Friday, April 21, 2006

The People You See at the Places You Go

Yesterday evening, it was sunny and warm, so OC and I went to the park. We took along her tricycle as there was a nice, flat path around the baseball fields which adjoined the park's playground. The park is her favorite thing to do, ever. Other loves, in descending order: Scooby Doo movies, the color pink, The Simpson's, Thomas the Tank Engine, the color purple.

The park is an interesting place to people-watch. There are the kids playing at the park whose parents or older siblings are playing softball/baseball in the nearby fields, there are the parents of little kids helping them climb and navigate the colorful plastic toddler areas, there are the big kids talking about school/boys/girls/their parents/music on the swings, there are the kids playing tennis on the courts, the kids checking out the creek and looking for frogs, and the overly-enthusiastic theatre-major parents. That last one? Those are the most amusing to watch.

There was a couple at the park last night who both seemed to major in theater in college. They were young, fresh-faced, healthy looking people who were VERY OUTGOING, and who very enthusiastically played with their young son, who looked to be between 12 and 18 months old. They were effervescent. What does "very enthusiastic" look like? It's two people making enormous, wide-eyed faces, sucking in air and saying, "Oh!!!!!!!!!!! I'm gonna get you!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh!!!!!!!! There's daddy!!!!!! OH!!!!!!! Where's my boy!!!!! OHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Oh. My. God. They were annoying. But also, very sweet. I watched them as they displayed an inhuman level of energy and enthusiasm for being at the park with their child. They BOTH were that way. It was like the newness of having a newborn hadn't worn off yet, and they were still thrilled and unscathed by the challenges of parenthood. I just couldn't relate. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to be at the park and enjoying some time with my daughter. Time is so precious, and we were spending it TOGETHER, doing something FUN, I should've been twirling and shouting....but that's just not me. I was not a theater major, and I do not, by default, get bubbly unless I've been drinking.

I don't mean to express displeasure with theater majors. It's just that you're so interesting to watch, what with all the expressiveness going on. I have nothing but love for you.

I had better get used to all the people who go to the park, including SAHM's, because I am quit my job. Yep, just like her, and for many of the same reasons with much of the same feelings of relief.

My last day is May 31st.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm Going to Ireland!

If my passport shows up, that is.

Work is going okay, nothing crazy is going on that I have to coordinate or stay late to finish. I am waiting for the weekend to painstakingly pack my clothes. I am determined not to take too much. I think I will do okay with that, as I will remind myself that I need to leave room for things I want to buy and bring home. Yes, threatening and intimidating (myself) about not being able to bring home new purchases works every time. I am such a badass.

I just checked the TSA's website for limitations on knitting needles and read conflicting information. Basically, knitting needles are allowed in both carry-on and checked baggage. BUT! There is also a note that says, "...there is the possibility that the needles can be perceived as a possible weapon by the TSA screener. TSA screeners have the authority to determine if an item could be used as a weapon and may not allow said item to pass through security. TSA recommends...circular needles less than 31 inches in total length...needles made of plastic or bamboo (not metal) is recommended that you carry a self addressed envelope so that you can mail your tools back to yourself as opposed to surrendering them at the security check point..."

Oh, my. So, can I bring my needles or not? I have plastic circular needle set, which collectively would equal more than 31 inches, but does a 32-year old graphic designer from Portland with weak upper body strength merit as a threat with my nifty plastic set of knitting needles? I don't think so, but who knows what goes on in the minds of a TSA agent? It goes on further to say, "as a precautionary measure it is recommended that you carry a crochet hook with yarn to save the work you have already done in case your knitting tools are surrendered at the checkpoint."

Gee, thanks! Because that's not inconvenient or ridiculous at all!

Okay, okay, safety for the masses over a little inconvenience for one. All right. But, still... If you knew me, you would not be scared of my knitting needle wielding self. The only one I am capable of intimidating is myself, what with those masterful threats of an overcrowded suitcase.

Other than the TSA bum rushing my show, I'm otherwise very excited to go on vacation. We're going to see some great places, drink beer and whiskey, relax, and bring coolness to the words: "We're from America!" again. We will represent. Except that I really don't want to mention where I'm from, just in case somebody is pissed at us, collectively. I am a wimp that way.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Remember to...

Have courage to keep going when no one else believes in us...

Use vision to see past the fear to where beauty lies...

Listen to our inner truth to see that there is possibility and hope...

The third day is about hope; it's about life, future, possibility. No matter how the first and second days may be filled with agony, suffering, and grief; there is always the promise of the third day and all the good things it holds. The third day is coming. It's there. Just believe, and hold on. Keep trying, and breathe.......

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Full-On, Unpretty Truth in Thought

I am not pregnant, but OH and I have been talking, bantering about the idea of having a child together. What a wonderful idea, I think. I love my husband, I would love to have a baby with a man I am so in love with! Then two milliseconds later, against my will I enter Freakedthefuckoutland, where I am paralyzed and can hardly breathe. This is why:

I have read two separate blog entries recently where mothers describe their children as totally worth the spit-up stained shirts, sleepless nights, and the like. This made me respond in two very disparate ways. On the one hand, I thought how right they are. Babies are so cute, cuddly, and chubby! Love the babies! And then I remembered the crying. Oh god, the endless crying. And the screaming. Endless screaming alternating with endless crying; ongoing physical pain, sleeplessness; not to mention the wild emotional ride of not knowing what that screaming ball of anger wants or needs, or when they will actually stop crying.

What if you agree that it's worth it to sacrifice for a child you already have, but question your ability to do it for a child you in the future? In other words, why is it so hard to get past thinking about how hard it is to have another baby?

When you have a baby, you think it's hard, but you're in it, you're doing it. Sometimes it's not that bad. And then there's all that great chubby, cuddly reward stuff and there's how your heart is all overflowing with love for that wonderful little baby right in front of you. I mean, it's hard enough to work up the enthusiasm needed to go on in the midst of feeding and sleeping problems when your darling baby is right in front of you, but what about an unseen future child? How can you get all excited and geared up for sore boobs, sleep deprivation, and a much more stressful marriage for some future baby whose head you haven't smelled yet? (Because the head smell? Will suck you right in to their little world. I don't know what it is.)

How do parents gear up for the second baby, when this time they have some idea of what they're getting themselves into? Of course, every child is different, but you know right now the little bundle of need is going to eat every two motherfucking hours for weeks at a time, will require dozens of diapers changed per day, all while you endure the physical pain and changes your body will undergo, the likes of which you've known already. And let's face it, now you are older, so it's probably going to be a lot worse.

I am scared. This is all fear. Useless, paralyzing fear. I suspect that I am not ready to ramp up my stress level from happily medicated to batshit crazy, the only kind of batshit crazy that being the parent of a newborn baby can bring. Maybe that's because I want to puke every time I see Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Or maybe it's not. Maybe I am internalizing her experience from my outside-looking-in perspective. From there, it looks like she has been absorbed into his life, with no life or separate identity of her own now that she's his personal baby incubator. Maybe it's that, but it could be the sleep thing.

I like my sleep. I also like my sanity. And, and, I have a brain, you know! *sigh*

What I really want to say is, how do you know you're good enough to have another baby, when you've made so many mistakes with the one you've already got? How do you justify it then? Please don't say, "Learn from your mistakes", because, duh! What I mean is, how do you do this again, knowing it's hard and you will make mistakes, and there's no guarantee that you won't make the same mistakes again, or worse this time around? What do you think? What do you tell yourself? How do you know you can do this?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Time, T- Time Time

What didn't come through in that last post is how freaking tired I am of being stressed out and pressed for time. All the time, I am pressed for time. Each day is filled to the brim with scheduled Places To Be and People I Will Disappoint If I Am Not There. I'm not the Queen of England ('cause I know that was your guess) but rather a regular mom with a job. How did this extreme pressure happen? How did it get to be that there are all these places I must be and there's no time for anything else? No time to get together with friends, but rather just Go Here, Go There, And Hurry Up Already. I am so sick of that.

What's more is, the garage still has my crap in it; the house is still messy; it's not all organized from when I moved last October. My husband wants his garage back, like, NOW, and I want to give it to him, like YESTERDAY, and holy mother of geese, WHEN am I going to actually do it?!? Make a difference?!?

I picked up a newsletter freelance thing, which will be great when I'm not working full time. But for now, I have TWO jobs. Plus, the taxes to do. Plus, you know, that little girl that I'm in charge of raising. What time does she get? Whatever time's leftover, is what. Yuck. Then there's that man I married. What about him?

Do you think, "Allright already, stop complaining. You're quitting your job. Problem solved."? Yes, in May. At the end of May. After I explode from being squeezed by all this scheduling. At which point my husband can gather up all the quivering jelly parts of me, put them in a wheelchair, and wheel me up to the table to do some soul-soothing jewelry design with the aid of a robotic arm with computerized voice recognition software.

The problem with working and having a family is and always will be the issue of balance. How to balance work, getting to work, getting ready to work, taking care of child(ren), home life, husband-or-wife-or-partner relationship, and time for (gasp!) yourself. Who is that, anyway, this self-person?

I haven't had time for myself lately, and that very well may be the reason I am going cuckoo at the moment. Oh hell, I take that back. I did do something for myself just last Friday night: I designed a necklace. And redesigned it, and futzed with it, then finally got fed up with it and went to bed. Saturday morning, I got up and redesigned the hell out of it until I was finally satisfied with it. This was what I needed to do, to work with my hands and get absorbed by an activity I actually enjoyed for more than 20 minutes without being interrupted. My soul was soothed by it, and then I had to leave for an all day thing, and then Sunday was work-work-taxes-work-work-bed-wish-for-death-in-order-to-finally-rest.

If I don't get to do something like that, something I enjoy where I can become absorbed and let my body relax and my mind wander and ponder things other than The Schedule And All That I Am Not Doing Well, it does me a lot of good. So how come I feel a little bad for taking this time? How come it has to be taken at the cost of Everything That Is Waiting To Be Done While Your Sorry Ass is Doing Something For Yourself? Because I haven't found that balance I spoke of earlier. I am full-tilt into Go Go Go, and, I hate to use the word, feel somewhat guilty about doing things that soothe me. Why?

That is not a rhetorical question. I actually want to know the answer. And then I just want to smack myself for asking stupid questions.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Post Which Will Serve as a Reminder of How Badly I Needed to Stop Working and I Will Read When I'm at Home Headed Full Tilt Toward Obscurity

It was just one of those mornings. OC has trouble with transitions, so the whining commenced as soon as she woke up. How I wish I could've sat with her for longer than I did, rubbing her pajama'd back and telling her it was okay. But it was time to get ready to go.

There was some kind of traffic tie-up and it took almost an hour longer to get to work. For once, it was not my fault, but that's time that I'll need to make up nonetheless.

We parked, got our stuff and began to walk to school. We got as far as one block before I realized I had forgotten OC's lunch. It was lucky I noticed, laden as I was with our normal bags plus an umbrella. Back to the car!

Eventually, we got to school where we were met with screams from the other kids. OC is here! Try to compete with a screaming four-year old acting silly, it's tough. I managed to get her stuff put away and her breakfast out amidst the excitement. The good part was, in all that excitement it made it easier for me to leave, because she was occupied.

She keeps saying she doesn't like school. Why? The teachers are wonderful and enthusiastic, the space is large and has lots of room for their different play areas, there are always new projects and things to do. It turns out that there is one girl who drives OC nuts. She's a little different, this girl. I'm not quite sure what is going on with her, but she is developmentally behind. She's loud, fidgety, and has trouble settling down. She looks to OC for friendship, but also they are the only kids there near the same age. The other kids are much younger. During the Christmas show, I was about to go manhandle her away from OC, because she kept backing up and hitting OC with her body, and they were doing ballet. I realized how silly it was to get angry, but still, I was getting annoyed with it. This is what OC deals with on a daily basis. I don't blame her for not wanting to be there. She's not going to be there for much longer. At least there's that.

The weekend was over way too quickly. I went to a bridal shower on Saturday which was fun, but took the whole damn day. Good grief. I was a bit on the periphery of this group, which kind of felt weird but they were all so nice. I like the woman who it was for, and I have to say her family was so welcoming that it really helped get over the awkwardness of feeling a little out of place. And hell, the food was excellent! Plus, there's the M-E-D-I-C-A-T-I-O-N. Yes, indeedy.

Finally, this may give you a big clue as to my true nature: In preparing to open a package of Junior Mints and faced with the end of the box on which is printed, "Open Other End".....I do. To what purpose does this serve, to follow the rules to that end? That's a rhetorical question.

Friday, April 07, 2006

In Which I Discuss My Butt and Also The Lack of Potential That I Suffer From Symptoms of Blood-Related Cancer

Yesterday, I got a sore butt from sitting so long at my desk. I was still feeling crappy and had such low energy that I sat at my desk for much longer than I normally do, eschewing opportunities for small breaks to get up and walk around a little bit and instead opted to hang on to what little energy reserves I might have managed to find. The result of all that sitting, is that my butt. Is. So. Sore. Can you get bedsores from sitting so long?

I'm feeling better today. My throat is still kind of sore, but much better. My energy is much better, too. The diagnosis no longer includes leukemia; the hysterical breakdown has been averted. For now.

Last night, OC and I were playing a game with the bunny grahams (which, you might infer, are little graham crackers shaped like bunnies. Clever!). We had these two bunnies, both named Hopsy, who liked to talk to one another and hop around and such. It was fun. Anyway, pretty soon I had to stop playing with my Hopsy because my arm got tired and I was driving and all, so OC took over for both Hopsies. I handed her some mini carrots to snack on while we were driving home because, Ha! Bunny food! The cleverness never ends.

Not long after that, I hear her say, "Here ya go. One to a customew."

One to a customer??? Where did she hear that? And, what else does she know that I don't know about? I hope she never stops saying her r's as w's. You should hear it, it's the most adorable thing in the world!

Cut to this morning. As we were driving in to work and school, she told me she knows what the inside of a Barbie looks like. Cool, I'm thinking: "They dissected a Barbie doll at school! How did they do that without freaking out the kids? I want to see what a Barbie doll looks like on the inside."

I asked OC what was on the inside, and she said they saw a poster, which I am assuming is of the human body's innards and not, sadly, Barbie's.

She told me, "Bones. And a bag-thingy (points to abdomen), and vine things, like in your legs or something."

I love this time in the car with my daughter. I learn all sorts of useful things, like how my uterus is a bag-thingy and there are vines in my legs.

She's going to get a kick out of this entry when she's older. Especially the part about my sore butt.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Hello, I'm sick. Yesterday found me at home with a sore throat, fever, achy body parts, and extreme fatigue. Yes, I've already hypochondriac-ed out and thought I could have leukemia. However, I have put that to rest because there are no bruises, no joint pain, and today I have more energy. I still have a sore throat, though, but I'm back at work.

I'm thinking it's possible that I could be anemic, as I frequently experience fatigue and some shortness of breath. That could also be attributed to my being a full-time working mother of a very chatty 5-year-old with an hour commute and a monster To Do list plus there's the part where I'm slightly out of shape due to a lack of regular exercise. Maybe? Hmmm.

I've been sucking down grape juice and tea, and thinking weird thoughts. Things like, "If your skin gets infections from being submersed in water for hours and days on end, what is it that allows the inside of your mouth to be covered in saliva all the time and remain healthy?" (It's different tissue than skin, yes; saliva is different than water, true; don't go and ruin my fever-induced ruminations with your science, man...)

And then I start thinking how cool and amazing the body is in all it's functions; the checks and balances within itself to regulate and run all those systems. Let's face it, the heart is just freaky when you think about it, contracting all by itself, automatically adjusting the frequency of the contractions to match your movements whether it's more or less.

I start thinking of all of this right before I pass out from the complexity of these thoughts, coupled with my lack of comprehension because dude, I have a sore throat and am slightly feverish. Maybe it's strep throat?

Monday, April 03, 2006


A Woman whom I work with lost her husband suddenly while on vacation last month, and today was her first day back to work. She was in line in front of another coworker and myself at the coffee shop this morning. The barista at the coffee shop recognized her, and asked how her trip was, saying that she sure had been gone a long time. There was a terrible pause, and a silence descended to create a vacuum. The grief which seeped into that void was palpable. The Woman had her back to me, but I knew what was happening to her. I knew how she felt inside at that moment, as anybody who's experienced grief would know: like a wrecking ball had just taken aim at your stomach and has squarely met its mark and found the part of you which has just experienced the deepest, most painful type of loss. That in itself is bad enough, but now all of that effort and energy exerted to get herself to work, to try and do something normal like get some coffee when something terribly abnormal has just happened; that tenuous sense of normalcy has now just been ripped to shreds by a single, simple question from a well-meaning, sweet girl just trying to be friendly.

The requirement now? To speak those unthinkable words: the Terrible, Shocking Truth that you have lost a loved one. Saying it out loud can be the hardest thing you will ever be faced with, the shock of the words bringing new waves of grief when you are trying valiantly not to let it overtake you from one moment to the next, and especially while out in public.

I didn't hear what she actually said, but after she said it the barista came around the counter and hugged her. For a long time. After she'd gotten her coffee, the Woman turned around and hugged us, too.

The freshly grieving have such tenuous moments of security. Most of the time, you feel as though your insides just received electric shock therapy. Your mind certainly feels that way.

And then she said something very interesting. While I can't remember her exact wording, it was something like, "It will be interesting to see how this process unfolds." It was an analytical statement, and sounded detached from the grief. Although, she really wasn't. It's just something that pops out of our mouths when other people are trying to be nice and say things like, "I'm sorry" and the like. It's something to fill the space, to give your mind something to think about, other than the Truth. Because when it comes to grief, there's only so much Truth that we can take in a day.

I found a tape I have with my dad's voice on it and listened to it this weekend. I wasn't sure where the tape had ended up since the move to OH's house. It was a short radio interview from five years ago when I nominated him to be recognized for what he did during his two tours of duty in Vietnam for Veteran's Day. He was characteristically humble while telling the story of a terrifying day where he participated in a rescue mission, but I was happy to hear again how he got to receive praise and thanks for what he did which was amazing and noteworthy and he needed to know that.

I listened to it while OH and OC hugged me, while the tears poured out of my eyes even though I was thrilled just to hear his voice again. Lately I've been thinking about how much I miss him. I even thought about what life would be like if he was still alive and my parents still lived nearby, and what he would've thought of my new husband, and how the granddaughters would be able to see him and how great that would be....

I started to think how it's futile and self-defeating to think this way. It did make me sad because it's never going to be that way. He is not alive, and never will be again, and I really hate that.

Then I thought that maybe it's okay to go ahead and admit that I think these things sometimes. I have accepted reality, but the truth is that I miss him a lot, that I do wish he were still here, and I do wish my daughter could have known him longer. That's all true, too; it's okay because I'm not stuck being angry. It doesn't fill my thoughts (anymore). It makes me remember him and makes me think about how I want to live my life. I'm not wallowing in wishes, I'm acknowledging how I feel and letting go. That is the kind of transformation I am experiencing now.

Life is all about transformation. It is the only thing that we can be sure will happen in life. But it is so very hard for the people left behind.