Friday, January 23, 2015

40? yes, 40

i'm sitting at a cafe, taking some time for myself (thank you very much husband) and making up for the fact that last week, on my actual birthday, i was stuck in bed with a terrible flu. every year on my birthday i try to go and spend some time on my birthday working on a list of goals for the year. i used to write a goal for each year of my life- yes, as in this year i would write 40 goals. i really don't think i thought it through all the way way back in the day that the older i got the more goals i'd be creating for myself. hmmm. so i haven't counted the goals i came up with this time, but here's a snippet of a few of them:

less: phone use, sugar, procrastinating, time wasting, aimless internet wandering, dairy and bread (yes cheese and baguette- i'm talking to you sweet soulmates), criticizing, mom-voice, mindless tv

more: blogging, moving (in the forms of running, walking, interval training), playing, active listening, drawing, from-scratch cooking, veggies, writing snail mail, snuggling, imagining, volunteering, sunscreen, reading for pleasure, podcasts, friend time

i am still sitting with the fact that i have slowly but surely tiptoes into a new decade of life. i was thinking about how the last days of my 20's and my 30th birthday were spent in the hospital with my friend who was fighting leukemia. ten years later she is healthy and thriving. since then i have begun and finished grad school, made a bazillion cards for papyrus, started a blog, become a pastor's wife (at least my own version of that), moved from my parents house to a place of our own to a house that we bought, had two beautiful and amazing daughters, weathered the loss of my dad and the implosion of our family unit as we all knew it, made new friends (and kept the old too), shared so many moments with people i love. what will the next ten years hold? i can hardly imagine. 

hopefully more courage and beauty and goodness.
less fear.

Monday, January 12, 2015

sick day

(please don't be misled- i did not see this beautiful blue sky today.
because i was in bed.
all day.
no drama here, i know.)

for those of you keeping score at home, you know that i love my birthday. we actually celebrate birthday week here in our house, because i love them that much.

and my birthday- actually a very big one- is in two days. TWO! 

and i'm sick.
in bed.
all day long i've been in bed doing different variations on sleeping and trying to sleep and medicating and resting.
but to no avail because i feel just as bad if not worse than i felt this morning.

this was not my plan for today. 
i only have two days of my thirties left and this is how one of them plays out!? 

so, instead of a birthday eve eve party?
i'm throwing myself a pity party.
anyone want to come?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

i'm shallow, too, everyone. so what.

yes i care about justice and high culture and good books and reading the ny times and east oakland and blah blah blah all that smartypants stuff. really, i do.

but if you know me well, you also know i like celebrity trash and low culture. high, low..., my friends. there is a time and place for everything. i watch tv shows online when i am working on freelance deadlines at night, so i am all about mindless things that i can watch without paying too much attention but that will keep me awake.

so in no particular order, tv that i like right now:

not really mindless ones:

1. parenthood- only four episodes left! ah, i wish this show wasn't going off the air, but they have a huge and $$$$ cast, so i get why its time is coming to an end. as the oldest of four siblings this show rings so true from sibling dynamics to real life highs and lows. i love you parenthood; i wish you would grow old with me. (also i am team joelia all the way)

2. the good wife- i only started watching this in the last year when i had a really big deadline and i was up at all hours for weeks and weeks on end. ahhhhh so good! kind of addictive and i have a girl crush on alicia florick. she's so beautiful and classy and kick ass. my least favorite aspect of this show is her relationship with peter, her still husband even though it's all for show.

totally mental candy but better than watching the real housewives anything:

3. selfie-dumb title, got cancelled, but sweet show based on my fair lady. you can still watch this on hulu. i still don't understand how reality shows about moonshining and pawn shows are on, but this gets cancelled within 7 episodes, but then again...we also let donald trump have a tv show on network tv for how many seasons now?

4. the mindy show- i love mindy kaling and she is brillant, funny, and also all about low culture. this show is the funnier the more you watch it, but it also has lots of truly sweet relational moments. i love morgan, the ex-con turned nurse. he is one of the best parts of this show.

5. jane the virgin- i love this new telenovela with incredibly adorable gina rodriguez starring in the main role. addictive, funny, quirky.

my sole reality tv exceptions and i can justify these because they help the creative process:
top chef and project runway 

the please don't judge my character based on my tv viewing habits category:
the new girl (schmidt makes this show worthwhile, and this season is a billion times better than last season), scandal, hart of dixie, grey's anatomy, nashville

so just a reminder: really, truly, i only watch tv when i'm working on a project. so i don't spend endless hours vegged out on the couch consuming these shows.

the one exception? mad men. matt and i have slowly been watching all of the seasons. this one goes into the watch-it-without-multi-tasking genre.

now that i've listed basically 85% of the shows on tv, are there any left i missed that you watch that i should add to my list?

um, also, topic for a future post but OF COURSE i listen to the serial podcast. anyone? anyone?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

a post to myself, because i forget.

when i'm about to go ballistic on my girls
because it feels like they have a targeted ability to push my buttons
i'm at the end of my rope

i need to go in my mind to moments like this,
where my girls remind me that


they are discovering how to make their way in the world,
how to be human,
how to fight and make up,
how to have conflict and resolve it,
when to make believe and when not to,
when to play well with others and when to resist the crowd,
how to have self control
how to be silly
when to follow the rules and when to make their own way,
how to mature.

it's tricky business,
and sometimes i think i expect them to be small adults,
to realize the obvious consequences of their actions,
and to read my adult mind and know how to behave properly.

on one hand i want them to grow up fast, 
because i want them to listen and respond to my requests,
and to be appropriate at all times,
and to have good manners.
but then on the other hand i want them to stay just like this-
twirling and dancing in make-believe costumes,
playing together in the world of pretend. 

a challenge to me this year is to hold both of them together:
the importance of teaching my girls when they need to be appropriate
when i need to let things go and let them play,
and savor being 4 and 6 years old.
 i know before i even realize it they will be all grown up, no pretend left in them, 
navigating a harsh world.

what can i give them?
i can give them a safe place to come back to-
a place where showing the wrong actions or emotions is forgiven with love and grace and hugs,
a place where they can play and not be embarrassed,
a place where they are loved and known entirely
no matter how old they are
and how unkind the world outside is.

what do you need to work on this year as a parent?
talk to me wise friends; 
i need all the help  can get.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


“Nothing is worth more than this day.”  Goethe

my mom, younger brother johnny + me circa 1977

it's been a week. you know the kind? 

(i should insert here, the week has not been apocalyptic- there have been giggles and silly jokes and snuggles and snacks and great mommying moments....
good mundane kind of stuff.)
thought the girls might have pink eye (hooray they don't but they stayed home from school anyway)
i slept on my neck wrong on sunday and still killing me four days later
my house is essentially one huge mess made up of 4,576 little messes
monrovia was late to school today despite my very best efforts (she was totally sabotaged by ruby's slow as molasses routine)
i haven't done last nights dishes (ahem, see above re: messes)
my studio is a disaster zone and looks like someone broke in. 
child #1 swings between being helpful and kind and rude and demanding
child #2 swings between being clingy and snuggly (same thing basically but one is with whining and one is with sweetness)
homework battles and somehow i'm already googling proper comma use for my first grader when supposedly that's a subject i'm good in (you know, just to double check)
oh, also i'm solo parenting

i was looking at this picture of my mom with my younger brother and I from long ago, (yes, that's me looking like a boy) thinking about how all that stuff doesn't really matter. i'll never know how crappy my mom's day was there. maybe she yelled at me, maybe i was perfection all day long, maybe a hundred things went wrong, maybe jonathan and i had the flu. i have no idea. but here i see a beautiful young (27 years old!!) mom reading with her children who love her.

i mean i should probably do the dishes eventually, and work harder to get out of the door faster in the morning (for the record it is crazy rare that m is late to school,) and i do need to figure out what on earth is going on with my emotional roller coaster of a 6 1/2 year old. 

but big picture? today is a good day. i have healthy children who i love, a home full of love, a car that runs, a body that works, and so much more goodness. my kids will probably not remember that i yelled to put their shoes on or that they lost a third book at bedtime because they were being crazy or the 4,576 messes everywhere. they might not remember that i apologized for getting frustrated so fast and that i came and kissed them extra times at bedtime and that i did super fun after-school activities with them and let them watch a movie when they were home sick-not-sick and didn't work so i could play with them. 

but maybe they'll run into this picture someday that we took for matt and know that even if all the details are hazy that they were loved messily and with flaws, but loved.

Friday, January 2, 2015

new year, new scary

this is oakland's beautiful lake merritt, which is the perfect place to run or walk or bike around. 

back in the day, and by that i mean before babies and toddlers and now big kids, i used to run lake merritt. i'd say it's been a healthy 7 years since i ran around it, although i've walked it hundreds of times. 

it is one of my favorite places in oakland; i always think of it as the great equalizer because every single demographic you can imagine is hanging out at that lake. octogenarian athletes that still shuffle around the lake daily? check. cute new couples who are strolling along or hanging on a bench? check. new moms pushing their strollers? check. guys who look like they are in the run-all-over-philadelphia-training-portion of rocky? weekend warriors? check. women in skimpy little bikinis sunning themselves or women in full hijab? every other possible type of person? check. 

so, i love it. it makes me feel part of our larger mish-mash of a city every time i'm there. but the running part was never the part i loved...more like the part i tolerated to get stronger, healthier, faster. and yet a month or so ago, when a mom friend form school posted that she was looking for two more relay partners in the upcoming oakland marathon i somehow, inexplicably, thought: "this would be a good personal goal for me. after all i'm turning 40, it's a new year, and running any sort of race scares the bejeezus out of me but it would be a good personal practice to train for it." um, what was i thinking? i have no idea. but i did it. and now i've gotta hustle to get ready to run 7 miles by march 22. SEVEN. i currently run ZERO.

i will add at this point that the part that is hard for me about running these days is that thanks to my two darlings, and pushing them out of the birth canal, that there are some not so pleasant side-deterrents from running. people, i am a one woman pee-on-myself-machine. perhaps that was too much information, but it is a very real reason that i've stopped running.

yet the deadline looms, so i'm off to face my fears and my issues. pep talk anyone? training wisdom? personal stories of triumphing over adversity? (ok that may be somewhat dramatic) 

anything new and scary you're taking on this year?
talk to me.