Sunday, March 28, 2010


I have been re-energized after my bout with burrowing. My sinus infection is not any better - it might be worse, actually - but mentally, at least, I feel better.

Maybe Joan Jett is to thank? I saw The Runaways last night. It wasn't the best movie of all time, or even the best music biopic of all time, but it was good. Kristen Stewart makes a pretty decent Joan Jett and even Dakota Fanning is relatively believable as Cherie Currie. Plus, any excuse to listen to "Cherry Bomb" is fine with me.

In all seriousness, a lot of today's motivational mood is really coming from this girl, whom I had not heard about until today (thank you, Patti Digh), but who passed away yesterday. The video she made when she learned she was going to die is pretty moving - and pretty motivational in that what-the-hell-am-I-complaining-about-my-life-is-awesome kind of way.

If I had just gotten the news that I might only have a few days left to live, would I be able to smile and say how lucky I am to have had so much love in my life? Let's just say it wouldn't be my first reaction.

So today, in honor of Eva, I'm going to appreciate the fact that I have my health (mostly), that I am able to go for a walk in the sunshine with my kids, and that I am fortunate enough to be able to sit around pondering all of the things I want to accomplish, but have been too lazy and/or overwhelmed to actually do. Procrastination truly is a luxury that many people simply can't afford.

Now to turn all of these nice thoughts into something tangible...more to come.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Byproduct of Locomotion

I'm in a burrowing mood. I want to burrow.

I had to look that word up because I was worried I was using it incorrectly (Google-induced paranoia). According to Wikipedia: A burrow is a hole or tunnel dug into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct of locomotion.

I think my particular variety of burrowing is the byproduct of locomotion...ok, I'm pretty sure I'm using that term incorrectly...I just like the idea of outside forces being simply "locomotion," like things are rushing by you and they make you want to burrow.

My instinct to burrow was started by a sinus infection that I let get away from me without seeking drugs, but it's been significantly worsened by today's news that someone who holds a special place in my heart is losing his battle with cancer.

He has a brain tumor, you see, and despite multiple rounds of chemo and all the prayer in the world, that tumor has started to get bigger. And even though his wife has remained impossibly optimistic throughout this lengthy ordeal, her message today made it clear that we are no longer waiting for a miracle, we have moved into hoping for an end to his suffering.

I think I thought that since he's been sick for so long, this news wouldn't be so jarring, but it turns out I was secretly expecting that miracle. Because honestly, after all the lives he has touched, this guy deserves one.

Which brings me to the burrowing. If it weren't for my kids, I probably wouldn't even be writing this blog because I'd be curled up in the fetal position just wallowing.

I'm sad, yes. But I also feel guilty because I haven't seen him. My last exchange with him was more than 18 months ago and it was over email, just before he had the brain surgery from which he never fully recovered. Maybe guilty isn't the right word, as I don't think he was sitting around wondering why I never came to visit (he was a mentor and I know he played a more important role in my life than I played in his).

I guess maybe I'm having regrets...wondering if not seeing him was the right thing to do...hanging onto this idea that I would see him when he was better, even when I knew that day might not come. I just don't think I can see him like this. I don't want to remember him as anything less than the pillar of strength and love that he always was.

And rather than face the painful reality of what is happening, I guess I'd rather burrow...even if the refuge is only temporary.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Skinny

I've been a bit of an ostrich about the skinny jeans trend. I mean, I knew it was happening, but I purposely never investigated it, assuming (probably correctly) that it didn't apply to me. I mean, it's not that I'm fat, per se, it's just that I'm not quite skinny these days thanks to the disfiguring caused by carrying twins and the subsequent lack of an exercise regimen...and the aging.

But suddenly I find myself in possession of a pair of these things. It started with a dress. Well, actually, it started with booking a trip to Vegas for May. (My first visit in more than a YEAR!) Then buying a dress for said trip, you know, for that imaginary night of dancing at the Vegas club that I always think is going to happen. And, well, then I needed shoes to go with the dress and at the urging of my expat gusband, I ventured out of my round-toe, 1-inch heel comfort zone and bought a crazy-ass pair of metallic stilletos that will almost certainly result in a broken ankle.

But you see, then I realized that since the dress will be lucky to get worn once a year, I should expand my options for wearing the shoes (to increase the odds of breaking my ankle?) and so, I thought, "Hey, what about those skinny jeans the kids are wearing these days?" And then I took my pills and laid down for my mid-morning nap.

Right, well there was no way in hell I was going to admit to the 12-year-old working at the Levi's store that I wanted to try on skinny jeans, so instead I went online and *ta-da!* I am now the owner of a pair of skinny jeans.

But here's the big piece of info I was apparently missing: skinny jeans = leggings with pockets

These are not jeans. They are jean-like tights. I almost want to put a skirt on over them. Actually, I'll almost have to because although they do "fit" (in the sense that I can zip them without passing out), my muffin top is up in my rib cage.

I know I shouldn't wear them. I am too old and/or out of shape. And yet...well, I tried them on with my shoes and they look pretty good. I'll just have to make sure to pair them with shirts from my maternity clubwear collection.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

May the Road Rise to Meet You

It's St. Patrick's Day! One of my favorite holidays of the year.

I implore you not to get cynical about this beloved holiday of mine. Sure, it can be a mess of drunk people pretending to be Irish. (Don't be one of those people)

But for me, it's a lovely celebration of being Irish. Even if it didn't carry emotional significance, it's an excuse to spend the day (or at least part of the day), in a pub with a pint, listening to Irish music and fantasizing about packing my family up and moving to the Emerald Isle. What's not to love about that?

Erin Go Bragh!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In the 'Hood

I'm behind on this, but still wanted to mention it: Parenthood, the show. Did you watch? I DVR'd it (R.I.P. Tivo) and finally watched in on Sunday. I like it.

I know it's contrived (aren't all TV shows contrived?), I know every character is some kind of vague caricature of a stereotype of some kind or another. But...I like it. I think it has potential.

But what I wanted to note specifically was the Asperger's/autism storyline (of course) because even though it wasn't perfect, the scene where the mom tells the dad that their son was made me cry.

They were able to hit on the rawness of that moment...the emotion, the confusion that I think most people have when they find out. And that struggle between the parents...her trying to make him understand that she needs him to believe it, him saying that he won't let his son be put in special was familiar. It was hard to watch even a TV couple going through it.

I was impressed that they were able to hit that nerve in me, as I'm the person who could never watch the episodes on ER when they were in the NICU because of the gross oversimplifications and inaccuracies. But with this, so far, I'm in...maybe it's the whole Lauren Graham/Craig T. Nelson combo, not sure.

Yes, so the whole "It's my team" business at the end was fairly unbelievable, but I'm forgiving them that on the promise that they will ultimately help more people understand the sometimes quieter, more subtle, but no less gut-wrenching, struggles of having a child with autism. Don't let me down, NBC.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Impossible Things

The theme for right now is "Doing Things You Don't Think You Can Do."

Say, for instance, that New York has a crazy huge snowstorm on the very same weekend you have booked a visit. You get a call at 4 a.m. from a machine that heartlessly tells you your flight is canceled. Do you take it as a sign from the universe that you are not to visit the Big Apple at this time?

No, you get online and rebook! Connection through Boston? Sure, why not? And when you get to Boston, and they tell you that there are no planes flying into New York, do you just forgo the money you've already paid for that New York hotel room and find a room in Boston? Hell no! You magically find a "shuttle" flight that somehow can fly to New York.

And when they tell you the brakes are malfunctioning, so you have to get off that shuttle plane and get on a different plane, do you finally give in and say, "Ok, clearly I am not meant to get to New York today"? No, you file off that plane and onto the next one and don't even bat an eyelash when you are delayed another hour by the news that your flight is too heavy and someone must get off - no wait, they can get back on - no wait, we're too heavy - no, I guess we're okay. Nope, you are determined to get to that blizzard-stricken city even if every single business is closed when you arrive. (Turns out it had completely stopped snowing by the time we got there. Go us!)

Or, how about your spouse had a child with someone back when he was a teenager and, despite the passage of nearly two decades, they cannot hold a phone conversation without one of them becoming violent.

Say the ex calls in tears over the latest reckless decision said child has made (it took a few weeks to get back to her). After years of seeing the ex's selfishness and neglect erode said child's psyche, do you tell her what she can do with those tears, or do you just...listen. Because you're a mother too. Because she obviously has no one else to tell. Because you might have a slight morbid curiosity about how her mind works. Because, for once, you know how she feels.

Sometimes the thing you don't think you can do turns out to be the only thing you really could have done.