Saturday, April 26, 2014

Dear Muse

Dear Muse,
Look, I know how it goes. There are bills to pay and laundry to fold and children to taxi about; you don’t always have the time or the energy to get to the important stuff that’s just for you.

We’re all busy with life, and I understand that I can’t expect you to be available all the time.
The thing is, I thought we had a deal – I slog through the work every day, and you reward my perseverance with an appearance or two every once in awhile. It’s been a few months now (4 actually), and I still haven’t seen you once. Last week I was sure you were coming. I bought your favorite tea and some wonderful chocolates, but I was disappointed again. I missed you so much that I must have imagined your scent of honey and sweat.

I’d love to sit and chat for hours, but even just a few minutes of your sweet company would do wonders for my mood. Please come for a visit soon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Beginning. Again.

In my very first post here I mentioned a workshop being given by Alexandra Franzen that I wanted to go to but was sure I would never attend. Because spending that kind of money means I'm truly taking myself seriously, and we all know I can't do that. Then I might be expected to actually do something besides complain about how much I want to do. Complaining is more in my talent arena.

Well a year later it was a whole new story.

Mostly one filled with less writing and less crafting and less of everything I say I want.

But! A new story filled with new hope as well! Because I am nothing if not a glutton for that kind of punishment.

Alexandra was offering a new class, something smaller, less threatening to my sense of inevitable failure. The Who Am I, Again? workshop was just a few hours in a single afternoon, and since I'm practically the poster child for "Shiny Object Syndrome," it seemed like a perfect fit. Plus a friend offered to go with me so there would be no weasling out of this at the last minute.


It was perfect.

The fact that I'm publishing again here should be proof enough that Ms. Franzen is a miracle worker.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Upside of Fear

I remember an audition I had when I was 11 or 12 years old. I'd taken some Parks and Rec drama classes and auditioned for school plays, but this was community theater.

Go ahead and laugh. It's hilarious now. But an audience composed of more than the parents of the actors? Pretty damn scary at the time.

The part was also a huge deal - Helen Keller. OK, so there's only one actual line to memorize, but it's a part that requires some real acting chops from a child.

About 50 girls auditioned for the part - equivalent to approximately 48 more people than I'd ever auditioned against before - and I was a nervous wreck. When it was my turn I almost froze, but this tiny voice inside me said, "Let go." And I did.

I didn't get the part. 

What? You wanted this story to have a happy shiny ending?

Fine. Whatever.

The truth is I was ecstatic with how things ended up. At my first big audition I managed to be 1 of only 3 girls who made the call-back audition, and the girl who got the part had way more experience than I did. I also got cast as 1 of the blind girls at the school Annie Sullivan leaves at the beginning of the play, which gave me more than I imagined. I got invaluable experience in watching a large production unfold, and I got to make some friends who all loved acting as much as I did.

I learned that fear would only stand in the way of me getting to the good stuff.

And thankfully I took that lesson to heart and never let fear stop me again.

Or...I promptly forgot the lesson and have been forced to relearn it more times than I can count. Yeah, that one sounds about right.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to Raise a Boy Right

So I've started doing this new thing. Related to the ever increasing size of my butt. And belly. And just about all my other body parts. I mean, seriously, even my boobs have gotten bigger, and that never happens.

I've slowly been making changes to how I eat and adding some gentle workouts a few days a week. You know, easing into the idea of maybe possibly getting serious about losing at least a few pounds.

Last month I forwarded an article to Monkey Man about finding the right motivation with a snarky remark about an expensive pair of shoes I've been coveting. He took me seriously. For he is not fluent in the "snark".

And it says volumes about how much I want those shoes that I immediately pulled out a Zumba DVD and suddenly started drinking green smoothies.

I would love to tell you I did some wicked cleanse (!) that gave me more energy than the coffee I gave up (!) and erased 10 pounds from my lower body (!) but none from my boobs (!) in three days!

But I'm not selling anything.

The truth is I still drink coffee, still want to take a nap every afternoon, and have only lost 1 pound/week. Which, in case you suck at math, is 4 pounds in  4 weeks. The scale has budged, but I'm not trading in my jeans for a smaller size just yet. 

So the other day my older son wraps his arms around me and says, "I can tell you're losing weight. You look slimmer."

So I say to all his future female friends, girlfriends, and wives: You're welcome.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

I'm Willing to be's Bitch

I love to read.

I was that child about whom it is said, half with pride, half with annoyance, "She's always got her nose in a book." In my case I always had my nose in a few books, being constitutionally unable to read just one book at a time.

Even as a new mother, I read voraciously, balancing books on my burrito-wrapped baby so I could read while I nursed. Just not parenting books. Because I didn't need yet another voice telling me all the ways I was doing it wrong. Like that I shouldn't be using my baby as a lecturn.

But something changed the last few years.

It never occurred to me that my reading would drop off as my babes grew older. I'd managed to read while nursing, damn it! Reading with older kids seemed like it would be a piece of cake. With merengue frosting. And sprinkles.

I was wrong.

Not surprisingly.

I missed reading. So this year I decided to make an effort to read again, setting a goal for myself of one book per month (which seemed like a slow and respectable place to begin, no?).

When I saw an ad for*,I knew I might have found my answer. I was already starting to get annoyed with Netflix - having it on in the background while I did laundry or worked on a cross stitch was great... until I had to wait too long for new episodes of my favorite shows and increasingly watched shows I only marginally liked.

I've just finished listening to my 2nd book, and I have loved it! Maybe I'll even start doing some book reviews here. Because I know you're all dying to hear my often strange opinions about the often strange selection of books I choose to read.

And it turns out I haven't outgrown some old habits. Once I started listening to audio books, I couldn't help but pick up a regular book or two that had been languishing in my to-read pile**. Apparently I still like to bury my nose in multiple narratives.

*My blog is so tiny that it feels sort of silly to even point this out, but I will receive nothing for this endorsement.

**My husband would like to point out that "pile" is a euphamism for "multiple piles that spill across the floor on their way to trip me."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fun at the Shrink, No Shrink Required

Ran into some interesting folk at the shrink this morning. Which, let's be honest, is part of the fun of going to a shrink. Let's guess who's anxious, who's depressed, and who might just be psychotic!

They were a couple of real bikers - well worn leathers, gray hair hanging around craggy faces, that lovely eau d'tobacco. I let one of them know the staff didn't seem to be around, and we exchanged pleasantries so I couldn't help but notice the single teardrop tattooed just below his left eye*. His friend came in a few minutes later, the heavy smoker's wheeze suggesting he needed more time to climb the stairs. We exchanged pleasantries too.

It amused me to imagine they were there for couple's therapy.

Only later did it occur to me that it's a shrink's office, not a psychologist's office, and perhaps I'd completely failed the which-one-is-psychotic question.

Then it turned out I had the date wrong, and I didn't actually have an appointment for today. Because there is nothing like randomly popping in at your shrink's office to convince him your ADD symptoms are under control...

*Wikipedia has informed me that although this is usually a prison tattoo, it does not always mean the wearer has killed someone. And I like to think this guy went to prison for embezzlement.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

41 Things at 41

I used to love my birthday. As far as I was concerned it was just a nifty excuse to party and be pampered. Things have changed.

It's not that I hate my birthday - I've known too many people without the privilege of any more birthdays to not be grateful for every year. It's just that birthdays no longer feel special. Maybe it's because I stopped celebrating with my own bottle of you-will-feel-like-crap-tomorrow tequila?

Because it started to come with the label you-will-feel-like-crap-for-the-next-three-days.

I was inspired by Susannah Conway's post Hello 40 this year to make my own list of things I've learned so far. As long as you understand that by "have learned so far" I really mean "am still learning every day."

  1. Things will rarely turn out the way you imagined.
  2. This is a good thing.
  3. Stop creating your own drama because Life will hand you enough.
  4. You will survive it.
  5. Let them take pictures of you. No matter how awful you think you look, you will be glad you have them later.
  6. Getting older is awesome if you let it be.
  7. Trust your gut. Even when everyone else tells you it's crazy.
  8. Even when you think it makes you crazy.
  9. Using a "crutch" doesn't make you weak.
  10. Refusing a "crutch" when needed makes you a selfish asshole.
  11. There is no such thing as a fashion trend that flatters every body.
  12. Learning the "hard way" is usually the only way to make it stick.
  13. Lean into the fear.
  14. If you work on your own crap, the rest will usually fall into place.
  15. Be yourself with no apologies.
  16. Change your mind.
  17. Try new things all the time - a haircut, a brand of clothing, what you read, a hobby, food. New experiences keep you looking at the world with fresh eyes.
  18. Speaking of hair, it will always grow back.
  19. Enjoy your own company.
  20. Don't distract yourself from loneliness or boredom. Use them to propel yourself in a new direction.
  21. Never stop writing.
  22. Vulnerability will show you where you are strongest.
  23. Be compassionate. You don't know what anyone else is dealing with at the moment.
  24. Be kind. You don't know what anyone else is dealing with at the moment.
  25. Figure out what success means to you. Living someone else's dream is a nightmare.
  26. Getting lost is the best way to start an adventure.
  27. Fill your life with the things you love - the colors, the people, the styles, the activities that make you feel more like yourself.
  28. Stop obsessing about finishing things. You'll want to finish the right things.
  29. Make your own rules.
  30. Make your own rules subject to change.
  31. You are worthy.
  32. You are worthy.
  33. Depression lies. Stop listening to it.
  34. Your tribe is out there just waiting for you. Go find them.
  35. Do your best to stay out of debt. Know that this will not always be possible.
  36. Find a few things that make you feel really good about yourself and splurge on those things. Go cheap with everything else.
  37. It's never too late.
  38. Your actions are the best indicator of your values. Listen to them.
  39. Actions are also the best indicator of others' values. Listen to them.
  40. Learn the difference between self-care and shadow comforts, and act accordingly.
  41. It's OK to not have it all figured out. It's OK to not have even a little bit of figured out. Just keep going. You'll get there.