Saturday, December 26, 2015

We wish you a Merry Christmas...

We gave my mom such shit every time she wore her Christmas chucks...they became slightly more tolerable after she cut the jingle bells off...
Now they're mine and obviously I think they're awesome.
I've got my Christmas spirit back this year thanks to my amazing husband, friends, and family.
Jingle jingle jingle 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Just a few thoughts

Can't believe this is the third Christmas(time) without my brother...
I really miss holiday shenanigans with him.
I can't wait til he's out and I get at least one piece of my family back.
Yes, the kids make this time of year exciting and magical and fun;
It's tough, too, though.
Maeve was scrawling on a Christmas card from a neighbor & saying "Love, Grammy...right, mommy? It says love Grammy."
So sweet and unexpected.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Talk (well, one of them...)

Delivering Christmas cards to our neighbor's mailboxes tonight, Max and I commenced our usual end-of-day big idea/silly questions/ponderings/worries/chit chat...
One house had two green bulbs illuminating their porch lights.
"Do you think they switched them out because they're pro-legal-marijuana?"
He asked (in the eleven year-old I'm kind of joking but actually want to know about something manner).
Pause.
"And Grampy's porch lights are red because he's Anti?"
Um. Whuttttttt?? Bwhahahaha...
Doing my best to stifle all kinds of snide remarks & honor his curiosity without making him feel like an ass (it's paramount to hone this particular skill as a parent from the get go, just a heads up),
I replied, "Well, I'm guessing the red & green light bulbs have more to do with Christmas than you know, their stance on the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana."
"Right. Mom, do you know there are a lot of names for it?" (Max, for real? We're going there?)
"Mom, there's, like, tons. Weed. Reefer. Mary Jane. Ganja...pot..."
I thought better of adding to his list. 
Side note: weed has come up quite a bit in polite conversation in our family; it's no secret that Uncle Rob is in the clink for a loooooong ass time because of his irresponsible dalliances with weed, coupled with our antiquated & twisted legal system. We've talked about it at length. I have been talking to my kid about drugs and alcohol for a long time. I don't want him to be scared to ask questions or approach me or somebody he trusts in our family when he is confronted with a situation. I want him to understand consequences, responsibility...plainly, I want him to know. 
Growing up, my parents (my dad in particular) were completely open & transparent when it came to all things drug (and alcohol).
While there were times in my childhood that left me scared or conflicted (worried that my parents were "bad" because they smoked a little weed sometimes), my big takeaway was quite simple..
It's not enough to drill into kids Just Say No (which was the big tenet when we started talking about & learning about drugs in school).
My dad told me about bad trips & scrapes with the law near Mexico...he told me about a cousin that was never the same after a bad experience with acid. He lamented about friends who never got away from "occasional" cocaine use. He taught me to be responsible & take control. He taught me how to say no and how not to get caught up in that crap in the first place.
Mostly, he instilled a sense of trust...he trusted me with some pretty personal & compelling information from a young age. In turn, I took those lessons and dialogs to heart and chose not do anything harmful that would disappoint my parents.
I was taught to look at the big picture (and perhaps because of my anxious nature, I was simply scared to mess with my biochemistry or do harm to my distant future unborn children...seriously, I worried about that shit. Ecstasy?? No way...what if it messes with my DNA? What if I snap? Pills? HELL no. And so on and so on...snorting anything? Are you serious? And ruin my already wacky sinuses? You want me to put WHAT up my nose?! I'm so clumsy & awkward, I'd probably do it wrong. Not to mention buggin out...).
Anyway.
Weed. 
Back to The Talk...
"You can ask me anything, any time, and I'll answer you honestly, hopefully in a way that is easy to understand."
"Did you ever try it, mom?"
"Weed? Yes. In moderation. And I liked it if I was with the right people in a safe environment. I never got out of control with it."
"There are supposed to be, like, medical benefits. Like for cancer patients and stuff..." Max told me. "It can help with seizures and stuff. It's legal in some states, right?"
Which led to a frank conversation about laws and legislation and government and addiction and other drugs...
As a parent, one of my biggest fears is that my kid(s) will get wrapped up in some bad sh*t like pills (or, god forbid, heroin). 
Hopefully, continuing to have these easy, honest talks will at least provoke some introspection. Maybe something will stick, maybe something will help them feel comfortable about making smart choices or...at least they'll know we can talk about it. About anything.
Raising children is terrifying & awesome.

As we made our way back to our house, conversation flipped to the new Star Wars movie, Christmas break, candy...
(kid stuff).

Oh...and yes, I have reflected on the fact that my parents raised my brother & I the same way and yes, one of us is incarcerated. 
We were given the same tools/conversations/answers/experiences; it was up to us, as adults, to decide how we were going to handle it.
To imply my parents are somehow responsible for the choices he made is ludicrous. 
And that is something I hope I don't have to remind myself if my kids find themselves in the same kind of trouble someday.

How do you talk to your kids about drugs & alcohol? How old were they when the dialog began? Would you have handled it differently? Have any insight? I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How it goes

Yay! (Loading bike into car)
Wait. Did it rain last night?
Yay! Yay! Yay! (Pulling into parking lot, unloading bike)
This weather is crazy! Jacket? No jacket? Jacket.
Wrong gloves. Overkill.
No gloves? No, wear them.
(Pedaling towards the woods excitedly)
Hmmmm. Kinda muddy, bummer.
I'll stay away from the lowers sections.
(Auto pilot commences. Immediately descend toward aforementioned lower section)
Reaaaaaaaaally muddy. I'm an asshole.
Slovenly sloth. That's what I feel like.
Fucking slow ass sloth.
Wait. I'm in the WOODS on my BIKE and this is FUN!
It's not fun.
I'm an asshole.
Quick, get to the paved path, asshole.
(Hits pavement, reluctantly...spots another asshole in periphery riding on wet, muddy trail. Wearing headphones. Not earbuds. Headphones. And no helmet. Triple asshole)
Decide: climb up road (the long way) back to car or take most direct route through woods?
Woods.
It'll be drier as I climb out.
It is drier.
I'm still slow and suffering. It has only been thirty five minutes.
Oh, look, a cardinal!
No bunnies.
No (visible) hunters!
Call it? It's been 37 minutes.
WTF. 
I am overheating.
Why is the parking lot empty?
Do I have coffee money?
How come running fitness doesn't parlay into riding fitness?
This sucks.
I'm not having fun.
I want coffee.
And a hot shower.
I want my legs back.

And there you have it...first ride back in a while.
I found out the hard way that running on pavement often is pretty abusive on my body.
I need to mix it up & focus on strength training/core work blah blah blah.
And.
I need to be patient.
And.
Two half-marathons just a few weeks apart probably wasn't the best idea I've ever had.

That's all I got.
(For today)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lazy Sunday or...

I can't tell if I'm depressed, destroyed from yesterday, or getting sick.
Perhaps all of the above.
All I know is I've been in bed since 12:30 this afternoon and it's nearly 5.
I slept for three hours (after sleeping late this morning).
When I woke up from my "nap"/hibernation, I ate some Cheezits and drank a bottle of Goya coconut soda.
In bed.
Maybe yesterday was too much?
I woke up at 5am to run nine brisk miles in the freezing cold, barely ate anything after, and hightailed it to work at noon.
Later (still at work), I noticed I was breaking out in hives all over my face & torso.
I hadn't eaten or drank anything different, so I have no idea what caused such a weird and sudden reaction.
For that matter, I didn't eat or drink enough after a nine mile run. 
In any case, I took three little shots of liquid Benedryl and don't remember much after that.
Figures I'd be the fool who ODs on Benedryl. I'm so wild. 
Thankfully, a coworker promptly brought me home and suffice it to say, my hives cleared up and I slept the night away.
Apparently, 25mg is the typical adult dosage & I took roughly 5 times that (I don't know what chart I was reading).

Which brings me back to today.
My daughter is napping and my son isn't expected home for another hour, so I really don't feel the need to leave my bed.

I'm all for a lazy Sunday now and then, but this is a little ridiculous.
Thank god for my husband, the voice of reason who loves me despite my quirks & flaws; I could not have handled today alone.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thank you

I mean, nobody has a smile or laugh like her. I miss it. Last year I powered through the holidays...you're so strong...you're handling this so well...your mom is proud...she is with you.
Sometimes those sentiments are comforting. Sometimes they make me feel like a fraud.
Really? Is waking up & wanting to pawn your children off to just about anyone so you can have an epic break down in peace handling this so well?
I know it's normal, I know grief comes & goes...ebbs & flows blah blah blah.
But, sometimes, she's really truly the only one I want to commiserate with. Banter with. Listen to.
This is what I conjure in my head when I get stuck in the grim details of watching my mom die.
I mean, that was just one day that ended her life time of many, many days like this:
So.
While I sometimes fall into the tenuous, messy loop of that ugly day back in June 2014, I have countless...countless...memories & images that I can tap into.
Countless people who have been touched by her kindness, her generous spirit, her goofy wit, her blunt wisdom.
Thank god for her.

And that, I think, is my Thanksgiving sentiment that I want to share with you;
There's a tricky side of the holidays that leaves some (many?) of us heavy with loss and longing.
Most of us have something funny or outrageous or meaningful or touching to look back on, so I guess...
Sit with the tricky part; settle into it.
Just don't sink all the way down.
Be present, enjoy your loved ones, nourish your friendships, strengthen the ties that may have frayed over the year...let that pick you up and hold you up. 
Let them.
Happy Thanksgiving...
xo

Monday, November 23, 2015

Icandothatbetter

Ok.
Hi.
Yesterday I ran my second half-marathon.
Beat my time by 8 minutes.
How did that happen?
The course was harder, there were tons more people, and I started out feeling nervous & unsure.

So, why? How? Eight minutes is pretty significant (considering my first half was just three weeks prior).
I'll tell you what happened.
I ran with two girls/teammates/friends (I think after you complete an event like that, literally alongside somebody, you move up from teammate to friend level...right?).
They pushed me every step of the way (or, I suppose pulled, as I was mainly the caboose of our little gang). 
I didn't look at my garmin once; I've run shorter distances with these particular two women & without much thought, I gave myself over to the process.
I trusted the process; the pace, as it were.
The last half mile was brutal...my left leg cramped badly.
If it weren't for my compatriots, I'm fairly certain I would've walked/limped to the finish line.
But.
I ran.
What a day.
I hadn't planned on doing another half any time soon, but a bib became available & next thing you know...
Lining up again.
(You know how it goes)

Today I am sore and tired.
Maybe a tad impatient with my kids.
Recovery is vastly different at age 40 than a decade ago when I first delved into athletic pursuits.
I need to work on that part. I can't very well keep this up if the trade off is being a tired bitch to my family the next day.
What else?
A little more about the group I've been running with. 
They're part of a team/foundation/greater good; they (we) raise money and awareness for cancer, focusing mainly on our local communities. Supporting families affected by cancer, supporting fighters & cancer warriors.
It's one of the most hospitable & welcoming teams I've ever had the privilege to be a part of.

But.
You know me & the whole group thing by now.
It's painful.
I'm awkward & shy.
Slow to warm up.
It takes me a while to not be the quiet one.
Even when I "fit in", even when I'm genuinely included, I still feel kinda like the oddball.
The thing I'm beginning to realize is that most of us feel that way in group situations; we're all goofy and weird and have our quirks.
When there's a greater good, a solid cause, and such a welcoming support system in place, it's hard to feel like an outcast.
And there's a lot to be said for solidarity.

I woke up at 3:30am yesterday to drive to a sketchy empty lot & get into a car full of (basically) strangers. 
Several of whom I've never seen in daylight (we always run before the sun comes up).
I gratefully accepted a baggie filled with three coffee cookies baked in a kitchen I've never seen (I'm weirdly weary about eating baked goods from strangers).
{Says the family *brownie* baker}
The cookies, by the way, were amazing.

These little things are actually pretty sizable hurdles for me.
In fact, it might be harder for me to hand over control of my Sunday to a bunch of people I've only just begun to get acquainted with over the past month than run the race itself.
Yeah, that part is definitely harder than the physical feat.
Running is the easy part.
But.
I'm getting better at the other stuff.
So much better.
Now I can focus on conveying it better in words here.
Maybe more often.
Or not.
Maybe I'll just keep running & awkwardly blog about it again & again.







Friday, November 13, 2015

Icandothat

Run a half-marathon...yes.
I really don't have the words to describe the experience eloquently.
I mean, it was a 13 (point one) mile run.
Me, my sneaks, a carefully crafted play list, and swarms of runners. Like more runners than I've ever seen in one place.
The first few miles were positively gleeful...whooooo hooooo I'm doin this I'm crushin it woot woot look at me go...
Looping around city hall, I was seriously beaming.
I don't typically beam.
By the time I hit Boat House Row, I started faking it a little...this IS awesome. I AM smiling. My Legs ARE comfortable.
Passing the ten mile mark, I began to feel the mental strain a little (ten miles had been my longest run up til the half marathon, and only once several weeks prior).
I wondered if Bill was at the finish line (or near it) and started to pick up my pace ever. so. slightly.
The garmin tells the tale; while I surely had some sloooooow miles, I never walked and never felt any pain or brutal exhaustion.
I took it mile by mile and smiled when I needed to push myself a little.
I channeled all my mentors, my friends, my parents, my brother, my husband...
10 seconds...just ten seconds, give it your all...(which would give way to ten more and ten more after that, and so on)...
when I crossed the finish line (uphill finish, not a fan after running thirteen miles), I funneled through the chute with the hoards of runners.
A little beleaguered, a little dumbfounded, a little dazed, a little (naturally) high.
Finally, I spotted my husband and everything else kinda froze & blurred around him.
I found my way into his arms and fell in love with him like a million times more as he hugged me tight (shut up, this is the mushy part...I am terribly romantic).
Honestly, the run/race was pretty great...but, that moment made the whole experience complete. Finding Bill amid all the chaos, feeling kinda shattered, was it.
I wasn't expecting to feel that way, but there it was.

Will I do another half again?
Probably.
Is it going to be my thing?
No.
Do I want to try a marathon?
Not really. No.
What about riding?
It will always be there. Not planning on parting with any of my bikes.

So.
I can do that.
Now I know.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Getting it...

I'm deeeeeeeestroyed.
Last week, I found a local running group to latch on to for some early morning miles.
I'm just weeks away from the half-marathon and my confidence is building.
Or so I'm telling myself.
I've kinda insulated myself within this little bubble; I've created a routine and I've stuck to my plan. Running regularly with structure is helping me deal with the shorter days (perhaps more effectively than meds, but that might be stretch & not something I'm going to mess around with right now).
My goal is simple & I'm going for it:
Stay healthy, injury-free, and complete the 13.1 miles.
I'm learning how to pace myself, I'm figuring out when and what (and what NOT to eat) before and after I run.
I've drawn some parallels between the way I approach running & riding, while respecting the fact that I have plenty more to learn & tweak.
After the half, I don't foresee many  4:30am wake-ups to run in the dark 3 or 4 times a week. Though I revel in the quiet and stillness of the streets and love an energetic start to the day, I can see burning out in a hurry if I try to keep that up.
I miss reading into the late hours and waking up in daylight.
I do foresee running for fun in the woods again and getting back on my bike.
Not yet.
Just a few more weeks until I get to test my mettle and see if I am indeed getting it.

Last Saturday, I set out for a flat 8 miles.
Alone and with a carefully crafted playlist (the first time I had used music during a run), I paid attention to all the subtle little clues & cues my feet/legs/hips/gut/mind were sending me; at mile 4, I continued on and turned around at 5.

Ten miles is my longest distance yet and it felt awesome to wrap it up feeling strong, like I had a little more left in the tank.
Hopefully like three more miles.

So, that's what I've been doing.
And that's pretty much all I've been doing (along with a smattering of tea parties with toddlers, lots of Star Wars chatter with Max, trying not to be as broke, being mindful of my health, decorating for Halloween, tracking down BP between his trail building/cross-racing/spending time with his lovely lady, going to therapy, making really good soup, and...winding down/catching up with my beloved husband).

Almost there.
Feeling the early wake ups, feeling the miles and miles...but, almost there!




Sunday, October 11, 2015

If I've learned anything...

When my body says, "Put wool socks on, take some NyQuil, get under the blankets, go to sleep," I should listen.
I do listen.
Even if it's in the middle of the day.
Even when I'm like, "But, I was just sick. I'm better."
Doesn't matter.
Stop.
Rest.
Especially if my child is napping, my husband is out for a long ride, and Max is at his dad's.
I'm getting better at this, I swear.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What a day...

Today I...
Held my neighbor's puppy in my arms as she whimpered and moaned, having just been hit by a car.
I can't get the moaning sound out of my head.
Or the puppy's soulful eyes.
I think she sensed I wasn't her "person", but was in such pain/shock, it didn't matter ..almost as if she was grateful to be gently scooped off the street, wrapped in the nearest towel I could find.
They've only had her for three weeks.
When we carefully placed her in my neighbor's car, I assured her, "it's not that bad...she's alert, I think her hind leg is broken...she'll be okay, just GO."
I knew, though, that it was pretty bad (confirmed not thirty minutes later when my neighbor returned from the emergency vet without her puppy, tearful).
The puppy didn't make it.
It was 3pm, so the kids weren't home from school yet (thank god)...my heart broke when I saw her three boys amble up the street after the bus dropped then off.
So it's nearly 13 hours later and I just can't stop thinking about the dog and those poor kids.
The person who hit the dog wasn't from our neighborhood...I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but when I heard the terrible sound out front, I knew it was something bad.

Today is...
My mom's birthday.
I don't particularly want to make or eat cake or "celebrate" or enjoy all her favorite things...honestly, I don't want to go to her "spot." I've been there a lot lately. She's been in my dreams almost every night.
Ordinary every day things & conversations in my dreams, which leaves me feeling like "oh, I should call my mom..." But, then, duh...reality.
Sometimes I'll just dial her cell number so I don't forget it.
All this to say, I miss her tremendously right now and I need her lately; thus, not feeling the celebration vibe.
More like a distract-me-please-vibe.




Thursday, September 24, 2015

Serendipity

So, I ran this morning for the first time in 13 days...just 20 easy minutes in the woods; enough time to scare a baby snake (everyone knows I love critter spotting!) & appreciate the perfect weather. I stopped at the bench near the lot to stretch a little. I always think of my mom every time I pass that bench because its where a very kind woman left my mom's lost car keys during the NorBeaster of 2010. While snowshoeing at Harmony Hill (just me & Mare), my mom lost her keys and we didn't realize til we had made it back to the car. We had covered A LOT of ground, as my mom was quite the snowshoe enthusiast (it's how she coped with her disdain for winter). So, there we were frantically retracing our steps (in knee deep snow), making our way BACK to the woods when a lone cross country skier (perhaps sensing our demise) approached us on the trail & said, "if you happen to be looking for a set of keys, I placed them on the bench near the lot." We profusely thanked her and my mom called her our guardian angel...
I see that woman almost every time I'm at harmony hill. She favors the paved path, but I often pass her on bike or foot on my way to the woods. I remember her so clearly not only because she saved us from our "situation", but also because in a weird way she sorta resembles my grandmom Erma (if Erma had been the outdoorsy type), she's got to be at least 75-80 years old.
Anyway, as I'm stretching at that bench today, Mare's "guardian angel" is walking to her car, parked next to mine. I introduce myself & say, "may I ask your name?"
She's Pat.
Now I know her name & now I can give her a proper greeting when we pass each other on the path.
She remembers the key incident. She told me she walks EVERY day (and xc skies in the winter). Last year, she felt funny while taking her walk there and turns out she had a triple coronary.
Jesus.
She looks healthy & agreed we are so fortunate to have such a beautiful place near us to enjoy nature. She called Harmony Hill a "friendly trail."
As we parted ways, she said, "I'll say a little prayer for your mom."
Sweetest little exchange I've had in a long time & it made my day.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

In Summerrrrrrrrrr (a ramble-y recap to make me smile)

This is what we did:
Threw rocks/waded/swam/goofed around in the Brandywine.
Visited the zoo with Lindsay & her little girl (Maeve's bestie)...I must note; the weather was supreme, there was zero traffic on 76, and the animals were playful.
Visited the zoo with our awesome cousins (and Joe was kind enough to help out with a little wish fulfillment in the name of copiloting a Swan boat with Max).
Visited the tiny Brandywine Zoo with Shannon & our boys. We ate popcorn, marveled at the giant Flemish bunny, and decided red pandas belong with us.
Spent a week in OCNJ with Cary & BP (lots of board walk action/donut eating/crabby fry craving/Johnson's popcorn indulging/painting/wine drinking/playing in tide pools/relaxing/tag teaming with our kids); let it be known that Maeve loved sharing a room with her brother and it was pretty damn brilliant of me to pack brand new surprise Frozen sheets to help ease her worries about sleeping in a big bed.
What else?
Lots of running. With and without kids, with and without my favorite running buddy, on trails, on the road; I completed a trail racing series comprised of 10ks and one grueling 15k to cap it off. I fared better than expected and fell even more in love with trail running.
Took the kids to see Inside Out. I hate going to the movies, but this was great. We all sat still. I didn't fall asleep. I may have shed a happy tear.
What else?
We had a scavenger hunt at Harmony Hill, a party for the neighborhood kids, a lot of kick ball shenanigans in our cul de sac.
We had fires out back with favorite friends on several occasions.
We saw fireworks.
We rode many merry-go-rounds.
Enjoyed a few dates with my man.
Enjoyed a few rides with my man (too few, as I love riding in the woods with him).
Visited my brother and saw Coal Township without its usual shroud of rain or fog.
Heard/saw several great bands live (Glass Animals, Stevie Wonder FREE in the city, I forget who else but I'll remember after I push "publish").
Attended a fun party at B-Fed's and marveled at his awesome little spot in the woods.
Showed/sold my work at my first legit little art show in downtown West Chester.
Ate a Pistachio gelato waffle cone for dinner by myself. Shamelessly.
Devoured a $12 Nutella sundae at Gemelli.
Celebrated a bestie's birthday at the cutest cupcake shop around (Dia Doce) with all our kids...the lattes were on POINT.
Celebrated a dear friend's birthday at a gem of a sushi joint in Kennett (lily) with lots of Prosecco & a table full of lovely people (mostly coworkers).
Enjoyed drinks out with my favorite cousin (Blueberry mojitos at SoLo).
Drew and painted alllllllll kinds of fun stuff.
Played in the belly of the woods at ChesLen Preserve where they've set up a natural playground of sorts.
Explored the fairy garden at Winterthur with Cary, BP, and the kids.
Took my kids on an impromptu overnight adventure in OCNJ; just the three of us (janky motel, excellent Mexican food, boardwalk fun, more merry go rounds, beach time, and breakfast at the airport diner).
Watched Frozen, Babe, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua more times than is healthy I'm sure.
Made amazing fish tacos.
Discovered how cool our little local airport & its' restaurant is...big hit with the kids.
Discovered Maeve is NOT a fan of Hibachi & is probably (mentally) scarred for life.
Visited Grammy's spot often and foraged for wild raspberries at the cemetery.
Went to Zazen for a pedicure (a Mother's Day gift from Max) where I was served a generous pour of white wine.
Hosted a sleepover or two with my nephew.
Watched movies and ate popcorn in a giant tent/fort at our friends house on what was supposed to be a rainy day (but wasn't, but who cares...)
What else?
Got dressed up and sat next to Bill at the bar at Teca for dinner & Saison DuPonts.
Lunched with out-of-town Sara and admired her cute belly (baby Louisa is coming sooooon)!
Took the kids via R5 to Penn's Landing for the Tall Ships festival (just me & my kids); we ate free Kozy Shack Pudding, got treats at Shane Confectionary, Max & Maeve had their faces painted...so fun.
Hosted an impromptu s'mores night and stayed up finishing a bottle of wine way past anyone's bed time on a Sunday night...and the boys (the kid boys, not the men boys) may have ended up jumping into the neighbor's hot tub.
Learned a glorious new loop at Stroud's.
Tried out an interesting new brewery in Kennett with work friends & pretty much gave up on trivia.
Gave my son a lot more freedom to explore and venture out with his buddies.
Filled the baby pool many afternoons and got into all kinds of silly water play (do you know what water beads are? They are cheap, hopefully nontoxic, and an amazing little sensory activity that toddlers LOVE).
Ate lots of pineapple & coconut (spent too much money at Whole Foods on my lunch break).
Scored two pairs of Olukai flip flops that should last me many summers to come.
Treated Maeve to smoothie/fountain dates.
Spent lazy days inside building forts, having indoor picnics, dumping out every bin of toys, watching Dora or Teen Titans , listening to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat, making cookie bars or fruity pebble treats.
Made friends with the goats at Highland Orchards.
Made the swings at Ship Road park a regular stop after Target & drive-thru Starbucks (boom boom boom...done, perfect morning).
Got back into therapy (yays).
Learned a few nuances on my bike while testing out skills on familiar trails.
Practiced yoga almost daily (sometimes a few asanas, sometimes a whole series, sometimes just a little stretching and breathing).
Received a new pair of running shoes from my coach/husband.
Signed up for a half marathon.
Ate almost an entire butter cake (a surprise from Jackie, waiting for me after a long day of visiting Rob).
Road tripped to Coal Township with Beth to see my brother.
We saw baby piglets and beautiful horses on a picturesque morning at Springton Manor Farm. 
Took advantage of some free art classes for little kids at the Exton Studio of CCAA.
Began many Friday mornings with Wawa coffee for me & donuts for the kids.
There's more, I'm sure...

Guess what I didn't do?!
My one true goal & I failed.
Master the damn slack line.
Dammit!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Stir crazy

I'm on bed rest for the next seven days (but, you know me...I'm being optimistic & hoping to be up and about sooner than that).
It's just another freaky bout of viral meningitis...the cause of which is still a mystery (and I'm beginning to think a bit of a novelty) to my neurologist/infectious disease specialist/various doctors and nurses in the ER.
(Sigh)
I kinda saw it coming...
Subtle signs last week that I blew off or attributed to other stuff.
I felt particularly crappy after running a 5k in West Chester Friday night (9/11). Considering the miles I've been putting in, a 5k shouldn't have left me feeling so destroyed.
If Lindsay (running buddy/one of the bestest of my besties) & I hadn't stuck together for the entire race, I would have really struggled. I owe my respectable finish (albeit blotchy & absolutely drenched in sweat) to her.
And Reilly, but that's another story for another day (let it be known she's like the little sister I never had).
Anyway.
Saturday I worked all day & felt crappier as the hours wore on.
By Sunday, I felt positively hit by a truck and realized at that point hmmmm I know this feeling and I know where this is headed.
I spent allllllll of Sunday in bed, mostly sleeping, not eating, not drinking, not anything-ing.
Sunday night I was in and out of sleep with that familiar headache building.
Monday was the inevitable trip to the ER (because my family doc won't even consider weighing in or trying to treat this little conundrum).
Faced with the choice of being admitted or treating the symptoms at home, I opted for home.
Ever since I watched my mom die in one of the best hospitals anywhere, I am terrified of staying in a hospital.
Irrationally, terrified.
Needles never bothered me before.
Now I nearly pass out when my blood is drawn.
The thought of a lumbar puncture makes me sweat and twist up inside. And cry.
Scared scared.
So.
Here I am, in the comfort (and chaos) of my home with a crapload of meds, orders to stay put, but...no IVs or blips or beeps or hospital smell or nurses taking vitals around the clock or any of that stuff that now scares the shit out of me.
The pain meds have eased my headache a bit (enough to read/write in bed), but they also make me restless and itchy.
Mostly, though, I just want my mom.
I mean, I'm sick...I want my mom.
You know?
My husband is an amazing caretaker...his patience is admirable, his demeanor is so calm and easy (as if none of this is a big deal, as if dropping everything and handling ALL of everything is no biggie)...
I just wish he didn't have to shoulder it on his own.
I wish my mom could come over and share her People magazine with me & play with Maeve while I sleep.
I wish she'd make tea for me (always in a smaller cup than I prefer, but always perfect) and wash the little pile of dishes by the sink (because I miss the sound of my mom trying to be quiet & considerate while bustling around my kitchen)...
I wish she'd just hang out here with me.
I wish Maeve would climb all over her and take her by the hand to play and read and be silly.

Also.
School is in full swing.
My son is off to a great start for fifth grade. He's growing up quickly.
He's all about trimming his nails and smelling clean and trying so damn hard to not crumple papers in his backpack.
New year, new leaf.
He's one of the three "big kids" at the bus stop.
Truly seems like yesterday when he was dwarfed by his backpack, wearing shorts a size too big, clambering nervously/excitedly onto the bus for the very first time as a brave little kindergartener.
Sounds soooooo cliche, but it's all true.
They really do grow up so fast.
I can't believe summer is over.
This must have been one of our best, most fun, most memorable summers ever (yep...another post for another day) & I hope hope hope my kids feel the same way.
I need some sleep. Freaking headache is coming back.
Somebody out there has it way worse than me...
This is nothing
A nuisance, a teeny tiny setback.
Nothing.

...good night.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

The need to write

My emotions are so flat lately and I have nothing to write about.
Rather, I'm not moved to write.
Believe me, I'm not dead inside...I've been busy.
I have been running and running and running. Running on trails and tracks and through town after dark (with a friend & brightly colored clothing). Running running running.
Yoga. It's become habit.
Yoga is a good habit.
Painting & drawing.
Sharing my art. Selling my art.
Trying to resist sugar.
Trying to be more here for my family.
Riding my bike and honing my skills on some new trails.
See?
Same post, different day.

I visited my brother last Friday (with my dad).
I didn't even know how to participate in the conversation this time. 
I don't know if it's my meds or me or both or what right now, but whoa.
Social graces kinda confound me right now.
I sat, listening, and mostly just observing my brother's appearance and his voice.
So much is still exactly the same.
And yet...
The jumpsuit. 
And everything that goes along with that.
I haven't seen him alone, just the two of us, since Camp Hill; shortly after our mom died.
I've all but stopped writing to him (I typically write at least weekly and email regularly, too).
I (kinda) told him what's going on, but I don't need him to worry about me.
I have two more years to write plenty of letters to my brother in jail.
It's fine.

My daughter has grabbed toddlerhood by the horns and has made it her job to try (often, in earnest) to break me down.
Everything is a battle.
She's fun and smart and feisty.
She's also moody and defiant and did I already say moody?
Who does she get that from?

These days, I find myself worn out by 9pm, defeated by a two year-old and realizing I will be facing the same ridiculous battles again in less than twelve hours.
This shit is exhausting.
Some days, she most definitely does not get the best of me...sometimes an hour has elapsed without us exchanging a word (she, playing with her Polly Pockets and me, sorting a mountain of laundry).
I know this is when I should be taking advantage of her spongy little mind and relishing in all these teachable moments.
She found a scrub brush and started "cleaning" the concrete front porch with some spilled bubbles.
Oh, how Montessori, I sarcastically mused.
My Early Childhood Ed degree is really helping me shine as a mom.

Anyway.
It's time to take my Klonopin so I can sleep and not fret about money/health/5 lbs of weight gain/Donald Trump/my missing Owl necklace/co-parenting/kids doing drugs in fifth grade/holing up & hiding from my friends/the creaky sound my saddle makes when I ride/my addiction to cold dairy treats in any form or flavor...
I bid you good night.




Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Help

I would do anything to hear my mom's voice today.
Thunder is the next best thing and a storm happens to be slowly rolling in.
I'm sitting on the front porch while Maeve naps because Max is playing GI Joe (or Iron Man?) and his sound effects are going up my spine.
I love that he's still into imaginative play and prefers action figures over video games (or at least has a healthy balance), but I am so on edge and it's like Biz Markie is doing a sound check in my living room (and not in a good way; I love the Biz, but...).
I feel hungover from a really bad breakdown.
Not suicidal/harming-one-one's-self- thoughts per se...but, crisis mode for sure.
I'm not proud of the fact that I shut myself into my room and sobbed in bed for three hours while my children were left to their own devices.
Thankfully, my sensitive & mature ten year-old son had the wherewithal to prepare lunch for his feisty little charge (mint chocolate chip ice cream) and park her in front of Beverly Hills Chihuahua II (on repeat).
I'm never ashamed of crying in front of my kids, but the past week (going on two weeks, truthfully) has been rough. While I want them to understand it's normal and okay to just lose your shit and have a good cry sometimes (sometimes for no reason), I don't want to scare them.
I also don't want to put the onus on my son to take over when mom is having a major breakdown.
That's not cool & that's not fair.
I remember being scared when my mom had particularly low/heavy cycles of depression, but I never felt compelled to have to take care of my brother.
During this particular "episode" that I'm pulling myself out of, I felt utterly stuck.
I knew I needed help and in a hurry.
I wasn't afraid of doing something harmful or reckless, but I was afraid of how I was feeling.
My dad wasn't around, Bill was at work and I really really just wanted my mom.
What do you do when you need your mom and you don't have her anymore?
I do have a vast network of support, but it was really hard to reach out...I didn't know what to say.
Help me?
Beth offered to drop everything at work and come over, but I insisted she stay put.
Why willingly admit you're at a serious low & then not accept help? That doesn't make sense (and nothing nothing nothing makes any sense in that moment).
Bill came home, I slept all afternoon, then ran 3 miles at the track with my friend, Lindsay.
I had forewarned her about my "mood", but ever the perfect running buddy (and awesome friend), she just paced us around & around & around...and around. Knowing what physical activity typically does to improve my state of mind, I really couldn't think of anything more ideal than repeating the track over and over. No obstacles, no roots, no rocks, no hills, no traffic, nothing...it did feel good.
What followed was a totally sleepless night and a morning bouncing between psychologist & psychiatrist.
I get it...I get that this is one of the many things that I'm made of.
To me it's not much different than the part of me that suffers from hay fever or the part of me that has really nice handwriting or the part of me that is terrible at math.
It doesn't matter much why I am depressed. It just is.
And yet.
It isn't all the time.
That's the part that's tricky to remember when I'm in the thick of it.
When I'm really hopeless & can't stop crying or all I can handle is breathing & sleeping and I don't want to be pawed at or talked to...when I can't tolerate music or any sound other than my box fan...when just the thought of a warm bath takes too much energy...when I don't want my kids to need anything from me...when I can't eat or drink or make a decision...it's very easy to forget that it will pass.
Sometimes suddenly, like a switch.
Sometimes, arduously over days and weeks (that maybe stretch into a month).
It's cyclical, unpredictable, not always situational and sneaky.
I did end up getting some help.
A slight change in medication, a few concrete strategies in place for these really bad episodes.
I did end up reaching out to a few friends. Cousins. My husband (the saint).
I tried my best to articulate what's going on; not only because trying to hide it is so tiring, but these people care about me and they can help.

Now I'm going to derail this post and leave things on a high note, okay?
When I woke up Monday morning, I had no idea I was going to see Stevie Wonder perform live at City Hall later that afternoon.
Shortly after Beth texted me something about a free pop-up concert in thecity, I pretty much made up my mind that it was a chance worth taking.
I gathered all manner of kid stuff;  snacks, water, stroller, binky for the inevitable skipped nap during the train ride home...and we hopped on the R5 bound for Suburban Station.
After lounging in the grass at Dilworth Park and devouring a Clementine gelato, the crowd began to swell and descend upon our little spot.
When Stevie took the stage, I got goosebumps.
We enjoyed most of the show over by the fountains...you can't top watching a toddler groove in the puddles to Sir Duke. And Max was stoked when the show closed with Superstition.
I hope I'm making good memories this summer for my kids...
You know, like taking the train on a whim to see a free concert by a living legend at city hall (as opposed to their mom losing her shit & crying for days on end and all that fun stuff).

I wrote this on my phone, so I'm sure there are errors galore. Sorry about that.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The taper

I'm (only) on day three of tapering down my Zoloft dosage (per my shrink, but that's a post for another day...or not) and it suuuuuuuuucks.
I have cried because:
The kid at the comic shop informed me that there was a $10 minimum on credit card purchases (my total was $5.19).
I walked down the street on a clear night at 10pm and heard neighbors laughing.
My dad stopped by to pick up a flyer that I'm working on for an upcoming art show.
Bill hugged me for a second too long.
Max wanted to have a sleepover (with me).
I told Bill about all my crying (and that made me cry).

Those are just a few of the reasons I've cried. It's like really bad PMS without the chocolate cravings and bitchiness.
Sike. There's bitchiness right now, too.

In a way, I find it kind of amusing (though certainly not in the moment) because I can probably count on one hand how many times I've cried in the past year.
Well, let me assure you, I am making up for that now.
Jesus.
In addition to the big fat tears rolling down my face without warning, I'm incredibly unsteady/dizzy, have no appetite, and am very tired.
I just woke up from a two hour nap.
And I'll probably go back to sleep when I am finished crafting this awesomely well-written post.
On the flip side, I was super pleasant (almost manically so) at work on Saturday and...
I guess that's the only flip side so far.
Let me just say this...
Drugs that affect your brain chemistry/serotonin levels are no joke.
Even under the watchful eye of a trusted psychiatrist...even when coupling said medication with psychotherapy. 
Even when the benefits unquestionably outweigh the risks. 
No. Joke.
It's a little bit jarring/unnerving what it feels like almost immediately when you take away a mere 50 milligrams.

Stay tuned, people...
Stay tuned.


Hey, let's hear it for all the Ugly Criers out there...the ones who get tell-tale red splotches that last for hours...the ones with the broken capillaries under your eyebrows...the ones who heave and sob with snotty bubbles and scrunched up foreheads...no amount of cold water splashed on the face or makeup can hide the evidence. I feel you, Ugly Criers.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

It's like this...

I think it's been two weeks today since I last ran.
Bummer.
I've been patiently taking it easy in an attempt to let my Achilles' tendon issue resolve itself. 
(Something about an angry run on pavement coupled with the fact that my shoes are beat)...oops.
The old me would've pushed through and stubbornly ran a crapload of miles on the beach last week (and would be paying the price now with an even worse injury, I'm sure).
Alas, I'm learning.
Learning to be patient.
Learning that rest and recovery are biggies (wait, I knew that already...I just need to actually do just that; rest & recover. Duh)...
I've been on my bike a bit and as always, riding my bike in the woods makes me happy.
And doesn't seem to aggravate the tendon issue.
A nice, solid jaunt on the trails fixes just about anything (or at least clears my head for a while; you know, making room for stuff that actually matters instead of all the crap I'm constantly worrying about).
Which brings me to...

I'm back at therapy.
It started before I went on vacation (funny timing, right?)...
I've had this sadness/flatness pulling at me for a while...I can't point to a specific cause or stressor or situation.
"It's the biochemical part of depression,"
Is what I've been told.
Oh.
Right.
It's not always circumstantial.
There doesn't have to be a reason.
Therapy is weird and tiring and sometimes awkward and almost always helpful/productive.
I've said it before: No shame in my mental health game.
I'm less than proud of the kind of mom/wife/friend I am when I'm not taking care of myself...
I am fortunate to have options and support and the means to seek out help.

We are in the thick of summertime...
I love July and I'm not ready for it to end.



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

(more) On Running...

Every time I've finished a running race lately, I vow to put running aside and get back on my bike.
And then another race comes up and I run again.
And again.
On the Fourth of July, I did the Good Neighbor Day 10k (same race I did the day after my mom's funeral last year)...
I feel like that one is going to be a tradition/ritual for me.
This year, I felt more like a runner as I found my way to the start and felt even more like a runner when I came through the first lap in twenty-five minutes.
I'm not chasing a particular time or result, but I'm trying to learn how to pace myself.
I'm toying with the idea of doing a half-marathon with a good friend of mine...if that's the case, I may finally tap into my husband's wisdom and cobble together an actual training plan.
Last time I formally trained for an athletic endeavor was cross...
Maybe it's time for a little structure again, I don't know.

On the flip side, I did get back on my bike this week.
I treated myself to a babysitter and enjoyed a solid ninety minutes riding in the woods.
(still got it)
Although my legs hadn't recovered from the 10k, I still climbed just fine and felt very comfortable on the trails.
It was fun to zone out and just pedal at my own pace...sometimes casually, sometimes hard.

So.
Before springtime, I was determined to put cross back on my radar and train for racing again.
Now, I am not so sure.
Or rather, I'm pretty sure I'm not delving back into that with all my heart yet.
The beauty of this little conundrum is that my decision isn't really all that important either way...
Are you ever just so thankful that you actually like sweating/maxing out your heart rate/conquering big hills/trying to rip the competition's legs off (even when the competition is just yourself)?
I don't know what makes me this way, but I'm certainly thankful to have found happiness on two wheels/two feet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tick tick tick tick tick...

Boom.
6/24/2014 (Tuesday night)
I don't know it yet, but you're going to die at the end of this week.
I saw you yesterday in the ICU at Chester County Hospital.
Your hair was in a jaunty little ponytail, blonder already from the early summer sun.
Your skin was deeply tan...I always give you shit for not protecting your skin better. 
There's an insidious, horrid infection taking over your body, but none of us know it yet.
You were cracking jokes with dad & laughing with Dr. Yoder, lamenting the awful Lactulose that you hate taking.
You sent me away, insisted we keep our plans to take the kids camping at French Creek.
Honestly, I don't feel that uneasy about it. There's no grim foreshadowing, no signs to speak of.
Dad agrees. Go.
So, I'm sitting at the campfire watching Max light marshmallows on fire and wondering if Maeve is going to sleep tonight.
I rode my bike alone on the trails earlier and willed you to get better and get home soon.
I sent you all kinds of positive juju and good vibes.
I sailed down descents I'm normally afraid of with ease because you gave me confidence that everything would be okay.
(And it is, but...)
You're going to die on Friday.
I'll be there when you take your last breath. I'll be there with dad.
We'll be there with you.
3 more days.
We can't do anything differently, we can't change the course of events and we can't ask for better care for you.
You will be transferred to Penn via chopper; this is serious.
You'll be proclaimed the sickest patient on the floor.
Your condition will just get worse and worse, but the doctors will still puzzle over every possibility...so, so many doctors.
They won't give up until they have tried everything.
This is probably a little jarring, a little hard to follow...trust me, I feel the same way.
It's Tuesday night and your life is really slipping away.
Tomorrow morning, I'll rush back home at dad's urging and you'll be in pretty bad shape.
You're drowsy and I think you're kind of scared.
You tell me, "I think I'm really fucked up, Kim."
I tell you it's going to be fine and thank god I utter a breezy, "love you!" as I hustle out of the ICU to get home to the kids.
(Now I feel uneasy, now I feel a sense of doom)
Is this hard to follow?
Am I jumping all over the place?
Sorry...
That's just how it's going to go.
The next few days are going to be hard to follow.
The next few days are going to blur together and get mixed up.
There's going to be a frantic drive in the middle of the night to Penn...and a dearth of machines and bags and wires and blips and beeps and tape and bandages and whirring and whooshing.
Not yet, though.
Right now, it's still just Tuesday night and you are still 4 minutes down the road, just a few miles south of our home...serious, yet not grave.
They haven't decided to move you to Penn yet.
I don't know you only have a few more days, the last of which you will barely open your eyes.
I don't even know what life support looks like in real life yet.
I haven't even remotely gone there in my mind yet because...
Pony tail. Laughing. Wide eyes. Cute. 
Alive.





Sunday, May 31, 2015

June

Tomorrow is June 1st.
I've been dreading June...
Every day, we're getting closer & closer to the one year date since my mom died (6/27/14) and it's making me very anxious. Maybe because I can't say to myself, "this time last year we celebrated Max's last day of school/went shopping for Father's Day/tried that new restaurant etc etc etc". I don't know what it is about the one year mark, but I just don't want to get there. Makes no sense, doesn't have to. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

And it's nearly June...

Man.
Blogging has fallen waaaaay off my radar.
I've been more driven to draw/sketch than write. 
Day after day, I bust out the colored pencils and practice practice practice.
Ideally, I'd like to get into some kind of class or lessons.
You know what else has fallen waaaaay off my radar?
Riding my bike.
Lately, I run in favor of riding.
I just happen to enjoy it a lot right now,
so I run.
I keep seeking out these trail 10ks because it seems like a good distance for me. I've seen some beautiful new places and trails in the past few months thanks to these races.
And I know I've touched on it before, but I really do feel connected to my mom when I'm running.
I can't believe we're approaching the one year mark of her death.
Is it weird that I don't want it to be a whole year already since she died?
I don't know why that's hanging over my head, but grief is weird.

I've been sick with a stupid kidney infection this week and (no surprise), I just want my mom.
I just want to be like, "Here, can you take my kids for an hour so I can at least be uncomfortable in an empty, quiet house?"
I just want to be like, "Hey, mom, can you make some Queen soup for me?"
I guess I could try to make it, but it wouldn't be the same.

Maybe the tone of this post suggests I'm not doing so great, but that's just today.
I'm good ☺


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shaking things up

I turned 40 last week...
I have good feelings about my age, so there's really not much to expound upon.
If anything, I'm like, "yay! I got here, let's keep going."
Every day, every year is a gift. As long as I can keep moving & laughing, I can handle anything (I think).
I've been riding a few times a week and it feels so amazing to be back on trails, back in short sleeves, back in the saddle (literally).
I've also been running and have recently challenged myself to a few trail races (10Ks). While I'm not setting the trails on fire with my pace or anything, I'm really digging it.
I find myself thinking about my mom a lot whenever I run/"race." Running was her thing and I like to think I'm channeling my inner Mare when I want to pass someone or when I need to push harder.
All these years, I've shared so many interests & pursuits with my dad (which is awesome, don't get me wrong) and I wish my mom was here to see me embrace something she was so great at.
I mean, who really cares about you placing third in your age group?
Your mom, that's who...

I've decided no mountain bike races for me this season...none, not even "for fun", not even our team race (On the Rocks at French Creek, my fave).
Races cost money and races eat up a whole day.
I'd rather spend the cash on a babysitter and ride with my husband.
Check in with me come fall, though...
I bet I'll be gearing up for a few cross races.

What else?
My dad & I took the kids to see my brother last week.
The worst part of visiting him is when we're in the little "holding pen" (after we've checked in, before we're called back to go to the visiting room).
I always feel uneasy and anxious, thinking about the day he'll finally come through the same door carrying all his possessions, a free man. I worry about all that has transpired since his sentence commenced and I worry about all that can still transpire in the coming years.
But, then we're called back and there's Rob and all is (mostly) well.
He showed Max a few card tricks, read a book to Maeve (Brown Bear, Brown Bear), and shared a mountain of microwave popcorn with us (he's got to be the only inmate who covers a tray with napkins and dumps out THREE bags of popcorn onto it).
I always feel so mentally exhausted (not necessarily in a bad way, but it's a very emotionally taxing experience) after visiting my brother and am almost thankful for the long ride home to sort of decompress (until the kids start coming unglued about 25 miles from our exit).
So that's that...two+ years to go {sigh}.

Having said all that, I guess I'm not exactly shaking things up after all.
But, I don't know what else to call this post.
Drawing has taken the place of writing for a while now. The little bit of writing I do consists of letters to my brother and my friend, Kate, in Colorado.
When the house is quiet, I like to zone out with my colored pencils and just draw draw draw...

Shaking things up?
Not quite...

Friday, March 6, 2015

Right in the gut...POW!

I woke up feeling like, "hmmmm, it's been a while since my mom called me," 
As if she's still alive & we've both been too busy to catch up (which rarely happened because we'd seldom go more than a day without at least calling each other...several times, at that).
The only time I really answer our house phone (yep, we still have a land line) is when my parents' number flashes on caller ID.
So, for that fleeting moment this morning, I felt like my mom was going to call me.
Swiftly, that thought/feeling fizzled, burnt out, snuffed...
Man.
From the top of the world, light as a feather, high as a motherf*cking kite to
POW punched in the gut.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why I Shouldn't/can't Drink (beer)

Well...
Reason #1: (see above mess that is the "title" of this "post"...slashes, gratuitous parentheses, wack punctuation...ugh)
Reason #2: see reason #1 (a pattern emerges, huh?)

when will I learn??
One (one!!) full pint (two beers that I couldn't finish=nearly one actually consumed) and I wake up at 2am thinking I must be having a heart attack.**

And decide blogging (not *drunk* blogging per se, but very tired yet can't sleep blogging) is the better course of action than, I don't know, calling an ambulance??

I know these chest pains are just my body's way of reminding me that while Hopdevil is delicious, just one will give me heartburn & disrupt my sleep.

And this is why I (typically) don't drink.

Every once in a while, I break form and imbibe just a little bit...inevitably, even a little bit is too much.

Alcohol makes me feel really, really exceptionally shitty.
I don't like feeling this way.
That's why I don't drink.
No big secret, no issues...I just can't handle even a little bit anymore.

This'll be a fun one to revisit in the light of day.
I guess I'll go eat an entire sleeve (roll?) of Tums & read US Weekly because what else is there at 2:41am?

I've been thinking a lot about social drinking and the culture of buzzed/drunk driving...but, that's another post for another (more lucid, less tired) time.
How about you?
How often & how much do you imbibe?
Am I the only one who literally can't handle their liquor (or beer, as it were), the older I get? 
(full disclosure: I am certain my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds have something to do with this, which is probably a good thing)


**beer math is much harder than shoe math (no wonder 4th grade homework confounds me)


Completely unrelated, but worth mentioning:
I am such a jerk.
I forgot my best friend's 40th birthday last week & didn't realize my mistake til 3 days too late.

Also, completely unrelated (but, it would be weird to devote an entire post to):
My dad has a girlfriend. 
I get weird looks (sympathetic?) when I tell people about her (when I'm asked how my dad is doing & I'm like, "He's great...he's busy/he's climbing/he has a girlfriend...").
Guys, it's cool.
I'm fine.
I like her...like, genuinely like her.
They clearly make each other very happy and really, what more could I want for my dad?
Seriously...relax.
It's cool. 
Trust me, my mom would not want him to be alone (I think she'd be more pissed about the black wheels and ice climbing sticker on "her" car).

Wow, this post sure went off the rails.
See what I mean???




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ask & ye shall receive

This afternoon, I received a message from a mom/friend (meaning, we have hung out once in real life, but our paths cross every day via our local-ish Facebook Mom's Group). Her message urged me to start a blog so she can read it (something very graciously along the lines of my posts are usually so relatable...huge, huge compliment).
I wanted to write back, "Be careful what you wish for," but thought better of it & sheepishly/enthusiastically shot her a link to...this.
I warned her it's been nothing but crickets the past few months.
This year has easily been the most quiet on the blog-front since its humble little inception nearly 8 (EIGHT) years ago.
I wish I could say I've been too busy riding/traveling/wrangling kids/having adventures to write/blog; the truth, conversely, is that I haven't been too busy doing much of anything.
My two year-old purposely took a header/jail break out of her crib a few weeks ago, so we went through the inevitable big-girl-bed transition. 
I can happily report she hasn't yet discovered that her door is unlocked and she could potentially help herself to an entire stick of butter, mommy's variety pack of 24 brand new Sharpies, every roll of toilet paper in the house, or any other manner of off-limits stuff while the rest of her family sleeps.
So, there was that.
What else has been keeping me not busy?
Fourth Grade.
I hate Fourth Grade. Like, hate hate.
Fourth grade can eat a...
Nevermind, that's a little inappropriate.
I hate math homework, I hate wrinkled papers, I hate online assignments when the wi-fi craps out, I hate excuse forms that I forget to fill out, I hate conferences and e-mails about my son's inability to remember his "basic facts," I hate the whole lunch money/cafeteria situation (seriously, where does my cash go? I send him with a FIVE DOLLAR bill for pizza and he comes home like, "Pizza was good, but I owe money")...
Do you know how many pairs of outgrown shoes I yardsaled for that five dollar bill?! (Yardsold? I digress)
So, I'm not a fan of fourth grade.
I was all pumped to be super involved and organized and generally just on it this year, but then my mom had to go and die and RUIN everything...
(Relax...I'm kidding, I'm kidding...I love my mom and miss her every single day and no, I don't blame all my laziness and shortcomings on her untimely death...I mean, come on. Everyone knows I was scatterbrained while she was alive)
And that's about it.
Kid stuff...lots of kid stuff.

That was easy.
There's more.
I'll save it (wink wink).


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Still here (just not *here*)

I've been drawing a lot more than writing.
My Prismacolors are getting worn down to stubs.
Those bitches are expensive!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Kind of a big deal...

My therapist, Tony, gave me the okay to not come back for the foreseeable future.
At the end of this morning's session, I walked out of the office feeling...
Proud??
Lighter??
(And I think it's worth mentioning that the sun was shining, the sky was blue...a reminder that February is a short month and there will be signs of spring in March)
Not proud because I was given the green light to stop psychotherapy...I guess proud of seeing it through and not giving up this time.
Needless to say, that door is always open should I feel compelled...and that door feels a lot less intimidating than it used to.
For now, I am good.
I am well.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Another Thursday


I'm the laziest laze that ever lazed today...
My little one woke up out of sorts, crying and pointing to her toes, demanding me to "fix it? fix it!" Tears continued and I also had to kiss invisible boo-boos on her forearm about thirty times.
Maybe she's coming down with something, who knows?
I bailed on ride plans, cancelled the sitter, and pretty much followed the little Queen's lead for the entire morning.
Rudolph (Oo-doff) movie again?
Sure.
Paints?
Sure (this time, I cut up a new sponge & let her figure out what to do with that...big hit).
Playdoh?
Okaaaaay (which means I end up making a dozen little bears...and binkies, blankets, beds, pillows, and treats for the bears per the little Queen's requests).
And that's what filled up our morning.
She didn't touch the grilled cheese she asked for (and I wasn't hungry, either)...
We read three books and then she gathered all her very specific nap gear and toddled into her room.
I love this age...she's stringing more and more words together, expressing opinions (what she does or doesn't want to wear), playing independently in her own little world (or, conversely, playing imaginatively with her big brother).
I think all this action wears us both out sometimes.
After I tucked her in, I sacked out on the couch and slept soundly for two (TWO!)
solid hours.
Upon waking, I decided to continue my lazing & proceeded to eat my first bag of Cadbury mini eggs of the season.
(Easter candy on the shelves before Valentine's Day? Why?)
That's been my Thursday...that's it, that's all.
Some days are super-productive and even I'm impressed with how smoothly everything went/how much I accomplished/how awesome the pizza dough turned out/how great that workout felt blah blah blah blah...
Not this Thursday, though.
I might not even set foot outside my house (but, I will take a shower...eventually).
Some days (few and far between, but still...), I truly, unapologetically, laze.



Thursday, January 22, 2015

"You just gotta keep livin, man. L-I-V-I-N..."

Last week I was in a major major funk...
Like break down and cry and then cry some more and then keep crying and crying funk.
Tissues balled up, heaving sobs...poor, hapless husband out of ideas, yet not for lack of trying (man, I lucked out with him).
I missed my mom.
I missed my mom like a big baby.
My dad was away and I was having a very feeling-sorry-for-myself moment (a moment that lasted about 48 hours, if we're counting)...I was in full-on wallow mode and there was no getting around or out of it.
I really really really missed my mom.
I mean, I miss her all the time, but I'm not consumed by it.
Last week, I think it's safe to say I was a bit consumed by it.
The things I miss most about my mom lately:
Just her voice and laugh...duh.
Counting on her to just simply hang out with me during the most basic or mundane of tasks..."Mom, I'm cleaning my laundry room/running to Target/raking leaves/grocery shopping/baking banana bread, want to keep me company?" and more times than not, she'd not only be up for it, she'd make it fun.
Asking her for advice...whenever I'm on the verge of a huge parenting fail, I miss calling my mom for guidance/reassurance/a reality check ("Kimberly, Kimberly, Kimberly...")
Again, I find it's the little things lately...

I went to the cemetery after the snow a few weeks ago and drew silly doodles and notes with a stick all around her site. I don't know what else to do sometimes, you know?
Sometimes, I'm there and I talk out loud.
Sometimes, I'm just sitting there, completely zoned out and thinking of everything but my mom.

Anyway, the day after my most recent meltdown, I stumbled upon Dazed & Confused on IFC after the kids were in bed...right from the opening credits.
Twenty-two years ago, my mom and I saw it in the movie theater together the night it premiered.
We may have giddily pre-gamed in the parking lot (discreetly) in keeping with the errrrr, spirit of the movie.
It was an awesome, albeit ordinary, night out with my mom.
So, I watched it again and felt better when it was over (without any herbal enhancements, I might add).
While I don't think I'd chalk that one up to divine intervention, I can't completely discount that notion.

And, hey, it's a f*cking great movie...I don't care what you say.