Archive for the ‘Why – yes it *IS* all about me!’ Category

Five for Friday.

January 26, 2018

Friday: I could kiss you right on the mouth for showing up today. It’s been a pretty good week (did you notice I wrote three blog posts this week?!), but I’m still ready for the weekend! To usher it in, let’s find four or five things to talk about, shall we?

1. I’ll be missing my girls this weekend. With my broken foot, they’ve really stepped up to the plate: cooking me dinner; loading and unloading the dishwasher; doing laundry and putting away clothes; cleaning the house. Not to mention all of the fetching they’ve been doing for me. I’m supposed to stay off my foot if I want this low-chance miracle to happen, so something tells me there will be a lot of hopping around on crutches with the girlies gone.

2. Last night there was zero hopping. Of course the very first night of my new Broken Foot Game Plan there was a career fair that Bee-girl was All About. We walked around for more than an hour, but I was so glad we did! I mean – completely stoked kind of glad! This high school/trade school program will get Bee completely certified and trained so that she will be able to enter the work force at a high level as soon as she graduates. The teacher we talked to last night said there’s such a shortage right now of chefs in our area that they can almost guarantee jobs to their kids. The school even runs shuttle buses back and forth to home campuses so we won’t have to figure out how to get Bee there and back. It was so amazing and Bee’s face was so lit up that I am willing to sacrifice so much to make this happen. Why can’t this kid be in high school already?!

3. Gracie-girl, meanwhile, also had a pretty good day yesterday. Her instagram post about Australia Day was immediately liked by one of the pretty, pretty lifeguards from Bondi Beach Rescue, causing my teen to nearly hyperventilate. And then her choir class won the solfege spirit week competition, in part because of last-minute poster boards she made, and because of the flash mob she designed. Yes, flash mob. Several kids in the hall started with a we-love-solfege chant/hand-clap, and more and more joined in…or however she designed it. I don’t remember the details. But it was awesome and it won them some bragging rights, and so everyone was happy at my house last night. Win!

4. I am covered in hives on the right side of my belly and hip/waist area from one of the meds I was given. I am itchy as hell and waiting for my steroid and Benadryl to kick in. God bless medicine…although, wait – it’s the perpetrator. Damn you, medicine!!!

5. In an epic act of miraculous timing, this week is the 24-in-48 Readathon – have you signed up?? So I will be spending nearly all of my awake time reading, with my foot up. See how magical? I don’t really have anything picked out for it yet, other than finishing the new John Green. Oooh, and maybe the second Bear and Nightingale book that came out last month, because the first book was one of my favorite reads of last year! And my books are library-police level overdue, so I suppose I’ll bring those back and get new ones. That doesn’t sound like staying off my foot, but I promise to use my crutches! Also: the french fry place is conveniently next to the library. What a coincidence! But the point is reading, reading, and more reading – so if you have any good book recommendations, shoot them to me!

There you go, folks! We’re one step closer to the weekend. BRING IT!

Advertisements

Current parenting mode.

January 11, 2018

Gracie-girl got all the Funkos for Christmas. Seriously: she had most of the Harry Potter ones from before. And for Christmas she got Stranger Things everything. Including two Joyces. So she gave me one.

And I fixed it.

Joyce

Because me right now.

January 2, 2018

Resolutions. I have issues with the concept. To resolve is to promise of ourselves – a beautiful concept, a flowery phrase, the give very best of intentions and of ourselves – but for me it’s also a concept that bodes of anxiety and constant worrying about whether I’m doing enough, whether I am enough. [Hey, you know what? More people should be honest about this. I’m not saying everyone feels this way; I’m saying that some people do. I do.]

So my resolutions are offered lightly. They’re goal I’m aiming for, not hills I’m willing to die on. And you know what? As I check in with myself, they might change. So be it.

That said, here’s what I’ve been thinking about…

I resolve to try to stay more organized. Santa brought me a giant tote bag for Christmas. I have a small wallet I can grab to run into a store, so I’m not pissing off my chiropractor by carrying around this behemoth all the time. It has my planner, the book I’m reading, a pouch for semi-essentials (hair ties, chapstick, etc.), pens for my planner (those obviously need a pouch), my iPad if I’m going somewhere to work, room for my lunch bag… This way I’m not walking into work carrying eight different bags. I feel so much more together!

 

I resolve to bullet journal, even if it’s a little more work, instead of running off to Erin Condren to bail me out. It’s a lot cheaper to use the $10 journal I found and practice some of the hand-lettering than it is to order a fancy pre-sorted journal. And look at the cool layout I’ve already designed!

BuJo

 

I resolve to focus on my writing. I’ve made such wonderful strides in 2017 – perhaps the only good thing to come out of 2018 – and it’s something I want to continue and grow in 2018. I’ll keep smashing through the connections I’ve already made, submitting writing and strengthening ties, and I’ll reach out to new organizations and opportunities. My confidence in myself has always been there, I know I am a catch…I’m starting to think my writing is worthy, too.

Lastly, I resolve to get rid of the damn clutter! My house is currently a disaster zone, and while normally it doesn’t bother me, it’s starting to. I understand that I’m a single mom and I prioritize making sure our family unit is strong, my girls are taken care of, and we take care of each other first and the house second. How.ever. The house is starting to look like something from Annihilation, and so now it’s a bit of a priority. I’m going to read a book on minimalism, and then a book on hygge, and in between all the lines, I’m fixing my dang house. And keeping it fixed. Bit excited about it, too.

If you’re one to make resolutions, blessings and patience on you and yours! Let me know what you’re working on, because I’m so curious about this resolution thing – I’m always looking for unconventional ones. And if you’re not – good on you! Don’t let anyone pressure you otherwise. And to all – HAPPY NEW YEAR! We made it through 2017. Let’s smash and resist our way through 2018!

 

Five for Friday.

December 29, 2017

Morning, all! And what a morning! Let’s catch up on some stuff, shall we?

1. My morning has been whack. But let’s start with last night. I finally had a chance to stop and catch my breath a little. It started with dinner. Kim and I (KIM IS HERE, BTW) took the girls to Babe’s, so we could feast on fried chicken. Well, they all got a mound of fried chicken; I had hickory smoked. And boy did we feast! I had three pieces of chicken, two bowls of mashed tatoes, a bowl of creamed corn, two biscuits, and some green beans. I was stuffed. I mean, we destroyed it. But it was tasty, you guys.

2. After we dropped off the girls, Kim and I maybe spent $130 on milk at Target, and then had a glass of wine and watched Mozart in the Jungle. Which you HAVE to watch if you haven’t! I am fascinated and in love (in a messy never-in-a-million-years-but-maybe-once kind of way) with Rodrigo and the cast of characters is amazing! But because I’ve been up the past two nights with a work crisis, and haven’t slept well, I was asleep on the couch, sorting my crayons, glass of wine half-drunk – by nine o’clock. I was exhausted, apparently.

3. Which meant that I sprung wide-awake this morning at 5 a.m., fully rested. I slept the sleep of the dead and was ALL DONE, THANK YOU. So I read in bed (Home Fire, by Kamila Shamsie, wicked good) for an hour, then got up to get ready when my alarm first went off. But because my routine was thrown off, I was ready and out the door by 6:10. Wicked early. But I figured I’d work on stuff in the office before I had to work-work. Only…remember when I said my routine was off? Almost half-way to work, I realized I didn’t have my frickin’ phone. Sigh. So I banged a you-ey (U-ey?) and had to go back home. Which put me to work right at the time I usually get there. Just 45 extra minutes of driving is all.

4. BUT! When I was driving to work the first time, the first song I heard was The Cure’s Friday, I’m in Love – one of me and Kim’s songs! I was pumped! And up went the volume and I knew it was going to be a good day. Then the phone thing happened, but whatevs. It’s solved, we’re good, still a good feeling. And when I was almost to work, Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ came on – my all-time favorite song. I think I broke my ears with how loud that one got. Music fixes everything!

5. Except music might not fix this: there’s a certain spot on the street near work where cars always seem to wreck. And it always seems to be drinking, middle-of-the-night sort of wrecks. Light poles get taken out. Cars on curbs. Bumpers and car bits always there. But never something quite this extreme –

House

Yeah, not the best quality, since I was trying to snap it quickly while I was driving home yesterday. Looks like a car didn’t realize there was a turn in the road there, jumped the curb, hit the fence, and smashed right through the house! I can’t even imagine how scary that explosion must have been! It makes my leaky roof and mouse problem seem so small. Crazy the things that make you grateful, isn’t it?

So! Here’s the deal – we’re all going to have good, safe, FANTASTIC weekends! And then you’re going to tell me all about them. Go forth and have fun!

Quick, cozy check-in.

October 10, 2017

I’ve been away. But this morning the temps were in the upper 50s when we woke up and today might only hit 70, and you guys – this counts as Fall down here in hell Tejas!

So I was cozying up to my blanket this morning, snuggling down deep and seriously glaring at my alarm clock because it was a giant. liar. Then I made out with my corduroy pants because I’ve missed them this summer. I put on a long sleeve shirt and yelled at the girls to do the same – or at least grab a sweater – and off into the cool air we went. I know I say jammin’ in the car is always better when it’s warm outside, but we (er, um, I) didn’t have any problems singing along this morning!

So, yes, I’m still alive. We were sweltering under the heat we’ve been having, but I’m hoping this cold front will kick-start my writing. Er, well, I should say my blogging. I’ve been writing up a storm for other writing gigs I’ve gotten lately and that experience has been incredible. It jumpstarted my mood and really helped pull off the gauzy layers of my depression. I don’t know where I summoned the courage to reach for the opportunities, but I’m glad I did. I wish I could do that for all of my friends in similar situations.

For now, I’ll take it. Cool temps for a day, maybe two. Writing away for someone, even if it isn’t here. (Sorry, all.) Reading fanatically, like someone’s going to tell me I can’t anymore. It’s a pretty good place to be, and I’m thankful in the moment each and every hour.

Happy Tuesday, guys. I hope your day is as much of a gift for you as mine is.

New kind of joy.

September 20, 2017

I have this tiny little joy that is sitting in my pocket. It’s cool to the touch and sparkly in the sunshine whenever I take it out to stare at it, to make sure it’s really there…which I have to admit is often. That’s what happens when you’ve had a time of it lately. Something good happens, and you find yourself staring it down. Baffled. Amazed. Joyful.

A lot of hard work has gone into this joyful, happy thing. Honey, don’t even let me hear you say the words “passive tense.” It’s not like kerplunk! Oh, heeeey! Happy fell from the sky and knocked me over the head! I put in a lot of time, looking for just the right spot to stand in. I worked hard on building the right type of lens. When the politics in this country got crazy, and I needed to grieve, I went down hard. I let myself feel my knees and hands prickle where I fell. I let the torpor of the next few months linger. Fighting it off too soon was only going to backfire.

And then, when it was time, I started dusting myself off.

I felt joy in reading again. I wasn’t just adding books to my To Read list; I was crossing off titles and penning reviews. I wrote thinkpieces and journaled and blogged and doodled crafts that ended badly. I sketched pieces that turned out okay, too. I wrote and I read, and I read and I wrote, and by the end of it, I felt like I was the Big Bad Wolf in reverse. Instead of tearing down the sticks and haystacks of everyone around me, I wrote and read myself back into existence.

To quote an old Latin teacher I had in high school, I was happy in my hut. I was happy in a hut of my own making, again.

My tiny little paper hut won’t stay standing without a lot of work. Joy takes a lot of time and energy. But my god it will be worth it, all of these new adventures. They’ll be the interesting parts of the memoirs. Because, hey did you hear – I’m writing again.

What you do when you don’t want today to be today.

September 11, 2017

I am going to have a lot of feels today. Sixteen years worth of feels. Also: I have friends and family who were in Irma’s path who sheltered in place and now aren’t checking in.

So.

I did things. I did lots of things yesterday to try to take my mind off of today.

I made last-minute fudge with my daughter because why the heck not?! Who cares that it’s twenty minutes til bedtime. We. wanted. fudge.

I was a little worried that Bee would expect to be able to have some tonight, but there was no way it would set in time. Her sister wandered through the kitchen when we were almost done, and was all “FUDGE?!!…?” and Bee was all “Yeah, but it won’t be ready til tomorrow.” So that took care of that. And then Gracie left and I gave Bee the pan and the spatula to lick clean. And we were happy and not thinking of today.

I rearranged letters in Target:

911b

Because I will go see this movie, even if I will have nightmares for weeks. It looks amazing, even if they weren’t completely faithful to the book. Somehow marquee letters makes IT seem a lot less nightmarish. And IT certainly distracts me, at least for a little bit, from thinking of today.

There was a mandatory clean-up of Miss Bee’s room, too. I made the mistake of looking in her room after she got home from her dad’s house. Then Bee took it to a new level and cleaned-out and re-organized her closet so it could be more like her friend N’s:

911e

A squishy, laughy (not so) little girl sitting on some pillows in her new closet fort? That definitely makes my heart swell and keeps me from thinking of today.

I tried to fill my night last night with happy things. I tried to remind myself that today would hurt, but the hurt would pass. I can both remember and be okay. Being okay does not betray those who died on 9/11, and those who responded. Because I know I’m going to think of reporters breaking down on-air because of the enormity of what happened. I know I will think of people jumping from high rises because actively killing yourself was better than staying and burning alive. I will think about the firefighters and other first responders – hell, ordinary people even – who went up the Towers, trying to help people.

No matter what I do, I’ll still think about it. I’ll remember.

I heard from my friend just now. The one hit by Irma. He and his are okay. The house isn’t, but they survived. Which is great because I also took this pic this morning:

And sunrises are kind of our thing.

911

However you have to do it, I hope everyone can be okay today. Be well. Even today.

Five for Friday.

September 8, 2017

You know when you body is tired and doesn’t want to write, but the words are all jumpy and skittery under your skin, and so you do want to write at the same time? Me. Me right now. Thank the sweet heavens Five for Fridays have always felt like satisfying both of those needs.

1 Yeah, yeah, yeah – we lost. I’m sad, but you know – we were being a bit smarmy, which “bit” equals “all of the.” Maybe now that we don’t have “19-0” hanging over our heads, we can embrace the role of the underdog and get down to some real football. I have my Pats tee on today even though everyone is going to rub it in all day. Let ’em.

2 One of my favorite cousins is getting married this weekend and I have to miss it, even though I spent money I didn’t really have to get some tix. Kidney stones LOVE me. And flying doesn’t love kidney stones. Damnitcakes. I was going to have to whirl out of town after work, get in at midnight, wedding away the day (complete with drinking, wedding bingo, all the pranks [behind the aunties’ backs], and all manner of fun and no good), crash with my sisters at another cousin’s place, and then all pile together to go see IT in the theater before flying into town, just in time to go back to work. I know I could have it a lot worse than kidney stones but GOOD GRIEF. I’m thankful I always buy flight insurance, because I’ll get to keep the credit, and I know waiting on hold for hours because of Irma and everything could be worse if I was more tangled up in Irma, but still – not my favorite way to be spending the day.

3 Speaking of Irma, I am very glad it’s not targeting Houston or the Texas coast, but explain again why it couldn’t miraculously just dissipate? If it hits Miami head on – you guys, that will not be good. So, kidney stone or no kidney stone, I’ll be working for most of the weekend. I have packets of information already put together, I’ve created an email chock-a-block stuffed with links to real-time traffic, evacuation routes, shelter locations, and the like. Our phone banks are ready. And I’m while sleeping in this weekend and taking it easy might have been nice, the overtime will help. Also, let’s face it – disaster prep is one of my superpowers. I was going to be tracking the storm’s impact whether I was getting paid for it or not. I have friends and family on both coasts of Florida (Fort Myers and Orlando), throughout Georgia, and in Charleston, South Carolina. I can’t wish Irma to lean in one direction or another because my people get whacked either way. Unless the storm moves backwards! That wouldn’t be good news for the places that have already been devastated. God, why aren’t there any good answers here?!

4 I may or may not be hosting teen-a-palooza at my house this weekend. It’s my “off” weekend, so I was kind of thrown when Gracie asked if she could have some friends over. I reminded her she was at her dad’s house, but told her she could host a get-together or sleepover at my house, if she got permission from her dad. And if it was a sleepover, she needed to make sure he was okay with her missing church. I don’t know why she couldn’t just have everyone at her dad’s – she said it’s because his rules for cleaning the house when friends are over are too strict, but I think she wanted space from her sister and niece. Coming from a big, boisterous family myself, I get that. The love and the laughter and the warm fuzzies – that’s all great! But every once in awhile, you need a step back, away from the chaos. I get it. It’ll be quiet at my house, for sure. I just don’t have many snacks, unless they want to descend upon Target with me. Now that would make for some great pictures!

5 My reading has gotten back on track! Nothing hurts my heart so much as when I hit a reading slump. And while the books I’ve come across haven’t been homeruns, at least I’m still excited at the possibility at finding my Next Favorite Read every time I crack a spine. I’ve had several disappointing “scary” thriller reads for RIP XII, and a few disappointing rom-com type YA reads. Right now, I’m in the middle of Listen, Slowly, by Thanhha Lai, about a sarcastic and reluctant 13-year-old girl forced to accompany her grandmother back to Vietnam to make peace with the long-passed death of her grandfather. It’s good, but not a story I’m itching to fall back into when I’ve been away. I should finish it tonight, giving me another checkmark for my tally. My goal for the month is 30 books, and I’m already 9 in – that’s one ahead of schedule. There’s no way I’m going to hit my goal for the year, but I’m not feeling near as hopeless as I did this past spring when my reading motivation (and Trump depression) was at an all-time low. So there’s that to be thankful for!

With that, I hope you all have a nice, relaxing weekend. Do something good for the world if you can. And friends who are in the path of Irma – be safe. We’re all with you, even when we seem to be focusing on trivial little nothings, our thoughts, our worry, and our hearts are with you all the way. Be safe!

No rest for the weary.

September 5, 2017

Everyone who has so much as said hello to me – ever – knows I struggle with anxiety. It’s been a long week, week and a half. I suspected before Hurricane Harvey hit that it was probably going to stall and inundate southeastern Texas (or maybe I just worried that it would, like Tropical Storm Allison a dozen years ago), but I wasn’t sure if it was going to affect us much.

So I stocked up on batteries, flashlights, water, and non-perishables like chocolate and peanut butter. Oh! And wine. Lots of wine.

And then we got maybe a few hours’ worth of rain. I felt silly.

Then the “gas crisis” hit and I was glad I had filled up my tanks. Houston is big, big into oil and even though we get some of our fuel from Oklahoma, we definitely felt the pinch. Not only did gas prices jump from $2.10/gallon to $2.79/gallon overnight, but everyone panicked. Lines were 20 cars deep at their shortest, and two miles long in other places. And I’m not just talking at the popular places to fill up – I mean everywhere. The metroplex has gas stations about every block or so, and every single one was jam-packed. Traffic was snarled. I’m surprised people didn’t get shot! It was truly insane.

And so of course I worried about that, too. What if the panic didn’t sort itself out and there really was a shortage? I made plans to go at midnight and hope stations hadn’t run out (that was happening all over the place, too), which maybe wasn’t the safest idea, but I wasn’t really interested in waiting in a 90-minute line. Would we be able to make another grocery run if gas got low? Two miles is a long way to carry back bags of groceries. Would work be understanding about shifting coverage? Would we still get paid if we had to create an alternative schedule? Even if it didn’t, did I have the right to worry over such things when Houstonians had so much more to worry over? They had lines ten times worse for gas AND food AND water AND clothing AND basic necessities… What in the world was wrong with me?!

Of course since I poured my sweat and anxiety into worrying over the problem, the gas “crisis” sorted itself out in a couple days.

And now I have a new problem to worry over.

Hurricane Irma won’t go away. She worked herself into a Category 3 hurricane, practically overnight, a few days ago. Models had her flipping up the Atlantic side of Florida, but I kept my eye on her. Sure enough, Irma kept on barreling towards us. I’m thrilled for that side of Florida, truly, but Irma skirting between Miami and Cuba isn’t really high up on the list of things that will calm me down. 175 mph sustained winds headed towards Houston? SURE, WHY NOT?! Let’s play chicken! (Dear Weather Gods: that was sarcasm.)(And mild panic.) I know DFW is hours inland. So far inland that they evacuated the NICU babies from area-hospitals to my neighborhood before Hurricane Harvey. That was reassuring, believe it or not. And I know we have a cold front headed our way that is supposed to help shove Irma elsewhere. And it’s not like I want Irma to hit anyone – really, I’d like the whole thing to just go poof!

I just can’t with all this (self-created) stress and anxiety. There aren’t enough coloring books in the world to keep my blood pressure in the green this week.

So! Keep your fingers crossed that my selfish, ridiculous self makes it through this week in one piece, pretty please. And if you have any elephant tranquilizers, I’d be much obliged if you could send them my way. …Maybe priority mail. Heh.

Back-ish.

August 8, 2017

1,000 emails of work on the wall,

1,000 emails of work!

Take one down,

pass it around…

999 emails of work on the wall.

Okay, yeah, not quite how the song goes, but I think I might have something there. It goes very nicely with the case of very itchy, very wheezy hives that suffocated me last night and nearly sent me to the emergency room. I was hoping those, at least, would be gone by morning, but not so much luck.

But it’s okay. The day will pass one way or another. So! Ready or not, here I go! Vacation stories will wait for a bit. They’ll be a good reward for making it through this day.