Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Huh? This is news to me. While Talia looks like my very own mini-me, I convinced myself that this strong self-confident born-leader is nothing like the quiet reserved me that I remember. This got me thinking, who really knows the real me? I'm talking the true me that speaks from my soul, full of optimism and fears, loves and struggles.
When I first meet people, I try to figure them out - find out where they are coming from - what makes them tick. I am always weary of people that present themselves way over the top, like Robin Williams or Richard Simmons. I know someone that always presents this larger than life joking flamboyant persona, yet I wonder what he is like at home (what I would give to be a fly on his wall). Does he talk to his dog that way or does he come down to earth and talk "normal"? I'm picturing a Saturday Night Live skit. It's a mystery to me.
Am I a mystery to people? Do I put up too much of a wall? Do people wonder what makes me tick? I would hope that all this work on friendships, having babies, marriage, and feeling more free in my thirties and almost forties has chipped away at that wall, allowing me to be more open, less self conscious, and more confident. Yet, I've known some friends for years and I still only show my outer self to them, mainly because they barely reveal themselves to me. Or, how come I can go years without seeing someone and reunite in person feeling immediately like no time has gone by? Still, some people get me to open up right away. Today, I had a particularly difficult morning with a way-too-early 5:32am wake up, Talia crying eight times over stupid stuff, fighting over the blue Playdoh, a 7:59pm email from my boss last night requesting a huge report this morning (should not open work email before 9am), trying to get that report done while they are fighting and crying, and just general crankiness. When my new red headed writer mom friend asked me if I was okay this morning as I was leaving (hiding) school , do you know how badly I wanted to steal her away to breakfast this morning so I could talk and share and relate about my bad day?! Maybe it's because she puts it all out there in person and in her writing that invites me to safely do the same. I like that. I need that. Luckily, I have people in my life that offer that, and I'm always happy to have more.
I admire the fact that my kids let it all hang out and don't hold anything back, although sometimes it's not always in my best interest, like when I'm trying to get work done or am running late for school. Of course, they are on their best behavior at school, or at least I hope so, and act the same around all of their friends. But, come to think of it, they do act more reserved around new people, more silly around silly friends, and more protective around those with special needs. Maybe it's more ingrained than I realize, and I'm vowing to go easier on myself. It's just a subject that no one really talks about but something that's often on my mind. And, even though only a few people (that I already know) actually read my blog, it sure is a therapeutic way to put it all out there and grow.
Friday, October 24, 2008
This is the combo pile currently on my kitchen table. I did not stage this. It is real. It includes noisy-noses, a Chuck postcard, bills, catalogs, pipe cleaners, and a broken necklace. I am horrified. Where do I begin?
This is at the end of my bed on a pretty wrought iron bench (aka clutter keeper). It's a pile of clean clothes that need folding and putting away. I have since done six loads of laundry, all folded and put away, yet, I walk past this particular pile every day for a week and do nothing like it's toxic material.
Bathroom counter pile. This is stuff that was in my drawer, and that I took out of my drawer because I couldn't close the drawer, and now it is all on my counter and I don't know where to put everything.
Quinn is obsessed with pipe cleaners. The creative fun is unlimited. You saw the hanging window art a few posts ago? That was only the beginning. This pile was created by me gathering up the various creations from all over the house. What do you do with a pile of twisted pipe cleaners?
This pile is on my nightstand. Why do I have three pens there? And, the jewelry. I have a very handy and efficient hanging clear pocket organizer for my jewelry, but these didn't quite make it there. Note to self: take off necklace, put in jewelry pocket, done. No clutter. Grrr.
Again, see that modern cubed shoe rack?! It's for shoes. Did we have an earthquake or was I just too lazy to return the shoes to their rightful organized place?
This is my famous nightstand pile of books that lives below my other jewelry/pen pile on top. These are either books I want to read, books I started but never finished but need to finish, parenting books, borrowed books, a Dr. Seuss book, and various magazines about being organized.
So, bottom line, I need to dedicate some time asap to cleaning up these piles because a cluttered home makes an anti-clutter person like me totally insane and jittery. My husband is totally unaware of my current angst - he's too busy going through his piles and piles of old records that he's recording as mp3's. Not that I'd want him to touch any of my piles because he doesn't have a clue where anything goes. Ugh, it's all too much...I think I'll go play on Facebook.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I always loved having an unusual name. I didn't like going with the crowd and having a pretty old Russian name helped me be a bit different. The only time it wasn't so great was in school when a new teacher couldn't pronounce my name, when well meaning friends shortened it to "Dar" (major cringe), or when my cousins called me, and this is both painful and funny to write, "Diarrhea Weirdo". Kids are so cruel.
Today, when I had a few precious minutes alone with Quinn, he told me that his favorite school friend called him a name today and he didn't like it, and he told this friend he didn't like that, then his friend declared they weren't friends anymore. Gearing up for the worst, I asked him what his (former) friend called him that was soooo horrific and friendship ending?? Turns out his friend said "Hey Fire Breathing Dragon! Come over here and play!". It took all my will from laughing out loud. That boy is funny... and my kid is too serious!
What is it about the common human experience that we feel compelled to call people different names other than what they were carefully given as a baby? I get the fact that we wear different hats in our lifetime with new names attached, like mommy, gramma, mother-in-law, Mrs. President, etc., but what's with the other names like meanie, poo poo head, and The Old Lady??? I guess it's like curse words. It's simple to say "ouch, that hurt", but it feels waaaaay better to yell "F.U.C.K. $!@#%&*!!!!!!" or "slut!".
I guess it is what it is, sometimes name calling hurts and other times it's just plain funny. I dread the day my kids start calling me MOTHER (or worse). I really love being "You are the best mommy in the whole wide world to the stars and back". I just have to relish the affectionate names, like being called honey by my sweet husband and BFF by my best friend. Those names are precious and totally make up for the not so great Diarrhea Weirdo Braceface Four-eyes days of my youth.
***Baby A (Talia) and Baby B (Quinn) in the hospital***
Monday, October 20, 2008
(5h grade yearbook picture of myself I've never seen before Saturday)
Barely two months into school and my twin kindergartners are already bonding with new friends in their class - holding hands, having playdates, and missing them on the weekends. They each have their favorite school friend, but other friends are easily made, too. They will announce "I sat next to Sophia and now we are friends" or "Sam asked if I would be his friend and I said 'yes'". And, as an unexpected bonus, I'm also becoming friends with the fabulous playdate moms. Cha ching!
So, while we are all venturing into new friend territory, I've had a recent surge of reuniting with old classmates and friends (yea for Facebook!). Just in the past few months, I am now in touch with two friends from early elementary school, two sisters that my mom used to watch in her home daycare and later went to school with me, and a former roommate/friend from my early 20’s (who I'm meeting for lunch this week!).
It’s interesting how in my mid-twenties, I barely had any friends and felt a huge sad hole in my life. I made major choices that badly affected my friendships, but at the time I felt it was right, so I can't be too hard on myself. I was immature, bad at coping with hard stuff, and in survival mode. Hey, we all were. Fortunately, I found my amazing husband, but still felt like something was missing without close friends. When my grandmother died, I didn’t have a single friend to call that I thought would care enough to come over and comfort me with hugs and a casserole. I blame no one but myself, because I never really understood what it took to find, make, and keep friends. It didn’t help that I’m horrible with small talk and it takes me a while to warm up to people and let my guard down (one of my biggest faults). So, what I did was consciously study people who seemingly had a lot of friends and that made me want to be their friend, too. What I noticed was that these people made every friend feel very special to them, needed, and appreciated. Of course, it's way more complicated than just that, but still, there was so much to learn and practice.
Well, here I am many years later and luckily I don’t have the friend hole in my heart anymore. Although I will probably never have tons and tons of friends (like everyone else on the planet ha ha ha), the ones I have now, both old and new, I love and cherish. And, every day I am still learning about and practicing being a good friend, sometimes not doing so well and other times pleasantly surprising myself. I think this will take a lifetime to get right.
This past weekend I hugged and visited with some of these “old” friends in person at a sort of reunion weekend. It was surreal and marvelous to hug these women that I last knew as little girls in 5th grade. Now, we are the ones with children (talk about surreal watching our kids play together).
Some say that people from our past can show us who we once were, and that’s true to some extent. I also believe that these friendships make us who we are today, no matter how long or short of a time they were in our lives. Friends are a huge part of our memories, experiences, and lessons in life, both good and not so good. I think I’m at a point in my life where I can look back on my past friendships with love rather than regret.
I hope that I can pass on my friendship wisdom to my kids so they don’t have my same hang-ups as me. Funny, though, that I can probably learn much more from watching their simple and sweet friendships than over-analyzing mine. I do envy them. They can simply be in the playful moment, not thinking about whether the other kid already has too many friends and won't want to be their friend, or that they are boring, or that they won't want to be friends tomorrow because of something they said or did. It doesn't always have to be so damn complicated (like I tend to make things) and can sometimes just be fun in the moment, and hopefully save the heavier stuff for when it's truly needed.
(me and the sisters from daycare)
(former 5th grade classmates...don't we look hot?!)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
So, being the optimist and writer of a blog that looks for the small happy stuff in life, I happen to notice a surprising amount of good things today. And, to those that are having a bad day/week/month, please don't hate me for being so chipper, but I can't help it. This good day is waaaay overdue and I'm going to acknowledge it dammit.
- Quinn found his inner creative out-of-the-box self that's was missing for a while, and recreated the wire sculptures he saw on Reading Rainbow this morning. He dug into the craft bin, declared "I found the pipe cleaners yeaaaa!", and went on to create hanging art on the playroom curtain rod. Do you see the hanging mummy?
- I drove to my favorite hiking spot that I feared had burned in the fire, having to see for myself, and...I saw green...lots of green! The fire only got the upper section where we rarely take the kids but where I hike with my cousin (all 1.4 miles of it). Our favorite "fishing" spot was saved. What a relief! Those brave firefighters are incredible.
- I go to my favorite Goodwill to buy bigger sized clothes for the growing kids, and, oh ya baby, all kids clothes are only $.99 each on special today (regularly $3.99). I buy 21 really nice items and pay $21. Normal price would be $84. Cha ching!
- My new school mom professional writer friend called me a "writer". Me? Yes, Me.
When I arrive home late afternoon after their Wednesday gym class, Jason greets us at the door looking like total crap. The dedicated defender of our once smoky freeways has a fever and sore throat and feels horrible and crawls back into bed. Then, I scold Quinn for dumping his (expensive) castle on the floor and he starts crying (and getting that face) saying that he's sad about what I said to him and now he thinks that "I don't love him anymore". And, it all goes downhill from there. Aaaaah, whew, this is more like the up and down life I know and love. I just have to smile...and pour myself a tall glass of wine. Cheers!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Ah, but today is a different story. We have two fires burning within a few miles of our home and fierce cold winds making matters worse. Our eyes are burning and itchy, our skin parched dry, our throats scratchy, and it smells like smoke in our home. My backyard fence that was slightly leaning is now on the verge of going completely horizontal with one more huge gust of wind. I've checked obsessively on the falling fence all day even though there is nothing I can do about it but wait for the fence guy to come in two days.
But, my fence isn't on fire and I'm not evacuated to a school gymnasium like so many people today. My kids were skillfully entertained inside all day today by caring (and brave) teachers, a video, and the letter "N", and they are now making elaborate playdough creations and getting along great.
According to my cop husband, the fire that is so close to us was stared deliberately. This is coming from a guy who stood on the freeway in blanketed in thick smoke next to the remains of a burned car (and person) that turned around on the closed freeway and hit a tow truck head on.
So, when I reach for my asthma inhaler while watching the smoke and flames in the mountains nearby (yes, I can see flames), I'm wishing for the best for all of those tired firefighters, scared residents, volunteers, and animals. Funny, well, maybe not so funny, how things can turn around so quickly and go from la la la fun fun fun to such tragedy overnight.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
(the beautiful old theatre where we saw GBS)