Monday, December 30, 2013

The New- New Year's Eve (with kids)

I remember the New Year's Eve celebrations of years past. Let me rephrase that, I have hazy, blurred recollections of alcohol fueled evenings meant to mark the passing of another twelve months. We welcomed Y2K by wondering the skyways of Minneapolis on a frozen night. My girlfriends and I wore far too little clothing and shivered in glittery dresses and bejeweled stilettos while sipping cheap "champagne" and getting our groove on to Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady" and a variety of Bare Naked Lady's songs.  New Year's Eve was a big freaking deal. It was an (unnecessary) excuse to be fancy and drink in excess. 
New Years Eve...a long time ago.

New Year's day was greeted with a pounding headache, a couple of Aspirin and reruns of VH1's Behind The Music.
Oh how times have changed. 2014 will be welcomed the way our past seven New Years have been ringed in. Avoiding the downtown crowds and meeting pre-dinner hour at a friend's home,and  instead of cleavage and smoky eyes, the ladies will be wearing any variety of yoga pants, Gap jeans and cozy sweaters. While there may be a few stuffed mushrooms and olives on the buffet, the evening fare will mostly be comprised of some variety of Goldfish Crackers, string cheese and raisins. Music? We may have some but it will be drowned out with the sounds of shrieking children and Despicable Me being blared on the flat
screen. We will be home before ten PM, tucking sleepy children into bed and folding the loads of laundry that didn't take a Christmas holiday.  There is a high likelihood that we will be asleep well before the clock strikes midnight. 

New Year's Day will start just as early as any other day, with all the same demands. No lazy morning. No time for a hangover. 

At first glance this all seems rather depressing. We have traded in an evening of strapless dresses, party shoes, and bottomless champagne for crying babies, snotty noses and spilled apple juice. Yet unlike years past we have so much more to be hopeful for. The New Year is not just about our own resolutions and wishes, but also about the futures of the little beings that rely on us.  The wishes made on stars are no longer for ourselves, but also for our children. Although our countdowns start hours early, there is so much more to anticipate. First steps, potty training, lost teeth, little league games, dance recitals, new friendships and puppy love. 

I am thankful that we will have the opportunity to celebrate 2014, a little early with our friends and their young children., And guess what? Will go out January fourth, when the drinks and babysitters are cheaper.

Cheers & Happy New Year! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

On the road to happiness: Blog Girl

New blog image. Because this picture makes me HAPPY
I have been quiet on this little blog the past few months, but I'll tell you a secret. I have big plans for getrealmama.

In my last post I mentioned that my goal for 2014 was simple. Happiness. Just happiness. However I failed to mention exactly how I would go about achieving that. It isn't as simple as changing my diet and putting in extra miles on my running shoes. It isn't as simple as taking a class or striving towards the organization I desperately lack in my life.  There is no twelve step program or book that I can read. Damn it I have to use my intuition to figure out my path to bliss, or at the very least feeling good.

I have been sitting around scratching my head (which have you noticed is covered in much, much longer hair these days???) wondering what I can do to find more happiness. Then the angels sang and the a-ha light went off and it came to me... write more. Write better. Invest more.  It's no secret that I have some *minor* self esteem issues. In my day to day life I don't feel a whole lot of pride in myself. I don't think there is much that I do that sets me apart. But I have always had a knack for writing. I have always written well. My papers in high school and college always earned me praise. And I enjoy the process of writing. It brings me joy. It makes me happy.

So damn it 2014 is the year I do something with my writing, and I'll start right here on this blog. I'm not sure what this looks like mind you. Does it mean I write more? Does it mean I spend more time crafting  interesting and well written posts? Does it mean I try to get more traffic and viability?  I haven't figured that all out just yet. But stay tuned folks. Changes are coming.

Happiness is on it's way.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Wish

And so this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
and a new one just begun....
-John Lennon
While John Lennon's Happy Christmas is not my favorite holiday song, these lyrics seem particularly meaningful to me this year. 2013 was a damn strange year and by no means an easy one. I haven't much felt in the holiday spirit this December, and as a result my shopping is still not done, no cookies have been baked and although I promised to host a Christmas party, I failed to do so. Yes we got the tree. Julian visited Santa. We spent a late evening driving past the glittery homes in Cherry Creek, admiring the impressive display of wealth and lights. We even watched the Golden Christmas parade and enjoyed a horse drawn carriage ride around the little town.
But something was different this year and I can't put my finger on it. The shopping which I usually enjoy so much seemed like a chore. My boys lists for Santa were pathetic, they don't even know what they want because they have everything. I never did send
the holiday cards I planned for. Our professional family photos went unprinted- I reasoned that everyone already viewed our pictures on social media, so why waste the paper?
Perhaps I am just simply ready to be done with 2013, to hurry up and skip forward to what 2014 will bring.  I don't feel the desire to reflect on what I have done in the past year but to focus my energy on what lies ahead.
The new year ahead. The twelve months of possibility. 365 days of the unknown. It's always a little exciting contemplating a clean slate and a fresh start. And I'm not thinking about those silly new year's resolutions, the one that drives hordes of newly christened fitness fanatics to the gym. No, I'm talking about real goals, the ones that aren't easily accomplished and expected. Losing weight, saving money, reading more. No, that's not what I have in mind this year. I have something bigger planned for 2014. Happiness. True fucking happiness. I don't expect it to be easy. It's going to be a lot of work. And I'm not positive I can achieve it in only one year. Perhaps it's a five year plan, or a twenty year achievement or a lifetime goal but it's the one I'm working for.
My only goal in 2014 is to find and create more joy in my life and for those that I love. My goal is to be able to look at myself in the mirror and like what I see and to be able to say in all honesty that I am happy. With me. With my life. With my actions.  My goal is big and bold and perhaps unachievable, but my hope is that next Christmas I will at least be 365 days closer to reaching it. 
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
May all of my friends and family find joy and happiness in the year to come.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Driven: The Prize

I have always been self motivated. In school nobody had to remind me to do my homework. In college I could be found at 10PM on a Friday night in the quiet corner of the Memorial Library nursing a cup of black coffee while my friends were out doing shots and drinking Sex On The Beach until the wee hours of the morning. Most days I woke up not sharing the hangovers of my counterparts but ready to hit the gym for one of two daily workouts. I was motivated. Driven. I graduated as the highest ranking senior in the school of Child & Family Studies, a fact that is often met with smirks when shared today. "What difference did that make?" people will ask, pointing at their mediocre grade point average and their impressive job. It did make a difference. It made a difference in that I know what I am capable of.

Things never came easily to me. I have never been a "natural" at anything. I worked damn hard for every "A" I earned, while my boyfriend was able to skim his class notes one night before an exam and receive the same grade. Fitness didn't come easily either. I didn't have the speed, flexibility or coordination to be an athlete. Every lap around that indoor track at the "SURF" was a force of will. I wanted to push myself. I believe that in and of itself is the quality I am most proud of. The fact that I am willing to do the work, to get it done, to always try my best.

My drive is what has made me who I am today. And while it has gotten me places, it has also held me back, it has been my very worst enemy. The little voice inside my head that has pushed me to be the best student,who has never been satisfied with "good enough" has also made the sting of implied failures particularly harsh. The "AB" I got in "African Storyteller" sent me into a depression, my 4.0 ruined. The extra weight I put on my junior year of college was so crushing, I went in the extreme opposite direction, dieting to destruction. I have always strived for the unachievable... perfection.

It is safe to say that this quality has followed me into more recent years, in some ways more than others. I no longer need to excel in academics, and I traded motherhood for a "big" career. I am not the best in my field. I am not promotable. But I continue to bare the weight of willed perfection, the desire to be the very best in other areas of my life. I wanted to push myself physically. I wanted to once again set a goal in my life and achieve it. I set my sites on running, on finally being the "athlete" I never was.  Last spring I pushed myself harder physically than I had ever done before. Each mile I added, first 8 then 9, then 10, then 11 until finally the prized 13.1, I felt better and better about myself. When I finished that half marathon in one hour and fifty-seven minutes I was elated, and started looking forward to the next one, which of course... would be faster. 

There wasn't another half marathon. My lack of inherent ability caught up with me as I experienced one injury after another. My friends and family encouraged me, telling me, I did it, I achieved my goal, and now I could move on, do something more moderate, take yoga. While I know everyone meant well, it made my blood boil. Nothing felt as good as crossing that finish line, and I wanted to do it again, and again and again, getting better and better and better. I have refused to give up. Thanksgiving Day I ran a 10K with my husband who happens to be much faster than I am. It felt good, being able to keep up with him, clipping at a speed somewhere just above 8 minute miles, until the last mile caught me off guard with shooting knee pain and had me limping across the finish line then benched for two weeks. I pushed myself and I failed, and it sucks.

I'm also a stereotypical woman approaching forty who still wants to look twenty-five. I beat myself up for every line that appears on my face, every little way my body changes. I want perfection. I accept nothing less than 100% and it hurts me every day.

I'm not a VP. I'm not a marathoner. I'm not twenty-five, and my body isn't perfect. Even my motivation and hard work can't will it to be. At some point perhaps I will find that I need to take that hard work and direct it towards self acceptance rather than to perfection.

My goal now may need to be just that. Self acceptance. If this becomes the prize and I am able to achieve it, I believe I may find more happiness then any "A+", big race or size 2 jeans will ever bring me. It isn't easy.  This drive is as much a part of me as my weak hips and laugh lines. It's in my blood. It's who I am. I like it. But it needs to be redirected and harnessed towards new ends and perhaps the very most important one being loving me.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Question of Santa.

I married into Christmas. I was raised Jewish, and it wasn't until years later, long after my friends had given up their misguided notions of Santa and flying reindeer that I helped decorate my first Christmas tree.

Sometime during my college years I celebrated Christmas in the frozen city of Minneapolis with my boyfriend's family. They had years of traditions behind them. Swedish smorgasbord for Christmas Eve, red & green  packages unwrapped that evening. Christmas morning David's younger cousins received presents from "Santa", lots and lots of presents. And although the eldest was old enough to know better they all held fast to the magic of Saint Nicholas.

Now that I have children of my own, I play the game, although I seem to be wholly unaware of the rules. I found out from my friends that Santa gifts have to be in separate gift wrap... so that the secret is not reveled by an older sibling putting the pieces together. There are cookies and milk that must be left out  for Mr. Clause and carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, don't forget the reindeer, the flying freaking reindeer. There are letters to be dropped in the mail box with a stamp and a wink.  Forged signatures, "Love Santa" and visits to the man in red at the shopping mall.

I admit  that I think it's fun.... it just doesn't make any damn sense. It's "magic" I tell my sons snuggling them close and reading "Twas' The Night Before Christmas" when only days before I had calmed a frightened child telling him "no, no, Harry Potter is just pretend, don't be frightened." Harry Potter is make-believe but a fat man and a million tiny elves who make gifts for the entire world (except the Jews, and Muslims and all those other non-believer kids who go completely ignored on December 25th) Is real?  Santa who is taken by flying reindeer through the night sky to deliver said gifts across multiple cotenants is real?
Um.... Okay.

I get it, it's fun. It's cute. I even like the pictures of the crying babies tortured on the lap of a strange man with a fake beard in a crowded shopping mall.

But here is the problem. What are you suppose to do when they start questioning the wild tale they believed blindly last year. What are you suppose to do when your 8 year old begins asking those difficult questions in ear shot of his younger brothers:

"Mom. How come my chemistry set from Santa Clause had the Toys R Us logo on it last year?"
"Why can't I have my own Ipad for Christmas? Santa can bring it."
"How come I have never seen a flying deer before?"
"I know you can't buy a SpongeBob-Woody Woodpecker skateboard at the store, but can't the elves make one for me.... or are the elves not even real?"

Are we suppose to continue to weave bigger and bigger tales?

"Santa subcontracts with Toys R Us."
"Elves are allergic to electronics"
"Reindeers are magic and invisible to children."
"Elves are real, but they don't have time to customize skateboards"

Seriously. It's getting ridiculous.

I'm starting to think that we Jews got it right. Sure, our holidays aren't nearly as exciting for kids (think 2 hour Passover Seder, feasting on matzo and horseradish versus a bunny delivering baskets of chocolate and marshmallow chicks), but at least we make it easy on ourselves. One present each night. From mom and dad. No sneaky wrapping paper tricks and forged Santa handwriting.

No crushing heart to heart conversation with a teary eyed 9 year old confessing it was all a lie. I have heard tales of devastated pre-adolescents needing therapy to overcome the cruel reality that mom and dad were simply telling fibs.

Yeah we Jews got that part right. Our holidays may not be as flashy ( remember the Hanukkah of 1983 when your friends got boom boxes and ten-speed bikes and all you got was Star of David stationary from the temple gift shop? I do) but they are simple and relatively inexpensive.

But yes. I married into Christmas, and embrace the lot of it. I'm a Christmas Jew just
trying to figure out how to get through the holiday with out "effing" it up.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 25, 2013


I am a late bloomer when it comes to tattoos. I skipped the rebellious teenage stage and never thought of getting a cute ankle butterfly like many of the other girls in college. I got my first ink in my late twenties shortly after I moved to Denver. For whatever reason at that time I decided to mark the move west with a sun on my back, symbolizing the Colorado climate and a new sunnier phase of my life. There were no more tattoos for a good ten years.

In the last two years I have added three new permanent images to my body, much to the chagrin of my close family members. I can't explain exactly why I have been drawn to it. People will tell you that  tattoos are addictive. Perhaps that is true. I have kept my ink simple and meaningful, an outward expression of what is inside. I have always been an open book. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve.

Two years ago I got an expensive tattoo while on a Vegas vacation to celebrate my best friend's fortieth birthday. It was a particularly meaningful tattoo, three birds on a branch for my three boys. My husband was not thrilled with the idea, but he attempted to be supportive and told me it was pretty.

A year later, this past August I got a bird on my right shoulder, one that was to represent strength, something I felt I needed as I turned 39 years old.

This past weekend was spent mostly alone in Madison. I was there for a wedding of an old and dear friend. I went solo, and stayed in my childhood home, `which was empty since my parents were out of town. This was a particularly unique weekend, I don't have much time for solitary peace and quiet and self reflection. It was good to have that time. It was needed. So much of my life is spent attending to others, in the noise and chaos of life. This weekend, I was alone in a city where I no longer know anyone. I could be whomever I wanted...if I only knew who that really was.

So on an empty Friday afternoon with no plans I found myself at Steve's tattoo parlor, with a needle in my arm. I won't lie and say it doesn't hurt. It hurt, but as I grow older I am finding that most things that are worthwhile in life do. This time I got a shooting star just underneath the bird on my right shoulder. A shooting star representing a moment in time as well as good luck. The moment? That weekend alone, or the this time in my life. This time which is both so beautiful and challenging, so simple yet complex. Years from now I will look back at 39 and remember my small boys clamoring for my attention,, giving me soft hugs and driving me mad with their demands. I will remember that even though I felt so old, I was still so young. Even though I was a grown up, I was still figuring out who I am.

The reactions to my new ink were as expected. Silence on the other end of the phone as I told my husband. Disapproving comments from other family members. For a brief moment I second guessed, but today I feel more sure than ever. This is my body. My life. My choice. I'm a work in progress, and a canvass for the life I create. I love my tattoos. Each one of them.

So there.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Let me paint you a picture. I'm sitting at the dinning room table in my Hello Kitty Pajamas, with a raging headache and a broken nose.  I have a toddler who is in a constant state of temper tantrum as he is continually denied sharp scissors, Halloween candy and the "high-pad." Spread across the table is the makings of my son's school project on the Galapagos Penguins, and I have come to learn that his homework is equivalent to my homework. In the back of my mind I am thinking about work and the two searches I can't seem to make any progress on.

It's been a long day, heck it has been a long few weeks. Like the bruise that has spread across the bridge of my nose (inflicted by the hard head of a two year old) I'm feeling feeling battered and broken. My face isn't all that pretty these days, and neither is life. Sadly there are times when the picture perfect becomes distorted and messy.

I know in time my nose will heal, the swelling will go down and the bruise will fade.  The terrible twos will end. I will turn the corner at work. I will have a good day.

It's a marathon and not a sprint to the finish. Right now is an uphill climb and I'm short of breath, but I have to believe that things will get easier and that someday soon my picture will be pretty once again.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

San Francisco Calling

Mom and me in Union Square.
It's getting cold in Denver. 34 degrees cold. Running with a hat on and seeing your frozen breath cold. Cold. To be honest I haven't really missed California much....until now. That doesn't mean that there are not a few select people whom I miss (you know who you are!), but I haven't really wanted to be there, until this week. For whatever reason this week I wanted to be in in the bay.

I'll admit, I always got a bit of a buzz coming into the city on the days I worked in the office. I would ride the BART in with the rest of the commuters, reading the paper, checking my email. I would stop each morning at the bagel place and stand in line with the suits and the trendy twenty somethings waiting for my coffee and toasted everything-bagel thin with cream cheese. I would walk nearly a mile down Battery Street, passing by competing agencies and just feeling...the possibility that a big city brings.

Of course we didn't live in the city. No, Oakland was home. With three kids a dog and an income which did not allow for a $1.5 million dollar home, the city was not an option. We kicked ourselves. Why hadn't we done this years ago, before the kids, when we could have lived in a funky apartment in the Mission and gone out every night? If only...

That isn't to say that I never went out in San Francisco. With some regularity I met a girlfriend for dinner in the financial district. We dined at Barbacco and the Tadich Grill, drinking generous pours of Pinot Nior and making a dinner of fancy small plates. I went for occasional happy hours and lunches with co-workers, and when my parents came we went to Union Square.

This week I wanted nothing more than to experience the buzz of Union Square. The tourists, the bright lights, the panhandlers... the heart of that city. It's where I met Alan Young (you can read about him here), had some amazing dinners and drank cocktails with my parents while taking in the view. I felt myself thinking I wish I was there. Right. Now. Okay, and maybe there is a part of me wishing that  I was also 28 in San Francisco.  I have this fantasy of dressing up, and spending the entire night exploring the city and all that it has to offer.

That isn't to say I'm not happy in Denver. I am. It's home. I'm not sure I was cut out for big-city life, but this week, I felt the pull of San Francisco calling.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

On the twelfth day of Halloween.....

Guess who we are?
Is it just me or does Halloween seem to go on for....EVER?  Somewhere around mid September the Halloween superstores open their doors and the kids confirm the costume selections which they have been debating since the previous Halloween. Early October brings the annual trip to the pumpkin patch to select the perfect orange beast for the family Jack-O'-Lantern.

The week prior to the holiday things start to get real. There is the school party (with candy), the friend party (with candy), the trick-or-treat street in your neighborhood (with candy), and the trick-or-treat street one neighborhood over (with candy.) By the time the big day arrives your kids have worn out their costumes and have already consumed 40,000 calories of fun-sized candy bars.

Here is where I start to sound old and bitter. Back in my day Halloween was just that. One day. We wore our costumes to school, with no rules about weapons or masks, and we braved the freezing Wisconsin night hiding our costumes under winter jackets and sometimes snow boots. We went from house to house in our little neighborhood. Nobody drove us. Pre-razor blade days people still handed out candy apples and sometimes baked goods. We would get home that evening, our lips blue and fingers numb and sort our candy by their level of disarableness. Then it was done. The end.

Don't get me wrong... I actually love Halloween. It is one of my favorite holidays, primarily  because it doesn't require an elaborate meal or a second mortgage to pay for gifts. Halloween is pure fun, and hell I like dressing up as much as the next person, but I don't think we need fifteen days of sugar-coated celebration.

Lest you think I am a total Scrooge, our family has participated in the madness. The boys have already worn their costumes multiple times and even the husband and I got in the spirit last night when we arrived at a party, pretty much the only ones in costume, but damn-we were awesome!

Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I'm not the best photographer in the world, but that doesn't mean I don't take a lot of pictures. I am always the one with my Iphone out and ready to capture the moment. The birthday parties, the pumpkin patch, the girls nights and baby showers. Click. Click.

I long to take pictures that capture the feeling of a moment. The romance and hopefulness of a newlywed's first dance, the surprise and joy of a baby taking his first steps, the peaceful calm that comes from walking along a mountain stream at 9000 feet.... but my photographs always come up short, they feel stilted and lack the depth of emotion I wish to convey. Forced smiles, dulled colors, somehow the sparkle of glacial waters just doesn't shine through.

Today was an absolutely gorgeous fall Colorado day. The trees in gold and red, the sky blue,  and yet the sun was more forgiving than the summer months just past. I suppose having spent the past several autumns in California, this October has seemed particularly spectacular.

I wanted to capture today in a photograph, to catch the way the light made the fall colors nearly glow, the way the air felt just right, and  the wind whispered hope and promised joy. But I knew my camera would get it wrong and if I looked at in years to come it would mean nothing, it would become just a pretty picture the feeling of the moment gone.

So instead of a photograph I tried to hold the image in my heart and write it on paper, holding on to the feeling of a beautiful fall day, knowing that this way I would not forget.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I did a craft with my kids and it didn't kill me.

One word that has never been used to describe me in the history of my life? Crafty. No, I am a far cry from "Real Simple" or even "Good Housekeeping." I don't sew. I don't own a hot glue gun. My eight year old can draw a better dinosaur than I can. I'm not kidding. Even kindergarten crafts elude me, I am that bad. It has been a good long time since I attempted a real art project with the kids, I believe the hand-print turkey's of 2011 might have been my last effort.
See I got creative and made up candy bar Frankenstein! 

You see I am intimidated.When on the rare occasion I actually page through a parenting magazine (reliably at my annual "female" appointment, and perhaps at the dentist's office) I am put off by the "easy!!!" holiday craft ideas. The Christmas wreath made of candy canes and tinsel hot glued together and interlaced with laminated family photos,  the Thanksgiving centerpiece put together with pine cones, homemade dehydrated fruit and apples dipped in glitter, the Halloween garland made of egg-carton bats, shellacked fall leaves and marshmallow ghosts.... who are they kidding???  If the instructions are more than one paragraph long or include sewing, power-tools, nails or a glue gun... I'm out.

Yet today Evan had a long anticipated play date with his buddy Owen. As a mom of three, poor Evan has suffered from being the second child. When Zachary was in Kindergarten I had multiple play dates scheduled each week. I have lost steam. Somehow just keeping up with the daily responsibilities of three boys has zapped all of my energy, but it isn't fair. When I brought up the idea of a play date to Evan his face lit up like the Halloween Glow-Stick Balloon craft I found on Pinterest. I wanted to make it special. We made pizza, ice cream sundaes and yes.... we did a "spooky" craft.

Martha Stewart would be proud
As I was researching activities for the big day my eldest son protested when I typed in "easy Halloween craft" in the Google search bar. "EASY???" he whined. Damn straight kid, in fact I contemplated typing in "so ridiculously easy a newborn could do it" but I restrained myself. After pouring over page after page of "easy" ideas that were anything but simple I finally found Candy-Bar Bats.

So today I sat down with four boys and decorated Hershey's Bars with construction paper, googly eyes, glitter and markers and you know what? We had a good time. A for-real-good time. No, our creations looked very little like the expertly designed creations we saw on line, but my kids didn't care. It was fun. And it's chocolate. And chocolate tastes good. So there.

Stay tuned crafty parents- who knows what amazing craft I'll come up with for Thanksgiving!
Evan and his buddy Owen. They look happy enough!

Friday, October 18, 2013

I just wanted to Rock N' Roll.

Feeling sort of pleased with myself
This is the weekend. It's the Denver Rock & Roll Half Marathon that I was so excited about running with my girls. I was going to beat my last time. I was going to see what a fun race was all about. I was going to prove that my race last May was not a fluke, but that instead running was in my blood.

Turns out I may be wrong. I have not written much about running recently because... I haven't been doing much running recently. For those of you who have been keeping up with the fast times of Rachel's life, you know that I was benched early summer due to a knee that was on the verge of falling apart. I have weak bones, I have weak hips. My doctor told me firmly to quit the nonsense and focus on strength training in order to improve my running form.

I have spent months at a tiny clinic in Wheat Ridge, doing one legged squats, "hamstring triple threats" and all kinds of exercises involving a rubber resistance band. I got to know my physical therapist well, and she was a hard ass- pushing me, yet holding me back from running. I finally made my way to interval running, and now straight running of short distances. I was taught about mid-foot strike, which is incredibly awkward, but apparently much easier on the knees. I feel like a freak running on the balls of feet leaning forward taking quick tiny steps. But whatever, I'm getting it done.

Today I ran four miles on the treadmill with no pain.I wanted to push it. God I wanted to push it. Four miles used to be nothing. I remember the feeling after a long run, such a sense of accomplishment and strength. I want that feeling again. But I'm being smart. I'm slowly building strength and although I am hopeful, I know that distance running just may not be in the cards for me.

 I am bitter about this weekend's race and will avoid the whole scene. As much as I would like to support my friends, I know that seeing all those exhausted yet elated runners at the finish line will sting a little too much. Instead, I'll probably hit the gym on Sunday morning and put in another slow four, remembering how strong I once was and day dreaming about races to come.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Destination... wedding.

I spent the past weekend in San Diego, attending the wedding of a college friend. I love weddings and as I get older our invitations become more and more rare. At one point we were attending four or five nuptials a year, and now, well... it's dwindled to a less than annual occurrence. Sadly divorce has become more of a common topic of cocktail party conversation than engagements. 
So yes. There were some shots involved.

Our friends who have married later have benefited from the experiences of those of us who tied the knot as kids. After attending one too many stuffy church ceremonies followed by a reception in an over air conditioned Holiday Inn ball room, our "late bloomer" friends have forgone the mandatory "YMCA" dance and tacky garter belt toss. These days the weddings tend to more intimate, personal and unique. The couples create events that reflect their personality, their guest lists are smaller and those who show up are there for more than an open bar. 

Getting crazy at the beach reception in Belize
Elegant reception at a classy San Diego steakhouse 
Can't complain about the view
The last two weddings I have attended were of the destination variety, one requiring a passport. Both events were a blast. It was old friends gathering together to spend quality time celebrating the future of someone we love. The outdoor ceremonies were from the heart and made me cringe as I thought of my own wedding, the Cantor standing on the Bima, reading from her notes about my job as a Staffing Specialist at Kelly Services and our enjoyment of dining out. The receptions were elegant, signature cocktails and decent wine as opposed to the simple "Red or White" choice I thoughtlessly gave my guests. 

I suppose my point is not to tarnish the memory of my own special day, or make fun of my friends who married younger, but more to make commentary on how refreshing it has been to celebrate the love of our friends in such special and frankly, kick-ass fun way. I certainly wish this was more than just a once every couple of years type of occasion, I mean let's be honest their aren't too many opportunities for a girl of my (ahem) age to get out and cut a rug in my sensible (yet sexy!) Clark's high-heels. Perhaps I need to start the trend of destination 40th birthday parties? Can I register for that? Who's in?
Sunshine and R&R in Belize.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Missing Mimosas: Lost Free Time

I have been a slacker when it comes to blogging.  It isn't for a lack of things to write about, but rather an absence of time. I honestly feel as though all of the free time I once had has been sucked away into a great abyss, leaving me with space only for the necessities. My life is consumed with children, work, and epic amounts of laundry. I rarely talk on the phone with friends, and I cannot tell you the last time I have tuned into my beloved BRAVO reality shows, oh cat fights and fake boobs how I have missed you!

Things are good don't get me wrong. My kids are thriving in school, I'm keeping in shape with my physical therapy, running "lite" and group training, I attend book club monthly, even when I don't read the books, and have managed to eek out a few date nights with the husband. We have implemented Sunday night "family movie nights" each week, where we snuggle on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watch an 80's classic, Back To The Future, ET, Princess Bride, etc.  We are preparing for Halloween madness, and exploring the previously uncharted waters of having regular sit down family meals. Things are good. Very good.

But something is missing. And that thing is called "free time." Perhaps more than others, I have always valued time alone. I find it incredibly refreshing to be in my own company, lazy window shopping on a Saturday afternoon or sitting in a cozy coffee shop with just a book. Unscheduled time where I am not rushing, running late and stressed about a multitude of obligations. I long for this true "me" time. Not time with a treadmill, or rushing through Target to find the perfect birthday gift for an 8 year old classmate, time that is JUST mine and just for pure pleasure. I have tried to find ways to build in an occasional retreat into my life, just a few weeks ago I managed Sunday brunch with a couple of friends and too many mimosas, then passed out during my sixty minute massage. Bliss. But when I returned I felt guilty for spending a Sunday away from the family and annoyed by the mess that my departure left behind.

I know this is a stage in life. Hell twenty years from now, when the house is empty perhaps I'll feel bored and start searching for a hobby, but at the moment I am missing my blog, my Real Housewives of Crazy and Sunday morning mimosas.....

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What I am obsessed with now....

A friend recently asked me "So, what are you obsessed with these days?" It got me to thinking.... is there anything that I am actually "obsessed" with or even half way really excited about? After mulling it over I came up with a few things and thought that I would share with you, my lovely bloggy community!

1) Tegan & Sara. I heard them for the first time late summer at Red Rocks. They opened for FUN, and they were amazing. It's been a very long time since I heard a band live and immediately loved them. They are reminiscent of the 80's but in a very, very good way. Poppy, catchy, singable, keep you going on the treadmill fun. Check them out. You won't be sorry.

2) Thrift shopping. But not like Goodwill thrift shopping, more of the  higher-end consignment variety. There is nothing like finding a killer Marc Jacobs dress second hand for $50. If I didn't buy it at Gap, Banana, or Target, it's more than likely I found it while scouring the racks of a tiny consignment shop. It takes time, but I love it. Hey some people spend a lot more for therapy. Check out the funky lipstick shirt I picked up just today. Not for everyone, but I couldn't resist.

3) Dashe Zinfandel. A year ago my husband gave me a membership to the little vineyard for our 13th wedding anniversary. Every six months I get a shipment of there delicious wines. No I'm not going to go on and on about tannins, nose, legs, and chocolate undertones. I don't know a flipping thing about wine, except what I like and I like this wine. Hard to get in most places, but California friends, check them out.

4) De Steeg Brewing: It's a little microbrewer off of Tennyson. I am not a beer snob. Nope. I am rather fond of Coors Light,(I know, that says so much about me, right?)  but there were actually several beers I enjoyed there on a recent date night with my husband. I had some sort of pumpkin ale, and lord knows what else, but it was a blast. The place was packed and the people were super friendly... I can't wait to go back!

5) Porn. Okay not really. But close. The Miley Cyrus video. A couple reasons. I hate to admit it, the song is catchy, and it has become stuck in my head, on repeat in the middle of the night on more than one occasion. Also she is licking a hammer. A hammer. Who does that? It doesn't even make sense. And she is naked, on a wrecking ball, which also doesn't make any sense. At. All. Her poor parents.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Baby No More

Zack age 4, and me. On our way to California.
Zachary turns eight on Wednesday. Eight. Eight. Eight. I cannot seem to get it through my head. I have an eight year old boy. Not a baby, not a toddler, not a Kindergartner. A full-on KID. Most of the time his boyish face shows no traces of the infant I held in my arms on September 25, 2005. I rarely think of the chubby arms that reached for me from his crib. I can no longer remember all the songs we sang  at Music Together, and I cannot carry him easily in my arms....even if he wanted me to.

I won't lie, as much as my heart swells with pride at each of his accomplishments, his fast legs, his inquisitive mind, his creative artwork and his lust for learning, it also breaks a little each year he grows  further away from me. As parents we are tasked with helping our babies grow into capable, contributing, good adults. But as we help our children become more and more independent, they need us less and slowly, they begin to let go.

There is nothing quiet like carrying and giving birth to a baby. For nine months that little being is literally an extension of your body, sharing your breath and blood. After birth a mother may carry her newborn with her everywhere, in a sling, in her arms, on her back, nursing the infant and being his sole source of nutrition. But then there is the shift, never as noticeable as it is now that I have a son in grade school, capable of feeding, bathing and entertaining himself. While my husband and I are still the center of his universe, I see this slowly changing as well, soon his friends, teachers and girlfriends will be winning a good portion of his attention.

And it is good. It is as it should be.  I can already see that my son has the basic tools that will help him grow into a good man. He has confidence, heart, intelligence and compassion. Yet, if I am to be totally honest, there is a part of me that mourns the loss of my baby. The feel of him warm and pressed against my skin while I rocked in the glider,  the joy in his eyes as I held him in my arms spinning him across the floor dancing in circles. That love that pure love, I will never experience in quiet the same way.

So as I approach the big day, the celebration that will be marked with balloons, cake, presents and parties, I do so with a great deal of joy, and also a (good strong) twinge of sadness, knowing that my baby is a baby no more.....

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mama Bear

Wait, what was that? Did you seriously just tell my five year old to "mind his own business?" Could I have heard that right Mr. 30-Something, who clearly has no children of his own? By the way he may only be in Kindergarten but he was right, your ugly dog should be on a leash.

Now if I wasn't carrying a toddler covered in chocolate and preoccupied with trying to find my keys so I can open the front door for my kid who has to go I might just come after you and give you a piece of my mind.  I would, you know. I have been working out. I can curl 12 pounds. Sort of.

 Don't think I didn't see your condescending sneer Mr. Yuppy in that $45 J. Crew t-shirt. I know what I look like. These Target yoga pants actually look just fine sans sticky ice cream hand prints. I'll bet you take a forty-five minute shower every morning, you finely groomed child-hater. I look pretty damn good for the fact that I only have 12.3 minutes allotted for my daily beauty regimen. I wonder how good you would look  if you were trying to shave while a two year old was disassembling your entire bathroom.

I wonder where you are off to on your leisurely evening walk? Must be nice to walk through the neighborhood sneering at children without a care in the world. When I walk down the street I'm usually looking frantically in each direction to ensure that one of my three kids isn't hit by a maniac Jack-Ass driver (I'm guessing you might be one of them.)

So watch your step J.Crew and don't you ever talk to my kid that way again. Mama Bear is MAD.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Julian & The Doll

Okay. At least once a year I get on my soap box about society and body image. It isn't because I am an expert on how to achieve high self-esteem, no, it is quiet the opposite.  It is because for whatever reason as a young woman I was particularly susceptible to society's pressure to meet the "ideal" standards of femininity. I put a lot of stock into what popular culture dictated was acceptable and desirable. I fought my very hardest to achieve it, and suffered dire consequences. For 99% of the female population achieving the gold standard is impossible, simply just out of reach.

Why am I bringing this up today?  Because my two year old son asked me to buy him a princess doll at Target.

This morning Julian accompanied me to purchase birthday gifts for my 8 year old son. We shopped the toy aisles, neatly and clearly differentiated by sex. The rows of pink and purple, baby dolls and barbies, kitty cats and purses, those are the aisles I ignore. Having three boys leads me to the other section. The shelves stacked with blue, black and red, guns and dragons, muscled superheros and wrestlers, race cars and weapons. Sigh. I hate these toys. I searched through the plastic, trying to find something my son will love on his big day, that doesn't completely contradict my values. I opted for a couple Star Wars Lego sets, a football, a board game and some sort of dueling disk toy my son requested. I made my way to the wrapping paper and passed over the butterfly and cupcake wrap, selecting scary purple monster paper.  That should do it.

As I waited in line with my purchases Julian began to inspect the items available close to the register for impulse shoppers. He became mesmerized by a princess in a pink dress. He held up the tiny doll to me pointing to her gown and said "pwetty." My heart skipped a beat. I agreed with Julian that her dress was pretty. He held the doll close to him and demanded "mine." I did NOT let the opportunity pass me by. If Julian wanted a pretty princess doll, damn straight I was buying it for him even if it was a plastic piece of garbage that is probably made of harmful toxins. Julian held that doll all the way home, took her to his crib while he napped and then to the playground. I braced myself for the inevitable. As soon as Julian's princess was spotted by his older brothers, the mocking began.
"Why is Julian playing with a Barbie?" my five year old sneered. "That's a girl's toy" Zachary snickered. I hushed them as quickly as I could, telling him that they mustn't make fun of Julian and that it was perfectly fine for a boy to play with dolls.

Of course I realize if I had daughters I might be annoyed or even upset by the  dolls available on the shelves of our toy stores. The tiny waists, the flowing hair, high heels and cat eyes. The dresses which would likely prohibit anything more physical than knitting. These princesses send a message to impressionable minds loud and clear:  You must be pretty. To be pretty you must have impossible proportions and a painted face. So here I sit conflicted. My son likes a doll, this is fabulous! But the doll is a representation of an unrealistic standard that I believe is incredibly harmful. It sends a message to girls, but it also sends a message to boys. This is what your girlfriends should look like. My Spiderman toy is strong, her Barbie is pretty and stands on her tip-toes. I don't like it. I don't like it.

Yet as parents what are we suppose to do? We can stop buying the toys that our children ask for, but the message is everywhere. It's in the movies that our kids watch, it's on the covers of the magazines we pass by in the supermarket, the billboards on our freeways and the clothes that we buy. And it runs deep, so deep.

Today I got excited that my son wanted a princess doll. Tonight I am sad because, really I hate what that doll represents to all of us.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

This is fun....right?

At least someone was happy for part of the time.
There was a time, say nine or ten years ago when hiking meant packing a light bag with water and a couple of sandwiches. It meant getting an early start, and heading up to a trail head high in the mountains to escape the scalding summer sun. It meant climbing steep paths that lead to spectacular views, long conversations and periods of sweet silence. We hiked the whole day until our legs were shaking and our feet were sore.

Fast forward to September 2013 and hiking looks a bit.... different.

Armed with an arsenal of snacks, sandwiches, beverages, diapers and a backpack carrier for our toddler we get a start much later than planned. The delay was was due to an argument with a five year old about wearing socks, a twenty minute time out for an (almost) eight year old after he called his younger brother a "stupid poopy-head" and fifteen minute search for pair of matching shoes for the baby.

After we successfully pile into our minivan which just screams "rugged outdoor adventure",we head to a "family-friendly" hike in the foothills, one that promises little elevation gain, and a gentle stream perfect for skipping rocks. Forty-five minutes later we arrive at our destination to find the parking lot jam packed with other minivans and sportier cars with bike racks on top. Seems that the flat kid-friendly hikes are usually shared with the mountain bikers.

Often times just navigating our way to the trail head requires more effort than a five mile hike sans children. We grab hands that don't want to be held, in an attempt to keep our tiny offspring safe. We return to the car multiple times to retrieve forgotten water bottles and sunscreen. We (unsuccessfully) attempt to coax our toddler to ride in the backpack, eventually yielding to his violent protests and carrying him on our hips.

Ahhh. The trail head! But first a potty break. No we didn't remember the hand-sanitizer. *Sigh.* The older boys run ahead. All is good. Five minutes in and the husband and I are congratulating each other on a fantastic family outing. Isn't this lovely? It isn't even that hot yet. What? You want a snack already? Seriously? Can't we walk another 15 minutes before stopping? Okayokayokayokay.... we can have a snack! We stop and begin rummaging through the pack. Pretzels? No. PBJ? No. Granola Bar? No. We don't have gummy bears. Why would we have gummy bears? You aren't hungry? Fine. Backpack slung back on shoulder we return to our walk.

"BIKE!!!!" "BOYS! BIKES! MOVE TO THE SIDE. THE SIDE!" "No don't cry, I am not mad, I just want you to be safe. We need to watch for the bikers and make room for them okay? Stop crying. Let's keep walking. Yes you can have some water. I just need to get it out of the pack."

Back to walking and we make it something like .01 miles when shoes needs to be tied. He can do it himself! (Only he really can't, so what should take 10 seconds takes five minutes and another lesson about bunny ears.) We have been "walking" 15 minutes now and I can still see the bathrooms where we started.

I put on my best camp counselor voice and try to motivate my boys. "Hey guys! Let's see if we can find that stream! We have to keep moving so we can get there! Let's go" I chirp cheerfully.

"Streams are dumb" my five year old informs me. "Hiking is so boring. All it is, is just walking." Don't get frustrated I tell myself. Keep calm. Use a bribe.

We have trail mix!!! With M&M's! BINGO. All systems are a go. Fueled by a mouthful of sugar the boys forge ahead. Julian is getting heavy. Won't you please go in the backpack? Maybe if we just force him in he will grow to like it. Back arched, it's a two person operation. I'm kicked in the chin and David has had his hair pulled but finally we have maneuvered our two-year old power-house into the pack and we are on our way.

It isn't as easy as it looks.
Julian's wails die down after ten minutes and we start to enjoy our surroundings. The wild flowers, the blue sky the.... "Look it's a deer!" Dad points out a doe obscured in the distance by forest and brush, I barely make it out. "I see it!" Zack chimes in. I bite my lip. Here it comes. "Where? Where? I don't see it!" Evan is craning his head this way and that trying to find the animal, which I can no longer spot. "Where is it?" Evan's voice rises in panic. He might miss it. Zachary wastes no time in informing his younger brother that he did in fact miss a viewing of the most spectacular deer in the history of all hikes.  Tears erupt. "I never get to see ANYTHING, and Zack always does! It's not fair! We have to find another deer right NOW!" Oh boy.

We look for distractions, point out unusual bugs and flowers, but Evan isn't fooled he missed the damn deer. He pouts and complains that his feet are tired, that it's too hot and that he is bored.

I'm getting a headache. Where the hell is this flipping stream that promises hours of fun rock skipping? And what is that smell? Right. Diaper change. In the woods. Fun stuff.

No stream but we find a large flat rock perfect for a lunch break. We sit down and unpack the picnic, which appears to be the highlight of the whole hike. Ahhh peace. 15 minutes later we are packed up and ready to press on. The boys seem rejuvenated and full of energy. They begin running down the wooded path, how sweet. I should grab my camera. A wail.  Zachary blurts an angry "I hate you!" The boys start pushing and shoving and a young couple walk by with a confused look on their faces.

"What is going on?" I demand. Talking over each other, with tears running down their faces I am told about how each one wanted to be the leader and who shoved who, and blah, blah, blah.

Defeated we return to our van. Once buckled in, the boys are again happy and chattering as they settle in for an episode of SpongeBob.

It's then as I am closing my eyes and trying to catch a cat nap on the way home that a

Hiking with their cousins. Guess who isn't happy?
small voice from the back of the car asks "Can we hike again next weekend?"

Friday, September 6, 2013

Single Mama Drama

I am trying to write a blog post. So many ideas have come to mind over the past week, but honestly I am just too exhausted. The husband has been traveling with great frequency over the past few months, leaving me the single mom who doesn't really ever get much of a break. 
Not so happy after a 7 hour road trip

There are times that I truly enjoy being on my own with the kids. There is a sense of freedom when I don't have coordinate schedules and consult with anyone else on dinner, music or television options. To be honest I'm married to Super Dad, and when he is gone I don't have to compete for the boys attention. I feel like I do some of my best parenting when I'm flying solo. Yet, it does grow exhausting. From the moment I hang up on my last call of the day until the nanny arrives the next morning it's all me. It's all me for dinner, dishes, laundry, lunch packing, conflict resolution, bath time, middle of the night sheet changes, breakfast, more conflict resolution, diaper changing, dressing, negotiating, backpack finding and more conflict resolution. I'm beat. And when my husband finally does return from his business trip I find myself wanting to hide in my room rather than participate in anymore family time. 

It is also a rather lonely place to be. All those nights where there is nobody to commiserate with after dinner went uneaten and you were hit in the head with a Hot Wheel hurled by an angry five year old. Often when the phone call comes from Dallas, Oakland, Ohio or Watertown Wisconsin, I'm too tired and frustrated to share the news of the day with the husband calling from the Marriott after a happy hour, dinner or run around the lake. I know there are long meals, layovers and and boring meetings. It isn't a competition, I simply wish we could trade places every now and then.

So this week was a challenging one and it's Friday evening and instead of joining my family outside I am hiding in my basement writing this blog. The week before I was on my own for several days before venturing on a seven hour car trip wit the kids to meet their dad in Albuquerque for Labor Day weekend. Let's just say that trip, which had some nice moments, almost pushed me over the edge. It isn't
The trip started out promising. They sure look innocent
 all bad. We managed an exhausting (think holding a 2 year old for an hour long service while reprimanding a five year old who wouldn't sit still) but meaningful Rosh Hoshanah celebration, and a family game night. But I'm worn out, burnt out and ready for a weekend in bed, which as I am sure you can imagine, is simply not in the cards.... 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Getting My Jewish On. Happy New Year & Stuff.

It's that time of year again. That brief period of the High Holidays when I get my Jewish on.  The only time of year that I step inside a synagogue, and each year, inevitably  I vow that I will make more of an effort to attend at least occasional Shabbat services. The annual blowing of the shofar awakens my inner Jew and leads me to research temples and Sunday school programs for the boys.  There is something about hearing the familiar Hebrew prayers (which, admittedly might as well be said in Chinese, Arabic or Latin from what I understand of them), joining in the melodies, which vary only slightly from region to region, and sharing in the traditions passed down from generation to generation, that make me long to embrace "my people."

I was raised Jewish to a certain extent. I attended Sunday school, although I never took Hebrew lessons and I missed out on the whole Bat Mitzvah thing, I ate challah occasionally, went to a Passover sedar annually and suffered the injustice of Hanukkah in a Christmas community.  After my parents split I began to celebrate Christmas with my father, and eventually I married a non-practicing Lutheran who has no interest in organized religion.  My children attended a Jewish preschool in Berkeley, California which gave me access to a solid Jewish community, until we moved on and the boys started school in a predominately Asian  community. With no teachers singing "Shabbat Shalom" and educating them about "tzedakah" it became harder for me to expose my children to their Jewish heritage. I have made a few attempts here and there, taking the boys to a disastrous picnic-style sedar at the local JCC, and lighting the menorah at Hanukkah, but it has been half-hearted.

And yet here we are again, at the Jewish High Holidays. The time of apples and honey, reflection and remembrance. There is something so beautiful about these traditions, I am drawn back year after year, to mumble the prayers I don't fully understand with strangers whom I somehow belong to. Once again I sit here on the New Year, and tentatively embrace the rich traditions of my heritage, longing to know it
more fully, fantasizing about sharing it with my boys.

I did not realize until yesterday that Rosh Hashanah is this week. I have not made arrangements to miss work and attend services with the kids. My husband is traveling and to be honest, taking the boys on my own sounds less than appealing, yet I found myself frantically researching the options last night, trying to find some way to mark the important day. So tomorrow I will take my boys to a community I do not know. I will attend their family "sing-along" service and join them in their evening meal. It won't be easy. Julian won't sit still, Evan won't like the food, Zack will want to know where all his friends are. But we will be there together, just as we were last year, acknowledging that Sunday school or not, we come from something, we are a part of something. We are Jews.

L'Shanah Tovah!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Punch in the face for some. Kisses for others.

Guys, I'm having a bad day.  A really bad day. No need to bore you with details, but needless to say I'm feeling punchy and their are a whole slew of folks I'd like to punch in the face, throat, groin... you name it. So be sure I will "entertain" you with a partial and edited for the public list of who is in the doghouse, but in an attempt to cheer myself an appear somewhat balanced and sane I will also make mention of the good guys, the ones who brightened my day, gave me reason to smile and deserve a big old smooch on the cheek. :)

Let's start with a partial list of who is pissing me off.

My Sports Med Doc: This is the fellow who told me several weeks ago that due to my weak tush there would be no race this October. This is the physician who has sent me to the physical-therapist Nazi,   prescribing the most boring routine of exercises known to man. I have followed my doctor's orders, I have been diligent and determined. I visited him yesterday for my follow up appointment.  I'm not sure if it was a pep-talk or tough love but he continually told me that my body is just like his wife's  (hey McCreepy are you leering at me?) and his wife who's body is just like mine, had to give up running altogether. But just because his wife who's body is seriously just exactly like mine, had to give up running doesn't necessarily mean I'll have to do the same. But I might. Time would tell. Because her body is just. like. mine. I'm not your stinking wife dude! I will run again.

My Children: Okay, no not punch them anywhere. Just  to firmly, calmly and lovingly tell them to QUIT THROWING YOUR DAMN HOTWHEELS DOWN THE STAIRS. And to please, please STOP LEAVING YOUR NASTY DIRTY UNDERWEAR ALL OVER THE FREAKING HOUSE. And to requests gently that they REFRAIN FROM SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER EVERY SINGLE BLOODY MORNING STARTING AT 6:15AM.

Myself: Because I can't seem to keep my personal life straight. I am so horribly unorganized I am constantly showing up for appointments on the wrong day, or not at all. I missed my kid's back to school night because I thought it was on a Friday when it was on Thursday. I showed up to meet my personal trainer on Wednesday, when my appointment was Thursday. I bought tickets to a fundraiser, forgetting that my husband would be out of town... again. Honestly. I need a personal assistant. Any applicants? The job doesn't pay very well.

The truth is I could go on and tell you stories that aren't all that funny, but I'll spare you from the angst.

Yet in the midst of this miserable day there have been a few people whom have reminded me that it isn't all bad, at least not usually.

There was the neighbor who made me the best damn cappuccino I have ever had. There was the store clerk who told me I had a lovely smile. There was the girlfriend who texted all the way from California, reminding me that it's time to set up a phone date. There was my sweet Evan who after his first full day of Kindergarten ran down to my office to tell me that he had a super-fun day at school. There was the woman who left a lovely comment on yesterday's blog post.  To all of you thank you. You ave no idea how much I needed you today. Kisses to you.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kargas Inc. CEO "Shocked" that she can't terminate herself.

Kargas Inc CEO, Rachel Kargas, whom we previously reported was going crazy, issued a statement yesterday that she was "shocked" at her inability to fire herself.

 In an unprecedented move, Ms Kargas, referred to affectionately by employees as "mom"  tried to terminate herself for cause when she was informed by the company's CFO and Board of Directors that she was unable to do so. A shocked Ms Kargas released the following statement:

"Look at this organization. It's falling apart. I am failing as your leader, I haven't come up with a creative craft, produced a meal that resembles a clown, boat or smiley face or successfully broken up a fight in months. Clearly I am not fit to be your CEO. I can hardly keep myself properly groomed."  Ms. Kargas  did appear disheveled for her interview.

Apparently it is impossible for Ms. Kargas to fire herself from the organization, and in fact their are legal implications should she simply abandon her small company. Ms. Kargas was also informed that she is under a binding contract through 2029 and cannot quit her position until it expires.

Thus, even if the CEO is having difficulties fulfilling her duties (employees report backlogs of laundry, and a frequently barren refrigerator) it looks as if she is with Kargas Inc for long-haul.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


This morning I listened to Muse's Madness ***on repeat, tears stinging my eyes as I plugged away on the elliptical. Madness. The song I began each of my training runs with all spring.

That song, the intensity, the feeling, the passion resonated with me. Every mile a victory. Desire answered. Pounding that pavement I felt alive. Perhaps it was the mix of endorphins and accomplishment. The drive to succeed, the surprise that I could. Each morning I woke up with sore hamstrings I was elated. The pain proof that I would do whatever it took. The madness of running 11 miles on a Saturday morning. The bad-ass feeling that I was strong.  I found the fact that I could  outrun 90% of the population strangely satisfying.

Madness. The music raw and emotional, it pushed me physically while fueling a passion. Like a new lover, I thought of it all the time. I woke up ready to embrace my love and went to bed planning my next day's rendezvous . I needed that madness in my life. I still do.

But now stripped of my outlet I feel stifled. Days when I just need to clear my head I feel trapped.  I feel sadly devoid of passion, almost apathetic. It could be that I just need to find inspiration elsewhere, but like a musician without his instrument, I am fumbling. It could be that turning 39 has contributed to the "what am I doing?" angst. Running was powerful for me. It felt somehow important,  and I am wondering what else I can do that might be notable. Never one to shrink in the shadows of other's success I have always wanted to be great, to shine, to be....special.

So as I sat moving nowhere in that God-awful gym, I felt mild, average and  defeated. The song mocking me for what I once was or what I might have been. Madness. The climax of of a musician belting "I need your love." I want to feel that way again. Somehow. Someway. Some sort of madness....

***do click the link. The song is worth it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Torture at 24 Hours

I've got this. I've GOT this.

I'm plugged in. It's the running play mix I trained to months ago, when my body was working properly.

I mount the steely beast of a machine. The dreaded device of torture where I will spend the next 45 minutes, moving arms and legs in rhythmic repetitive motions while going exactly nowhere.

I select "variety" the ups and downs and varying intensity will certainly keep this interesting right?

The timer starts ticking away the seconds and minutes ever, ever so slowly.

I stare at Barbie on the treadmill in front of me, blond ponytail bobbing up and down while her spandex clad bum runs at a breakneck speed. Bitch. Wait until your knee gives out.

Justin Timberlake serenades me with his "Sexy Back", the beat cheers me and I remember to engage my core.

God damn it! My Iphone slips from it's spot on the elliptical and crashes to floor ripping out my ear buds. Christ. The clock reads 8 minutes and 42 seconds. Where is the damn pause button?
I retrieve my phone and plug back in, ready to restart. How do I restart? Where is the unpause button? Is it...

Crap! No! I do not want to cancel out. Now I'm back at zero and will have to mentally calculate that I already put in 8 minutes and 45 seconds.

Okay Adele, your love songs worked when I was gazing across the blue waters of Lake Merritt on my long runs, but when I'm staring at a muted HGTV program about a farm house renovation I need something a bit more... inspirational.

I'm sweating. Why am I sweating so darn much? Is it unusually hot in here?  Seriously, you can't trick me into thinking that just because I am soaking wet after 15 minutes on this damn machine that I am working out so much harder than I did when running ten miles.

Did I say I was going to do 45 minutes? Would 35 be enough?

Yeah Barbie I see you. You are so fast, look at you go. So determined. What the hell are you doing in this sweaty gym anyways? You can run outside. I'm stuck in this hell hole.

22 minutes. I need a distraction, but what? The farm house show blows, the running Barbie is pissing me off, and staring at this blinking screen is driving me nuts.

Attitude adjustment! Come on! Up that intensity. Go. Go. Go. This is what you have to do now. This is your means to a healthy body.

Seriously? Did they just change the channel to The Food Network? Now I have to watch some skinny chick making fettuccine alfredo with a gallon of whipping cream? I don't know what is worse skinny pasta lady or beauty queen runner.

Okay the dude next to me smells. Bad.
Is this ever going to end?

36 minutes. I have passed 35. I can make it to 45. 45 minutes and then I can go home and take a nap.

Or eat some pasta.
Yeah. Pasta.
Fettuccine alfredo.
And some wine. Lots of wine.

But then I'd have to come back.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Fourteen years
Five Thousand, One Hundred and Ten days of marriage
Three states
Fourteen months of fertility treatments
Three children
Seven moves
Two dead cats
One old dog
Three-thousand dollars in vet bills (at least)
Nine jobs
One minivan
Six international vacations
One marathon, one half marathon
One ambulance ride
Three sofas
Countless coffee makers
Few funerals
Many weddings
Too many unsuccessful attempts to make grass grow
Two Yosemite Thanksgivings
Millions of tears shed over spilled milk
So many sleepless nights
So many toddler kisses
Zero trips to Hawaii
One dead car on the Vail Pass
A Zillion dirty diapers
Fourteen years

And no, it no longer feels like just yesterday.

Happy Anniversary David.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I want a F*cking Pinata

Have you ever noticed that as you get older people stop asking you what you would like for your birthday? In fact, if it weren't for your parents and perhaps your own significant other, you might not get as much as a card to mark your special day.  It is as if you are supposed to pretend like your birthday isn't the most awesome day of the year, and that actually you would prefer if it were left at a monthly group cake celebration in the office conference room.

Okay, I get that the increasing number of candles on the cake can be a wee bit.... depressing, particularly when you are staring down menopause in likely, less than ten years, but DUDE, it's your birthday!!! Forget about the age part, it is the one day of the year when people pretty much have to be nice to you. Your boss really can't yell at you on your birthday. Your husband can't bitch at you for putting the kitchen's last existing sharp knife in the f*cking dishwasher, and anyone who fails to wish you HBD on your Facebook timeline has to face down guilt and utter shame.  It's a good day. Damn right I want to acknowledge it.

Why do we leave birthday celebrations to the youth? We mark our children's birthdays with parties, cakes, pinatas and presents. At 16 you might get a car,  at 18 we recognize adulthood, at 21 we have raucous binge drinking, and finally at 30 there is usually a somewhat more sophisticated blow-out. But how about 39? God damn 39. Too old for birthday shots at the club, and (in my opinion) too young for the lame "over the hill" parties. 39, like so many other years is mostly forgotten, acknowledged quietly in the privacy of ones own home, or at an over priced restaurant finished with a sliver of "death by chocolate" cake
adorned by a solitary candle.

Well I am here to say SCREW THAT. I want a fucking pinata! I want a god-damn party. I want to get all dolled up and be the center of attention for one lousy day of the year! Don't we all deserve it for the mere act of surviving yet another 365 days of aging? Should we not embrace the opportunity to celebrate the beautiful life we have been given? Damn straight. Every other day of the year I blend in with the crowd. I rarely get called out for any of my life accomplishments, I am in fact terribly ordinary, EXCEPT for on my FREAKING BIRTHDAY- when I can claim special privileges and yes, I'll say it: It can be All. About. Me.

So for the love of God, do not send me to a lame dinner where a few whiny adolescent waiters croak out "Happy Birthday Ole" while rolling their eyes at the old folks.  Dance with me. Get me good and tipsy. Tell me that you love me in the biggest boldest way you can.  Smash that pinata with all your strength. It is my day. And I want to go big.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer Lovin'

Pool time somewhere in Utah
It's only now, that my children are school-aged that their childhood has begun to awaken memories of my own. Of course their toddler years reintroduced me to places I had long forgotten, the zoo, the playground, the cereal isle at the grocery store, but it is only now that I can really begin to identify with what they are feeling.

The experiences we have had this summer brought back vivid memories from years ago. As a child summer was always somehow magical.  Hot, sticky school-free months that seemed to stretch ahead for years. The anticipation we felt those last few days in class, that tickley feeling of butterflies in our tummies as we envisioned sun-splashed afternoons enjoying the water parks of the Wisconsin Dells, the lazy days of beach and Popsicles, and the evenings spent outside with our friends playing kick-the-can and ghost-in-the-graveyard until dusk.  

Evening bike ride
Over the past couple of months we have had after dinner strolls for frozen yogurt, reminding me of my own frozen custard pilgrimages as a kid. We have hiked the Rockies, played in the rain, endured the Renaissance Festival, visited the zoo, splashed in the pool, drove across country, played with friends, stayed up too late, enjoyed all things grilled and did the ceremonial back-to-school-shopping.  And all these years later as August slips past I still feel the old familiar twinge of excitement in anticipation of the coming school year. Growing up in the Midwest, fall was always a welcome reprieve from the sticky heat of summer.

It's always a little sad to say goodbye to the summer, but I think the kids and I are ready. We have made sunny memories and are now eager to embrace the "new year" to come.

Wine in the rain

Rocky Mountain National Park

Fireworks over downtown Denver

Fun with friends.

Lots of summer ice cream! 

Even Bascom got to play!
Arches National Park