Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hatful of Hollow

This morning I had to drive The Boy to a dentist appointment.  We got in the car and I heard Back to the Old House.  'Oh wow.  That's the third time this week I've gotten into the car and heard a Smiths or Morrissey song.  huh.'  I said to The Boy.  Who probably barely heard me.

It was followed up by What Difference Does It Make.  And then I got a little worried.  Morrissey announced not too long ago that he's been sick for a while.  I mean, he didn't sound like he was ready to die any time soon, but who knows with cancer?  And what other reason could they possibly have to play back to back songs from an artist on a seemingly normal Wednesday morning?  I racked my brain for another reason, but I couldn't think of it.  They were playing Smiths songs, not Morrissey songs, but, still, I made myself a little crazy.

I shared the crazy with The Boy.  Because it's always an awesome idea to share your crazy with your children.  And I hadn't had my usual amount of coffee.  So there's that.  'Wow.  It can't be.  I mean, this would be awful.  No he couldn't have died.  Not yet.  But he's been sick.  But why else would they play two Smiths songs?  This would be so sad.'  ugh.  The poor kid.  But he's eleven, so I suspect he was only half listening anyway.

It was an agonizing six or seven minutes, but we soon discovered that the reason for all The Smiths was the 30th anniversary of Hatful of Hollow.  Thank God.  And then I felt completely stupid.  But whatever.  The Boy didn't seem to hold it against me.  And then we both got to enjoy How Soon Is Now together.  Which, honestly, I just love those moments when I get to share something with my kids that I've loved for years.  And then hey!  They like it too.  Brilliant.

So Long, Station Street

Station Street in East Liberty is closing.  It's a surprise, really.  The area around the old Penn Circle has been undergoing a gradual revitalization, and they've been a big part of that.  And they've done rather well for themselves.  But it seems that the owner has new projects going on, and he wants to concentrate on those.  And so it goes.

We seem to lose favorite restaurants around here.  The summer that The Boy was seven, his favorite restaurant in town closed.  Only, we didn't hear about it until it was too late.

We'd been at a party that afternoon, and we had decided to leave a little early and grab dinner at Kazansky's in Squirrel Hill.  By the time we left the party The Boy was starving, but we assured him that he'd be eating very soon.  We got to Squirrel Hill, parked the car, and walked to the restaurant.  Somehow, we missed the small sign on the door, so we were surprised when we tried to open it and it didn't move.  We tried it again, saw the sign and realized that Kazansky's was closed…forever.  The Boy burst into tears, right there on Murray Ave, at 6pm on a Saturday.  In the middle of this a guy walked up, read the sign, and yelled to no one in particular, 'Now where am I going to get my corned beef!'  It was a bit bizarre.  We went to a deli up the street, and decided the food was more expensive and not as good.  Later we learned that the landlords had wanted to raise Kazansky's rent, and the owner had decided that he would rather close than pay a higher cost.

Nothing quite so dramatic yesterday.  The whole family went to Station Street for one last lunch.  We met friends there, and ran into several other people we knew too.  The place was hopping.  We waited in line for a good 15-20 minutes to place our order.  We were lucky to snag a large table outside when our food was ready.  And lucky that the weather was nice enough to eat outside.  We ate our fill of hot dogs, fries, and poutine.  The kids ran around like crazy people while the grown ups took our time, finishing our food and enjoying what will probably be the last nice weather of the year.  It was a good send off.  So long Station Street.  You will be missed.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Avoiding the Question

The Girl wanted to read The Cat In the Hat before bed tonight.  You sort of forget what a terrible influence The Cat In the Hat is.  The Fish is the voice of reason.  The Cat terrorizes The Fish and makes a huge mess in the process.

The end of the story reads:

Should we tell her (mother) about it?
Now what SHOULD we do?
Well…what would YOU do
If your mother asked YOU?

Poor Dick and Sally.  What should they do?  So I asked The Girl, who is 3 1/2.

Me: So, what should they do?
TG: …Mama...
Me: No, Dick and Sally.  What should they do?  Should they tell their mother what happened?
TG: … Mommy…
Me: Should they tell their mom about The Cat In the Hat?  And what he did?
TG: …
Me: OK.  Would you tell me?  Would you tell me if that happened here?
TG: … *big grin*
Me: Oh my gosh.  You wouldn't tell me would you?  You wouldn't say anything at all.
TG: *laughter*

Seriously.  We're in trouble over here.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Brief Tribute to My Doc Martens

Me: 'I don't know.  I guess I'm just feeling uninteresting.  I just feel like I'm doing nothing with my life. Like last year?  I was.  And now nothing.'

S: 'I don't know what to say.  What to say to that.  I know.  I mean, I even went out and bought myself a pair of Doc Martens.  And it wasn't enough.  I still feel the same.'

Me: 'I know!  I still have my pair from like 20 years ago!  I love them.  I wear them when I'm feeling badass.'

Because seriously.  Better than a sports car at this stage of my life.  And?  They're the one thing that unites us…

And also.  Much love for Alexei Sayle & The Young Ones.  We miss you, Rik Mayall.


Well!  I started off the month with good intentions.  Even got my first post in early.  There I am!  #154. And then…

I don't know what the hell happened.  But I completely fizzled.  I had trouble writing my Halloween post, and it just snowballed from there.  Suddenly I couldn't write anything.  And when I couldn't think about what to write or how to write it, I just made sure I was too busy to try.

I came very close to quitting NaBloPoMo.  But tonight things seemed to click.  And it helped that The Girl went to bed early, and The Boy has a friend sleeping over, and The Husband couldn't make it through SNL.  Suddenly I was alone with my laptop.  And I just wanted to write.

So here I am, with my wine and my laptop, writing my second post of the evening- my third for NaBloPoMo so far.  The whole house is sleeping, even the cat is sacked out next to me on the couch.  Hot Tub Time Machine is on with the sound turned down low.

Part of my problem, I'm sure is my anxiety.  As I said on day 1, it's back!  And it's keeping me from feeling good about too much lately.  This weekend has been better, because I'm making a fucking effort, which is what I know I always need to do to get through this shit.  But it still sucks and I'm still plagued by self-doubt.  And holiday plans are starting to emerge, and oh hey.  Look at my blood pressure rise.

But no really it will be ok.  I'm sure of it.  So!  Not quitting NaBloPoMo just yet.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friday Night Halloween

I've been posting about our Halloween for the last couple of years, so even though I'm about a week behind, I wanted to give a recap of this year's Halloween.

We always get together with friends for Halloween, and this year we had a full house.  The Husband made huge pots of chili.  The Boy was MC Hammer and The Girl was Super Girl.

Awesome.  Also seen at our house: Steve from Minecraft, a Ghostbuster & the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a Panda Bear, Cleopatra, and Dorothy.

The Boy and his friends went out on their own, and The Husband took The Girl out to about a dozen houses before coming back and hanging out with our friends.  My friend, M, and I hung out on our front porch and passed out candy for two hours.  Which I loved.  It's fun to see what the kids are wearing, and I enjoy chatting with them.  It was a blast.

The first hour typically belongs to the younger kids- like The Girl who goes out early and who's ready to come home before the first hour is up.  The second hour is about the older kids.  We also see a lot of kids from the next neighborhood over in the second hour.  The next neighborhood over is rougher, and families prefer to trick or treat over here.  Occasionally I'll see kids that The Boy has gone to school with.

This year I saw TJ.  Which, I can't even tell you how happy that made me.  I have a soft spot for that kid.  During the years that The Boy was in elementary school I got to know TJ.  He's a smart kid, who can be very kind.  But he has a short fuse.  It was always easy for kids to push his buttons and get him into trouble.  He didn't always make great choices.  His home life is unstable.  His father is in prison and his mother is prone to depression.  She leaves for long periods of time, leaving TJ and his three siblings to scatter with relatives.  My understanding is that they're often not together.  He's at a different middle school than The Boy, and I have to admit to worrying about him a little bit- I knew I wouldn't be able to keep an eye out for him this year.

It was so nice to see him.  When I said 'TJ is that you?  It's good to see you!'  And he smiled.  And he assured me that he was doing well.  Things were going well for him in middle school.  And that was it. Not much but it was good to see him, and good to see him smile, and good to hear that he was doing well.  I hope he is and I hope it continues.  I worry about him, and frankly, I worry about a few other kids who are at different schools who we don't see anymore.  I hope everyone is all right.

The rest of the night was fantastic.  Lots of chili, beer, wine, and of course candy.  The Boy and his friends went crazy on the candy really.  We found all kinds of candy wrappers in the rec room the next day.  There was plenty of good conversation with people who we enjoy seeing.  Honestly, I don't think Halloween could have been any better.  2015 will have a lot to live up to.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Two related things have been happening over the last several months.  One is that I've been feeling very, very lost.  Directionless.  The other is that, because of this, and a few other things, my anxiety is once again through the roof.

I thought having a few volunteer commitments end, and my kids having new school schedules, would mean more time.  And who doesn't want that?  So I was looking forward to the school year.  I was looking forward to getting some shit done around here.  Cleaning up my house and organizing our stuff.  And, as a result, maybe our family could spend more quality time together?  Was that too much to ask?  Am I setting my expectations too high?  OK.  Maybe.  I've been known to do that on occasion.

So here's where I stand.  After a summer that turned out not quite like I expected, the school year started.  And even though my commitments have ended, my kids are just as busy- if not more so- than ever.  Which means I'm busy running around after them, while I try to get my stuff done too.  And I'm just not as successful as I'd like to be.  And then my anxiety goes up because nothing is getting done and what if I get hit by a car tomorrow and everything is still a mess?  What will my family do then?

Speaking of my family, I've been worried about my kids.  For no good reason because they are honestly just fine.  School is going great for The Girl and reasonably very well for The Boy.  I worry about their social lives.  Which are also just fine, but the fact that neither of them are at schools with their closest friends makes me worry about how they and their friends could grow apart.  Which would stink because I like their close friends and their extended families.

And that brings me to the other issue behind the anxiety.  I worry about my kids' friends' parents getting tired of me too.  I can not begin to tell you how pathetic that looks written out and how small that makes me feel.  But there you have it.  To be fair, this pertains more to The Boy's friends than The Girl's.  Probably because we've known them longer, and we've become close with a few of them over the years.  I'd be very sad to lose any of them.  The Boy's three closest friends have mothers who work.  And they work in interesting jobs and two of them are also doing amazing volunteer work as well.  And right now I'm…just not.

This didn't feel like an issue when I was volunteering a lot of my time over the last few years.  But now that I'm not even doing that I feel uninteresting.  I realize that there shouldn't be anything wrong with taking some time off to concentrate on my family for a year or two- I have every intention of getting back into something by the time The Girl is in kindergarten in two years.  And yet.  I'm just not active in the way that I used to be and that's clearly taking a toll on my self worth.

So this is how I'm starting the month.  Probably in some stage of a mid-life crisis of sorts.  Worried about everything, feeling like a teenager trying to hang out with the cool kids, and second-guessing myself.  In the meantime doing a half-assed job of getting anything else done that I'm hoping to.  Because life and anxiety are both getting in the way.  Feeling small.  The optimist in me has high hopes that things will only get better from here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Where the Kids Are

The day after we got back from Niagara Falls, The Boy started middle school.  Middle School.  I can't even.

How does this stuff happen?

Anyway.  Middle school… so far so good.  We're working on some organizational issues, but otherwise everything seems to be going well.  His teachers like him, he participates in class and gets his work done.  He's just not always great about turning it in.  He decided to continue playing trumpet, and I'm secretly happy about that.  He's not the next Miles Davis or anything, and it's one more thing that he has to do (and practice doesn't always happen), but I just…think it's good for him to keep playing music.  And the trumpet actually seems to suit him pretty well.  It's a nice fit.  I have visions of him playing in a jazz group in college or something.  I don't know.  I'm probably crazy.

He also just finished up cross country.  He had a blast.  The coach was laid back, his team mates seemed like a nice group of kids, and he was happy with how he finished up the season.  He finished the two mile course at 15:41- about a full minute better than when he started the season.  He's already looking forward to next year.

A week after he started middle school, The Girl started preschool.  Which she loves.

I actually just had a conference with her teacher this week.  She's doing great, gets along with everyone, loves the art table, and is working on writing her name.  So, totally awesome on that front.  She's also been doing ballet, which she loves, and doing soccer which, eh, not so much. 

Honestly, I'd had no intention of signing her up for soccer.  Her brother has done it for years through an organization that she's not eligible for until next fall.  And then right after school started, she looked at me and said, 'Why do boys get to do soccer and girls don't?'  gah.  I signed her up for soccer classes in the burbs and I've been driving her out there every week.  It seems that she was possibly expecting to go to the soccer field where her brother usually goes.  So that was different.  And then the coaches are all these young guys, and a couple of them don't seem to quite get where preschoolers are coming from, or how to even just reign them in.  Anyway, she's not enjoying soccer as much as I thought she would.  We'll try again next fall.  

Overall though, the kids are doing pretty well, settling into their new schools and trying new things.  It's been busy, but hey, it's just that time of year.  And Halloween & the holidays are just around the corner.  I'm exhausted already.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Trip to the Falls

So, it's been two months!  But I feel I would be remiss if I didn't put together a quick post about our trip to Niagara Falls at the end of August.  Man.  We all really needed a quick little vacation.

So that's what we got.  We headed north of the border and took The Kids to Canada for a long weekend.  We were full on tourists from Thursday-Sunday.  And it was awesome.  

We rode the Sky Wheel, went on a Hornblower Cruise, and went to the top of Skylon Tower.  

We ate breakfast in a Flying Saucer.  We saw fireworks above the falls and did Journey Behind the Falls.  

We watched Elvis sing at Fallsview Landing and took a bus ride up Niagara Parkway where we saw the Niagara Clock.  

We went to Clifton Hill to play putt-putt and buy souvenirs.  The Girl still talks about seeing 'Katy Perry' in Canada (she's singing outside a Clifton Hill wax museum).  The Boy ate a Beaver Tail.  

Everyone had a great time.  The Falls, of course, were just amazing.  The Boy was psyched to be in another country.  The Girl loved eating breakfast in a spaceship.  And we were all happy to get away for a bit.  I'm glad we did.  It's been a busy fall.  But that's for another post, eh?

Monday, August 18, 2014


I had really been looking forward to this summer.  With The Boy moving on to middle school, a lot of my previous obligations are finished.  At least until The Girl is ready to start elementary school and a couple of other activities that she's too young for yet.  Anyway, this was going to be a fun summer.  I had no planning to do for an upcoming school year or soccer season.  All I had to do was figure out ways to keep The Kids busy.  I booked a few camps for The Boy.  I spent time looking into different things for us to do around town.  We got passports.  I started to plan out of town trips.

Two out of three fell through.

I had no idea until this summer how much I relied upon going to see my father in Tampa and my mother in Baltimore.  Four to five days in each town- in addition to you know, visiting relatives- gives us a nice break from Pittsburgh.  It's a great town, but you don't get a chance to miss it if you never leave.  My father thought he'd be traveling for work so we canceled that trip.  My grandmother has had a lot of problems this summer, so my mother has been dealing with that.  Obviously, a bad time to visit.

Not getting away turned this summer into an excess of time yawning before me.  I couldn't keep up.  Our mornings grew lazier.  Screen time got away from me and the kids had too much of it.  The Boy at least had camps.  Those were the weeks when I had hoped to schedule playdates for The Girl and I did.  But a couple of her friends had schedules that didn't match up with ours and so we couldn't fill all the days with friends and fun.  When did she become so social?  She missed her friends and found it entirely unfair that her brother had his friends over way more often than she had hers.

I was disappointed in myself for not being more creative with our time.  Not just doing things in town but also maybe day trips?  I thought of a few possibilities at the very end of the summer and was annoyed that I hadn't thought of them sooner.  Here I thought I had done such a good job of researching summer fun, but we just couldn't make it all happen.

Of course we've had fun this summer.  Because it's summer after all. Several trips to Sandcastle, Kennywood, museums, pools, parks, and ice cream parlors.  We saw lots of friends and The Boy enjoyed his camps.  Really, it's just that I knew that we'd have more time this summer than we'd had previously and I wanted to make the most of it.  I wanted to do special things with my kids.

So with one weekend left, we'll be doing the most special thing we've done all summer.  We're taking the kids to Niagara Falls for a couple of days.  Which is why we got the passports.  Anyway, we're all looking forward to it like crazy.  We can't wait to get out of town.  Pittsburgh, here's to missing you for a few days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Joy of Fifth Grade

So, as I mentioned in my last post, it was a crazy spring.  Spring around here is always crazy, but this one was worse then usual.

The Boy finished 5th grade this spring, his last year at his elementary school.  This meant two things.  First, there were a ton of things for the 5th graders to do.  And, second, he wanted to do all of them.  Which is great.  I love that he is a kid who wants to be so involved, and that he is interested in so many different things.  A good friend of mine told me when The Boy was three that he had joie de vivre.  He did and he does and I hope he never loses it.  But oof.  It made for a busy spring.

Student council, sports, music, and of course academics.  These all took up a lot of time, not just his, but mine as well.  And, by default- because she goes everywhere that I go- it also took up The Girl's time.  Which she was frankly sick of by the end of May.  My mother came in for The Boy's spring concert.  She was surprised that The Girl was dragging her feet to get ready to go and see the performance, and she asked her, 'Don't you want to go and see your brother play trumpet?'.  The Girl looked her right in the eye and very clearly, very distinctly, said NO.  I couldn't blame her.  She was sick of her brother getting all the attention.

Probably the most intense activity that The Boy participated in was the Dancing Classrooms competition.  All 5th graders in participating Pittsburgh city schools (about 20 of them) have to take ballroom dancing lessons.  After about a month of practices they perform for their families.  Once that performance is over six boys and six girls are chosen to represent at the semi-finals and then, hopefully the finals.  The Boy not only made the team.  He was also the team captain.  Lots of after school practices, costume chaos, and general nervousness followed.  In brief, The Boy's school went on to the finals, they didn't win, but they did place.  And then we all exhaled.

The end of the year was still plenty busy- other activities were wrapping up, there was the 5th grade field trip, and of course, graduation.  I had a lot of mixed emotions. It doesn't seem possible that The Boy is growing up and moving on to middle school.  It doesn't seem so long ago that I was looking at the 5th graders and thinking that my kindergartner could never possibly be as big as they were.  Yet here he is and he's almost as tall as me.  Then, there's The Girl who still has two years of preschool ahead of her, after which we do the elementary school thing all over again.  And that will be comforting and odd and exhausting all at once. The cycle of things to come.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Where Does the Time Go: Birthday Edition

Every year I feel like neglect this space a little more.  A shame really, since there are many times when I feel like I should really be over here writing.  But I just can't seem to get my act together. 

Anyway, this year, which I've been muddling through, is no exception.  It's been a busy year.  This spring was so insane, a lot of that due to the fact that The Boy was involved in a. lot. of stuff.  His schedule in April and May was over the top.  It was all good stuff, it was just... we're going to have to find a way to keep it under control when he starts middle school this fall.

But I'll get to all that in another post.  I'm going to try to play a little catch up over the next few posts, and in order to do that properly I have to go back to when this blog was really starting to gather weeds and that would have to be February.  The Girl and The Husband both have birthdays that month, and every year it's sort of the beginning of my spring unravelling.  It's on the heels of The Boy's birthday (January) and the holidays, and I must just start to give up.  Or something.

The Girl turned three in February, which at once seems impossible because wasn't she a baby three short years ago?  And it simultaneously feels like of course she is because she was a baby a million years ago.  It seems like she's been this amazing little person who talks and runs and creates for such a long time.  I can hardly remember her not being here.

I had toyed with the idea of throwing a big party for her- The Boy had his first big party at three.  But we were in a playgroup when he was three and knew a bunch of kids really well and it seemed like the thing to do.  We know fewer kids The Girl's age because the poor thing is always getting dragged after her brother and his friends.  She has friends, just not so many that I felt like throwing a party and inviting everyone.

So, what we did instead was we had a few small celebrations.  The Friday before her birthday we went to Phipps Conservatory with a friend from the neighborhood.  They were having an event called Swans In the Garden.  Ballerinas from the PBT came and performed vignettes from the upcoming Swan Lake show.  Afterward everyone could come up and meet the ballerinas, and well, of course that was just the best.

Then the girls came back to our house and ate huge pink cupcakes.  The end.

OK.  Not really the end.  We had a cupcake playdate with another friend.  And then my in-laws came to town for a birthday lunch featuring sandwiches and… more cupcakes.

The Girl's birthday was actually on Super Bowl Sunday this year.  And while we weren't feeling particularly excited about either of the teams, we did have some good friend's over to watch the game.  And eat cake.  Because my in-laws are not dessert people, I hate to make homemade cake for them when they come in for The Kids' birthdays.  But our friends?  Appreciate a good homemade cake.

This year The Girl asked for a strawberry cake.  I found a great recipe here.  The cake was a hit.  The Girl had four smallish celebrations for turning three.  That's a lot of excuses to eat cake and get presents in less than a week's time.

Two weeks later we were back out and about for The Husband's birthday.  This time he and I went out and left The Kids at home with the sister-in-law.  We went here, which was ridiculously delicious, and we had a marvelous grown up time.  And then I went home full of food and drink and was exhausted from all the celebrating and that is really the end.  


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Getting Through Wednesdays This Winter

Spring thaw is here people.  I can feel it.  I don't care that it's in the 30's in Pittsburgh today.  Every few days we've gotten a burst of warmer weather, or sunshine, or both, and it's doing wonders for my brain, body, and mood.  Not that I'm not still cranky and irritable.  But I'm less so than I have been.

But let's not talk of my moodiness and self doubt today!  I did enough of that at the end of last month.

No, today I want to mention a couple of things that got me through Wednesdays this past winter.  More specifically, a few ladies.  I'll start with Ask Polly.  Although, to be fair, she's been a favorite of mine since she started on The Awl- maybe a year or two ago?  She's an advice columnist and she's awesome.  She gives you the kind of advice that you wish your friends would give you.  Or maybe you don't wish for that, but you know it's probably what you need to hear from them.  There are times I read her column and think, it would be so great if we were friends so that we could go out for drinks, and then she could set me straight when I'm in need of it.  Sort of like a fun voice of reason in my life.  I read her column every Wednesday without fail.  Usually right before bed.  Because it's so much easier to fall asleep thinking about other people's issues than anything I'm currently dealing with.  (If you haven't read her before, and you start with this past Wednesday's column?  You may want to dig deeper.  This was the first time she's written anything that large numbers of people seem to disagree with.)

The other thing that made my Wednesdays happy this winter was Broad City.  I can't begin to tell you how much I love this show.  I love it so hard and it's so fucking great.  To be fair, my husband doesn't love it as much as I do- although he does like it- so maybe this one's not for everyone either.  But it is for me, and it made my Wednesday nights highly enjoyable and something to look forward to over the past months.  I think it's hilarious and I really like Abbi and Ilana and a lot of the other characters.  I think the me in my 20s (so long ago!) had at least a bit in common with Abbi.  Although, I'm thankful to say, my roommate never dated anyone has horrible as Bevers.  (Her ex-boyfriend was rather nice, actually.  And I liked him better than the guy she ended up marrying.)  Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, I highly suggest giving it a try.  The season finale is this week, but I'm sure you can catch up on On Demand or Hulu, or whatever.

And that is how I spent my Wednesday nights these past couple of months.  Broad City & wine at 10:30, followed by going to bed and reading Ask Polly before drifting off to sleep.  Honestly, kind of awesome.  And way better than some of the other weeknights.  Leaving you with one of my favorite Broad City scenes from this past season.  Enjoy.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Guilt. An Outpouring.

I've been wallowing in guilt these last couple of weeks.  Fun!  Here are a few things that I've been guilt ridden about lately...

Being a terrible mother.

Being a terrible wife.  Or a selfish one?  I'm not sure.  Maybe a bit of both.

Not going to the gym regularly.

Staying up too late.

Being diplomatic.  Because sometimes people want you to be stronger at running interference.  Or something.  I don't know.  Why can't we all just act like adults and get shit done?  People are goddamn confusing.

My house should be cleaner.

And the clean clothes have sat in the dryer too long this week.  Really.

Not always having the patience to deal with the boundary testing of my 3 year old.

Not sending thank you cards in a timely manner.

Being a terrible listener when I know better because I'm usually a good one.  I don't know where my mind is these days.

I should really be eating better.

Not sending photos.  I suck at that.  And I have so many photos to send.  Some are way overdue.

And just not keeping in touch with people in general.  I used to be better at that too.

Wanting more time alone.

Being diplomatic.  Because sometimes, people act way more hurt by what you say than, let's be honest, they probably are.  And then you have to go back and stroke egos and then they still drag their feet anyway and don't do what they keep saying they will do.  People are fucking frustrating.

Not being able to let some stuff go.

Not always having the energy to deal with the emotional roller coaster that is an 11 year old.

OK.  Not always having the energy to just generally be the parent I want to be.

Not being more organized.

Feeling as though I may be constantly disappointing people.

Going out with friends and drinking too much when my family goes away for an overnight ski trip and I promise myself that I'm going to be so, so productive while they're gone.  And then I wake up the next day with a raging headache and it takes me hours to actually get my act together.

Talking too much.

Feeling burned out with some of my volunteer work.

Being annoyed with relatives.

Staying just a little too long.

Being quite irritated with parents I don't know who say things at birthday parties like, 'I mean, I don't pay $17,000 a year in tuition to have my kid's teacher tell me she's at the bottom of her kindergarten class.'

Being judgey.

There are things on my front porch that desperately need to be put away.  But it's just so cold.  

Feeling irrationally annoyed with crowds.

Not writing here.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

This One Goes to 11

The Boy turned 11 yesterday.  I can not even believe it.  Eleven.

We took The Boy and a herd of his friends bowling last night.  Ordered some pizzas, served up some mustachioed cupcakes.  It was a pretty easy party.

From what I could tell, a good time was had by all.  Even The Girl got to knock down a few pins.

After the party a couple of The Boy's friends stayed the night.  And while they played video games upstairs, The Husband and I had a well deserved drink.  Or two.

And then tonight The Boy declared it his best birthday ever.  I'm pretty sure we hear that every year.  But I'll take it.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Oh the Humanity

Honestly, 2014 has been good to us so far.  Very low-key.  We've spent quality time with friends, had some fantastic dinners, and we're getting stuff done around the house.  The Boy has had one snow day and is looking forward to at least one more- probably more of a the-temperature-is-too-cold-to-leave-the-house day than an actual snow day.  But it still counts.  Personally, I'm back in the exercise groove after holiday bingeing, I've been cooking more often- which I love, and reading a little bit more.  Everyone is reasonably happy and healthy- even the cat is getting much better than I had expected.

And yet.  My anxiety about the world at large has crept up.  It's not just the major news- terrorists in Russia, continuing problems in Afghanistan, legislative fights over women's birth control.  It's been some of the smaller stories too. I recently heard a story on NPR about how one of the Newtown families has been coping since the loss of their only daughter.  Also on NPR a few days ago, I heard a story about the homeless in Maine, and they interviewed a man who's been on the street for three years.  At my dentist's office I read a story in a magazine about a woman who lost her three daughters and both parents in a Christmas morning fire.  A couple of days ago I read a story in our local paper about how Homeland Security is conducting internet child pornography stings.  The article also focused on one of the victims, which was heartbreaking.  And two nights ago I read a story online about Ariel Levy, and how she lost her baby while overseas.  Let's not even get into all the horrible stories I read in today's paper.

People.  I'm not sure that I can take much more.

I realize that I have the power to change this.  Just don't read the fucking stories, you might be thinking as you roll your eyes at me.  But it's not that simple.  At least it doesn't feel like it is.  Often times, when I listen to stories about people who have lost children, or are homeless, or who have lived through some other kind of tragedy, I feel like I almost owe it to them.  Surely, the storytelling must be cathartic for them on some level.  So I, as a listener or reader, feel like I should hear their story. Maybe I will learn from it, or it will motivate me to take action.  Or maybe it will just deepen my empathy for them and the human condition in general.  But I do feel that I owe it to them to hear their story.

Sometimes the stories are more informative than a personal storytelling. Today's news about prison rates, childhood poverty, etc. was also a downer, just not told from any one person's point of view. But I feel like I should read these stories too. To stay informed, to remember what the world is like outside of my bubble.  I have a hard time ignoring these stories too.

Balance and action are the key, I think.  Balance out these stories with ones that are more uplifting.  And make sure that I'm doing positive things for me, my family, and community.  What would be helpful too, is to start looking at more ways that I could take some action.  Donate to related charities, or volunteer my time to related organizations.  All good things to do and to plan for in the coming year.

OK.  And maybe not turn a blind eye, but I could put the fucking paper down once in a while.  Or turn off the radio.  Maybe that would be all right too.