UPDATE TO Mrs. Flinger October 16, 2015
Because the Universe has a wicked sense of humor, after this delcaration, my blog threw up all over my last upgrade.
So I'm starting over using Craft. Turning 40 and kid entering Jr High next year, sometimes it's just time for a change. These archives will still exist in the way the last child goes off to college and their room is the same for 20 years, but it's just time to move forward.
Cop out post relating to Rocket science by @thicket Jul 16, 2010
Perfect hardboiled eggs
Put (*cough*...farm fresh) eggs in pan, add cold water to an inch above them.
Bring to water to a gentle boil and keep that going for ONE MINUTE ONLY.
Turn heat off and cover your pot for SIX MINUTES ONLY.
Plunge eggs into ice cold water, repeat when water heats up from eggs.
The yolk should not be grey on the outside. The inner core of the yolk should be slightly darker and moister than the outside. That my friends is a delectable hardboiled egg.
*I have tried vingar in the boiling water to make hardboiled eggs peel better, I have never noticed a difference. The ease of peeling an egg seems to be how old the egg is, we use very fresh eggs so they are always a nightmare to peel.
If your experience differs, do tell. I love me some easy to peel hardboiled eggs, but not enough to buy them at the grocery store.
**If you live at a higher elevation you need to increase this time…to what I don’t know. I’m so helpful.
In Flight: A tale of a mid-life crisis at thirty-four Jul 15, 2010
A truth I’ve known about myself for years: I have a very strong flight instinct. Some people stay and fight, some people flee. I am of the latter.
I’d make a fantastic bird.
“We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!” - Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
There is a culmination of events recently taken place that leads me back to this instinct. When trying to remember exactly what happened, or when perhaps, I can only begin a long list of items bringing me to this truth: I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.
In searching for my most beloved books, as I always do when complex thoughts dominate my mind-space, I realize I’ve read no less than dozens and dozens of traveling books. Essays of people who experience a world, write about it, and sell it to housewives and mothers of small children grounded in their piles of laundry and diapers and weeding. This single fact never yelled at me louder than it does at this time. I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.
Opening one of the biggest inspirations during my mid-twenties, Beyond the Sky and the Earth, I find pages highlighted and dog-eared. This is how I love my books, they answer questions with scribbled notes and sometimes tear-stained pages. I find I’ve highlighted several passages at the start. “It was more than feeling that I was going to wake up one morning soon trapped in my future. .. I wanted to throw myself into an experience that was too big for me and learn in a way that cost me something.” “It wasn’t that my life felt unreal to me, it just seemed very…. small.”
I remember thinking this as I prepared for graduate school in Houston. I remember hating the thought of living in Texas another minute, let alone three years. I remember the moment I decided to move back to the northwest and the intensity of joy that came along with that decision. It was no coincidence I read this book during this transition ten years ago.
My god, has it been that long?
At the time I was seeking, and finding, something worth fighting for. Something, and someone, I could wrap a future around. A home. A family. A dream of the big house and the big yard.
The exact same dreams that are closing in like clouds in a valley. A valley I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.
Aren’t I supposed to want all these things? The house. The children. The stability. The yard. Haven’t I all but just begged/cried/died-a-little to have all this? So why does a quaint flat in England sound so appealing? Why does having two bowls, three cups and two forks seem like all I truly need in a kitchen?
My best friend in Jr. High always wanted to be a mother. It was the thing she was most looking forward to. I was ambivalent at best with the notion of children, but at 12 and 13, it seemed an appropriate emotion. I ran in to her years later at a grocery store, her in the mini-van with two children and one on the way, married and happy. I was planning my escape from Houston, graduate school, still holding the same ambivalence for the idea of reproducing.
At twenty-four, that was also an appropriate emotion. At thirty-four with two children? It is not.
It’s an old old cliche, “Marriage is hard work.” To me, it has never seemed appropriate and down-right wrong at times. “Marriage is hard work.” No. Children are hard work. Balancing work and home is hard work. Losing baby weight is hard work. Marriage? Being with that person you decided you loved more than any current, or future, person in the entire world for ever and ever? That’s not hard work. That’s fucking lunacy.
But we sign up for it. All of us. And we hope to god it works out on the other side.
And it does.
Most of the time.
Or, I suppose, realistically, about half the time.
So you talk to your spouse. You confess the flight pattern. You explain it all in words with tears and hicups and sobs and stammers. There is no logic. There is only emotion, raw and aching and real. No logic to fall back on, to explain, to analyze.
There is only that single list of events, culminating to this place, and a partner wondering what the fuck happened to his wife. And his wife wondering what the fuck happened.
It is not that we’re even in a place most other married people don’t get to. It’s that we are. We are exactly in that place where every single married person has been. And driving home, as quickly and as tearfully as possible, I had only two words running over and over narrating my thoughts, “Fix. It.”
It’s funny, the things you regret Jul 11, 2010
We got married on the top of a small mountain on a tiny island off the north-western corner of the “lower forty-eight” states. My dress was twenty dollars from Ross and I wore my favorite combat boots I purchased at a consignment store for six dollars. It was November and a tiny group of our closest friends stood outside in the freezing cold with us.
I have never, once, ever regretted not having a big fancy white-dress wedding.
With increasing frequency, however, the subject of my Dissertation has entered casual conversation. I submitted a proposal I still have a passion for, so much so that when a poor soul asks me about it I launch in to an entire discussion until their eyes glaze over and they begin to drool. It’s a great topic, honestly. I deferred after getting pregnant with my first and again when we moved from Oregon to Seattle. It was at this point I had our second child and safely placed that dream on a high shelf in the nursery.
I keep going back to that shelf, however.
About a year ago a client innocently asked me about my graduate degree. I launched in to the usual discussion about my Masters and continued on in to my passion for Women in Computer Science and shockingly did not see his eyes glaze over. I tossed out my dissertation topic and he actually became interested. As a publisher (did I mention that part?) his eyes lit up and he proclaimed, “YOU NEED TO WRITE THAT BOOK.” This is the start of a nagging fact I’ve desperately tried to ignore: I want to write that book.
In the past twelve months, I’ve become more aware exactly how often I find myself thinking of applications for my research, re-visiting the possibilities, the correlations, the outcome. As a theme, it returns more often than any other. There comes a point where thinking becomes talking, talking becomes analyzing, and analyzing becomes doing.
I believe it’s time to seriously consider the doing.
*Related Post from 2009: Four Generations Of Working Moms
This week kicked my ass so all you get is this lousy photo Jul 09, 2010
Things I know Jul 09, 2010
I have a laundry list of random bits I’ve believed because my parents told me so. Sometimes as an adult, I’ll start to say something, stop, and realize I’m uttering complete and total bullshit. Bullshit which I’ve heard a million times from my parents.
I probably need to see a counselor about such matters but instead, I will tell you.
I’ve posted about the day I realized my mother lied to me. We were on the airplane heading back to Houston after a visit to Portland, OR, and she sighed, “Oh, I forgot to replace the toilet paper in our bathroom.” I was about seven and looked up in her face, “Why? Can’t Daddy do it?” “He apparently doesn’t’ know how, sweetie.”
Seven year olds do not get sarcasm.
And so the minute we landed in Houston, pulled up in to our drive way, I ran inside to see if Dad did learn how to put the toilet paper back on. Apparently, he had. I announced how proud I was to him and my mother laughed saying, “I told her you didn’t know how.”
This was the day I learned I was sometimes being fed a complete line of shit.
Since then I’ve managed to accumulate a laundry list of things I believe because I was told. All complete utter shit. For example:
“If you eat burnt chips your cheeks will be rosy the next day.”
“If you eat the crust of your bread, your hair will be curly. Just ask Bama. See how curly her hair is? She always eats her crust.”
“Don’t touch the insects on the can of RAID or they will become real and crawl on you.” *(this one is utterly scarring)
“When you see a car with one head-light you yell, ‘SPADOODLE’ and lick your finger, place it in your palm and stamp it. Then you can make a wish.”
“The toilet water goes the opposite direction in a flush in Australia.” (Seriously, I don’t even know if this is bullshit or not. I HAVE NOT BEEN THERE. Please to clarify for me.)
“If you find a penny that is heads up, put it in your shoe for good luck.”
“Breaking a mirror is seven years of bad luck.”
“If you knock the salt over, toss some over your shoulder.” (I actually witnessed a guy doing that in a restaurant about week ago. Got salt all over the person in the booth behind him. #brilliance
But one I’ve never heard? One I’m only just now learning as an adult? Bird Poop is good luck.
Did you know this? Being shit on my a bird is GOOD LUCK?
I found out after posting on twitter my actual image of said exploitation.
Seriously. And I thought the bullshit ended as a child, people. Either way, I did make a wish. Because I AM THAT GULLIBLE. And also in desperate need of wishes.
What else am I missing? Any other random bits of facts you live by without actual cause? Or is it just me. (Tell me it’s not just me)
The Village Jul 05, 2010
Growing up, I remember the Fourth of July in Houston probably in the same way you would any other city. We had a BBQ with our neighbors. Us kids would ride our hot-wheels while the parents drank sweet tea and chatted. There would be some music piping from the window of my parent’s house and inevitably someone would start dancing in rhythmic gyrations resembling a dying catfish. These are what memories I hold and expectations I have of our Country’s birth.
The fourth is very similar to me now as an adult. This time, though, I am the one drinking the sweet tea. (Or hard cider. Come to think of it, I don’t actually know what my parents were really drinking. Sweet Tea may have meant “vodka and tea” but I’m not sure.) We have the same small town parade crowding our tiny main street. We have the same neighborhood BBQs and the same fireworks and the children riding their bikes in the street 28 years later. I live in a city nearly 2,500 miles away and nearly 25 years have passed since my small-town fourth experience in Texas, but it’s so familiar I can feel the Houston humidity and hear the trumpets blaring out of my dad’s stereo.
Tradition is, by definition, familiar.
The people I shared this fourth with remind me of my parent’s friends all those many years ago. It’s a different vantage point I have now, but the concept is the same. The saying is “it takes a village” and to me, I am honored to have women in my village whom I not only count on, but who make me stronger as a woman myself. They provide tradition, familiarity, comfort, and compassion. It is with this village we celebrated yesterday in a place I call my home. However much I sometimes wish to flee, it is comforting to have such an amazing support system here which grounds my wings as often as it provides opportunity for flight.
Wordless Friday? Jul 02, 2010
Thought I would start a regular wordless Friday (yeah I know it’s supposed to be “Wordless Wednesday”...that’s just so conformist).
Being a human is a messy business Jul 02, 2010
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.
I’m understanding that I, in fact, have always been this person in my own life. Now, though, it effects other people. Tiny little people. And while it is too late for me to pretend that I’m capable of being all things for them, I am trying to find the balance of knowing I can be enough, just as I am. All messed up, driven to passion, crazed for adventure, and always late for everything. One day, I hope they understand.
*Related post from May 2009: The Acorn and Me.
Five Reasons I’m Glad I’m Not A Bobblehead Jun 30, 2010
1. I have a small tendency toward vertigo with my thick neck as it is.
2. Driving would be a bitch. (Did you see that car? ALL FIFTY OF THEM? No, wait, that’s just one car, wait, where did it go? OH THERE THEY ARE.)
3. People would want to put me on their dashboards with their other fugly hello-kitty bobbleheads and I HATE HELLO KITTY.
4. “Does this neck make my head look fat?”
5. Sarah Palin is a BobbleHead. That’s just fucked-up yo. THE END.
Having a mid-life-crisis at thirty-three thousand feet Jun 28, 2010
I tell people I’m going through a small mid-life crisis. They look at me, judging. “HmmMMmm,” they start, “I bet you’re not nearly mid-life. What are you? Thirty? You really expect to only live until sixty?”
To these people I put a pox on their eyebrows and ear hair.
Funny thing: Mid-Life can mean any time in which you wake up and look in the mirror and immediately proclaim “HOLYSHIT! WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED WHILE I WAS SLEEPING.”
This is exactly how I feel right now.
Last Thursday I travelled to Utah on SouthWest Airlines. This means I was part of the cattle call to find my own seat on a plane with a bunch of other livestock. I sat in row seven on the isle next to two people who, by the end of a two hour flight, would be my partners in crisis.
We shared stories of being mid-thirty. Each of us, thirty-four (me), thirty-five, thirty-six. We book-end the mid-line of thirty perfect. And we all understood each other in ways no twenty-something could possibly understand. It’s surreal, a bit. It’s cliche. It’s.. utterly pathetic.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a strong “flight” extinct. I’ve been the wistful, ridiculously naive girl who wants nothing more than to travel. I’ve suppressed her, I’ve told her how ridiculously impractical that is. I’ve chastised her for being so selfish.
That suppressed inner girl is getting really pissed off about it.
I’m able to travel more now for work. I’ve had amazing opportunities and I’ve experienced places I could never justify before. With each trip I realize I’m as truly “me” when traveling as I’ll ever be. There’s something raw about going to a new place and giving yourself permission to explore both your inner self and the new landscape around you. I dare say it’s even addicting.
As I mature, reality sets in. A new reality, or an age-old one, I am not sure. Somehow it is my job at mid-thirty to bring my wistful naive twenty-two year old traveling hippie self in to the woman who understand the world with a more cynical eye, has experienced some of life’s failures and is responsible for whole, entire human beings now. I have no idea how to achieve this.
So I hunker down with my peers, my tribe, and we bond over wine and children’s screams. There’s comfort in knowing I am not alone in this middle space. I’m not alone when I look back and suddenly remember I was going to do that Thing, that which is listed on a piece of paper I wrote 13 years ago after college. I was going to continue rowing, I was going to see the Northern Lights, I was going to spend a summer in England in a tiny rented flat alone. I remember my list of “fifty things to do before I die” and know I’ve crossed off about half. Lately, it seems, the other half of that list is coming to mind more and more and I’m unsure of the root cause or if I’ll ever finish what I started before I was who I am today.
** update: On my fabulous weekend in Utah, which is a whole other post to come, I exclaimed, at my BFF who is only just now THIRTY: