Friday, May 29, 2009

oy to the vey.

so, we're losing our house.

at this point, we have exhausted all resources, avenues, etc. we don't have the money to "fix" this. nor do we have the luxury of time anymore.

we did everything we could, we did our best, and it just wasn't good enough.

though i'll tell you what, even when you know something is coming, it's still a shock. sometimes i just stop and say, what just happened here? even though it's been "happening" for awhile.


it's been interesting here at the razor's edge.

but i have to say, even now, with that huge clock ticking, the red circle on the calendar keeping vigil, i continue to remain optimistic and hold space for a miracle. miracles happen every. single. day. right?

i look out at my yard and the first things i see are my mary and my buddha, and the bursting blooming plants and flowers that return each year, blessing me for more than a decade, despite the harshness of the winter before. and i am reminded that the miraculous is possible and all around us.

i am reminded that there are bigger forces at work here, and i will do what i can to keep remembering that and not beat myself up about the rest. the what i "could" have dones. because whatever happens happens for a reason. i must believe that. i do believe that. my life will not be defined by what happens, but how i deal with it.

what is falling apart around us is really just a matter of a shift in how we choose to look at it. right? there is a crack in everything. that's how the light gets in. thank you leonard cohen.

and the thing is i could really freak out about this. and i do have those moments when the fear and the sadness overwhelm me, and that's real. there's nothing like waking up in the middle of the night clutching your chest, gasping for breath and wondering just what in hell you're going to do to put things into perspective. to literally be brought to your knees with reality and fierce praying to anyone who will listen. to look at your children and start forming the words you may eventually have to say out loud.

and ALL are authentic reactions so i will honor them. and i do. i allow them space. but only so much. because the bottom line is if i allow only the negative to take over then there isn't room for the miracle. the light and the movement and the going forward.

and i've found that no good comes from freaking the fuck out anyway. amen.

in the end it's about love and it's about faith. not what you have or don't have. not what you lost, but what you keep deep inside. my life is filled with so much more love and spiritual contentment than many could ever imagine, and no amount of what is taken from me can take that away. my faith will carry me through like it always has. i just have to remain open.

i just have to believe in me. and in my husband. and i do. and one thing i have learned through all of this is that we really can get through anything. without the fight and without a battle. just sticking together and trusting each other. it's nice to be tested and shown that you can do it. it's made an already strong relationship stronger, and for that i am thankful. really truly thankful.

because we all know what money (or the decided lack thereof), and the issues that it can breed, is capable of doing to relationships. right?

and the worst case scenario? we lose a house. oh, that is so profoundly sad and that is a lot, this is our home. and has been for a decade. this place is magic, our magic. but in the grand scheme of things it's a drop in the bucket. it can always be worse. because we are losing a thing, we are not losing a child, our health, our minds (well, the jury's always out on that one!) our faith in the universe.

and in losing my home i won't have to run from it with what i can carry on my back while doing so. i have time and i have support. there are so many in the world who aren't a fraction as fortunate as i am.

so we move forward and hope for the best. and we are scared and we are sad and we are still working our asses off and trying make room for the miracle that allows us to stay, but we're good. i'm good.

life just is. it's when you start taking it personally that you start losing perspective.

and this is my one beautiful life, right? i sure as hell am not giving up now!!

so no matter what happens, i'm just going to keep calm and carry on.

that's my story and i'm sticking to it.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

the coolest girl in the room.

recently i reconnected and met up with an old friend. someone who knew me very well before i was fully formed. before i was me.

needless to say, it was interesting to see how all these years later some things had changed, but really mostly stayed the same.

i maintain that time and distance do nothing for the true love of good friendship, and for who we really are deep down inside.

anyhow, one of the things that got discussed was me. you know, my favorite topic.

but not just me, how we all are when we're young. what we think is important, how we take a LOT for granted, how we just. don't. know. and it's only in hindsight that we come the the "ah ha" moment about what was really going on.

so one of the things i came away with was how i acted all those years ago. so bold and brash, all knowing, completely untethered yet willing to try, and then just getting assholy when the trying didn't work. and in looking back on it i realized that all these years i've had a certain view of those years. i've just been willing to excuse some of my behavior as well i was young and i thought i knew what i was doing.

and i was. there's no harm in that.


i have finally come to realize that largely i was always just trying to be the coolest girl in the room. okay, not always. i mean, i have to believe that i really was cool sometimes and not just trying. i was also genuine and thoughtful and loving. i had moments of amazing even. not everything was a set up, a stage.

but some of it was. the weaker moments. the ones that court deep chagrin. the asshole moments.

i just didn't have a lot of tools for bridging the gap that would occasionally come up. the gap in relationships, the gap in life, the gap in the path and it's just too big a leap and you have no. fucking. clue.

i didn't know then that just being yourself, not the made up version, but the real one will always get you through. for better or worse, you get through and you move on. i didn't know that you can be strong and still have vulnerability and that that's okay. better even.

i look back on that girl and i just want to shake her. see here! see when you did this! see when you said that! what an ass! get that smirk off your face and speak from your heart not from the scared girl spot! DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE!


sorry. was i shouting?

i want to say to her honey, you don't have to be the coolest girl in the room. you just have to be you.

i know that now. all these years later i get it. and yes, i look back and cringe. and yes, i am embarrassed. and a little sad.

but even given all that, would i really go back and stop it? i don't think so. because i have to believe that it happened just as it should have. and that given a chance i likely wouldn't have changed a thing. because here i am. all these years later i am me. and pardon the self absorption, but i really feel like i am the coolest girl in the room. this room. the room of my life. these interior walls built with love and family, with my life's work, with all the attendant hopes and dreams and fears and reality. the good the bad and the truly ugly. i am me heart body and soul. i could never be this cool as a younger lass.

and even if i was, even if i found that lesson at 21, 22, 23, when i THOUGHT i had, well i can't say it would have led me here at 37 basking in it. truly basking in the fubar that life is.

we all have the steps on our paths. we can jump about and move them around and roll our eyes at some of them, but they will eventually all be taken.

whether we like them or not. at 22 or 37.

and i sure am happy that i'm not trying to be the coolest girl in the room right now. it would be awfully hard to pretend to know everything when i know that i don't. it would be hard to think that being an asshole would be the way to get what you want, or to mask the vulnerability.

and it would be really hard with all this fuckin' gray hair. which i think i might be coming to love. but don't quote me on that!

i have recently found that life just is. stripped down and laid bare all you've got is yourself and the interior room you've built around you. the rest is fleeting, and can go at any moment.

and while i loved that girl with a passion and wouldn't have traded my years with her for anything, i am so glad she's not driving this ship.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

you know it's going to be a long day when...

1. when you get woken up by a question shouted up the stairs to you, EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE, YOU KNOW, SLEEPING

"mama! what's a larvae?"

2. when you've resorted to forcing your child to pretend he is stranded on a desert island, WITHOUT HIS MOTHER, and therefore must answer EVERY SINGLE QUESTION HIMSELF.

the information booth is closed.

the end of the school year is coming. not soon enough, but coming nonetheless. and if i remember anything from being a school aged lass myself, the wigglies are setting in. the mind of a child is not built for ignoring the shining sun, the chirping birds, a world just outside the door waiting to be enjoyed.

so i am easing up here and there on the schedule in favor of finishing just that little bit earlier each day, making just a little bit more room in the schedule for less scholarly pursuits.

mainly this just means they will go outside and play a game that's called "green ball catch." this is a game played with a ball that is neither green any more and in fact is currently on it's third round of duct tape, nor is it "catch" as much as it's a complicated version of baseball. and involves hurling the ball as hard and as fast as one can against the body of the other one.

as you can imagine it's great fun.

until they start arguing.

which starts about 5 minutes in.

and they want you to sit there and watch the WHOLE thing.

while they are simultaneously filming it.

a film they will insist that you watch later that day.

even though, and probably especially because, you were there for the real thing.

good times.

and well worth cutting out the extra language review and poem study for.


Friday, May 15, 2009


so i threw my neck out this morning.

it's been so long since i have it was just weird. like, what's that! ouch! oh, yeah.

after 20 years of dealing with chronic neck issues i finally discovered physical therapy. yeah, that was fun.


it taught me about strengthening my other muscles, especially my core, and how by doing so would help my neck issues.

and, it worked!

i mean i'm not "cured" or anything, just suffer less.

and now i know the one sure thing that throws my neck out is an over the head hands clasped stretch when i first wake up.

which i did today.


so i iced and did the ibuprofen and arnica yadda yadda yadda.

problem is i HAVE to drive today. have to. the duke has a special practice on one end of the county and wingman has a game on the other end. since they are both at the same time, the lord of the ring and i both have to drive.

hats off to all you single parents out there. forget all the rest of the shit you must deal with, the transportation maneuvering alone must be a bitch.

well, as you can imagine, driving is the WORST on a neck or back injury. and my choices are not very good for a car that won't be "so bad" to drive.

i have the 20 year old tuna can, a fine sporty car, but also a stick. in fact, oddly enough, i was driving this car the very first time my neck really went out. it had always threatened to over the years, but it finally did so in this car.

or i have THE BEAST.

you all know i love the beast. she is, and will remain, the shit.

but when you have a neck injury, driving the beast is a lot like walking a pack of pit bulls. the sheer weight of the vehicle coupled with the converted v8 engine makes it one hell of a ride.

unless, of course, you are in pain.

which i am.

and i really don't think my evening pain cure for a thrown neck, whiskey straight up and keep it comin', is really going to do while performing my chauffeur duties.

so. i will pack my ice pack, throw back the ibuprofens, and just pray no one makes any sudden vehicular moves in my direction while getting the duke to practice and back.

boy, there's a sentence that just caps off my parenting career thus far quite nicely don't you think?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

your moment(s) of zen.

i believe in every one's right to their own opinion. think what you want! just because i have one opinion or belief that i think is right doesn't mean that it's right for everyone.

i believe that and i honor that.

and that's what makes the world so interesting!

but you know, just don't be a complete ass about it. because that's where you lose me.

it is in that spirit i bring you today's moment(s) of zen. it's about 6-7 minutes of keith olbermann doing what he does best. telling you how it is and making you laugh out loud while doing so.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

not a new topic, just another post about it.

there are some days when you just feel everything so acutely. like the actual passage of each minute is felt right on the heart and beats in the palm of your hand.

i think this is especially true when you have children.

when i look at my kids i see so much. oh, the usual visual signs. wingman has grown nearly an inch since january and desperately needs new baseball cleats. the duke looks like he's about a minute from just bursting fully forth into adolescence.

but it's the other things, too. like the way wingman sets his lips when he's trying to be a little dramatic. like checking his watch, he'll do that to mask the fact that it takes him a little while to understand what time it really is. he makes a big show of it, getting a laugh. all the while he's trying to decipher the hands and remember which tells the minute and which tells the hour. he thinks i don't know this is why he does that lip thing.

and he does this now, but i can very well see a day when he won't. not only will he not do it anymore because telling time will become second nature, but also he'll just forget to remember that it was his "thing." and he'll find something new, something more age appropriate as he ages, something different as his dramatic affectation. he is, after all, the younger brother, the baby, and does have a certain responsibility in that area.

and the duke being so close to becoming a very different person for awhile, maybe forever, as he approaches such a huge physical and mental change. part of me feels the want we both have to just stave it off a bit. while the other part of me is interested in knowing who the young man inside of the boy is. and i suspect the duke is intrigued, too.

but i know that standing at that precipice does have the potential to cease to be as "intriguing," and perhaps even become a challenge. or even a struggle as he actually falls headlong into it. for both of us.

and i'm always amazed how life can move so slowly when you're waiting on the big things. the what ifs. the decisions that may make or break you. the miracles you seek, or try to make.

but for the biggest things of all, the most important and in my case my children, life just moves so fast. too fast. and there just doesn't seem to be as much time as you want.

and one would think that being home together all day might give an advantage in that area. but i don't think so. because in between being the mother and the teacher and the chief cook and bottle washer time gets sucked up. and there are some days i forget to look up, to look around.

and when i think to look up, i realize that wingman has grown nearly an inch since january and the duke is about one minute from becoming an adolescent.

this is the stuff they don't write about in the parenting books. at least none i've ever read. sure, they tell you what you can expect in terms of growth and change at each stage of life, sometimes they even delve into the emotional landscape at different ages.

they just never tell you that with that growth and change there is this acute awareness that all of it is a means to an end of sorts. that in your mind and in your heart they are always your babies, but not so in theirs.

that while they are growing, for the parent it's a growing away, and for the child it's a growing towards.

at least for me it is. because while i celebrate them getting bigger and growing older, i know i'm the only one in the parent child relationship who finds the whole thing terribly bittersweet. and some days wholly and completely heartbreaking. they forget to tell you that in the books.

good lord! i think i've just stumbled on the very reason for the existence of small, well dressed dogs in the life of the empty nester.


in other news, NEW WINE BLOG TONIGHT! woo hoo! i'd give you a hint but you'd just laugh and think i've finally lost it. (which may or may not be true) so you'll have to tune in and see for yourself.


Friday, May 08, 2009

why i love the duke of fun.

all right, so i know i said i wouldn't be writing about the duke so much now that he's 12 and he should have his right to privacy and his life should no longer be public fodder.


i will break that rule to share the following with you. because #1 it isn't about him as much as it's illustrating how amusing he is all. the. freakin'. time. you know, except when he's being a 12 year old first born son to an over doting mother taurus king of the world pain in the ass. and #2 because as a mother i'm allowed to make rules and break them. whenever i want. it's one of the perks.

so yesterday i noticed something propped up against the door. i opened it up to find a long cardboard box addressed to me. there was no return address, and so i was confused as to what it was or who it was from as i brought it inside.

and because we're all here all day long, together, the four of us, all day long, three meals, two snacks, one shared space, all day long and into the night until we get the brief respite of sleep, well, when someone brings a box into the kitchen you can imagine it's a huge deal. like when they discovered fire, or, you know, public school. or an office outside of the house. just sayin' is all.

"i don't know what this is or who sent it"

and right then the duke comes in from the back on his way upstairs and says in passing

"looks like that rifle you ordered finally came, mama"

and then kept going.

and that's why i love him. the king of the one liners. dry, hilarious, and aptly timed.

if i had half his gift, well, i don't think i could handle half his gift.

but there is a teeny tiny part of me that likes to believe he's a chip off the ol' block. or, at the very least, that i haven't fucked him up too badly.

and the box? the box was filled with a humongous bouquet of my very favorite flower from my very best friend in honor of mother's day.

and yes, i cried.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

he will break your heart.

so wingman got some new shoes.

he's been wanting new shoes for awhile, but his still fit and i'm a cheap ass bastard and will only get my kids shoes if they need them. and one pair at a time. it's a good thing i didn't have girls.

anyhow, so he finally needed them and we headed to the shoe store.

two things here;

1. wingman has THE worst taste in shoes. seriously. he's not the snappiest dresser to begin with, but the shoes!!! oy.

2. and when did kids shoes get so freakin' expensive! i know i sound old and curmudgeonly but my god you've got to be kidding me! i'd really like to know where i was when this all happened!

so we're shopping and i'm gently steering him away from the crap. which even at 8 years old he's drawn to. just because, you know, he's 8.

okay right now i need to stop and interject something. i do not and have never let my kids get character shoes. ever.

not even when they were really small. ever.

they always ask me why and i always say because they are made poorly and i'd rather spend my money on something that lasts longer.

but really it's because i am a terrible snob and think they are horrible and ugly. they are tacky and they make me want to break into some hivey ol' sweat.

it's fine if you do it and i don't judge your kids. really. but i can't.

and i let my kids be who they are and wear what they want. but i drew that line early on and just let them think it's because i'm cheap. but really it's because I HAVE SOME TASTE.

and trust me, i am fully aware that by denying my children the opportunity to wear character shoes as children, will just insure that they will be the grown adult men wearing the disney/looney tunes/winnie the pooh character sweatshirt/denimn shirt/hat.

we never miss a step on the path. even the tacky ones.

so he finally spies the shoes he wants. and after 8 years of wearing skate shoes and sambas he is now wearing...running shoes? who is he, seinfeld?

but that's what he chose. running shoes. they are silvery and have a cool sole and he's all in love with them. he says they make him feel tall and bouncy and now he can run even faster.

fine. they are a good shoe and he loves them.

flash forward to a few days later.

it was the end of the evening and i was headed upstairs when something caught my eye on the buddha shelf.

you remember the buddha shelf?

okay, so underneath where buddha sits there's a little shelf. and there was a hint of something silvery. and i bent down in the relative dark of the living room and i saw, neatly placed, with laces tucked in, a pair of silvery running shoes. sized wingman.

he loves those shoes SO much he stores them on the buddha shelf.

as a parent your heart goes to pieces a lot. more than you ever think. and usually when you least expect it. and it's those little unexpected piercings that just get you the most.

wingman is a pure soul. everything he does and everything he is comes from what is centered right in his exact middle. his heart, his gut, his soul, it's all right there in the same spot and it controls everything.

and as we grow and get bigger and our bodies stretch our exact middle becomes blurred. and then there is no exact middle. your heart is one place, your gut another, your soul anywhere and everywhere in your body.

and then you spend your entire adult life trying to squeeze those things back closer together. trying to get that exact middle directing everything once more.

trying to be 8 again when everything is possible and special.

and new shoes are stored in a sacred spot because they are that special, too.


oh, and p.s. the duke played the ENTIRE game last night. off the bench and at 2nd base for all the innings. go duke!

Friday, May 01, 2009

birth order is the original bitch.

last week at wingman's ball game i was by myself. the duke had an extra practice that he had to be at and the lord of the ring took him. so i sat on the bleachers on the left at the top nearly in the corner.

a few minutes before game time an older man came and sat on the top bleacher. 4 feet from me.

can i say that there wasn't any one else on the top bleacher? in fact, there weren't very many people in the bleachers at all. and they are a big set of bleachers!

okay, whatever, no big deal. there's space but he likes that spot. so fine.

so we're watching the game and all of a sudden his adult daughter joins him. and does she sit to the right of him, where there is a whole bleacher? no, she sits to the left of him! next to me. so that means, at this point, there's like a space and a half in between us. so i'm thinking, all right, that's weird. but maybe they have different space issues. meaning NONE at all. but whatever. my stuff is here. i like this seat. i'll just stay.

then, and you know where i'm going with this, the mother joins them. loudly. and all huggy.

"ohhh, hi mom. i didn't think you'd make it!"

"well, it ended early. oh, honey, you're all skin and bones."

"oh, i don't think so."

"oh, i do."

not skinny enough i say. if she were i might have more room.

so then the mother goes to sit. and does she sit next to the father on the right side? NO! she sits in between her husband and daughter!

so the daughter shifts over and there is now a half a spot in between us! that's all of less than 12 inches! like maybe 8 inches! which would be fine if we were friends, relatives, came together, or, you know, even knew each other.

so fine. i gather up all my stuff (purse, coffee cup, jacket, phone) and move down two bleachers.

and then when the game was over i found out they didn't even have a kid on our team. they were from the other team. but they didn't like the view from the other bleachers.


then yesterday in yoga i got there early. imagine my surprise when i saw a ton of people already there! it was already crowded and there was someone in my usual spot. and i have never even seen her before so it was annoying but i searched out another.

so the only spots left were against the wall in the back or in the exact middle of the room. the crowded middle. so it wasn't even much of a spot.

i went to the back wall spot and set up my stuff. then this one woman and then the token man come in and got all confused because this is "their" spot. whatever. they've been in class, what? a month? two? they don't even know each other but they were sure banded together in their whining!

oh. my. god. the handwringing! the hemming! and hawing! can i say i've been in this yoga class way longer than them! find a new spot. get over it. i did.

and there was still one spot left against the wall. and one farther over by the door. a spot many people have used many times. and it's not bad because no one is going in and out of the door and there's no light that shines right overhead. and then the guy is all

"oh, i guess i'll put my stuff here by the door." complete with a big sigh.

oh, boo hoo, soft serve. it's not gitmo for cryin' out loud. i've been by the door plenty of times. get over it. and, then i hear from him

"wow, it's really crowded today. it's hard to think of not being by the back wall."

"i know. i sure like the security of the back wall."

then to me kind of annoyed and in a sort of commanding tone a teacher might use with a student

"um, could you move down an inch?"

"or two?"

yeah. sure. i could. but then i'd be lunging right into the ass of the 80 year old woman in front of me. no thanks.

"i'll tell you what! how about i move to the middle? and you guys can have the whole back wall?"

"oh, could you?!?"

"that would be great!"

"we need the security of the wall!"

"yeah! we don't like everyone looking at us!"

"well, just so you know, i don't particularly care for it either. but, i'll take one for the team on this one!"

and then i gave my fake ha ha laugh and moved before i had the chance to entertain my annoyance and act on it.

then i heard

"but you're young."

"yeah, better you than us."

and then they broke into some big hearty chuckles like it was some great thing to be all old and curmudgeonly and whiny and not funny. then busied themselves with setting up against the back wall.

and then for the rest of the class, everywhere i turned, straining, or relaxed, ass in the air, or legs splayed and crotch forward i had someone up in my grill. on all 4 sides, for all 60 minutes.


and why did i move both times? except for being FORCED out? because i'm the middle child.

and that's just how we roll.