Here are all the reasons I have not updated my blog since March 21, 2017.
1. I don’t have anything to say.
2. I have too much to say.
For example, I have a rant locked inside my head about how sexist the current administration is, and due to a new outrage every day, I cannot get it out.
T*ump refused to shake German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hand.
Mike Pence doesn’t dine alone with women who aren’t his wife (or attend events with alcohol without her there). TBH, I don’t know if this is more self-loathing on his part or misogyny. But if he’s not sitting at the table with a woman to share a meal, you can bet your ass he’s not having one-on-one meetings with women, period.
T*ump accused a woman (of color, no less) with zero evidence of committing a crime and at the same time says Bill O’Reilly didn’t do anything wrong.
The GOP voted to defund Planned Parenthood, T*ump ended the Fair Pay and safe Workplaces Rule, and the State Department cut off funding to the UN’s family planning agency.
I mean, that’s all in the last, like, two weeks.
3. I am busy. Work is steady, children have been sick, children have been busy, I will be helping to coach Michael’s soccer team once the weather gets better and we actually have games and practices. And so on. Life.
4. Finding an agent is time consuming.
5. I’m writing another book.
6. I don’t have any big life updates.
7. I don’t have anything I want to talk about (i.e. like a movie or book).
I feel, in some ways, at least in terms of things I usually write about on this blog, very much in limbo. Life is moving forward, and I *am* writing.
I knocked out more work, and went home, driving home while it was still light outside.
Changed clothes, cooked dinner for my children, chased down Kate in the neighborhood and told her to head home.
I went to meet friends and my husband at a local brewery, The Grist House.
Here I was, going out to socialize on a random Wednesday.
Life happens after 40; life happens after children. Don’t ever stop moving, people. Do new stuff.
The Grist House is awesome. If you haven’t been yet, GO. Unpretentious environment, eleven taps of delicious beer, a food truck for vittles. Outdoor area. Babies and dogs. Delicious craft beer. (Oh, I said that already, didn’t I?)
Met two friends as planned, two other friends were there by chance, and met new people. Good friends, good drinks, good food. In the middle of the week.
This is oxygen.
Watch for the new, live release from Feral Orphan, Post Viral Cough Syndrome. If Michael is ever in a band, that’s its name.
I have some feelings about it. I feel like I should’ve attended one, for sure. I consider myself a strong feminist, and I certainly support many of the issues for which women are marching today.
The pictures on social media have been inspiring. Thank you too all the marchers.
I don’t have strong reasons for not attending. I have excuses, mostly of the logistical variety. Dan’s in New York; I had something else on my calendar (specifically a deep clean of my daughters’ room among other things); I am struggling to balance my need to resist the current administration with self-care and self-protection.
Also: I’m kind of new at this “Fight the Power” kind of stuff, and my changes need to be incremental.
I have never been a protester or marcher. I don’t find anything wrong with them, I don’t question that they are valuable to the operation of our American democracy (such as it is). It’s just not something I’ve ever done for something I’ve believed in.
That will have to change, I recognize that.
But I wasn’t in a place to change it today.
Did you march? If not, why not? If so, do you find yourself in judgement of those who didn’t?
Thank god for insurance! Now I would just like to get my car back.
2. At some point last Saturday, I thought, “I need a pause button.” I need to stop time so I can catch up. I would use it to do chores: pause time while I grocery shopped, or cleaned the kitchen, or cleaned out my closet. (My closet REALLY needs to be cleaned out.)
Of course, at some point on Sunday, I thought, “Getting up and starting the day at 8 a.m. makes for a long Sunday.” We did a lot that day. When the children have CCD at 8:40 a.m., and then you go to church right after, Sunday stretches away in front of you.
3. One of the things we did was carve pumpkins. Technically, the children each cleaned out a pumpkin. Flora carved hers, but the design broke off, and before we could solve the problem (toothpicks!), she tossed it in the weeds in frustration. Kate carved hers, designed Michael’s, and then ended up carving his too. She even went back to Flora’s and carved a cat’s face in the back of the pumpkin! When that girl gets a goal in her head, she carries through.
4. Conversely to that pause button idea, it could just be November 8 already, and voting could be done. I am ready for this election season to be over. It’s torture. If Pennsylvania were an early voting or mail-in ballot state, at least my part would be done by now. But instead, I gotta wait to go to the polls. It will be exciting to vote for the first woman President!
5. Michael is doing math. And reading. He actually sits down and sounds out words. He says stuff like, “10 + 10 + 3 = 23” out of the blue. I distinctly recall Flora refusing to sound out words. That girl wants to be good at something the first time she tries it. (I DON’T KNOW WHERE SHE GETS THAT.) But Michael seems to have no self-consciousness about trying stuff or being good.
Of course, he thinks he’s good at EVERYTHING. So.
5. Things just keep rolling along. Parent-teacher conferences went well; Halloween is around the corner (Flora, werewolf; Kate, Harley Quinn; Michael, Killer Croc); flu vaccines are onboard. Pretty soon, it will be Flora’s birthday, and I’ll still be like, “pause button, where are you?”
6. Last night, as I was driving from work to home to the pediatrician’s office to dinner to Rocket Fizz (flu shots mean Rocket Fizz), I was half thinking, when does this part end?
And I realized, it really doesn’t. As much as I think, “Oh, when soccer practice ends for the year, my weeks won’t be so crazy”, or “We’ll get through the holidays and then get a break,” I’m deluding myself.
This is it. This is the ride we’re on called life. I may have a slow week or two when soccer practice is on pause — that depends on who is going to play indoor soccer this season — but other things will crop up. I will have to run to the store, or attend a school concert, or otherwise be busy.
And that’s okay. It is what it is. I will keep doing what I need to do to keep my sanity.
7. Still struggling with the date night thing, though. Dan and I just can’t seem to figure it out. It’s really disappointing. That is one area that needs work, and that I can’t be blase about it. Again, a pause button would be helpful.
1. School started! Flora and Kate have re-acclimated quickly, for which I am entirely grateful.
2. Flora is definitely becoming more mature and responsible. She comes home and does her homework. She helps Michael if he has homework. She seldom complains about cleaning the kitchen. She remembers to empty the dishwasher more often than not.
3. Kate is not on the same page as Flora — and as I am often reminded, she is two years younger. She is one of the reasons I have adopted my mother-in-law’s phrase, “Do it right or do it twice.” Let’s just say that Kate’s strengths are elsewhere (making friends, primarily; also, doing handstands). She is very sweet. She asks Dan and me almost every day how our days were, and she really listens to our answers. She values interaction over just doing stuff.
4. Michael… *sigh*. Michael has already lost a backpack and a lunch box. We are already dealing with another boy who is bullying him on the bus (OH NO, HONEY. THAT WILL NOT STAND.) If asked directly about school, it’s “boring,” but if given space, he’ll cheerfully chatter away about his day. He tells me about Go Noodle, computer games (that are sneakily teaching him the location of letters on the keyboard), and other little events about his day. So, a little uneven.
5. Taking the tablets away was definitely the right move. It forces them to focus on what needs to be done; it sparks their creativity in play. Now if I could get them to *read books* I would feel even better. Kate and Michael will play together sometimes; they will also do gymnastics in my living room, which isn’t awesome. Flora will draw. And draw. And draw. She wrote a short story recently (I haven’t read it yet), so maybe I can encourage more of that.
How do I encourage them to read actual novel-like books? The girls, I mean. M and I do his sight words every now and again; I could get better at doing this. But the girls seldom crack a book at home.
6. (I am an actual paid blogger. My job is going gangbusters. You can check out some of my stuff here.) (I’m whispering because I don’t want to jinx anything.)
7. Dan and I need date nights. Like, not just social nights out as a couple. We did a lot of seeing people over the summer, attending events and get-togethers. But we stopped spending time together as just a couple. The dinner date thing isn’t really doing it for us either. I’m trying to find other stuff for us to do, not too expensive. I’m thinking one month (or even every six weeks) he’ll pick and plan our date, and the next time, I will. For the record, I am thinking this may be fun. We like exercise, booze, and music, basically.
What’s going on with YOU? Oh, and if you have ideas about getting my girls to read, that would be great.
It’s usually poetry day, but I haven’t been good about that, either.
Mostly, it’s because of time and technical difficulties.
1. The books I am reading — currently Toni Morrison’s Home, previously… oh, just check my Goodreads account — have me thinking about bodies, and the way certain bodies are uniquely vulnerable in the society we live in. The default representation in our culture is the white male body.
And everyone else is expendable.
I will attempt to expand on this when I get a chance. Between the World and Me pretty much is based on this entire premise. He’s not wrong.
2. Uh. Yeah. Lots of this going on. I get started on a thought, and I don’t have time to sit with it — through my own choices, my own scheduling.
Plus, we’re currently snowed in, and Dan just started the original Star Wars (Episode IV, A New Hope) for the children. So I’m a little distracted. As per.
3. I am finally getting around to setting limits with the children and their Christmas tablets. Those things really took over their lives — when they are at home, it’s all they want to do. I waited until family dinner last night to put the boundaries in place so Dan and I would be on the same page. Weeknights: one half hour after chores and when I am home; one half hour after dinner. Presumably, they are doing their homework at Bella’s when they arrive home, and if that stops happening they lose the tablet for a day. They are not allowed to watch them after bedtime in their room — this has been a limit from the get-go, but they still try to get away with it. Weekends: two hours, tops.
We’ll see how it goes from here.
4. I may take further advantage of being snowed in by plugging myself into my music, and into my borrowed laptop, AND WRITE SOME MORE OF MY NOVEL. Sheesh. I just gotta get it done already.
It’s been a rough week, and I caught myself nearly crying in my car this morning as I drove to work. Nothing terrible has happened, but I’ve got the blues. I am feeling very helpless in my ability to affect my life to get on with better things. I feel heavy-hearted.
Plus, I am tired. I’m tired because I’m sad; I’m sad because I am tired. It’s a vicious cycle.
I’m tired because I’m going to bed too late, and I’m going to bed too late in the service of a worthwhile project (NaNoWriMo), so that’s not going to change anytime soon.
It’s toward the end of the day, and I’m on the cusp of Thanksgiving vacation, so let’s talk about some things that are helping me not go into the bathroom and cry.
1. It’s my father’s 70th birthday today. I called him from the car while we were waiting for Kate’s bus, and she sang happy birthday for him. Michael also wished him a happy birthday, but more quietly than Kate. I hope it kicked off his day right.
He’s a good dad. I’m glad he’s 70. I hope to make many more happy birthday phone calls to him.
2. I am going to this event tonight to meet some fellow Pittsburgh bloggers and have a beer. If you’re bored, you should come on out.
3. A visit to my chiropractor made me feel physically quite a bit better. Vintage Black Keys on the ride back to the office on this sunny day helped too.
4. I do have a long vacation coming up shortly. We will be leaving for North Carolina on Sunday. Let’s hope a week of writing, rest, and family and food helps lift me out of my funk. Bonus: New baby snuggles.
5. I truly do have the best husband in the world (for me). He texted earlier today, insistent that I go see Mockingjay tomorrow with my friends. I still don’t know if it’ll happen — I’ve got writing to do, plus I’d like to get in a workout, cleaning, and packing so we can hit the road early on Sunday. PLUS: New hairs Saturday night. Oh, and Mass. But how funny is it that my husband basically has to force me to go have fun. He’s such a jerk.
6. I have one little niggling worry about next week, and it’s the fact that I have to find a place and steal the time to write. I know that Dan has my back.
Mom and Dad, I hope you will understand too. I figure I’ll do it early, with coffee, and be done early.
It’s pretty serious. It means a lot to me. I’m finally writing a book!
1. I attended MomCon on Saturday for the first time, and it was amazing. Inspiring. Affirming. Just incredible. I brought things home to my family, and I’m going to tell you about some of them too. I need to get myself together a little bit.
In eight days, I have written MORE THAN ELEVEN THOUSANDS WORDS.
I am doing the thing. It is as hard as I suspected it was going to be, and it is exhausting — I’m going to bed too late most nights because I don’t start until after 9 p.m. and you know what, I DON’T CARE.
3. Right here (ha, I just typed ‘Write’) I have to give props (do people still give props?) to my husband and love of my life. When I told him I wanted to take on NaNoWriMo, he didn’t say, “Do you think that’s a good idea?” or “What about this that and the other thing?” or “Do you really have time to do that?” (We both knew the answer was No to that one, but here we are almost 12,000 words in.)
Last night, I said to him after dinner — as he cleaned the kitchen, mind — “Do you want me to bathe M now or start writing?” Without even thinking about it, he said, “Start writing.”
I ran into the office, and cranked out 800 words before helping remake the beds and putting the children to bed.
He has never, not once that I can think of, been anything less than supportive of my creative ideas.
“I knew who you were when I married you,” he said last night when I thanked him for saying yes with me to this endeavor. “You’re a creative person. Go create.”
4. The other thing that made me feel good this weekend, made me feel that we are pointed in the right direction, was shopping.
Just simple grocery shopping made me happy — which is not always the case. After not having a good meal plan the past couple of weeks, I managed to put together a 10-day plan, and then shop for it without breaking the bank.
When I checked out of Aldi on Sunday, my total was $68. I just looked at the cashier. “Is that it?” I had bought basic stuff — canned beans and tomatoes, eggs and milk, some vegetables, some meat. The stuff in my cart would’ve cost $150 at the Big Bird.
I said to him, “You wait, once people figure out how great prices are here, this place is going to take off.”
I was being ironic. The store was packed — and still not an unpleasant place to shop — and a new Aldi pops up every other week.
We also had to make a Target run. Looking over my list, I estimated that we would spend at least $150 there — we had non-foodstuffs to buy too. Now my trick to shopping at Target is twofold: their mobile app Cartwheel and my debit Red Card, which takes 5% off my total no matter what I buy.
So, after getting almost everything on the list (I couldn’t find shell pasta for stuffed shells), plus some impulse buys — hi, scented candles and a new purse for me that was on sale for $24 — my bill started at about $180, but Cartwheel plus the Red Card dropped it by $10. And I spend 0 minutes clipping coupons. (Cartwheel does take a little effort — I would estimate that searching through the app adds about 5-10 minutes to my shopping trip. Totally worth the time.)
I again raved about the savings to the cashier. I should’ve been a customer testimonial this weekend.
Plus, we are going to eat good this week. My meal plan is full of quick delicious dishes. I’m excited to get cooking. Which is not something I often say on a Monday.
What’s your favorite meal that you are making this week?
I have been exactly where I am, only a little busier. Or so it seems.
The one thing I want to write about… is eluding me a little bit. So, I need to sit down and take a look at that.
Children, homework, housework, shopping and cooking.
Reinventing. (Same job, so far; new me.)
Gymnastics, soccer, earlier bedtimes, monitoring and measuring.
When I have a daily writing prompt, and it’s not for my blog, I apparently don’t blog quite as much.
We are off to the woods for the weekend, and I thank goodness. I am ready to unplug all the things: phones, children, television, my brain. I am ready to sit by campfires, and dry wet shoes, and play board games.
So now, when Dan asks why I listen to angry music (his term), I can say that I am interested in underpinning systems.
Dan is a psychologist, and a damn good one. Guess what kind of music he prefers.
Second item: The other night in the car, Flora was switching radio stations around. We came across Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” and I made her leave it on. You would think I was driving bamboo shoots under her nails from her reaction.
After it was over, she lost no time in finding a country music station.
Man, I hate country music.
This is, of course, the nanny’s fault. She is a country fan. So part of Flora’s rebellion will take the form of listening to country, apparently.
What do you think? Should I limit the listening of country to her room? My rule in the car is that it has to be at least mutually tolerable. Country is not mutually tolerable.
Sorry, Kim. It’s just not.
But I’m not going to forbid it. I know how that ends.
What do you do when you are with someone whose taste in music is wildly divergent from yours?