4/11/2017

Retro Planets

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Apparently if you're feeling a bit stuck and frustrated, that's to be expected this month. 

There are five planets going "retrograde" this month. To clarify, this is not the same as "Old Skool Grade" which One might think if you have no idea about astrology or even what science calls a planet appearing to go the opposite direction as the rest of the stars, but apparently this is a Big Deal.

As in, to quote a very reliable source, "Wow, I don’t know who pissed off whom, but this April is shaping up to be a real fuck-show."

So, let me right now recursively nerdly tell you I'm sorry to the entire world on everything I say between now and May 3rd because Mercury. 

chmod -R 777 /theWholeWorld/sorryForWhatISayUtilMay3

And while we're here: Other Retro Things

I figured since things are going retro, I'd participate in hopes to not piss off any more Juju / Karma / Gods Of The Sky / etc. Maybe if we keep the Universe entertained enough, shit won't hit the figurative fan.  Continue...

4/5/2017

My daughter is my hero

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I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately. I answer and hear a sniffing, shaky voice on the other side. It’s barely audible. It’s my daughter, reaching out from her adolescence, searching for some guidance. 

She is my hero.

Her world is beyond her now. Her confident and spontaneous childhood is being replaced by the expectations and uncertainty of puberty, of the public school system, of unspoken rituals. When she feels like she doesn’t know what to do, she calls me from school. Sometimes I don’t know what to do, either, so we breathe together. Sometimes we cry together. She is brave for calling, for being so vulnerable from the science room’s telephone. She is standing alone in the empty classroom, the tile cold and hard below her feet, the room dim from missing lights and the emptiness of first lunch, and she stands there holding the phone with two hands, alone, but not alone.

She is my hero.

When she is at home she is still our Lolo, the one who stormed in to our lives like a tornado, making everything fresh and new and uncertain. She’s the same girl who creates worlds and characters and imagery. She still leans in to her dad when we watch Dr. Who, still dances with me in the front of the car while I ferry us around, doing our best arm motions and head bobbing to the music.  She still plays with her brother, a small if decreasing portion of the day, where they coordinate minecraft tools and build houses across the street from each other.  Continue...

2/13/2017

I hit shuffle on the mom lecture playlist and got schooled as a result

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This weekend was not unique, except it was. I think this is how most of life's daily reflections should start. "Today was normal, except it was exceptional." At least that is my goal for life; an exceptionally normal, wonderful life. 

So this weekend was a completely normal, usual, nothing of a weekend. The boy child had a soccer game. I had some work to do. The girl child had some homework to catch up on. And the dog was an annoying asshole. You know, the usual. So after arriving early for the soccer game, I told the Girl that we were going to walk to the coffee shop around the corner. "I found this place on google. It says there are snacks and caffeine. We should walk there." 

"Why don't we just drive?" replied the 12 year old skinny girl who under-appreciates a good outdoor experience until she's forced in to it.

"Because I was just in Spain for two weeks and homegirls don't drive in Spain; they walk." I call this parenting, y'all. I should probably attend some classes.

We walked along the dangerous, non pedestrian friendly roads to the "coffee shop", which turned out to be a drive through coffee stand at a gas station. I am not in Spain, I am reminded loudly by the cars and the cars and the bigger, more loud cars. We use the toilets, labeled "Restrooms" just to confuse the matter, and purchase a few "fresh" snacks that sit along shelves of car oil and greeting cards.  Continue...

10/9/2014

In which I write loud letters from the bathroom

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I can’t tell you how many times I hear the Lost in Translation quote in my head. It doesn’t sound like the movie, it sounds like a dear friend of mine from my First Real Job at Portland Public Schools; “But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk… and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.”

Jenna told me this when her own baby was only a few years old. I remember so vividly because I hadn’t had children yet, but the idea stuck with a tar-like dignity that warms in the sun on certain occasions.

Tonight was such an occasion.

The nine year old girl had asked for some time to take a bath; a legitimate luxury given the schedule most days. Tonight was a fine night to do so, so we answered with a “Of course!” like any parent who can finally grant their child’s ridiculously small wishes.

About thirty minutes later I sing-sang up to her that it is time to get out and hello, was it me she was looking for? Continue...

9/12/2014

A goodbye card to my Aunt Marcella

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Why do people die in December? Why does everyone decide to leave earth in December? Because the Christians are singing about a birth? Because families are together and can support each other? Because it’s cold?

My Aunt Marcella decided it was time to leave this earth today. You know my Aunt Marci. I wrote about her.

My mom texted me this morning with the news as I was entering a long, difficult, detailed meeting. I didn’t have time to think or process this news. I called my husband as soon as I got out and we met at Starbucks to talk through it. His eyes teared up as I bawled in front of strangers in the coffee shop. I recounted stories about her and my Uncle Charles. “She was like my Grandma, such a classy lady,” I hear myself saying through sobs, “and I am honored to have had her influence in my life.” I told him stories he has heard before, stories of childhood and of recent trips to see her as she aged.

She was old when I knew her as a six year old. I have memories of my Uncle Charles and Aunt Marcella’s house before my sister was born. I have memories of my sister and I doing handstands in the grass in their backyard. I remember Uncle Charle’s cane, a motorcycle accident had taken his ability to walk well, and his teasing. I remember our parents laughing openly with them at the table. I remember my Grandma and Grandpa animatedly chatting. I remember the way my dad would light up in their presence and I remember being very little, and then very much an adult, all in the presence of these same people.

Aunt Marci and Grandpa
Continue...

8/6/2014

There’s Gold in Them Hills

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Two of my best girlfriends and I take an annual Moms/Kids camping trip. We started this at a “close-ish” park in 2009 with a toddler and a few pre-schoolers. We stuck close in case shit hit the fan and we had to call home for emergency needs like running another set of matches out because these ones don’t work. You know, big things.

Of all the years we’ve been doing this now, there are a few stories that stand out more than all the others. Sure, there is the annual whip-cream shot after waffles in the morning. And yes, there’s usually a craft and some roasting of things. There’s some bike riding (and bike smashing that one year I backed up over my daughter’s bike) and scootering. Kids learned how to bike while another learned to walk.  But of all these stories the few we pass down each year go something like this:

——2009——

“The Year of Raccoons”

The year we all slept in tents was an epic achievement. It was the first trip and I was daring this adventure with a newly turned two year old toddler. As would become the “norm”, Michelle and Laura arrived first and had their shit together. I, probably after a wrong turn, arrived late and sweating. Continue...

6/1/2014

Love you forever, like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be

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You giggle as I kiss your cheeks. I hold your hands as you turn your face left to right, giving me full access to the large, luscious cheeks, round and red. You laugh as you spit and shove off my kisses. I pretend to look sad and then hold your arms and start the process over. You are giggling as you pretend to stop me. I win at the kisses, landing on your cheeks as you laugh. You tell me I’ll never give you another kiss again. I chuckle. “Do you remember the Love You Forever book?” I ask. You shake your head no. “The mom comes for all of her son’s life to give him love until she can’t anymore and one day, he sings the song, ‘I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, My Mommy you’ll be.’” Your eyes are wide and you ask, “Why would you tell me that before bed? Now I’ll have bad dreams!” “No, Love, you won’t,” I reply grabbing your hands again from any defense of my kissing, “Because we have so many years before you have to worry about that. The point is, you can’t stop a mom from kissing her children.” I lunge for the final kiss assault and you squeal with laughter and turn your face. I plant five kisses on your cheek, nose, and forehead. You are still laughing when I promise to stop. “It’s bed time,” I say sternly. “Time for sleeping.” You look up at me with your brown eyes glowing in the light and whisper, barely audible, “I love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, My mommy you’ll be.”

I leave your room smiling with tears in my eyes as I go to see your sister, sitting in her bed reading Harry Potter, and plan my kissing attack. My life is an amazing wonderland. I shall never forget this. Continue...

5/10/2014

On handling things poorly: A how to guide for losing your eferloving mind

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You know that part of your gut that tells you wise decisions in which you promptly ignore? It’s also the same part of your gut that knows you’re holding on to some trauma that your brain hasn’t processed.

You should probably start listening to that part of your gut unless you want to lose-your-shit at a Laser Tag Team Building Exercise.

I’m not a gun person. I’m so not a gun person that the one time I shot a real gun at a range with my parents, I promptly set the thing down, walked in to the bathroom, and hyperventilated until the automatic lights turned off with me sitting in the stall.

Rule #1 to losing your shit: Deny your emotional response to tragedy.

I don’t think I’ve always had this phobia of guns. Up until a few years ago I might have been somewhat ambivalent about them. But now, well, things have changed in the world, my world, our world, and I am no longer uncertain about my thoughts on guns. Continue...

5/6/2014

My 7yr old knows more about pregnancy than I did at 29

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Dear Buddy,

Tonight you blew our minds with your ability to spell an entire birthday card for your teacher and read your Dinosaur book without needing much help. You practically outdid most of my previous freshman college students with your math test and ability to speak adverbs properly. So yea, we’re sort of expecting great things from you.

We chose a book called “The Human Body” to read tonight. To be honest, you couldn’t decide between that, the airplane book and another dinosaur book but Mama can’t take another book about the big ass lizards, and was way too tired to feign interest over airplanes, so Human Body it was!

We flipped through some of the pages and landed on the pregnancy page. You started asking questions about the babies in the pictures. While I read you absorbed everything and formed ideas.

“At five weeks a fetus is the size of a bean, and heart, lungs, and organs are developing. The baby gets its nutrients from the mother through the umbilical chord.” Continue...

2/11/2014

On birthdays

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My mom always made a big deal over our birthdays.  She would make a homemade cake and in very-detailed, time-consuming, 80’s perfectionist manner, decorate our cakes in secret under a banner of birthday wishes and streamer-lined dining room lights.

It was difficult for me to understand her when she told us all she wanted for her birthday was a cake. “A fancy cake?” we used to ask. “No, just a cake. That’s all I need.”

It wasn’t until last year that I believed her. Last year I sat at my brand new job, day two, in a corner struggling through onboarding. I didn’t realize how lonely it was to have nobody know it was your birthday. I realized, I don’t need a cake, or a party, or presents, or a big todo, but the value and warmth of someone saying, “Happy Birthday,” is highly under appreciated. I know people leave kind things on Facebook, but call me old fashioned, Facebook doesn’t seem as sincere as a person using their actual mouth to say, “Happy Birthday” with their eyes and a warm smile.

I’m clearly getting old. Authenticity is a hallmark for all that I value now. Well, authenticity and a clean laundry room. Before this I had a different take on aging. Continue...

12/12/2013

I like to run and jump over things

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If a 7 year old could have a steady, I’m speaking with her now. She’s been his “girl” for two years now, this little pixy of amazing energy and a bundle of wonderful for my son and myself. Her mom is a wondrous human, her friends have amazing parents and equally wondrous qualities and there’s absolutely nothing I could say that would not come across as me manipulating him to end up with a girl like this as a wife.

Remember, he is seven.

I’m so getting way WAY ahead of myself.

I’m not sure if you can foster children to marry a kind of girl like this or if he’s going to rebel against this very notion but when I met them on the playground today and I asked what they liked to do at recess, she beamed, “I like to run and jump over things!”

I glanced at my son and he shrugged. “Ok,” I offered, “Let’s run and jump over things!” Continue...

12/10/2013

Do the Hail Marys. Even if you aren’t Catholic.

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When I was 7year old, we sat in the bathroom during Hurricane Alicia. I was living in Houston with my parents and very tiny sister, who was only 2 at the time, sleeping quietly in the safest area of the house: under the bathroom sink.

My parents listened to the weather on a battery powered radio while the walls shook and tornadoes clamored around the neighborhood. We walked in to the eye of the storm where we found our fence down the street at our neighbor’s house, ten doors down.

At the time I didn’t realize my parents pissed off someone holy. I didn’t know God was a revenge sort of guy and that my mom probably chewed the wafer at Communion that week so we were doomed to lose a fence and all our backyard toys.

Now, though, I understand the weight of being a mother. We bear the responsibility for the natural, and the unnatural, disasters.

Including Lice. Continue...

12/6/2013

In soft whispered voices

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Sitting on the edge of the bed of my seven year old he whispers to me, “I’m writing a book about a Koala and a bear. You know that bear that made us have a lockdown at school? Well, that baby bear and the koala have a story and I’m writing it. You would identify with the Koala, Mommy. It’s a traveling Koala.”

“Oh, I’d like that story, Bud.”

“Yea, maybe you stay for a minute and rub my back?”

“Ok, I can stay another minute and rub your back.”

“Wait, you can’t leave yet. I’m not asleep. Maybe you go downstairs and do five minutes of work and then you come back and check on me? Then you can do the laundry. But five minutes of work, ok?” Continue...

12/1/2013

On the doing of Parenting

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I wonder if my children will remember me as constant motion. Not a specific task, like cleaning their rooms while we talk about their day, or how I make dinner when we discuss their homework, or the laundry that I’m constantly walking up and down with from room to laundry and back. No, more like a blur of my historic self, a gusian filter placed over the presence of me in their memories.

Like my own mother is to me in my childhood; Always moving: a presence, a tickle monster, a card player, a disciplinarian. She is a blur of the eighties, a wisp of the nineties.

I wonder if my children will remember how they helped me make dinner, or bake treats for our Christmas with friends. I wonder if they’ll remember the countless card games and board games and wrestle games. I wonder if they’ll focus on how we worked so many hours or how we made time for them in spite of deadlines.

I think of my days in this rocking motion, always moving, even when still, shifting, doing, thinking. Laundry for down times, dishes for noisy times. Lunches made during dinner prep and beds re-made and stuffed animals put away during bedtime routine.

If I’m not doing two things, I am not being effective. Continue...

6/5/2013

Traveling Mom

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I’m sitting in a cafe in Manchester, UK. It’s familiar, this cafe. The music, the people, the coffee. I think this is the key to traveling… everything at one point becomes familiar, even if only because we’re sitting on the same globe under the same sky.

My family rings me daily, the video turning morning in to silly faces and kisses from across the pond. I marvel at the technology compared to my first trip to the UK in 2001 when I punched in a 400 digit number to reach a calling card and the country code and finally the home phone in hopes to reach my husband. Now I wake the children up on video phone, ala Jeston’s like, rousing sleeping heads just before my dinner time.

fam

I’ve been asked “how do you do it? How can you travel and leave your children?” It is only because of this technology and the patience of Mr. Flinger that I have this opportunity. As often as I miss and yearn for them, I also try to encourage them to ask the questions “what is it like there?” It’s a small and simple task to encourage the children’s curiosity. I show them the weather, the money, the photos. I introduce them to my friends and their young daughter, who greets them with a very adorably Northern English, “hallo!” My young son blushes at the little girl in glasses smiling at him over the screen. “They have children in England, Mommy?” “Yes, Buddy, they do. See?”

This curiosity grows like a seedling. As we listen to Ingrid Michaelson’s “You and I,” I hear a small voice in the back seat of the car, “Let’s go to France and Germany, Mommy!” Continue...

5/8/2013

A letter to my son in therapy

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Tonight I checked on your sister but not you. It’s not that I didn’t want to; It’s that I didn’t realize how much the door jams would swell in the heat and rub against the door when I tried to open one. So as I squeezed in to your sister’s room with a loud “thhhhhhuuuummmmmpppppppppbbbbbb” and heard her squirm in her bunk, I knew my chances of waking you up were even greater. Also, your dad checked on you both just moments earlier because he is not as afraid to wake you both. I, however, remember countless nights of your flopping about in my belly with a knowing “oh no you didn!” squealing in my head.

So, please tell your therapist twenty years from now I did not love you, or your sister, more. I was simply more knowledgeable of the child laying in the bed after the hot squeak of the door jam. And that I still love you both very much. Even if I take it for granted, or your daddy’s word, that you’re asleep.

Love,
Mommy Continue...

4/12/2013

The Path to Grandma’s House

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I remember the roads to my Grandmother’s house. We called her “Bamma” to distinguish her from my maternal Grandmother, who would later be know simply as G’ma, and hold an even more important role in my life. As a young child, growing up in the suburbs of Houston, we would make the six hour trek to my Bamma’s house, just north of Austin. I remember the terrain changing to a hilly roll.. I remember the van’s AC unit working with an easier hum as we drew closer to my Bamma’s house. I remember my dad going over some of the rolls of the road and yelling with triumph, “WOAH! That will get you in your belly!” when the car hit zero gravity for a split second, gliding over each crest of ... to our minds.. mountains.

In reflection, after living in Washington state and visiting Germany and the Swiss Alps, those Texas mountains of my youth are Ant Hills to my present. But my childhood mind blows them up to disproportionate heights. Like every aspect of childhood, those trips take on a cartoon-like shape. I visit those memories like someone on a video game would now: Reaching back to that last saved game and running it through from start to finish. Each consecutive trip a level to discover.

I wonder if my children will think of their lives this way or if they will have better therapy to help organize their memories from Atari to Frontal Matter.

Either way, I stare now at the map of Texas, a flat representation of my youth. I smile at the familiar roads: 45, 518, NASA1. I lived there as a child, giving my most formative years to the southern-suburbs of Houston. And again, as a young career woman, giving my future to the college of Galveston, where I first taught computers and subsequently changed my career path forever. This map of Texas is not only familiar, it’s engrained in the very being that peers at it, from so far away, nearly 2,345 miles away, to be more exact.

I marvel at the flexibility of the human brain. That I have not one, or two, but three homes. That I find comfort in two countries and two very different states. That I can walk through the Nürnberg Market on a Saturday and feel as much my childhood as I can in Kroger in Houston on a Sunday. The fact that I live in a Wine Country in the north-east of Seattle seems to not matter; familiarity is bred deep within my brain and the roots dig to experiences I share with few. Inhaling the wet, humid, salty air of Houston is as much a welcome as the crisp, dry air of the Mountain here. And in the manner, so are the signs of German in a variety of villages and menus and friends as I wander the countryside of a country I was born in to by proxy. Continue...

4/6/2013

Living The Punchline 1: You have to look the way you’re born

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Day 1 of my new plan: “Living For The Story,” which, in reality, is more like “Living the Punchline” because y’all - Seriously. 

You know the phenomenon where woman want curly hair who have wavy/straight and curly hair women are always trying to straighten theirs? I’m no exception. My sister and her daughter have the envious curls while my daughter and I are stuck with straight, stringy, flat, lifeless hair. It’s the kind of hair nobody talks about. “Hey, can I look like her? The lady with the non-noticable hair? It’s so ... nothing.”

As an experiment, my daughter and I decided to go old school with rollers.

LB Curlers

Since it’s been roughly 181 years since I’ve done this, I forgot how long it takes hair to dry when it’s twisted up tighter than Sarah Palin’s knickers. So, when after several hours I needed to run to the grocery store, I put a scarf around them and went anyway. Continue...

The forgotten ones

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“Don’t let them see me!” “Does the door lock?” “Don’t let anyone in.”

buddy

My son has yelled this in anxiety during many many wardrobe changes. He wears a rash guard in the pool so nobody can see his “boobies.” He hides his tummy from close friends because, “They will laugh at me.”

I do not know where he gets this stuff.

No, really. Continue...

5/8/2012

Postcards

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Some kids collect stamps. I don’t know who these kids are but I think they’re all about 102 nowadays. When I was a kid, way back in the early eighties, I collected cabbage patch kids.

um yea

Yea… that…

Somewhere around puberty I switched from wrinkly-butt dolls to postcards. I think this is where the first parts of who I am today began to show. This was the very beginning of a small fire that would grow steadily over the years.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It Continue...

9/8/2011

At twitlight

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I hear my family upstairs. There are squeals, laughter, delight. The radio is blaring through the built-in speakers of our bedroom window, opened even though this last August air is chilly. There is chasing above. I sit on the patio as Ben Folds plays via iPhone. I work a bit. I delight in my job. I ponder the day. I drink a good beer.

I once read, “To be in harmony with the universe is to be like floating: Doors open, opportunities arise and you take them without thought.” That is happening to me as of late. Doors seem to bust open. Life seems to beacon me. COME! COME LIVE!

“When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.” -Anne Lamott

I am exceedingly happy at my upcoming opportunities. I am living a day job of merriment. I am watching my children ride their bikes without training wheels and smiling at their accomplishments. I am aging in my own body and appreciating it more daily. I am realizing the future may not be as I always expected but that the universe offers more than I can ever hope or dream. Without being cosmically ridiculous, I can say without a doubt that those who dream big live big.

I want to dream big. Continue...

8/4/2011

Sticky Notes

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I have these sticky notes. They line my computer background, they clutter my virtual desktop, the travel in my portable office. They are text files I keep open to remind myself of my goals, todo lists, small notes. I have one that I keep open nearly all day, every day. It is titled, “People I want to emulate.” 

On this text file I keep a very short list of people I admire and dare to imitate. It’s like my own version of the, “What Would Jesus Do” bracelet.

What would Amanda say to this quest I’m on?

Would Scott Berkun forget to submit a speaking proposal?

I bet Emily Lewis would take the time to code this correctly, without shortcuts. Continue...

7/10/2011

On turning seven. Alternate title: HOLYCRAPYOUARESEVEN

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I remember the day I peed on a stick and shockingly read two lines. I remember the day we found out we were having a girl. I remember the long, difficult struggle of birth and the weeks and months following. The transition to being your mom wasn’t an easy one but those are all memories now.

Toddler LB

I have completely, utterly, hopelessly, passionately fallen in love with you, my daughter, my pixie, my joy, my pride.

You grow every day to be a person I am proud of. You create, you laugh, you rejoice. You show me what living with imagination is. You teach me to ride my bike in the grass because cement isn’t necessary. You invite me in to your imagination of talking horses and pet shops. You warm me with your arms and your impossibly long legs, mygod how did they get so long, wrap around my waist when I lift you for possibly the last time of your life.

Baby Big Sister Continue...

7/10/2011

On fifteen minutes

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Four

“Mamma, will you play with me?” There are three other children at school outside playing under the careful eye of their pre-school teacher. I briefly consider the deadlines, the emails, the phone calls. “Yes, Buddy, I will.” His face lights up and he runs to select a ball from the bin. We play “kick the ball” which could also be called soccer if we were a little more agile.

At first we are tame, kicking softly, rolling the light red ball across the cement in the covered area back and forth from my large feet to his tiny ones. One of us kicks it a bit too hard and the other laughs as the ball bounces off the divider and the wall. We kick with a twirl. We kick with both feet after jumping. We kick until the ball flies over our heads and we giggle. I am there, at the preschool, in the crisp autumn air with my son laughing while the inbox sits and the clock relents.

Finally it is time for me to leave. I hug, I kiss, I smother with so much love I hope he holds on to me forever. I pull away in my car and I see his small familiar face peering out from the fence. He waves, I wave, he blows a kiss and I blow one back. He signs I love you and as I sign it back my eyes fill with tears of gratitude and thanksgiving. Sometimes fifteen minutes can heal even the most busy of todo lists. Continue...

4/2/2011

Did I ever tell you about the time…

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My children were playing “little fucker” at Home Depot?

Now, look, before you get all judgy, let me just preface this with a post I wrote two years ago to prove I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent. Ok? I had a plan. I had a theory. That theory sucked.

In retrospect, the “time and a place” mantra could work. Teaching your children that anyone can say anything as long as it is the appropriate time and place is rather discerning. I don’t want to shield my children from the world but would rather teach them how to navigate the gray areas of society including cussing, standing up for oneself and when an appropriate toilet joke is funny.

I guess at 5 and 3 they’re not discerning yet.

Case in point: Continue...

12/8/2010

It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life.

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image

“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”.  ~Isak Dinesen

The first time I went in a boat, a canoe, I cried. The little boat would rock too much. I was too young. The water was too wet. I didn’t want to fall in.

The second time I went in a boat, a sweep, I wept with pain. My teammates and I pulled and pushed and pulled and pushed as our coxswain yelled the tempo. It was an ugly love, but I found it there on Lake Samish in Bellingham.

The third time I went in a boat, a kayak, I found joy. Pure solitude, soft gentle rocking, swaying of heart and soul. I may have been on something, but I swear dolphins swam with us and sea otters bobbed their heads to greet us. Birds sang specifically to us and little animated hearts floated out of my head like a cartoon.

A girl and her boat: Oh, to be one with the water. Continue...

9/3/2010

Everything I need to know about life I learned in Kindergarten… yesterday

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image

In the haste of Monday Morning, we forgot my daughter’s sleeping bag for her Kindergarten rest time. Having the luxury of working close to her school, I ran it over at lunch time and decided to stay for a few minutes to see what life is like for her in her mini chairs eating the lunch we packed with the friend she always talks about.

One four year old sitting to my right started quizzing me immediately. “What’s your name? Where do you work? Why are you here? Are you the one that named her? Did you pick out her clothes today?” I answered some politely and ignored others to talk to my own daughter who was quietly eating and singing a song from their morning music class. My daughter’s teachers came over to tell me what a glorious job she’s doing.

The four year old didn’t stop.

And at this point I turned in to one myself thinking, “Hushit! I’m trying to listen to teachers brag about my daughter you little blabbermouth.” Continue...

On Parenting Very Young Children

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We were at the dinner table the other night, when the conversation turned surreal:

“No, look, Elmo and Zoey would never get along as a married couple. Zoey is way out of Elmo’s league.”

“You think? I dunno, Elmo is pretty famous. Maybe she’d marry him for the money.”

“Do you think people without kids even know who Elmo and Zoey are? And why do we know this shit so well?”

“You think if you asked someone without kids which Wiggle they thought was the hottest, they’d think we were on something?” Continue...

4/8/2010

My Epic Love Story

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He wraps his arms around my neck, his cheek pressed against mine. I hear his soft breathing get longer, deeper, slower. I look at him, he is already asleep. Peaceful. Happy. Warm.

When I try to pull away, he wraps his arms tighter. He pulls me closer. “I just wuff you,” he whispers as I finally leave his tiny bed.

My son.

He is both child and baby, already independent and willful. He leaves my side to play and discover and checks in, on his own, periodically. He helps me cook dinner, he is by my side when I do the laundry, always wanting to push the machine so I don’t have to.

He is not perfect but he is perfectly three. And he is perfectly mine. Continue...

4/1/2010

A tale of four flingers

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In her head, “I think we should clean today. Organize. Maybe I’ll get on that vegetarian menu I wanted to try out this week.”

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In his head, “TRAINS. TRAINS. TRAINNNNNNSNSSSSS.”

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In her head, “Candy canes and mice and princesses and ballet and maybeicangetmybrothertogoawaysoicanplayalone and candy canes and coloring and ballet and princesses and…” Continue...

3/3/2010

At some point you start thinking maybe you are pregnant and don’t know it like one of those tv shows

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What’s that expression? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Think I’m pregnant three times I might as well jump off something very very high.

Is that right?

If you’re not following me on twitter (which, why not?*) you may have missed the part where my daughter’s teacher congratulated me on being pregnant yesterday. I replied, as I have before, “Oh, no, not pregnant” and she stumbled and said, “Oh, I probably look pregnant, too, uh…” and it was awkward, as it always is, and then I went home and cried, like I always do.

Because she’s not in the wrong to think it simply based on appearance.

Here’s the thing: I recently described my body to the doctor as one of those puzzles where you match the head, torso and legs only my torso completely doesn’t match. It’s all round and flabby while the arms are strong and my legs are lean. Continue...

2/7/2010

Being a human is a messy business

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I remember telling my old boss, years ago, my plan for vacation. “Well,” I started, “I think we’ll be getting in the car and taking a right on the freeway. After that? I have no idea.” He was surprised at this. “No lists? No plans? YOU?” I was just as shocked that he’d expect me to actually plan until I realized I’ve nicely compartmentalized my life in such a way I can live in two extremes: The To Do List and The Not.

Now I worry less that I’m some sort of bi-polar schizophrenic and more of a well-balanced human being. To be successful at work and organized enough to accomplish the tasks at hand, I’m willing to place my items in neat little boxes. Tiny little boxes all sitting in a row. But at home, in my own space, in my own self, I refuse. I want passion, adventure, and not a single task on my todo list to mark off.

Less dichotomy, more necessity.

Perhaps this is the juncture I sit at now. Life with children and a mortgage and after-school gatherings are prone to lists, todo items, organization. I’ve been failing for five years to be the “organized” mom. To actually get a child to school on time. To pay a bill. To remember every field trip and every sheet of home-work.

I’m less likely to condemn myself for that right now. Continue...

10/2/2009

How Blissdom helped me understand my daughter

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I stepped down off the panel, my legs shaking so much I had a touch of paulsy. I’m pretty sure the sweat on my face could be seen from the back row. I stayed to answer a few questions and meet a new client so the room was nearly empty. I was actually a little relieved that nobody was left to see me taking deep breaths and stepping carefully. One. Two. Three. Breath.

I push thoughts of over-analyzing the panel out of my head and focused on food. I need it. Bad.

The feedback is great. People respond well to watching a complete and utter spaz on stage. I think it’s like a train-wreck. So cliche and so true. Or reading the fail blog. I? Am one Giant Fail Blog.

Word.

I start to think back to those times in my life I’ve lived up to my reputation. The sidewalk I tripped on with my arms full of books in college. Twice. The time I broke my friend’s wedding decor the night before the event. The day I spilled red wine on another friend’s white carpet. The wine I spilled at BlogHer (Sorry Guy) and the glass I broke at the SMB Method Party. Continue...

8/7/2009

I love you, even if you are two

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It’s 2:45AM. I’ve been asleep for two hours. I hear the familiar call from a tiny man, “Mommy! Mommy!’ I’m in his room before I open my eyes.

I get him milk, his Thomas Trains and put him back to bed.

It’s 6:00 AM and I hear the familiar call from a tiny man, “Mommy! Mommy!” I’m in his room before I open my eyes.

I pick him up hoping to give his sister a few more minutes of sleep. He asks for milk. I turn to get him some.

He starts screaming. Continue...

5/8/2009

Words We Aren’t Allowed to Say

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Words. They can be powerful. They can be meaningless. They can send chills down your spine. They can go in one ear and out the other.

Perplexing, yes?

Or is that just me getting all giddy to use a word like “PERPLEXING.”

Probably.

So why is it that we have all these “RULES” about words? They’re just… words. Meaningless until someone attaches a feeling around it. Continue...

6/1/2008

Appropriate and not-so-much: Names we call our children

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I taught preschool for a few years. Did you know this? No? I did. It was the year I switched from Elementary Ed and went for Computer Science. That’s how profound the experience was for me. P.R.O.F.O.U.N.D.

Anyway, so I had this kid in my class, this really cute little guy named Evan. Evan was 4 years old when we met. He had a tremendous crush on me. “Miss Leslliieee” he’d say, “I made you a necklace!” He once told his parents he was going to marry me. “No, son,” his dad said, “She doesn’t make enough money.” I loved his parents.

He was the kind of kid everyone wants to have in their class, the kind of kid everyone wants to be friends with and the kind of kid that would befriend the shyest girl in the class because she was always alone on the playground. The guy was a hero. His parents called him “Big E” because he was. He was a big little guy.

I always wanted to call my son Big ___.  But instead, we had a “baby O”. Because? Big “O” just didn’t sound right.

Not that we don’t call our children completely innapropriate names out in public. There’s Doodiehead, pooper, stinker. Doodiehead is one of those things that flew out of my mouth one day and kept flying out of my mouth for three years. Continue...

Internet Explorer and my two year old: a toss up

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I can’t decided which I am more frustrated with today. IE or LB. They both throw tantrums when asked to behave. They both push my buttons until I’m ready to yell. Neither of them plays nicely at times and neither of them gives a rats ass about web design.

Look, let me come right out and say it here. I gosh-darn strongly dislike Internet Explorer. (LB threw out the word crap the other day followed closely by damnit. I am now speaking only in “rated LB” terms around the house and it gets so. bleeping. irritating. But really, do I need my two year old saying fuck? I obviously hit my fuck quota for the year.) Ok, it goes like this….. I get frustrated and unsettled at life in general. Perhaps it’s a mom who is prettier and not gagging hours a day over her sink that makes me wish I wasn’t me. Or maybe it’s the car’s “check engine” light that appears on a random basis having nothing what-so-ever to do with getting gas or a gas cap like one would hope. Or maybe it’s the two year old being very two-sie and me being very preg-sie and we just collide a little too long. It is times like this that I really want to escape to my happy place. You’d never guess where that is? (No, it’s not partying in the bathroom while the 6 month old sleep in the hotel room, but that was a fun memory…) My happy place is my blog. It’s the escape I get when things just are too .... real.. in real life.

Y’all are my happy place. (Sounds of people going “ahhhh” followed closely by gagging.)

It’s no surprise that I come here looking for a warm feeling in my heart but when I see the ick template, I decide it’s time to change it. Then I obsess for a couple of days about css rules and why you have to use javascript to get your sidebars to align correctly and I nerd out in my happy zone. When I step back, it’s pretty (enough) and I like it (for now).

Until I load the page in Internet Explorer and there is blood and shrieking and violence in my happy place. Continue...

Officially wearing lycra since 2004

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You know how your balance is off during pregnancy?  And you know how I already have issues with being a klutz? Disaster is sure to follow.

I won’t list them out for you (trying to keep some level of pride here) but lately? I’m not just off balance, I’m off kilter, off skilter and hilter.  I’m a loose hinge. I’m a leaning Christmas Tree. I’m.. well, you get it.

Already my belly is big enough to make my back ache. Already laying on my back or stomach is painful. When I lift my arms above my head in public (don’t ask me WHY I am doing this, just go with me here) my belly will shove out from under my shirt and show the entire world just how white and stretched out it already is. SEXY!

So it’s not a huge surprise that our leaning tower o’ treeza completely tipped over yesterday when my BOOBS brushed, ever so softly, against it as I tried to plug in the lights.

Between my belly, my boobs and my ass? I’m hopeless. I don’t think I’ll be sitting in LB’s little table and chair set she gets this Christmas. *sigh* Continue...

4/10/2006

Heartbeats and ultrasounds

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We’re heading to the doctor today for my first checkup. I know I’m nauseated, I’m weak, I’m dizzy and weepy. These are all fantastic signs.

I just want to see a heart beat. Then I’ll be able to just be pregnant.

So if you see me doing some sort of sacrificial dance to the gods of all things baby heartbeats, you’ll know why. No need to panic. Just join in. Continue...

I gave her more than butt dimples

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It’s really obvious that my daughter is her father’s kid. I knew it from the 20 week ultrasound where we got a profile shot and realized she had her daddy’s pug nose. (Incedentally, this did not keep me from having dreams that she was a black baby four feet long when I birthed her.) The first thing we noticed when we saw her, just minutes old, was her olive skin tone and perfectly shaped mouth, all thanks to Daddy. She was perfect. She was everything you’d see if you pictured Mr. Flinger as a little girl. With hair.

This bothered me somewhat as all I got to contribute was a large scar on my belly, some wicked post partum depression and butt dimples. Yes, I have two dimples above my ass and now, so does my only child. I’m so proud to pass that on.

I know many families that always say, “Oh, she looks just like so-and-so” while the other side will say, “She’s a spitting image of you-know-who.” I hate to tell you this but one of you is wrong. Obviously the child looks more like her mother (or father) and you’re reaching for straws with “but her eyes look just like Great Aunt Jane’s.” Does anyone even remember Great Aunt Jane? I didn’t think so. Nice try.

I don’t have that luxury. When Mr. Flinger’s family goes on and on and on and on about how she looks JUST LIKE HE DID when he was little, I have to bite my lip because, well, she does. Mr. Flinger, with his long seventies flowing golden hair, really would’ve made a very pretty little girl. And now he does.

So when my family wants to contribute something in LB’s personage we stretch it a little far. “Oh, her personality is so like you. Oh, the way she rolls her eyes? SO TOTALLY YOU. Oh mah gah, did she just give me sass? That’s you!” Thanks. I gave my daughter her bitchiness. Add that to butt dimples and I’m a real genetic winner. Continue...

Conversations from the backseat

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Today, as we were driving home from playing at the park with Paige, I decided to go through town so LB could go on a bridge over water and see the big buildings. We drove by Mr. Flinger’s Alumni and I pointed out that is where Daddy went to school. LB was quiet, and I repeated, “See? That is Daddy’s college. Daddy went to school there.”

We drove a bit more and she could see it better so I told her again, “That’s where daddy went to school.” And again after we rounded a corner and could see a different view.

About ten minutes later as we’re passing a mall and the surrounding stores, LB gasps and says,

“Oh! I see! Daddy’s school is Target!”

*sigh* Now I just need to inform her that when I tell her she will go to college after high school, I don’t mean be a cashier at Target. Continue...

The problem with a “go baby”

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When LB was three weeks old, I decided she would be a “go baby.” I’m not one to be happy at home for very long and the thought of staying in the house with this new person who cried and pooped and ate all the time made me roll my eyes constantly and weep in to piles of tissue. I needed out and she was going to go with me.

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I started walking with her every day in the Bjorn. I was determined she’d figure out this whole “day time is for wakey and night time is for sleepy” thing.  Also, I needed to walk off the sixty pounds I gained during pregnancy and figured hauling her around was a sure way to do it. 

LB's first outing!

We visited the Jelly Bellies, we went to the park, we went to playgroup. We never stayed home for an entire day without going somewhere, even if it was just a ride to Starbucks so she could flirt with the Baristas. I prided myself on this child that could go most places, enjoyed being out and craved people as much as I did. I thought it was fantastic. Continue...