Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Triple Insult Day

So technically, it was a two insult day.  One insult yesterday and two today but triple sounds better in the title, don't you think? And to be fair, none of these things were true insults.  Mostly observations. But....well....you'll see.

Yesterday I went to the doctor. I have been putting off going to the doctor because our insurance changed and now I have to pay full price anytime a doctor checks out something that is wrong with me until I reach our deductible...  So I was pretending nothing was wrong with me.  But finally, there were two things wrong with me and that seemed silly to ignore, so I went.

Before I get to the insult, I don't have too much wrong with me. Just canker sores in my mouth which are making life uncomfortable and a terrible rash where my wedding ring once was that is getting worse and worse.  I got a cream for my rash and some mouth rinse and I'm feeling better already today.

But the receptionist, who was very nice and billed my visit as an annual check up so they wouldn't charge me big, was the person who doled out insult number one, though she didn't mean to.  I had been in Whole Foods and I ate a cup of chicken noodle soup right before I headed up to the doctor.  When I sat down to be checked in, she said, "Why sweetie! You smell like a honey ham!"

A honey ham!

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure a ham is the scent I want to be emitting.  Lilacs, sure!  A summer's breeze.  Wait. Is that a douche?  If it is, that's not what I'm going for either.  But you know, cinnamon, chocolate chip cookies even. But a HAM?  I mean, who wants to smell like a ham!  "Sweetie!" She went on, probably reading the badly masked alarm on my face.  "It's a good thing.  You smell like the holidays!"
"Well" I said, probably trying to hide a smirk at this point (I certainly don't want to smell like a ham but I was pretty excited about how funny this would be to tell people) "I did just eat some soup in the deli at Whole Foods."
"Oh" She said smiling "I love that place. 
Grateful to be on a subject other than than my ham smell, I bid her adieu and went to sit in the waiting room.

Today, insults two and three came from my children.  I came home with a new haircut.
"Mommy!" Lucy said coming into the kitchen. "What happened to you!"
"Whoah." said Coen. "Your hair!"
"Well, it won't look like this when I do it myself!" I said.  (Doing it myself will be taking a shower tomorrow and not even combing it after, quite the opposite of salon style)
"Why does it look like THAT?" Coen said.
I laughed, shrugging, and went into the living room.
"I'm not trying to be mean" Lucy said  "But you'd probably look better with that hair if you had brown skin."
I laughed.  "Thank you." I said.
"Mommy!" Lucy said. "Why did you say thank you?"
"I'm just glad you told me how you feel!" I said.

The final insult came, after smelling like ham and what happened to your hair, when I was leaning over after reading to Coen.  I was wearing a loose fitting t-shirt and no bra (sorry for the TMI but it is necessary to the story).
"Mom!" Coen exclaimed. "You look like you have a cow butt."

There. I'll just leave you with that. I will just leave you to think about that one. I know I am.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sometimes there are questions that lead you to many different answers.

I was taking a walk the other day and noticed, as I lapped the geese hanging out in the park for the third time, that some of them had thick necks and some of them had thin necks.  And then I wondered why that was.  I mean, that's strange.  Isn't it? Or maybe it isn't. 

So back at my computer, I Googled "Goose necks" 
And Google said, "Did you mean Goosenecks?"
Which I thought was weird. 
So in the search area, I typed, "No I did not mean goosenecks"
Then the first thing in the list was a review for a trailer hitch called a Gooseneck trailer hitch. And apparently there is just no other trailer hitch that's better.  So, if you're looking for a hitch for your trailer, Gooseneck Hitch by B & W Trailer Hitches is a good one.

But anyway, that was way in the wrong direction so I went back one page and saw that apparently there's a state park in Utah called Goosenecks State Park. Because it's all long like a goose neck. But also it looks windy (not windy like the wind is blowing but windy...like it's winding around a lot.  maybe windy isn't really a word the way I mean it.  Windish?  Windingy?  Anyway.)  It's pretty.  See?

But, pretty though it is, that did not answer my question at all.  So I Googled "thick v thin goose necks"
So Google asked me "did you mean thick or thin goose necks?"
I thought Google was being a little too concerned about semantics.
The first search under that was for a goose neck repair kit, and I wondered if it was a kit for a real broken goose neck.  But I imagine if a goose breaks his neck he's well...doomed.  gone like a goose.  (Or is it loose as a goose...) Dead meat.  (sorry, geese, that was a little unfeeling of me.)  But if you click on it, you see it is a PDF file and I couldn't really tell what exactly the kit was repairing.  There were nuts, bolts and washers and serial numbers.  I paged back.  The third in the search was titled "Confusing Domestic Geese."
I liked the sound of that.
It called to mind a bunch of geese in someone's yard playing keep-away with a kid who couldn't figure out which goose had his hat. 
But it was a long boring article about all the different kind of geese there are. I stopped reading after the first few sentences but there were a lot of pictures. I imagined different things for these pictures. See?

Heh heh heh.  She'll never figure out where I put that frog.

Hey! Hey! Honk!  Come back here, Margaret!  You bring that back!

Now listen Jim, we're getting mighty tired of this. You said it would five minutes FIVE minutes ago.

Anyway, finally I went to my tried and true form of Googling which is to Google the entire question that I want to ask.  I Googled "Why are some goose necks thick and some thin?"
And right away, on Yahoo Answers, someone had asked almost that exact question.  And Michelle, apparently, had the best answer.   So in case you're wondering, according to Michelle there are just different breeds of geese. Simple as that!  You can even go to www.feathersite.com and look them all up. 

I'll tell ya. I'll rest a lot easier tonight knowing the answer to THAT question.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Awkwardness Alternatives

So, I can be kind of awkward.  I can't really do small talk. I don't like idle chit chat at all.  I mean, what do you say?  And every time I find myself in a situation where I don't know someone that well, my awkward feelings grow enormously and I can't wait for it to be over. 
Once I arrived early to a party thing where I was meeting my sister and I hid in the bathroom until she texted:
Where are you?
So I wouldn't have to feel awkward just standing around not talking to people  Of course, when I emerged from the one stall bathroom to find several people waiting, I did feel a little awkward then.
Today, TWICE I found myself in this situation. Once with my intern. I'd asked her if she wanted to join us for lunch but I don't know her that well.  We got there before everyone and I was painfully aware of the fact that I 1. couldn't think of anything interesting to say to her and 2. once people I knew got there, she would see my weirdness change immediately into entertainingness.  And then again when I walked into work with a coworker and we silently walked towards the place where we would finally part when he went down towards his office and I, thankfully, toward my cubicle.  He mentioned the weather.  I responded with more weather.  But HONESTLY! Who cares about the weather? Why do we ALWAYS talk about the weather when we don't know each other. I mean for christsakes! We all have been outside. We KNOW about the weather. 
So I have come up with this list of TEN things I could say when I'm quietly and awkwardly sitting or walking beside someone I don't know very well.  Are you as awkward as I am?  You can try it too!
1.  I was thinking, I would be a horrible referee!  People would argue with me and I'd be like "I'M SORRY! DON'T BE MAD AT ME. You ALL WIN!!!!!"  How would you be as a referee?
2. I think it's funny how everyone says you should 'stop and smell the roses'. What are you supposed to smell in the winter?  What do you stop and smell?  Could you stop and smell the melons?  Melons don't really have a smell unless they're getting rotten.  You could stop and smell the air vent outside the bakery.  You can smell those in the winter.
3. Have you ever eaten and under ripe banana? What about an overripe one? If you could only eat under ripe and overripe bananas forever, which would you choose?
4. So, I have the Punky Brewster theme song in my head.  I can sing it to you. 
(then start singing )  This one, of course, runs the risk of things getting even more awkward, but you could pick a TV theme song that you think that the person with whom you are sitting, talking or walking would like... This also might save you from future time alone together.
5.  Knock knock.  (they would say, hopefully "who's there") and you would say Banana (followed by them saying "Banana who?) Knock knock (who's there) banana (banana who) and you could keep doing this until you get to your destination or other people show up. Then when you do you can say one last time Knock knock! (and they would say who's there) and you would say ORANGE! (and they would be so relieved and say "Orange who?") and you would say "Aren't you glad I didn't say banana?  And then you could laugh hysterically and like number 4, they would probably try not to be stuck alone with you anymore which would solve the problem.
6. If you could freeze time, for one hour, what would you get done during that hour RIGHT NOW?
7. Wouldn't it be funny if it were raining asparagus stalks right now?  If they make a face, or don't answer, then you could say, what do think it would be funnier if it were raining?
8. Oooh, is there a vote today? Shoot! What time do the polls close?  Who are you voting for?
9. I had a dream last night that (fill in name of coworker here) fell and broke his leg, but that the SAME coworker was also the only one there to get help!  Wouldn't that be strange?  I mean, how long would you be stuck on that before you actually went and called for help?
10. Also, you could just trip and fall down on purpose. Then you could spend the rest of your time either laughing, or convincing them you're okay, or having a much more adequate reason to feel awkward. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

This morning might have been some kind of record...

6:47 a.m.  I awake with a start to realize that it is 47 minutes after we usually wake up and we have over slept.  I wake Tad up (mostly by gasping loudly) and tell him to get in the shower and I'll get the kids up.

6:50 a.m. I have made coffee and am upstairs rousing two extremely sleeping children.  After they wake, I announce that if they can get up and dressed real fast that they can have a Pop Tart for breakfast (don't judge me.)

7:00 a.m. I am downstairs with two fully dressed children. Coen is immediately at the piano playing the Dr. Who theme song as I toss his shoes toward him.  Lucy is putting her shoes on sitting on the playroom floor. asking if they are on the right foot, reminding me of our Pop Tart options. (again, no judging)

7:10 a.m.  I am getting dressed in my room while Tad gets the kids' lunches and hats and mittens together before they leave. Coen and Lucy come into my room, coats on and Coen says something like "Wow mom, you're still not dressed?!" 
"Pshaaw!" I say to him.

7:18 a.m. I am packed up, coffee in hand, and on my way out the door, waving good bye to my family who is already pulling away in the minivan.

7:47 a.m.  Exactly one hour after waking up, I am walking into my sex ed classroom (WITH DOUGHNUTS, as promised --well deserved after last week's putting condoms on fake penises lesson) ON TIME for my class.  The only evidence of my morning is that my hair is still damp.

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with myself.

Happy Monday.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Yesterday I got up, took the kids to school, went to run a girls support group, got a bunch of kids to do holiday themed paintings for a holiday card opportunity through work, went to teach a sex ed class to a group of adults with developmental disabilities, went grocery shopping, came home, dropped my car off for an oil change, replied to emails and calls for work, picked up my car, dropped the holiday paintings off at work, did some data entry for the groups and classes I'd done earlier, drove to my kids school and crammed in a 20 minute walk, and went to pick them up, breathing a sigh of relief that for the first time that week, I could just bring them home and spend TIME with them.

The rest of the week had  of similar days, taking the kids to the dentist, dealing with new insurance issues and waiting on hold only to be told that my husband is the only person who can access this information, never mind the fact that he teaches children all day and isn't available during customer service hours of any kind to do ANY THING!!!!  I had to work one night, went out one night, had a migraine one night......

And the week prior was full of a death of a friend, volunteering at school 2 days, working one night and a whole week full of daytime hours of work, not to mention a weekend that consisted of three birthday parties.

So when I showed up at school, and was reminded that I had an executive committee of the board of directors meeting, it was all I could do to not slump in childlike disappointment.

The meeting was fine but it became clear to me that as board secretary, I would have a lot more responsibilities than I realized.

Suddenly I found myself fighting back tears.  I tried with all my might to get out of the school building before they fell, but alas, I had to get my kids and find Tad and ran into the former board secretary and my friend on the way out and out they spilled.  She was wonderful about it but I thought, what kind of board of directors secretary am I if I can't even keep it together for the first meeting at which my duties are called upon?  

Obviously the answer to that is "a fine board secretary who just happens to be overwhelmed."

I'll be fine.  But man, dashing from a building in tears is not among the things a person wants to be doing in a person's adult, professional life.

Here's to a better week next week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Here we go.

Oh boy.  Here it comes.

'Tis the season for spending ten thousand more hours in the morning getting ready to get out of the house.

Lucy came bounding downstairs this morning requesting her snow pants.


She declared then, after her shoes were put in her backpack and her snow things laid out (for an effing eighth inch of snow, I might add) that she didn't like the color.

"Those snow pants are too gray!"
"Ohh" Tad said, thinking fast, "But they'll change color in the snow and get more black!"
She hmphed in disagreement.
Lucy put her boots on first, taking an extraordinary amount of time getting them on and Tad requesting that I cut the laces shorter and then coaching me, whilst I did it, about how short they should be.


After Lucy struggled into her boots, she announced loudly, "OH! I have to put my snow pants on first!" And proceeded to struggle them back off.  Then she stared angrily at her too gray snow pants. I tried my best to ignore her.  After she had them halfway on, she remembered something I was hoping she would not remember.

"Mommy! Where's that snow suit I got?"

She got a full body snowsuit from a friend of hers but honestly, an EIGHTH inch of snow! Why do we have to start this charade with only an eighth inch?

She went and got that and spend another long time struggling into it.  Meanwhile I grumbled in the kitchen about my future few months and Coen walked past me and said, "I don't think it's necessary to wear snow pants yet. Does that make you happy Mommy?"

I looked at him and smiled and he went on, "I'm not doing it to make you happy but it's nice if it does."

Finally she got the suit on but then flopped all over the ground in frustration about the straps that went under her feet....the straps that when they went under her feet, it made it impossible to get her boots on.  "It's all SCRUNCHED!!!" She wailed.

Finally we figured out that the straps go on the outside under her boots and out she marched, happy as a winter clam. 

I, on the other hand, sat in my car, seething at the cold and the fanfare that goes along with snow and stupid winter.

Tad got out of his car and came to mine and I thought, yay! he's going to say something warm and encouraging...

"Where's Lucy's breakfast?" He asked, sounding annoyed.


I pointed him to it...well actually Lucy did, loudly "It's right HERE!!"  I don't know why she hadn't done that when he was looking for it, but who wants to make sense?  That would be boring.

Anyway, it's here.  And I shall have to take a deep breath and go with it, I suppose.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lucy f-f-f-faces

Lucy turned six today.

Technically, she is officially six five minutes before I began writing this post. 

She was born at 8:35 p.m. after a fast, hard, painful labor.  She nursed immediately and as she did, I whispered to Tad, "Put some music on."  He put on Lavender Diamond and the room was filled with warmth and music and love.

After we were in my room Tad spoon fed me Jello while I held our new daughter and that moment is burned in my brain...one that I can go back to whenever I want...and I do.

She is not an easy child.  She is demanding and wild, particular and fussy.  But she is also intelligent beyond her years and strong and powerful and brave.  I know that now our fights over exactly WHAT COLOR IS YELLOW!!! And WHAT COMES AFTER TWENTY NINE! And how she would like the sleeves or the tag or the bottom cut off her shirt because they're "scritchy"... all that will give way to a young woman who knows what she wants, how to get it and how to take care of herself.  That's magic right there.

And she is so funny.  She makes faces that the most stoic among us crack up about and she understands the most sophisticated of humor and, of course, the importance of silliness.

Today my baby girl is six. Suddenly our house has no need for baby spoons and hooded towels.  Diapers are a thing of the past.  Booster seats and sippy cups are long gone.  I have two big kids. 

I'm not sure how it happened or when it happened.  But it happened. And you know, though sometimes Coen's mention of the day he drives or Lucy asking how old I'll be when she's thirty gives me momentary pause, a wish to make time stop moving...really, I'm glad they're growing up.

I like them both more and more every day and every year and I am so excited to see the human into which my big, loud, bold, wild child continues to evolve.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oh, metaphors.

This morning I was driving to work and I was feeling a bit anxious to get there. I knew I only had about an hour before my day full of meetings and wanted some time to get something done (Isn't that funny how in the nonprofit world, meetings are often the opposite of getting something done...but that's another blog entirely).  So I was a bit impatient to get there.  As I drove towards my turn toward the highway, I saw that a woman was biking beside me.  She was going just slow enough that I had to slow down but just fast enough that I couldn't' turn in front of her.  And in my impatience, I sped up and found that I had to go right past my turn. 
As I drove up and down strange one-way streets, trying to get back where I was going, I realized that my impatience actually cost me much more time than would patiently waiting for her to pass had been.
And then I yelled out loud, alone in my car.  DAMMIT! That was a METAPHOR!!!
What I realized is this:
My biggest fault is my impatience.   Impatience while driving leads me to dumb moves like that.  Impatience with my kids causes me to miss out on possibly lovely moments of connection.  Impatience at work causes me to ignore certain emails or spend meetings with my insides trying to crawl out my eyeballs because I just want it to be over....
That's no good.
So thank you woman on the bike this morning for making me think about this.  I need to slow down, take deep breaths and just spend car rides and meetings and watching my daughter spend twenty five minutes putting on an effing sock (oh sorry; did I say that?) breathing and being appreciative that I AM ALIVE.  And I have it pretty good.  I know that's not always possible. I'm not ever going to be the mom who has the time and patience to allow her children to smell every frickin' daisy in the driveway (well, I don't even have a driveway).   But. I can be more patient.  I can remember that all there is... is THIS.  NOW.  That's all I have.  And whether now is a meeting or a commute or a seemingly mundane domestic moment with my kids or a party or a concert or a plate of spaghetti or thirty uninterrupted seconds to talk to my partner... that's what I have.
And I need to be more patient with that.  And with myself.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Karen Avery

This weekend I went to the funeral of my friend and mentor, Karen Avery.

For two straight hours people went up to the front of the room and talked about the ways in which she'd changed their lives for the better. 

It is because of Karen Avery, that I am where I am in my career right now.

She hired me as a Trinity Fellow (grad school intern) at IndependenceFirst.  She supervised me for two years and I loved being supervised and mentored by her.  She taught me about advocacy and the spirit of inclusion and about the disability rights movement. She gave me freedom and trust to run with my passions and therein I begin taking leaps and trying things that made my job so cool.  And when I wanted to stay at my job after I graduated, she encouraged me to create a position and then pester our executive director until he gave me a job. 

During our meetings together we would talk for ten minutes about the work I was doing and then spend the rest of our time just chatting. She taught me so much about enthusiasm and passion and about being a mom.  She was the first person to tell me that it is okay to have a day that you just don't feel like being a parent.  I never knew that until she told me.  And that we can love our kids with our whole hearts but sometimes we just want to be just us and that is okay.

She told me about Highland Community School, where her grandson Xavier was attending and her other grandson Caleb would be attending when he was three.  I bought her Highland Community School fundraiser coffee and then checked it out for myself and fell in love.  And now Highland Community School is our second home, both my kids going there and Tad teaching there.  And Coen has a best buddy in Caleb. 

My life is better because of Karen Avery and I feel a huge loss in her absence.   But.....  as AA Milne Said in Winnie the Pooh (one of Karen's favorites) "The most important thing is, even if we're apart...I'll always be with you."  I sat in Karen's office the morning of her funeral and I felt her there.  She'll be carried along in the work and life of those who loved her.

Be giving of yourself
Be present for the people who love you
Fight for justice
Be kind.

Thanks Karen.

Found this on Karen's Facebook Page.