Monday, August 18, 2014

Fortysomething

I remember that show. I was in my early teens when I watched, mesmerized by the lives of Michael & Hope, the super attractive couple with an adorable baby girl. Then there was Nancy and Elliot, separated and fighting while juggling their small children.  And finally Gary the sexy single professor chasing skirts. I viewed with a mix of anticipation (maybe someday I'll have a hot husband running his own advertising agency and an adorable baby girl!) and terror, (am I really going to be that old?)

It was a television show but I felt it was really the official guide to Adulthood, akin to "What To Expect When You're a Grownup." As it turns out, if I remember correctly, it wasn't that far off. 

My life has had a similar cast of characters.  Most of my friends have taken their wedding vows, experienced the joy of bringing a baby into the world and struggled with the balance of career and parenthood.  In our early thirties we held on to some of our more youthful habits (bar hopping, expensive vacations and lazy Sunday brunches.)  As 30 rolled into 37, our lives became filled with pediatric doctors visits, promotions and career angst. I still had a few single friends who would occasionally tear me away to join their world on a Saturday night, but now, at the end of this decade, I have fully grown into a certified grown-up. 

My thirties were good.  Over those ten years I gave birth to three beautiful boys.  I spent four years in California exploring San Francisco and Sonoma.  I made new friends, while other friendships faded away, left to Facebook memories and occasional text messages. My remaining grandparents passed away and I watched my parents retire and embrace their new roles as grandma and grandpa. I have seen more divorces than all the bridesmaid dresses I have worn combined.   I ran my first half marathon. I quit working. I started working. I quit working and started working... trying to achieve the perfect balance of motherhood and self.

And here I am a few days shy of my 40th birthday looking back, remembering how I had watched Hope, Michael, Nancy, Elliot and Gary so many years ago, thinking 30 was so far away, so... old. Part of me wishes there would have been a spin-off series, fortysomething, so I may have continued to watch the lives of my television role models.  What happened to Michael and Hope, did they attend parent-teacher conferences together? Stay married, Overcome depression? Did Ellen's cancer come back? How did these thirtysomethings turn fortysomethings approach aging? Where is my road map, my What-To-Expect-When-Approaching-Middle-Age?

Perhaps it is best to leave it all to the imagination and admit that I have no idea what the next ten years will bring. Yes there are some things I can anticipate.  Baseball games, growing pains, driver's education and high school graduations. Aging. Yes I will continue to age.  My skin will continue to wrinkle, gravity to assert it's will, and a certain beauty will fade.  I would be a liar if I said these things did not scare me, did not make me a little sad. Watching my babies turn into young men and eventually leave the nest we put so much energy in building, scares me. My own parents approaching their seventies, scares me.  Looking older scares me. 

And though there is fear and sadness as I leave behind the thirties, there is a certain joy in knowing I have in fact matured.  So many people say that as the get older they feel "comfortable in their own skin" or that they are confident in themselves and have given up the insecurities of their youth.  I can't go that far, though I wish I could. Rather I can say that at forty I am finally able to start confronting some demons. I am more open and willing to face and own my shortcomings and better able to identify my strengths.  Though still a far cry from "self-confident" each day I feel myself getting a bit stronger. 

I find myself wondering how I got so stuck in my twenties and thirties. I have been so stubborn in my pessimistic view of myself and the world.  Perhaps it is true that with age comes wisdom and I'm finally starting to wise-up. For the first time in my life I feel that I am really capable of change, and while I don't know what the future will bring I, know that I can make my own happiness. 

Yes I realize that this  would probably make for a very boring television series, free of youthful angst  drama.  But guess what? I'm totally okay with that.

Happy fortysomething to me.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pass the "Kool-Aid-Summertime With Kiddos.

I seem to remember summer as a time of endless bliss. The moment that last school bell rang the weight of the world was suddenly lifted from my tiny shoulders. SWEET FREEDOM! I would lug home my backpack full of dirty gym clothes and scraps of paper salvaged from my locker, dump it in the front closet and not look at until late August.

Summer seemed to last forever. So many weeks without responsibility, to do whatever I wanted to (which consequently turned out to be watching copious amounts of daytime television and eating a fuck ton of Kool-Aid
mix without water (sugar high!) I still remember the daytime line up. 10:00 Price Is Right, 11:00 Young & The Restless, 12:00 Days of Our Lives, 1:00 Another World, 2:00 Santa Barbara, and at 3:00 to balance out the Soap Opera smut, it was Little House On The Prairie. Ahhh good times.

When we weren't vegging out in front of the tube, we would walk to the neighborhood grocery store and stock up on candy. Nerds were a personal favorite, clearly I had an affinity for sugar. And in the evenings the neighborhood kids would gather outside to play tag or kick-the-can until the mosquitoes became unbearable or our parents called us in.

What I don't remember was being bored.

Hiking. It looks like fun. right? 
Am I just blocking it out? Because this seems to an epidemic with today's young whipper-snappers. Doesn't matter what we do. After a weekend spent at a mountain cabin the first words uttered upon return were "what are we going to do now?" After a day spent at the pool we come home and hear "Mom, I'm BORED."  While hiking the Rockies, one child will inevitably whine, "This is boring, can we go home now?"

Seriously? Seriously? For the love of God, when I was a kid we weren't entertained every damn second of every summer day. We did our own thing. We used our imaginations (if that includes borrowing from the imaginations of soap opera writers.)

This summer has been a bit of a challenge. We ran into some childcare snafus and scrambled to find fun and entertaining camps for the older boys. This week the boys went to some crazy expensive sports camp across town, adding nearly two hours of driving to my day. While at camp the boys have played dodge ball, tag, home run derby, baseball, soccer, and even (to my utter shock) enjoyed a zumba class. And every day they have returned overtired and crabby, complaining about the quality of the food (and here I thought it was only my cooking they hated.)

Yay for the camp commute! 
And we are only two weeks in. Two weeks. We have like what eight more to go???

I'm starting to think about sleep-away camp next summer....for me.

Good luck to all the moms and dads out there trying to survive June, July & August. Stock up on sangria and cold beer, because Kool-Aid just does not do the trick anymore!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sleep Ritual. Unisom & Wine














So in my "free" time I read an article about the importance of having a night-time "ritual" to unwind from a busy day and prepare the mind for sleep. Now apparently checking work email, Facebook, Twitter or reality television does not count as an acceptable "ritual." The article suggested that down time is critical for a good night's sleep.

As a chick who regularly has a glass (or three) of wine, a couple of Unisom and a quick prayer to the sleep Gods as my bedtime routine I was intrigued.  

It takes no genius I suppose. Everyone has heard that a glass of warm milk and a bedtime story is the key to sleep success, but I never quite bought into it myself. 

My days are busy. Managing what is now a full time work schedule, three insane offspring, a household, physical therapy and my crazy life...isn't as easy as I make it look.  (She does it with such grace, said nobody ever.)

Evenings are something I just get through. Survive. Preparing a dinner which will be the subject of many dirty looks and harsh criticism, negotiating bath and bedtime which has crept up later and later as my children grow, and trying to maintain a sanitary home with three boys 8 and younger (why can't they pee in the toilet??).... leaves little room for any "me" time. Yet.... according to sleep experts, such time is the key to sleep success. Fuck.

The article suggested  that meditation, a hot bath (with candles!) or deep breathing exercises are fabulous predecessors to a sound sleep. I know you can't see me now, but.....*eye roll* screw that crap! I took a "mindfulness"  class my senior year in college (easy A), and man did I try. I sat in my crappy apartment being mindful of the bacteria infested carpet underneath me, noticing the stench of stale beer that clung to the peeling paint, being aware of the fact that my roommates were in the next room drunk off their asses and having way more fun than me.  Yeah. Being mindful ended up pissing me off.   As for a bubble bath. Meh. Maybe in a beautiful hotel, but in my bathroom.... not so much, it's too hard to resist grabbing a bottle of bleach and some rubber gloves.  

So I jest, but yes, I see the value in finding something that might work for me. Something so perhaps eventually I can wean myself from the Tylenol PM (not the wine! stay away from my wine!!) But what is it? I know! How about three child free hours a night? No? Um... a personal massage therapist who will visit me nightly? Not realistic? Oh I got it! A sanctuary in my home, clean, peaceful, absent of all Hotwheels, used and discarded pull-ups or half eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! (Yes. Pure fantasy.)

Okay, Okay. Clearly I do not have an open mind. Perhaps I just like my wine. Maybe I'm just anti-sleep, or afraid of my own mindfulness. Whatever. It's time for some Unisom.

Nighty-Night!

Monday, May 12, 2014

I'm Back!

Oh my poor sad neglected blog. Yes, yes I have forgotten you. Between nursing a broken ankle back to health, nursing a child with a concussion back to health, a broken laptop, a visit from one of my best Oakland girlfriends, and a ladies trip to Vegas.... I haven't had time for you. And I'm sorry. I had so many earth-shattering blog posts in mind, but instead you will get a brief, and hopefully mildly entertaining run down of recent events.

The Ankle:

One word-sucks. Well it's on the mend now, but the whole experience was entirely sucky. From the 3.5 weeks in a cast, developing tendinitis in my right wrist from using crutches, intense pain in my calf, and an acute case of claustrophobia, to the two weeks in a clunky boot, answering countless innocent questions about my injury, to the painfully boring hours of physical therapy... I am flipping done with this ankle business. So done with it. And I have come to the final decision that my running days are officially behind me. My bones are too weak to withstand the high impact exercise, and thus I am on a quest to discover my new fitness passion. Expect more on that in the months to come!

The Concussion: A little over a week ago my eldest son was in a sledding accident on a glacier in the mountains. I was not there, but received the call that no mother wants from my frantic husband informing me he was in an ambulance with our kiddo on his way to the hospital. It's a long story, and frankly not funny at all, so I'll keep it brief, Zack is fine. He had a concussion that left him with a terrible headache and unable to participate in many of the activities he desperately wanted to over the past week. All and all we are very lucky with the outcome, and I think my husband and I are more traumatized by the event than my tough eight year old.

My Oakland Gal-Pal (Hannah! That is you!!) was awesome enough to come to Denver for a girls weekend and it was fan-fipping-tastic. There was a massage, a makeover, dinners, a hotel stay and some major catching up. We splurged on a night at The Oxford, a classy, hotel in downtown Denver. After our spa treatments we got glammed up and went to a swanky restaurant. I had envisioned us hitting the bars after dinner and stumbling into our room, well...at the very least after midnight, however somewhere around dessert our eyes heavy, we realized there was one only one thing we wanted.... our own fluffy bed. There is something to be said for sleeping alone underneath crisp overstuffed bedding. Damn straight I'm old. And proud of it. We slept in, had lattes and then went to brunch. A-May-Zing.

Vegas: This past Mother's Day weekend I flew to one of my very favorite get-aways- Las Vegas in honor of a friend's fortieth birthdays. I met up with twelve other lovely ladies (most of whom I had never met before) at the Wynn hotel for a weekend of total gluttony. First there was the $38 sunscreen I purchased outside of the  pool (yes, that was a mistake), then there was the $21 Pina Colada I ordered immediately after (totally not a mistake it was worth it), and then there was a whole lot of laying around the pool, drinking and eating. Pretty much perfect. I do have to say, I didn't feel quiet the same in sin-city as I did ten years ago. I had no desire to hit the clubs and I felt a little out of place at the invite-only pool party we stumbled upon, which was filled with rowdy 20-somethings dancing more than half naked, cocktails in the air.  At first I felt a little guilty for not indulging more. Why wasn't I wasted, it's Vegas? How could I come back to my room at midnight, it's Vegas?  Why am I not flashing my naked breasts at the 21 plus only "European" style pool, it's Vegas? And then it hit me. Because I don't want to, that's why, and I am totally ok with that. Damn it. Guess that means I'm a grown up now.

So there you have it. My first blog post in a month. Hopefully more to come. Thank you for reading :). Until next time...



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sitting Still

I have had a lot of time on my hands lately, what with the inability to get off of my ass due to the florescent pink cast on my right ankle. True I have enjoyed a variety of narcotics and spent some mindless hours surfing Yahoo news, but I have been generally uninspired to do anything meaningful.

Seems I'm in a bit of a slump. This time a year ago I was training for my first (and last) half marathon. I was full of motivation and spent my weekend mornings putting in 8 to 10 miles. Living in Oakland, I would bus into the city once a week in big-girl clothes and spend eight hours in real office. I had drinks and dinners with girlfriends in the fancy financial district restaurants.

Flash-forward 12 months, four injuries and one move later and here I am. My tush is either firmly planted on an office chair in the basement or on the sofa in my living room. I won't run again. I will never have the thrill of pushing myself to the finish line. That part of my life is over. Removed from San Francisco, my days of office life and happy hours are gone as well.

So you would think with all of this time sitting around I would embrace my other hobbies and interests. Well as it turns out with the exception of blogging I have no other real sedentary hobbies and it's gotten me fairly... BLUE.  Unlike song writers and poets, I don't seem to be inspired to write when I'm.... "blue."

I hoped that the pure act of pulling up a blank screen and moving my fingers would have sparked *something* but unfortunately I'm coming up... blank.

I'm wondering how to find my spark again. In the wake of this newest injury I have felt isolated and let down. Let down by my body, by people, by life. All of the sudden I feel I have to revaluate my goals. My goals of being an athlete, my dream of returning to Denver with hopes of reclaiming an amazing support network, even my career goals.

Things haven't turned out quiet the way I hoped and expected them to this past year. I am starting to realize that I have to take a long hard look at my life and develop a whole new set of standards, a whole new set of goals. It isn't easy. As much as I would like to gracefully accept my losses and disappointments and move on to whatever is next, I don't feel I'm ready quiet yet. Perhaps that is what this period of sitting still is all about, maybe it's my time to grieve lost dreams and wallow in my sadness. Maybe I need to experience this first before moving on to what is next.

And maybe with some space to mourn and revaluate my life, in time I will find that missing spark once again.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dear Abby

Dear Abby,

I have a problem. My mom is a big old liar! And when I told her so, she sent me to time out-so she is also a mean poopy-head.

Here is what happened. We went on a vacation to Florida and she said she broke her ankle while jogging with my dad. Instead of going to the beach my mom spent the whole morning at the doctor's office drinking coffee.  When she got back her leg was all bandaged up so I couldn't even see if there was anything wrong. Then all she wanted to do was lie on the sofa. I know she just wanted to sleep more. She always complains about not getting enough sleep anyway.

Since we have been home she has been sitting around on the sofa and won't do anything for me! She is so lazy. Every now and then she gets up to the bathroom and does this fake crying thing like Phoebe in my Kindergarten class does when she doesn't get her way. FAKER.  My mom wouldn't even help me clean my room. I told her that even if her ankle was broken, her arms still work so she should help me pick up all of my Legos and dirty underwear. And anyways I know she is just faking her stupid  broken ankle so she doesn't have to clean and drive me to soccer practice.

I got mad when she told me not to hit my bratty baby brother in the head with Fischer Price dump truck so I told her that I hoped she would die soon and that I was going to steal her crutches and her cast because I know she is faking the whole thing. Then I got in trouble for that!

Abby, I heard you help people with their problems. Can you help me get a nicer mom? (and a less bratty brother while you are at it?)

Thanks,
Evan (Age 5)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Vacation Report

 So. Has everyone been anxiously awaiting a vacation report? Did the Kargas family survive? Was there any fun to be had? Well. You asked for it.

Let's start at the beginning. The airport heading out to Florida on an early evening flight. Our youngest munchkin Julian was getting over a cold which seemed to get exponentially worse while waiting to pass through security. We were a good 45 minutes behind "my"schedule, putting us in an already stressful situation. There may be nothing  that strikes fear into my heart like the threat of missing a flight. Just as we were approaching the TSA dude to check our tickets and Driver's License, Julian started in on a whopper of a coughing fit. Enough to turn heads, and enough to induce vomiting in the little guy, which in turn lead to wailing.  Happy vacation indeed.

The next two days the weather was cool and windy and Julian slept like a newborn waking up every two hours during the night. The boys were anxious to check out the pool, so they braved the water with their dad as I sat and watched, promising to join them in the warmer days ahead.

Tuesday morning the sun was shining and we were planning a trip to Siesta Key, the prettiest beach in the area. But first... a morning jog with the husband. A short run. I didn't want to aggravate anything- just wanted to get the old heart rate up. Big. Mistake. A mile and a half in, a twist of the ankle, the sound of a "snap" (no that was not a branch) and I knew that the only trip I would be making that day was to urgent care. As if the snapping sound of my ankle and the purple tennis ball which instantly appeared above my foot wasn't enough confirmation the x-ray sealed the deal. Broken ankle.

I spent the next five days of "vacation" on the sofa in a Vicodin induced haze. I did attempt a few piggy backs onto the beach and spent some time at the pool and ate a fair amount of seafood-but overall folks it was the worst vacation EVER. EVER.

Luckily there was no puking on the plane ride home.-I did however have to wear my Hello Kitty pajamas all day. I had selected a pair of skinny jeans for our journey home *genius* and instructed my husband to strap the suitcase on top of the car. Didn't take me long to realize at 5am the next morning that no skinny jean was fitting over my splint. So I spent the my time at the Tampa airport being pushed around in my pajamas. I felt a lot like a toddler actually. The experience wasn't all bad. I didn't have to do a damn thing. I even got to ride in one of those carts while the driver screamed at all the able bodied folks to "MOVE OUT OF THE WAY"

And now I'm home and in my hard florescent pink cast with orders to stay put for most of the next 2.5 weeks. L
ater, I will graduate to a boot.

Needless to say I feel entitled to a REAL vacation now. You know.. the kind without puking children, and broken ankles. Maybe like Hawaii? Like without the monkeys? And maybe a suit of bubble wrap just incase.....