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.