Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Three hours

I get up at 5:15, turn on the coffee pot, sit down to do a little writing. Remember that I need to finish invitations for Girlie's 7th birthday party, so I start those instead. At five before six, I hear a sound, no it can't be, wait, there, yes it is, Momma, Little Guy is up. We read 5, no 6, no I am not reading one more, okay 7 books, while I try to finish my coffee. Girlie gets up and I feed both kids breakfast while nibbling on some granola, two bites of yogurt, and sipping my now cold coffee. I pick out clothes for Girlie and wrestle the Little Guy into an outfit. Turn on Sesame Street and scan my closet for something not wrinkled. Ponder ironing a shirt, but no time for that. Get dressed, make lunch for Girlie, eat a few crackers which is going to have to qualify as finishing my breakfast. I check email, change Little Guy's diaper, yuck, take diaper to outside trashcan, remember the dog and let her out, check Girlie's backpack, remind her to pass out Birthday invitations. I slap on some makeup, pull my hair back in a ponytail, do I look okay, no, but no time for that. I make my bed, make Girlie's bed, pick up toys and pick up the ice cream scoop, ball, and tupperware lids from the kitchen floor. I run back to the bedroom and peel Little Guy off of my bed, rearrange pillows and remind myself to see if he changed the alarm time. I clean up breakfast dishes, run back to put on deodorant, then return to the kitchen. I smell something stinky, is it, no it can't be, breathe a sigh of relief that I don't have to change the Little Guy's diaper again. Feel annoyed that I have to take out the trash though. Suddenly, I realize that I have had to pee for at least half an hour. Run to the bathroom, remind Girlie to brush her teeth, take nail clippers from Little Guy and hand him his toothbrush, change toilet paper roll, pick up hand towels from the floor, notice toothpaste in sink and ponder cleaning, but no time for that. I grab mail from my desk, print out an address, stick a box to be mailed in the car, pack a juice for Little Guy, put on his shoes, brush Girlie's hair, let the dog back in, grab my purse...

and we're off.

And it's only 8:45 AM.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I like to think of this blog as a little jog my brain takes to keep myself exercising my writing skills. If that is the case, then today I am panting along in one of those half-walk-half-runs that make you want to tell the runner "Just walk already, who are we kidding here?"

While I wouldn't exactly call it writer's block, lately my novel stinks, my piece for my writing class is coming along painfully slowly, and my brain is just not cooperating with my fingers (eagerly poised above the keyboard, awaiting a signal, something, anything).

Nope. Not happening.

Maybe I should take up knitting.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My little island

This trio of palms tower over the fence from my neighbors yard. Sometimes I sit in my backyard and if I lean my head just right I can only see those trees framed by a gorgeous blue sky. I like to pretend that I am on a quiet beach somewhere listening to the waves crash while a breeze gently blows by. The sun warms my face and I am utterly alone.

Then some sort of screech interrupts my thoughtless moment and I think "Is it a bird?" Maybe a seagull has landed nearby. But no.

My children are fighting over a plastic rake.

And just like that, I am back in my yard.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The hangover

My husband once remarked that having children is like waking up with a hangover for five solid years. That might be a bit extreme, but as I look in the mirror today I have to admit that I have all the signs. The red eyes, the headache, the vaguely queasy feeling, and I only had two well spaced glasses of wine last night at dinner. Yes, I seem to be suffering from the from the punch drunk delirium of parenting. My two kids are enough, but add in two more and you've got yourself a kegger.

One of my dearest friends has been here this week with her two gorgeous children. She arrived the day my mother in law went home and left just a few hours ago. With four children under the age of seven running around things have been a little crazy, but my girlfriend and I had a great time talking over their tousled heads, picking up the same thread of conversation a hundred times, as the kids took turns asking us for juice or snacks or toys or whatever. After tucking them all in to bed, we then managed to stay up a little too late, giddy with the feeling that comes from an uninterrupted sentence. As I type this, I have that exhausted feeling that makes your fingers feel a little numb and tingly and I have to keep rereading every sentence twice.

It will be our turn to invade their territory this summer because the kids and I are planning an extended stay at their urban Chicago pad. We won't be able to see them again until late July, but that's probably okay.

It might take me that long to recover from my "hangover" anyway.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You are SO not my boyfriend anymore

Ever hear of a little thing called distance makes the heart grow fonder? Yep, that pretty much sums up naptime and how I love my son even more during and after the time he is sleeping.

Girlie is at school and Hubs is working, so Little Guy's naptime is the tiny part of the day that is just about me. On the rare occasion, like today, when he decides it isn't happening, I want to look at him and yell my favorite line from my favorite episode of Friends.

But, we were on a break!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


My phone has been on the fritz for the last few weeks. It had an unfortunate and intimate encounter with orange juice and has never been the same. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Worst of all, I can't send text messages. Well, I can, but my space bar doesn't work, soIhavetowritethemlikethis. Also, I cannot backspace, so I only have one shot to get it right. Usually I resort to one word answers and for the most part that works, but it is hard for me not to be able to really say what I want to. Try to come up with a witty comeback in one word. Drunk. Ha. Uh-uh. Whatever. In short, I am running out of options. I would just pick up the phone and call, but sometimes that doesn't work either. So I am communication challenged.

I think this whole thing is a timely lesson for me. You see, I have a tendency to talk and not listen, often saying so much that my message is lost. I am trying to be a better listener, but I feel like my brain is always on full speed and my mouth is along for the ride. To be a good listener you have to quiet the inner dialog and that is extremely hard for me to do. This is true for my writing too. I am really working on trying to convey something without feeling the need to explain every detail.

Once things settle down, I will pick up a new phone. It will probably be next week by the time I can get to it and I am hoping by then that I will be making some progress towards being a better listener. Otherwise, I might have to consider one of those silent weekend monastery retreats and I am pretty sure they don't serve cocktails.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fun for $1.99

It has been in the 80's here and our still frigid pool is calling my name. Saturday we pulled out the cheapie plastic sprinkler head and let the kids go wild in the backyard.

It was just about the most fun you can have on less than five dollars.

Summer, here we come!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lucky number seven

Happy 7th birthday baby!

You were my first. You changed me irrevocably. You shaped and molded me into a real person, softening the edges and stretching and pulling until I finally became me. Though I am usually not a risk taker, this time I went all in and ran the table! Jackpot.

Today, you are my lucky number seven.
Love, Momma

Friday, March 20, 2009

History lessons

While in Sedona, we visited the Palaki Ruins. The site dates somewhere between 500 and 1450 AD and contains both the remains of Indian dwellings and pretty amazing pictographs, or early Indian writings, from the Southern Sinagua Indians. The pictures were mostly crude drawings of animals and shapes said to represent water or stars. Pretty basic stuff, and yet it is amazing to think that a person left a mark so long ago. Whether these were personal diaries, art, or messages meant for others, we'll never really know.

It makes me wonder what we'll leave behind for future populations to discover. Maybe one day, my blog will be found in whatever galaxy of cyberspace still exists. My words and pictures, trivial as they may seem, will give those after us a little glimpse of life in the early 2000's.

If I had a choice, I would want to tell them, that though this might seem to be time of greed and self absorption, continue to read on. Dig through these pages. Sift through the dirt and get a little deeper. I would want them to understand that discovering and finding oneself is as time consuming, frustrating, and yet as fulfilling as settling a new land would have been for our ancestors. That while we are admittedly selfish, we are still seekers, and all this blah blah blog stuff is getting us somewhere. That from our keyboards, we are blazing new trails every day.

I am scribbling something crudely on a wall too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And so it begins

I have always been a somewhat hip chick. Not uber-fashionable mind you, but certainly up on the latest trends and willing to try something new to stay current. Even when things were not age appropriate, as most trendy things are, I could admire and appreciate them on the younger crowd. For myself, I will always add a splash of new color to my wardrobe or an earring or a handbag or a new shoe, or most recently a belt, as a nod to the thirteen year olds that actually look good in this stuff. When I had my store we always had a stellar accessories section and I consider myself to have an eye for that sort of thing. I think it is important to move with the times and show that you are willing to go forward as things change.

Now I find myself entering a period in my life where the latest and greatest is starting to seem ridiculous and costumey. Last week I got a new copy of the Free People catalog, which I have always admired for its bohemian chic-ness and was horrified to find not one single thing that I liked in it. Not. One. Single. Thing. This week, I got online updates from Urban Outfitters and was horrified to find this in its "we love" section:

Bleached skinny jeans? Really? I thought maybe that was the worst of it until I clicked on this:

Um, no.

Maybe it is recession chic. You can obviously make these with some baggy jeans swiped from your Dad and a sharp razor blade. Still, this stuff was cool in the 80's, only because it was an ironic rebellion against the materialism my childhood was known for. These days, your ripped up jeans cost $300.

So I realize that Urban Outfitters isn't aimed at someone in their mid-thirties. I am fully aware of that and always have been. I am not one of the desperately uncool old folks still trying to squeeze into a Forever 21 vest, size large (which is really a size 6). It could be that I am just taking a break from the retail pace after selling my store almost a year ago. But still, it might be that I am starting to not get it, and really, where do you go from there?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Home again

So vacations are pretty exhausting, no?

We had a really great time and managed to get in a few hikes after buying a hiking backpack to harness and restrain the Little Guy (it was new and yes we broke The Subcompact, but our sanity was at stake, so technically it was like medicine, okay maybe not, but more on that later). I finally started reading a very thick classic novel and managed to get a few hundred pages in. Girlie had a blast and is still at the lovely age where history is exciting and fun. Hubs spent hours pouring over maps and picking out the perfect stops along the way. I think we pretty much knocked my mother in laws socks off, so hopefully we'll be seeing alot of her in sunny Arizona.

Despite the post vacation glow, today I am thinking I would like to be the lithe Reese Witherspoon with her cute smile, tiny ass, and two hipster kids. I got a glimpse of the photos and I am sure that my mother in law's camera added more than ten pounds, because whoa defcon-5 on the diet here. Once I have had a chance photoshop a few, I will post a cute one of me with the Little Guy strapped to my back!

Missed you!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Heading away for a few days

I am pretty sure it isn't called a vacation when the kids come along. Nevertheless, we are leaving town for a few days and heading out to soak up beautiful Sedona, Arizona. Along with some jaw dropping scenery, Sedona is known as a destination to those seeking metaphysical and spiritual enrichment. In that spirit, we are off in search of new adventures, the most life changing of which will probably be found in the gas station bathroom that we will be forced stop at just fifteen minutes from leaving a more reasonable substitute!
See you in a few days. xoxo

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Getting some zzzz's

I finally started sleeping with my husband again.

No, I don't mean that.

I really mean sleeping.

I have been fighting some terrible insomnia since my son was born. When it first started happening, I researched cures. I tried teas and baths and mantras. I visited an acupuncturist and kept a sleep journal. I practiced visualization techniques, counted backwards, and read books until my eyes stung from the effort. Still, I could not sleep. I tried medications and suffered side affects almost as bad as the sleeplessness.

The more I tried to fix it, the worse it got. At one point I was living on around three hours a night, and they weren't even three consecutive hours. It was hell.

Gradually, it got a little better, and I found that if I slept on the couch, I could squeeze out five almost consecutive hours. After being so exhausted, the couch sleep was such a gift and so I stuck with it. Eventually, I moved on to two hours in bed followed by four or so on the couch. That went on for quite a long time.

While I was grateful for the rest, I still missed waking up next to my guy in the mornings. Plus, there is something about having such a crazy routine that made me feel, well, crazy. And sort of like I had this weird big secret. I kept trying to give up the couch, but I would just lay there awake in bed, anxious about not getting up. I needed the couch, and was all the while totally aware that it was all in my head. Like I said, crazy.

And then recently something strange happened. I started sleeping through the night in my bed again. I still wake up and toss around, but I can fall back asleep. I still have a routine to get to sleep, but I am in bed, next to my hubby until morning. And I am sleeping more solidly too. All this, unexpectedly, after feeling pretty sure that I would never sleep through the night again. It's heavenly.

And it all started when I started getting up early to write.

Uh huh. I know. Crazy.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Angles

To literally shake the earth and completely change the way things are done without destroying everything around you at the same time. To blend in and become part of something while still being distinct. To have the arrogance necessary to execute your vision while maintaining the honesty required to tear it down when it isn't working. Amazing.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


My mother in law and I visited Taliesen West today. It is the home and architecture school built by Frank Lloyd Wright. We had an amazing tour and I am so glad I experienced it with her. My mother in law is a lovely person who has always maintained an intimate relationship with nature. She just gets it. She snapped tons of photographs of angles and corners and pathways while I jotted down notes the entire time. It was pretty inspiring, so I think you'll be hearing it in my writing for awhile.

The first thing you are told as you enter the buildings is to ask yourself how do the building and I interact? Wright had some pretty specific ideas about how he wanted visitors to move through his homes. He designed the spaces for efficiency and function but also around the emotional experience they evoke.

Environment as it relates to feeling, specifically in the home, is a topic near and dear to my heart too. I don't have the luxury of designing my home from scratch, so I can't literally direct the traffic flow like Wright did, but I do have an idea about what I want visitors to feel when they are in my space. I also feel a strong sense of connection between my life and my home and the spiritual connection between a person and a space.

Each of the homes we have owned (we're on number six now) has had a special purpose in our lives. Our first home was about building a foundation and learning to work together. We bought it just after getting married and renovated most of it ourselves. Our second home, a historic condo, was about freedom. After working so hard on the first house, we needed to be young and fun and hip again. Our third home was about family. We bought it from a couple that had triplets and my daughter was born while we lived there. Our next place was a tiny bungalow, small and safe during a time when we were feeling rocky and shaken. After we got back on our feet, we bought a bigger and more practical house where my son was born. That place was about making adult decisions. In Phoenix, our current home is about being open. It has huge windows overlooking endless blue skies and speaks to the new adventures on our horizon.

All of these places have been a living breathing entity in my life. Though it might seem that six homes at thirty six years old is a bit excessive, I never get tired of making the acquaintance of a new place. I love making new friends.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Cleaning

When I was growing up my mother had this thing about cleaning. In fact, we always had to scrub the house thoroughly before anyone was allowed to come over for a visit. This included out of town family and friends from work, but also people like my 5th grade best friend. Anytime we had plans, I found myself dusting windowsills and scrubbing baseboards, we're talking deep cleaning. It got to the point where I never invited friends over because it was just too much work beforehand.

As I mentioned, I have been busy with a little cleaning myself over the last few weeks. The windows had a film on them so thick that it looked like we might have had them tinted, so I washed the windows. The ceiling fans, which I am starting to use again, all needed dusted. While on the ladder, I noticed the kitchen light had a blanket of grime on top of it too, so I washed it. The shower needed an extra scrub to get that pink filmy stuff off of the rims around the glass doors. I dusted all of the paintings, and tops of cabinets, something I often ignore during my regular routine. I worked on all of this stuff, because, of course, it is spring and it really needed to be done anyway. A little spring cleaning.

Finally, last week I called a company to steam the carpets. They were pretty grimy from the kids and the dog and I had been putting it off until now. I figured with all of the dust I had unearthed they were probably especially dirty. Today I was vacuuming and noticed that the steamer must have caused a build up of dirt and hair to stick to the baseboards, which is why, I found myself on the floor two hours before my mother in law would arrive, washing the baseboards. I did it because the steamer had made them gross.

And not at all because I am anything like my mother.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

1 Kid + 1 Virus = 2 Sick Kids

My family is trying to kill me.

Hubs was up until the wee hours of the night working on a presentation. I usually can't go to bed until he does. Since battling insomnia I have a process that must be followed to fall asleep and it requires that I am the last one up reading for at least a few minutes. Stray from the process and I'll be awake for hours. Anyway, we finally got to bed pretty late.

Next, Girlie wandered in at 2:45 AM to tell me she was sweaty. Huh? Oh, um, okay. I stumble out of bed, help her into new jammies, take her temp, and then lay there awake for another hour. Finally I am drooling on my pillow again.

Then Hubs gets up at 5 AM to go in to the office early and finish up some work. I toss and turn, ponder getting up to write, but fall back asleep a half hour later. I jolt awake again within minutes to the sounds of the Little Guy crying before dawn and I can tell from the sound of it, that it can only mean one thing.

Yep, now the Little Guy has it too. The only good news is that Girlie seems to be feeling better today with just a low grade temp and a little cough. Hopefully this is just a little 48 hour bug. And now I don't have to worry about the kids touching each other or mixing up their blankies.

I am so bummed because I had to reschedule a lunch date I had tomorrow and after a few days of playing Nurse Mommy I was really looking forward to it. Looks like my shift isn't quite over.

Oh and did I mention that my first guest arrives tomorrow for a two week visit? Do they make Lysol bombs I can set off in the house?

Monday, March 9, 2009

And yet another movie reference!

I recently read that the movie Ghost is being made into a musical. I won't be lining up for tickets, but I have to admit that whenever the movie version is playing on TV, I can't resist watching. It is melodramatic cheese at its finest, but for some reason, I watch it over and over.

My favorite part is when Whoopi Goldberg's character, Oda Mae finally makes the breakthrough and convinces Molly that her dead husband Sam is communicating through her and has an urgent message. As Sam, rambles out a long and detailed dialog of Tell her this, tell her that, Oda Mae edits and consolidates and finally blurts out Molly, you in danger girl.

Wouldn't it be nice if we all had our own Oda Mae who could cut through the crap and give us a clear warning when disaster was about to strike? Sure our friends and loved ones do their best to help us along, but sometimes it can be hard to hear the message through the blah blah blah that leads up to it.

Kids + Holidays = Sick

Next week is our spring break and we are at T-minus 3 days and counting until the month of guests arrive. I still need wrap up the to do list (see last week, plus add a few more items like changing sheets and grocery shopping).

Girlie has a fever and a nasty cough, so we'll be heading to the doctor before 8 AM.

It. Never. Fails.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ugly Pretty

I have always admired, but never been able to achieve ugly pretty. This is not to be confused with pretty ugly, which is, in fact, ugly.

Ugly pretty is when you pair two things that should not go together and the sharp contrast elevates both of them to some higher level of coolness. In home decor, this might involve adding a hideous orange owl paint by number to your traditional portrait wall. In fashion, you might throw on a cocktail dress with your combat boots. It is a funky look that says you are brave enough to stick your neck out and somehow it works.

Unfortunately, I always get stuck on the ugly part and end up putting on heels or passing on the weird bird chotchkies. Much as I crave the offness, I have an innate sense of balance and structure that I battle. My left and right brain are always at odds. When something is contrasting too obviously, I have to fix it.

I am, however, striving to achieve ugly pretty in my writing. It can be so difficult to discard words that you have already written, to strike out paragraphs, to delete entire pages, to pull out a single good sentence and just work from that. But I am hoping that with practice I can learn to resist the urge to neatly package my words and instead leave the edges a little more exposed. That the sharp contrast of my need to create and my need to control will result in an ugly pretty style all my own. Now, if I can just let go and do it.

Friday, March 6, 2009


As I was pulling things out of her backpack, I came across Girlie's weekly spelling test. Of course, I am proud of her spelling, but I am even more excited to see that her handwriting has improved so much. We have been working on it and it has been a huge source of frustration and anguish for her.

Boy can I relate! I also had a terrible time with penmanship. Years later, I found out that I was really left handed, but my mother and my pediatrician had decided to "correct" it and force me to use my right hand. That explains so much about me. But that is a story for another time. This one is about tests.

As part of the test, the kids get to write two sentences for extra credit. I turned the page over to find this:

Yes, my child managed to scribble out, not one, but two swear words in a single sentence. Okay, I realize that she didn't mean to, I had to laugh anyway.

You see, I am known to have a bit of a potty mouth. It isn't something I am especially proud of, but it is a pretty big part of who I am. I do my best to curb it in front of the kids, but when I am without them, just being me, I let it fly. I rarely swear because I am angry. Most often, I use the words to punctuate my sentences. Like little four letter exclamation points.

Like so many other things, this quality is not something I hope to pass along to my children. As I review Girlie's work, I wonder if I'll pass the test too. Will I share enough of the good parts of who I am? Will my children be able to escape repeating the things I have done?

I sure as hell hope so.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Today is a good day.

I managed to take a shower before Hubs left for work and even remembered to put on deodorant. The Little Guy and I made it to the library on time for story hour and chatted up a few cute Moms while we hung out. I made seventeen double sided copies of my writing assignment and though it is far from perfect, I can now let it go. I might have even scored the perfect rug for my dining room at a really great price on craigslist.

Sure, it is a smidge sad that personal hygiene even ranks on my happy day list, but I am okay with that.

Because today is a good day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To do? Ta Da!

Life has been all about a to do list lately. I am working on knocking out a string of things before my mother in law comes next week, followed immediately by my dearest friend from Chicago, followed one week later by my best friend from Atlanta (you're still coming right?). If you want to come stay at Casa de Crazy, you'll need to look into late April, early May. For the next month, we're booked.

I need finish my compiling my tax info (which is complicated this year due to the sale of a business, a house, and a move across country). I need to register the little guy for a little "pre" pre-school program for the fall. I need to rollover some IRA's. I need to have a moment and cry over my retirement account in general. I need to register Girlie for swim class. The exterior windows desperately need washed. I need to get a haircut, and the grays are starting to look like highlights (but not in a good way).

I did get a few things done already. I finally picked up flowers for the front bed. I somehow booked cheap flights to get us back to Georgia in June. I helped my Grandmother book a flight online (worlds colliding). I painted the dining room. I volunteered at the school. I am in the process of writing and rewriting and revising an assignment for my class. Never mind my book, which hasn't gotten a decent paragraph in weeks.

Blah blah blah. Check check check. Next!

I am busy.

And I have to do all this stuff, which could probably be knocked out in a single day under normal circumstances (whatever that is these days), with an eighteen month old in tow and an almost seven year old to shuttle around. It takes for-freaking-ever to finish the simplest things.

And yet I do.


Because I am more stubborn than my children. Because I stop and start again and again and again. Because I WILL FINISH THIS TASK PEOPLE WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT AND WILL YOU PLEASE NOT TOUCH THE PAINT CAN BEFORE I HAVE TO RAISE MY VOICE!

Yep. I am busy. And a little crazy to boot. So, what's new with you?

Monday, March 2, 2009

But I can still win an Oscar, right?

Over the weekend I took Girlie to shop for a new bathing suit. She'll be starting swimming lessons soon and, of course, her suits from last year are all too small. To say she is particular about the way clothes fit is a huge understatement. Too loose, too tight, too scratchy, too whatever, and she isn't going to wear it. She hasn't always been this fussy about fit, but she is almost seven and right now it's her thing.

We loaded up the cart with pink polka dots and pink stripes and pink flowers and headed to the dressing room for the show. I assumed it was going to be a bit dramatic and briefly wondered if I could bring in some popcorn to munch on. No time for that though, we had to get through the ten or so options and keep moving.

Surprisingly, it wasn't so bad. As she put on each suit, she danced around in front of the three way mirror making faces and giggling herself breathless. As I watched her preen and strut in that unselfconscious little girl way, I glanced at myself in the mirror and saw that I looked a little tired.

And then it hit me. I am not the lead actress anymore. I am just Mom, the person who sits patiently in the dressing room handing over bathing suits. I am now officially in a supporting role. How the hell did that happen?

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Tonight I had to take away the playdoh ice cream sundae maker that Girlie bought with her own money. I had to do it because I said I would. She was being extremely mouthy (including repeating what I said in a mocking tone) and not doing what she was told after being asked many times. I threw the playdoh ice cream sundae maker in the trash. I had to. I'll probably fish it out after she is in bed, but I can't give it back to her for a very long time. Needless to say, she is pretty upset about it.

I hate being the adult. It sucks.