Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Odds & Ends


It’s been too long since I’ve sat down to pen what’s going on in my world.  A good part of it is just the time to sit down and the other is, frankly, I get tired of thinking about all the different things going on and putting fingers to keys just extends that sometimes.  Last year I had aimed for 2012 to be a better year because 2011 was so hard on me. In some ways it has been and in other ways I found struggle I did not anticipate.
My husband’s business venture did not go the way we’d hoped.  It’s going to be tougher financially, but I have to believe something new – maybe even better awaits him.  We’ll be okay and frankly it’s nice to close this chapter in our lives.
One of my goals in 2012 was to take better care of myself.  In a recent meeting with my co-worker, I watched him have a heart attack and subsequently die.  I was devastated – more so than I had anticipated.  He was a good man, a husband, a father of 5 children and far too young to pass so soon.  There is not a day that goes by that I am not reminded of how my life could be gone in an instant.
Today I got on my scale and I have officially lost 30 pounds.  That’s at least a 3 year old, right?  I’m borderline obsessed about the last 25 pounds to go.  Focusing on this is a nice distraction from the sadness of losing someone I worked so closely with.  It makes me feel like I have control – which (SHOCKER) I like.  For the first time in 4 years I fit back into a size 8!  More than vanity, I want a long life with my family. 
This year has also brought with it a shift in how I feel about working.  Work has always been my toughest hurdle for a myriad of reasons.   For one, it is still a boy’s club and even though I’m aware of this, it is sometimes tough for me to chew on.  Can we please get through one meeting without talking about ESPN highlights??  It has never been about wanting to be a country club wife (though I’d like to give this a shot) or being lazy.  My struggle has revolved around the guilt of not being able to be a part of my babies’ lives the way I would like.  I want to hold them when their sick, see the smile on their face when I pick them up from school and to be a constant in their lives.  It all goes so fast, especially in those first few years from crawling baby to running little person.  I really do feel like I’ve missed a lot, but at the same time I know I’ve done the best I can with the time I’m working with.   Would I quit my job if I could?  ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY, but it may never happen and this is getting easier to stomach as the kids get bigger.

My baby girl turned 4 last month and she hasn’t skipped a beat.    We still call her “Baby” but she is anything but.  She’s happy and spicy and constantly tries to convince us she’s at least 7, which I hear is a common attempt by many “youngest” kids.  She is so much more affectionate than her cohorts, loving her dad and me equally.  Her joy and love for everyone melts my heart on a daily basis and I’m so thankful for having her.
 
My Little Man is all of his 7 years and is pure “boy.”  He’s so different than my girls who are both hams and bask in positive attention.  He played his first basketball game this past weekend and he did GREAT.    He is a hard worker and likes to succeed, but shies away from the whoops and hollers of a crowd.  He scored his first basket and when the scorekeeper asked “Hey was that you?” He said “Uhhhh…” covered his face and ran down the court. It was sweet to see him have his turn at recognition. I’m so proud of the boy he’s growing into.  When he gives you a hug and tells you he loves you, you know he really means it.   

My Big Girl is taking charge of her 9th year on the planet.  She is an exceptional athlete and a good student and she works very hard for both of these.  She is my wild card because she is a mini version of me.  I can already see the fine line between extraordinary and unruly she tip-toes on just to tease the possibilities of what may await her.  She’s beginning to try and take charge of who she is and I know this is hard for the both of us because our goals are not always the same.  I have to remind myself that she’s only 9 when I hear some of the things that come out of her mouth – both good and bad. She is my “first” on every front of childrearing and I cross my fingers daily that I’m not screwing it all up. 
 
Well that is me in a nutshell today.  I might wig-out and give life the “bird” tomorrow, but I’ll embrace optimism for a change today.  If I don’t post anything new before the holiday, I hope everyone is safe and well.  Hug your family – and be good to yourself!





Monday, September 10, 2012

M.I.A.



I have been M.I.A. for the last few weeks for a number of reasons.  I am exhausted—and weekends yield zero rest with busy kids and a house to clean. Football season is also in full swing which means my husband is in his own world of crazy. I am in my busy budget season which means early mornings and late nights. On days I have to get in the office early, I need to make sure everything is prep’d because there’s no time to steal on these mornings.  My kids will also get up if they think they hear me jostling around.  It’s usually pitch black downstairs when I leave and I literally grab my bag and walk out the door as to not wake a soul. 

My kids also went back to school last week to really make things interesting.  I now have a 4th, 1st and preschooler in the house.  So far, so good on the school front as long as I can keep shelling out the cash for preschool…ouch!  My little girl made it a whole week without crying, which is a major accomplishment.  It’s amazing what the bribe of a new Dora the Explorer place setting can do to hold the tears back.   They all have great teachers and seem genuinely happy to be there – thank goodness!

My last day of a 3:30am alarm clock last week was unwelcome to say the least this past Friday.  On that morning, I got in the car, turned it on and heard a “DING.”  Seriously, on a morning I really need things to go smooth, I’m out of gas?!  I pulled into the station, desperate to go back to bed.  I placed the pump into the tank receptacle and looked up to see a California Lottery sign.  HOPE.  If I could win just this one time, I could go back to bed and never get up this early again.  I pathetically didn’t have a dollar in my purse, but I did have a handful of change that when all pushed together made a dollar.

This could be it.   I walked into the small store, dropped my change on the counter and asked for a Lotto ticket.  “Sorry, Ma’am.  I can’t sell you that ticket for another hour and a half.”  I just stared at the man. “What?” was all I could muster.  “We can’t sell tickets ‘till 6am, it’s the rules.” I scooped up my change and said “Okay, thanks…” to the man before heading to my life. Am I the only one on the planet that didn’t know the lottery is shut down from 2am – 6am?!?  The lottery gods once again felt it appropriate to mock me.  I think it’s safe to assume, I’m not winning anytime soon.

I began my first round of interviews for a position I am overqualified for, but would really like.  The benefits and perks are off the charts.  The commute is the same, but a new scene would be nice.  I am tired of San Francisco.  The only thing I’m worried about is a few hint words the interviewer dropped like “lax” and “flexible schedule.”  These are all code words to me for “low pay.”  I can stomach a nominal pay cut, but I’ve determined my lowest point and just can’t take anything below that.  For ego’s sake, I would REALLY like to get an offer even if it makes me want to cry if I can’t take it.  My fingers are crossed!

Worst  case scenario is I’ll just continue bouncing between my “Lottery” and “Grass is Greener” fantasy most of you have heard all about, so I won’t explain today.

Here’s to a better week!!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Walking in the Other Shoes


Empathy is both a piercing realization and a necessity in growing as a human being.  The older I get, the longer I work, and the more bridges I cross as a parent the more true this statement becomes.
Before you have children, you have all these righteous beliefs on what you will and won’t do “someday” as a parent.  You walk through all the mistakes you think you’re parents made and you swear, hand over heart, you won’t make those same mistakes; say those same things you’re parents said to you that seemed so ridiculous and drove you crazy.  You think to yourself, someday when I have kids I’m not going to scream “Don’t make me pull this car over” all the while swinging a smacking hand between the front console and back seat and really giving the separating air space a good run for its money.  And then you cross that bridge, foot on the break pad indicating to your brood “you mean business” and will indeed pull this car over right now.
I remember when I was a stay-at-home mom and I had a three year old pitching a screaming tantrum, a one year old quick on his sister’s heels to emulate the tantrum, a messy house and a pile of laundry tall as Everest.  I remember I sat on the couch, surrounded by the small pounding fists and ear piercing noise, and began to cry.  I was still so sleep deprived and I had run out of options to appease my babies.  The screaming only clouded my thinking even more.  I could feel myself breaking and I honestly wasn’t sure what I might be capable of in an effort to make everything quiet.
I stood up off the couch, walked into the office and shut and held the door.  The kids followed me, pounding on the door and screaming and crying even louder than they had been in the family room.  With one hand pressed on the door, I rested one ear on my arm and plugged the other ear with my free hand.  I remember thinking if they are screaming it’s a good sign they’re still breathing and very much alive.  I needed to just a moment to work my head out so I could remember how much I love the two screaming and hysterical beings on the other side of the door. 

I left them out there for less than five minutes, but in those five minutes I learned a lifelong lesson about empathy.  I want to be clear that I do not condone or understand how parents can actually hurt their children, but in those moments behind the closed door, I learned that decent people, if pushed hard enough, are capable of breaking and crossing over to a dark place I hope to never become fully acquainted with.
Something else also happened that day.  I learned to forgive my parents,  to stop being so hard on them for their missteps, to stop blaming them for my inadequacies and to recognize they did the best they knew how to do, just like I’m doing now. I think sometimes we all feel like we’re the only dysfunctional family in the neighborhood, but we’re not.  We’re all just trying to figure stuff out all the while flinging easy judgments out on what we don’t always understand.
Parenting is one of the most uncertain and self-deprecating paths I’ve ever had the privilege to walk.  I still have to remind myself frequently that it really is a privilege and that I’m one of the lucky ones who against her will became a “mommy.”  Truth be told, I still feel the urge to hide behind a closed door on occasion – literally and metaphorically, but as long as I keep opening the door back up I know there is hope.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday

Today is the day I had set as my line in the sand for my job.  Last night I got the email that said I did not get the high school teaching position I had applied for.  I think because it took them so freaking long to tell me, I had already worked out all my anxiety.  Oddly enough, I'm actually okay with not getting the job, but I just hate that I'm still in this job.

The upside to today is that it's my little boy's 7th Birthday.  I remember going into labor with him like it was yesterday.  It was the middle of the night and I woke up thinking I had wet myself in the night and it was hot.  I remember scooping up my Big Girl and thinking how can I have another baby when my baby is still a baby...

It's funny how so much and so little have changed over the course of the last 7 years.  Just as my son was born, I was quitting this profession for the first - and I thought final time.  I was both thrilled and overwhelmed by the thought of having two kids and being a stay-at-home mom.  Fast forward seven years and I'm back where I started, loathing the same job just as much, just more successful at it this time around.

I'm so proud of my little boy.  He is so kind and thoughtful, patient and focused.  He's a very reserved boy, so when you get a hug from him you know he really means it.  To think I only wanted little girls...if seven years has taught me anything it's that I was wrong about little boys.  His hugs, his "I love you's," his toothless smiles and his contagious giggles are worth staying at a job I hate if it means taking care of him and the girls.  As long as he grows up to be a good man, I will have accomplished my most important job of all as his mommy.

Happy Birthday, Little Man!  I love you to the moon and back.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Fast as a Snail

I went on the interview and it was fine.  It was my second one and I think I was past the jitters.  There were supposed to let me know last week where I stood, but they pushed it to the end of this week.  Clearly there is no urgency on their part.  Here's the problem...


I would LOVE this job, but now that I've had a FEW WEEKS to sit on it and contemplate the salary cut, I'm not sure I can justify sending our family into financial ruin just because I'm a wienie and hate my job.  I've got other meetings for other positions set up in the meantime, but there is nothing out there I'm super excited about.  I can see the toll this purgatory I subject myself to has had on me.  I look tired.  I've gained weight.  I take a handful of pills before I go to bed. I'm stuck...


To top it all off, last week's humiliation pie, served right up, by ME was enough to drive a girl to drink.  I am always the only female in meetings and was invited to tour and go to lunch.  Whatever, no problem.  Now, I've been running around in this town with heels on for sometime now - even pregnant, so I'm pretty comfortable on my toes.  For whatever reason, my balance was off and I must have tripped three times before completely eating it during my client's visit.  Yep.  I rolled my ankle and fell right there on the sidewalk, flanked by my client, my boss and two other gents.  I would've probably recovered in a cat-like manner if my boss hadn't YELLED "Oh my GOD!" which caused the other three people - and everyone else on the street to stop and see me on all 4's - OH and I was wearing a skirt.  For the record, Spanx do more than just suck in all your bits and pieces.  They protect you from flashing your panties if you eat shit in a skirt.  HUMILIATING.


I've now been limping for 3 days and although it's getting better, it serves as a reminder that I am lame.  I think the "Pity" gods were on my side this morning because as I was driving to work, I saw a woman with coffee, pastry and lap top bag totally fall, then literally roll on the sidewalk.  Only one woman stopped to ask if she needed help.  One guy in a suit glanced over, before nearly breaking into a run - literally.  JERK.  I think that was supposed to make me feel like I'm not alone, but all it did is make me feel bad for the poor lady.


This can't be as good as life gets:  one ankle roll from flashing my panties.  Something has to change and God knows I'm trying...Can't someone just tell me what to do; tell me what the right answer is?  I want someone else to think about all of this, but I know it has to be me who saves me. 



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Go Time

In five hours I go in for an interview for a job I want, but can't afford to take.  My stomach has been in knots for days now.  "Do I?" or "Don't I?" have been the only two questions my conscience has been able to address.  It's a waste to even ask "What's for dinner?" because the response might be "How much will that cost?"  How the hell am I going to afford a 65% pay cut? 


When I think about the big picture, I think I've worked so hard to get right here.  I have come to realize that on my steady climb up a ladder to a career I never really wanted,  I never stopped to consider what "here" meant.  In my mind, "here" simply meant that I'm okay - financially.  But, I am so far from being okay on a mental level.  If there is such a thing as a 1/4 life crisis, well, I think I'm in the crux of it.


I have never wanted anything more in my adult life than to be a part of my kids' lives.  The mommy guilt was awful for me when they were babies.  I always felt like they wouldn't know how much I loved them by leaving them.  My Big Girl is now 9 years old and surprise, surprise, she knows how much I love her.  She fought the hardest to keep me home with her, but has come to terms with the fact I have to work.  Dinner and bedtime are when we have the most productive conversations and in these moments I am seeing how much more she needs me now than ever before - even if she thinks she needs me less than ever before.


I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but this is my ONE shot to get it right; to give my everything to help guide my little people into successful, productive and compassionate human beings.  With my busy work season just around the corner, I feel like I am just one late night of work away from losing my kids on this front.  My kids don't need "things" my kids need parents and if I get this job, by God, this might be all they get.


Thankfully, my husband has been really supportive.  He has backed me on this crazy plight from day two.  He didn't have to either.  He wouldn't be in the wrong for telling me NO WAY.  But, he didn't and I have no doubt we'll be okay - however this thing goes.  The fact that I constantly have Pandora playing in the background only fuels my disposition to hope for the "movie" ending each new track seems to egg on.


Maybe the American Dream isn't really dead...I'm hopeful.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Forward Motion

Okay, so it's been a few weeks and it's still been pretty awful and awkward here at work since the boss meltdown.  Today was the first day he actually tried to make small talk with me, which I guess is a move in the right direction.  I wish I could get past the fact he might have been having a bad day, but I can't.  I've become that employee who does "just enough" and I have to say, it's awesome and really demoralizing all at the same time.  I hate those people and yet here I am.

I LOVED derby and I wasn't going to sit on the bench and take it from them and I'm certainly not going to take it from a grown man pitching a fit - regardless if I deserved it or not (which I didn't).  The good thing is that this whole thing has set a fire under me to move on.  My time in this city has run it's course.  I'm now on the verge of turning 36 years old and I hate the direction my career has taken me.  If my 30's have taught me anything, it's that YOU determine you're life - there's no one to blame but you if you don't like where you are. 

A recent conversation with my little sister, who has a demanding career, really put things into perspective .  On paper, her life is perfect.  She is in her late 20's, smart, beautiful, holds a fancy job title, makes a ton of money, has a door man and rubs elbows with celebs and socialites everywhere.  But, she is lonely and is constantly wound tight.  As her and I spent my commute commiserating about the pressure and "right" thing to do, I realized she is me in my 20's; so focused on validating myself though the success of my career.  I felt so sad for her...and then for myself for wasting so much time...

I took an interview last week for a position I didn't get, but still got a callback saying they were really impressed and that they were posting another position I may be better suited for.  I should interview next week.  This position is the next best thing to me being a stay-at-home mom for me.  That said, the salary is such a STEEP cut from what I make now, it's going to be a real creative challenge to make ends meet.    

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I'm really freaked out about taking the leap.  I've been fighting myself on the "responsible" versus "happy" choice I hope to be able to make.  How can I tell my sister to get a spine and fight for a life she wants if I cannot do the same?  I know it's cliche, but there really is NO dress rehearsal or do-overs in this life.  This is our one shot to make our life what we want and I'm going to try and make good on that.

I'll keep you posted...    


Friday, June 15, 2012


This might be one of the worst weeks ever…

1.  Last Friday I had to make the tough decision to step away from my derby team for right now.  There were a number of reasons I had to do this, but the main reason is that after working hard to make roster for a year, I was told I wouldn’t.  You are only permitted to miss 2 practices a month (practice is 3x week) for the 2 months prior to the beginning of the season.  This happens to be baseball and softball season and my practices fall on my kids' game nights.

 

Last week I did my first scrimmage and it was AMAZING.  I loved every moment of skating  and hitting and pushing and sweating and hurting…and then I went to bed that night and the weight of knowing I would not roster was too much for me to bear.  Now, I’ve played sports for a better part of my life and I understand rules are rules.  But, in this case I knew I could never take more time from my family than I already was AND my team was going to “borrow” players from other teams when they had a good pool of women who were capable and giving everything they had.  I've always told my kids, "Just always do your best and it will always be enough."  That wasn't going to be true in my sport and I couldn't continue knowing that.  I felt like the girlfriend whose boyfriend was NEVER going to marry her...I am still so sad.

2.  Yesterday, one of the worst traffic dissasters ever with BART train shutting down lines into SF due to a fire, a Giants game and the US Open in town, I got in a car accident on during 2 1/2 commute.  A car cut me off and I swerved into another car.  Totally my fault for hitting the other car, but absolutely brought on by another Tetris playing motorist.  I lost it.  I got out of my car, in the middle of traffic and verbally lost it on the guy who cut me off.  I know I should've just been thankful to be alive, but I had so much pent up I let it rip.

3.  I received ONE bad review in five years from a crazy technology tenant and my boss LOST it on me.  And, I don't mean in a sort of professional, constructive way either.  I mean it was down right crazy and in no way acceptable to have such a freak-out in front of my staff.  I literally looked around at those around me and was like, "huh?"  I have since put no less than an addtional 10 resumes out there (in addition to the dozen I already had making rounds).  I don't care if his puppy died, I'm not going to put up with his shit.

I am hoping next week is better...Seriously, being a grown up sucks.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Heart Break


When my big girl was 5 years old she started playing T-Ball and all the girls were just the cutest things in hair ribbons you’d ever seen. She is of course our eldest child and therefore a pioneering child in the ways of benchmarking what happens next for her siblings. Another mom on our team had an older daughter and I remember asking her when the dynamics change; when does it go from hugs and cheers for both teams to having a real competitive edge. This mom paused for a moment, and then said “Under 10’s – that’s when you’ll see the shift.”
This past weekend marked the end of our first year in U10. I’ve thought about this mom’s answer frequently over the past few years in anticipation of “the shift.” This season was AMAZING. We went from 4th place to battling it out for 1st place – and almost became the youngest team in our division to take the championship.
My Big Girl is actually a very petite girl. She’s 8 now, but most of the girls are between 9 and 10. She’s small, but she’s a hard worker and has always loved sports and competing – especially all the wonderful girls she’s had an opportunity to befriend. She has really taken to pitching and even I have to admit I’m surprised by how well she’s done.
The scene: Late afternoon, blazing sun, Championship Game against a team only we’ve beaten in the league. We already beat them once during playoffs to get to the Championship and now we’re here to battle. A few innings in and we’re taking a pretty good beating. The girls are hot and tired and each run that comes in demoralizes them a little bit more. My Big Girls pitching and she’s giving it all she has. The best player in the league is at the plate, two outs and bases are loaded. My poor girl gives up a 3 run triple, before the inning ends. The look on her face is devastation.
She walks back to the dugout and I see her drop her head. I see a coach talking to her, and then I see she’s crying. I walk to her and she looks up at me and begins to explain how her hand is not feeling right and that she’s doing her best between the sobs. “Come on out,” I say. At first I just hug her before pep talking her and she buries her face between my neck and shoulder. Then I explain to her that this is just part of the game, that last week she struck this girl out, that as long as she does her best that’s all she can do…
She’s never gotten this upset over any game in her whole life, so finally I asked her “Tell me what you’re most upset about so we can work this out of you?” I wasn’t prepared for her answer when she said “Mary said I’m a BIG ASS and I really tried.”WHA-WHAT? All I could say is “She said what?” which then just made her say “ass” again to me. My head was racing. “You mean you’re not upset about Sarah’s hit off you?” “No, it’s that Mary said I am a BIG ASS and I let my team down.” In all my sporting life, I’ve never had a teammate say something so mean to me – and trust me, I’ve made mistakes worthy of the call, but that’s just not what teammates do. My heart literally broke for her and in recounting the whole incident it makes me tear up a bit.
Sports have always been such a positive outlet for all my kids. But, on this day sports taught her two lessons that I did not foresee at 8 1.) Good sportsmanship and gracious loss, and 2.) Mean Girls exist even on your own team. Mean girls are a lesson in life itself, but I thought I had a few more years before they came out on the playground. I never expected it on the sports field.
The coach (Big Girl’s Dad) ultimately dealt with the situation as diplomatically as he could and spoke to the other girl’s mother, but I am still taken aback by it all. Mind you, this is the same girl who earlier in the season told my daughter, "My mom says you're the worst pitcher on our team and I should be pitching instead of you." That surprised me, but crazy parents do exist and kids repeat things even when they shouldn't. We quickly and easily defused this one because the stats support a different story. I can't get past what kind of girl does that? My first instinct is to blame her mother, but who knows where she got it. Finding someone to blame doesn't change the impact the action made. I hope for all our sakes she shakes the mean girl 'tude before she joins our adult ranks.
“It changes when they play U10.” We almost made it a whole season without conceding this has any truth to it. A dad recently posted on his FB status that he wishes there was a book that explained how to cure a 10 year old girls broken heart…I sure wish I knew the answer myself. Please let me know if you do...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday

All I wanted for Mother's Day was a card and a "Happy Mother's Day" from my family.  I don't care about fancy gifts or expensive tributes.  I should have known better...

The Friday before, I took some time off work to stop into classrooms for celebrations.  My Little Man was a Little Jerk to me and I don't know why.  When asked to "help serve your mother a muffin" his response was "I don't like anything" and "Can't you just do it yourself?" It was a proud parenting moment for me as I watched all the other kids happy their mom's had come to their Mommy and Me Tea.  He has been so mean to me these past few weeks and I honestly have no idea what I did to him to deserve it.  I've asked several times and the answers have ranged from "You're the meanest mom in the world and I hate you!" to "I wish you had never made me born."  Crushing, but worse than that is I don't know how to make him his old happy self.  Right now I'm having flashes of an adolescent dressed in all black with a hoodie smoking pot in the back alley of the school.

Saturday was occupied by softball and baseball followed by my little sister's 30th birthday party which ended earlier than I'd like because everyone was approaching a massive melt down - and my husband had some softball banquet so I was on my own.

Sunday, Mother's Day, was the icing on the cake.  My baby girl rolled out of bed at 4:45am and cut her forehead open.  We rushed her to the ER and she was the lucky recipient of 10 stitches--oh and a concussion.  Everyone was grumpy and mean.  At one point I wrangled the two big kids and asked them to please stop talking so mean to not just me but to each other. I even pulled the "It's Mother's Day - could you please do this for me today!?" My Big Girl gave a half-hearted apology and my son said "I don't think it's fair you have your own day. Where's my day?" I believe that sums it up.  The rest of the day just fell apart... 

Let me tell you that the Facebook postings of everyone's fantastic and pampered day just about caused my phone to fly out the window; how loved they felt, how great their day was, all the thank you's to their "wonderful husbands."  AWESOME.  I will concede I was a Bitter Betty and I'm actually happy for all of them, but it was just salt in the wound.  I finally had to make the decision to tune out any status notifications.

Out of everyone, my baby was the kindest to me on Mother's Day.  She hugged me, gave me a magnet photo she made at school and told me "Happy Mother's Day."  She is spirited, but she is also the kindest sweetest little girl a mommy could ever hope for.  She had every reason to have a bad day, but she didn't.  If not for her kindness, I honestly think I may have lost it yesterday.  

My Big Girl caught me in my room before she was going to bed that night and asked me what was wrong.  At first I just brushed her off, but then I just gave her the truth.  I told her I was a little bit hurt that she didn't behave very well today and that I wish I would've just gotten a hug or Happy Mother's Day to show she appreciates everything I do for her.  She wrapped her arms around me and gave me the most solid hug I'd gotten in a long time.  She gave me a real apology and told me she loved me.

I don't need a lot Maybe we need to prompt those we love to remember we need to be taken care of too sometimes - not all the time, but sometimes...

A Mother's Day I won't forget.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yippee for Me...NOT

I received my client’s “report card” this week and it was a good one.  So good in fact, my CFO called me giddy and told me to print this and put it in my resume file because my achievements and marks were some of the highest they have ever seen and that I want to hold onto that.  "Great" I think and follow her instruction and try to share in her excitement over it all.  The fact that I am excelling in the work place is fantastic.  I should be thrilled at the confirmed job security and I should be patting myself on the back for a job well done.  I should be proud of this…

But I am not.  It felt great for about 2 hours before the shit storm of work came crashing down around me.  My bosses know that I do a great job, but truthfully, they have no idea what I go through to make sure this happens.  The negotiations, the stroking of egos, the balancing of personalities in the staff, the long hours, the forfeiture of lunch, my carefree (phone call free) evenings, scheduling and oversight of all the balls constantly up in the air.  If anything, I feel like this achievement solidifies that I am a failure in the areas most important to me…as a mother and a wife…with derby a far distant 3rd place.  Those most important areas of my life are also the ones that HAVE to burden the flexibility needed to consistently be on top of my job – and to compile it all, I stay on top of my work to ensure I can take care of my VIP’s.  It’s a catch-22…

Thank goodness for audio books because without them – and this is literally the truth, I don’t think I could make it.  I’m on the Hunger Games trilogy now and they are so amazing, I have no choice but to surrender my reality for a few hours each day to escape into my beloved fictionalized world.

Friday cannot come soon enough…


Friday, April 6, 2012

Cracked

What a busy few weeks.  Between work, home and kids I was close to just losing it.  Now you're probably wondering why this week is any different than any other week.  The short answer is that I don't know...

I'm not sure why things feel so overwhelming, or at least more so than usual.  My friend suggested that maybe it is hormonal.  Luckily she's my friend and I didn't have to kill her for even thinking this could be related to my period.  For the record, I can hear this suggestion from another woman who experience the roller coaster ride of Aunt Flow.  I cannot hear "Are you on your period?" from a man.  I might LITERALLY kill someone.  I wondered if it's the onset of baseball/softball season, which means I lose my husband and two of the three kids to their own schedules. Maybe, but sports are never ending at our hose.  My drop dead date to quit my job is quickly approaching with no real resolve? Possibly, but this has gone on for years.  My ever ticking mortality clock.  Likely an issue, but I'm not freaking out about the new wrinkle I'm sure is creasing as we speak. 

One thing I've particularly been getting crazy about my house staying in order.  I'm beginning to clearly see my day starts and stops with cleaning and I'm pissed off about it.  I literally go to clean some nights till I go to bed, then wake up in the morning to tidy the house more before I leave.  Most mornings I leave the house in neat order only to come home to school papers, homework, jackets, shoes, backpack, toys and laundry strewn everywhere.  Maybe I wouldn't mind it as much if I weren't just EXPECTED to clean up after everyone, but it feels like I am.  I want to start screaming - and I do so in my head, "CLEAN UP YOUR SHIIIIIIIIIIIT!"  I made my Little Man clean his room and he literally thought he was sick from cleaning (he went and got a thermometer to support this only to disprove himself).  My Big Girl lost TV until her room was clean - which lasted two days.  I mean who do they think cleans the toilets and showers and floors???  My guess is the only answer they care about is "Not them." 

I even did a totally depressing book, "The Road" by Cormack McCarthy to jolt myself into gratefulness for my full life.  That lasted about two minutes.  Screw Yahoo! News and their story "Buy a House for the Price of a Car" article which just flare up my "Grass is Greener" tendencies.  I think a big part of my crazy is that I'm just tired - literally.  I haven't been able to sleep lately and it's not because I'm full of energy.  I just lay in bed watching the ceiling clock turn numbers into the night...

I have derby in a few hours and no games this weekend for the holiday.  Maybe this will do the trick...fingers are crossed.

Have a Happy Easter everyone!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Help

OMG...I only have a few minutes before my morning meeting shows up, but I just finished my audio book, "The Help," on my way into work this morning and it was AMAZING.  It had all the things I love, southern flare, strong women and the overcoming of hardship.  No one in my office will care about any sort of books I read, so I had to yell "AMAZING" somewhere before my day got away from me.  I love good books...One that note, it's gotta be a good day today!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Odds & Ends

There is a fire that burns in my stomach this morning at a story I unwillingly read as it popped up on my Yahoo page first thing this morning.  It was a story about a Moroccan teen who committed suicide because she was forced to marry her rapist so her family would not be robbed of their honor by the loss of her virginity. I sat there for a few minutes then re-read the meat of the story to make sure I hadn’t missed something.  I hadn’t.  Now I don’t condone the taking of anyone’s life – just or unjust, but I don’t know that I would’ve been strong enough to make a different decision then this poor 16 year old girl.

Anyone who read this story should be outraged, but as a mother to two daughters I can’t imagine what that poor girl must have endured.  At 16 I was still dreaming of a big and glamorous life; of a life I had chosen on my own terms.  While I am not always satisfied with where life’s path has taken me, I will always take ownership of the path and concede it was always on my own terms.  Marrying my rapist would’ve never even crossed my mind…another reminder of how lucky I am - how lucky most of us are. 
I am relieved it is Friday and that there is enough rain to cancel our softball and baseball game obligations this weekend.  I’m even relieved to think my roller derby practice – which I love is cancelled due to the inclement weather and wet rink.  I need a few days of just silly rainy day movies and fun baking with my kids to release the pressures of everyday life.
It is only 9:30am and I’ve got one full cup of coffee down with a second brewing in the pot.  I can no longer see the top of my desk and it’s become a dumping ground of deadlines and post its.  I am looking forward to getting in my crappy little rental car (my normal car is in the shop) and listening to “The Help” all the way home.  The long commutes in and out of the city have been good solid listening time.  I hang on every word and every detail of the story.  I am ¾ of the way done and I’m on pins and needles to find out what happens to this bunch of ladies I’ve come to hold dear.  I cross my fingers the ending doesn’t ruin an otherwise amazing book…
Happy Friday everyone – hope you all enjoy your weekend as much as I hope to!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rainy Blues


I don't know if it's the downpour of rain outside or if I just have a case of the blues this week.  My kids have been especially goofy the past few day- in a good way, but I think I've been missing them extra because of it. But then again, who doesn't want to run from bad kids...

All the kids are showing me just how much they silently take in what is said or going on around them.  My Little Man has especially been quirky lately.  He made a huge arrow and stuck it to the counter to point to his backpack - just in case we couldn't find it.  Baby woke up at 3:00am and went downstairs to watch TV only to fall asleep on the couch upside down.  Then there's my Big Girl.  Out of desperation for her to include her brother, I pulled the "God Card" telling her to go pray on it (the inclusion of her brother) awhile ti gain some divine intervention.  She responded- hands held up to the sky as in receipt - "God says to bring only Baby with us."  I left before she saw me laugh.  I don't know what it is...I just feel sadder than usual to leave them lately.

I went for a walk yesterday in the pouring rain to escape my office and I passed a sign in a window that read "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not..."  I stopped at this window a good long time and just stared at the sign.  I would've looked like a lunatic in any other city than San Francisco where crazy is literally the norm.  I know I'm lucky to have what I do...I know I should just be grateful, but man am I having a hard time figuring out how to do this - and not for lack of trying.  I know I'm not the only person who doesn't like their job or desire to be somewhere - anywhere but here or who is tired.  I just don't know how to reconcile this down to a peaceful place.  If anyone has the answer, I am listening.

There are 140 days left until I hit my Drop Dead Date of when I wanted to quit this job.  I marked the calendar 225 days ago to keep me motivated.  Truthfully, in 140 days if my family cannot financially survive without me working then I'm not quitting and the rotation of the wheel will continue.  I don't even want to think about my DDD...

Today might be the only day I look forward to the long and wet commute home.  I think I need the calm - or at least as calm as bumper to bumper traffic can be, to quiet my head.  I'll decompress by listening to one of the best audio books I've listened to in a long time, The Help, so by the time I walk in my house, my family has a better me.  Seriously, what would I do without audio books!

Stay dry - go hug your family!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Today is not my Friend.

Today is one of those days you just want to cry and wallow in self-pity.  If one more person says anything to me about "living in the moment" or "life is too short" or you don't get yesterday back, or anything along those lines, well,  I'm going to lose it.  Seriously, like I don't wake up and go to bed thinking about my depleting mortality and how I'm going to beat it.  Please... 

I think we all have that one person we're forced to work with whom we loathe.  I have a few of these, but one in particular drives me CRAZY.  It's like she settles in and fires off email after email for sport- all of which I just want to provide answers to (and I DON'T answer to her, by the way) just to get it out of my mail box.  I am compelled to squash this woman's insistence on demanding answers to things she's not entitled to.  We are cordial, but we do not like each other.  We would never be friends and I will never voluntarily go that "extra mile" for her.  Ever.  Of course she works in the tech field...It seems this particular field is far more prolific in the birthing of those with entitlement issues in the name of creativity and camaraderie.  Seriously, a free stocked food pantry and foo-foo beverages is not a right; respect the privilege.  Barf.

I have now missed my opportunity to go to lunch since half of my staff is out sick.  My fingers have been so frantic typing all morning, they actually feel like they are cramping.  At this point with my work load far exceeding any possible completion possibility, I sit at my desk in my office listening to movie soundtracks on Pandora, bitching via blog and watching my neighboring building tenants running to manage their own frantic lives.  Clearly I don't have the time to look out and create my own "Rear Window" like stories, but I do in an effort to survive what today has become.  Shit.

Today is a lottery buying day.  I have $4 in my wallet and you know where this is going...cross your fingers for me - I'll do the same for you  :-)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Growing Pains

My baby started preschool last month.  I needed to give it a bit to actually wrap my head around the fact that my last baby started school.  I know, I know, it's just preschool but it's a day you don't think will arrive as soon as it does.  The good news is that it started off really well.  We all took time off to, as a family, send Baby on her way to her first day.  My Little Man held her hand and my Big Girl hugged her and left her with a kiss in her new classroom.  Both kids made a big deal out of how lucky she was to have such a fun playground and exciting classroom.  I loved them a little more that day for being so kind to her.

The bad news is that the novelty of getting to go to school has worn off.  For the last week she has cried about having to go.  During quiet time with just the two of us I asked why she didn't want to go anymore.  Wasn't it fun?  Doesn't she like her new friends?  Her answer was simple - and one I completely understand.  "I just miss home..."  I hug her and tell her that home will always be waiting for her and that we love her.  My heart broke a little bit for her...

As parents, we know our kids are going to inevitably going to grow up but no amount of knowledge prepares you for those stepping stones that solidify it is really happening.  Our lives have been so busy with sports and school and just stuff that there are days I wake up and wonder how my kids grew up and I'm not sure how it happened or where the last 10 years of my life went for that matter. 

For the last five years I have struggled with where I'm supposed to be in my life versus where I actually am.  I've bombarded my brain with books on CD to try and conquer the anxiety I constantly feel.  I highly recommend books where someone else's life is substantially worse than yours...It's pathetic, but it helps.  I know I'm not a bad mother for working, but I know I'm not great either.  I get close to making peace with the fact I'm destined to be a long-commuting, over-scheduled, tired working mother, but then I can never seal the deal on this.  The finality of accepting that this is as good as it gets is more than I can grasp.

I am a hopeless daydreamer...I still believe I can win the lottery, that I will conquer motherhood, that I will run another marathon, that I could someday wear a bikini (though I will DENY this), that I will win an Oscar for my brilliant screen-play, that I can be a real competitor at roller derby, that I can conquer the gray in my hair and the new fine lines near my eyes and that one day I will be a stay-at-home mom again.  The grown-up in me knows that there may only be a few of these things that are realistically achievable, but it doesn't matter to me.  It's scarier to think that none of these are achievable than to settle for just one.  It comes down to that tiny, lingering, sliver of hope which has been both a blessing and a disappointment.  Hope.  I wish I could let it go, but I can't...at least for today.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Favorites

My baby is hardly a baby anymore.  She turned 3 this past November and she is a breath of fresh air every time I see her.  Even when she's kicking ans screaming and pitching a tantrum fit for a king, I look at and back at her and just love every moment with her.  Like the others, I beg her to stay 3.  I thought I almost had her the other day, "Will you get me a milkshake?" "If I say yes, will you stay 3?" "Sorry mama, I need to grow bigger.  I tried...  

She is different than my other two.  Maybe it's because she's the baby that I focus on all minutia.  I've always been a working mother with her and she does not fault me for this. She was sick last week and I stayed home from work.  "Mama, will you stay with me forever?"  "I'll always be with you forever." "You can't.  You have to go to work." "You're right, but I'm always in your heart, even when I'm not holding you and I'll hurry to get home."  "Just like God?" "Sort of..." 

My Big Girl is so smart and such an incredible athlete at 8.  I see so many good qualities come through her actions when her words don't quite exhibit this.  She's gotten old enough to pass on the excitement of me coming home, yet reserves the right to be angry with me for not being home. It's a no-win situation.  I remember when she was little would run to the door and throw her arms around me.  I hold onto this when I miss her.  I know she is still pissed off I didn't figure out how to be a stay at home mom.  I know because she doesn't hold back on how she feels about the whole situation.  She fights me often and has no problem blaming me for things that couldn't possibly be my fault.  I know she loves me, but I feel her judgment: for not being a good enough mom, for being heavier than some of the other moms, for not having eight arms instead of two.  I know a big part of this is because she is getting bigger and thinks that she understands everything.  She understands a lot, but lacks perspective which will only come with age and possibly with her own children...trust me.   

My Little Man has the biggest heart of all.  My dad often wraps nick-knacks he finds around his house in an effort to give them something.  He doesn't have a lot, but wants to give something to stay up with the other grandparents.  My son asked me a few weeks back "Why does Grandpa wrap old stuff from his house and give it to us?" "Because he wants you to know he's thinking about you and he doesn't have a lot of money, so he wants to give you what he has." "Okay"  he said and that was the end of it.  My dad such a better grandpa than he ever was a father.

My husband went to my dad's last week and was taking our Little Man with him.  Before they left, my son had emptied his piggy band (which he covets) and had put all the contents into a zip lock bag.  "What are you doing buddy?" "Mom says Grandpas doesn't have a lot of money, so I'm going to give him mine so he has some."  My heart melted...He doesn't just watch out for my dad, but me too.  When my Big Girl is giving me a tough time he'll says something nice to me to lessen the blow.  "It's okay mom, I think you're muffins might taste better when they cool." For the record, my muffins did not taste better, but I appreciate my little boy had the heart to think about my feelings...Instead of the "These are the WORST muffins I've ever tasted!!!!"

I really do believe you don't have a favorite child.  I believe that each child is your favorite for different reasons.  My Big Girl is my favorite because she's my oldest and first baby girl.  She has an spicy edge to her which is both a blessing and a challenge.  She is the child that taught me about loving someone more than myself.  My son is my favorite because he has the biggest and kindest heart of any human being I've ever known.  He's reserved and humble; there is no show-boat with him.  He gives me hope in humanity.  My Baby Girl is my favorite because she is just that, my baby.  She reminds you of what true joy and happiness can look like and is contagious in her plight for these.  She's tough, but loves anyone who will allow her to;  she has an open heart.



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Come On, Seriously?!

Yes, yes, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to try and find more time to post.  I am not off to a strong start, but I still have the rest of this year to improve :-).

I have been spending a lot of time reading about food and the implementation of cleaner, less processed eating.  We as a family did not eat terribly comparatively to those we know, but we are a busy family and maybe twice a week we would serve pizza, corn dogs or dino chicken nuggets to the kids.  The rest of the days would be filled with tacos, spaghetti, casserole or whatever else we could quickly whip up.
Maybe it's just me getting older, but I feel like every time I open my ears I hear another terrible story of cancer or heart disease - or of someone losing a loved one.  This worries me.  In November of last year, I started on the crazy path to understanding food.  I have so much commute time on my hands, I thought I'd make it productive. One of my biggest fears is that by the time something bad happens, it will have been too late.

Just the day after my last post, I went in for my much dreaded lady doctor appointment.  I had been putting this off for a few months and finally they refused my refills until I got in there.  All I wanted was a refill on my birth control pills... 
At first the nurse thought the blood pressure cuff was broken. " How are you feeling" she asked.  "Fine - just like any other day."  So then she got a new one and took it again. "Were you particularly stressed to get here?  Did you have a chaotic morning?"  "Nope." And then she took it manually.   "Your blood pressure is way too high.  I'm not going to be able to write you a prescription and I need you to call your general doctor right away."  COME ON, SERIOUSLY??

After giving my husband the book, Eat To Live, lecturing my family on healthy habits and emptying our pantry of processed stuff, I was the one who had issues!  I went and saw my doctor and my blood pressure was 160/116.  I have real hypertension.  I have to be honest, I didn't take it as seriously as I should have when I first heard it.  It wasn't until I really listened and heard "This is not a question of will you have a stroke, it's when" that my attention was captured.

I went into work mode.  What are the stats, what causes this and of course, how do I fix this.  For the first time in my life I wanted the doctor to say "This is because you're fat" because that's an easy fix - and I'd be bathing suit ready - two birds with one stone.  But, he didn't.  He said that I wasn't that heavy, I don't drink, I don't do drugs, I roller derby for crying out loud.  He thought there might be a problem with my artery - which is "an easy fix" and we scheduled a bunch of tests.  He sent me home with medication and literally benched me - literally.  No exertion. 

It's been about a month and I have been tracking my blood pressure several times a day and exporting data charts to my doctor.  The good news is that there is physically nothing wrong with me.  The bad news is that my blood pressure is really high Monday through Friday.  It's my job.  Or maybe it's just me.  I think that's the worst part of this whole thing.  Short of quitting a job I need or winning the lottery (yeah, I'm still a believer), I don't know how to fix this...

Until I find that golden answer, I'm on a second set of meds that have helped.  I'm hoping for my doctor to clear me for roller derby and I can focus on some exercise for a change.  I always thought old people or really heavy people had high blood pressure; I pulled that "It's not Me" card for the last time, that's for sure.  I do know I don't want to take these meds longer than I have to and if that means hitting this thing from all sides (diet, exercise, lifestyle), I'm in.  Don't even get me started on how hard it was to give up salt and coffee...that's post for another day.  Today I'm just happy I am alive and my family is healthy.  Baby steps...