Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Posting has become harder for me lately. The kinds of things I want to talk about in this space – cooking for my family, planning for the holidays, complaining about ridiculous things – seem so glib and frivolous what with the state of the world. I don’t want to ignore the grief and fear and outrage so many people are feeling so acutely these days. But nor do I want to post about those things; I am fully aware that my existential dread is not worth discussing in depth, and I don’t feel like I have anything substantial to contribute to the existing conversations around All Of This.

When I seek out content online, it is typically to distract me from what’s going on in the world. Yes, I try to stay informed, but I can’t linger too much or I want to crawl into bed and sob forever. Instead, I want to spend my free time reading blog posts about baby names and holiday gift suggestions and how people spend their day and what people are doing with the veggies from their latest CSA and what it’s like to send a child to college. Things that are fun and, sure, sometimes, important, but maybe not important important, you know? (Are you blogging these days? Leave me a link. I want to read your posts.)

So today I am trying to push through the resistance that comes from not wanting to be too cheerful in the face of (another) tragedy and talk about something frivolous and unimportant.

I want to talk about phases.

Carla is at the intersection of several, shall we say, “challenging” phases. The phase where she is four, so she obviously knows MUCH better than me what she should be doing at any given moment which results in me asking her to put on her shoes fifty times and then just putting them on myself because we are already 14 minutes late for school. The phase where she screams when she (perceives she) is Deeply Wronged. (She has NEVER been a tantrum thrower, so this is startling and I am Not A Fan.) The phase where she eats nothing (we have been here before, at least). Mornings are especially fun around my house, is what you should take from all this.

It is so very difficult, when you are in the midst of a phase, to see it as A Phase rather than The Way Things Shall Be Until The Bitter End. I am only looking at these as phases because I was complaining to my friend the other day and she very calmly said, “Gosh, phases always last about two weeks longer than you think they should.” And all of a sudden, I realized that yes! These were phases! They will not last forever! (Also: Two weeks? Hahahahaha, friend.)

Sure, I want to “enjoy every minute” and I certainly am not trying to wish time away. It goes by fast enough. But also sometimes being a parent SUCKS and I wish these phases would end more quickly.

Of course, the trade off is that one phase ends only to usher in a new, perhaps equally challenging phase.

BUT there is a bright side. An annoying bright side, for those of us who are Not At This Particular Stage Yet. But a bright side nonetheless and I am grasping at anything to keep me upright here people. The bright side is that once this phase passes, it will (probably) cease to seem that bad.

This must be biological, right? The way I sometimes think fondly of pregnancy and daydream about being pregnant again. When pregnancy – for me – was not just smiling strangers and baby hiccups and cute maternity clothes. Oh no. It was twenty-five weeks of all-day-every-day morning sickness. And sudden onset crying. And it lasted for FORTY-TWO WEEKS. It was NOT GREAT. Stop rose-coloring those pregnancy glasses, me.

But the same goes for challenging childhood phases! And I know it’s not just me. My mother and mother-in-law have this rosy vision of their own children and how perfect they were. It’s kind of dispiriting – almost insulting – in a way, to have your parent look at your child, shaking her head in utter disbelief, saying, “Boy, I never went through this with my kids! They were perfect!”

Okay, okay. I am exaggerating for effect. When they talk about how perfect their kids were (and you realize “their kids” are me and my husband, right? so perhaps there is a little creative license based on audience going on here), they are not doing it in comparison to how un-perfect Carla is. (Obviously, she IS perfect.) They are not jerks. And my mom even has a story about how she once took me to the doctor and asked him what was wrong with me, because I was driving her so absolutely crazy. But it doesn’t seem like she remembers the specifics of that particular challenging phase, just that it happened.

(And, to be fair, I haven’t yet asked her about the Challenging Teen Years. I am still too close to them to hear her discuss them without dismay and chagrin. So there could be some doozies awaiting me. Let’s get through the early childhood years first, shall we?)

What I’m saying is, it’s one thing to be smack in the middle of a challenging phase and another thing entirely to be looking back at it through the gauzy mist of the past. Perhaps it would be therapeutic to take a good hard look backward at some phases and remember them as they were, rather than as the dewy memories of an idyllic babyhood they have somehow become. And then remind ourselves that those phases ENDED and today’s phases will too.

The Pumping Phase. Worst. Ever. I produced a lot of extra milk, and the only way to not choke my baby was to pump before feeding her. And then, because she got enough nourishment from just one side, to pump the other side, again, afterward. I spent what felt like most of the day attached either to my child or to that horrific breast pump. It was a Very Challenging Phase but it ended.

The Spitting Up After Every Meal Phase. Oh. My. Goodness. That was so frustrating. And wet. I’m sure it had to do with all the extra milk. But I still had to feed the child, you know? And she spat up every single time. We got some of those cloth diaper inserts to use as burp rags, and then got a huge pile more, because we went through ten or more a day. And we had to buy huge stacks of pajamas because I’d have to change Carla after every feeding. (Which, if you recall, was every two hours at some point. EGADS.) I lived in tank tops and nursing bras because I could rotate them out every time the spit up landed on me. That phase sucked. But we eventually got through it.

The Refusal to Sleep on Her Own Phase. Oh, Carla. Until she was… two? Older? (See, how quickly I have forgotten?), Carla would not fall asleep unless my husband or I was holding her or at the very least in the room with her. My husband spent portions of many nights asleep on the floor in front of her crib. Because I could not fall asleep on the floor, I remember singing her endless verses of lullabies and then trying to back very slowly out of the room without her noticing. Very rarely successfully. UGH. That was rough. But it’s over now!

The Reckless Disregard for Personal Safety Phase. There was a time when Carla had the speed of a cheetah and the caution of those wild squirrels that leap out in front of your car as you drive through your neighborhood. There was one incident where she dashed into a PARKING LOT and I almost died right there, so certain was I that she would be crushed by a car. She used to run pell-mell down the halls of her school, completely oblivious to things like commands and other people and immovable obstacles. There was a memorable heart-stopping few moments at Target when she took off down an aisle and out of my sight. Now, at least, she has some sense that streets and parking lots are dangerous and that she needs to keep me in sight at all times. The phase ended, and I no longer have to carry her everywhere for fear that she will escape and fling herself off a cliff.

The Putting Everything in Her Mouth Phase. Yuck. I was not a fan. My floors were much cleaner, but still. I am glad this one’s in the rear view.

The Potty Training Phase. This one is partially my fault, because I got it into my head that she should potty train at age two even though I don’t think she was quite ready. And then it’s partially her daycare’s fault, because the classroom teacher decided she was going to potty train the entire class at the same time (why? WHY????), and then a few weeks later she quit. In any event, I am SO GLAD THIS ONE IS OVER.

The Postpartum Phase. This really has nothing to do with Carla, but when I look back on it, I wonder if I had some form of PPD or post-partum anxiety. I was so afraid to leave the house. There’s a picture of me and my husband and Carla together in a park when she was twelve days old. It’s super cute, and one of the first of the three of us together. But I don’t really like it because it carries with it all these bad feelings. I remember so clearly how awful that trip was, how afraid I was that something would happen to her, how hyper-aware I was of how soon we’d need to head home so I could pump and feed her, how upset I got when Carla started to cry. It seems as though she and I stayed in the house pretty much the entire time I was on maternity leave, even though she was a summer baby and the weather was (presumably? I don’t remember.) great. I was so fixated on all these potential horrors, constantly worrying that she was sick or there was something wrong with her, so afraid to put her in the car, afraid even to let her spend time alone with my husband or my mom, just in case something happened to me or her at that very moment. I needed to be there. I couldn’t miss out. Add that to the endless pumping/breastfeeding cycle and it wasn’t the happiest time. So very glad that ended.

Of course, there are other phases that I truly miss. Like when Carla was learning to talk, and every day meant a few new words to practice and delight over. Like when she was a snuggly, happy six-month-old who stayed in one spot. Like when she called me Mama.

And there are other phases she’s in the midst of now that I never want to end: The Wakes Up Singing Phase. Or the Phase Where She and Her Friends All Compare Outfits and Jewelry the Second They See Each Other at School (it is ridiculous and adorable). Or the Phase Where She Wants to Help Me in the Kitchen. Or the Voice-Texting Daddy Super Sweet Things Phase. Or the Just Learning How to Read Phase. Or the “I Love You So Much I Never Want to Live Anywhere Without You” Phase.

She is a joy and a delight and I am glad to hold on to the good phases and let the bad ones fade into the detritus of memory.

What are the childhood phases you really miss? The ones that couldn’t have ended soon enough? And the ones you are not looking forward to? (Me, I’m just trying to focus on getting through TODAY. I am not even thinking about the Door Slamming Phase or the Boy-Crazy Phase or the Upsetting Report Card Phase.)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I am dreading this recap this year, for some reason. Yet I am still doing it because TRADITION. I think I may start liberally tossing questions out the window. So BE PREPARED FOR THAT.

(This yearly recap originated with Linda of All & Sundry. If you’re so inclined, you can read past versions of my responses: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.)

Oh! And if YOU do this yearly recap, always or for the first time this year, send me a link in the comments won’t you? I love reading these.

  • What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

I quit my job to write a novel. (Which I have not yet completed, BLARGH.) (Prediction: I sense that the topic of the previous parenthetical may reappear below.)

  • Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year, I said:

This year, I want to prioritize my husband, quality time with my kid, balance in my life… and I also want to really work on personal fulfillment. That sounds… vague and a little frou-frou and a lot privileged, but I think it will honestly help with the first three priorities. At least, I hope so. And I’m going to try.

I do think I have made solid steps on all fronts, and I attribute all progress to leaving my job at the end of March. I feel very fortunate that I have this little pocket of time during which I can be part-time novelist/part-time stay-at-home-mom. The reduction in stress has helped me be more present with my husband and daughter, and helped me really focus on contributing to my family in new ways. It has not been easy, for me, to give up on being a financial contributor. That has altered the identity I always felt I had, and it has been a challenge to adapt. But I do think I’m contributing in new and different ways, or at least contributing more in areas where I wasn’t before.

This year, I am going to finish the novel. That’s my primary goal. It’s taking so much longer than I anticipated just to eke out a first draft. I need to find some way to speed up the process. Because the first draft is only the beginning.

  • Did anyone close to you give birth?
  • Did anyone close to you die?
  • What countries did you visit?

Same as last year: Not really a big year for travel. I visited three states besides my own: Illinois, Florida, and my home state. All with Carla.

I can’t really imagine the answers changing in a big way anytime soon.

  • What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Better ability to prioritize my time. A fully drafted novel. Making my time with Carla richer, somehow, rather than making a bunch of slipshod and ultimately frustrating attempts at “activities.”

  • What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 31, which was my last day of working in the office.

  • What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Taking a leap of faith and quitting my office job. (OMG, broken record much?)

  • What was your biggest failure?

Not getting enough words on the page each day! I can trot out a 7,000-word blog post of a morning, but I seem to spend hours and hours coming up with a measly 200 for my manuscript! What gives? If I can do it elsewhere, why can’t I blather and drivel my way through a first draft?

  • Did you suffer illness or injury?

I am currently enjoying a bout of asthmatic bronchitis, which is super fun. Other than that, nothing too crazy.

  • What was the best thing you bought?

Scrivener!!! It is a tool for writers and I loooooooove it.

  • Whose behavior merited celebration?

This goes 100% to my husband. He is a rockstar. I can’t even express all the ways he’s shown up this year without drowning my keyboard in tears, so let’s move on.

  • Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I mean do you really have to ask, non-sentient Survey created years ago with no knowledge of our current times? I think I’m going to cross this one out because it makes me sad and bewildered and fearful and shaky.

  • Where did most of your money go?

This question sucks. I really want to say something fun like “a new ski lodge in Aspen!” or “a twelve-week trek around Europe!” I guess I could say my potential earnings went toward financing my lifelong dream but that makes me feel dizzy and sick to my stomach so MOVING ON.

  • What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Last year I said: The holidays this year. Carla is so excited about EVERYTHING, and it is so fun to see that.

As with last year, I didn’t even KNOW what excited was! She has been super over the moon about everything. And she gets stuff now. Like, she understood the little countdown-to-Christmas calendar I put in her room, and the last couple of days she switched the numbers all by herself before I even got to her room. She has been really gung-ho about Hanukkah, and has helped her dad light the menorah and say the prayers. She loved decorating the tree and every night for a week she would pick up a present that she knew was for her and squeeze it and hop up and down and say, “It’s so HARD to WAIT until Christmas to open my present!” I mean, a tree full of presents and she didn’t realize most of them were for her, and yet she got So Worked Up about this one tiny thing. She loved all the holiday books I pull out each year, and expressed interest in Santa and Baby Jesus and the Maccabees alike. She loved the stockings, and asked questions about how Santa could do such and such. She loved painting ornaments for her grandparents. She loved collecting the Amazon boxes from the front stoop and putting them in the guest room to await her grandmother’s arrival. She loved singing Christmas carols. Everything this year was just SO. MUCH. FUN. I hope we have at least a couple more years of this pure, unadulterated joy in the season. It’s a mood lifter for sure, and helps make all those I-want-them-to-be-fun-and-meaningful-but-are-really-kind-of-tedious projects seem worthwhile and enjoyable.

  • What song(s) will always remind you of 2016?

I have to say the Frozen soundtrack. Carla hadn’t seen a movie in her entire life until Christmas 2015, and once we started we couldn’t stop. As toddlers are wont to do, she fell in love with Frozen and we have watched it eleventy billion times. PLUS we bought the Frozen soundtrack (we call it “Carly Songs”) on CD (yes, I still use CDs in my car) and we have listened to THAT at least seventy gazillion times. Also: Justin Beiber’s “Sorry” and “Let Me Love You” by DJ Snake featuring The Beibs. “Waves” by Miguel (the Kacey Musgraves version). “One Dance” by Drake. Carla does a mean dance move to Drake, and sings along very sweetly to “Let Me Love You” and “Waves.” Also also, on the classical front, I have grown very attached to Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2. I have some fantasy that I will learn to play it. (HA.)

  • Compared to this time last year, are you:
  1. a) happier or sadder? Happier but more fearful about the future, I think?
  2. b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. Which kind of sucks because I lost 12 pounds after I left my job. I have since gained it back. But I kind of hate this question because I just do. I am scowling at it.
  3. c) richer or poorer? I am skipping this question because math.

This is a question I don’t care to answer anymore, I think. Are these really the benchmarks by which I want to measure the year? No, no I don’t think so. MORE SCOWLING.

  • What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing. (Always.) Submitting my work for publication. Figuring out a better time management system.

  • What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Yelling. Procrastinating. Writing poor-quality apocalyptic poetry. Wasting time on my phone. Feeling too hot or too cold; that’s really annoying when the house maintains a stable temperature.

  • How did you spend Christmas?

Here at home, with my husband and Carla, and my husband’s parents. It was lovely and fun. Also lovely and fun was adding my sister and niece the day after Christmas, but that amped up the freneticism by several degrees. How does adding ONE additional child to the mix make things exponentially more crazy?

  • Did you fall in love in 2016?

Ugh. Every year this one makes me gag a little, but I definitely fell more in love with my husband. He has been supportive of me and my dreams in a way that shatters me. I hope I make him feel even half as loved and understood and… seen as he makes me feel.

And, as we allow the tears to dry a bit, I fall newly in love with Carla with each new stage in her life. Three has been challenging, but it has also been utterly delightful as she becomes more independent and imaginative and curious and affectionate and funny and fun and inquisitive. I just adore her.

  • What was your favorite (new) TV program?

What a year for TV! Standouts from the year include the OJ Simpson mini-series, The Night Of, Westward, and the Gilmore Girls revival (even though I hated GG as much as I loved it – many flaws, no?). I also loved the latest seasons of The Americans, The Great British Baking Competition, Shark Tank, Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, The Middle, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. What can I say? I like feel-good shows to balance out the gritty stuff slash real life. Oh! And two series my husband and I watched and loved that were new to us this year were Master of None and Catastrophe. God, I love TV.

  • Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I can’t even. This question has got to go.

  • What was the best book you read?

I READ SO MANY BOOKS THIS YEAR! Contenders for best book include A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, The Round House by Louise Erdrich, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, and A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin. There have been others, but those are the standouts. For me, all had great stories with interesting, well-rounded characters, and truly beautiful language that enriched the story without getting in the way. Then sometime in November I fell into a Sue Grafton wormhole and have been reading my way through her Kinsey Millhone series (again) because it’s fun.

  • What did you want and get?

A chance to write a book. More time with my daughter. More time to exercise. More time in general, I guess. Less stress. And also this gorgeous green coat from Boden that unfortunately didn’t fit so BOO to that. My hips are not British enough, it seems. Oh! And I got the sheet music for Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, and have been painstakingly picking out the right hand notes. That’s really all I’ve managed.

  • What did you want and not get?

A finished first draft of my manuscript because I am SLOW.

  • What was your favorite film of this year?

Let’s see. My husband and I took a break from watching TV to watch all of the Daniel Craig James Bond movies. That was fun, but I wasn’t as… enamored of the most recent (last?) film as I was of the earlier ones. (To be fair, Daniel Craig seemed less enamored of it as well.) Did I watch anything else? Of the (many) kids’ movies I’ve seen this year, Brave is my favorite, followed by Wall-E and then probably a tie between Tangled and Frozen. I did not care for Zootopia, and Robin Hood – a childhood favorite – sadly did not live up to my memory version. (Robin Hood himself is still by far the foxiest cartoon I’ve ever encountered, though. No pun intended.)

EDITED TO ADD: My husband and I watched Sicario just last night, right under the 2016 wire, and it was really well done. Dark and disturbing but a heart-thumping, thought provoking film.

  • What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35 this year, and I can’t really remember what I did. Which is a pattern at least a few years running, so I am getting rid of this question.

  • What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Same as every year (don’t I ever PROGRESS as a person?!?!):

Being able to just LET GO and not freak out about EVERYTHING.

  • How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Same as last year: I have full-on embraced the leggings-as-pants “style” that I used to disdain. COMFORT IS KEY. In your face, Past Me!

Also, this year I started doing Fabletics (I joined Fabletics? I am not sure of the proper verbiage here. It’s just a subscription service in the vein of Stitch Fix. Sort of. Third cousins.), and so have added some very cute workout ensembles to my wardrobe, which means that sometimes I switch up my leggings with legging-like yoga pants. You can spot the difference because I wear tennis shoes with the yoga pants version.

  • What kept you sane?

My husband. Exercise. Being able to write every day most days.

  • Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I adore Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan of Catastrophe. The characters they play are adorable and funny and in-your-face in a way I find charming. Sterling K. Brown. Constance Wu (her and her character as Jessica Huang on Fresh Off the Boat) because she seems fearless and take-no-prisoners and also is hilarious and beautiful and talented. Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore. Okay, so maybe these are primarily TV CHARACTERS and not necessarily the actors themselves but whatever.

  • What political issue stirred you the most?

Nope. NOPE. Not even going to. CUT.

  • Who did you miss?

Same as last year, although – shocker – blogging more frequently myself has helped a teeny bit: I guess I most missed the bloggers I used to interact with regularly, back when I blogged frequently and they blogged frequently. I suppose I should figure out a way to do Twitter (which makes me uncomfortable for some reason).

  • Who was the best new person you met?

As last year, I don’t know that I met many new people this year. AM A HERMIT. Oh wait, that’s not true. I have made a couple of (tentative strides toward making) mom friends through Carla’s new school.

  • Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Write it down, don’t write it right, for the love of all that is holey.

  • Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

(I don’t know if the following makes sense as a lyric or as the answer to this question, but it’s in my head, so I’m going with it.)

Don’t you give up, nah nah nah / Never give up, nah nah nah / Let me love you.

Happy New Year, Internet! I hope 2017 goes a hell of a lot better than we fear!

Read Full Post »

Favorite Posts of 2011

Internet, I did not write a whole lot in 2011. Nor did I read a lot. There was a lot of The Unbloggable going on, plus the whole Home Buying situation, plus lots of work travel and associated other busy-ness. Whine whine whine, excuse excuse excuse. I will try to be better, Internet! I really will!

Anyway, that means that I probably missed out on some of the very best things you wrote this year.

So I have a request: Will you please hop into the comments and give me a link to the best thing you wrote this year? Or a post where you had lots of interesting comments? Or a post that surprised you with its popularity?

If you are for some reason embarrassed to do this, I would also love to learn what OTHER blog posts were among your favorites this year.

I’m feeling very quid-pro-quo today, Internet, so I will leave you 5 of my favorite posts from this year – favorites because I was proud of the writing, or because I loved reading the comments, or because I find the topic really fascinating, or because I was surprised by how many people weighed in, or because I totally forgot I wrote the post in the first place.

And I will ALSO leave you 5 of my favorite posts from OTHER bloggers – favorites because they made me think or cry or laugh or all three. (IMPORTANT NOTE FOR NOT FEELING LEFT OUT PURPOSES: Let it be known that these are only a SMALL SELECTION, tiny really, of the blog posts I adored this year. An EENY MEENY sampling.)

Happy reading!


Posts I Read at LEAST Once This Past Year That You May Not Have Read But You Really Should Read

“They don’t need the bright side, they need the support.”Here We Go Again

“… one of my possibly-never-to-be-healed breaks is this dark abiding fear that one day my husband will decide I am too much.”Where the Catholic Sun Doth Shine

“If I could have you in my life for one more day, I would definitely, definitely spend that day naked and in coitus.”Hilarity in Shoes

“…underneath that there’s a deeper, and greater, fear: that even if I do manage to produce something I deem acceptable, that ultimately it’s meaningless in the end after all.”The Startup Wife

“I imagine unspooling, breaking open.”All & Sundry

“…grief hums in the background of my life, simultaneously silent and ear-splittingly loud.”Mommy Interrupted

“Poop in unexpected places.”Reading and Chickens

 

 

Posts I Wrote That You May Have Not Read the First Time Around

It will be this way again, but it won’t be this way forever.

In which a full ice tray is the key to a happy marriage.

The Things about you that aren’t really a big deal except that a few arsehats make you self-conscious about them.

How is it possible that any marriage works with such VAST DIFFERENCES between your family and your spouse’s?

What does it really mean to be happy?



Now it’s your turn Internet! Give me something good to read! (Um. Please.)

Read Full Post »

Oh hi, Internet! Let’s all pretend I didn’t disappear for weeks on end. Let’s also pretend that what follows passes for a post.

I’ve been busy. Painting. Packing (yes, finally) (and we are still packing) (my husband helpfully mentioned, while we stood in the middle of our former guest room surrounded by unpacked life detritus, “this is probably why people kept asking you if you’d started packing yet.”). Moving.Traveling for work. Moving some more. Eating out a lot. Going to Home Depot approximately eight bazilllion times. Handing out Halloween candy. Learning to love Lean Cuisine microwave macaroni and cheese. Traveling for work AGAIN, yes, twice in two weeks! Staring at a bunch of boxes of hastily-packed crap piled haphazardly around our new kitchen and deciding to ignore their existence. Wearing my husband’s socks because mine are still at the apartment. Counting my bruises (seriously. so. many. bruises). Looking at All the Things I want to buy to fill up all the empty rooms (three full rooms plus two half rooms, plus I’d like a chair for my office and a loveseat for the master) and looking at my empty bank account and buying nothing. More trips to Home Depot. Trying to convince my husband we can put up wainscoting in our dining room ourselves. More moving.

Good times, eh?

Anyway, I plan on regaling you with all sorts of boring delightful Moving and Home Decorating Tales (you: see ya!) at some point, but just now I’m trying to keep Moving-and-Work-Stress-Related Meltdowns to a one-a-day max.

Well, that’s a lie. At this particular moment I am Actively Not Sleeping because this new house? This beautiful, well-kept home that I love dearly? The place in which I now reside, full time?

It makes terrifying noises.

And my jerk of an imagination ascribes some new horror to each creak and snap.  (Only at night, of course. I guess Rational Thought only works 9:00 to 5:00, while Irrationality covers the night shift.)

I’m sitting in our basement – as my husband blithely sleeps on the couch next to me – certain that masked murderers will burst down the stairs at any second. Or RsOUS. Or that black-clad creepy humanoid creature from American Horror Story. Or any number of equally grotesque and horrifying scenes from American Horror Story. (I realize that last fragment makes no sense in that string of parallel statements, but I’m too tired from the strain of listening for murderers to correct it.) (Also, it kind of pleases me to imagine an entire scene traipsing down the stairs, whatever that would look like.)

Get it together, brain. Imagining Funny Games-style scenarios is not going to help us fall asleep tonight… and that’s when Husband is HERE, with his warm body, steady breathing, and reasonable eye-rolling to keep us grounded in reality. Not overnight in the MICU where he will be FAR TOO OFTEN IN THE TOO NEAR FUTURE.

I apologize, Internet. My first post in weeks and it’s this poorly-strung-together catalog of boringness and delusion?

Somehow Dylan McDermott is to blame for ALL OF THIS.  I just know it.

Anyhoo, what’s new with you?

 

Read Full Post »

The other night, my husband moved beyond his normal level of Awesome into some new stratosphere of Amazing.

And I kind of wanted to brag about it, so I got out The Twitter and started typing.

But he put the kibash on that right away.  “Twitter doesn’t need to know that,” he said.

He was a little cross about it, to tell you the truth. Which is unusual for him, as he is even-keeled and cheerful  98% of the time.

I honestly couldn’t understand what the problem was. I wasn’t saying anything bad or demeaning or remotely embarrassing about him. (It wasn’t dirty either, get your minds out of the gutter.) He was going so above and beyond that he deserved more than just normal praise.

But he didn’t want me to do it, so I didn’t.

I did, however, remind him that I have a blog. And I do talk about him on said blog. (Although I think I do a fairly decent job of mainly talking about myself, and including him in stories sort of as a backdrop against which we can better examine some issue of MINE than anything else.)

He doesn’t read my blog, by the way. At least not with any regularity. I mean, the poor guy has to deal with me Live! And In Person!, so you can imagine that he wouldn’t be jumping all over himself to read my long-winded navel inspection.

He’s not prohibited from reading my blog. And I try to consider his feelings before I publish anything. In fact, I asked him in advance before I started talking about Operation: Baby. Because that’s a wee bit personal.  (He was fine with it. I think he was probably glad that I stopped talking incessantly about it with him!)

But I was a little… thrown… that he wouldn’t want me to say something complimentary about him.  I mean, what good are all the amazing things he does if I can’t share them with the world my 94 Twitter friends? (Oh right: yummy chocolate chip cookies in my belly.)

Aside from this blocked tweet, the only “issue” I can remember having was when I mentioned something a while back about having “fond thoughts” about an ex boyfriend in a post. And when I said “fond thoughts,” I meant “no bad blood.” I did NOT mean “ooey gooey thoughts” or even “nostalgia.” (My husband = infinitely better than any of the exes.)

But out of the entire post, that was the thing that stuck out to my husband. And I remember feeling TERRIBLE for not only writing something that bugged him, no matter how little… But that I published that thing on the Internet for the whole world my few hundred dozen readers to see.

He and I don’t have any prior agreements about what not to talk about. But I have a General Principle of Blogging, which is to share only my stories, and to include others only if they are peripheral or disguised. If I want to tell a story about my husband, or I want to blog about something that might be personal to him as well (like Operation: Baby), I will ask him first.

And if my husband didn’t want me to post about something, I wouldn’t post it. If he came across something on my blog that he didn’t like, I would delete it. Because it is his life, too, and he definitely has a say in how it’s disseminated to the masses.

Anyway, this little incident made me wonder about YOU. And whether YOUR significant other reads your blog or your Tweets or your Facebook page.

Does s/he read your posts etc. on the regular, or more sporadically? Do you have any standing agreements about Unmentionable Stuff? Does s/he have veto power over post/status topics? Have you ever had any Hurt Feelings or Shock at Subject Matter or Other Weirdness about something you’ve posted?

Do tell!

(Let’s try to stick to Significant Others and Their Feelings About Our Social Media Habits with this one. We can talk about parents and real life friends another time!)

Read Full Post »

Here’s what I find beautiful about the Internet.

You can write down your thoughts and feelings and worries, and a flock of kindred spirits will rise up around you in agreement, support, validation.

You can meet women (and men, I suppose) from all around the globe who resonate with you, in small ways and large.

You can pour out your heart and get something – kindness, advice, understanding – in return.

But this is just on the one side. The blogger side.

There’s another side. The side of the reader.

You can open a webpage and find entertainment, a piece of writing to make you chuckle or cry or nod along in agreement.

You can find a blogger who thinks and feels and acts remarkably similar to you… so similar, it’s bizarre… and who has gathered around her a community of people who all think and feel and act in ways remarkably similar to you.

You can read about the very pain that weighs on your heart. The same joy that floats you to the ceiling. The same drudgery that sometimes bowls you over with mundanity. And find the relief and acknowledgement that commiseration brings.

You can read some of the most beautiful writing I’ve seen anywhere – beautiful not only because of the quality of the writing, but because of the richness of the emotion behind the words and because of the depth of character of the person behind the blog. Because the writing isn’t in a book on a shelf somewhere; it’s often fully real, not fiction; it always comes weighted with the layers of the blogger’s life.

But most of all – whether you write a blog or read blogs, whether you comment on every post or never comment at all – the internet prevents you from being alone.

You’re not going through this by yourself. We’re in this together.

The blog world has given me that gift. You, friend, have given me that gift. And I hope, in some small way, I’ve been – or will be – able to return the favor.

* * *

I’ve been reading Jen’s and Amy’s blogs since before I had a blog, when I hung back in the shadows and admired their writing: the bare honesty with which they shared their lives; their lively humor; the way their love for their families came through in jewel tones, lovely, pure, and clear.

Jen is going through the brutal aftermath of losing a baby. Amy’s father just lost his battle with cancer.

* * *

If I’m being honest, writing this feels weird to me. These women’s stories are not mine; what right do I have to talk about their lives?

But I have cried for them. I have woken up each morning thinking about them, the way friends do.

Although I haven’t met them… have never spoken to them… I have learned to care about their struggles and their happiness through their words.

My heart breaks for each of them. And I have nothing to offer them but words of my own.

This, I think, is what our little Internet community is made for.  And knowing that the Internet can come together in unity, band around its members and lift them up in time of pain, I ask you to please go visit Amy at Amalah.com and Jen at Here We Go Again and leave them a comment of kindness.

Even if you can’t think of anything to say besides “I’m thinking of you” or “I’m sorry for your loss.” Even if you’ve never read a word of their blogs. Even if you’ve never once commented here. Even if there are a thousand comments, please leave one more.

These women are hurting and they deserve every kind word, every loving thought, every prayer of healing and peace they can get.

Read Full Post »

A big part of this whole blogging thing is commenting.

Commenting on other people’s blogs.

Getting comments on your blog.

And I have to say, I find it all rather exhausting and fraught with anxiety.

(Sometimes I feel like my life is exhausting and fraught with anxiety!)

(Okay, not really. Am being histrionic for dramatic effect.)

Anyhoodle.

I love to read blogs – your blog, especially, since you are kind enough to read mine and comment on it! – and, when I have time, I leave comments.

But I always have the same worries…

I should leave a comment, to let Blog Person know I was here…

Not that Blog Person even knows I exist. Or cares.

And it’s not like I have anything insightful to say. But I want to say SOMETHING.

Or wait, I DO have something hilarious/insightful/awesome to say! So I must say it!

But what if Blog Person doesn’t think it’s hilarious/insightful/awesome?

In fact, what if Blog Person gets annoyed? Or offended?

Oh my god, I totally don’t want to offend Blog Person! I want her to like me!

Gah. No way is Blog Person going to like me just because I commented on her blog. I mean, look at all the comments she gets. No way is she even going to READ my comment. Let alone care about it. Let alone like me because of it.

Maybe I shouldn’t even leave a comment.

But I would hate it if someone came to my blog, read a post, and didn’t comment.

So I’ll leave a comment.

By the way, I love it when you talk to me. I always appreciate it, even if I don’t acknowledge it. I admire you for getting past the Comment Anxiety.

You are insightful. You are hilarious. And you are always awesome.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »