Friday, July 3, 2015

that brown house on 118th street

When I think of home as a place, I think of course to my parent's house. Not the way it is now, with a monochromatic living room and rooms full of stuff rather than people; I think of it the way it was when my brothers, sister and I were children. Back then, it was full of artifacts with a little more pep and life in them. The bookshelf now full of dusty, rarely read books used to house our toys. "Put a toy away after you're done playing with it," mom would instruct us to no avail.

I think of Chad's room, with his Coke collection on the shelves, his 90s-style Biederlack blanket with burgundy, hunter green, and navy blue geometric shapes folded neatly at the foot of his bed. I think of his tiny closet which one day was stuffed with many varieties of polo shirts in popular brands as he became a clotheshorse. I think of Joel's room - the 101 Dalmations comforter, which later turned into a baseball one. I think of the room Amber and I shared - the yellow floral wallpaper before we peeled it off in pieces. I think of our matching beds and bedspreads. Then we each moved into our own rooms and I got new furniture, and she held onto what we had shared.

I remember our backyard, as it was, not for what it is now. Now, it is stripped - the trees have been removed, our garden boxes are gone. The trampoline remains, but it has no cover, no blue padded edges. It once entertained us for hours as we created our own games, dance routines and Trampoline Olympic events. We used to have this tree that dropped orange berries that we speculated were poisonous but never knew for sure.  When we would swing, we would grab for them, see how many berries we could fetch. There was a bar that dad would do pull-ups on between two trees. There was a hammock between two others.

We had a playhouse dad built for us that Amber and I would play in, making macaroni and cheese by crushing dandelions into Tupperware bowls. We had a two-story deck which we would ride our bikes on, that Joel one day would jump off of onto the trampoline. The lower level had a hot tub without a heater that we spent summers in. We would make whirpools, have dunking contests, sing silly songs and endlessly flip on and off the bubbles. The deck is gone now - "too much maintenance." It seems that everything becomes too much as we grow older, no one ever considering what is too little.

I lived in that house from the time most of my memories started until I left for college. That place holds all of my childhood memories in its bones, our shrieking voices in its walls. Every time I go back, I think of how it was, and try to remember it that way, when we kids were a part of it, rather than visitors. Although the place is the same, its details have changed with the people in it. It makes me realize that home is not a place. Sure, there is a place where you feel at home, but it isn't the place that makes it home, it's the people, the memories, the happenings. The place is just the backdrop.

Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey. 
~Tad Williams

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

a 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4-year-old

My kids don't socialize enough. I take them on many field trips, but even still, their main interactions are with each other in our home, where social etiquette does not reign supreme. The best way they learn to play well with others is when their friends come over to play.

They're all pretty damn excited. Even Tucker is wagging his tail, forgetting for a moment that little boys like to pull his tail and throw things at his face.
 Brandon is no athlete, but his friend Asher gets him to play ball.
 Ezekiel is like a celebrity over here. Brandon talks about Baby Ezekiel every time he talks about babies, and now Holden too is getting in on the man crush. He kept trying to hug him.
 What did I say? Total celebrity. He's got fans and the paparazzi.
Brandon is hanging onto Asher's every word, wanting to know what life is like for a cultured 4-year-old.
Seeing my boys playing with other boys is like a glimpse into their lives once they're in school. We walked by a school bus today and Brandon said, "one day I'll be big enough to go to school."
I told him yes, and in school he can learn to read and write and do arithmetic.
"And I can eat," he added. "I'll just open my lunchbox."
 Kids. They grow up so fast, these days falling into each other like dominoes.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

*possibly one girl

The talk of having another child pretty much dissipated around here. That is, until Holden started walking, and running and being an all out boy, rather than a baby. Don't get me wrong - I don't love babies. I mean, I love my own babies, but only because I know they will outgrow babyhood and turn into toddlers, then kids, then adolescents, then adults. Babies themselves are only great in the fact that they can't talk back and because they fit into the crook of your arm. I don't miss bottles or unpredictable sleeping patterns, and I certainly don't miss pregnancy or labor.

But Holden outgrowing all of that makes our family feel so permanent as it is. Two boys has always been what Steve and I said we wanted, but with an asterisk: *possibly one girl. I am trying to find peace in one of the two options we have from here.

Option 1: No more babies. Family stays as is. No girl. 
Pros: No more pregnancy, labor, losing baby weight. No more late night feedings, buying new clothes, holding onto all this baby crap we already have. This will mean all the sooner we can start going out to eat again, going on family vacations, having more disposable income. No minivan. No paying for her wedding. No periods, pregnancy scares, boyfriends to chase off. No Sophia the First or Junie B. Jones. Boys share a room. I remain the queen of this castle.

Cons:
No periods, pregnancy scares, boyfriends to chase off. No Sophia the First or Junie B. Jones. Boys share a room.The more I think of all the things I'm missing by not having a girl, the more I think I miss those things (which I've never had to begin with). I mean, c'mon, which of these boys is going to drink too much wine with me and thank me for being such a good mom after becoming a parent? (OK, Brandon).

Option 2: Try for one more baby. We get what we get*
*possibly one girl
Pros: It will be hella cute, of course, boy or girl; we make some pretty beautiful children. Holden could be a big brother too. I've already got names picked out. New adventures!
*If a girl: Steve could walk her down the aisle one day and I could get some gaudy mother-of-the-bride dress. I could pass this recipe book I'm making down to her, and possibly some other heirlooms she won't want. The boys will better understand female hormones and not just think their mother is bat shit crazy. Maybe she would fill this hole for me, at least a little.   

Cons: (Obviously see pros to "no more babies"). I am overwhelmed often already with just the two (sidebar conversation would have to occur re: Am I strong enough?). Really? And just when I was starting to get a tad more free time. I'm no spring chicken.
*If a girl: She would either borrow my clothes or crucify them. Uncharted territory - would we be able to instill in her enough self-worth and confidence to gracefully leap all that petty and jealous bullshit an adolescent girl goes through? Would she be secure enough to be disliked when it meant doing what was right? It sure seems like girls have to be a lot stronger psychologically than boys.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
As it stands now, neither one feels right: expanding our family, or saying no to the possibility. So here I remain, in Future Child Limbo, until either we decide, or time itself tells us we no longer have a choice. And then sometimes I forget about pros and cons and wonder if I missing something I actually want or if I'm missing something I've already lost.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ten days without so much sugar

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm a sugar-holic. Like, if there was rehab for sugar, I would be in denial that I needed to go there, but friends and family would be urging me to check in. I eat a ton of sugar. It wouldn't be unusual for me to go get donuts (2) and a sugary coffee for breakfast, then eat a somewhat sensible lunch (but followed by cookies, then chocolate chips for snack) and then to eat a normal dinner, followed by ice cream and wine. In a day, I would consume a week's worth of sugar, easily. Maybe more. But after reading Eve Schaub's A Year Without Sugar, I have tried limiting my own sugar.

I'm not going to any extremes or anything, like Eve and her family did (did you know there is added sugar in condiments, salad dressing, bread, lunch meat, pasta and pasta sauce...just about everything? She cuts out basically all added sugar by making even crazy things like chicken broth from scratch). I'm just trying not to overload on sweets and things with a lot of unnecessary added sugars. So when I started paying attention, I noticed even my seemingly healthy foods were laden with extra sugar. In my breakfast of granola and coffee with vanilla creamer, I was already consuming over half of my daily suggested sugar.

Drink a soda or a glass of wine, that alone is your suggested added sugar for the day. This is why I was so large before. Sugar. This extra fat around my middle is a telltale sign of my love affair with sugar. So for a little over a week now, I've been paying attention to it. I've replaced a meal a day with juicing, because it is an easy way for me to get my produce in. Yes, fruit has sugar, but the sugar that occurs naturally in fruit is balanced out with enough corresponding fiber that it doesn't throw your body out of whack. Fruit is nature's dessert, and also, now my breakfast.

I didn't really think these ten days would do much, but I swear to you I have already noticed such a difference in my energy level. I was so lethargic and tired all the time before, and now I'm able to keep up with my kids without lying down telling them, "I just need a minute." Also, although I'm no longer in a state of trying to lose weight, I still monitor it. I have lost three pounds in these past ten days. Keep in mind - I spent the last year working out hardcore to lose baby weight. In the past six months or so, I haven't lost any additional weight, yet in these past ten days, I worked out much less than usual and I was down three pounds. Our bodies react so quickly to what we do and don't eat. Maybe reducing my added sugar will finally deflate this spare tire of mine. Here's hoping.

Here's what else I've noticed: sugar is everywhere. Fucking everywhere! And not only is it at every supermarket luring our kids in the form of free cookies and suckers, in most every meal you eat at a restaurant and in any form of a convenience food. Sugar is also a part of what we do together, how we celebrate. Think of a holiday and I guarantee you its corresponding sweets will quickly come to mind. Sugar is programmed into me - I eat it all the time, and it seems that everything is a trigger. Even running errands means a sugary coffee usually, so really nothing is safe. Limiting your sugar is inconvenient (massive understatement) and even ostracizing. So I'm not ready to go full force Eve Schaub or David Gillespie yet. Maybe one day. But for now, I'm enjoying it in moderation. I've already noticed sugar tastes so much sweeter as a treat, rather than as a habit.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

surf and turf boys

Brandon met my friend's little chin-poo puppy on Friday and won't stop asking for a dog of his own now. So I was glad to see a content moment with the dog we already own today.
 He was all smiles with everyone, this morning. He's better in the morning.
It feels like forever I have been looking forward to Holden walking. And now, he is trying to run. Too much too fast! I thought that him walking would solve my worries (the constant head bumping) but now I'm afraid it will only cause more. Oh, and where did my baby go?
 Brandon is a summer boy. He loves the sprinkler, the pool, the mister. Anything with water is his jam.
Holden is getting there. He's more turf than surf so far.

See? What'd I tell ya. That's a content Holden: alone with something to play with. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

late bloomers still bloom

On Sunday, during the godforsaken run with Chad and Amber, we ran by the house of our former piano teacher. We caught up, the way people who haven't seen each other in a very long time do. She asked each of us what we do, and one by one, we answered, our heads lowered in shame.
"I drive a truck,"
"I work in retail,"
"I do nothing."

Of course I don't actually do nothing, but I stopped short of saying that stupid phrase, "stay-at-home mom" because I don't like the way it sounds. Sure, that's what I am, but I don't like using it as a profession. That being said, it isn't true I do nothing. I do anything but nothing.
"We didn't become much," Chad says, and we all chuckle self-deprecatingly.

But I don't actually think that.
Sure, our jobs are humble. Definitely.
But we are not what we do. Luckily.

I like to think we are not contained in the bullet points of our job descriptions - that there is more to us than what people can paraphrase in a word or a sentence. What people very well might say is, "have you heard about Holly Pelesky? She moved to Nebraska, got married, had a couple kids and doesn't work now." Please, tell me that doesn't define me.

I thought of what we do, outside our jobs. Chad and I are each raising two children alongside our spouses, while maintaining homes and marriages. We have good relationships with our families, the respect of our spouses. Chad is able to provide for his family and works a second job to make sure they never can't afford something they need. I make my family delicious meals and make sure they don't go hungry. Providing still, yet in another way. 

Amber has a spouse whom she loves and who loves her back. Amber has an undeniable skill in event planning, and one day wants to open a business where she is able to do what she loves as a job. Chad has honed some pretty undeniable interpersonal skills and will make an excellent realtor one day. Or a lot of things, really. Me? I have this humble blog and my half-finished novel and a bunch of notebooks. I have dreams of being an author. Although we aren't doing anything all too remarkable now, we all plan to one day do what we love. Or at least that we love more than what we do now.

We're not so pathetic, us Pelesky kids. We are just late bloomers and have always been. But maybe that's not such a terrible thing. We didn't peak at twenty-five or thirty. We will peak in our forties, maybe, once everyone else has lost their spark and drive. We are just getting there - a little late to the game, but none the worse for the wear. What we do doesn't define who we are. What we do is humble and often degrading, but who we are is hopeful aspirers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Home sweet homes

I am a firm believer that every parent needs a weekend away a year. I know that sounds terrible - like I'm trying to escape my family, but I swear to you it's true what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder. And the mind grow clearer: the bottled emotions to unjumble, thin out, then clear away.

Last weekend I flew to Seattle, then stayed at my older brother's house. In the morning, my nieces, sister-in-law and I had coffee at my favorite coffee shop. We played outside. We had an enjoyable, relaxing morning. Then my younger brother and I drove to Portland, stopping for lunch (and wisps! I forgot my toothbrush. I swear Steve is the one that keeps me organized when traveling. I basically throw a few things in a bag and hope for the best).

My mom, aunt, Joel and I showed up at my sister's 30th birthday party. Amber greeted them - Aunt Laura, Joel, mom, and then...wait...HOLLY! She was definitely surprised - no one blew the secret (including me which had one person asking me if I was OK due to my two-day absence from Instagram). We ate, drank, danced.

The next day I got another full day with my family. We got coffee, had a delicious brunch, took the kids to the park, had another coffee (vacation), played outside, then had a family barbeque. Amber got the day off work and drove down to Puyallup to celebrate with us. Then for some inexplicable reason, Chad, Amber and I went on a run. Then I showered and we were off to the airport. Wham, bam, forty-eight hours with my fam.

I attempted sleep on the redeye and was home before ten. Steve went into work late and the boys and I were back to our usual lives. Steve got 100% on his test and finished out his latest class. It was good for all of us - Steve has a new appreciation for what I do each day, I have a renewed jolt of energy from seeing my family and getting some very precious alone time (I wrote! I read!). Last night we got groceries and today I have a nice soup in the crockpot. Home sweet home. But for me, I have two of them. Home sweet homes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

a mom's "I feel lucky"

Today I took the kids for a drive to get Holden to sleep. He has always been good about falling asleep on his own, until recently. Recently he began crying and screaming once I leave the room, so I trick him into sleeping sometimes by driving him around.

I was only three miles from home when I turned around and saw this:

 
The stars aligned for me, the heavens opened and sun shone upon me. Getting one to sleep is a victory, but two? That's a jackpot. I turned the car around and headed home, planning what to do with my unexpected free time. I thought of that song by Mary Chapin Carpenter: "I Feel Lucky" (if you don't know it, you must not listen to country music and I understand). Today is my day! I would buy a few scratch tickets if you could do so through a drive-thru. I'm not waking up these kids for anything, even lottery riches.

Then on the drive home, I started re-writing that song in my head, but this time to my own situation:

Well, I woke up this morning, startled by baby cries,
I changed his sopping diaper, then I dried his wet eyes.
I popped some Eggo pancakes into the toaster oven
Today will be a long one, yet chock full of boy lovin'
We played so damn hard, I felt like I was dead
I kept on though, I really couldn't jump back in bed
 
I feel lucky, I feel lucky, yeah
No tired body gonna stand in my way
Mmm, I feel lucky today
 
Well, I tried to clean the house, but I quickly gave that up
I watched the yogurt spill onto the couch right from its cup
I read a million books, turned out the lights for baby's nap
He's not happy in that crib because it isn't mama's lap
I loaded up the car seats with the kids and some snacks
I told the boys to just chill out; take a pill; relax. 

But I feel lucky, oh, oh, oh, I feel lucky, yeah
No colicky depression gonna steal my sun away
Mmm, I feel lucky today


Now a couple miles later, I was driving in my car
I turned around and saw my latest wish upon a star
The baby's fast asleep, mouth gaping on my right
The toddler's on the left, he's also sleeping tight

The moral of this story, it's simple but it's true
Hey the kids might cry, but me - I don't need to.


I feel lucky, oh, oh, oh, I feel lucky, yeah
Hey Bran, hey Holds, boys, you don't have to fight
Hot dog, I'm feeling lucky tonight

 
I feel lucky, brr, I feel lucky, yeah
Think I'll get coffee, I'm driving any way
Mmm, I feel lucky today

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

she's going the distance

Inspired by my sister, a distance runner, I decided to try to run double digit miles. Let me preface this by saying I am not a distance runner. A 10K is just about perfect for me and nearly all my runs are around an hour, if not less. But in order to challenge yourself, you must try something new. I started out by going to a running store and getting the long-distance runner essentials:

Then I planned my route. Then I procrastinated a day. And finally, I did it.  I started off as I always start off: good. I am a competitive person, even especially against myself and I like to keep my pace between 8 1/2 and 9 minute miles. I record my runs with the Nike+ App and I like to always beat my average pace (which is sometimes detrimental to me because there are times I haven't run because I didn't feel I could run as fast as I'd like recorded).

This will be easy, I thought to myself. I'll be done in an hour and forty-five minutes. But after my first five miles, I hit a hill. A big one. My pace slowed to a crawl. One foot, then the other. Left, right. Step, repeat. Just keep going. Don't give up. Very slowly, but surely, I overcame the hill. Then there were some glorious downhill moments when I felt like I was flying. I stopped into gas stations to refill my water bottle twice along the way, thinking of Cheryl Strayed in Wild needing a water source. I felt like a warrior, like her, despite the fact that she hiked for 100 days in the mountains and I ran for two hours and I am nothing like the warrior Cheryl is.

Distance running is a matter of endurance, both physically and mentally. If you think about running, you will quickly get disheartened. In fact, half a mile in, I almost turned back because I thought, I'm not even 5% of the way done - this is going to be endless. Instead, I thought about other things - what I had written that day, what I would write tomorrow, the books I've read, the books I want to read. I quickly learned not to worry about speed (by the end of it, my 8 minute miles had slowed to 11 minute miles), but rather about finishing. This is a feat. I equate it to graduating college - no one cares what your GPA was, just that you did it. 

After that big hill, I ran by my old apartment, by the route Steve and I used to walk each day. I ran by the spot we were at when we got the call that we had won the bidding war and this house was going to be ours. I recounted our excitement, our jumping embrace. Then I ripped open my GU and sucked it down. It felt natural to be eating near that apartment I had so many meals at earlier in my life. And I kept running. Down more little hills, up more big ones. I ran until my phone died, then I kept running until I made it home.

I did it. I ran a little over eleven miles. Although that isn't a distance run like real distance runners do, it was a good starting distance run for me. Without training for it, I did it. And if I add a little each time, competing against myself in distance rather than speed, I can keep going farther and farther. My legs are jelly now.  Last night I made a comment about getting a chair lift for the stairs to Steve that he thought was a joke but I was mildly serious about. But the pain is an inevitable result of the pushing. I pushed myself into new territory that I had no business being in, but I faked it until I made it. Today, I recover. Perhaps I'll go buy myself a S'Mores frappuccino.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

.com

Do me a favor: go read the website address in your internet browser. Yes, on this page. See that? I'm a dot.com! I'm official! This is a very exciting day for me. I have wanted my own website so that if I'm ever when I'm an author someone isn't going to charge me an arm and a leg for my own name. I tried to configure it myself, but I'm kind of an idiot with that stuff. Luckily, I have worked with people much more brilliant than myself and one of these people configured all the back end stuff for me so you can go to my old blog site and you will magically be redirected here.

I own my own home on the internet; there is this humble little address in the vast expanse of the internet's universe and it is mine. I have laid my stake and claimed my territory. It's very exciting. So exciting. Can you feel it? It's like I'm staking a flag in the moon. But to a much lesser degree, of course. Whatever, that metaphor actually works perfectly with my mood right now. Before all the stuff was configured and I just owned the URL but hadn't had someone do the work for me, I took this screen shot:

Sure, it's just a stock photo for pages that have been purchased but not created, but even still, I got excited at just this. Just my web address with a Hawaiian shirt in a graphic closet and the words that this web address will one day be something quite cool. I better live up to the hype. Better church it up a bit, make it fancy and interesting. I'll get to work on that. Or better yet, get my friend who is much more brilliant to work on it. Something quite cool; yes, I like that quite a bit.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

imperfectly perfect

Holden is walking like a total champion now. Still no shoes though. This kid's feet are more like hooves than feet. They are circular, or maybe rectangular or square. They certainly aren't feet shaped with that dainty indent on the inside of the feet. So fourteen months old and he has never kept a pair of shoes on for more than a minute. We should have named him Huck instead. He cries if I close the backdoor without taking him out there. He is a freak about nature.
You know that Faith Hill song that goes, "I love the way you love me"? Well I love the way these boys love each other. Here they are sharing a smile while watching a home video of the two of them. They think they are the greatest. 
 
One more: I can't help it. This should be an iPhone print ad. Apple can photoshop the stains out of their shirts. Yes Apple, I am giving you permission to this photo as long as you write us a handsome check. Enough to cover college for the two of them at Ivy League establishments of their choosing should do the trick.
 
 "Mom, let's lay in the sunshine. Here, I'll show you how."
This one with his cowlick in the middle front of his hair, his giant forehead, his gap teeth, his long eyelashes. All of him! He's so imperfectly perfect.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

White noise

The other day, I ran across a poem I wrote seven years ago, before it meant to me as much as it does now. Back then, I lived in a two-bedroom apartment that I could clean in an hour. Back then I didn't have two additional people who could make a mess, but not clean up after themselves. Back then, any time I wasn't at work was my free time to do with as I pleased. I didn't know when I wrote this then that I would open it now and it would mean what it once did, but also so much more.

Without a job, 
alone: to read,
write, think, study, 
solve puzzles. 
So "Walden." 

Or instead, 
watch court TV
and "Dr. Phil;" doorbusters
and garage sales; 
cooking and cleaning -

only challenging 
my intellect to 
volunteer "T!" 
excitedly, pausing 
the vacuum. 

I wrote this to remind myself what was important to me. Then, I thought the time I would find myself without a job wouldn't be until retirement. I wrote this to remind myself what I liked to do and who I was. I was scared of becoming someone so far removed from that: someone who just ambled through time, wasting it rather than spending it.

Today, I find myself with little free time. But I have squandered much of what I have, doing things that aren't important: things that don't challenge me mentally, creatively, or physically. I do things that do not require actually doing anything. I remember after Brandon was born, I had twelve weeks off of work and although people had told me to sleep when he sleeps, I always found myself washing bottles, loading the dishwasher, vacuuming the floors. There was always a distraction from what was actually important.

Now, with these smart phones, I find myself squandering even more time than I used to: suddenly I'm looking at all the photos with the hashtag "losingbabyweight" on Instagram or reading reviews on an item I'm not even that interested in. I'm checking the hours of a place I might not even be going to and interestedly absorbing the overshare of a person I don't even know. It's yet another time waster that distracts me from doing something meaningful.

So last night, I did the very barest minimum of cleaning up. I just rinsed and stacked the dishes. I let the toys remain scattered around. The table remained unwiped, and food was idling on the floor underneath the high chair without being swept up. Then I opened up a bottle of wine and my laptop and resumed where I left off on this novel. I noticed that it had been a month since I opened up that Word document. A month! 

It is always so easy to be distracted. It's always easier to flop onto the couch with the remote. But when I look back at everything I'm proud of and everything I've accomplished, I realize none of those TV hours were ever good for anything. They weren't even relaxation to me; that is a bath and a book. Laziness was just white noise to drown out the voice telling me to do something better, be something more.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

three sheets to the wind means going elsewhere! :)

I have been in a rut lately. I think it started on the flight back to our normal lives from Hawaii. I got a sudden and unshakable case of post-vacation (aka: real life) blues. Vacation was amazing and exciting and fun and carefree. It was all I could have imagined plus some. But then, we flew back to Omaha, Nebraska. Can I just tell you? I hate Omaha, Nebraska. 

OK, maybe I don't fully hate it. I voluntarily moved here not once (freshman year of college), but twice (fresh start after college). So obviously, there is some love there, or once was (isn't it amazing how love can turn from present to past-tense? It's sad, really. Is anything forever?). But years have drug on without anything new or exciting happening. I am an adventurer by nature: I seek out twists and turns and find absolutely nothing interesting about stability (also read: reason behind my shitty resume).

On the flight from Seattle to Omaha, I almost cried that I was leaving a place I love because I live in a place I don't. It all felt very permanent and sad. I wallowed in my rut. I thought to myself, "if only I lived somewhere else, everything would be more exciting." Omaha lenses are no longer rose-colored; they're dusty brownish gray and fogged up with humidity.

But then, that stupid (but oh so motivating) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book crept into my mind. “If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control - myself.” God damn you, Stephen Covey! You in your infinite wisdom, not allowing wallowing and self-pity, but rather preaching to get the fuck out of our funks and do something about it. You're right, of course. Damn it.

In all honesty, I've had a couple drinks and suddenly transparency seems of the utmost importance. Maybe it always is, but we just distract ourselves with other bullshit. We tell ourselves that acting like we "have it together" and keeping up appearances means more than being honest and authentic and letting people in to the actual lives we live. Well it isn't.

I'm the ripe old age of 32 and I can tell you I have learned so far that I gravitate towards the people who are honest and warm and welcoming: warts and all. Those people who work so hard to cover up the juicy parts about them are dull and fake and really not Friend Material (is it too soon to make a Duggar joke? Probably. I'll sit on that one for a New York minute).

So in all transparency, I do struggle sometimes with very low-level depression. That isn't a clinical term. I haven't been diagnosed, been to a shrink, or even Web MD'd it. I am just ball parking it from what I've seen on movies and read in books. I have spurts here and there that come and go. Basically I will describe it as an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, even when I'm not alone. And these past three weeks have been one of those ruts.

But it's time to climb out of it. I have an agenda and new motivation: convince Steve to get out of this god-forsaken town! (Insert emojis here so you think I'm joking but I'm not really). But really, home is where you make it (Joe Dirt). So let's make it somewhere cool! (emoji again).

It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about. 
~Dale Carnegie

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Preparedness

I have this persistent fear of discovering I have an incurable disease and I will die within a year. So I have mentally prepared for this over the years by making checklists of what I will do once that inevitable news comes (yes, I'm a bit dramatic).

Before, it was adventures I would have, places I would go. I would definitely have to get and use a passport, skydive, give my self all sorts of memories that wouldn't do anything for anyone once I was dead. My life was about me, so my looming death would be about me too, of course.

But as I outgrew my twenties and welcomed my thirties, my perspective shifted. This shift from Super Selfish to Slightly Less Selfish coincided with the birth of Brandon. His arrival made me a bit softer, less self-absorbed.

Some people are much more mature than I am and find themselves caring about others and how their life affects those other people much earlier than thirty. Some people are bigger assholes than I am and find that out even later. Some people are just straight up dicks and end up dying just as selfish as ever.

Anyway, when this fear reappeared to me this week, I marveled at how my checklist had changed. I would first and foremost find a live-in nanny that would treat my children as well as if they were her own children. She would share my views on parenting (at least the important ones) and probably most of my philosophies on life, as long as I could find someone like that. She would make meals for Stephen and support his choice to continue his schooling if he so decided. And although she wouldn't openly oppose complacency, she would certainly never condone it. She wouldn't have to become Steve's second wife, but I would pick someone that I would approve of just in case the family dynamic began to feel natural.

I would also write a lot. I would write journals to each of my children, describing them as I knew them and what I hope for them as they grow. I would tell them how special and funny and smart they are and would overload their egos because that's the kind of mom I am. But then I would give practical advice that they would probably never heed, then one day, after they had made the same mistakes I had, they would look back and marvel at my wisdom.

I would also write to everyone that was ever a pivotal part of my life: whether for decades or for a year or for a split but defining moment. I would thank them for being a positive impact on my life and fill long letters with lots of sappy shit that people never say in person but would write down if they were dying.

And then, after I took care of everyone else as best as I knew how, I would try to find some peace for myself. I would go for long walks and take baths and read books and write for myself. I would chill the fuck out and maybe even start listening to Bob Marley and become super zen. Who knows - hard to tell. Hopefully I wouldn't be one of those people who was just angry she was dying, but rather one of the ones who accepted it and did the best she could with it (as you can see, I've thought this over a lot in the name of preparedness). Hopefully I would look back at the years I've already had and be thankful for them, rather than cursing the ones I never had.


The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.  
~Mark Twain