Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I was dropping my kids off at preschool one morning. One of the Moms who lives in my neighborhood said in passing, "Hey, I saw you running yesterday". As is typical in the mornings, I was rushing, so I just said "Did you? Have a great day!".
Was there a possibility that she did see me running in the neighborhood, you ask. Not a chance.
I didn't give the exchange a second thought, until the next time I ran into her at preschool, and she said "Hey, I saw you running again - you're really motivated!" Great. She's bringing it up again? Think quick! "Oh yah, well, just trying to stay fit!" Nice choice. Now I've taken on this other person's identity.
New plan - avoid this Mom at all costs.
A short time later, I was at a friend's daughter's birthday party, and who do I run into? Aaaccckkk, it's the Mom from preschool who thinks I'm an avid runner. Ok, stick with the plan. Avoid her. She tracked me down despite my diversion tactics, and - you guessed it - she brings it up again! And now it's gotten worse. She says, "Did you get a personal trainer? I saw you running with a guy yesterday, it looked like he was timing you or something."
You have got to be kidding me. Not only do I run practically every day, but now I have a trainer or possibly I'm having an affair with someone. I wonder if we run before or after our trysts...? My mind wanders... Get back on topic! Think! What do I say now???
Here's my brilliant response. "Oh, if you saw me with someone else, then it definitely wasn't me. I only run alone." Huh? WTF is that supposed to mean? It was clearly the same person, and now I'm somehow trying to claim that I have a twin who is more of a team runner, whereas I am a dedicated solo runner. Why wouldn't I just run with my running twin? And her new hot trainer.
I think after that I think I said something like "Mommy's coming sweetie - gotta go!" and I made a fast exit, leaving her looking dazed and confused.
Moral of the story? Really, no matter how pressed for time you are - think before you speak. What I should have said on that very first encounter (which is also the complete truth by the way) was, "If you saw someone running, I can assure you that it most definitely was NOT me."
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Recently I wrote an article for my local mother's club newsletter. At the end of the article it said this:
"Kirsten lives with her husband and three children in Hillytown, Ca. In her spare time she writes about motherhood among other things at www.thenorwindians.blogspot.com."
I am starting to regret that little blurb. I feel sort of exposed. It was one thing for a few family members and some close friends to know about my blog. But now I sort of feel like I've exposed myself to my whole community. There is nothing on there that I am ashamed of, or regret writing. But it still feels a little strange.
Several people told me after the article was published that they liked reading it. It was nice to get actual face to face feedback on something I wrote. Something I was proud of and came from my heart. A few people had questions about the blog. A handful said they thought it was "neat" or "really great."
It could very possibly all be in my head, but lately I've been feeling a little bit judged at preschool pick up. At Raj's end of the year preschool picnic I overheard a conversation between three moms. I couldn't hear it all, but the snippets I did hear went something like this:
"If you have a blog, you have to know who your audience is."
"You know, they get paid. Every time you click on their page, the advertisers pay them."
"I'm not a writer, but some people just feel the need to be heard."
I have no idea if they were talking about me. They are moms that I am friendly with, but not more than a hello at drop off or a casual comment here and there. It bothered me for at first, but I was over it by the time I got home that day. Then recently another mom that I am actually fairly good friends with made the comment that she "had neither the time nor the inclination for mommy blogs." I'm not sure why I took offense. She is well aware of my blog, and she may read it occasionally.
After mulling it all over for the day, I feel the need to just get this off my chest. I remember the first time I heard the word "blog." Jay is always aware of the latest and greatest trends in technology. I remember when he told me about a small start-up company about 10 years ago that sounded to me like a glorified flea market and was sure to fail. I thought it sounded ridiculous. That company was called Ebay. Anyway, he started a sample blog, just to see what all the buzz was about and wanted to know what I thought. Of course, I thought it might be a good way to keep in touch with out of town family, but other than that, it looked sort of stupid. I didn't get it.
Four years later, I was showing him my new blog. I don't really remember the first blog I started reading, or how I came across it. But I've always enjoyed reading personal essays and getting a small look into someone else's life experiences. I find comfort in reading things that I can relate to. I have learned a ton and been exposed to whole other world's reading blog posts by people I have nothing in common with. I totally get it now.
I started my blog in part because of my relationship with my own mother. I've always wondered what her life was like when my sister and I were little. What did she think about? How did she feel about being a mom? What were we like? Did she ever get frustrated? Was it all sunshine and roses? Since I will never, ever be a scrap booker in the traditional sense... I wanted to create a virtual scrap book. A scrap book of words. The good, the bad and everything in between of my motherhood experience. I want to remember that Raj calls guacamole whack-a-moley. I want to remember days like this and things like this. I also want to document my thoughts about things like this and this.
And let's face it -- I am a straight up mommy blogger. I'm not a great writer, writing on a blog to hone my craft. I am just a mom sharing my stories on a blog. I post lots of stories about my kids and endless photos. It is what it is. Maybe I am a little geeky, but find reading about other people's lives interesting. I don't think anything bad can come from sharing our motherhood/life experiences and getting feedback from each other. And isn't that really the essence of blogging? It is for me anyway.
And the money/ads question. Much to my husband's disappointment, I make enough money off ads on my blog to be able to take my kids out for frozen yogurt once a month. I am not in this for the money and honestly, product reviews are not my cup of tea.
Maybe it will all backfire on me someday and my kids will not like my virtual scrap book at all. I am hoping that they will someday appreciate this little record of our lives. I am hoping that sharing my "journal" with them when they are older will make us closer.
I am not really sure why I am not comfortable posting this on my own blog. I have been feeling very tentative there lately since the article in the newsletter came out. I think I was a much better blogger a year ago when no one was reading me. I realize I am preaching to the choir here when it comes to why we blog. But I needed to get it out anyway. In a lot of ways I am more comfortable with myself on my blog. I find it much easier to express myself in writing than in person. I can say things on my blog that I would be terrified to tell even my sister in person. If that makes me strange, or geeky, or whatever, so be it.
I understand that lots of people don't "get" blogging, especially personal blogging. It's the same thing as me not really "getting" Facebook (even though they are so similar, go figure). I know it may seem strange to some. They can't imagine spending a weekend in Chicago talking about blogging and meeting virtual strangers in real life.
But you are not strangers to me at all. I gain a lot from reading your blogs. If you gain something from reading mine, great! Who is my audience? The only audience that really matters to me are these people.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Thank you to my firm for finally announcing the fate of our company. That's right, the wait is over. Another financial firm has purchased the financial firm that I work for. This will likely result in a sizable layoff after the end of the year. And how is it that this is something to be thankful for??? After spending the better part of the past two years engrossed in the day to day details of the economic downturn, having survived one round of layoffs earlier this year only to learn shortly afterwards that my firm was up for sale, then working in a fog of ambiguity and stress for the past few months while we all waited to see what was going to happen - now we finally know!!! Now we can move forward! I don't know what will happen to my job, but I strongly believe that when one door closes, several more open. I'm ready to walk forward through the next door in my life, whatever happens.
I will bestow the "Your blog is deer to me as cupcakes" award to you, if you leave me a comment telling me about the best bad news you've ever gotten.
Monday, June 15, 2009
The first weekend of June, we took a long anticipated trip to a campsite in the Sierra that my husband and I frequented before having kids. The good news is that it was just as beautiful as we remembered. The bad news is that it was not exactly summer weather just yet at that elevation...there was actually snow on the ground near our campground, so we had to cut our trip short. We had a good time though, and can't wait to go back when there is more sun and less rain.
This past weekend, we joined our good friends Scott and Christie, and their adorable son Sawyer for a camping trip on the coast to help celebrate Scott's 40th birthday. The weather was beautiful, the company fantastic and our campsites had a view of the ocean - it doesn't get better than that. Scott and Christie inspired us to get our little camper, and it was great to spend time camping with them again. As a bonus, we were dogsitting for the week. The kids had so much fun camping with "Baker" the chocolate lab. I can't wait until we have a dog in our lives again.
Times like these...are what life is all about.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
So, Jon and Kate celebrated their 100th episode by having Emeril come and cook for the whole family. They chopped some onions, snapped some peas, peeled some garlic and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
ZZZZZZZZZZ then I woke up and noticed that Kate’s hair seems to have a striped look to it now.
When Emeril congratulated them on their hundredth episode and said “I don’t know how you made it to 100 episodes”, I was really wishing somebody would have said “Well, the jury’s still out on that one.” Clearly, Emeril hasn’t actually seen any episodes of Jon and Kate Plus 8. Next week on TLC’s excuse for a half hour long commercial for their other shows; Jon, Kate and the kids hang out with the biker dudes from American Chopper.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I've had a couple of posts spinning around in my head. One is about work, and one is about my Mom; and they are strangely related.
Every day at work over the past few months, we've all been waiting. Waiting on the fate of our company. Waiting to be told how it will effect all of us. Waiting to hear word about how long all of this will take. Waiting. I know I don't have any control over any of it. I've tried not to think about it, but it's hard to avoid. It creeps into my dreams. I took a few days off recently, left my blackberry behind and avoided the Internet and the news like the plague. Yet, on Sunday night, I dreamt that I was being laid off the following day at work. My boss handed me five checks, all for random amounts - $7.19, $238.20 - and he couldn't tell me exactly what they were for. Then I had to leave my blackberry at work and forgot to pull all my personal contacts off of it, so I couldn't call any of my friends to tell them what happened. Not the greatest night sleep, to say the least. My friends and family ask me periodically how things at work are going, and I'm not sure if it helps or causes more anxiety, because I'm still waiting. There's not much to talk about and not much I can do to prepare for it. What will happen, will happen, and I'll just have to deal with it when it comes.
Recently, my good friend Marisa lost her Father unexpectedly. He went in for open heart surgery, but there was no reason at all to think that he wouldn't come out of it just fine. Despite needing the surgery, he was otherwise healthy and strong. The doctors were not concerned. I was assuring her that everything would be alright, and telling her about how routine these surgeries are. His actual surgery went fine, but afterwards his blood would not coagulate, and they lost him. I was so sad for Marisa and her family, but I can't say that I was truly surprised about what happened. It's almost like, in the back of my mind, I was almost expecting it.
I lost my own Father of cancer when I was eleven years old. I think that having gone through losing a parent at a young age, my illusions of forever were shattered very early in life. I knew the reality that people do die. No matter how much you don't want them to.
My Dad didn't ever admit that he was dying though, even when he was very, very sick. Whether it was because he didn't want us - his kids - to know that he would die, or whether it was because he himself didn't actually believe he would die, I'll never know. My Mom tells a story about a time very close to the end of his life, when he was lying in the hospital bed looking worse than he had ever looked. My Mom and the doctor were talking, when my Dad looked at them and said, "Well Doc, I think I'm finally getting better!". That, to me, defines hope.
Thankfully, my Mom knew better than to let us live in a fantasy. Even as our Dad would talk to my sister and I about all the things we were going to do when he got better, our Mom prepared us for the fact that our Dad would most likely never get out of the hospital. I remember vividly the day my Mom picked me up from after-school care and drove to a park where she told me that my Dad had died. I knew, before she even said anything. I knew. I'm not sure whether my sister, at eight years old, knew like I did. I was there when my Mom told her, and I still cry whenever I think about that moment. She came home, excited to show Daddy her Brownie buttons. I was crushed that she was about to be consumed by this sadness and I couldn't do anything to stop it.
I think that because of this, there's a part of me that expects the worst.
My sister wrote recently about an incident with our Mom. Our Mom never remarried after our Dad died, and she lives on her own about an hour from my house, ten minutes from my sister. She'll be turning 75 next month. One Saturday, our Mom was supposed to attend a Family Fun Run and Carnival with my sister, but had called my sister in the morning to cancel because she was feeling dizzy and thought she should rest. On that same day, I had been trying to call our Mom, but her phone was busy all day. By the evening, my sister and I were worried, and debating what to do. I was an hour away, and her husband was out of town - making it difficult for either of us to run over there and check on her. It wasn't unheard of that our Mom would leave the phone off the hook and not realize it. We decided that my sister would go to her house after dropping off the kids the next morning. I don't think either of us slept that night.
The next morning, I kept thinking... I'm sure everything is just fine. But, in the back of my mind, it was there. The possibility that things were not just fine. I would not have been surprised if my sister had called me to say that she was not alright. I was almost expecting it.
Thankfully, things were just fine. Our Mom didn't even realize that the phone was not working. I didn't find out until later, that my sister was terrified as she was walking into our Mom's house. It just didn't occur to me that she wouldn't also be somehow prepared for the worst. My sister says in her post that she feels like we are living in a state of fear. And we are. I fear that we won't be able to get our Mom to move into an assisted living when the time comes. I fear that she will cut her life shorter than it could be by not taking care of herself. I fear telling my kids when their beloved Grammy isn't with us anymore. I fear going through years and years of my Mom's collections after she is gone.
But as far as my Mom actually dying, I feel like I'm waiting, and I hope to be waiting for a long, long time.
Monday, June 1, 2009
I don't know why I thought I had to go to a costume store for my 70s outfit. After seeing what some other people put together, I realized that I could gotten some groovy 70s duds right at the local mall! It all came together though, after my good friends Rita and Dawn finished my look with 70s hair and make-up, complete with copious amounts of blue sparkly eye shadow, Wet-N-Wild pink shimmer lip gloss and yes, those are Lee press-on nails.
The party was a blast, and I danced all night long to the great disco tunes - regardless of whether or not I had any company on the dance floor. No, I don't get out much. The day after the party, Lish and I had a long and relaxing breakfast before I headed back home. We always have the best conversations. We were at lunch together one time, and our waiter commented that he noticed we had been laughing and talking throughout our whole meal. Then he said "You guys should always be friends." We told him we planned to be.
One of the things we talked about at our leisurely breakfast was was why she picked the 70s theme for her party. We were born in the 60s, children in the 70s, teens in the 80s and college grads with new careers in the 90s. Looking back on all those decades, Lish said the 70s was the most carefree time of her life. Life's difficulties were circling above us, as were the adults we were dwarfed by. We were just discovering life. Our biggest concern was whether the Bradys could return the idol to the ancient Hawaiian burial grounds, and end the bad luck by the next episode.
So that you too can share in my nostalgia, I thought I'd show my favorites from this list that I'm sure you've seen a million times. What are you favorite memories from the 70s?
You know you're a child of the 70's if...
You wore a rainbow shirt that was half-sleeves, and the rainbow went up one sleeve, across your chest, and down the other.
You made baby chocolate cakes in your Easy Bake Oven and washed them down with snow cones from your Snoopy Snow Cone Machine.
You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a basket.
You owned roller skates with metal wheels.
You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute.
"De plane, de plane" is a phrase you are familiar with.
Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession.
You begged Santa for the electronic game, Simon.
You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple shredded outfits.
You had homemade ribbon barrettes in every imaginable color.
You had a pair of Doctor Scholl's sandals.
"All skaters, change directions" means something to you.
Your hairstyle was described as having "wings".
You carried a Muppets lunch box to school.
You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazzard was your boyfriend.
It was a big event in your household each year when the "Wizard of Oz" would come on TV. Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleeping bags!
You even asked your Magic-8 ball the question: "Who will I marry? Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, or Rick Springfield?"
You completely wore out your Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Fame soundtrack albums.
You made Shrinky-Dinks!
You used to tape record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker.
You couldn't wait to get the free animal poster that came when you ordered books from the Weekly Reader book club.
You learned everything you needed to know from Judy Blume.
You thought Olivia Newton John's song "Physical" was about aerobics.
You wore friendship pins on your tennis shoes, or shoelaces with heart or rainbow designs.
You wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer, or one of Charlie's Angels...
Lish, our friend Lisa in the middle, and me.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LISH!!!
Let's always be friends.