Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Grace in Frozen Foods

Note: even though this was *not* written yesterday, as penned, I was reminded of this in real time yesterday when an unrelated prompt asked about a time I had experienced grace. And that's when I realized I never published it. With far too much ado...

Yesterday afternoon I found myself in the frozen aisle of my Safeway, holding a package of naturopathic cold remedy, paralyzed by the paradox of choice (only wanting another option not remotely available to me #Woodstocks), and fighting a box of frozen pizza that'!!!

An older, good samaritan gentleman, who I instinctually would have described as middle-aged before realizing that I myself am now middle-aged (what the actual fuck?!), pushed his readers up on his head before saying, “just let it go.” And wouldn’t you know, upon surveying the situation, I could just let the pizza box go and it would lean against the casing of the door, no harm, no foul.

And at that moment I realized the sagacity this man’s advice and said, “you are so right. I should just let it go. I should just let a lot of things go!” I may have continued to spew some incoherent ramblings comparing the scenario to my children and my inadequacies of being a parent.

Frazzled first week of school mom clean up on Aisle Nine!

We shared a laugh at the absurdity of it all. He carried on with the rest of his shopping. I decided on which disappointments in the form of frozen pizza I would bring home for a Friday movie night at home. And we let it go, pizza box still askew, but securely confined on the other side of the freezer door.

But I took the random act of grace with me.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Two Truths and a Lie

Yesterday, I told my daughter a lie. She was acting up at bedtime and that's when it happened. I told her, “this is not how I want our time together to be after I've been away from you all day and I missed you.”

Truth #1: Not how I want to spend our time together

Miss Thing was exhausted. The day was spent with her grandparents (i.e., overindulged) and included a swim lesson. It's a lot for her little four year old self, no matter how sassy and independent she might be.

She was at critical mass--the point where all she could do was fight the sleep descending upon her, chasing the adrenaline dragon in hopes of stealing more awake time. Wiggly and nonsensical and babble-y and insensitive.

All I wanted was a calm, heartwarming bedtime snuggle. Clearly, I ask too much.

Truth #2: After I have been away from you all day

I had spent the day in wine country. Being a goddamned grown up, FFS. Not that I'm not being a grown up when I'm filling in for the role of Mom, but, y’know, doing grown-up only things. Drinking wine and eating a meal at my leisure. Going to the bathroom uninterrupted. Because suddenly, out of the clear blue nowhere, I turned 40 this week. The fuck all is this about?!

Lie: I missed you

I remember the early years of being a mom, when being near these excised little human pieces of me was the only way I could feel whole. Being apart from them was almost more than my heart could bear. It's a wonder I only got one speeding ticket while I was still working, seeing as I became possessed by some lead-pawed mama bear when it was time to slide down the dinosaur each day. Must. Get. Home. To. Babies. Like a freaking siren's call.

And now? Now they're always there. Two proverbial monkeys on my back (sometimes quite literally).

It's not as though I didn't think about my kids while I was reveling in my grown-up-ed-ness (and old agedness) over unoaked Chardonnay. But when I soberingly found my way back to them, I instead found I hadn't been away from them long enough.

To miss them, that is.

Of course the little voice in my head echoes the lamentations of all the “seasoned moms” you ever meet, warning: “Enjoy this time. They grow up so fast.”

But what about absence making the heart grow fonder? I mean, there's some absolute truth in that. At least from where I'm stranding.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ramblin' Man


Happy New Year.

How are you?

Me? I'm okay. I miss you. This. I've tried to sit down to write for no less than 5 times this week alone, but find myself unable to take (make?) the time.

Maybe it's because I've got a whole lot of things jumbled and swirling in my head. Maybe I'm a little concerned about what happens when I do get it out. I would imagine, though, the best solution for such a problem would be to, like, actually get it the fuck out of there and then cross that bridge, as they say.

I know this much to be true.

So I went to a meeting tonight and instead of going straight home I'm at Starbucks, getting, at the very least, this out.  In hopes that it will cause something resembling a spark.

I read something the other day about living like you only had three months left to live. Like, as a rule of thumb. I envy the people who can live like this. You know, the laid back people.

One of the funniest pieces of feedback I ever received in a performance review, back in the days when I was still working outside of the home, was that I was a laid back. It took all I had not to laugh in my boss' face.

Hilarious, right?

I mean, I can fake it pretty well. And let's be real here, "fake it 'til you make it" is my penultimate mantra. But I am FAR from laid back. Nor am I your textbook Type-A personality, although I have my moments. I definitely have a quiet confidence that things will get things handled (even if it is at the last fucking moment possible).

I believe on a previous occasion or two, I have called myself an over-achiever-perfectionist-slacker (emphasis on the slacker). At first I thought that, reduced down, this was driven by a fear of failing. Even though it manifests as a fear of succeeding. Thinking back to that time I had a bar exam tutor, maybe it's actually a fear of having no more excuses?!

IDFK. This is getting too deep for my atrophied mind.

So there. I've broken the seal. Let's hope there's a flood of words down the pike.

And high fives for sticking with me. Also, apologies.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

I Gotta Have Faith

Earlier tonight, we went out for some family fun. I use the term "fun" loosely because (and I think I've mentioned this before) we really don't do fun things. We may attempt to have fun now and again, but ultimately our (my?) dreams of having fun come crashing down upon us.

For instance. Tonight we went to a tree lighting ceremony. Not in our city, but a neighboring town where the Mayor attends school. So it's kind of our community, but totally not our community. We went because of the former, not the latter.

I've been to (and performed in) many a tree lightings in my day, but this was the first time we've gone to this particular event. In fact, it was our first official tree lighting as a family (on account of not doing the fun things). So none of us knew what to expect or where to even be exactly. But thankfully the town is small and even if you happen to be in the wrong place, you're a stone's throw from the right place.

Nevertheless. The kids needed dinner. So after getting the lay of the land, we went to the pizza place in the center of town and got back to the park with time to spare (and eat pizza). Then some school kids (including my favorite Fourth grader who requests to have my cupcakes for her birthday) sang before the man, the mystery, the legend himself, Santa showed up!

Miss Thing could not even. By the end of the evening, I figured out that she is in-part shy/apprehensive about Santa and in-part confused about him even being there (I mean, doesn't he have a workshop to be attending to up in the North Pole?! And his sleigh shouldn't be down here, it belongs in the sky! AND WHERE IN THE EVERLOVING FUCK ARE HIS REINDEER?!)

So off the cuff comes the narrative of how at this time of year, Santa is an emissary of sorts, on his Christmas PR campaign/press tour, making visits at shopping malls and tree lightings and other special events. Shaking hands and kissing babies.


Oh, well...they are, of course, stashed away! And...secret! And grassy, so they can rest and refuel. But of course!

Crisis averted. But MT was--is still clearly agitated by the whole experience. And not having the fun.

Then there was the Mayor. Fun repudiated after there was a run on the donut holes before he could get any. The humanity! (Though, when pressed, he *might* have had a little fun despite being donutless).

And as my kids were finding anything they could criticize about our attempted funning, I'm looking around at other kids being kids and other parents being... unworried about their engagement  in shenanigans in complete darkness, not to mention in public! 

And I thought: this. This right here is my problem. Maybe if we just did more of these things, it wouldn't be so foreign to any of us. And we could actually enjoy doing them. Instead of dreading all of the potential hardships (tantrums, bedtime, lawsuits) that come with the trying to do fun things. Maybe if I just put a little more faith in my kids, maybe they would surprise me a little more and we might actually have the fun?


Dear Santa,

For Christmas this year, I would like for you to show the door to my inner Nervous Nellie, Debbie Downer, and Negative Nancy. I need some time off from them.

Faithfully yours,

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Has Come When It's Gone Away

It's here! It's here! It's finally here!!!

Are most of us doing the same thing? Writing this celebratory post on today, the last day of NaBloPoMo?!

I've attempted this challenge at least three times, completing it just two of them (although last time there was one day that the post didn't quite make the posting deadline). Last time, I put a lot of mental pressure on myself to perform and I think that caused me to freeze up a few of the days. This year, I tried to keep things more organic as the crunchy types might say. I also didn't feel terrible when I was a little blocked/too busy and had to post content that was not something I wrote.

When the end came in 2014, the first time I crossed the finish line, I was SO relieved. But also SO worried about the rubber band effect. That pulling myself so taut for the month would cause the equal and opposite reaction. And it basically did. I tried to pull myself out of it a few months later, but the well was dry.

Many expert writers say: write everyday. Make it a habit. While you're at it, write no less than a set amout, even if it's repeating the same word to fill up that space. Some days all you will end up with is the same word repeated. Others, it will blossom into a groundswell of words. Words that, strung together, amount to something of consequence. Those are the best days.

So where does this last day of NaBloPoMo leave me? It leaves me 30 days into this daily habit (isn't the rule of thumb that it takes 21 days to form a habit?!) Which doesn't feel much like a habit when I think on it, but it also hasn't felt like perhaps I've felt in the past. And I don't feel

I won't promise a post every day from here on out. But I certainly want to promise myself to keep cultivating my craft (humor me here) and sometimes, you know, seeking your validation. I mean, sharing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

First It Giveth, Then It Taketh Away

All day I was thinking about how I was going to write today's post about Giving Tuesday and the importance of community service and voluntarism. Yet here I sit to finally write and I'm all out of love.

So here's the deal: the children took everything I had to give today. And maybe then some. I may have muttered things about my kids that I don't really mean, but are nevertheless true. Like, things you don't think moms have the capacity to think about their spawn because feelings and hormones and bonds.

But I thought them and felt them and meant them. And of course I harbor guilt about it because moms aren't supposed to be, you know, human when it comes to her children, right? They are supposed to be superhuman, right? Always showering her progeny with love despite their foibles, defects, and peculiarities.

All I seem to be able to deliver are my own foibles, defects, and peculiarities in spades. As lovingly as my yelling can get.

So I wonder if I feel as I do because I see these flaws reflected back at me in my kids. And I think, "omg, what have I done?!" But at the same time, I wonder in earnest: "who are you and where did you come from?!" Because there is so much that I also don't recognize as me.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that raising kids would be so damned adversarial. Man vs. Man (or kid, whatever); Man vs. Self; Man vs. Nature. Man vs. Dinner and Laundry and Bedtime.

So tonight, I gave up a little. Because I had nothing left to give. Sometimes I even wonder if that's not at the heart of my problem: that I don't give up enough.

I guess I'll have to give it another go tomorrow.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Are Those Leftovers in Your Meatloaf or...?

If you're looking for things to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers, look no further, Well, you can probably look further, but here's something to add to your arsenal: Turkey Meatloaf.

Now that I say that out loud, it sounds really dull. Maybe a little unappetizing, even? It has never occurred to me to come up with something catchier. Even though I've been making this meatloaf for a few years now.  Here's the background:

One year, I'm guessing the very first Thanksgiving I ever hosted, I over-estimated the amount of stuffing I needed to serve. (An aside: what do you call it: stuffing or dressing?) But stuffing was always my favorite, so how could it go wrong? Well, a double batch of stuffing is, I am sad to admit, bordering on wrong.

We had conventional leftovers. I made (and froze) Stuffin' Muffins for days. Yet, there still seemed to be an endless supply of stuffing in my fridge. Then, brilliance struck:

Too Much Leftover Stuffing Turkey Meatloaf
(Am I getting catchier? Maybe the acronym: TMLSTM?)
1 lb ground turkey
1 1/2 cup stuffing, premade
3 Tbsp gravy
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 egg
1 Tbsp brown mustard
For topping:
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
2 Tbsp brown mustard
Preheat oven to 350*. Combine all ingredients. Form into a loaf and place in loaf pan. Top with cranberry mixture. Bake for an hour.
Ain't no Pyrex like vintage Pyrex...

'Cause vintage Pyrex don't stop!

Serve with traditional sides: the Thanksgiving kind (goodness knows we still have some left over) or the meatloaf kind, which may or may not have some overlap, right Mashed Potatoes?

Since the year that saw no end to stuffering, a single batch of stuffing has been more than enough for our leftover needs. Including this family favorite. Stuffing Meatloaf? Thanksgiving in a Meatloaf? Give Thanks for Leftovers Meatloaf?