Saturday, September 22, 2012

I have a lot of catching up to do, but for now this has been taking up a lot of my mental time.. Please keep Ty in your prayers and his family. I went to college with his dad Lou, his mom Cindy is an angel walking among us and his little brother Gavin is along for the roller coaster they call life. Ty isn't doing so great but his family remains an inspiration in love and hope to me.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Sweet, sweet adolescence. Well I suppose I had this one coming. I stretched my own adolescence and teen angst against my mom and made it last a good 15 years. I have finally achieved the prophecy of my own mother and "have a daughter just like me so that I will understand." Touche.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Keep the Change

I need to make some changes:
  1. Financial Accountability: I want to track all of our spending for the month of August. I hope that this can curb my "40% off sale for cardmembers at the Gap" addiction, and other little nickel and dime ways that keep our credit card bills climbing and see if we can actually make it to the next paycheck without having to buy groceries on said Gap Visa. I would love to see if we could go one month without having to pay a credit card bill because we were careful. As ridiculous as I feel writing this, I don't think I have gone a month in the last 2 years where I didn't buy one item of clothing for myself. I never used to shop for myself and that damn Gap card has turned me into a monster.
  2. The same philosophy applies to Dollar Bins and Dollar Store goodies. Junk. All of it.
  3. I would love to add yoga to my routine. I'm too young and healthy to be as twisty and stressed as I am.
  4. I need to change my tone with my kids. It's completely fair to get frustrated and even angry with your (well, my) kids. It's the tone that has got to go. I want to make sure that I nurture and not sever my relationship with my kids. Somewhere along the line this tie unraveled in my own upbringing and I won't let that happen again.
  5. I need to stop being afraid of so many things. Eleanor Roosevelt (I think) said, "Do something that scares you every day." That's what I had to do when I went back to work. Took a deep breath and forced myself in the door. Fake it until you make it. Whatever cliche gets me through. But this crap about fearing public transportation, cities, petting zoos, dogs... knock it off and get on with it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

39 and 11/12

My 40th year. I feel like I accomplished some things that I set out to do... ran a 5K, got a job, successfully graduated a child from elementary school to name a few. But I feel like the clock is ticking so quickly and hope that while the last 10 years have flown by on the one hand... the day to day seemed pass by in a slide show of sepia moments. In the past 10 years I've moved a few times, had and raised 3 babies, got my Masters degree (3.96!!!), and made several houses homes. I've been incredibly lucky in life and love; and while other people around me have had life crushing blows I seem to be able to skate by with only a scrape here or there. Trying with all my anxiety laiden might to not sit around waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I can only hope the next 40 are as blessed as the first.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm Back

It has been way too long since I last posted, but I have been busy(ish). I went back to work. After 10 years at home I am back in the work force. Ironically, I was hired as a writing tutor for one of the public schools here, and with all the theory and content I've been brushing up on, I keep on thinking...ooooh I should really use that in my blog.
Anyhoots, I have had many many "seed ideas" to quote writing guru Lucy Calkins, (not to be confused with "watermelon stories") and want to just get down a few blurbs to try to get myself back on course.
  • I like working. Shocking as it is. I don't actually miss the wasted time I spent lying on the couch cranking out 2 loads of laundry and emptying the dishwasher and letting the rest of the house go to hell. For so long I was completely paralyzed by a combination of laziness and feeling overwhelmed. I do miss the freedom to go where I want to and when, but I am definitely learning to budget my time more wisely. I feel smart mostly, but when I feel dumb at work I want to cry, then I usually do cry at home, and wish that my husband will just tell me, "don't worry babe, you were a kick-ass homemaker". But he won't. And he'd be lying. I do wish however that people who also work part-time would think twice about telling me how proud they are of me for getting a job (screw you! you can get a job, but i can't?) or telling me that I look like a grown up when I am dressed for work. (really.)
  • I am obsessed with Pinterest. I have to admit that it sucks alllll of my time and has definitely kept me from precious writing time.
  • It makes me sad that my friend who has bi-racial children feels that people rarely give her kids the benefit of the doubt about whether or not they should set up playdates with their own children. Many people kind of make sure that they are friends with the "right people" before they give them a chance. When I think about all of  the things I worry for my own kids, to have to worry about something like that just breaks my heart. Truly.
  • I got to meet Karin Diamond of I gushed and carried on about how inspiring she is to me as a person and a writer. I felt like a complete goofball afterward, but don't care. I was as big of a dork as I was when I met Kelly Corrigan.
  • I have had a knock-down drag out with my annoying neighbors. We are putting up a fence and I cannot wait. It is because of the tree. That story is for another day.
Well, it's a start.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fences Make Good Neighbors

We are having an enormous silver maple tree taken down today. It gives us pretty shade in the hot summer, privacy on our patio, and it's a marker of things in this world that have been around for a lot longer than we have and potentially for a lot longer after we are gone. Silver maples are also very likely to be inhabited by squirrels, who hollow out the inside creating weaknesses that then cause huge branches to fall from great heights. The previous owner was a gardener who worked closely with an arborist on the various trees on the property and had some of the larger branches cabled to make it safer and in the event of a break, to keep them from crashing to the ground. Our neighbor has made several (whiney) comments about the tree, and even though we had a tree guy come out and look at it and give it a clean bill of health, I can understand his concern.

After the freak snowstorm we had here at the end of October, we realized that while there was no damage from this tree on ours or the neighbor's house (of which about 75% of the tree points in that direction) that we would take the tree down this spring. It is costing us $3000. Three. Thousand. Dollars. So being the decent neighbors that we are, we are taking care of it. Legally, we don't have to. If they so desire they can hire someone to come out and trim the branches to the property line. But that would require the use of the same bucket truck that we had to hire and would cost them $3000. (can you tell I am not looking forward to swiping the credit card on this one?) So I don't think he would do it.

So the other day after making small talk with me for a few minutes he asked us if we would also have the ends of another healthy tree that hangs over his driveway (barely) trimmed back. Mother f*cker loves to get things done for free. It is wayyyy up high and extends at most 4 feet over his driveway. By trimming it back to the property line, it would create an uneven balance to the rest of the tree from which hangs our tree swing. That his daughter goes on whenever she pleases. Which is fine. Except now he's in my numbers.

So I do this thing where I completely internalize whatever conversations I have with people and go thru a whole range of emotions rehashing it over and over and over. I see their side. I really do. Our driveway is under my other neighbor's huge pine tree which drops sap sometimes on my car. They also have a row of cypress that drops needles and makes kind of a mess in my yard. Can I ask them to take them down? You bet. Would they want to? Probably not. If we wanted to we could have them trimmed back. So instead I move the car back a few feet in the drive and bust out the leaf blower from time to time. I'm not being a martyr, just kind of rolling with the fact that I chose to live on a street that the houses are all pretty darn close to each other.

I tend to go through life trying to make sure that everyone else's wants are taken care of, and seethe on the inside. So today, after losing sleep over this for a week I spoke to his wife. With a smile on my face and a firmness to my spine I told her we weren't going to do it and why. I stood my ground. With my roots firmly planted. Much like the tree that's about to be cut to the ground, roots intact. I would love to put up a 6 foot privacy fence between our houses. But I can't. Because that would cost, like, three thousand dollars.

Friday, March 16, 2012


So lately, since January I guess, I've been having smallish panic attacks. They come along usually when I have a social event coming up, even something as minor as meeting friends for coffee, or a walk around the reservior. It can be a meeting with teachers, or having to get to the St. Patrick's Day parade. Nothing too great or small to cause the breathing to catch in my chest, my arm muscles to go slack (that's my favorite) and the paralysis of not being able to get organized and go take care of the smallest of tasks. It's obvious right now that my impending start date at work is casting it's shadow and slowing me down. But it's frustrating to have to gear up and power through to go to return our cable box to Comcast, fill out a W-2 form and attend a 40th birthday party tonight.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

see saw

I haven't written in so long. This winter since Christmas has had it's ups and downs and as we seem to be heading full speed into spring (thank god) I feel like I should take a breather and get caught up. A breather. Ha. That's funny, because I feel like there are hours and days at a time that I just sit around getting nothing done. Paralyzed by not having a agenda. For example: yesterday I was supposed to go into Meg's art class and volunteer. Completely forgot, because I had nothing else going on. I sat on the couch watching Smash, while the birds chirped outside and the sun shone down on a brilliant 70 degree March day. On the days that I have a list or a plan, I get so much done, and end up facing myself in the mirror without the dread and sometimes self loathing that a lazy day can bring. That all said, I am looking forward to April 2nd when I start my new job. And absolutely dreading losing this freedom I have accumulated by having all three children in school all day. It's the perfect job. A writing tutor, in the public schools a town away. The money is exactly what I'd hoped, the hours are perfect. I will be working in the same school as a good friend, and I can finally put my Masters degree to work. I have the same vacations as my kids, plus the added bonus of extra weeks off when the tutors are not employed. I don't have to deal with lunch duty, morning duty, bus duty, conferences, parent BS, or even arranging for a sub if I have a sick kid at home. Perfect perfect perfect. ((sigh)).

I have been home for ten and a half years. I have not HAD to take a shower on a weekday morning more than a handful of times. I haven't had my professional abilities scrutinized by peers or superiors. I haven't had to answer to anyone in over a decade. Scary stuff.

But I couldn't have scripted it better. I always said that I would go back when the time was right and if the perfect opportunity presented itself. And it did. I interviewed for a math tutor position, and interviewing for that could have earned me and Academy Award, just convincing myself, let alone a principal and math specialist that I had the chops to teach 5th grade math. But things worked out even better when I mentioned in passing that I initially mentioned that I thought the job was to be a writing tutor and I have an English undergrad degree. So all the pieces really did fall into place. So here I sit. After reading several textbooks on what it takes to teach writing, and I realized that the best place to start is here. I hope to get my writing back on track and add some real purpose to my days. Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happiness Project, Take 2

Last year (or perhaps the year before) I read the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It helped me alot to force myself out of giving over to feelings of unhappiness, negativity and the like. I am going to revisit it and see if I can start to make some positive changes, and tap into the person that I know is hidden inside the helpless, hand wringing, wrinkle and grey hair scrutinizing person that winter turns me into. So here goes, I'm jumping in with both feet.

She (Gretchen) has a list that she came up with called The Secrets of Adulthood. They make an enourmous amount of sense, but may not be the kind of things that you realize on a day to day basis. Here they are.
  1. People don't notice your mistakes as much as you think.
  2. It's okay to ask for help.
  3. Most decisions don't require extensive research.
  4. Do good, feel good.
  5. It's important to be nice to everyone.
  6. Bring a sweater.
  7. By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
  8.  Soap and water remove most staints.
  9. Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
  10.  If you can't find something, clean up.
  11. You can choose what you do; you can't choose what you like to do.
  12.  Happiness doesn't always make you feel happy.
  13. What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
  14. You don't have to be good at everything.
  15.  If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.
  16.  Over the counter medicines are very effective. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  17.  What's fun for other people may not be fun for you - and vice versa.
  18. People actually prefer thaty you buy wedding gifts off their registry
  19. You can't profoundly change your children' natures by nagging them or signing them up for classes.
  20. No deposit, no return.
Game on!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snow Day. Hooray?

Two-thirds of the way through January -- woo hoo! I hate it. I usually get seasonal affect, but this year was ridiculous. It started on New Year's Eve and I've been fighting it since. Stupid tears, crippling bouts of not being able to get anything done but fill my Houzz Ideabook online, and spurts of yelling at the kids that I immediately regret. I've started working out again, but so far no relief, at least my jeans will appreciate the effort I hope. We leave for Florida in a few weeks, and it couldn't come at a better time. Today we had our first "real" snow of the season, and Tom had to work in Boston.  I thought ahead, organized the coat closet, set out snowboots, tons of gloves and mittens in the shoe bag oranizer thingy on the back of the door. Set 3 basic rules before the troops headed out at 830 this morning: 1. No snow in anyone's faces. 2. No snow down anyone's backs or necks. 3.When you need new gloves, come around to the front door and I will get you a fresh pair. Went upstairs to start stripping the beds to change the sheets. dingdongdingdongdingdong. Oh that goddamn back door doorbell. Youngest child crying and hysterical about cold hands. Hmmmmm... basic problem easily solved. See Rule #3. So I got mad at her and started yelling about her crying. At the front door middle child with about 4inches of snow on his head complaining about having snow down his neck. I went ballistic. Screaming at oldest child ((Rule #2!! Rule #2!!!!!!)) Dropped an F bomb, yelled at everyone to get in the house because oldest child told me he asked her to do it. Bananas. I went berserk.
It turns out he wanted snow piled on him like you would do with sand at the beach. They got me on a technicality. At that point I realized I could probably get 15 more minutes peace if they went back outside. Dry gloves, a new hat and a change of jacket later they were back out in the snow.

Friday, January 13, 2012


So every couple of years my anxiety creeps up and gets in and rears its ugly head. And in every single case when it's gotten bad enough for me to reach out and get back in with a therapist, insurance coverage becomes an issue. The ironic thing is that my husband works for a big insurance company. We have a great quality of life from both a time management and financial stability perspective. We opted out of the company sponsored insurance plan because it is pretty expensive, and receive our insurance from the military. This is what makes me crazy(er). Now, granted, since my husband is a reservist and we live almost exclusively as civilians we are obviously not in the same vain of emotional or physical danger as those out on the front, or their families scraping by to keep it together back home. But, we are receiving the same healthcare benefits as the soldiers and their families. Now wouldn't it make sense for people who reallllly need mental health care to receive it? Not so, apparently. I'm frustrated, and I know there is away around it, some kind of out of network payment or other such nonsense. But I am thinking about the 20 year old military wife and mom in Kansas who's husband is overseas and is desperate and suffering from post-partum. Or the 19 year old kid who just got back from Iraq and doesn't know who to turn to. If it's this hard for me, how do they manage?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I keep stepping on the same pretzel in the kitchen. I need to sweep it up, but the recycling bin is blocking the closet where the broom is, and I don't have a dustpan anymore anyway. I finally threw it away, thinking it would force me to buy a decent one. The one I had would do that thing where just enough of the junk would slide under the pan, forcing me to go a little further a little further a little further with the pan, until I still had a pile by the trash can, dusty and gray, and would need to go get the vacuum anyway. That's how January makes me feel. Just when you think you've got it, there's always a garland, or a decorative Santa candy dish, or let's be realistic.. an entire Christmas village that needs to be put away. It's a long month, and luckily we've made it this far without any crazy weather yet. I dread the days when the forecast is in the 20s or worse. So I'm keeping my eye on March, with the promise of early bulbs popping through, the occasional 60 degree day and the reality of Spring being right around the corner. Right now we've got the rest of January to contend with. Looming like the big bulky vacuum cleaner in the hall closet that I don't want to deal with.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Years Resolutions

  1. Learn to change out a light fixture.
  2. Learn some basic carpentry from my dad. How to use a saw and maybe how to cut an angle so I can make frames or crown molding or something.
  3. Get a handle on my itunes account. It incenses me that my itunes screen keeps popping up on my computer, I don't really know how to sync it correctly to my phone, etc.
  4. Get my photos off the computer and onto my walls and in albums.
  5. Finish painting the kids' rooms (and the crappy dreary trim in the rest of the house). It's been 3 years and it still looks like shanty town up in here.
  6. Write more. I loved blogging when I got started. I've been lazy and distracted and busy. I should be able to carve out 30 minutes a day to get back into it.
  7. That said, when my family is home with me, be more present in the moment.
  8. Continue to make small steps, like posting this semi lame blog post just to get back into the swing of things.