Monday, April 30, 2012

Tune In Next Time for the Shocking Conclusion

  Much is happening and all of it is in the embryonic phase.
  • I got a snazzy new hair cut and have a box of Blue Envy by Splat sitting on my counter, wondering what to do with its self. 
  • I have another job interview this Thursday! This one's a good one!
  • I blacked out this afternoon, and when I came to, I'd acquired a bag of potting soil, seedling pots, and several packets of seeds. There was also a confirmation email stating that several more packets of seeds were on the way. I think I've been possessed by something that thinks it can garden. 
But more on all that later. Good night.    

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Pills I Hang Out With

    I’m a very lucky girl. I get one of Mother Nature’s gag gifts: the psycho/neurological disorder. My flavor: Bipolar Disorder Type 2. What that means, in short, is that I need to take a cocktail of medication just to function in a way that passes for normal. This is curious as each drug happens to have a complicated personality all its own.

  • The Big Orange Pill:  Me and Orange go way back. He stood by me when every other antidepressant left me alone or landed me in the hospital with an allergic reaction. He’s a romantic that will turn the lowest lethargic into a raging insomniac. But he’s got a dark side, and is not to be neglected. Missing one day means migraines, the sensations of shocks running from your scalp to your toes, and a craving for French fries that would scare the 7th month of pregnancy. 
  • The Little White Pill: Meet the hipster of the group. He’s so fresh you probably haven’t heard of him yet. So potent, he has to be split in half. He’s tinier than the others, but he costs five times as much. In just the right amount, he’ll show you passion and reaffirm the deeper meaning of life. You’ll also get really irritable. Too much, and you’ll be wallowing in anguish because no one understands you.
  • The Medium Pink Pill: This is the guru, the master of the group. He may be the newest to the regimen, but he’s been in the service the longest and knows how to make things run smooth. He cranks the engine. But it is a crank engine. He needs to be there to crank it twice a day. Miss a crank in the evening, and next morning you will…be…stuck…in…tar. 
    I don’t exactly get it, but somehow the result of these three guys working as a team equates to…normal.  Do three crazies make a sane? I guess so. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tue-er...Wednesdays with Jason!

This has been a weird week. So weird, in fact, that I missed Tuesdays With Jason! My apologies; I am here to make amends. I present to you, Wednesday With Jason:

  • "Want to know a way to instantly feel worse about yourself?" No thank you.
  • "Honey, I'm so proud of you," after I called to say I was quitting the liberal NPO call center.
  • "I don't want you to think I'm making out with a tattoo!" It's a long story. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Little Things (Like Sqinkies!)

    The weekends usually mean Deep Cleaning for us, and the last few weeks we’ve been doing our best to get the kids more involved in their share of the task. They have reached the age where they can take on more, and we’re trying to raise responsible citizens, sure, but it’s more than that. We’ve reached a breaking point. There seems to be a direct correlation between a child’s age, their most desired toy, and the torture it inflicts on said child’s parents.

    After a good playing session, it takes one parent a good 45-90 minutes to clean up just the Legos. That’s if they haven’t been mixed with the Squinkies, rock collection, crayons, and anything else the size of a nickel, but we’ll come back to that. The Legos have to be cleaned up immediately. Have you ever stepped on a Lego with your bare foot? The CIA should look into Legos for interrogations! And Squinkies! A Squinkie is an adorable little rubber character that comes in its own plastic bubble (think upgraded quarter machine toy), and they are collectable. That means that if a child is between 4 and 9 years old, they have to have Squinkies. They immediately discard the plastic bubble, ready for a barefoot parent to step on. The child will play with the Squinky for a while, get distracted, lose the Squinky, then throw a hurricane of a fit until the plastic-bubble-crippled parent turns the whole house over to find the lost Squinky.

    But the one that sends me over the Coo Coo’s nest is the Turn Over.  The Turn Over is when they take everything- the Legos, Squinkies, Hot Wheels, rock collection, Barbie and her accessories, every tiny toy you can imagine, and dump them out onto the floor. All of them. From neatly sorted boxes to one big mess. The Turn Over takes about 5 seconds. It takes roughly 2-3 hours to clean up.

    So Cal and Lala and learning about good old work ethic. Something they don’t tell you when you become parent is that life lessons like this don’t often come because of any growth milestone. They come because the parents have had enough. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Does This Sulking Make My Butt Look Big?

Plenty has happened, but nothing to entertain.
I'm self medicating: eye-balls deep in low-fat blueberry muffins from Dunkin' Donuts.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesdays with Jason

   Yesterday I had my final interview/first day of training. It went well, and I met some cool people, but this isn't about me. The kiddoes and I met Jason at the the Park Street subway stop. As I made my way up through colorful groups of marathoner entourages, Jason took the Green Line to the Christian Science Center. There the three of them had a great time cooling off. They cheered on the last few runners struggling up Boylston Street. Jason cheered for Cal and Lala as they ran sprints to the bus stop. And I got my favorite Jason-quote of the week:

   "We saw that street artist again and I bought more art that you hate. I'll put it in the bathroom." 

   For the record, I actually really like one piece he brought home. It fits the living room perfectly. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Quick Awesome

Since it's so late, I'll be brief:

"Mom, I found a quicker way to pick up!"

  • A man named Wesley Korir won the Boston Marathon today! 
  • We are learning what it means to clean up. Calvin is...innovative. 
  • Everyone in Massachusetts is celebrating Patriots Day. We're having spring break!
  • Starting today, I work for Job Plan B!
  • One of Jobs Plan A may still call back. 
  • My previous post, in a more refined form, was picked up by!
  • Even the weather is wonderful!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Motherhood Dichotomy

   My mother has never forgiven herself for going to work when I was a child. She wasn’t a bad mom. I was well into school, 3 of my siblings were old enough to be babysitting, and I learned cherished values that I wouldn’t have any other way. But she still carries a regret that I’ve done my share of lifting since I announced I wanted to go to school. It’s a catch 22 that mothers throughout society face: mothers who choose to stay at home are made to feel unappreciated and underachieving, while mothers who choose (or have) to go to work are made to feel guilty. But we all agree that what is good for one family may not be right for another. And yet society places judgment, regardless of the decision. It’s a simple, yet stark conclusion: women are not trusted to decide for themselves what is best for them and their families.  Think about it.
   I think the dichotomy is highlighted by the political blowout from strategist Hillary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. The comments were untrue and uncalled for. But the circumstances of Ms. Romney’s choice to stay home stands as a blaring reminder of how many women in the country cannot make that choice. What’s more interesting, during his tenure in office, Mitt Romney tried to increase the required hours worked outside the home in order to receive state childcare reimbursement (a program I think is bass ackwards, but maybe later). In his words, he was trying to “Afford women the dignity of work.” So if you’re rich like Ann, you can take pride in spending all your time with your children, even as they’ve grown. But if you’re poor, there is no dignity in being a mother. Think about it.
    I made the decision before I had children, that when I had them I’d stay at home with them as long as they were in the home. I made my decision based on solid sociological and psychological studies, and my personal interpretations of such. There were hard times where I felt it would be better for the family’s wellbeing if I were able to help with the income - but the ultimate cost of child care, monetarily and emotionally, would have been more than my uneducated self could make. That’s messed up. We made it work out, and I was able to stay at home, but there were plenty of times I was made out to feel unappreciated and two-dimensional. That’s messed up. Now may children have grown beyond this sphere, and I have too. We’re ready to branch out and grow in ways only the village can supply. I’m doing what is best for my family, but there’s always someone, somewhere who wants to cast judgment over that choice. That’s messed up.
Being a mother is awesome.
Being a mother deserves options.
Being a mother deserves respect. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Really Bad Hair Day

Would you hire her?

   Today I went to my first job interview in over seven years. Can you say nerve-wracking? What’s worst, the sky was absolutely falling in big globby drops. My umbrella was destroyed by the kiddoes, so by the time I got there I was soaked. I push my bangs out of my face when they’re wet, so I had Hitler hair for my interview.
   The place isn’t bad- not my first choice, but the hours are perfect and well- it’s a company that hosts fundraisers for progressive political campaigns (Obama 2012, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, etc), so I feel strongly about a lot of the work themes. They were impressed with my knowledge of how their computer system works; in the town where I grew up, working at the telephone survey company was an adolescent rite of passage. Beyond that, the interview consisted of quizzing me on current events, which I have to say was pretty fun.
   Anyway, they want me back on Monday, Hitler hair and all, and I’m keeping my email open in case anyone else responds too. Registration for summer classes starts Tuesday. So let’s see what happens. 


   For sure, there’s been a lot of changes going on with us lately. Still, I don’t understand it, but I’ve been left NOT WANTING TO KNIT! Seriously- you couldn’t pay me to knit (I mean that literally- my mom tried to pay me to make a hat for her; I’m weeks behind). This has left me in an awful situation. For about six years I’ve spent my evenings knitting. Now, evening comes and my mind is racing with everything that is changing or that I can’t change or that won’t change quickly enough or is changing too quickly and I can’t settle down. I’ll be catatonic on the outside and hurricane on the inside.
   So tonight I had a well-duh-moment. I thought well, what other hobbies can you focus on? Writing- already done that, feein’ dry. Get off your butt and do some Yoga!  
   So I busted out the mat, and turned on a video from Fifteen minutes later I was sweating like a demon, my legs full of fire and alignment, and I was feeling better than I’ve felt in days. For all the physical exertion, there is an amazing amount of clarity, awareness, and calm that comes from doing yoga. I don’t know if it’s the focus, the blood flow, or what, but after a good workout I feel such peace. I feel more present in the moment. I’m more aware of my body, its needs, strengths, and I accept and care for myself more.  That’s a beautiful thing that society needs more of.  And just as a bonus, when I was all finished, I notice my body looked better; my tummy was flatter, supporting my back more.  Now who doesn’t like that?! 
   If you are interested in trying yoga, or giving it another go- which I highly recommend- here are a few tips I've learned to get the most out of it (and sometimes save a buck or two): 
  • The best place to do a workout is on a yoga mat, but if you're not ready to invest money into your workout (which I think you should, because you'll be more likely to do it) do it bare foot on a carpet. When you're ready for a mat, this one is amazing
  • Other things you'll need are a couple of books, like phone books (or yoga blocks) and a belt (or yoga strap). 
  • Wear a fitted shirt or it will be in your face. 
  • Assuming you can't get out to a class, start with a home routine for beginners so you are sure to learn the poses correctly and be less likely to hurt yourself. I think Patricia Walden's program knocks it out of the park. 
  • Another great source of workouts is  All free!
  • Breath "through the back of your heart." Phrases like that might not make much sense, until you try them- then they change everything! But it takes focus and listening to minute parts of your body.
  • Feel good about the good you are doing! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finding the Bright Side

   There's been an uneasy feeling hanging over me for a couple of days. I went to the college to refresh my status as a student (you need to do that after going a semester without taking classes), where I found out that the financial office doesn't do payment plans during the summer terms. This is relevant because 3 days before we were supposed to get our tax return (which would have payed my tuition) we instead got a letter saying our old student loan demons had risen and snatched every penny. They said they wouldn't do that. It's those demons that are also keeping me disqualified for Pell grants.
    So I've turned up my job searching mode to High. I've sent out applications near and, well, as far as the T will take me. I didn't just exhaust, I put it in a coma. I've thought of everything I can come up with on my own- I even considered creating a sort of Kickstarter-style fund (doesn't that sound like a good idea for students? Well, not everyone thinks so.) I started a LinkedIn account- Golly, was that demoralizing! My most recent experience was in 2006! Can anyone here top that? And school counts- no cheaters.
   I can't tell how much I've been relying on other people's positiveness. Even my little ones have been a buoy to me. Yesterday, in a moment of weakness the kids found me curled up on my bed. When they asked what was wrong, I told them "I really, really want to go to school but I don't have enough money."
   Lily put her arms around me and said, "It's OK, Mom. Just look on the bright side."
   Then Calvin brought me a penny he found on the floor. "Here, Mom, you can use this."
   So, about that bright side, if we work it right, I might be able to take one class this summer. OK. It's better than going bonkers for another semester.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesdays with Jason

Jason is my best friend. He keeps things positive, upbeat, and always interesting. I present, a collection of recent Jason Quotes:
  • "It's like I spend my whole life putting you back together, and then your parents come along and say stuff like 'Do you have edema?'"
  • "This smells like the Butt of Ages."
  • "When California legalized fruit-human marriages, Stan gave the pineapple a hearty smooch." 
  • When asked why we are only 2nd degree contacts on, "Because we don't have enough sex."
  • "Until this very moment, I didn't know what you meant either."
  • "Apparently other people have different ideas of what a college party would entails." 
  • "I bought them toys- I'm such a bad father!" 

Monday, April 9, 2012


So, yesterday I wrote this big ol' post about getting in shape and healthy vs the beauty cult, yadda yadda. It didn't make the cut.
The irony is that after I busted my butt (and abs and arms) doing Pilates yesterday...Today I'm eating a whole bag of potato chips. Jason said he'd take the kids and give me a break and, well, I couldn't help myself.
I do have clinical bipolar disorder (I don't know that I've mentioned that before) but I don't think I can blame this on it. Can I?

What's your guilty pleasure? Chocolate? French Fries? Hanson? My Little Pony: FIM?

P.S. OMG My Little Pony: FIM is on Netflix!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

I had a post, but when I read it to Jason he was less than enthused. I admit, it's not easy to get him enthused about much these days (he has a bitter cold) but it was enough of a blow to my fragile ego.

And so I'll just say, Happy Easter/Passover. May your day be filled yummy things.

Don't count your tax returns before they hatch. They just might get nabbed by lying student loan agents.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Little by Little, One Travels Far

"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone." 
-Gandalf, The Hobbit

This has been a season of change, and a much needed one at that. We've been doing what we can to shake things up and get a new prospect on life. It's kind of amazing the things that it's leading to.

Have you ever tried to make new friends as an adult? Ever tried doing it without having school or a formal job? It's not easy. Jason observed the other day that we are in an awkward position too, because we're a little too punk-kid-like to relate much to the play-date parents, but a little to parental to relate much to the punk-kids around here. That's something they don't tell you about when you start a family young.
So the other night I decided to Google Cambridge/Boston writing groups and got a bunch of results from a website I was only briefly acquainted with- What a little gem this is! I type in a hand full of interests, and I'm given a list of respective groups and when they're meeting! By the end of the night I had joined three local groups and scheduled to meet the New Wave: Young Boston Feminists at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival!
We watched Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai. It was inspiring and fascinating. To think, so much could be done in one country, starting with simply planting trees! One of my favorite scenes was of current military officers planting trees around their compounds. I think that army leaders around he world could take a lesson from that.
I met a great couple of women, one of whom, Daryl, I was delighted to find several commonalities with. I also learned that she writes for Empower Dalit Women of Nepal , which happens to need more copywriter help right now! I'm meeting with the president of the organization this Wednesday.
For the next New Wave meeting I'm going to, we're discussing the book Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters.

I guess the moral of the story is that the momentum from making one thing happen is bound to start other things happening too!