Friday, September 24, 2010


Went back to see the shrink this morning. I'd actually set the appointment up a few weeks ago when it was clear that I felt pissed off about something but couldn't really put my finger on it. That's SO 20 years ago.

And then I went to visit my Dad in AZ, which was easy in the sense that he demands pretty much nothing, and hard in the sense that he demands and offers nothing. It's sad to see him so slowed down and kind of absent.

And then I came back and went back to work the same day, worked a long day the following day, worked the day after that and in my short break between work and picking up the boys, during which I'd scheduled some exercise, my car window was busted and everything I need was stolen. Damnit, I hadn't even caught up on the laundry yet.

So. I had a lot to talk about to the shrink. I'm still kind of reeling from the stolen purse thing. I keep thinking of more things that I need to take care of. I did the big ones immediately - stopped the credit cards and changed my bank account number. Now I keep thinking of other stuff -

  • where's my inhaler? Oh, yeah, it was in my purse. 
  • That water bottle I loved? In my purse (it was a big purse). I mean, c'mon thieving-thieves, you couldn't have thrown the water bottle off and grabbed my wallet? 
  • My glasses - where did I stash my prescription and an extra $300 to buy a new pair? 
  • My favorite lip balm - which is out of stock in all the stores I've checked (Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Watermelon, BTW). 
  • The Target receipt for the USB cord that I bought in AZ and was the wrong size, but decided I could return here since I had the receipt.
  • All of my reward cards. 
  • My Starbucks card which fortunately had $0.00 on it. I have a happy fantasy of the robbers trying to use it and not being able to pay for their latte. Suckahs!
  • My little bottle of Aleve. Boy, do I miss that. I've replaced it, but I can't seem to get the new bottle into my new purse where it would be helpful. 
  • My new tweezers. Damnit, I buy tweezers like, twice a decade, and these were new. 
  • My little mirror that I love because it's little but it's perfect.
  • My boys' sherrif's badges from The Jungle, which they don't need but what if they were their favorite things in the world? Huh? What then?
  • My keys. Now the office has to be re-keyed and my office mates have to all get new deadbolt keys.
Now, people not very far from me have lost their entire homes and in some sad cases, family members in a horrible disaster.  So I can't really complain too much. It an annoying hassle but it's not the end of the world. I've lost my wallet before, but it was always my fault - usually I carelessly left it somewhere. This was more of a violation - I'd locked it in the trunk, so they had to break the window, scattering glass (which, by the way, is called safety glass but can still cut you when you try to brush it off the seat) all over the car and the street. The glass place did a fairly good job of vacuuming it up but I'm still finding shards everywhere.

The thieves tried to use my credit cards almost immediately. C'mon, the $160 I just got paid in cash and was going to pay for the next two weeks' groceries wasn't enough for you?

So. Where was I? Oh yeah. So when I made the appointment I was already kind of in a bad mood. Then all this stuff happened and you know what I wanted to do first? Eat. The second thing I wanted to do? Shop. My two old go-to's for stress.They're both big symptoms of unconsciousness (for me).

So I think this is a wake-up call. I need to spend more time being mindful and present with myself and with my family. I want to push it all away and go unconscious so it won't overwhelm me, but of course that's not the answer. I used to spend a lot of time writing and meditating, before kids, and I just don't have that kind of time now. I'm having all these dreams of tidal waves and explosions, and clearly there's something there to pay attention to.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What I Returned to After My Stress-Relieving Run

Stress. They popped the trunk and took my purse. I'd had the great idea to run without my glasses, so they were in there too with my checkbook, my water bottle, my inhaler, the cash my client just paid me, all the receipts I need for stuff I plan to return, and of course, my keys and wallet. G had to come get me because I'm blind as a bat without my glasses. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Birthday Celebrations Used to Be Easier

I keep forgetting I've added Tuesday mornings to my work schedule. I keep thinking I have the morning free, after dropping off the boys to school, to grocery shop and exercise. I laughed at myself this morning while driving to work, realizing I was planning tomorrow morning's run during the time that I had three clients. (You can't run while you're seeing clients. It's distracting).

I wondered if I'd accidentally planned anything else during my Tuesday morning at work. Oops. As a matter of fact, I did, I realized with horror. I planned to have A's school birthday party at noon on Tuesday, thinking I was off work on Tuesday, but unfortunately, I'd also scheduled clients from 10am -1pm. Crap.

A's birthday was last Monday, which was Labor Day, but another kid was having their birthday on Tuesday, I remembered that I work on Wednesday, so I originally scheduled it for Thursday. But, wait, Thursday is California Admissions Day and they have all sorts of festivities planned! So Friday it is (was). But then A. got sick on Thursday, had a fever, and we thought perhaps we should reschedule it for Tuesday of the next week - tomorrow in case he was still sick on Friday. Follow all that?

So I found myself calling the teacher as soon as I arrived at the office today and asking if it would be terrible if I had the pizza delivered. She admitted no parent had ever tried that before (don't any of these other parents have jobs?) but she was willing to go with it. I called the pizza place, asked if they could assure me that they would get delivered right at noon, and after some confusion, after me saying, "Never mind," and after the lady doing everything possible, including a 15% discount to make sure I didn't hang up, we settled the details. I don't trust them at all, though, and will call again tomorrow. The school is 2 blocks from them, but it's on the grounds of a Lutheran church which confused the hell out of the clerk.

"Is it a church or is it a school?" Well, it's both and you don't really need to understand, you need to show up and ask for "Mary Ann, the teacher," or "the third grade," and you will be shown to the right place.

A. said he didn't mind at all, in fact, he breathed a sigh of relief. He had informed me in no uncertain terms that parents deliver pizza and juice boxes and then IMMEDIATELY leave. No singing, no pictures, no acknowledgment that we know him at all. So he thought having a delivery guy was perfect.

I hate work/family conflicts. They don't happen all that often, fortunately, but when they do I always feel guilty and torn. But when I cancel a client, that's at least $60 less income that month. Every hour counts.

In other news: I'm getting ready for a short trip to Arizona (I'm also reminding myself I can't pack tomorrow morning - I have clients!). What do you do with a 5-yr-old in Phoenix when it's 103 degrees out? We can only swim so much.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Water, Losing Weight and Reeling Them In

Clearly, I'm not meant to post every day. But I'm posting more and slowly crawling up out of my blogging grave, so that's good.

On Wednesday, I begin a new weight-loss challenge. I lost 10 lbs. on my last challenge, sort of a virtual "Biggest Loser" contest. This is similar, but it's a Survivor-styled challenge. There are over 20 tribes and each tribe has to vote someone to "Exile Island" each week, and the tribe with the lowest percentage weight loss also gets sent to Exile Island. With over 20 tribes, this could take a while. I'd like to lose about 20 lbs, which isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but the benefit of having less than 50 to lose is that only 1 lb is still a sizable percentage.

Went to a b-day party today where the theme was "fishing," and one of the events was that a kid would wear a vest hooked to a fishing line. Someone else would stand on the side of the pool with a fishing pole and "reel" them in while they tried to swim to the opposite side. A. took both fish and fisher positions, and all the kids had fun. I love games like that - not a lot of money, not a lot of fancy equipment or jumpy houses.

Also went to my first UU water communion. We had to leave early because it's a long service (and we had to get A. to the soccer field at 11:45 or they'd take team photos without him). Anyway, in the service, everyone brings (literally or symbolically) some water from their summer. The four directions are named in verse and story, and you line up after whichever direction your water fits, either literally or symbolically, and add your water to the communal bowl while explaining where the water came from and what it represented to you. We were going to go with the "West" crowd since the water was from our home and we live on the west coast, but we ended up going with the "South" crowd because we needed to leave.

Having never been to one of these before, I didn't know that we really each talked into a microphone about our water. It was easy, though, because our water from our home, to me, symbolized my memories of the boys spending hours playing with the hose in the yard, and my continued quest for simplicity. G. pulled out a very nice exposition on water as representing the bonds of family formed during our summer. I really wish he'd consider doing a sermon one summer (when the minister usually takes time off and the congregation fill in with lay sermons). He's a very good speaker. I'm not horrible, but I get nervous and my voice shakes and my mind goes blank and I'd just rather avoid that.

Whew - how many unrelated topics can you fit into one blog post? At least three!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I'm building a website for DH and trying without much success to get an Amazon widget on there. I'm going to try the HTML here just to see if it works here.

Yep, looks like the code works. Now I just have to figure out what Intuit SiteBuilder has against Amazon.

And in other news, I've been re-reading past blog posts. There are A LOT since I've been blogging since 2003. You know, I used to be pretty funny. And my kids were hilarious. They're still pretty funny, but somehow the funny has drained out of my brain lately. I think I need to get away from composing facebook status updates and back to composing blog posts.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Dry, dry, dry. That's how I feel. I probably shouldn't wait until I'm half asleep to write these, but when else am I going to do it?

Worked on G's website today. We both have professional websites, which I can't bring myself to pay anyone to build. It's not easy, this website designing thing. I have a whole new respect for people who imagine and then create new designs. I can barely use a template. But I do, and we're not designers or advertising our artistic ability for anyone, so the websites do the job and give people information on our services and how to contact us. They're not ugly...just kinda boring.

Finally read the winter issue of "Brain, Child" I've been carrying around with me for months. Man, was it depressing. The first essay I read was from a woman whose third baby was very "high-needs." He'd cry for 12 hours straight, and rarely slept more than an hour at a time. Sure made me feel better about my decision to not try for a third. Ben wasn't that difficult, but he was clingier and needier and more difficult than A., for sure, and it was hard. He still can be. He's also just the sweetest little guy you'll ever meet, and smiles all the time, so we certainly get something back from him.

The second essay was by a woman who has been shut out by her teenagers. I am in denial that that will happen to me with my boys who run at me when I get home from work shouting, "Come to me first! Come to me first!" But I'm sure it will. I will hate it, and I hope I learn to cope with it so I'm not too miserable. It will be a learning experience, that's for sure.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?*

It's funny how when my day is going badly, I am suddenly surrounded by horrible douchebag drivers.

Had a good run after walking the boys to school, until about 4 blocks before home when I got what are euphemistically referred to as the "runner's trots." Let's just say I had to throw away a perfectly good pair of running shorts.

Then a client gave me the heave-ho with a flimsy excuse, when what they really meant was, "You're not telling me what I want to hear." I was annoyed because I'd spent all weekend thinking about this case and where to go and how to help.

That's pretty much it. But since it all happened before 10 am, it wasn't an auspicious start to the day.

In other news:

1. We finally received our Wii, and just had enough time to set it up before bedtime. The boys designed their Miis, but both A. and I were a bit disappointed in the lack of redhead options.

2. A's birthday dinner: Fried chicken, Stouffer's mac and cheese and garlic bread. I added salad just to break up the monochrome menu a bit. I think he liked it. We told him the story of the day he was born, (actually more like the week he was born since it took that long to coax him out.

3. We told his favorite story from when he was a toddler, originally blogged here. I'm going to cut and paste the paragraphs, though, because the post is long and I spend most of the time complaining about a lousy day (whoa! deja vu!)

Anyway, he has a couple of tricks when we say "no" to the TV or videos. First, he tries bringing us the remote and instead of asking to watch TV, he'll tell us to "push green circle," like we just need to be directed on HOW to turn the TV on, or maybe we don't realize that pushing the green circle will result in the TV being turned on and by the time we realize it, it will be too late and we'll be drawn into Elmo's World.

Second, he goes through the list of shows he likes, just in case it's the show we're objecting to and not the TV. "Little People? Farm Animals? Thomas? Teletubbies? Sesame Street? Stanley? Clifford Big Dog? Dragon Tales? Wiggles? JoJos Circus?" We keep saying, "No, no TV right now." So he was very unhappy about it all this morning. Finally he handed me the remote again, and said in a very plaintive voice, "John Kerry?"

Poor guy was so desperate to watch TV he was offering to watch the cable news channels that G watches.

He was a really funny toddler. Now he's a pretty amusing big kid.  

4. We were at A's soccer practice, at a local middle school, where I saw this silhouette on the wall:

First off, what's the purpose of the silhouette, but more importantly, what are those little 3-fingered talons coming out of her back? And why no feet? At first I thought, Oh, it's the shadow of a helper right outside the resource room, where students go for help. But then it became more and more disturbing.

Edited to add: I am informed by someone in the know that the silhouette was put there to honor a beloved staff member, and that she had long, wispy hair - hence the little talons coming out of her back. I would submit that a little note, like, "In honor of...." next to it would go a long way towards explaining the shadow, as well as make the honor concrete. And they should've just given up on the wispy hair thing because there's no way to make that look normal. Just my completely unsolicited opinion.

*- George Carlin, RIP

Monday, September 06, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday, A!

Dear A,

Dude. I can't believe you're eight years old. Six is still young, and even seven is still little boy-ish, but eight is the big time. Eight is practically pre-teen.

Your brain continues to amaze me. You mastered your electrical circuit set almost immediately. I can't stump you on geography anymore because you have maps you've made of all the continents all over your room. You remember practically everything you've ever learned. You were particularly into the Greek Gods this year after reading the "Percy Jackson" books. In fact, you told us once that you thought the story of Jesus was a myth and you preferred to believe in the Greek Gods, since the Greeks thought their gods were just as real as we think our God is.

When Benjamin decided he wanted to grow up to have his own store that sold only holiday merchandise, you advised him not to have a whole room for certain holidays because some weren't celebrated by many people: "Like St. George's Day. Hardly anyone celebrates St. George's Day anymore."

You come up with the best ideas. You had the idea to think of all the questions you could possibly think of, write them all down in a notebook, and then find the answers. You thought if you did that, you'd know everything and then wouldn't have to go to school anymore. You also came up with the idea of a school newspaper on your own. You included the weather forecast and which flowers were blooming and which were dead. I'd type it up for you and you'd cut it out and distribute it. You were very proud to have been the first student to publish their own newspaper at the school.

Sometimes you can be amazingly kind and helpful to your brother and friends, and sometimes you can be a real jerk to them. You're still enthusiastic about almost everything (as your teacher says, you have "almost boundless enthusiasm" for new projects). For the most part, you are gracious and polite to adults, although you've gotten shyer and less talkative with them in the last year. Ab. is still your best friend at school, but you're having to reach out more to other kids since she's doing more girly stuff this year. You love being in the oldest group at school and are good at watching out for the younger kids.

I'm so proud of you on the soccer field. You always try your best, and you always follow the coach's directions. You don't let anything slow you down, and you're not discouraged by losses.

I can feel my influence on you slowly ebbing away. You no longer think my music is cool just because I'm listening to it. You don't trust my sense of style (probably a wise choice). You're watching your friends more closely for clues. 

You really don't want to hold my hand anymore, but you'll still snuggle, especially before bed. You stopped calling me "Mama" and now call me "Mom." You may not be getting as tall as you'd like, but you're still getting awfully big to me.

Love, Mom

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A 5K Under My Belt

OK, now I see why people do this. I've done those 3 miles before and I'll tell you, it's a lot less boring when you're doing it as part of a race. I made it in just over 38 minutes, which beat my previous 40 minutes so I was happy. Felt great, too. I made my excellent barely-faster-than-walking time by watching a little girl way in front of me with a pink tank top on...and making it my mission to beat her. EAT MY DUST, little girl!

I think I beat all the walkers, too, so that's something. No naked rollerbladers this time, though.


Friday, September 03, 2010

Are Memes Cheating?

Sorry, this is lame, but I have a 5K to run tomorrow, a funeral to attend, and birthday celebration for A. to navigate. So I'm doing a meme from Facebook for tonight's post:

The rules:
Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.  CAN'T STRESS THIS ENOUGH!  YOU'LL MAKE YOURSELF NUTS IF YOU THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT IT! Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what albums my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note - upper righthand side in no particular order). This is very hard so just grab 15 off the top of your head.

This is so totally going to date me. (Also, since I've compiled the list, I keep thinking of albums to add. I can't believe I forgot the Beatles and the Stones. But I'm not sure which I'd take off....)

The Irish Rovers - The Unicorn*
U2 - Joshua Tree
Foreigner -4
Bee Gees - Saturday Night Fever
Indigo Girls - Rites of Passage
They Must Be Giants - Flood
Cars - Shake it Up
Go-Go's - Beauty and the Beat
Matraca Berg - Lying to the Moon
Emmylou Harris -  Duets
Simon and Garfunkle - Concert in Central Park
Billy Joel - 52nd Street
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - May the Circle Be Unbroken
David Bowie - Heroes
Tori Amos - Under The Pink

*Bite me - it's the first one I thought of. I loved it when I was a kid.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Get Started Earlier...

That's going to have to be my mantra for this month if I'm going to keep blogging. It's barely past 8pm and I'm so brain dead I'm having trouble stringing together a coherent thought. I also occasionally get preoccupied by a client who's stumping me, and that's happening now. My mind keeps wandering back there, trying to come up with the verbal magic wand that will help us past this roadblock. I made it all the way through the "Couch to 5K" program, which I'm proud of because every time I tried it before I've given up around week 5. It's kind of a misnomer, though - because really what it is is "Couch to 30 Minutes of Running." Unless you run a faster than 10 minute mile, ain't no way you're doing a 5K in under 30 minutes. It takes me almost 45 minutes to run a 5K right now because I am slow as a slug. In fact, I'm not sure you can call what I do running. Seems more like a "faster-than-walking-shuffle" to me.

To realize how momentous this is, you have to realize that the last time I ran with any regularity was over 10 years ago, before I got married. At the time I lived in the Berkeley hills, and the 2 mile stretch to Wildcat Canyon Park was so beautiful in both sunshine and fog that I ran all the time. BUT - only between 2-3 miles. 30 minutes at the most, and usually more like 22-25 minutes. And that was when I weighed 20 lbs. less than I do now. So to regularly be running over 40 minutes is pretty tremendous for me. It still feels like a marathon and my legs feel like lead logs, but I'm slogging along.

About 9 years ago I ran the farthest I've ever run, 5 miles, for a local radio station's run in Golden Gate Park. I remember on the way to the starting line, we walked through the park dearly in the morning and came upon a whole bunch of naked rollerbladers of all shapes and sizes shooting a scene for a film. They'd huddle in their coats in between takes, drop the coats and skate stark raving naked down a small hill until the guy yelled "Cut!" Some people were pushing strollers (I'm assuming the babies weren't naked but I couldn't see them). It was the weirdest sight and what I wouldn't have given for an iPhone camera back then.

I like all the accouterments that go along with running - I love the iPhone apps that use GPS to pinpoint my exact route on a huge map of the U.S. I like the Nike lady that tells me, "walk around a bit to activate your sensor," I like the running websites, the idea that "Yeah, I'm a runner." But when I'm actually out there on the trail or sidewalk....well, not loving it so much. And tonight my legs and feet are so tired I really don't want to walk anywhere. It reminds me of being 42 weeks pregnant, and that's not a good feeling. I have my first 5K since starting this whole thing in two days, and I hope I've recovered by then.

I also hope I don't give up after I finish the race. The main reason I do it is that I don't have much time to exercise, so it gives me the best bang for my minute, and I get to be outside.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's still 10:17pm here on the West Coast, so I'm still on track.

From my facebook update today: My baby boy started kindergarten today. The teacher was saying, "they will have tears, you will have tears.." and we were all, "Yahoo! What's the hold up? C'mon, take 'em!"

I've never cried the first day of school. I think I may have gotten a little teary on A's very first day of preschool, but that's just because I'd never left him with anyone who wasn't related to me before.

Truthfully, I have been holding my breath until this day. We had a very fun summer, very busy, but I have been counting the days until they'd be back in school again. I know it's the fashion for "good" mothers to say that they're sorry summer's coming to an end and they'll miss the little rugrats during the day. Sorry, but I'm thrilled. I can finally clean the house without stopping every 2 minutes to answer a question, separate some Legos, put in new batteries, get a snack or pour juice.

I can exercise by myself and don't have to bribe the boys to ride their bikes around the block with me six times so I can get my run in.

I'm just not that good at multi-tasking. If I can get my stuff done in the morning, I think I'll be that much readier to welcome them with open arms and a snack and a patient ear in the afternoon. It's also really nice to look forward to seeing them again.

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