SLIDER

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Life Right Now

My current life/state of mind could best be summed up with a real-life metaphor ... 

When you discover the reason your vacuum isn't working - after verbally requesting, sending a text, sticking a post-it note on the mirror, and then physically getting the vacuum out and asking again for help fixing it ("women do all the noticing" anyone?!?) - is because your almost-5-year-old's sock was lodged deep in the hose. In other words, the very people who cause you the most housework are the exact ones impeding said housework. 

This, in the context of work, winter weather, overcommittung, interminable fatigue, and my own shitty self/attitude.

But also, when your only hope of a saving grace is your every two week Friday appointment, but your therapiat cancels tomorrow because she's sick. And then because of vacation/Spring Break your next appointment isn't for, literally, a month.

Cheers to long commutes alone in the cocoon of my car for daily cries. Or for an elliptical machine in my room, because I can't exercise and cry at the same time. Hashtag gratitude?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

(February Fast) - Breaking Fast

I broke our fast several days early, last Saturday morning, and in a major way - with hours upon hours, days even, of TV. Big Little Lies. Girls. The Affair.  Divorce. Gilmore Girls. The Mindy Project. Daniel Tiger. Angelina Ballerina. a weird documentary about tickling, and thanks to my in-laws, Moana. My dedication to the "February Fast" had nothin' on the Winter Plague of 2017. Succumbing to the viral invasion, I set up camp on the couch for five straight days, breaking only for trips to urgent care, to throw away the mountain of green mucous-filled tissues, get yet another popsicle from the freezer, to inspect my throat in the mirror, to go on the slowest neighborhood stroll of all time. Or to take - whole, in pudding - more Advil/Tylenol/Vicodin. Yup, you read that right, I got painkillers for a cold (the first night of the Plague, I didn't sleep more than 20 minutes because my swallow was painful enough to wake me; the next day, I was spitting rather than swallowing my own secretions and I was barely getting enough liquids; the next day, my uvula swollen approximately 2.5x its normal size, I returned to urgent care and I welcomed a shot of a super duper anti-inflammatory into my ass with the hopes that I could now swallow without gagging, that I could stay resting on the couch rather than retching into the toilet).

All that said, I barely "watched" any of that television, because really, Francie was the one who made out like a bandit with my breaking fast early, getting limitless access to television on Monday (I was too sick to bring her to school) and Wednesday (typically a no work/no school day) at home with a sick Mama. And let it be known that I didn't violate the entirety of the fast - you know you're sick as a fucking dog when you feel too shitty to even bother to try and distract yourself from a 2-hour wait at urgent care with online shopping or social media.

(Stuff Alex Knows) - Zodiac Killah

The hubs received his first anonymous letter. If there is such a "first." I've come to call it his "Zodiac Killer Letter," mostly because the effort this anonymous West Linn resident went to reminds me of someone who cuts letters out of newspapers to put together cryptograms to send to the press. Fortunately, Alex's letter is non-threatening and actually really poorly organized, but worded in a way that tickles me. Mostly it's the sporadic use of all caps and the underlined "Shame on you" that fill me with an odd sense of pride of my husband.

The anonymous letter was inspired by an Opinion piece Alex wrote and the West Linn Tidings newspaper printed. In a nutshell - a local sports media icon and WL resident, John Canzano, said a few things in a broadcast/in writing about the WLHS basketball program and current transfer "issues" that Alex recognized (and eloquently pointed out) as a classic illustration of the subtle but pervasive racism in current society, and particularly in a community like that of WL.


  

 




Alex did receive a few other emails in response to the Op-Ed - from students' parents, which he had the opportunity to address appropriately, and from Canzano himself. But only this one was so thoughtfully typed and printed, including separate envelopes also sent to the WLHS principal and the athletic director, marked with a fake return address of "Fairness Lane, West Linn, OR 97068."

So aside from the fact that some WL resident, presumably, took the time to write this poorly organized, ill-informed and irate letter (not to say the issues s/he puts forth are/are not true, they are no related to what Alex had written), print it 3x, stuff and address 3 separate envelopes, and include 3x postage to send out this anonymous voice on behalf of the "WL parents and community" - the part that truly gets me is just how much time and energy grown-ass people have to devote to issues of high school sports.

And just for the sake of clarity, since the water so easily gets muddied - Alex wrote in response to the LANGUAGE and the CONTEXT Canzano used when talking about the WLHS basketball team and the "transfer issue." Alex was NOT speaking to anything related to basketball, transfers, the current bball team dynamic, or even the new WLHS students themselves. In other words, Alex's piece had nothing to do with WLHS basketball at all (because let's be real, aside from supporting his students, he could give a fuck about the sport). Rather, he was inspired by Canzano's spoken and written communication. He was provided with an opportunity to address that what we say and how we say it MATTERS. He had the chance to transfer some of what he teaches in the classroom to real life, in a tangible way. In speech therapy, we call this generalization. 

Simply put, Alex seized a timely "teaching moment."

And yes, Alex gave me permission to have this anonymous personal attack posted on my blog.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

(59 Months) - 4 Years + 11 Months




Just one more month, excruciatingly long, if you were to ask Francie, and our not-so-little Bean will be an actual 5 year old. A portion of this last month has included our tech/tv/shopping fast, and the Bean has been a superstar. The name of the game, so to speak, this month has been ALL BOARD GAMES ALL THE TIME.

“I kinda miss being 4.” Long pause. “But I'm just so excited to be 5!”

"Mama, if I ever have a girl baby I'm gonna name it Jo."

"You are MEAN!"

Me stretching back, F hovering over my head:"I see brown hair right there. I think it might be dying. I see brown hair."

We are laying together in her bed after reading her a book, working toward her sleep. She innocently inquires about when I'll die, as she sometimes does, and talks sweetly  about how she'll be sad because she loves me too much. I assure her that I'll be a very old lady when I die, that she'll even be an old lady when I die. F: “How old were you when Grandma Nancy died?” Me: “I was 19.”She stops and thinks for a second. “But that's not very old.”“No it's not,” I turn to look in her eyes and stroke her cheek to reassure her, “but that won't happen to us.”F: “Why?”Me: “Because of the time.”F: “What's the time mean?”Me: “Well, when Grandma Nancy had cancer they didn't have all the same medicines they do now. Isn't that cool that scientists invented ways to make medicine to help people not be sick and live a long time?”F: “So they have the medicine now?”Me: “Yup, they have all the medicines.”Long pause, finally working toward sleep. “I will be very sad.” She grabs my hand. “But we'll always be together. Because of our magic string.”Me: Heart explosion. Warm fuzzies. Full bucket.F: "Is this how you're supposed to sleep?" (her arm is curled under her face). "I bet Asher sleeps like a W. Or maybe like an M. I bet Mila is already asleep."Me: "It's time for sleep now."F: "Mama, will you still be this age when I'm 5?"Me: "I sure will, for a little bit at least. But then I have a birthday and I'll be 35."

To Alex, randomly, inappropriately, while eating a meal together: “What if your penis was so long it reached across the whole table?!?”

"I like the wind. It sounds like whoo whoo. Sometimes it makes me go to sleep. it's like a lullaby. A quiet lullaby."

Playing Catan Jr. “I want gold. To keep me warm … it's lava from the sun!”

In the bath, grabbing and squeezing her little boobies, to Alex: “I think these are growing out.”

Me: Daddy is picking you up from school tomorrow.F: Why?Me: Because I have therapy, so he'll be home first. F: What's therapy?Me: You know what it is, you've known since you were little. F: No I don't. Me: I think you do, just make a guess. F: Your feelings. Me: Yup, you got it. It's like a feelings doctor. F: Does it make your feelings go away?I pause, considering that I once hoped that therapy would indeed make my feelings go away. But now, only a bit wiser and more emotionally agile, I don't feel quite so strongly about that.Me: Nope, therapy doesn't make my feelings go away. My therapist, Nalini, helps me make my feelings are really healthy and strong. Just like the regular doctor helps us keep our bodies healthy and strong.


At Pied Piper Play Cafe with Kim, Farrah, and Zev.

Marrying Uncle B in the game of Life.

Catan Junior, checked out from the game library at Thinker Toys.

Attempting to see an Elephant and Piggie show at the Beaverton City Library.

Instead, because the show was sold out, she got her first library card!

Audiobooks, saving graces for lazy parenting.

Trouble at Maplewood coffee with Beebee.

Books in bed on a Mama Day.

Even some meditation.

Bath crayons for V-Day.

A valentine card that one of the residents where I work made.

Couch cuddles

Beebee got the paper version of the NYT, and I've been practicing my mad crossword skills (and cheating both the crossword and the fast by looking up certain clues)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

(February Fast) - Tested

I have managed to survive Mama and Family Days without television as a crutch - even with an unexpected "snow" day thrown in there. But today I'm being tested as my own creature of habit.

I was slated to work 11 out of 13 days in a row. But alas, I got called off on Wednesday (thank you!) and Pacific U didn't need my help after all on Saturday. Instead, I made a last-minute dentist appointment, of course have a cavity that needs filling, and a wide open day. The wide open day is highly welcomed, of course, but also is a bit threatening to my commitment to this whole fast thing.

Then again, it's not like I've been an entirely faithful follower. In the last week, I have 'broken the rules' a number of times, with regard to the Internet, or sneaky little variations of the Internet. For example, I just purchased tickets online  for the three of us to go to a Beauty and the Beast play. Yesterday evening, not at home but not at work either, I used the Internet to research "science writing," and perused job postings on Indeed.com (even considering applying for some blogger-type job posting that is probably more a scam than actual work).

But the temptation today is lying with Ugg boots. That's right, the flip-flop of sheepskin boots is tempting me like the serpent in Eden.

My text exchange with Alex (aka my 'sponsor') went a little something like this:

Me: "I'm having urges."

Me: "I'm in an addiction flare."

Me: "I want to use my $100 gift card and shop online for new Ugg boots!"

Him: "Don't do it! Stay strong. It'll still be there next month."

Me: "I haven't given in to the temptation yet. But I'm only just now at my computer. Remind me WHY I shouldn't do it? My brain is saying, 'it's just one website. it's deliberate. you have a gift card so it won't even cost money. you're just looking.'

Him: "Same thoughts I have about herb. Only reason not to is because you said you wouldn't. To prove your mastery over your behavior. To feel what it's like and how easy/hard it is to push through habitual/addictive distractions. You'll never know, if you give in."

Me: "Fair argument. I'm asking myself, 'but how do you ACTUALLY want to spend your time? do you want to be someone who finally has some free time and spends it shopping online? do you even like shopping? what about writing? that's what you always say you want time for. do you want to be someone who consumes? or someone who maintains, uses, or otherwise enjoys the things you already own? all those things you say you want - free time to think and just be, to write, to exercise, to stretch and to meditate, to read leisurely and drink yummy coffee - now is when you actually can do those kinds of things. don't fill you time, and your life, with addictive, compulsive, consumer bullshit out of bad habits.'

Him: "I like it!"

Needless to say, I didn't buy any new Uggs, let alone even visit the website. I did get a few work-related tasks done. And I did get to spend several hours catching up with some friends. But I also got stuck in traffic, and had to manage the anxiety associated with the guilt of "wasting" my solo day at home by not even being at home at all. That said, I did indeed spend my unexpected free day involved in the kinds of things that minimalism values, and I suppose I'll call that the victory it is.

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