31 December 2008

Dear 2008,

What a year you've been, 2008, my first year without cigarettes since 1994. I certainly wasn't expecting you to come along when my coping skills were so scratched and raw. Under your watch, I've lost my charming granddad, lost a child I'll never meet, lost a powerfully loving mamaw, lost a dusty old cat. My dad fought cancer and my dog had surgery. You obviously had something to teach me-- that is to say that I prefer to think you weren't just fucking with me.

But I have learned, have let go, have wrinkled, have fattened, have picked myself up (and let myself be picked up) over and over. Sometimes I felt like I was just weathering the crashing waves of you, 2008. And I'd like to think I gave you a run for your money. Finally, the days are getting brighter and longer, and you're on your way out.

But listing it out like that isn't really fair. I don't want us to part this way, me having dragged out the facts to build the case for your good riddance. Let's not have an airing of grievances.

2008, you weren't so unbearable. The guy I voted for won-- about damn time-- and I'm still adjusting to my own optimism. You brought me a career change and a kick in the ass. You gave me time to shake my own expectations about balancing work and life. You gave me another year with my perfect match of a husband and a priceless stretch of time to watch Birdy work on becoming herself. You were my eighth year in this city, knitting me closer into my precious little circle. Indiana seems more like a pleasant place I've been, and this feels more and more like home.

So goodbye, 2008. At the stroke of midnight, I'll you a hug-- and mean it-- and then flip you the bird as you walk out the door.

29 December 2008

On our terms

You may not have known this, since I was totally not posting for most of the month of December due to a mighty brain-sucking work project and holiday obligations and lack of daylight making me hibernate, but anyway: Little Miss Preschooler? Totally not down with Santa in 2008.

As in, persona non grata.

As in, mumble in his general direction at the Christmas tree farm, but HELL NO he is not coming in our house, no matter what he's slinging in that sack. She even went so far as to say, "Mama, you and Daddy can get me the easel. I don't want presents from Santa EVER OF MY LIFE." (plus a lot of hand gestures).

It was looking like a blacklist year for Jolly Old Saint Nick.

But, in a surprising turn of events in the final hours of Christmas Eve up in Littletown, Indiana, a deal was struck. We would leave Santa his milk and cookies. And a carrot for the reindeer. And he could leave presents to his heart's content. But he was not, under any circumstances, to enter my parents' home office where Bird slept on an inflatable mattress. Make no mistake, Cringle. You've been warned.

23 December 2008


I'm still alive out here, very much so, but I happen to also be in Indiana doing the Hoosier Holiday Hokey Pokey, eating cheese balls, a collection of spreads, and a wide variety of other bullshit non-foods. 

It is colder here than my southern pansy-ass can handle, and there is ice and wind.  But also, gin and tonic.  

I got my hair cut very, very short right before we left home, and I'm having some difficulty adjusting. It looks different in my head than it actually looks on my head, if that makes sense. I am satisfied but not convinced I made the right decision. SO WHAT'S NEW. 

And Even More:
We saw the Hoosier Dome collapse on the news, took Bird to the Indy Children's Museum. I might also have started minor shitstorm or two, Birdy has started exclaiming, "Mercy!", and a Goodwill sweater will always smell like a Goodwill sweater, no matter how long you own it.

And Still You Want More?
Road trip made possible by Drive By Truckers, Glossary, Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, and a departure time closer to bedtime than usual. Also the most silent, most freezing, and most questionable Waffle House on I-65.  I have been sleeping with Bird for 4 days, and she kicks and wakes up totally fucking early, but she also snuggles and says weird things in her sleep. I received a lovely collection of Burts Bees products today, I haven't owned a proper winter coat in years, I am typing this on a borrowed laptop in my in-laws' living room where the Weather Channel is positively blaring some dramatic thing about the Titanic, and I have no idea how to work the complicated panel of remote controls here. I just realized I might be the only one still up, and it feels very, very peaceful to be alone, even if I can't escape an old fancy ship in trouble with the weather.  

16 December 2008

05 December 2008


You know, some days, this work/life balance thing comes pretty naturally. I get up on time, I make Birdy’s breakfast, give her a big snuggle, blow her a kiss and head downtown to my office. I work in peace and quiet, I think interesting thoughts, I take an hour for lunch, I am challenged, I create. I make the grade and I meet the expectation. I receive a pat on the back. I have this thing and this time that is mine. I get my work done, it is good work, it puts food on our table. I pick Bird up on time, she runs to me and tells me about her day, about the special snack for somebody’s birthday and using the big-kid scissors and how she shared with this kid or that kid, how they all played a game together, how she loves her friends and teachers. We go home and everyone behaves, Birdy coloring at the kitchen table while A. and I make a dinner for which we already have all of the ingredients. It’s bath time, then bedtime, then I take a few hours to hang out with A. or catch up on the Stuff That Must Be Done. The laundry makes it into the drawers, the bills are paid ahead of schedule, the dog hair tumbleweeds are minimal, thank you notes get sent, emails get returned, bread gets baked. It is busy, but it's joyful, manageable. I crawl in bed after eight and before midnight.

On these days, I am much more than a mama, but I don’t feel like less of a mama, if that makes sense.

And then, there are the other days, the days when Birdy shouts at me while I’m in the shower about the new coat she got in the mail from her Granny, and stick my head around the curtain to see a big girl, MY big girl, joyfully trying to jam her arm through the hood of her coat, and realize just how fast it’s really going, how distracted I can be, how I am spending my time racing around the lobby trying to buy popcorn when the show is already starting inside. There are the mornings when she is rude to me, that devastating preschool-rude, pushing me away, hurting my feelings, and there is no time to fix it because I’m out the door. There are the days when her willfulness clashes with my own willfulness, and I’m at a loss so I flip her the middle finger behind her back. There are the days when I fight back tears when I get in the car and for the better part of the morning, knowing that she’s pissed off at me because I leave her, because I don’t have time to find matching socks for myself let alone sit with her for two minutes when she says, “mama! I need some company!”, don’t have time to watch her stand on one foot, balance a lump of playdough on the dog, don’t have time to be her mama until much, much later in the day and by then, it feels like it’s too late.

And those are the days when the balance is gone, so lopsided, when the laundry spills out of the bedrooms and into the kitchen, when the to-do lists are scattered around the house like breadcrumbs I think I’ll be able to follow later to find my balance again. Those are the days when the dinner hits the table late, when I hit the bed too early, when it's hard to be kind, when the calendar is too full and the bank account is too empty. The days when I feel like my whole relationship with this Bird of mine is to prepare food, feed, and hustle her off to sleep, to some commitment, to another place so I can get on with the business of the Not Very Important But Very Necessary Things.

Days like today, for example.

02 December 2008

Chat from a Marriage

What you need to know: A. chose and purchased a deodorant stick at the grocery store labeled "The Official Scent of Confidence."

8:38 AM

: so you are going to the gym today
me: As Sarah Palin would say, "You betcha!" (wink) "Maverick!"
a: don't do that anymore
me: sorry
a: but good for you
me: yes, I am doughy around the middle, need to cook
a: you will feel so much better if you go regularly
me: I really think so
8:39 AM a: I think I am stinky today
as in
me: oh, nice
a: dog slept on my pants
me:how did that happen?
andy: not sure
but not good
me: yeah, not good.
a: at least I have the scent of confidence
8:40 AM me: yeah, confident that you smell like a dog's ass
a: zing
ok then
me: ok then

Thanksgiving post coming soon. Like, maybe probably tomorrow.