 minutes and then realize that sleep is not going to come.

I try my old standby - a book in bed.  Nope.  

I try listening to and following E's deep, rhythmic breathing.  Nope.

I get out of bed.  Check on the boys (assuming they aren't already in my bed).  Move to the couch or the kitchen table.  I'm up.  I might as well be up.

And then slowly but surely the thoughts that were steering my dreams start clarifying themselves. Soon my heart is racing. My mind is filled with thoughts, ideas and problems.
Being a problem-solving type I begin to try and solve things in my mind.  But I forget one thing.

I am tired.

The tired doesn't help me try to clarify or solve anything.  In fact the best advice I got from those silly little games they play at wedding shower was "Give yourself permission to go to bed when you're angry.  Staying up will only play tricks with your emotion and mind.  Things will look clear and be solved better in the morning." (thanks Aunt N!).  That is the same for dealing with my own world issues.

So in an effort to both cleanse my mind and put things in a place to deal with later, here are the things I'm thinking about, trying to solve, worrying about, etc.

* Running.  I am supposed to run but my legs are still incredibly sore (and unbelievably warm) and I'm not sure I can get my mind in a place to make my body do it. *
* Elementary schools. Finding a place that I can trust with both his mind and his mouth is a new challenge. *
*  The economy.  Particularly the job market here in this area.  *
*  Her.  She knows who she is.  *
*  The other her.  And her entire family.  Or most of them at least.  *
*  Asia.   Canada.  And the relationship between them and our family.  *
*  a 5k.  Feeling totally unprepared mentally or physically for it.
* Vegetables.  How do I get them in him without a battle?  How do I get him to eat anything but cheese and carbs?  
*  Yes job. No job. Day job? Night job? Anything I can get job? *
*  Charter school.  Le Grand Elementary.  Homeschool.  My Mom's school.  *
*  Family vacation.  Why did I volunteer to plan this?  Am I taking too much charge or not enough?  *
*  Menu for Valentine's lunch.  *
*  My thoughts.  I worry about whether I worry too much or too little about things.  Yes, I did just say this.  *
*  Running a damn race.  What was I thinking?  *
*  Bills, checks, money in, money out.  Money to come.  Where should it go? *

Well that feels better.  So much better that my eyelids are heavy.  

Oh wait...I hear the stirring of little bodies.  Soon it will be time for breakfast.  At least that isn't on my list!

Friday, January 30, 2009

To celebrate

Things to celebrate this week:

An amazing evening with a friend.  Hours went by and more hours could easily have passed.  No subject left untouched.

Watching both of my children discover the power of holding and writing with a pen.  

Breaking down boundaries between cousins.  I love them and am not always sure how to say it.

Chinese New Year.  

Time with the BFF and her two kids.  More time than we've had in a long time - and still not long enough.  Falling in love with both her kids.

Hitting mile 40 of my running.  One month, forty miles.  Awesomeness.  

Having my first portrait done by my son.  Loving childhood perspective.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Running away

Tonight was one of those nights.

Not with the kids.  Not with E.  Just in my head.  One of those nights.

I found myself already crying as I tied up the laces to my shoes.  Knowing that I need to run in order to run away.  

I wish I could say that my total motivation for running and for doing the 5k was myself.  Better health, better shape, better lung capacity...

Tonight though the other reasons reared their ugly heads and propelled me out the door and through the streets of our town.

Mostly I ran away from her.  She is haunting me and there are days when I cannot bear it.  My guilt over walking away.  The responsibility I feel for making sure she's ok.  The disappointment I feel in myself for not being over the pain and strain of that friendship.  

I ran hoping that I could run away from all that.  That each step I took might shake off some of this emotional weight.   

I don't know how to move past this.  I don't know how to not feel guilty that I should be more - could be more.  

But I'm trying.  With each foot and mile I run I'm trying.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On the outside

I wonder.

Does he approach the door on nights like this and, upon hearing the noise inside, pause with his hand on the knob?

Does he know how tired I am and, being tired too, want to turn and walk away?

Does he here their cries and want to help?  Or turn away?

Or is he like me - does he pause, take a deep breath and move inside?

On better nights does he quicken his step in anticipation of the meal I've cooked, the boys who will scream his name, and the fun we'll have?

Does he hear our giggles from the outside and long to be with us?

I wonder what I'd be like, if I were the one coming home.  How, after a long day with tall orders from the bosses and a depressing economy, I'd feel coming home to a sick wife, healing children, and an empty table.

From the outside would I pause at the knob, filled with mixed emotions about walking inside.  Knowing my day ended just for it to begin again.

Would I skip home eager to meet the faces that greet me - or would I turn and walk away?

Thursday, January 01, 2009


I love New Year's.  The reflection on the year past.  Counting down till midnight.  

But the whole resolution thing and I have mixed feelings about each other.  I often start the year out, journal in hand, attempting to fix all the problems of the last year in tidy resolutions for the new.  Sure I can loose all the weight, exercise every day, always have a clean house, never yell at the kids, continue to work on good communication with E, always write thank you cards, blog twice a week, start forgiving myself for past mistakes, make new friends, keep the old...etc.

And within two weeks of writing my resolutions I feel overwhelmed.  If I stop meeting my own expectations I start feeling guilty.  The guilt leads to disappointed and then I spend much too much time feeling disappointed with myself - which then I decide to resolve at the next New Year.

So this year I'm doing it differently.  I started working on things I want to resolve months ago.  Actually I've been working on resolving things as I've noticed their appearance in my life.  And thus far, no feelings of overwhelm.  No anxiety.

Except....I started to feel anxious about not having any real New Year's resolutions.  Should I make at least one?  Which one should I pick?  What if it leads to others?  What should I do with those?

Oh lordie.  I just can't keep up with myself sometimes.

So I back off thinking about it.  While in San Diego I starting noticing all the people walking around wearing green and yellow.  Cars drove by us with decorated windows.  A few people even had their faces painted.   Sports fans!  There for the something-bowl between Oregon and someone.

And it hit me.  For one year I am going to be a sports fan.  I know nothing about sports - only briefly cheered my Utes on when I was in school there.  E loves sports but does relatively little about them since (a) we don't watch tv and (b) I don't watch sports.

It will be fun.  It will be new.  It will give E and I another reason to be hanging out together. And since seasons start all through the year I can balance the resolution out.  

I have no idea how I'll pick a team but once I do, here are my rules:

(1) Choose one team from the following sport genres:  basketball, football, baseball, and either soccer or hockey.  
(1)  I cannot pick a team who won a championship last year unless it's a local team*.
(2) I must read about each sport, learning the language and rules before each season begins.
(3)  I must watch at least four games for each team in each regular season.
(4) At least one of the five games must be watched at a sports bar with rowdy fans.
(5) At least one of the games I have to have my face painted.
(6) I must drive a distance to attend one game.  If it's not for one of my teams then I must assume the position of fan for one of the teams playing.
(7) If chosen team enters the playoffs, I must watch each game they play in.

E seems to think if I'm to immerse myself into the sporting world that I must also join a fantasy sports league.  I told him that I'm not trying to be a sports fan AND a nerd.  

Since basketball already started and it's season is so short in the year if I wait till it starts up again, I'm going to pick a team already in progress.  

So sure, there are other resolutions kind of wrapped up in this.  I can't help it.  

But mostly, I'll have fun.