Thursday, May 30, 2013

One morning at my house.

6:00 a.m.


From my bed where I lay, I can hear Lucy calling in a drawn out-yet not too loud way.


Tad unwraps himself from me and goes upstairs.  I hear him go up. He is upstairs IN Lucy's room.  But then I hear her again.


He comes back down and wraps himself around me again.  "Sorry. She's been calling you like that for a while now."
"But didn't you just go in her room?"
"Yeah. She just ignored me and kept on calling you."


I go upstairs and find my little wriggling girl wide awake in her bed.  Smiling. 

"When will it be morning?"  She asks me, despite the sun streaming in through her windows.
"It is morning."
I lay out her clothes for her.  I go in Coen's room and wake him up.  Lucy follows me and sits cross-legged on the floor, watching me wake him, as if it's a show. sort of is.  He is very slow to open his eyes and when he finally does, says "Mama?" three times, but never finishes his thought.

A bit later, when I'm downstairs getting breakfast ready, Coen comes in the kitchen with a notebook.
"Mama! Look what I made!"
He opens it up and reads through recipes he's written himself, telling me he wants to test them in our kitchen soon.
Coen's Chicken
Coen's fruit smoothie
Coen's dipping sauce
Pretty cool.

Then Lucy comes down with her button down dress hanging wide open.  She gestures to her self, squeaking.  I start to button her up and then she wildly wriggles out of her dress and puts it on backwards.
"That's backwards, honey."
"This is how I want to WEAR it."
She dramatically takes it all the way off and looks at me.  Humphs.
So I button her dress in the back with the collar in front. 
"Which way do you want the sash tied?" I ask her.
She starts flailing around inside of her dress, sticking her arms out of the spaces between the buttons, unbuttons the dress and then throws it on the floor.
"I don't WANT to wear this dress at ALL!" She says and flounces upstairs to get another.

After breakfast (uneventful) I kiss everyone goodbye.  Coen runs into the playroom.
"Mama!" he shouts from there.
I go in. "Yes?"
"What kind of music should I play?" He asks me, seated at the piano.
"How about leaving music. I'm going to work now." I give him a kiss.
"No, do you want breakfast music or dinner music?"
"Oh. Breakfast."
And so he plays "breakfast music" and I leave the house to the sound of it and head off to work.

I love the sound of my kids saying "Mama." And sometimes I can't stand the sound of my kids saying "Mama."  But they are both, in their own ways, wonderfully weird and incredible children.  And I am so glad I AM their Mama.

And that's just one morning at my house.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

GMOs and Genocide


That's quite a title. Sorry. Hope I haven't depressed you already.

Last night, Tad was at the Brewer game (which went 14 innings, incidentally) and I was on the couch finishing a novel that I'm reading called The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian.

(Here I would say "spoiler alert" but the word 'spoiler' seems a bit trite for this epically romantic and crushing tragedy, but having said that, If are reading or planning on reading this book, I will be giving away a bit of the premise that unfolds itself toward the end.)

The novel, in short is a historical work of fiction that is set during World War I, in the little known Armenian Genocide.  It is also a love story.  What got me rattled (and is sure to haunt me for days or weeks--which is why I usually read lighter, shallower literature) is this:  The story is of Elizabeth, a Bostonian who goes to Aleppo help out with the victims of this horrible crime. There she meets Armen, an Armenian engineer who was separated from his wife and baby daughter and believes them both to be dead.  He and Elizabeth fall in love.  He comes alive again after his own tragedy.  Over the span of the novel, he leaves to fight in the war and then again returns.  What we find out is that his wife Karine is still alive struggling under the weight of her own loss, and she is looking for him.  But she is too late.  She commits suicide near the novel's end after finding Armen and Elizabeth in a joyful embrace when they finally come together again.  There is much, much more to the story. But the thought of her still alive and love and what it all means was overpowering to me.

So, I got on Facebook.  That should unrattle me, right?

And I click on a post by a friend about the GMOs every one's talking about and I think about capitalism and chemicals.  I think about my children and their nutrition and cancer and death and loss and I am back to the world of Armen and Elizabeth somehow in all this.

So I see, on the TV, that the Brewers have gone into extra innings and I can no longer wait up for Tad and I go to bed.  And I think about the loss of love and how that would feel.  And my mind is off.  And suddenly I'm inadvertently imagining losing Tad and when I hear distant sirens I imagine them at Miller Park, some tragedy occurring there....  And I shake the thoughts off but they return as I feel myself falling closer to sleep.  As I fall asleep I absently imagine a police officer coming to the door bearing horrible news.... 

I wake up with a start and hear the front door.  It sounds like knocking.  I tear out of bed and run to the door and there is Tad.  My heart is pounding and I know I look panicked.  He grabs me. 
"I'm sorry. That door is so loud. It's okay. I'm home."
And I feel my pulse slow down with his arms around me and I breathe.
"I know how that feels. I'm sorry."  He says. "I'm here."

I know I know nothing of war and of genocide. And I know I am an extremely privileged person, in my life and my family and my neighborhood and my experience and all of it.  But the love I have for Tad and for my kids (as is the love that you have for your own I am certain) is as wide as the world. And sometimes just the thought of that being taken is terrifying. So I'll buy healthy foods for my family and do my research and hope hope hope for the best.  Because there is hope. And there is spring. And there are people upon people who care for others everywhere and do their best to live that way.

And the next novel I read will likely be lighter.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pizza and Movie Night

Monday evening 5:00
Sunday nights are Pizza and Movie night at our house.  Except Memorial Day weekend. Then, it's Monday.

After this weekend, my kids were ready for it.  See?

Friday, Coen and all the other third graders at Highland presented exhibits they researched and created for an event at the Milwaukee Public Museum.  At the end of the day, he and his good friend (and research partner) Dylan were on the playground at school begging me and Dylan's mom for an overnight.  So Dylan's family picked Coen up from our house at 5:00 and he got an overnight while Lucy got a night in with just Tad and me.
Coen and Dylan and their Corn Snake Exhibit

Saturday Coen got dropped off at 9:00 and we all went off to watch him play in a 10:00 and then an 11:00 soccer game.  My parents came to watch and then took us out to lunch at Honeypie Cafe in Bayview, followed up by some quick thrift shopping.  We met my sister and her family a few hours later, at 4:00 at Hart Park and then all went out to dinner at Cafe Hollander and dessert at YoMama.  All four of us crashed early that night.

Highland Honeys Triathlon team (Photo: Janet McMillan)
Sunday I biked to Hart Park and then went on a three-mile run with some Highland mom's to train for our Triathlon in August.  Then biked back to find my family wanting to go on a bike ride.  We biked to Dairy Queen after lunch on the porch.  The children ran around the neighborhood--Lucy alternately digging in the dirt and playing the the baby two doors down and Coen having some sort of epic battle with several neighborhood boys (it looked a little Lord of the Flies-ish) for two hours.  Then Tad went off to Madison to see a friend for the night and the kids and I went to an anniversary party.
We got home around 9:00 and my children were asleep within five minutes of my going downstairs after reading to them.

Needless to say, Monday we had no qualms about remaining indoors and in our pajamas the whole day through.  Tad returned  around 10:00 a.m. to find Coen, Lucy and I about to try playing the game of Life (his old board game) and he joined us.  By the time we were even remotely interested in getting out, it was nearly time for pizza and movie night.  So in we stayed. 

Pizza Before Baking

Pizza After Baking
Tad and I finished the night off by watching the new Arrested Development and eating ice cream.  I think I was sleeping within three minutes of us going to bed.

I'm ready for next weekend already.

Friday, May 24, 2013


When I was in Estonia, in the Peace Corps, I was on a bike ride with my Estonian friend Olavi.  I was screeching as we were riding down a gravel hill and it was my first time on a bike since I was fifteen. 
Olavi looked back at me, grinning, "Do you have lullabies in your stomach?"
I laughed "Butterflies, Olavi! Butterflies! And I don't have butterflies in my stomach, I'm just terrified!"
He laughed back.

But I do get butterflies in my stomach from time to time.  When I was young, I got them seemingly for no reason at all.  I got them on certain days and inevitably, something odd would happen on that day.  The teacher would be out sick and there would be a substitute or something exciting would happen at school...
When I was in my twenties the butterflies seemed to indicate running into someone, like a person I was romantically interested in...
The day that I saw Tad for the first time after I'd returned for a brief foray from Estonia, I had butterflies all day long.  And I remember thinking what's with the butterflies. It's just TAD.  And then that was the summer we fell in love.

So I still get them, even now, even as an adult.  I have them today and I'm not sure why.  I know scientifically, that butterfly sensation is linked to our good old "fight or flight" response and my body's nervous system is experiencing a rise in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate, hence the physical sensation....  And I do get them in the proper arenas, before a speech, prior to having a difficult conversation, etc...  But sometimes I get them and I don't know why.  And a lot of times, something happens later in the day and I think OH! That's why! But how does my body know?  Is it somehow the energy in the universe reaching out to me?  Or do I sort of make something out of the ordinary happen because I'm looking for it? Maybe I'm just reaching out to the universe. 

Well, who knows.  But I have them today.  I guess we'll see if they're responding to something future me will experience later, or if present me will send future me off into some self-made adventure.

Trippy. Anyway.


So, I left work this afternoon and I saw a beautiful woman, maybe about seventy years old in a flowered blue dress.  She looked so happy--she was smiling and the way she was looking and walking, I felt like she wanted to talk to someone.  So I smiled at her and she smiled back and veered towards me.  She smiled again so I said "Hello."
She said, "What a wonderful place this is."
"I know." I said. "I love working here."
"Oh! You work here? It's a wonderful place with wonderful people. What do you do?"
I told her I work with youth.
She came close to me and put her hand on my arm. "They will remember your face always." She said. "You are planting seeds."
I almost felt like crying. "Thank you. I hope so."
"Oh" she said and her eyes filled with tears. "You are."
She told me about how when she was a young girl in Germany in communist times how her mother died when she was only ten years old and that there was a teacher who took her--a frightened and sad little girl--from the back of the room and brought her up to the front.
"She believed in me." She said. "She saw something in me and her face is in my brain forever."
She talked a little more about her brother and her family and told me I was doing good work. 
I got in my car and then saw her outside walking toward the building again, so I got out to see if she needed anything. She was looking for me.
"Oh! There you are."
And she showed me a picture of her as a skinny blond child with her brother who died in the war.
I told her about my time in Estonia and she told me "Travel is good for you."
I told her my name and she told me hers. "Eva."
We shook hands and again she said, "You do wonderful work. Those children will remember you."
And I got back in my car, smiling.
And the butterflies were gone.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

9 years.

Today Tad and I have been married for nine years.  Our marriage is just old enough to ride its bike around the block on its own.  (Well, that's what we're letting Coen do lately and he's the barometer for the age of our marriage--unless Marriages age in dog years or something, but I don't think so. I think they take their sweet time, like humans do.)

We had a rough night sleep last night, Tad coming home hot and worn out from the Brewer game, me having spent the night doing laundry, dishes, and getting the kids settled (both of them having trouble falling to sleep), only to sit down on the couch, maybe an hour before Tad came home.  We fell asleep rather fitfully and awoke only an hour later to the neighbors returning home.  And then back to sleep again and awake another two hours later to Coen wide awake and wanting to chat.  We got up at our 6:15 alarm, both of us quiet and got our household up and running.

At breakfast Tad came over and kissed me on the head, saying "Happy Anniversary."
"What's an anniverary?" Lucy asked.
Tad told her about our wedding day and Coen got up to look at the framed photo we have on our china cabinet. 

As we were getting ready to leave, I stood up and banged my head on our kitchen cupboard, right on the corner. I screamed in pain and I know it scared the kids, but it hurt.  And immediately I felt a goose egg rising on my skull and the force of the impact even drew blood.  Tad got the kids out to the car while I got an ice pack for myself and they worriedly asked me if I was okay once I got out to the car. 

After they went in to the school building, I put my throbbing head on the steering wheel and cried until my sunglasses were foggy. 

Not such a great start to an anniversary day. But you know, it's just a day. And lucky for me, Tad and I try to make each other feel romanced and loved and wanted on many many of the other 365 days of the year. 

I'll try not to bonk my head on those other days either.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Other people's lives

A few things have collided in my head.

1.  My coworker, Harvey, asked me why I'm so happy all the time.  I started to think about it.  Why am I happy most of the time? Am I not deep?  Is there something wrong with me?  But I happy most of the time, or does it just look like that?

2. Tad and I had a discussion on my reaction to him when he's in a bad mood.  It's not a good reaction. I don't like bad moods. 

3. I read an article about how Facebook is a breeding ground for envy and life comparisons with other people (often leading to the feeling of not measuring up--a feeling of loneliness).

So the other day, I went to Harvey and tried to explain why I'm happy most of the time...I wrote  A blog post about this recently.  I think I am mostly self-aware. So I'm not surprised by things about me, even bad things, when they come up, because I'm aware of them.  I know the truth about myself..and I think that helps me be self-satisfied.  But then I thought more. 

Tad sometimes gets in dark moods because he's a person who tries very hard on a daily basis to get into the minds and souls of others. And in his job he spends all day getting into the minds and souls of 28 others to be precise. And he dives deep.

So when we talked about it, I said to Tad. "Do I not dive deep? Maybe I'm just not diving deep enough."
"No." Tad had said. "You dive deep too. But you dive into a clear mountain stream."

Is that it? Do I just not have a lot of murk and darkness?  I mean, my answer to Harvey was a pretty trite and simple response. And besides, was I always like this?  I remember in college once, thinking something like wow, I'm in such a good mood today.  I hope I'm like this tomorrow. Wait! This is just how I AM! I WILL Be like this tomorrow. And then laughing at myself for having such a thought.  But you know, when I was a kid, I remember being so sad a lot of the time.  I would cry in my room and feel  so alone as a ten year old, eleven year old and on and on...  If you read my Hello Kitty Diary kept from ages 10-15, it is hilarious, but also really really sad. 

When I was in my twenties, I was prone to fits of rage.  I upset my roommates by smashing things and screaming and saying horrible things about myself. I. was. a. mess.

So I spent some time in therapy and then I got the heck out of dodge. And in my final college semester of study abroad and then in the Peace Corps, I started realizing that I was okay. That I was smart and likeable and capable.  My confidence rose, I got happier.  But even then, there was (and still is) sadness in me, however happy I am.  Isn't that how we all are...just some of us display one emotion more often than the other?  In truth, every song I've written, the good ones, the ones that come out naturally, are very very sad.  People have asked me, "Why don't you write some happy songs?" I try to. But the sad ones are just what comes out.  So there it is.  I'm NOT happy all the time.  But I enjoy living a daily life of that's just what I do.  I suppose.

I put on a happy face.  I like to smile and laugh and be light and silly.  And when I'm not, it comes out too.  I can't help it. I have said before that I don't wear my heart on my sleeve, but on a banner connected to a blimp, high above everyone.  So cheerful is what I do as often as I can.  Just like on Facebook.  We put pictures up and make comments and notes and status updates that are a story that WE want to tell. 

I don't write on Facebook that I feel insecure today. Or that I just saw a picture of a bunch of people  I know hanging out and am feeling sad and left out that I wasn't invited.  Or that I'm fighting with my husband and he's driving me completely insane.  I don't write that stuff. I post pictures of me smiling and doing funny things.   I post pictures of me hugging my husband or my children being silly or funny or interesting.  Most of us do that.  We capture moments...just that moments in time that are what we want to advertise about ourselves.  There are a million moments for each hilarious comment or witty remark or cheery picture that are not as rosy as those.

So you can look at your friends' feeds and know that we all are capturing what we want to capture and share.  And I too, sometimes look at people's pictures and think that maybe they are doing something right that I'm doing wrong.  That their lives are more interesting, more fun, more joy-filled, more artistic.... 

I think Modest Mouse said it pretty well.  "Other people's lives seem more interesting 'cause they ain't mine..."

But in the end, it doesn't matter.  What matters is the story we tell ourselves.  And remembering that other people's lives seem more interesting 'cause they're on Facebook. (or because of what they say on Facebook anyway).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Us, unplugged.

Last night I came home after a meeting and my hula hoop class, and saw Tad in the window doing the dishes. 

I saw him look out at me so I put my stuff down and started hooping for him in the back yard. 

After I came in, he clapped and then pointed out how dark the clouds were.

Later that night, Tad had the Brewers game on TV, music playing as background music.  I opened up my laptop to check email and then went in the kitchen to put away the drying dinner dishes.  Suddenly the lights flickered once, twice and then went out completely.

"Mama!" Coen called.

I felt my way in the dark to his room
"It's okay." I said to him.
"Oh, I'm not scared." Coen said. "Just surprised! Were you surprised? Where were you when it happened?"
Tad came up with a candle burning and we brought Coen downstairs with us to snuggle on the couch awhile.  We listened to the Brewers on the transistor radio by candlelight and watched some of the neighbors outside with flashlights.

After Coen was tucked back in with a flashlight, I joined Tad who was reading a book next to the candle. I got my book out too. And we read, in the darkness, Bob Uecker in the background, announcing the Brewer game.

Coen talked about it as we biked to school this morning, telling Lucy (who'd slept through it) all about the excitement of being without electricity.  I'm glad it didn't last long enough for the refrigerator to get warm, but it was a fun adventure.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tad and I might not be cut out for the upscale life...

Tad and I had a wonderful anniversary weekend in Galena Illinois, celebrating our 9 year wedding anniversary.  We booked a "romance package" at a spa/resort hotel.

We pulled up next to a big Lexus SUV and a couple approached it as we left our minivan.  The woman appeared to be assessing the space between our cars. 
"Are we too close? "Tad asked politely.
"No. No." the woman said. "I'll just have him pull up."
"Well, we can move!" Tad said.
"Oh it's just I broke my foot, so I need more space. But it's fine. He can move up."
"I'm happy to move."
"No, he'll pull up. Under normal circumstances, I would be fine."
Tad replied, "Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't be here!"
Everybody laughed.

When we entered the lobby, we saw all kinds of golfer guys. I stared, mouth agape. I didn't realize that golfers actually looked like that! I thought they just looked like that in the movies! Tad said, in a Rodney Dangerfield voice, "Huh! This place is posh!" 

A bottle of nonalcholic bubbly and a plate of chocolates awaited us in our room. We sat together and continued the conversation we'd been having on the three hour ride there and slept a full nine hours without interruption.  BLISS!

Saturday morning was our spa morning!  We went down to the spa and filled out paperwork four our couples massage.  Under What would you like to get out of this massage experience? Tad wrote "Immortality"  The woman behind the counter laughed at that one. 
They sent us into the locker room to change and we were to meet in the relaxation room.  After I changed, I was just lurking in the hall in my bathrobe until a staff member found me and led me by my elbow to the relatxation room. Once in there, I noticed a jug of water with strawberries and cucumbers.  Since I was in the back, I didn't notice that there was a spigot in the front from which to despense the water. I looked around me and seeing no one, I opened the lid and scooped my water out of the top.  After five minutes, I heard the same woman in the hallway escourting Tad to the room as well. He was also standing, confused, in the hallway wondering where to go. Once he joined me I realized about the spigots and told him what I did to get the water out.
"Classy." He said.
I was worried that during the experience of getting a massage together in the same room would lead e to be obnoxious and want to giggle. But it turned out that it was just like getting a massage alone. It was only after the massage therapists left the room that I looked up at Tad and laughed about the fact that we were both there.

I stared at a lot more sterotypical golfers over the weekend and upset a few more upscale people with my silliness but we had a tremendously lovely time connecting, sleeping in, eating and walking around together. 

I know nine years isn't a long time, but it sure was worth celebrating.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I don't like to wait.  Which is why I try meditating every day. And just being at the right now that it currently is.

But sometimes I forget.

Right at this very moment, I am waiting for my phone to ring.  I have a 10:00 a.m. phone appointment to discuss a work-related thing about which I am very excited.  I am so excited, in fact, that I emailed my future caller to say that he could call me anytime as I am right by the phone!  That was probably a bit over the top, but nonetheless...

I am also waiting to hear back about a grant we applied for for my program.  This grant will change a lot about the face of my program and I am very anxious to hear back and know what's going to happen.

I am waiting for tomorrow too.  Tomorrow, after work, Tad and I will drive to Galena, Illinois to celebrate our ninth anniversary (which, incidentally isn't until May 21st..but our babysitters -- Tad's parents -- happen to be available this weekend).  So I am waiting for the moment Tad and I hop aboard our minivan, stop for coffee and head south.

Waiting is hard for me.  I am a very high speed individual.  I multi task.  I do things fast.  Yesterday, I said "I just need twenty minutes, before this meeting starts, to finish this mailing!"  And I had it done in ten.  I usually read the last chapter of a book before I start it or somewhere in the middle. So I don't have to wait.  To find out what the ending will be.  Tad calls me (among other names) "Hasty McGee". 

Sometimes I wish I could do that with my own life. BUT.  If I had peeked at the end of my twenties, when I was twenty oneish and freaking out about what that ending would be like, I would have been extremely satisfied.  So I guess I should take the lesson from 21 year old Alie and tell 37 year old Alie to shut up and stop trying to read the ending. 

It keeps on coming.  Phone call.  Grant.  Weekend.  Age 50.  All of it.  That's the wonderful thing about remembering to live in the moment.  Now. Now. Now.  The rest of it is on its way.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I think my psyche has the flu.

I think my psyche has the flu.  Do you ever feel that way?  Here are the symptoms of a psyche flu:
1. Bad and stressful dreams
2. Nervous butterfly feeling in stomach all the time
3. Being sort of stuck inside your own head
4. Feelings of not really sadness or melancholy or anger, but just sort of blankness
5. A really weird taste in your mouth

Admittedly, that last one might just be something I ate.

But sometimes this happens. Your mind gets the flu.  It can happen, I suppose, because of stress. 

I'm a bit stressed at work which is making me really scattered at work.  I know because yesterday I taught sexuality education and usually am unflappable and can say vagina and vulva and testicles with nary a twinge, but there was a cute student teacher and the kids all had ridiculous grins on their faces and it, quite frankly, put me right off my game!  I even stumbled over my words!

It can happen, I guess, if your mind isn't getting the rest it needs.  Hence the dreams.

I keep dreaming that I have cancer.  I'm dying and I have cancer and it's just terrible.  And LAST night I dreamt that while I had cancer, I was tyring to figure out what to do about work and found that there were cartloads and cartloads of acrylic paint everywhere and I was thinking I can't BELIEVE I didn't know about this paint! I could have been using it for projects! And now I'm going to die and what will happen to all this PAINT! So right there you can see, that not only am I stressed but I'm also really weird. I mean, who worries about leaving behind paint in their untimely demise?!

It happens to everyone I imagine and I know, like any flu, it will pass.  My psyche must rest (meditate) and take medicine (do fun things that my psyche likes) it it will pass.

The feeling stuck in my head and sort of blank comes out and I feel bad that I'm not as present as I want to be with everyone around me.  I told Tad on Sunday after I was really sort of cranky when I came outside with him and the kids and a bunch of neighbors, before I figured out that my psyche was ailing, that I felt bad for being so cranky around everyone.  And he said, "It's good for people to see that you're not just vomiting rainbows all the time."

But you know, I think my brain will feel better after it does vomit some rainbows.  I better keep an imaginary plastic bucket around.  Just in case.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Exercising with three family members in the room is not easy

Yesterday morning everyone was, in a strange and rare moment, happily occupied, requiring none of my attention.  Tad was playing Strat-o-matic baseball at the dining room table.  Coen was playing with Legos and Lucy was coloring.  I looked around and thought well, if nobody needs me, I think I'll exercise.

I brought my yoga mat and laptop to the floor and then Tad said, "What are you doing?"
"What?" I said (kind of defensively) "I'm going to do some yoga."
Tad got up and switched the TV on. "Why don't you do it on the TV so you can see it better?"
"Because you guys are listening to music."
"Not anymore." Tad said and put YouTube on the television.
"Oh." I said. "Okay!"

So turned on a 35 minute yoga workout video.  Tad glanced at the screen to see three muscular women in shorts and sports bras.  Then he looked at me.  As a workout was kind of an afterthought, I was wearing jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt. "Shouldn't you be wearing less clothes?" He asked me.

I started the workout and then Tad started laughing at the militancy of the lead woman.  "Wow." he said. "Is she going to start jabbing them in the ribs?"  I started laughing which made me lose my balance in the sun salutation I was doing.  "Stop it!"

Then Lucy, taking notice, joined me on my yoga mat, making strange squeaky noises which I interpreted to mean look at me!  "Good job, Lucy!" I said encouragingly.  She covered her face, ever uninterested in complimentary talk.  "Sorry, jeez!"  I said.

Then Coen started in.  "Mommy, why aren't you doing the advanced poses?  Aren't you advanced? When will you get advanced?"
"Yeah, Alie." Tad said laughing, "Why aren't you gettin' advanced?"
"Stop it you guys!" I said. "I can't balance when I'm laughing!"

Then, as I was in downward facing dog, my left leg in the air, Lucy wrapped her arms around my right leg, planted on the ground.  When I put my left leg down again, she struggled out of in between my legs, knocking me and herself back down on the mat. 

I turned my attention back to the woman on the TV.  "Leg up!" She was saying, "Now stick it!"
"STICK IT?!!!" Lucy said.  "Stick WHAT? I don't want to stick it!"
I was laughing again.  And sweating.
"Lucy." I said.  "Do you want to go get my tank top?"
"Your WHAT top?"
"Go in my room and get the green and white shirt that's on my chest?"
"Your CHEST?" She said climbing on to my back and tapping my actual bodily chest with her fingers.
I laughed again.  "In my room!" 
She went in there but didn't find it, so I ran in myself and changed quickly and went back to my video. 
Tad glanced up at me. "That's better."

I managed to finish it. It was a hard workout, made harder (and more entertaining) by all three of my family members.  After I switched off the TV, both Coen and Lucy looked up and said, "Do another! Do another!"


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Meanwhile, back in Milwaukee...


 So Coen's at Camp Matawa with the entire lower elementary of Highland Community School and it appears he's having a lovely time.  Here he is on the bus with two of his dearest and on the Gaga Ball court.  Gaga Ball is a version of dodge ball, taught to the children by the illustrious Mr. Barry--enrichment coordinator extraordinaire. 

Since Tad's on the camping trip as a teacher and school staff, I'm not getting a lot of news of my elder child, but his teacher Ms. Chimere sent me the bus photo and the Gaga ball picture just came through from Tad.  Today they are canooing and doing archery.  I know they also have nightly campfires and sing alongs too if Mr. Barry has anything to do with it.  I hope they are all having a wonderful time, but I do miss my boys!

Meanwhile, back in Milwaukee, Lucy and I had a girls night with her friend Siri and my friend Natalie.  Here's Siri's picnic umbrella that she set up for yesterday's dinner. 

It is an interesting thing: going from two children and a spouse to just one child.  It certainly makes for quicker flowing bedtimes and wakeups.  Lucy was bathed and tucked into bed in a 1/2 hour last night and I was downstairs promptly at 7:30 for tea and chatting with a friend. And this morning, we were even able to go grocery shopping BEFORE school! 

It is a funny thing, how much simpler it is with one less child, but nonetheless, I am very excited to see that bus return to Milwaukee tomorrow afternoon and have my whole family back again.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Love (look out, this post is a little over the moon)

"Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole sky."

- Hafiz
I just read this quote on my friend Nathan's blog and I had to pass it on.  It feels a little kismetty that I read it this morning, because I've been thinking a LOT about love and its existence.  Whether people really believe in it.  And I let some things, recently, shake that belief a little. 
But here's the thing.  I believe in it.  I believe in love.  True love. Soul mates. Love of one's life. Whatever you want to call it.  I have believed in this love since I was twelve years old.  I remember because when I was twelve, I made a list of five things I wanted to do before I died.  Here it is:
1. Fall in love
2. Join the Peace Corps
3. Make a record.
4. Write a novel
5. Hold a monkey
I have done the first three (well I made a CD--there weren't CDs yet when I made that list).  I am working on number four. And I have a reasonable belief that I can manage number five at some point in my life. 
Anyway, I do believe in it.  And it doesn't mean I believe in the 'happily ever after' fairy tale kind. I believe in working your ass off to make relationships work. And I believe sometimes you work and it isn't enough.  I know people marry for reasons other than love, or that sometimes love can grow from friendship. I know there is all kinds of love.  I know a lot of people going through divorces right now, going through troubled times.  And Tad and I have certainly struggled.  We struggled HARD in the beginning of our relationship.  There was a time I wasn't sure we'd make it.  And this month, we'll have been married for only nine years. That's just the age of a child, in terms of marriage.  It's really relatively new still.   And we'll keep working, and we'll run across trouble and I know I can't know what will happen in the future.  But I know that now, when he calls me in the middle of the day or I see him heart still leaps.
Both my parents recently and independently of each other, told me not to stop believing in it.  So I will listen to my parents.  And to myself and keep believing in the kind of love that lights up the sky.