Saturday, March 15, 2014

new doors.

The Color Run has long since passed, along with the first day of school, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, I bought a house.

As I begin to sort and post the details for the sake of posterity, I am reminded of this that I wrote less than five years ago while I listened to this.

And then a comment from my dad...

I sit here, I think about you and I cry...for all you hoped for and worked for and dreamed for...then I sit back and am filled with such pride...for what you still hope for, work for and dream for. You will find it all...and those stones are slowly being assembled into a strong home and a tower of HOPE!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Color Run 2013.

If you've never run The Color Run, 
Go. Sign. Up.
I ran it a few weeks ago with Syd and Somer and had a blast. 
I'd recommend making sure your youngest has enough sleep the night before...
About a few yards into it, mine was hot, thirsty, had a side cramp, paint in her eye, 
lip pain, clavicle pain, cuticle pain, you name it...
she'd see an ambulance and say things like,
"they're going to rescue me and you're going to feel like a horrible mom 
for telling me to push myself."
I think we may have had more fun after the race as we walked back 
to the honda laughing so hard at our reenactments of each other. 
Despite Somer's ailments, I don't think I've ever seen so many happy people in one place...

Go sign up!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

next question, please.

For every awesome relay weekend and every magical day jumping off piers into Lake Michigan, there are shit days.

My dryer just broke.
My hair is cut too short in the back and feels manly.
My rented house is sinking. 
I have yet to start my bachelor's program.
I'm still a secretary.
Which reminds me of The Untold Story of The Awesome Relay Weekend.
The team van arrives in my driveway.
I climb in. 
I kind of know the couple who recruited me, but everyone else, not so much.
I quickly learn they have graduate degrees. Nice houses. Not only are they model classroom moms, but they're active on the school board and go to war with administration.

While I blog.

Social anxiety immediately sets in.

They can tell my house is sinking.
They think my hair is manly.
They think I'm a mommy blogger.

The conversation moves to divorce and therapy.
I chime in. 
I say some things that make sense, but only because I've had my share of therapy, not to mention, family dysfunction. 

"Carin, what do you do?" said one of the occupants, smiling.

He thinks I'm a therapist.
"I'm actually a dentist," I thought about saying.
The words that followed rolled off my tongue in slow motion.
The woman I know tried to come to my rescue, "Aaaand...she's a PHOTOGRAPHER!" she said, with a big grin on her face.
At this point, it was so awkward I wanted to laugh. For real - I wasn't just imagining it was awkward. It was. Like the speech on The Sat. 

But, I smiled and moved on because I know she is just trying to reach out.

[This is the part where I have to tell you to laugh and not leave comments like, Oh my GOD, you ARE successful because you have LOVE...or Oh my GOD you just need to believe in yourSELF and then others will believe in you...or, Oh my GOD, who cares what people think...]

Because for the most part, I don't care what people think. If I did, I'd still be married. If I did, I wouldn't talk about atheism in a family of believers. If I did, I wouldn't say that I might go gay for Rachel Maddow.

(but to say I don't care at all would be a lie)


What do I do?

Next question, please. 

Monday, July 08, 2013

day trip

Someday when my girls have grown and I am looking back wondering where the time went, I will remember times like these. We took a spontaneous day trip to Lake Michigan. While Somer slept in the backseat, Savannah drove and talked as I navigated and listened. I relished the conversation, not wishing to be anywhere but exactly where I was (except maybe the driver seat). Later on the beach, I relished Somer's little girlness, as she repeatedly asked me to watch her handstands and underwater front flips, knowing it won't be long before she, too, joins her sisters in adolescence.

After time on the beach, we drove into town, walked through shops and got something to eat. The only thing that could have made the day better was the addition of Syd which means we'll just have to do it again.

Special thanks to a desperate English teacher who is reminding me how fast daughters grow up.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

third coast relay.

A few snapshots from a relay last weekend. Our twelve member team, Dirty Slow Hilarious (DSH), ran from Holland to Traverse City - about 208 miles. In about 32 hours, we each ran 3-4 legs of the race adding up to 16-20 miles a person - all with very little sleep or recovery in between legs. It was a great cool to see what you can accomplish as a team. I especially enjoyed my second leg - a 6 1/2 mile rural stretch in Ludington called the Windmill Leg where there was nothing but dirt roads, corn fields, and windmills. I don't think I even saw a car pass - other than our team van who stopped to snap some pictures of the setting sun. "This is pure Michigan right here," they said. I was tired and sweaty and yet exhilarated by the silence and beauty of it all. Running is so empowering and always reminds me that I am strong and can do hard things, like raise teen-agers and juggle work and school. Not to mention, the gratification of the celebratory beer is even better after the delay and hard work. Next up is my first half marathon in October!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

cathedral of summer

Pictures from a late afternoon walk on Sunday

I walk without flinching through the burning
cathedral of the summer.  My bank of wild grass is majestic
and full of music.  It is a fire that solitude presses
against my lips.  ~Violette Leduc

Saturday, June 01, 2013

I can be adult-like

My friend dropped me off at my mechanic's after work yesterday.

The garage is an old, unmarked pole barn with chippy blue paint, off the beaten bath of what appears to be the Mason-Dixon line, surrounded by a big chain-link fence. Just outside the barn are a bunch of old cars and campers, along with colored barrels, tires, and other random items. John, a gentle man who appears to be in his sixties and clearly a hobbit, runs the place along with his son. I'm guessing they do a lot more collecting and tinkering than anything else as every time I call, they're always able to fit me right in.

When I dropped off my Honda and money for parts just before noon, John had said it would be done in three hours. I felt good. I felt like a real adult - like a normal person even. I hate to even get gas, let alone get my car fixed, so this monumental act of responsibility resulted in my head held high. I returned to work feeling as though I belonged among the masses. Five hours later, my friend had dropped me off and I was sitting on the pavement, leaning against an old jalopy, reading my book and messing with my phone as father and son finished their fixing. I didn't really mind waiting. After a few minutes, John noticed and brought me a folding chair, wiping it off with a Burger King napkin before I sat down. Then my phone died, so I was forced to read which was fabulous - there was no temptation to jump on social media apps, no anticipation of interruption, so I was flipping pages like mad, sans adderall. Plus, I was just so happy my Honda was getting fixed as this was probably my fourth time out here. The three prior attempts, John had gotten the wrong part, or the part store closed early, or something like that.

"Man, I really hate to tell you this," John would say, looking down, "but when I got to the part store, they had sent it back by mistake." Or another time, "You're not gonna believe this, but when I got up to the part store, they closed early and never told me."

The son always stands just behind his father, awkwardly, looking down with his arms to his side, appearing to feel just as bad.

"John," I'd reply, hoping more delay wouldn't screw up my car, "It's not a problem. Don't worry about it. One of these times we'll get it right."

Two, three, four weeks later,  I'd find some mojo again, call him back up, and get a friend to take me back out there.

"I thought you got your wheel bearing fixed months ago. Where'd you find this place?" my friend said, on his second or third trip out there. "This place is so you."

I knew it was and I was frustrated - frustrated that I don't just do things like the rest of the world - like take my car to the reputable place in town where everyone else takes theirs or clean a room before I paint it.

"Yeah, but he had the wrong part," I said, defending the hobbits. "It's all good though; I'm getting a good deal."

The hood of the Honda slammed down in sync with Sylvia Plath's vodka glass.

"I'm just going to take it for a quick ride to make sure it's ok for ya," John said, laying newspaper down on the seat before getting in the car and driving off.

John returned and got out of the Honda, a large piece of newspaper still stuck to his backside as he walked toward me. 

I tried not to smile at the newspaper, bracing myself for bad news that was seeming synonymous with this place as I reached for the remainder of the money to cover the labor.

"You don't need to give us no more money," John said, wiping sweat and grease off his face with another Burger King napkin. He smelled of motor oil, sweat, and Old Spice.
"I took yer struts up to a friend of mine and he refurbished 'em for ya.I know you wanna save some money."

He tried not to smile as his son--just behind him--did the same, both so happy to have finally helped me.

I insisted they take more money only to be refused. Then I joined them, smiling as I drove off, feeling all sorts of goodness. 

Normally, such adult-like behavior of mine is a catalyst for other adult-like behaviors, setting in motion trips to the post office, grocery store, and even the washer and dryer. These trips are then followed by feelings of great mastery and pride, when I foolishly believe I have licked irresponsibility for good this time, never to return. Chore charts soon fill the walls, wet wipes appear in the car, and new toothbrushes at the bathroom sink. I've done it, I'll think. I've become one of them.

Not this time.
I remain on the big brown couch like Tuesday's nacho plate on my night stand, blissfully contemplating words in between staring at walls and listening to Deb Talan songs. I am still reveling in my successful trip to the mechanic, feeling as though I am deserving of some time off.

Happy Saturday.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Up north for the weekend at my dad's place, aka Bliss Cottage and
Bit o' Bliss. The girls and I are staying in the latter - a bunkhouse added
to the property about a year ago. It's been so nice...constant bonfires, soaks
in the hot tub, and a lot of laughter - the kind where my dad can't talk he
is laughing so hard.

During a run this morning - with the sun on my face and lake views to my
right - I turned my music on for a bit and What a Wonderful World started
playing...I couldn't help but smile.

I've needed this!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Friday most recent starred song on Spotify. Also listening to Noah and the Whale and Daft Punk's new album that according to NPR's Terry Gross, is "the equivalent of removing the helmet-masks the pair invariably wears in public performances".

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

art fair


It's really nice to like where you live.

Monday, May 20, 2013

more lovely

Sonoma Cab in afternoon light

Friday, May 17, 2013


I've been busy lately. Kids, work, school. I have been craving slowness -
time to putz and daydream and sit and do nothing. Some time to stare
at walls, write, listen to music, sip wine, take a bath and then do it all over again.
I had a little bit of time yesterday and finished my girls' room - a simple makeover
that began over a month ago. And, then I walked around a bit with my camera,
looking for lovely things and deliberately stopping to hear birds, smell
grass, and feel the breeze on my skin.

After stepping back to behold the finished room and after snapping a few
pictures inside and out, I cracked open a midday beer, sat on my porch, and did
nothing but pay attention to the moment.

And, it was lovely.

This post dedicated to Phyllis Nobles, aka India Banks

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lansing Marathon

Pictures from the Lansing Marathon on Sunday where I determined to
return as a participant and not a spectator!