Archive for the ‘The people who keep me sane’ Category

Baby, it’s cold outside…

March 14, 2017

…and if I say that it’s because the low today is 40° and we’re in serious danger of some patchy frost, my sisters and family and all of my friends just might will most definitely chuck snowballs at me with enough force for them to make it.

Because it’s blizzarding back home, with about 20 inches forecast, so what – maybe three-foot drifts? I’m trying to remember. Enough that one sister (at least) joined the milk and bread (and wine) crazies, and bought a flotilla of apples – enough that her flotilla would be even when she lashed the apples together, making me worry that my other sister had hacked the first one’s account – one sister with OCD is all I can handle – and then reported back that she also got four bottles of wine (evidence again), two kinds of cheese (evidence for), and a frozen cake. DEFINITELY RHI, THEN! (Kim would have bought baking supplies.) So the Stisters are okay.

Meanwhile, I wore a sweater with a deep (and really cute) v-cut in the front and back necklines and I’m freezing. Because I forgot my scarf. The scarf that would cover that one teeny tiny patch and then I’d be nice and toasty warm. I did remember a coat, because my blood felt awfully thin when I opened the back door to let the dog out. It’s a good thing I know for a fact that my blood thickens right up again when I go home for visits, or there would be some sort of madcap immersion therapy going on right now.

You know – after I got over being cold because my neck is uncovered.

Good thing it’s going to warm up to 67° later!! (Here is where I tell you that I have three extra beds, a couch, and a lot of floor space for those who want to evacuate before the next Snowpocalypse.) Have fun storming the castle, everyone! Let me know, occasionally, that you haven’t gone all REDRUM!

This is getting to be a Sunday night ritual.

January 30, 2017

Last night was a good, good night. I made my Twice-Stolen Peruvian Roast Chicken for dinner, and the girls didn’t even complain. I warned them we’d be having more family dinners, and they said they didn’t mind – even though they preferred “easy” dinners where they could have waffles or heat up leftovers. They don’t even like chicken right now, but they didn’t complain. And don’t say anything, but I think Gracie liked the Peruvian flavor. It does make a difference when you cook your chicken skin-on.

After our sit-down dinner, Gracie sat down to watch the SAG Award show. I offered up the big TV, and asked Bee if she wanted to come craft in my bedroom with me. It’s what we did the last time there was an awards show, and we had a lot of fun. Bless that girl, she did want to hang out with her mama. So she grabbed a sew-your-own pillow kit she got for Christmas, and I grabbed some scrapbooking supplies, and off we went.

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Here’s my partner-in-crime. You can see the friendship character on the pillow kit. Bee looks all serious because she’s trying not to knot her string because it was awfully tangly.

We watched the rest of Anne of Green Gables and the Bee-girl really got into it (and my heart rejoiced!). I answered her questions best I could as I worked on my own projects:

And then there was this one, which kinda encapsulated all the scrapbooking I had gotten done this weekend:

The journaling reads:

This is the first I’ve scrapbooked in a long time. More than a year. And there are… There are pictures I’m not using. Pages I’m not creating. It’s a choice. A conscious choice. It hurts to think about Jeff and X-man. It hurts to even write their names. Trying to recreate 2016 – with them or without them – is painful. The absences and gaping holes are painful. The pictures that include them, even if I leave them out of my running commentary – those are painful. I have no way of knowing, right now, what is more painful or less painful. It’s all painful. All of it.

So.

So my choice is to not include them in as many things as I can. My energy in faking happiness in the journalism prompts is low. I save it for hte few I feel I can’t skip.

So.

So there are gaping holes. So what. And I’ll keep pushing through. Because at least I’m scrapbooking at all. At least I’m me again.

I find it’s much easier to be Brave when I have my Bee-girl around. She and I had fun. I like hanging out with her and seeing how her mind turns. It’s an important year – she’s right on the brink of growing up and becoming a tween. And besides that – she’s Bee! She’s sneaky and devious and hilarious and she has this way of unsettling you any time you feel like you have the least bit of balance. You never know what you’re going to talk about. And she has a terrible poker face, so you can always see what’s behind all the machinations of her thinking. It’s like playing in a giant funhouse, these nights full of conversation.

The fact that it’s all happening during a night of crafting? That’s just icing on the cake. Mmmm….cake.

Three years.

January 19, 2017

I saw a dad on the side of a the road, blinkers on, helping his kid change a tire on their own car. I couldn’t help it; I started crying out of the blue. If that wasn’t the signiest sign.

Then I started laughing, like I was nuts – crying one minute, laughing the next – because I wasn’t sure that a bigger sign wouldn’t have been the dad standing there, patiently explaining what the kid needed to do next to change their own dang tire.

In either case: you are missed.

Teenagerhood is coming. It is coming.

January 18, 2017

<….sound of goblin drums…>

<Oooh, wait…maybe of Twister violins….>

Because it’s already here!

Yes, go ahead and ask me how my day was yesterday. Oh, I’m so glad you asked! My ex-husband called last night. On the home phone, no less. We never use the home phone any more. The only peeps who use that are my parents and telemarketers, neither of whom usually call that late. (It wasn’t that late, maybe 8ish?) I don’t know what made me look at the home phone, because I never do that any more either. But I did. And it was my Ex. So I answered.

Gracie was insisting she had to bring her lunch to school the next day (today). Did I know anything about that? Uh, no. But yesterday was her first day back to school since the weekend. So maybe something popped up? Oh, but she was refusing to tell him why.

Oh, yes – you read that right. Refusing to tell him why. REFUSING.

You can see why steam was pouring out of my ears.

Anger wasn’t even my first response though. I was so happy my Ex had called! I love this whole Pull Together, Win Together thing. It bodes well for the next few years. You know, the Tough Teenagery Years that were suddenly dumped right in our laps.

After I cheered a little in my head, I moved right on to confusion. Because Gracie hasn’t once ever pulled anything like that. She’s a goody two-shoes. She might whine when she’s in A Mood. And yeah, there was the whole “lying about texting her friends” thing. But one bump in all the tween years we’ve braved so far? Not bad. So what was with the sudden obstinence? And how the heck were we going to deal with it?!

I told my Ex that I would call her (he was out with Bee), and see if she would talk to me, and get back to him. So I called Gracie-girl, who sounded as confused at a late-night call (I never call either – we’re a texting family) as I was. I explained what was going on, using my best concerned voice, and she still sounded confused. And maybe a little whiny. She had told Dad, she said. She hadn’t refused, she said. She told him she wanted to take her lunch to school, just because. Not that she needed to take it.

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if she just kept saying she needed stuff from the store to take for her lunch, and when pressed for a reason she said just because, and the manner in which it was delivered came across as less than straight. Or if her version of what happened was completely different from what actually happened. I have no idea. And that’s between my Ex and Gracie.

However: I explained to Gracie that she can’t ever not answer, if that’s what happened. I patiently explained to her that her dad must have been so worried and concerned if he called me. She seemed to understand. I told her that if it’s a want, not a need (language we use frequently at home), that she can’t expect her dad to drop everything to go to the store if he doesn’t want to. That it’s selfish to even get whiny about it. She could negotiate it, ask nicely, trade chores, whatever, but it’s not something he has to do. And that she probably owed him an apology when he got home. That they needed to talk it out.

I called my Ex back and told him what I had found out. He said he would talk to that Gracie-girl of ours.

And I spent much of the night texting my bestie whose (amazing) daughter is a senior in high school. They have had a very similar relationship as Gracie and I. I knew she would have ninja mom answers for my new teenagery kiddo issues. She not only had all the answers I needed, but she immediately asked the obvious question that I had completely overlooked: was Gracie feeling left out, or was she being teased for buying her lunch? Which, dude, would explain so many things. Kathy gave me the best advice, talked me off the ledge (with a later assist from my sister Rhi), and made sure I was able to sleep instead of mulling over the problem all night long. AND Kathy did it all in the late hours of Eastern Standard Time, and I know she’s not a night-time person. Because I needed my friend. And my sister finished up our talk with the magic good-night tradition – a magical incantation she would say to everyone every night before bed when she was a teeny tiny toddler. Those magic words actually were just what I needed to hear before bed, and I didn’t even know until I heard them. My village is awesome, you guys!

So, I guess Gracie and I will be having a conversation tonight. I don’t care if she takes her lunch every day or some days or whatever – as long as I’m not making it! All that matters to me is that she eats, and not just junk food. If she’s being teased for buying her lunch because she’s the only one, then she can take it. That’s never been an issue. I just want her to be honest with us. And for sure she needs to answer when we ask questions. Or some poor pitiful penguin with be without a phone for a certain length of time. Not answering is a no-go.

The teenagery years. I thought I had more time. But at least I know I’ll have a lot of help as I muck my way through them!

In which I resolve, I geek out, and I confess.

January 1, 2017

2017. Finally. Because: Wow, was 2016 not my favorite year to date.

And so…I resolve to focus a little more on the good going on all around me. That might mean gratitude lists, or it might mean making good things happen. It’s going to mean different things at different times. For sure it means more adventuring! The only resolution I’ve stuck to so far is the one I’ve made about reading more, reading “better”, and reading more diversely. I’m going to see if I can make this my second resolution that does the distance.

 

I geek out about how Santa was very good to me. In addition to several very lovely gifts, I got an entire stack – stacks, evenof the best gift of all: books! It comes to no one’s surprise that my favorite part (other than reading the books) is organizing and listing them. Drip with jealousy, dear readers. Drip.

It shall also come with no surprise that I finished one already. The surprise, really, should be that I finished only one. To be fair, I also finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Pride and Prejudice, which I was re-reading simultaneously, depending on which I felt would tickle my fancy that evening. Well, that and my sister is visiting, and I never get to read as much when I’m entertaining. It’s a good change of pace for me.

But before I get carried away with a social life and not reading, let’s see what I get to choose from when I do get to dip my toes into the pool of titillating stories and torrid affairs!

Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay (2016, Grove Press, 260 pages, hardcover). Short stories usually aren’t my jam. If you tell me they’re linked – like these – you’ll get a much better chance of getting me to jump into the pool. Ms. Gay’s writing, as always, was impeccable. Voice might not be the most critical of the holy triangle [voice, characters, plot][which, uh, is there a MOST critical?], but if it was, you’d find me hard-pressed to find someone who could wield her instrument with as much precision and beauty as Gay. The stories center around women of difficult natures, nasty women if you will, and how they have earned their badges of honor. These women are survivors, all. Many of them have stories that will make you cry – one of them quite literally, and you figure out how to do that quietly at two in the morning. 2. a.m. So you should pick the book up, with a pack of tissues – and highlighters and pens and your most critical eye. Because stories like these are even more important right now. 5 of 5 stars.

Setting aside the rest of my reviews (aren’t you glad I’ve only read the one!), what else did I get?

  • The Dead Lands, by Benjamin Percy (which was referred to me by @writerrhiannon, and I am very excited to read!)
  • The Nix, by Nathan Hill
  • Various coloring books (which: books. Still count. Especially: Jane Austen, Anne of Green Gables, and others…)
  • Agent Bride, by Beverly Long (delightfully delicious romance that I can’t wait to Mystery Science Theater my way through!)
  • A historical publication of town hall meeting notes from my hometown
  • Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton (I very much enjoyed Sisters)
  • Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn (because it’s been recommended by several book peeps, including one who says it’s one of her all-time faves)
  • The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, by The Countess of Carnarvon
  • We Are Unprepared, by Meg Little Reilly (which Kim says is wickedly awful in a hispter-y survivalist sort of way)
  • Full of Grace, by Gina Ferris (oh my – I remember reading this romance series unironically, back in the day)
  • Highland Whispers, by Sharon Gillenwater
  • Shatter, by Michael Robotham (blurbed by Stephen King. Need I say more?)
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman (I’ve read, but didn’t own)
  • The Fighting Ghettos: First hand accounts of Jewish resistance to the Germans, by Merer Barkai
  • 50 Greatest Players in New England Patriots Football History, by Robert Cohen
  • Flatscreen, by Adam Wilson
  • Everybody Sees the Ants, by A.S. King (I LOVE King
  • The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
  • Seriously, I’m Kidding, by Ellen Degeneres
  • Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe
  • The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (I devoured it this summer and will need a pick-me-up re-read in about 20 days, I’m strongly predicting)

 

And this is where I confess that I met one of my dearest friends over Christmas break – the fantastically sassy and wonderfully witty Andi – and she was even more !!!! than I dreamed. Meeting your friends – for me, at least – is always awkward. I the Queen of Awkward – don’t all be jealous, now. But Andi was gracious and hilarious and forgave me when I had to cut our day short because of a work crisis. Crisis aside, I got to explore the flagship store of my favorite “little” used bookstore . And, yes, a few more books fell into my cart. Whoops. (And everyone who believes that “whoops” – I laugh at you, sirs. LAUGH.)

For my Little Free Library (making its way to me, as soon as the backorder unclogs itself), needs some books. And so for it, I picked up:

  • Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann
  • The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

I am SO FLIPPIN’ EXCITED about my Little Free Library! But as much as I wanted to spend alllll my monies on that, I also splurged and got a few books for myself:

  • The Rotters’ Club, by Jonathan Coe (which looks a little like Trainspotting)
  • The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (which Andi and I impulsively decided to read together. It’s true love, I’m tellin’ ya…)
  • Caleb’s Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks (because I adore the fair Geraldine)
  • In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, by Daniyal Mueenuddin
  • Freddie & Me, by Mike Dawson (A coming-of-age [Bohemian] Rhapsody graphic novel loosely [or not] based on Freddie Mercury)(Guess which book I’m most excited to read?!)

I also got a few little things to put aside for Gracie, either for her birthday or next Christmas. I a $2 book of home plans, Gracie’s newest love; a mud mask; magnets that say “I ❤ Geeks”, the deathly hallows, Snape’s face and ‘Always’, and the Hogwarts Express 9 3/4 motto; oh, and Harry Potter pins for her backpack.

If only I could take Andi home with me, it would have been the most successful trip ever!

Not a bad start to 2017. So here’s a raised glass to you, New year – let’s keep things moving in this very promising direction, shall we?

The Christmas Eve that was both relaxing and productive, and also sort of surreal.

December 25, 2016

Yesterday (on what Kim is calling Calendar Christmas Eve), Kim and I had the house to ourselves while the littles hung out with their dad for Christmas. We got a lot done, and yet aside for one minor incident involving ThePlaceThatShallNotBeNamed, we were able to really relax, too!

We slept in, and then hit the stores first thing because I thought they would be INSANE. Traffic was a little busy, but no one was a jerkface, and the parking lots were surprisingly thinner – at least not as packed as I anticipated. We stopped for tea and coffee (honestly, Starbs was busier than any of the other stores), Ulta (for a last minute gift for Gracie – her tweenaged hair needs adult shampoo right now, and her fairy godmother had Ulta bucks to spend!), and then the store we really needed to stop at – Petsmart (for puppy presents).

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We had to get Fenway a stuffie Flamingo, and the pen, dangit, it just happened to write “From Auntie Rhi”, because FLAMINGO!!!

After we finished our shopping excursion, we fled back home for some tasty lunch and Kim started sorting Legos (for an upcoming surprise; I’d stay tuned!), while I tackled the hot mess that is the kids’ playroom.

How cute does Fenway look, all snuggled up?! This was before her tail swiped Lego piles into chaos; she spent a lot of time in time-out later in the evening. And my clean room makes my heart so HAPPY! I can’t even. The girls cleaned it a lot from where it had been about a week ago. But there were buckets upon buckets overflowing and without covers that I needed to fix, and I ended up sorting through the bookshelves instead of just “neatening” like I told myself when I went in there. I always do more than I intend to. But this way, Santa will be able to leave the girls’ big gift in the playroom, and not worry about the mess being in the pictures! WIN!

After all that excitement, Kim and I capped off the evening with her beating the pants off me in Sorry. Three times in a row! And a few rounds of Rummy that went back and forth. It was definitely her night. And a good way to end the evening – Storm Chasers and board games, just like it used to be.

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So it might not have felt like Christmas Eve yesterday, and today might not feel like Christmas – and, I suspect it won’t until the girls come home late this afternoon – but we made the most of it. Laughter fills in the gaps, every time.

Merry Christmas to all of you, dear readers! And Merry Christmas Eve to me.

Five for Friday: The Holiday Happenings Edition!

December 23, 2016

Good morning, everyone! NO MORE GET-UPS BEFORE CHRISTMAS VACATION! Ahem. Okay. No one’s excited or anything.

So much has been happening around here, but I’ve been behind on my blogging (because sisters and sleep don’t mix)(or, um, holiday craziness, either), and when I have, it’s been for #AMonthOfFaves, so you haven’t heard what all we’ve been doing! And we’ve been doing a lot of fun things! Let I’m going to use my Five for Friday to catch everyone up.

1. There has been a lot of crafting during our downtime. [HAAAAA! Because downtime is purposed for making of gifts, and baking of cookies for our village, and shopping, shopping, shopping, and wrapping! NO DOWNTIME!] I have to show off the shadowboxes I made, after being inspired by the ones Kim made last year.

shadowboxes

Aren’t they adorable? Festive and inexpensive for the win! Plus I had a good time browsing through my long-abandoned scrapbooking supplies to find just the right paper to match the ornaments, and the stickers to match the mood of the box. I used one as a gift for my Secret Santa exchange, and one went to a friend who needed a bit of cheer right now. Win-win!

2. When Auntie Kim is here, shenanigans always follow. We’ve spent a few nights playing games. One night it was full-contact Spoons (a family favorite). Another night, we played Pokeno, with Hershey Kisses and gummy-bears and had a blast…and then had more fun when Kim’s popcorn snack turned into a lesson in catching popcorn with your mouth. As one does.

We’ll just say Gracie has some work to do.

3. And then there was Bee’s holiday concert at school! It was holiday concert #39408539084. Approximately. Because who’s counting. Certainly not this Professional Holiday Concert Attender. Putting that aside for the moment, I have to say we really made the most of it. Kim came out of her room showing off her fancy earrings – because Bee would want her to wear them, fashion diva that she is – and I thought it was a fantastic way to show our support for our Bee-girl! So I put on fancy-pants earrings, and then I made Gracie put on fancy earrings. She tried to weasel out of it by saying she didn’t have any, but I immediately countered with allllll of my earrings. Six try-ons later, she had a pair she could live with. The excitement was dripping. off. her:

concertearrings

Bee’s concert was blessedly short, and our little Step Team Captain did a great job leading the step she and her co-captains composed (all on their own!). After a quick catch-up with a friend I didn’t know was there (I keep forgetting her “little” one is old enough for choir!), we all went for IHOP and had the most satisfying pancakes I’ve ever stuffed into my face. I mean, breakfast-for-dinner is a requirement after holiday concerts, right? Right. Fancy earrings and all.

4. Speaking of tasty things… My sister found me the most fabulous cupcake liners! I had to wrap them and put them under the tree, but I will definitely be filling them with something delicious in the very near future.

 

whalecupcake

You know why I adore them? Because they’re a throwback to our childhood when we’d wait all summer for our family trip to Whalom Park, our excitement growing every time we heard the jingle on the radio: “Whaaaaalom Park! For a whale of a time!” Everyone who lived in New England in the 80s is going to enjoy that earworm all. day. long. You’re welcome!!

5. Wednesday the girls, Auntie Kim, and I all journeyed to points unknown (not really – just didn’t have a solid idea of where it was, so we headed that way-ish, totally against my journeying instincts) to visit Christkindl Christmas Market. We hadn’t ever been – I hadn’t even ever heard of it, to be honest – but I was delighted to learn there was an open-air market so close to us. It was Auntie Kim’s find – and she also discovered that there was a tubing slide for the girls. We knew Bee, in particular, would just about sell her soul to whip down whatever run they had designed, no matter how small and snow-less! So we grabbed Bee from school and headed that way to see what we could find.

It was much smaller than Kim and I expected, but we still found quite a few things to love. There were about 20 booths for indie sellers, and the prices were a bit high because the items were homemade. Gracie bought a mug that reads “It’s a beautiful day to save lives,” straight from her true love, Grey’s Anatomy. Bee bought a bracelet, and the girls each found an elephant charm. I found an owl for my bookshelves that opens up to show a book carved into its insides. Kim found some socks made from alpaca wool. I desperately wanted to be rich enough to buy something from Kathe Wohlfahrt – a cuckoo clock or one of the gorgeously carved village pieces. I could have stayed for hours pouring over every detail, especially if they let me play with the pieces. And yes, Bee had the time of her life sledding down the “snow” run. There wasn’t snow, it wasn’t New England, but we made the best of it all the same!

So that’s a small glimpse into what we’ve been up to around here! I’m finished shopping (except for Fenway, and that’s getting done today), and I have a few more crafts I want to attack, but the good thing is that we’re kid-free until Christmas Day, so all the trouble we get into will be our own doings. Wish us luck!

And the Christmas season is officially under way!

December 6, 2016

Confession: I was tempted this year, because of everything going on, to try to convince the girlies to set aside our Advent(ure) calendar. Everyone is so busy and I didn’t know if my heart was going to be in it. I was sad all of the time, because of the boy. I didn’t think I wanted to mess with everything. Or rather – with anything.

But then Kim was asking if we could make owl ornaments, and she was booking tickets to come rescue me, and the boy actually moved out and I felt better (who’d a thunk it?), and I was glad that I hadn’t had the heart to ask if anyone’s Christmas would be ruined.

So I scrambled in the end to fill the Advent(ure) Calendar (practically an Advent(ure) Eve tradition), and on December 1st, ther were some very familiar sights around here…

There was this (not so) little girl opening the calendar to read our first task…

advent2016

Not that the girls needed to open it. The first adventure is paper chains; it is always paper chains. The girls delight in their knowing, just as I delight in the joy that dances across their faces as they open the very first drawer, tickled because they think knowing is SNEAKY. Bless their little Christmas hearts!

So, pretty soon the girls were stretched out across the living room floor, busy taping ribbons of green and red paper together while I studiously used my paper cutter to make said strips of paper.

advent2016c

It was a rather cozy scene. I’m glad I got to sneak in an activity or two at the beginning of December, because then the girls left for their weekend at their dad’s house and I was left to carry on Christmas cheer all by my lonesome.

It’s the first weekend I’ve spent completely alone in the house in more than two years. I love spending time alone – I am great company, if I do say so myself! But I am still adjusting to Life Without Boy. Even with all of the apologies and his extraordinary effort to “fix” how he left (which has repaired a lot of the damage), I still struggle. Anyone would. Still – I reminded myself in ways big and small to choose Joy.

Like posting this picture on Saturday:

advent2016d

Sven, my reindeer, used to live on my Woodland Creatures shelf, but he for the past two years, he’s lived next to my JOY sign, and it just didn’t look right until I brought him over. Choosing Joy helped get through my day, and it was with Joy in mind that I got all fancy for my adventure of the day – making ornaments. For it’s a well known fact that a tray filled with fancy tea in good china, and a side dish with fancy tea cookies, makes ornament creation much more joyful. Right?

advent2016e

Catching up with cousins while you’re crafting makes it feel like you’re sharing a cup of tea with them, too, like we would be doing any Saturday afternoon if we were local. Truly, that was my favoritest part of my Saturday!

It was a lovely way to start Christmas off. It will be different this year, and maybe a little sad from time to time. But it will also be more mindful, and the ups will be uppier.No matter how many of you silly people argue that isn’t even a word. (Is too.)

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your adventures are just what you need, when you need them!

 

Good god, what’s with this week? (Wednesday edition)

November 30, 2016

Jeff came over to get some of his stuff last night. It was terrible and difficult – moreso because he was kind and patient and full of apologies.

And my village? They are amazing.

GracefullyGracie, my darling daughter, has been providing comedic back-up. She and Bee-girl made me laugh all last week. They have a very limited knowledge of what’s going on (that boils down to Jeff and I fightfought all the time, and now he’s moving out, and I’m glad/sad about it), but it doesn’t matter. They make me laugh anyway. We spent a long week creating in-jokes (Me: “Your face!” Gracie: “Oh yeah? Well YOUR FOOT!”) and when Gracie heard Jeff was coming over last night (the girls were at their dad’s for the night)(yes, that was on purpose), Gracie texted me our face/foot joke about a hundred times. And I loved her more every time I got it.

Kim texted me a video of my cousin Hillary, and Hill’s girlfriend Em, opening a care package Kim had sent. Hill&Em were so Kate&Kim about it all that my sides split with laughter.

After Jeff had left, I broke out in stress hives, even though he had sat down and had a drink or two with me in an effort to end things on better terms. I posted to Facebook (because: wine) and Rhi texted me within seconds. She has a knack for chasing away the gloomies, even if she does sometimes underestimate my resolve. (Oven mitts? I don’t need no oven mitts!)

My cousin Shayne texted me to commiserate, and after many plans, I stopped just short of tipsily buying tickets to Ohio. I think there are fun plans afoot for 2017!

My Twitter hive has been sending uplifting messages and pictures of hedgehogs, and basically being my rock, my jumping off point for this next adventure in single mommying.

Corrie, of course, texted me to see who she needed to come shoot. Or, alternatively, if she needed to bring me more booze so we could drunkenly craft our troubles away. Since I had already tucked myself into bed (at 9 o’clock!), I assured her I was just going to sleep because I was absolutely knackered.

Yes, sleep, glorious sleep! I slept from 9 until 6:20 this morning. Well, except for this one vivid dream I had at about 11 p.m. that involved candy bars and Milky Way guts being all over everything. When I “woke up” (seriously questioning how “awake” I was because hoo boy), I needed candy more than I have ever needed anything in my life. So I threw back the covered and scrambled into the kitchen, where I wolfed down a cinnamon crumb cake snack pack the girls had in the pantry for lunches, two pieces of fudge, and the tallest glass of milk you’ve ever seen in your life. As one does. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve raided the kitchen in the middle of the night, and that’s including pregnancies and college. No more skipping dinners for me! Then I brushed my teeth again and climbed back into bed and went right back to sleep. Weirdo.

There are still more things that Jeff has to gather up and move. It will still be gut-wrenchingly hard. I’ll still cry, even though I want him to go. But – BUT! – it means the world to me knowing how much you all care.

My village is filled with good people.

And that is why I will be okay.

Remembering I was thankful.

November 28, 2016

I’m back! I was gone for what seems like ages, and I have so much to tell you about!

  • Jeff left. Yes, it is a huge change in my life and I’m trying to find the right words to tell you what happened while still being respectful, and also still being cognizant of the fact that the story is still unfolding. For now, let me say that our relationship became extremely unhealthy, very quickly. We decided he would move out at the end of the year, except he decided to leave suddenly on Tuesday night, just before Thanksgiving. It’s been a long, crazy, weird week for me.
  • We had Thanksgiving! And hoo-boy was our day one for the ages. In fact, I think I only survived because I narrated the chapter of my memoir (as it will undoubtedly go down) in one of my best friend’s voice, and kept imagining myself as Anne Shirley. Because it was mouse-in-the-pudding, sold-the-wrong-jersey-cow kind of day. After successfully making four pies, fudge, and buying half the groceria on Wednesday, I started Thursday by opening the fridge door and the lemon pie fell out onto the floor.

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  • So I re-baked the pie. It was the one both girls had asked for, and Gracie’s favorite food of all time. Re-baking was my only option, and it justified always over-buying and having extras. Extra filling and extra ingredients for making pie crust. (Because homemade. Every time.) So that happened, and I pulled it off, and then I put the turkey in the oven. Gracie and I were getting out Christmas decorations and then we heard the explosion. Yes: explosion. It actually happened as we were talking to my family back home, and “I have to go, Mom says the kitchen is on fire,” isn’t exactly a good way to finish a phone call. Someone who was trying to make a pot of tea turned on the wrong burner, and the pumpkin pie that was resting on the stove in a glass dish exploded. All over the kitchen. I ran in just in time to see the pie on fire. And the other pie catch. So I put out the fire(s) by carrying everything out to the middle of the patio (the door is right next to the stove and a huge slab of concrete seemed my safest option). There was glass all. over. my kitchen. The other pies were ruined because: covered in glass shards. So Gracie and I picked up the glass, vacuumed and swiffered twice, and still found glass. My feet are so embedded, I sparkle like a vampire. My hands were shredded. But! I re-baked the pies for a second time.
  • We hung out all week, put up the tree, my partner-in-crime came over every single day. Oh! We made ornaments! I’ll have to post about those. That was a good day.
  • The girls were AMAZING. Bee dragged her mattress into Gracie’s room (after asking if it was okay), and basically camped out in there all week. They have never, ever done that. I don’t know what made them like each other all of a sudden, but I’m liking it! Okay, okay, it might have something to do with the fact that they discovered that they could Minecraft in the same game. There were whole chunks of days when I didn’t hear anything from them. It was creepy.
  • Then there were other chunks of time when all the girls did was hang out with me, like miniature grown-ups, and converse and crack jokes and help around the house or watch TV with me. It was great! Gracie has discovered The Office (which, yes, maybe she’s a bit young for, but whatevs. I know she’s fine.) and we had a blast watching episode after episode. We watched Christmas movies as we decorated the living room, and we laughed until our cheeks and sides hurt and so many stupid things. Talk about thankful.
  • Oh! And we decided on a theme for our Christmas pictures – Be Who You Are! It happened because I am half gung-ho for everything in a screw-you, mid-break-up kind of way, and half ugh-I-don’t-wanna-put-any-effort-into-anything. So I thought about going fancy, like we usually do. And I thought about doing just flannels and jeans. Gracie would never take off her flannel if I allowed it. So that would work. And it’s a pretty flannel – mostly white with blue. I asked Bee, but she wasn’t having that idea. She would wear fancy dress all the time if I allowed that. And she found her favorite fancy dress while we were out and demanded I buy it (which I did, just in cases. And because it was crazy cheap.). And then I was inspired. Bee’s dress is the same deep blue that runs through Gracie’s flannel. So I bought a similar one from the wall of flannels at the red big box store. And came up with this:

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  • And that was pretty much my week and now I’ll have nothing to talk about this week. Heh. But that’s okay because I will be so tired from the single parenting and returning to work and school after a week of frivolity and staying up til midnight and 2 a.m. will leave me no desire to do anything other than hold my head up. Which, frankly, is what I might need to be focusing on.
  • So, yes, I am thankful. Thankful for my girls, who surprised me in so many delightful ways this week. For my best friend, who made sure I was in one piece, and kept me busy, and also hydrated. And for myself, because I did a damn good job, considering. Oh, and also because I asked for help when I needed it. Good job, me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope that whatever happened for you, this past week, that your head is held high today.