Thursday, January 31, 2013

honestly, the living room rug is practically edible at this point



Nothing witty or thoughtful or depressed or goofy today.  I need to straighten up the house, vacuum, clean the bathroom, and catch up on email.  Badly.  Oh, and I need to call my mom.  I miss her.

Happy Thursday, friends.  Make it a good one.


melanie















Tuesday, January 29, 2013

something fun


I'm trying to catch up on email and messages and feeds today, so I finally watched this video from Design Mom/Olive Us.  It made me happy.  I don't know if you know this about me, but I adore Paris, I feel at home in Paris, and have always wanted to live there.  You know, just for a few months, a year, or maybe five, or ten...  Yes, I can hear you saying who doesn't? and Paris?  Be a little more creative, lady! so before we get into an argument about Paris vs. New York Florence Rome London Germany Prague Brazil Australia The Universe, just watch the video and then tell me you aren't craving a warm croissant and latte on a cafe sidewalk.



Betty In Paris from Olive Us on Vimeo.


That's what I thought.









most important




I don't even know where to begin.  Hey, guys, breaking news:  parenting is hard.  Have you heard that?  Have you heard that it's the hardest thing in the world, and also the best thing in the world?  Oh.  Well, have you heard that kids make you crazy even while introducing you to an amazing love you never thought possible?  OH.  Fine, then.  Maybe we have run out of ways to describe it, parenting.  Maybe words are inadequate.  Or maybe parents should quit blathering on about it and move on to more interesting topics.

Whichever answer is right, the unfortunate truth is that I'm going to talk about it, anyway.  Because it is SO hard some days, and so knitted to the core of my being every day.  Because I thought I would be ahead of the game this morning, out of bed before my family, coffee on, oatmeal made, eggs scrambling, and I had even managed a shower sometime in the previous 48 hours, so, minimal school drop-off embarrassment!  Winning!

But Lena did NOT want to get out of bed, and she cried.  Then she did NOT want to come out into the living room, and she cried.  She did NOT want to sit and eat her oatmeal, and she cried.  She was NOT happy that she missed her morning cartoon and I would not put on another, and she cried.

She wanted to wear her sundress, even though the weather was gray and chilly.  She wanted to sit in front of her oatmeal and chat with Evie instead of eating.  She wanted to sing in the bathroom instead of brushing her teeth.  She wanted to pick out books for the car ride instead of putting on shoes.

And she cried.

By the time I got the girls herded into the car and buckled in, any sense of being ahead of the game was gone.  It had given up, turned around, thrown its equipment on the field, picked the equipment back up and given it a good Serena Williams, stomped off the field, and could now be found hiding under the bleachers in a black trenchcoat writing angry poetry that didn't rhyme.

I used to think I was a patient person.  I could wait in line at the post office for an hour and a half on the last shipping day before Christmas surrounded by huffy belligerent customers and near-sociopathic employees, and I could do this without complaint, even able to smile through it.  I thought patience was a virtue I pretty much had under my belt.

Not.  So.

We were late.  Parking was a nightmare.  I finally ditched the car three blocks from the wrong end of the school, threw Evie into the stroller, coaxed Lena out of the car, and hustled down the sidewalk.  And Lena?  She cried.  She cried the entire way because I wouldn't let her ride in the stroller.   Her.  My boundless-energy I-want-to-ride-my-bike-all-the-way-to-Mexico! FIVE-year-old.  I had to grip her hand and almost pull her along behind me.  And when we finally made it to her class, already in progress, I had to physically PUT her in the room.

And then I left.

Angry.

Angry at her, but mostly angry at myself.  I couldn't solve the problem, even though I tried several times to stop, get down on her level, and calmly figure it out with her.  I couldn't fix it.  And by the end of the ordeal, I hadn't kept my cool.  I was angry at myself for being angry, too.  I don't want to be angry at my daughter.  My baby.  The little girl I almost crawled into bed with to sleep next to last night, because I love her so much it really does hurt.  And when I looked at her sleeping face last night and said a silent prayer for God to please watch over her, please keep her safe, please keep her healthy, please keep her blessed.  Please let her grow to be an old lady of 104 with dozens of great great grandchildren and a happy life behind her. Please cradle her every step.  But I know that every parent prays that prayer, and I couldn't stop myself from thinking of every parent who prayed that prayer the night before sending their own gorgeous child off to school in Newtown last month, not knowing their prayers would not help them through even one more day.  And I almost couldn't sleep last night, once again tortured by the knowledge that there is nothing I can ever do to guarantee the safety and health of my children.  This is not unusual - losing some sleep over this knowledge is just another benefit of being a parent.  We just fight through it, trust, and carry on.  We have to.  It is a great and terrifying thing to love a child.  There is no way around that.

And those were my feelings not twelve hours before being so angry with her this morning.  Okay, so frustrated.  No....I was angry.  And defeated.  Defeated because all I could see after dropping her off was the great continent-wide chasm between how I had felt last night and how I had acted this morning.  Because I shrugged at the other parents in the schoolyard with a just-another-one-of-those-mornings! look on my face when I would lay down on railroad tracks for that girl whom I just left sniffling in her classroom doorway.  Unbelievable, this being a parent.  How do people do this?  No.  Really.  HOW?


Earlier to bed tonight.  Earlier to rise in the morning.  More patience.  More perspective.  Being late is not the end of the world.  A sundress in cool weather - with pants and a good jacket - will not kill her.  Listen to her chat with her little sister over breakfast.  Be happy that she sings.  Love that she loves books.  And putting the jump seat on the stroller once in a while so that the five-year-old can ride, too, will not spoil her forever.  You love her.  She adores you.  Today she is here, with you, and she still likes to hold your hand.

This is what is most important.












Monday, January 28, 2013

blessed are the cupcake-eaters




Oh, but those weekends go by too fast!

For being a month of resolutions and clean slates (I KNOW, shut up about clean slates already, Melanie!) - but wait and hear me out:  for being a month of resolutions and clean slates, I have somehow managed to just lazy lazy lazy my way through January.  My inbox is stuffed, my paperwork piled, and I think I can hear my Feedly crying quietly over there in the next browser tab.  I haven't sorted family photos since Halloween, haven't written a single thank-you note for the girls' Christmas presents, and, well, I know this is going to upset some of you, but I even let Lena go to school one day last week WITHOUT her finished homework.  In kindergarten!  Am I kidding you?  I am not kidding you!  It's all downhill from here, baby.  At this rate she's going to drop out by third grade, pierce her nose, get a Rainbow Dash tattoo on her bicep, and we will only ever be able to find her hanging out behind the Toys R Us selling Pop Rocks out of her bicycle basket.  AND SHE WON'T EVEN WEAR A HELMET WHEN SHE RIDES.

It's okay.  We totally have a back-up kid.


We had a great weekend.  Jimmy hung blankets around Evie's bottom bunk on Friday and the girls camped down there together that night and Saturday.  Sure, they stayed up an extra hour longer than usual after bedtime, but MOST of that time was spent whispering and giggling and chatting, so I was too preoccupied with insane happiness that they were getting along!  !!!!!  to care about what time they fell asleep.  And we slept late in the mornings, and Jimmy checked out Lena's upcoming T-ball team, and Lena had a fun audition, and Evie peppered us with constant kisses, and we went to a lovely birthday party attended by several families from Lena's preschool class whom we haven't seen in almost a year.  We had plenty of less-than-pleasant moments, but I've decided to ignore those right now.  This lazy weekend treated us well.

How was your weekend?

I'm thinking that I should probably buckle down a little bit now, though.  Maybe make sure the bills are paid.  And I should probably start by taking a shower today.  You know.  Before lunch.

Right after I announce Friday's winner of that fabulous Amazon gift card:


Congratulations, Dee!


Yeah, that's right.  FIVE entries.  I can't believe it, either.  Well, just to show the four of you who didn't win how cool I think you are for showing up to my party, I'm going to send you all something, too.  But in the meantime:  Dee!  Congrats!  Please email me your address and I will mail you your gift card!  Or, if you prefer, just email me your email address, and we'll get it done all internets-like.  Yay!


Happy Monday, everyone!













Friday, January 25, 2013

thanks and then some




Hey, kids!  It's been a busy week at Like A Radio, and I wanted to thank you all for the kind words and sweet happy birthday wishes before we all rush off to our weekends.  You've helped to give me a wonderful birthday week, and that's the truth.  I wish I could share some of this gorgeous cake with you, but instead it will just have to be something simple:  thank you.

Alright....look, I know that January is a tough month for most people, and I really do wish I could make everybody love it as much as I do.  So, because it's January, because it's Friday, because I had SUCH a nice birthday, because I love you all (I do), and because thank you just isn't going to cut it for me today, I'm going to offer you a giveaway.  It isn't much.  How does a $25 Amazon gift card sound?

To enter, leave a comment below.  Tell me your first name and what you'd like to buy with the gift card.  One entry per person.  I will accept entries until midnight Sunday night (11:59pm PST 1/27/13 for you sticklers), and will choose a winner via Random.org.  The winner will be announced Monday.

Amazon has nothing to do with this.

I just like birthdays.


Have a great weekend, friends.  Thank you, again.  And good luck!












Thursday, January 24, 2013

comparison is the thief of joy





There's been a lot of chatter on the news this week about a study that says visiting Facebook makes people depressed about the state of their own lives.  This is hardly the first time we've been told that our online activities are bumming us out.  The same has been said about design blogs, mommy blogs, Pinterest, Instagram...

I get it.  Even my favorite mommy bloggers bloggers-who-happen-to-be-mommies, the ones who take care to talk about the unpretty things - their frustrations with their kids, their messy homes, their dogs puking on the nice carpets, their miscarriages, their hair falling out weight gain weight loss takeout meals and formula-filled bottles - I find ways to get jealous of them, too.  Why?  Who knows.  Because I'm good at it.  Because this one takes amazing photos, and this one has the funniest wit, this one has the most thoughtful insights, and this one gets a zabillion hits every minute and earns a little money while she writes.  And just forget about the design bloggers I follow.  Even through all the discussions they've had recently within their communities and on their blogs about whether or not they should talk about the tough things they're going through as they post the most gorgeous unattainable lifestyle photos, yeah - I've found ways to be jealous of them, too.  Why?  WHO KNOWS.  Maybe it's because they're still so pretty online, or because their blogs are their jobs, or because they're all having drinks at Alt Summit right now while I'm sitting here in my jammies with a too-tight bank account and no babysitter.

My point is, can't we let this drop?  Is it really worthy of news coverage?  Because we all - ALL of us - have a natural tendency to compare ourselves to other people.  When we're not doing it online we're doing it at the office, at playdates, and at the grocery store.  I still remember my first day of kindergarten, when I first walked into my new classroom and spotted the prettiest girl, chose the desk next to her, and spent the day wishing I was her, from her long dark hair to her sweet, unusual name.

I don't think it's a healthy tendency, but I do think it's a natural tendency.

And pointing the same alarmist discussion at Facebook made me angry.  Because most of my friends on Facebook are my real friends and family.  They are people with whom I was raised, met in gradeschool, attended college, shared offices, lived overseas.  There are a lot of reasons I've wanted to quit Facebook over the years, but what keeps me there is this amazing chance to keep in touch with so many of these people I love.  And maybe I just have the best group of friends, but when I log on I see everything from new jobs to lost pets to kids home sick from school.  The same day one friend is having an amazing wedding might be the same day another friend learns their child has a chronic illness.  We have one good friend heading off to Sundance today.  Do I wish I could go to Sundance?  Um, YEAH.  But it seems like on Facebook, just like in our regular live-and-in-person days, we just need to remember to be happy for our friends who are doing well and keep reaching out to our friends who aren't.

Right?


I post a lot of photos, mostly of my kids, on Instagram and Facebook.  (Probably so many that half of my friends have hidden my feed.)  I do like to think the photos can be pretty, and I work at that.  But I sincerely hope they don't portray some sort of fictionalized life that I honestly do not lead.  Please tell me that is not the case, because this blog here?  Mostly it's here so that I can write about my depression, because writing about it helps almost as much as the prescription medication I have to take every day to keep me going.  And I think I've been pretty honest about the ongoing showdown I'm having with toddlerhood, how much I don't understand about myself or my needs, the worry that I have for our finances, or the daily grinding-glass-on-glass that the question of having a third baby is for me.  We live in a fabulous city, but the rent is high and more often than not I have to usher my girls around yet another man getting drunk under the tree out front of our home in order to get into our family car.  For every day that we drop everything to let the girls play on the beach, I've spent a week missing the midwestern trees and thunderstorms and seasons from my childhood.   And for every cute photo of our cute cute girls?  I've spent an hour in tears that they are driving me crazy and I am parenting them badly and how on EARTH do my other mommy friends get by??

Like most people, our lives are not all bad, and not all good.  Taken together, I think that does make us blessed.  So I say that here, over and over, mostly to remind myself - we are blessed.  We are blessed.  And when I log on to Facebook, I log on to be with friends, to check in on how they are doing, to share some stupid thought or new insight of my own, to brag AND to complain, but mostly just to be with friends.


Friends that I am blessed to have.










Tuesday, January 22, 2013

not pictured: one dark gray & white striped hoodie





We have two new rules in our house:
  1. Lena may choose her own clothing for school and play, so long as her choices are weather/activity appropriate.
  2. Mama is to chill the !$#% out.











Monday, January 21, 2013

36 before 36


My early birthday cake, made by Lena, Eve, and our neighbor Julie from my mom's recipe.  The best.

Have I mentioned that I love birthdays?  I love birthdays.  Aging is a tricky thing to enjoy, but birthdays should be lovely days, and so far mine has been just that.  On Saturday, Julie and our girls made my favorite birthday cake - Devil's Food with seven-minute icing and gold star confetti - and that night Jimmy took me downtown for rooftop drinks at Perch and an incredible dinner at Church & State.  The whole weekend was warm and calm and relaxing.  Then this morning I got to wake to kisses from Jimmy and my girls, cards written by Lena Rose herself, a few presents from family, and mimosas in the pretty little vintage champagne glasses that Jimmy bought for me as a surprise.  Even the inauguration is a treat today.  Oh, and chocolate cake for breakfast.  So far 35 is genius.




For several years I've been meaning to make one of those "X before X" lists that all the cool kids are making on their birthdays, and this year I've determined to actually do it.  I don't know if I'll complete every item before I hit 36, but I like to make plans, or maybe it's more that I like to keep dreaming.  Whatever it is, I am hoping for a good year.  (Who doesn't?)  And if having a good year is in any way up to me, this is how I plan to pull it off:


36 before 36

1.  have my morning coffee in a china teacup once in a while.  (check!)
2.  read a little bit each morning
3.  get used to waking early, before my family
4.  learn to make breakfast quinoa
5.  cultivate stress-free mornings
6.  give up wheat (at long last)


birthday party bubble activities



7.  visit Vasquez Rocks
8.  visit the Eames house
9.  visit the Hammer Museum
10.  take the girls to Olivera Street
11.  take the girls to the LACMA
12.  take Jimmy (and the girls) to see the space shuttle


the view from Perch, including the ice rink which closes today, I think.



13.  pay attention to my health
14.  make an effort move, outside, every day
15.  take my family on a bike ride to the beach
16.  climb the mountain of stairs at my neighborhood park
17.  go away on my own for one day
18.  go away with my husband for a weekend



Perch rooftop bar


19.  finish Anna Karenina
20.  finish A Moveable Feast
21.  read A People's History of the United States
22.  watch The Decalogue
23.  try out this Arrested Development show people seem to like
24.  use the free movie passes I've had in my wallet for three years


Jimmy at Church & State

morning birthday offerings


25.  work on the new drawings I have in mind for my shop
26.  get business cards made
27.  keep writing
28.  submit one essay to anywhere
29.  learn one song on the guitar - maybe Moon River for the girls
30.  shoehorn a piano into our home


birthday breakfast

new vintage champagne glass and coffee in my china teacup


31.  cut my hair
32.  buy a real swimsuit, one I've actually tried on
33.  fret less about my appearance
34.  get a tattoo (you know, maybe.)
35.  join a home group from our church

and  36.  no matter what I listed for 1-35, try to go easy on myself and enjoy more of this:






Thank you for all the birthday wishes!!

xo
melanie













Sunday, January 20, 2013

thirty-four's last stand




It is Sunday night, and as I write this Jimmy is in the girls' little room tucking them into their beds.  I can hear him trying to soothe them past their unrelenting giggles and attempts at initiating tickle fights, not wanting to lie down much less have their blankets pulled up around them, Jimmy trying to keep his voice steady as the hour grows later and later (and we all grow older).

My birthday is tomorrow.  I like my birthday, and Jimmy already spoiled me last night with one of the best nights out I believe we've ever had.  No surprise, though, that I am not crazy about the idea of turning thirty-five.  It feels like more of a milestone than maybe it should, but in my defense I will have to check the next box on medical forms and surveys, now, the one that says "Age: 35-44".  Come on.  What heartless killjoy came up with that grouping?

And thirty-five seems a bit unrelentingly "woman" to me, too, as though I can no longer pretend to the description of "girl" anymore.  And maybe that's the silliest thing I've said so far, given that I've also been a married mother of two for nearly three years, and over thirty for five.   Maybe you also think it shouldn't matter either way.  But as much as I may ever be fully woman, I will also be fully girl, forever feeling seventeen, driving my parents' car to school with the windows down and the radio up, or lying awake in my twin bed at night with the lights out, window open again, watching the breeze flutter the curtains, the radio on, again, all the while my head stuffed full to overflowing of constant anticipation of what my life would be.

If I live to be a 108-year-old great-great-grandmother with any clearness still left in my brain, I believe I will still relate best to the teenaged girl dreaming of her future and obsessing over the boy who sits next to her in fifth period.  And I may never feel more like myself than I do when I am alone somewhere with my music played loud and a fresh breeze on my face.  Somewhere along the way those markers became indelibly stamped on my core like the address to my forever home, and they are the only sure path back to me when I find myself once again lost in the weeks and months of everydays.

I don't mind aging altogether.  In fact, as I have noticed in recent photos of me, I can see changes in my face that place me squarely where I am - at thirty-five and going - and so far I rather like it.  I look more settled, more sure, more here.  I don't always feel those things, but I do aim for them, so I don't mind their appearance at least.  In some ways it gives me confidence that I can achieve those qualities if I can picture them already in my possession.  Aging's gift of reverse-psychology, maybe.  Or delusion.


So I think I will be alright.  I think the next five years could be very good.  I still have plans.  I still have dreams.  I still wonder what my life will be.  And I still see possibilities.

Goodbye, thirty-four.



Hello, 35-44 thirty-five.













Friday, January 18, 2013

because toddlers




Why do I love this kid?

Because when I tell her to blow her nose, she presses her face into the tissue I'm holding for her and yells, "ACHOO!!!!"











Thursday, January 17, 2013

hair


me on a good hair day minute second

This is neither here nor there, but I've just discovered She Lets Her Hair Down, and am drooling over photos of incredible, gorgeous hairstyles.  As you may or may not have noticed, I have long, unrelentingly straight, brown hair.  End of story.  I like to imagine that it could be amazing, thick, wavy, and perfect, but unfortunately I don't live in a magazine or a vampire movie (at least, I'm not aware that I do), and also, I was raised with boys.  I was not allowed to use nail polish in any area of the house but in my bedroom with the door shut, and even that elicited much wrath.  ("It smells!  IT SMELLS!!!")  The fact that I can operate a hair dryer and apply inexpensive mousse is already just short of a miracle.

Also, I don't spend much money on my hair, because, hello, it costs money.  Also, I don't do expensive hair justice on a daily basis.  Also, I live in Los Angeles, and if I go for a "cheap" wash, cut, and blow dry, I walk out $80 poorer.  Also, talking about my appearance makes me grumpy.  I'm working on that part.


a candid shot of my hair on Christmas Eve.  And now there is a 50/50 chance that right this instant my hairstylist mother-in-law is packing up a brush and some hair product to FedEx to me.  I love you, Carrol!  I promise I already own a brush AND hair product and will use them more often! 

ANYWAY.  What was I saying?  Oh, this hair blog.  I'm in love.  I'm inspired to be better.  I'm super tempted to do this, but am sure I need to be a gorgeous fairy waif to pull it off.  And I can't quit staring longingly at this, because it is pretty much exactly what I wanted my wedding hair to look like, except Jimmy and I only barely managed an event just this side of elopement so I was lucky that I had any help with my hair at all and I have not forgotten that fact.  Still.  I'm drooling, and scrolling through hairstyle photos like never before.

I know, I know:  look at me, all girly-like.  Just don't get used to it.  I still can't operate a curling iron properly and don't own more than a sample-size of hairspray.  But I can pin a photo of pretty hair to my Pinterest boards, oh yes I can!














Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesdays with Evie





This is what I wake up to more often than not these days.  It's not bad at all, really.

As I mentioned the other day, we've been looking at ways to become a bit more financially stable this year, and one change we have considered is pulling Evie from preschool and letting her hang out at home, instead.

Already, though, she is home with me on Wednesdays, and every Wednesday I hope it will be AWESOME!  and by the end of every Wednesday I am wondering just who the hell I think I am to consider cutting even one more day out of her preschool schedule.  No, that's not true.  By lunchtime every Wednesday.  As in, before lunch.  Like, maybe an hour or two before lunch.  Yeah.  That's more like it.

It isn't helping today that I've got a bit of a cold and less than zero motivation to play toddler pretend birthday snacktime pony princess tea party for two hours straight, interrupted constantly by requests for more juice, more chocowate milk, Mommy come here!  Mommy WATCH!! Mommy, more snack, more trweat more bwanana PWEEEEASTH??!!

Toddlers = not my forte.  Toddlers = the cure for my wish for more babies.  Almost.  Okay, not really.  But they do appeal to the logical part of my brain, and quite eloquently, too.

I love my Eve Adele to little bits and pieces.  I want to squish her and cuddle her and kiss on her glorious warm soft cheeks forever.  Really.  She drives me crazy, though, just like her sister did at this age.  Crazy.  Really.  Ugh.  And this is the part where my brain wants to tell me that I suck.  Hey, Brain:  NOT HELPING.

I know that 90% of the ten people reading this are moms.  So, toddler advice?  And don't say "bourbon," because good grief, I'VE TRIED.








Monday, January 14, 2013

etsy shop - Christmas drawings revealed!




I've been looking forward to sharing these drawings with you for so long, and now that Christmas has passed and each piece has been delivered, I think the coast is clear!  Here are the first custom home drawings I made for sales through my new Etsy shop.  Special thanks, again, to my wonderful customers.  I genuinely loved working on each home, and hope the drawings make you as happy I was working on them.













Thank you for all your support, friends!  This was a big step for me, but it was honestly the most enjoyable work I've ever had.  Of course, the shop is still open, so if you are interested in your own custom home illustration, you can find my storefront here.  The drawings are personal, detailed, and loved, and they make wonderful gifts for weddings, birthdays, housewarmings, anniversaries, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparent's Day,Valentine's Day, Groundhog's Day, St. Patty's Day, Flag Day...








all the way to the end




On my phone I keep a list of topics I want to write about here, and usually that list is only two or three items long.  Generally speaking, I write what I'm feeling in the moment, most often not even knowing what that is until I stare at the computer screen for ten or twenty minutes.

Right now the list is ten deep, though, at least, and growing.  Because it is January, a new year, a clean slate in more ways than one for me because my birthday is in January (next week!).  Shoot, it's next week.  And, unfortunately, this year it's a birthday that will knock me into the next age bracket on surveys and business forms.  Also, I think I'm going gray.  And suddenly I am compelled to go crawl back in bed and hide under the covers.  uggghhhh.

Um, so sorry.  Hey, happy thoughts....I meant to say, I have so many ideas for this year!

Ideas such as Showing Up, which is why we bundled up the kids on Saturday morning and took them to our favorite beach playground, coffee and warm croissants in hand.  It was wonderful.  The sun came out, the girls played, and Jimmy and I soaked it in - the beach, the people, the happy kids.  While Evie chased birds and dug in the sand, Lena had her first real opportunity to ride her bike with no worries of street traffic, and that kid took off with streamers flying and training wheels wobbling madly.  I followed on foot, but she was free and happy and going going gone, and didn't bother to look back for me for so long, even after she was well out of earshot and only barely in my sight.  Although I wasn't too worried, I guess I had some sort of universal mommy look about me because strangers walking the other way would grin at me as they passed and comment on how happy she looked on that bike, huge smile, no cares at all.  When she finally stopped to see me waving her back to me, she  turned around and rode up breathlessly saying, "Mama, I want to follow the path all the way to the end!!"




Maybe, when she gets older, we can do that.  It's only 8.5 miles, after all, right?  Right.  Which is why I pulled my bike out of the garage that afternoon just before sunset and practiced riding without breaking my neck, coasting all around our little neighborhood under a pink sky.  I came close a few times, to breaking my neck that is.  But, wow.  Just wow.  I forgot how good it was to have a cool wind on my face and no destination but home, eventually.  I get it, Lena.  I want to keep going, too.  All the way to the end.

(And maybe even on past than that.)







So far, so good.  Let's keep it up, 2013.

















Friday, January 11, 2013

showing up




I am trying to write.  For the first time in a month or more I have a quiet house and uninterrupted time to write, a luxurious convergence of events I have been aching to utilize, but here I am and the words are backlogged and soggy after waiting, stewing for so long, and now they are disorderly, lazy, and lethargic to boot.  Uncooperative.  Rolling over and asking for just five more minutes in bed, but, you know, not really asking, and not really meaning just five more minutes but rather something more along the lines of go away already, jerk.  Impolite.

Earlier this week I told you my resolution (or, for those too jaded for resolutions, call it my goal) for 2013 is this:  Show Up.  And, granted, I've taken my time getting around to it.  I told you about that, too.  But I am ready, now.  I am ready, and I am determined to fight my way out of hibernation in order to get there.  And it is a fight.

A fight worth having, though.  Because Show Up kept, you know, showing up last year.  It showed up indirectly in a talk with my therapist, it showed up directly in the first message at our new church, it showed up in my Instagram feed full of adventurers photographing a stunning world outside while I continually photograph the same interior of our 710-square-foot duplex, and it showed up in one of my favorite blogger's - wait for it - Manifesto for Showing Up.

I KNOW.

At a certain point a person has to cry uncle, and give in to the Universe at large.  Right?  No, it isn't a specific answer to any of the very specific questions I have been asking....and asking and asking.  But I hear that arguing with the Eternal tends to be pointless.  Annoying as hell, but there it is.  So I didn't argue, but I tried to listen.  You have to be present in the moment, it said.  And you have to make some choices, and GO.  Life is happening outside your front door, so SHOW UP for it.  You want change?  Because change is not in your living room.  You want inspiration?  You want to meet God?  Stop waiting for the miraculous to come to you.  Try going to where you KNOW you can find IT once in a while.  The sun sets in the west every day, and you could easily be there to witness that daily miracle if you just made a little effort to be there, to look for it, if you would just show up for it.  SHOW UP.

And messages from the Universe aside, this is something I've known in my heart for a long, long time, now.  It is Truth to me because I've known it to be true for ages.  But I was sunk in depression, and then, after depression became smaller than me, I walked away from it with some very sharp but rather undesirable skills, in this case a knack for miring myself in the questions, the questions which only multiply while I wait for answers increasingly obscured by more questions.  Now it is simply time to leave the questions behind.  I either want to solve them with any answer at all, correct or not, or I want to move away from them.  I need forward motion.  I need to be present in the moment, I need to turn wishes into action, and I need to get out.  Fresh air in my lungs, sun in my hair, dirt under my fingernails.  Tired feet and sweat trickling down my back.  Sandy shoes, mosquito bites, scraped knees.  A mess of a house.  I am going to hate this.  And it is going to be so good.

And I will drag my children along behind me if I need to.  Because we all need this.

All of us.












Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 - ready for reentry


my view on waking, December 31, 2012.

Happy New Year, friends.  How is 2013 treating you so far?

I've had a tough time moving back into a schedule, or finding time to get my thoughts straight enough to think about the new year, much less focusing well enough to write anything sensible for you here.  (Assuming that ever happens.)  I tend to let everything go in the month of December, particularly when we spend Christmas at my parents' home.  If I can sleep in, I do.  If there are sweets to eat, I eat them.  If someone hands me a drink, I drink it.  If I can spend the whole day in pajamas, I absolutely spend the whole day in pajamas.

Okay, to be honest, there's really nothing unusual about the pajama thing.  The point is, though, we're just not back on schedule around here, yet.  We arrived home from St. Louis late last Sunday night, and we spent New Year's Eve unpacking, New Year's Day taking down our wilted tree and Christmas decorations, the next day cleaning, laundering, getting groceries, the next day in a state of exhaustion...  Finally, the girls both went back to school yesterday, but Jimmy had a light schedule at work and there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to run some errands and have a lunch date with my husband while I could.  So....game starts now?

Most likely I've said this before, but I love celebrating the New Year.  I love being given a time to look back at where we've been and a chance to make new plans for a fresh year.  Clean slates make me happy.

And yes, I get frustrated, too.  Frustrated when another year has gone by and I still haven't achieved one or three or five of the goals I've had on my list for too many years, now.  Certainly this is the reason so many people hate New Year's Resolutions.  But for me, well.  I still want those things.  So I am going to try again.  Maybe take a different approach this year.  And I feel good about this.

Things I accomplished in 2012:  I wrote, I read, I drew pictures, I opened an Etsy shop and didn't fall flat on my face.  I lost ten pounds, I found a church, I let go of our baby gear, and I believe I am a bit more centered than I have ever been.

My biggest goal for 2013:  to not have the same worries and regrets I have today, and have had every January for too many years, now.

I do not want to regret another year gone by without getting my body healthy, used to activity, fit.

I do not want to be as worried about money next year as I am right now.  Is this possible for anyone?  I'm tired of it.  I don't want to go back to the corporate world, and I don't want to be full-time away from my kids, but am considering getting a job because I want to help our family.  A little more stability would be nice, a lot less anxiety would be great, and a bit more physical space would be a dream.  Trying to move forward with some faith, here, but my goal right now is to move forward.

I do not want another year to go by without getting access to a piano.  Preferably in my living room.  It will be a tight squeeze, but, well, this is a part of me that I'm tired of missing.

And my resolution this year?  Show Up.  This undoubtedly deserves a post all on its own, but in short, I heard this message over and over last year, from several vastly different sources, so much so that I can't ignore it.  Appropriate for a girl who prefers to spend her day in pajamas, too.  I plan to show up this year.  Get out, experience life, find inspiration where it lives, see the sky as much as possible, play with my family, devote some time OUT to myself.


All these things I am determined to accomplish this year.  But even if it all falls apart, even if I didn't check everything off my list last year, even if....fill in the blank.  This is what I found when I got out of my bed on December 31, 2012.  We had a good year.  We are starting off the new year just right.  If I find the same sights outside of my same bedroom door on December 31, 2013, I will be counting my blessings, my lucky stars, my beautiful, fabulous, gorgeous, incredible life:







Happy 2013 to you.