Friday, May 27, 2016

Sometimes you just have to shake it up.

So this fall, I'm leaving the job I've been at for the past twelve years.  I'm leaving this job and the salary and security that goes along with it and going back to school.
Sometimes you just have to shake it up, is how I figure.

I have shaken it up in my life two times in a big way and both of them led me to amazing places, people and experiences.  I think always know it's time to shake it up when I get too comfortable. 


This time I got so comfortable being comfortable that I forgot to shake it up until two things happened.
1. Tad reminded me that it's time.
2. I got uncomfortable.

So. I think I've known for a long time that it was time to shake it up here we go.

The first time I shook it up was when I left home, at the tender(ish) age of 18 to go to college.  I walked around whitewater with a long hippy skirt and a ministry t-shirt and knock-off birkenstocks and smoked cigarettes.  I pretended I was cool until I realized it was a lot cooler just to be me.  I studied hard and found out that I was actually pretty good at school, contrary to what my high school experience told me.  I didn't call home for a month just to prove to myself that I didn't need to.  That shake up left me stronger, braver and smarter than I was before it started.

The second time was when I left for the Peace Corps.  I was having such a good time in my easy job, my house full of parties and drinking and all-hours fun.  And I realized.  This isn't doing anything for my growth. I better get out of here and get uncomfortable.  So I moved to Estonia for two years. And I made friends and had experiences that changed my life entirely.  I grew inside like a wild crawling vine.


Here's shake up number three.  I feel pretty ready.

I love to imagine future me, remembering this limbo period, before I started... knowing what I will know then.

Circa shake up #1, 1993

Shake up #2, 2000
AND shake up #3, 20

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Yesterday I had my first mammogram.  Being excited about female-based rights of passage (getting your first period, buying your first bra, your first mammogram, your first time not apologizing to someone at a picnic that it's raining...) I felt a little celebratory.

All in all, it was really not a big-deal experience (she says blissfully unknowing, whilst the people at the breast center get ready to pick up the phone to call her back and tell her to come in for more tests or a biopsy or something!)

So the mammogram technician was really nice. She thought it was cute that I was going out to dinner with some friends right afterwards to celebrate.  I approached the giant machine, my eyebrow raised.  How am I going to.. I was thinking until she said "It lowers down."  Which I was thankful about, worried I was going to have to haul my endowments onto the table a good half foot out of my reach!

After she took the third picture, she goes, "Okay, let's do that one over.  You had a big chunk of arm fat stuck in that one."


Big chunk of arm fat?

I mean, who says that to someone?

I laughed, throwing back my head like Julie Andrews.  A little arm fat never bothered me!  I'm SO beyond arm fat.

Seriously though.  Can't she have come up with some euphemistic way to say it?

Like: Let's do that one again. I had your positioned wrong.  OR....  Oh let me take this picture over. You're so beautiful, it confused the machine!

I mean for real. What if I were totally sensitive about my arm fat? I could have been sent into a downward spiral of poor body image!  But lucky for her...and me...I'm not.

The other day when I was trying on swimsuits, my sweet daughter, watching me change, her eyes meeting mine in the mirror, said, "Mom. Why am I so skinny?"

Whatever people.

Ah, but the first mammogram is done and out of the way. I walked out with a smile on my face and me and my arm fat met some friends for tacos!

Monday, May 9, 2016

This is what I'm dealing with.

 Here is a note I wrote to my children one morning when I left for work before they woke. 

I was letting Coen know that he had his math homework to do--a computer program called ALEKS.  Sometimes he does it right when he gets home, to get it over with. Sometimes he likes to wait and do it in the kitchen amid the smells of my cooking, talking to me between problems. 

He doesn't love doing it, but he takes responsibility for it.  Sometimes I think he does it just to please me....

Now, when he was in first grade, he had math worksheets he had to bring home and do occasionally.  I would sit with him and often he would cry in frustration and I would do my best to help, counting on my fingers beneath the table.

Once, on a particularly frustrating night of homework doing, Tad took Coen out behind the garage with his worksheets and a pack of matches and together they burned it. I imagine Coen smiling with glee like a maniac and Tad giving him a conspirator's smile, his eyes sparkling.  The homework going up in smoke, ember and flame in the dark alleyway.  A father/son act of defiance.

Coen was bursting to tell me when he came in. 

"You BURNED it?!" I asked incredulously.  Then to Tad, "How is this HELPING?"

So here, next to my note is the one Tad wrote. Another act of defiance. 

So there we are. Me, helping Coen with homework, making sure he does it.  Tad telling Coen it isn't necessary.  And somehow we make it work.  I hope he's learning to work with his community and question authority all at once. 

But you see..this is what I'm dealing with...a note next to mine, poking fun of the system I'm trying to figure how to help my kid into...  nighttime sky and secret fractions into ashes, sparking into the night. 

Ah well...what an interesting world my children are growing up in....