Friday, May 24, 2013
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
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
return as a participant and not a spectator!
Monday, April 08, 2013
Sunday, April 07, 2013
Birthday with my betch, Barb, who is making all kinds of
vegan magic over on her blog.
Oh, my goodness, a BREVILLE juicer!
I feel like a rich person. You know you're
37 when you're this giddy about making
fresh carrot juice.
More birthday love with good friends. "Rumi said, "Set your life on fire.
Seek those who fan your flames." Karen Stock (second from left)
does just that and makes us look forward to being 60.
|Mother/daughter day at Art Unlimited.|
|The possibilities are paralyzing.|
|This moment is your life!|
|My grandma, quite possibly the happiest woman I know.|
And, I got to see her two weekends in a row!
Other highlights of my week included a race around the track
with my 70 year old stepfather, philosophical/religious discussions
with my uncle and cousins, and getting a pair of Haflinger wool slippers from my mom.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
|I am 37 today, feeling thankful for my life and looking forward to all that lies ahead...|
special thanks to my cousin, Tracy, our photographer.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Sometimes when I am in my head far too much with papers and too-deep posts, I get sick of myself and need to switch it up. Time to put down the Tolkien and watch some Sarah Silverman. These are from a recent musical review, complete with red carpet and post-party gala. The absence of a dance floor always necessitates shenanigans - even in the presence of school administrators and big money supporters of the Educational Foundation. Unfortunately, pictures of my girls were not captured when they were hiding on the floor of the Honda after the car alarm randomly went off at the soccer complex and I couldn't get it to stop. It's been a problem ever since. It even happened at the Gala - twice - but it was while we were inside the hotel so we didn't have to hide or tell everyone we had it under control. I might have well driven up in the Sat. So much for a cooler car boosting my ego. And, now, another song. It makes me want to fall in love and jump up and down at someone's wedding reception. Hug my kids. Dance with Nella. Sing karaoke with my friends.
Special thanks to my friend Matt for the song. And, Barb who said, Yeah, betch, lighten it up next time. And, 26 who said with hesitation, it's almost like you're motivated by the negative. So, some positivity for Good Friday.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Kill the fatted calf!
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
|I read something recently about an artist having the most inspiration while she is avoiding real work. Perhaps that is why I, all of a sudden, feel like writing...I need to complete a final draft of a Tolkien literary analysis and fashion some sort of Katniss costume for my youngest before tomorrow morning.|
Since my last post,
I wrote a letter to the doctor's office.
I lost part of my nail.
And, I went on a few "dates" - if you call a game of beer pong a date.
The dates were short lived, though, as in between them, his phone frequently died and subsequent games revealed beer pong clearly exceeded his interest in me.
I am embarrassed to say that I actually questioned myself as I sensed his interest dwindling--like, man, if only I played better beer pong. If I could just get the wrist thing down. If only my aim was more accurate–as though my worth at that moment consisted solely in sinking a ball into a solo cup of cheap beer. Not that it isn't his prerogative to include beer pong skills in his dating criteria. I'm sure he has some serious tournaments to think about and I'd hate to jeopardize his standings. Who am I to stand in the way of such lofty goals. But my criteria included an intellect slightly higher than beer pong skills and yet it seemed to just go out the window until I resumed consciousness and was like, what the hell, Carin. Abort. Take the offensive. Raise the bar.
In his defense, my lack of beer pong skills may not have been the deal breaker.
The deal breaker may have very well been my black nail.
How could I blame the guy? Who wants to date a girl with a black nail?
So, I told him he deserved a woman who knew what to do with a ping pong ball - someone strong, who could really carry her weight in tournaments.
And, dammit, he deserved a woman without a black nail.
But, I did tell him I thought he needed some time to charge his phone.
I am told these are rights of passage - they're just typically earned before age 36. I am told such experiences are character building - reminding me that I am not all I think I am. But, I kind of feel like I might be ready to leave my twenties - at the very least, slow down a little and live with more intention.
Having older kids with busy schedules, working full-time, and attending school myself, the speed at which I live my life at now is somewhat unavoidable. But, I think part of it is also a way of running toward the next high. The busyness can become addicting. Because to really stop is to feel and be reminded of what was lost.
"You're wriggling again," said my friend, 26. "Kind of like when you try and pick up a toddler."
"Betch. You're itching again," said Barb.
And, I am.
But, I'm not cliff jumping this time.
Not just because my hair is already short.
But because I feel like I need to practice being still.
Let my soul heal a little.
Or at least my nail.
For now, I am off to whittle some arrows for Katniss...
Friday, January 25, 2013
It was just a follow-up physical in order to continue my Adderall, prescribed over a year ago by a different doctor who has since moved on to bigger things. I walked in and after glancing at the assembled tools on the counter, realized there was a little more than my attention span on the table. I didn't realize taking a peek at one's vagina provided an indication of how well the brain is focusing.
I sat vulnerable in my mauve paper gown and focused hard on the ear anatomy poster on the back of the door to distract myself. Before I even got to the Eustachian tube, the door opened and in walked my doctor, 38 and attractive.
"Have we met? Because you look familiar."
I felt like I was at the bar.
"Maybe that's because I was just here a month ago when you did the neurological exam for this same refill," I replied.
"Ha, that must be it!"
He asked the usual questions followed by, "Ok, we got the sex and the drugs part out of the way, now on to the rock-and-roll! Let's see. You're 36. I bet you're listening to - don't tell me - Nickelback!"
Actually, I don't remember what band he said, but it was just as dumb and insulting.
"Nah," I said, "I like stuff a little more alternative."
"Oh, I see. Edgy are ya?"
He must have been home-schooled.
He listened to my heart, lungs, checked my thyroid, and finally, my reflexes.
"Hmmm...looks like you've got a little discoloration in your toes. You know, there's something called Peripheral Vascular Disease where the discoloration eventually turns black, resulting in a potential loss of extremeties."
"Maybe it's because I'm naked and it's freezing in here."
"What about this spot on your forehead?" he asked, wrinkling his own. "How long has this been there?"
"It's a zit. I've had it for three days."
"Gotta love those breakouts. Palms out in front for me."
Next, he asked if I was seeing anyone and if I was, was he "the one".
"The one?" I asked, wondering how this was relative to my prescription.
"Yeah, the ONE the one," he said, smiling. "As in, do you want to pick up his dirty socks forever?"
"I have no idea," I said.
"Are you looking for the one?" He said, still smiling.
"No, not particularly."
Apparently, if you're a single woman and not desperately pounding the pavement to pick up a man's socks, you're a likely candidate for the whore kit.
"Judy, I'm going to need the blue swab," he told the chaperone.
"BLUE swab?" she replied, as though she had never before been asked to fetch a blue swab.
Cold, naked, zit, black fingernail, and now the blue swab.
"Yeah, the blue swab checks for everything."
In case Judy was unclear what "everything" meant, he elaborated, listing a multitude of words from the corner.
"Oh, the blue swab," she said, rummaging through cupboards. "I'm going to have to go over to the lab to get that."
"Everything ok down there?" I asked, spread eagle. "Blue swab? This doesn't sound routine."
He laughed and said it was indeed standard while Judy walked across the hall for the blue swab.
I wasn't laughing.
He finally finished the exam, encouraging me to switch from my OB/GYN and see him exclusively. He also wanted to see me again in a month to follow up, even though that would be the third in-office follow up in two months. I tried to deny my baggage and ignore any conservative Christian suspicions.
I've since googled him. He belongs to the Catholic Medical Association and is a strong advocate for natural family planning. His goals? To be a man of medicine, faith, and family.
While these are indeed noble goals, they'd be best kept away from my vagina.
I think it's time to take my Adderall.
I really need to focus on finding a new doctor.
And, dark nail polish.
Some Clearasil, maybe.
And, prosthetic feet.
I mean, how else am I supposed to find the one?
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Amidst all the anxious parenting and daily fears that I'm messing them up, there are occasional glimpses revealing otherwise...
Last Thursday, Syd was scheduled for a routine counseling appointment. All was according to plan until the last five minutes before departure. I was anticipating a quiet drive followed by a peaceful hour to finish homework while my oldest stayed home with my youngest. My oldest, however, had other plans. Basically, we all had this idea in each of our minds of how the night was going to go, none of us consulting another. Somer wanted to be home, Sav wanted to go to a sidewalk sale, I wanted to catch up on school, and Syd just wanted to get through therapy.
We all piled into the Honda. And, on our way to the appointment, it hit the fan. As in, major, female, hormonal explosion.
It's easy in such moments to feel that such troubles are reserved solely for the divorced.
But, it's universal. It's normal. It's family. It's life.
We arrived at the counselor's, a bit tattered and scathed.
"Can you walk me in?" Syd asked.
The other girls followed.
"Wow, the whole family!" our counselor said joyfully, as the four of us faked smiles.
"Look at you, you look so OLD, Sav! And, Somer, you're so TALL! Are you ready, Syd?"
I chimed in.
"Syd's actually hoping for a family session," I said, "But, Sav's not really feeling it. Somer is neutral and I'll do whatever." I was fighting tears, feeling young and inept in my mothering, wishing for someone to just take over. The thought of joining a fundamentalist cult was suddenly not just reasonable, but appealing.
Sav bravely obliged and the four of us managed to enter a cozy counseling room, each of us discarding our shoes as we settled in on comfy couches, preparing for battle.
"Stop," Syd whispered immediately to Somer who was obliviously, yet noisily, stroking the sequins on her fake Uggs.
"She's ok," our counselor whispered back, "She's distracting herself."
I swallowed a lump in my throat, missing simpler days when my biggest problems were finding matching jumpers for my toddlers and contemplating the perfect paint color for my dining room.
Somer quickly fell asleep, abandoning both the sequins and questions while Sav eventually found safety and unloaded, though not without caution. Syd acknowledged all sides before melting down about her diabetes. I went numb and "escaped to logic" as the counselor pleaded, "But how do you feel?" I paused. "I think both Sav and Syd need to feel significance...And, I think that is normal, human, and possible. I think I need to work harder to make that happen." She asked again, "I don't want to know what you think. I want to know how you feel right now after hearing their words."
Feigning stoic, I paused again.
"I feel like a bad mom."
And, then I cried.
And, they cried.
We managed to hash things out without anger, getting a lot of needed stuff out into the open for discussion and solution. I was, once again, forced to confront my weaknesses and vowed, like many times before, to work on them - like [my lack of] order, structure, planning.
I said things I loved about each of them.
"So and so," Syd said, choking back tears, has a really bad relationship with her mom. But, I really love my mom."
I realize they won't always like me. Despite how hard I try to fix my shortcomings, I will fail. They will fail. But, amidst our failures, we will hopefully remember nights like these, and try again.
s, s, and s...xoxo
Thursday, January 17, 2013
For more about religion, in particular:
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Sunday, January 06, 2013
I went to church today.
Around 9:45 this morning, I jumped online to find the website for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing and see what time their service started. 10:15. A slow, hot bath with coffee suddenly sounded appealing. And then I found this. I've seen my share of church bulletins declaring how everyone is welcome and to see something suggesting why I might not like this place was definitely a draw. They are who they are. No Church Beer Club promotion or eyebrow ring-adorned pastor to bring in the masses. Not that I don't like beer or eyebrow rings, because I do. But I've been to churches where they seemed liberal on the outside, pulling you in with their hipster vibe, only to find their theology is conservative and archaic. Which, I feel like I should add, works for some but not for me. This seemed honest. Unapologetic. They don't just accept the gays, they love the gays. In fact, many probably are gay. I threw on some clothes, made a pot of coffee, and ran out the door with my travel mug.
I arrived about 15 minutes late to the sound of laughter as a George Carlin video called Stuff was playing, and found a seat in the back row. A woman walked by wearing a t-shirt that said, "Careful, you might end up in my novel," and smiled.
When the laughing died down, it was time for "Candles of Joy and Sorrow" - a time for parishioners to light a candle for a specific joy or sadness. "We were created for both joy and woe," the woman said. I bet she reads Brene Brown. I watched as participants walked to the front. I tried to figure which emotion each was commemorating and remembered the irony of waiting for divorce papers to be signed as the couple beside us waited for their marriage license.
The message was by a guest speaker and was titled The Free Sign. He began by elaborating a bit on the George Carlin video and went on to talk about our obsession, as Americans, with stuff. I laughed out loud as he talked about a time he and his wife were carrying an old couch out to the road and a woman stopped before they had even reached the curb, leaving her kids as collateral as she ran for a truck.
Anyway, it was all about giving and community. It was good. He talked about quantum physics and how the entire universe is actually a series of probabilities. Cinnamon rolls and poinsettias came to mind. He elaborated, adding that giving changes us, changes the universe. He reinforced all of this with real stories of how lives have been changed when others choose to give. He didn't necessarily deny the existence of something greater, but denied the idea of this grand omnipotent god and focused more on being creators of our own experience. I liked.
I was about to leave when a woman in her fifties put her hand on my shoulder, likely sensing that I was new.
"My name is Kathleen," she said. "I've been attending since May and I really like it here. I'm an atheist, but I wanted something more. I wanted direction. Inspiration. Community."
I swallowed a lump in my throat and told myself the sound of violins in the distance was not real. I have a tendency to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and sign my life on the dotted line - kind of like watching an infomercial for the Omega juicer on QVC and being convinced it is going to change not just my diet, but my whole life. Such revelations are often followed by plans to become an Omega saleswoman and make millions selling Omegas. Balance isn't natural for me. I think I honestly sat there, tearfully contemplating becoming a Unitarian minister as the postlude played, quickly realizing I may very likely lose interest in going altogether and feel dumb when my friends laugh and say, hey, remember that time you were were going to be a clergywoman?
So, I'm not going all gung ho. But, I kind of want to go back. At the very least, I feel like I have a place I can go when I want to go.
I realize it's common for women who have played a dependent role in relationships to go flying to the other side of the spectrum and be fiercely independent when they become aware of the part they played. And, I probably have. I will probably always be somewhat of a loner, but I am realizing the need for more balance and interdependence.
Perhaps I am making my way there. Since my divorce, I have realized my own power, the process of which has been terrifying yet exhilarating. When you're alone with little to fall back on, you have no other choice but to grow some balls and figure it out. There just isn't another option. And, when you get there, you don't ever want to give anyone power again. Not a man. Not even a god. In the process of becoming independent, you can become a hardass. But, I don't ever want to get too hard. Like Kathleen, I do sometimes want more, whether I ever believe in a higher power again or not. I want to be part of something bigger than myself.
This may very well be another phase. A whim. My Unitarian fad.
Not all who wander are lost...
Saturday, January 05, 2013
French Roast in the French press this morning as I listened to this...
So, I'm feeling a bit more balanced and less rebellious today about vulnerability. I am still an advocate, but for the safe, for the worthy.
Just after I wrote about community, it is as if community exploded. I joined the PTA. I started a massive neighborhood association. I held a street party complete with dj and ice artists.
I actually didn't do any of those things. But I did have dinner with Barb. I found a poinsettia on my porch. I met a new friend who is cut from the same cloth - because she was vulnerable and took a risk. I danced all night NYE with new friend and later sipped whiskey with strangers in a fantastic condo while conversing about Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins.
I had an especially lovely happy hour with Karen Stock from Black Lake. She has been a helpful resource as I think about career goals and such. What was intended to be a discussion about communications and public relations turned out to be a conversation about life. From there, I grabbed two of my kids and headed over to my new friend's house where we sat beneath blankets and talked for hours about the Bible, Alain de Botton, and Russian novelists.
Perhaps when we extend community, it really does come back to us.
I am inspired. For more inspiration (in particular, being vulnerable, feeling joy, and embracing the good in life), watch this:
Monday, December 31, 2012
Today I think one should be a steel fortress. Today I wanted to throw Brene Brown's book across the room and call her bad names. Today I think Brene can take her damn love beads and string them somewhere else. I'm sure I'll feel differently tomorrow, but today I think vulnerability blows.
“Else if you would be a man, speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Special thanks to Barb who fired cannon balls with me and had me laughing so hard I cried.