Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not so fictional

She peeled him off her leg and moved towards the door, knowing in her mind that he would be fine moments after she left his sight.  He begged her to stay, the first who had.

This day was one with months, if not years, of anticipation.  He'd been looking forward to it with such excitement.  Her, with trepidation.

As she walked out the door, she fought back the tears that would come regardless of her efforts.  

What do I do now, who am I without him?  If this part of my life is coming to a close, who can I be?  Who should I be?

She held back the tears until she was far away and had found a park bench.  The steel was cold and uncomfortable.  

The park was vast and empty, except for the man with the giant black dog on the other side.  The breeze slight.  She looked up at the maple tree to see the very tops of the leaves showing the slightest hint of change already.  How was that even possible?  It seemed like just yesterday the trees were barren in the dead of winter.  They'd just gotten their leaves, hadn't they?  

Then she remembered that it was almost fall and she'd just dropped off her baby at school and even though the thermometer still indicated summer, cooler days were coming.  Summer had come and gone and she'd barely even noticed.

Too many other things, far more significant than the name of the month on the calendar, had happened.  Too many things that she wished had never occurred.  Too many things that she tried desperately to wipe from her memories.

She picked up the book resting in her lap and tried to read it.  Tried to transport herself to another place.  Tried to care about the characters and the story.  She read and re-read pages, absorbing nothing.  Put the book aside.

She couldn't do it.

She shut her eyes to will away the tears again.  Opened them to a sky full of birds, soaring high above her.  They were engaged in a beautiful mid air dance, free and alive.  She wanted to feel that again.

She didn't even know who she was anymore.  

All she knew is that she wasn't who she thought she was.  Nothing was what she thought.  And nothing ever would be again.

On top of that uncertainty, there was today.  Today, and forever after, one person would need her less.  A chapter of her life as a woman and mother closed.

She peeked down at her phone, no new messages.  No new calls.  She'd hoped there would be.

It was time.  Time to return to the life she thought she knew, to retrieve the boy and take him home and pretend for another day.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

love/hate

I completely have a love/hate relationship with birthday parties.

Obviously, I love making my kids happy.

So, clearly I hate it when they have the inevitable breakdown in the middle of the party.

I love seeing them get so excited about planning the party.

I hate the actual planning.

I love that they spend time with their friends.

I hate the politics of the invitations....the if you invite this kid, you have to invite this one....or if you invite this kid, you can't invite this one.

I love that I've always let them pick out their own themes.

I hate that they usually pick things which require a whole lot of creativity on my part.

I love that I can almost always come through and make the games/invitations/cakes presentable.

I hate that two months after each party, that theme is widely available in every store in town.

I love having a houseful of family and friends.

I hate cleaning it before and all the anxiety that comes with having that many sets of eyeballs looking at the mess that is my house.

Speaking of which, I've got all those eyeballs showing up in a few hours.  I've got to get busy.

At least I already made the cake this time....I was laughing to myself last night as I was frosting a monster's crotch that I really should remember to write about that.

Happy Birthday, AJ.  I'll share pics tomorrow....you know, after I clean the house again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Some Days

Some days I just have nothing good to write, and so I decide that it's better I don't.

I'd rather keep things tied up in little pretty packages that don't leave anyone wondering.

Plus, I am tired and cranky, and that sure isn't helping.

It would be better for me to find something positive to channel this energy into anyway.

I've got a birthday party to get ready for.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Papa

There really is no question who I have to write about today.
Him.

This day is for him.  It's his birthday.

Almost 20 years ago now, I met him for the first time.  I was nervous and not really sure what to expect.  He was a detective in the LAPD and the father of my 15 year old boyfriend.  He was quiet and reserved, all kinds of parental.  

He had high standards for his kids and demanded that they live up to them.  He worked hard and never complained.  He took genuine joy in his family and loved the things they loved.  

It didn't take long for me to get to know his other side.  He has a ridiculous sense of humor.  I've seen him draw faces on people with sunscreen and parallel park a boat.  He's a prankster.  He loves to mess with people.  It is over this personality trait that him and I have bonded the most over the years.  No matter what else is going on, good, bad or indifferent, we can always count on each other for harassment.

I've needed the comic relief in my life lately.

A few years ago now, they moved to be closer to us.  He taught my children to love spending time with him, and that it wasn't where they were going or what they were doing that mattered.  It's that they are together.  Aidan loves to spend a morning sitting in a boat, even on the days that no one catches anything.  Ashley will gladly spend hours sweeping out his garage just to hang out with him.  Ally just started full time school last week, and is already lamenting the fact that her weekly lunches with Papa are a thing of the past.  AJ can't wait for his turn.

He will drop just about anything for us, no questions asked.  He was a police officer by trade, but has since become an electrician, a drywaller, a mechanic, an appliance repairman, a personal driver, a landscaper, a tile installer, a mover and more.  He knows I need something when I ask him if he's busy today.

He's never too busy.

He's had to take on a new role in my life, one that isn't fair for me to ask of him.  He's the only father I have left now, and I find myself leaning on him more than I probably should.  I will never be able to repay him for the things I have needed.

I am a lucky girl to have him in my life.

Happy Birthday, Papa.  

Love you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Disconnected

In this crazy fast paced world, it seems that we are always reachable.  That there is never a time to shut it down, turn it off.

With the constant connection comes inevitable distraction.

The inability to ever be fully connected to anything else.

Your hand always reaching for your pocket or purse, the constant glances at the phone.  Texting at the dinner table.  Ignoring the clerk in the store because of whoever else you're talking to.

We are connected, but we aren't at all.

These days, there are so many of us that don't even wear watches anymore because we don't need to.

Phones do everything.

They keep us tied to each other, they make up mobile photographers and videographers.  They give us constant news updates.

They can be a lifeline in times of emergency, a map in the times we are lost.

It's a wonder we ever survived without them.

Or is it?

You see, I have a phone.  Just a phone.  It's not a smartphone.  It takes grainy pictures at best.  I can text, but there is no internet access.  No apps to keep my children busy in supermarket checkout lines.

Someday I'm sure I'll get a smartphone.  I'm not in as much a hurry as you might think.

Yesterday I was reminded of what life used to be like.  How simple it was.

We took the kids to the pool for the entire afternoon.  Just a blanket and some towels, a basket of sandwiches and apple slices, water bottles and sunscreen.  No one there we knew.  No one we were supposed to meet.  No other place to go.  Nothing we had planned.

And no phones.  Both our phones sat idle on the kitchen counter at home.

No checking pockets, no incoming texts, no baseball score updates, no newsfeed, no Facebook, no calls.

No contact with the outside world.

Just us, the sun, the water and our little bubble.

It was pretty fantastic.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Somewhere

I haven't written much about my Dad here lately because I haven't really had much time to process things in regards to him.  Too much else going on.

In fact, a few weeks ago, the six month anniversary of the day he left this world came and went and I didn't even give it a passing mention here.

I was on the road back from my brother in law's wedding and almost completely distracted.  It's probably a good thing.

In some ways I think that all my distractions of late have been a blessing and a curse in this department.  A blessing in as much that I haven't been preoccupied with mourning his loss, but a curse in that I am just that much further from really dealing with it the way I probably need to.

I've been talking to him a lot lately, though there are times that it feels like he is too far away now to hear me.

Yesterday we were on one of the rural highways between our home and that of my in laws.   We were on the way to pick up the little people and go back to reality. The warm summer air surrounding us, the sun peeking through the sun roof.

I looked up to the sky, searched it briefly for a message, for a sign.  No heart shaped clouds waiting up there for me.

I fought back the first tears I've cried for him in almost two months, then the first notes played on the radio.  The unmistakable pluckings of the ukulele, the soulful hum of Iz.

And just like that, he was with me again.  At just about exactly the time I needed him.

Miss you, Dad.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

One Step Closer

We are, that is.

To what, you may ask?

To AARP memberships and senior discounts and early bird dinners. Getting old can suck it.

Tom and I went out last night on an actual date without any kids. Which is unlike our last date night, which involved a miniature boy in a bar.  Well, technically it was the patio of a bar, so it's not like we actually took our baby to a bar.  Right?  Right???

This time we managed to pawn off all the kids and escape.  Don't get me wrong, I love my children....but sometimes I want them to go away.  Mwhahaha

We drove to downtown Denver and hung out in a sports bar for the first time in years.  Maybe even a decade.  He was a little overwhelmed by how loud it was.  I told you, we are getting old.

We were amused pretty much the entire time by the couple on a date next to us.  They were probably in their early to mid 20's and he'd hit that one out of the park if you know what I mean.  He must have known she was out of his league because he spent most of the time trying to impress her on the indoor basketball court.  They were playing H-O-R-S-E, and he insisted on taking all his shots with his head turned.  You know, to look more skilled and awesome. Except he missed every single shot.

If you look like a tool and she's laughing at you....I don't think it's working.  Just saying.

Good lord, I don't ever want to have to date again.

After a couple pitchers of beer, we headed to the stadium to root on the Dodgers against the Rockies.

Decked out in Dodger Blue, we took our seats behind home plate in a sea of purple. Eric Young and Tony Gwynn on the field.

Wait a hot second.

Eric Young, Jr. and Tony Gwynn, Jr. were on the field.  What the hell???

We are old enough now to have cheered on the children of players that we rooted for in stadiums not that long ago.  I swear.

In a desperate attempt to convince ourselves that we aren't that old yet, we started evaluating the rosters of both teams.  Which was a monumentally bad idea.  Aside from a few veteran players and some mid game relievers, we are older than every single one of them.

How did that happen?

What makes you feel old?  Right now, I practically feel like a dinosaur.

Okay, so I'm a dinosaur with brand new sparkly shoes.

And that makes getting old suck a little less.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sad Mommy

I'm such a cry baby.

It really is ridiculous.

My emotions have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride as it is. Throw in the first day of school and I'm a mess.

The kids decided yesterday that they wanted to ride the bus.  To and from school.

They didn't want me to take them or pick them up.  They didn't want me holding their hands and walking them to their classes on the first day, taking the pictures of them next to their friends and new teachers.

They are big kids now.

I just don't have it in me right now to try and convince them that they still need me.

Instead, I will trust that I've done such a good job raising them that they have a ton of self confidence.  I'll convince myself that even if they don't really think they need me, that they still do.

I will feign pride at their independence.

I will kiss them goodbye and watch them get on that bus and ride away, one more day closer to the day they leave for good.

Motherhood is really hard sometimes.

These are the days that no one warns you about.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Behaving Badly

There is a saying that no good deed goes unpunished.

Oh lord, is it true.

Sure, there have been a bunch of good things I have done for other people that didn't result in something coming back to bite me in the ass.  But the ones that have come back have been no holds barred, open field tackles that left me bruised and broken laying in the middle of the grass.

Truth is, I am a good person.  A really freaking good person.  There have been plenty of times that goodness has been tested for sure, particularly as of late.

Though part of me wants to become cynical and jaded, to stop trusting people and caring, to shut down and become an ape shit crazy bitch, I won't.

I can't.

I'm not that person.  I've got morals and standards, yes.  But there is more than that.   I also have four children and have to worry about how they see me.  The example I am to them.

Besides, I look terrible in stripes and never met a jumpsuit that flattered my curves quite right.

Wink, wink.

Anyway, I am fed up with people who take advantage of the fact that I am good person.  Who disregard my feelings, throw them aside like they don't matter, pursue their own selfish wants without a hint of concern for the damage they cause.

I won't be going into details about my most recent betrayal.  Suffice it to say that friendship means nothing to some people.  Absolutely nothing.  My help, my shoulder to cry on, my advice, my shelter to hide under, my open arms meant nothing.  Even my understanding and forgiveness meant nothing.

It's a hard lesson.  You live most of your life thinking that you know someone only to find out that you never really knew them at all.  And that whatever you did mean to them at one point can so quickly be discarded it's as if it was never there to begin with.

You know who you are.

Now, since I'm not going to tell stories about the things currently triggering my rage, I'll resurrect an oldie.

This story is far more entertaining anyway.

A while back, we had an old car that we were looking to get rid of.  We figured that we'd help out a friend rather than trade it in for a fraction of what it was worth.  We gave the friend the car, signed off the title, patted ourselves on the backs for the good deed we'd done.

Yeah, well....

A few months later, my husband found out that a bench warrant for his arrest had been issued.  Seems our friend never recorded the title, then ran a few stop light cameras.

The tickets had been issued to our prior address, we never got them.  Time passed.  Court dates came and went and people failed to appear.

Oops.

I made the call to the friend, told him to do whatever it took to fix it. I wouldn't let Tom talk....he wouldn't have been nearly as calm as I was.  Then again, he was the one with a bounty on his head.

I'd have been pretty pissed off too.

He doesn't look good in stripes either.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm going there...

Okay, so I have to confess to this minor obsession I seem to have developed.

In doing so, I'm also outing myself about one of my less flattering physical features.

Deep breath.

I'm a hairy girl.

I don't want to be hairy.  I have issues with it.  There, I said it.

Someone, anyone, please tell me that I'm not the only person who became borderline obsessed with hair removal!

I bought some depilatory cream a few years ago after getting tired of the constant need to shave my legs.  It didn't work any better or last any longer on my legs.

I hate...HATE...doing the yard work.  You know, the clean up around the edges that becomes necessary this time of year.

Mommy can't just go to the pool spontaneously.  There is planning required.

Ugh.  I wish I wasn't hairy.

Anyway, in my pre-trip preparations, I decided to get as much of the undesired hair off as I could.  I bought creams and lotions and new razor blades.  Then I got creative.

I actually removed all the hair off my arms.

Hahaha!

I can't believe I am admitting this.

I have this friend who has been trying to convince me to try waxing for a while now.  She swears by it.  Preaches about the virtues of it.  How it only hurts the first time.

But then, secretly I think she's one of those sick people who likes pain.  Mwhahaha.

I made the mistake of telling her that I Naired (yes, that is a word dammit) my arms, so now she is on a mission.

I need some feedback from those of you out there, my fellow hairy girls.....be honest with me.

How bad is a Brazilian???

Friday, August 12, 2011

Blogalicious

So I got an award while I was gone.  Because I am so awesome that people love me even when I'm not writing anything.

Apparently.

Here's the proof that I was actually picked!

You'll have to forgive me if I'm a bit head in the cloudsy today.  (yes, I just invented a word again)  I'm just really freaking excited that someone liked my writing enough to send out a virtual award.  Yay me!

I'm doing as I'm supposed to, and I will pay it forward.

Here's my super fantastic award I'm proud to be giving out today:

1. Thank the giver and link back to them.  Kimberly at The Wyatt Zoo was kind enough to bestow this honor on me.  She rocks!  You all should march on over to her blog right now and check out her stuff.  Her pictures will just take your breath away.  http://wyattzoo.blogspot.com/

2. Reveal your 5 picks here and let them know by commenting on their blog.  Okay, so it might take me a bit to get to the commenting part...but I will.

Jen at All That Jazzy...who won my photo contest because she is awesome.

Andrea at Andrea's #1 Super Happy Fun Blog...who is a friend from way back in the day and one of the funniest people I know.  For reals.

Angela at Cairns Clan....because she is new to blogging and strong and beautiful and I adore her.

Tammy at Partly Sunny, Chance of Rain...because we found each other online a while back and can relate to so many things so easily that I feel like I've known her forever.

Michelle at Lumpkin Life...because I keep trying to get her to write more.  She is great!

3. Copy and Paste the award to your blog.

4.  Have faith that your readers will read those you've recommended.

5.  Have fun!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm back

I'm back, literally and figuratively.

The break was just about exactly what I needed.  Well, that and one of those mind erasing memory wipers.  I could use one of those sometimes.  Ha!

I sat by pools and drank fruity drinks, though they didn't supply me with the tiny umbrellas I was hoping for.  It's okay, though.  The chaise and the sun and the drink was more important than the umbrella.

In the last six days, I've driven over 2000 miles.

Yesterday, I got to drive through what could possibly be the most beautiful place on earth.  Glenwood Canyon.  If you've never been there, you simply must go.  Just not all at once....part of the beauty of it is that no one is ever there.

I've been witness to the beginning of a new life.  New love.  You need to see that from time to time.

I've seen people I haven't seen in too long.  I watched people sing karaoke that I never thought I would in a million years.  I bowled a couple decent games.

I played blackjack.  Love that.

I got my creative juices flowing, and not even those at all related to writing.  I laughed until my sides hurt.  I cried tears of sadness and joy, sometimes at the same time.  I rediscovered the passion I have for a few things I thought I'd lost.  I wore the shoes.

I even wore the shoes bowling.

Yes, I did.

I was given compliments about my children, which reinforces my shaky beliefs that I am indeed doing a good job.  I met people I've heard about for decades.  I got hit on.  Twice.

Damn, that felt good.

I'm back.

In more ways than one.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tiny Umbrellas

I'm about to do something that I never do.  At least not since I started this whole blogging adventure.

Something that I probably should have done several times already for different reasons at different times.

I'm stepping away from the computer for a while.  Turning it off and putting it away.

I am a little nervous about it, to be honest.  For me, writing is a release.  The screen and the keys, my personal therapist.  It makes me happy and it gives voice to all the things in my mind.

I've relied so much on it for a while now to get me through the ups and downs of the last two years.  Maybe that reliance is too great though, maybe it's become a crutch when it shouldn't have.   Maybe I've asked too much of it, of you all.

Or maybe I've put too many demands on myself.

Maybe a break is exactly what I need.

I'm aiming for a week away from this all.  We'll see how well it works.  If I make it the whole week.  Haha.

I'll have a journal on hand to jot down my thoughts just in case my head can't contain them, but it will be different.  Maybe I will be too.

I'm going to get up in the morning and grab a cup of coffee and the newspaper instead of the laptop for a while.  I'm going to relax and read a book once in a while.  I'm not going to worry about publishing times and topic ideas.

There may even be an occasional drink with a tiny umbrella in it.
I love tiny umbrellas.

xoxo

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Little Women

Ally has pretty much made the transition.  Ashley did a while back.  They've moved from the "little girls" section in the stores to the "girls".

No longer in the safe confines of the sizes 4-6x, they are now at the mercy of the 7-14 designers.  We all are.

Oh, how I wish I could shrink them back down and wedge their bodies into those little clothes again.

I have so many issues with tween girl clothing that this post might be a little disjointed.  For that, I will apologize in advance.  I feel perhaps a little more passionately about his subject than I should because I worked in retail, at one of the children's clothing stores.  You know the one....the one that rhymes with Timboree.

For most of their lives leading up to this point, the girls have had nice clothes.  That matched and coordinated.  That were demure and tasteful, but cute and playful too.  That looked like they belonged on children.  Ashley may probably still like to shop where I worked since she is my matchy matchy girl, but I don't have the discount anymore or the drive to shop the sales and coupons there to afford it.  Plus, the designers at that store fail to realize that if they want to keep older kids interested in their products, they have to stop putting babyish stuff on everything.

For years, the girls lived in little twirly dresses and matching leggings, little skorts and tops that matched, they even had enough of the same outfit that they could match each other when they wanted.  It was good while it lasted.

So maybe I feel a little more uncomfortable at the change than most parents do.

I don't know.

My biggest peeve obviously with the tween clothing is the maturity of it.  The plunging necklines and the teeny little booty shorts.  The super tight t-shirts and practically transparent fabrics.  Ally is 6, not 16, even if she might like to make the clock run faster.  She should be able to dress like she is 6, but that is getting harder and harder to make happen.

To find shorts with longer inseams, capris that aren't super low rise, shirts that have reasonable necklines, you actually have to look.  They are more the exception than the rule.  And it's out of control.  I know that I am not the only parent struggling with finding appropriate clothing for my girls, I know that I am not the only one frustrated.

Another of my peeves is the lack of quality.  Even in the pricey mall stores, the clothes fall apart often after a few washings.  Or they wrinkle miserably or shrink an entire size.  The hems fall out, the embroidery starts to come out.  The sequins never last.  It doesn't seem to make any difference whether you buy from the big box discount store or the mall, the quality is abysmal.

I wish that the designers could come up with cute prints for the shirts that don't involve obnoxious sayings.  Why does every t-shirt have to have some snarky attitude phrase on it?  Or some ridiculous texting acronym? Or some proclamation about how school, siblings or parents don't understand?  I'm to the point anymore where I tend to forbid just about anything with writing on it...but finding cute t-shirts without it is hard.

I wish that the designers wouldn't grab onto every trend to the exclusion of everything else.  Last year was the year of the skinny jean and jegging.  Which is fine if you have the kind of body to pull it off.  One of my girls does, the other doesn't.  And I'll be damned if I am giving that child body image issues in elementary school.   Finding anything else was hard last year.  This year, it looks like regular straight and boot cut jeans might be back too, thank goodness.  Unless all the other moms out there bought them up already...

I wish that they could make dresses that look like they belong on the body of a child.  That don't have padding in the top to create the illusion of boobs that a 7 year old wouldn't have anyway.  That have modest straps and reasonable necklines.  It seems like there is nothing between the frilly twirly dresses of early childhood and the scandalous sex appeal of teenage clothing.   There should be a good 6-8 years in between, and there should be age appropriate dresses to go with that phase.

I wish that they could make the blingy clothes that girls are magnetically drawn to without making them so cheaply that my dryer is constantly covered in a layer of glitter.  Glitter, glitter, everywhere.  My entire house is fabulous.

Don't even get me started on swimsuits.

As frustrating as it is anymore to shop for the girls, it's almost more frustrating that there are so many parents out there who will buy the stuff for their children.  If we would all stop doing it, say no, refuse the inappropriateness of it, eventually the designers would stop making these clothes.

Eventually they would get the message that we want better for our daughters.

That we aren't in a hurry to make them grow up any faster than they already are.

Again, I urge you to vote with your wallets.

Just don't buy up all the jeans...we haven't been shopping yet.  ;)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Follow the Arrows

Yesterday was a good day.

Any day that starts the way mine did is destined to be fantastic.

I drove the kids down to catch the end of Tom's tennis tournament.  He's been in a league now for a couple years and his team does well to get into the district tournament.  It's good for him to get the push for competition, especially since he's already signed up for the Denver Marathon again.

And he loves to play tennis.  But as much as he loves to play tennis, I secretly want to tell him to throw the matches in the tournament.  Do good, but not too good.  We don't want to drive to nationals.  ;)

I couldn't have timed it better.  We got there just at the end of the match, found seats beneath a tree.  He only played just long enough for the kids to get a sense of what was going on, but not get bored.

It was hovering just below 100 degrees.

We headed out for lunch, then I asked the question that he knew was coming.  The question that he was dreading.  The questions he was hoping I would wait to ask for a few weeks at least.

How much further is IKEA?

You know, the IKEA that opened this week.  The only one in at least a 6 hour drive.
Isn't it beautiful?!?!
It was only about 10 minutes further.  I told him we should just go.  I didn't think it would be as crowded as people were afraid, because so many would be scared by the potential crowds.  Most people with any sense at all are waiting a few weeks before heading down there.

But we were so close.  We should just go.  Right?

It actually wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be.  We parked right away, only had to wait about 20 minutes to get in.  There were a lot of people, but it was organized well.

And we laughed at the IKEA virgins.  Those who clearly had never been in one and just didn't understand what you are supposed to do.

There's a reason there are giant arrows on the ground.  Wink, wink.

We got the stuff home and assembled, then had to go pick up Tom's car since he'd carpooled down to the tournament.  The kids were home with Grandma.  On the way, we stopped for a drink.  As I parked the car, the thunder clapped and the rain came down.  We ran to the restaurant in the pouring rain.

And the day ended as it began.

Just the two of us.

I'd have to say it was a good day.

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