Wednesday, March 28, 2012

scintilla day 11: to intervene or not.

Well, just like that, today is the last day of the Scintilla Project. I have absolutely loved this experience, and I have already started nagging the ladies to do it again soon. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my responses – and here is the last one:

Today’s prompt asks: Talk about a time when you intervened. What prompted you? Did you regret it?

To answer this, we first have to talk about a time I didn’t intervene - at least, not enough. When I was in high school, I had a very close friend, P, who was suicidal. And I knew it – she would talk about it, and I would try to talk her out of it, and I felt this enormous weight of keeping her alive on a day to day basis that no 15-year-old should feel. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking “should I tell someone? Should I talk to her parents?” but I felt like that would have been a betrayal. So I carried her load, her secret, myself.

I’m sure you can see what is coming. Despite my sometimes-hourly efforts to encourage her that life isn’t that bad, she attempted. She came very close to succeeding by overdosing on a truckload of pills, but woke up within minutes of a probable stroke and told her parents. After an in-patient hospital stay, a subsequent attempt, another hospital stay, and many, many medications, she recovered, sort of. A lot of things happened after that to strain our friendship beyond repair, although occasionally she reaches out to me.

So. When another close high school friend, A, became suicidal a year later, you bet your ass I intervened. I told a teacher, I told a guidance counselor. I sat in a guidance counselor’s office with her and begged her to promise to me that she would be alive the next day. She couldn’t promise. I begged more. I cried. She cried. It was a mess.

She was, in fact, alive the next day, and all of the days after that. She never did attempt to kill herself, as far as I know, and I believe she is much happier now, although we lost touch after graduation.

God, high school sometimes sucks, doesn’t it?

I absolutely did not regret intervening. Who knows? Maybe getting a counselor involved earlier with my friend P would have prevented her from ever trying in the first place. Maybe it was what set A on a better path. But I knew I couldn’t handle the weight of personally being responsible for someone’s life at that age. Better to let the grown-ups help.

As an adult I now know that what happened with P wasn’t my fault, but holy hell, it took me YEARS to get here. I felt so much guilt and so responsible for what happened with her. And it makes me so sad for 15-year-old me.

I just looked at the calendar and noticed that today is the anniversary of the day that P tried to kill herself all of those years ago. I still remember the date. What does that mean?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

scintilla day 10: supposebly, I could care less.

Today’s Scintilla prompt asks: Pet peeves. We’ve all got 'em. What are yours?
 And now, the fastest blog post I’ve ever written.


1) Supposebly. Where is that “b” coming from, may I ask? WHERE? WHY DO YOU SAY IT THAT WAY? PLEASE STOP NOW PLEASE MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE.

2) “I could care less.” Could you? You could care less? So then whatever you are referring to must be bothering you, right? Because if it didn’t bother you, you would say you “couldn’t care less” – right? Because if you couldn’t care less then you don’t care at all and I think that is what you are trying to say so please stop saying “could care less” because you sound like an ass for fuck's sake THE END.

Monday, March 26, 2012

scintilla day 9: body-licious

Today’s Scintilla prompt asks: Talk about the ways in which your body is awesome.

To which, of course, I laughed. Hard.

Because we’re trained, right? Trained to immediately think, oh, yeah, right. MY body? Awesome? No way! I need to lose weight, I’m flabby/out of shape/saggy/wrinkled/tired/old/my hair’s not right/my nose is big/my/my/my/my is NO GOOD.

Until the end of time.

And, look. I feel that way about myself. I'm won't lie. But, fuck it, I thought. I’ll give it a shot.

So. Ways in which my body is awesome.

Well, it works. That’s right. My brain works (shut up) and my organs seem to be functioning. I can’t see for shit, but hey, I’ve got these glasses, and they work. I have some slight hearing loss as a result of great seats at too many concerts, but my ears mostly work. I’m 38 and haven’t seen a grey hair in years, and not because I dye my hair. I’ve got freckles galore but that’s because I love the sun, OK? And I’m not tall, no, but who really cares about that.

My stomach area will never be what I want it to be. Never has, never will. But hey – it stretched to its limit to house Jane, didn’t it? In fact, didn’t my body actually GROW A HUMAN? Well, that’s something. That’s something indeed. And then birthed her! That’s right. This body that I complain about daily if not hourly, grew and birthed my daughter. No bad, body. Not bad at all.

My legs. My legs that I ALWAYS want thinner, or more muscular, well, they sure get me to where I need to go, don’t they? They have walked thousands of miles just for exercise alone! And my arms. No matter how much minor weight-lifting I do (and I do, I do) they won’t look how I want them to look, no they won’t. But they have carried a lot of shit. You know, literally and figuratively. (What? I have dogs.)

There is a lot of rheumatoid arthritis in my family. My dad had it terribly, and several other close family members have it as well. So far, I seem to be arthritis free. That’s something to celebrate, right? That's actually really huge, if you know how awful RA is. Yay, body!

My body is currently very hungry right now, as I push through this 17 Day Diet program. And sure, it’s grumbly, but it’s doing what I want it to do, right? It’s responding to this insulting push of a high protein and low carb diet, and it’s losing that extra weight that has been sticking around for far too long. It's probably getting healthier even. Running better. More streamlined.

For someone who insults the shit out of her body and has for the past 38 years, deep, deep down (because you’re never supposed to be happy with yourself publicly, right?) I really am grateful, so grateful for everything this body has given me. It’s just good to be reminded of that every once in a while.

 My body at one of its heftier points.

Friday, March 23, 2012

scintilla day 8: thank you for being a friend

Today’s Scintilla prompt asks: Who was your childhood best friend? Describe them – what brought you together, what made you love them. Are you still friends today?

A few weeks ago, Heather lent me the book The Hunger Games (perhaps you’ve heard of it? No? How is life living under a rock? I’ve always wondered.). She was working her way through the trilogy and thought I might like it, even though it was a little outside the standard realm of my reading. So I put it in my pile of future reads.

A couple of weeks later, I received this email:

I started the 3rd book in the Hunger Games series and I have come to the firm conclusion that this is not your type of book. I feel it is a cross between Alas Babylon, 1984 & Blade Runner. Please cease and desist reading immediately.

Emails like this are a perfect example of why Heather has been my best friend for 31 years. I remember when Lost premiered, and she was going on and on about it, so I decided to try it out, and was instantly hooked. We were watching something on TV about the show, and someone described the new series as “science fiction.” Heather said “SHHHHH!!!” to the TV – because she knows that if I started thinking of Lost as sci-fi, I would be out. (Don’t worry – I managed to stick with it, despite its science fictionness.)

My point – the girl KNOWS ME. And of course she should. Ever since she and her four siblings (one older brother, two younger brothers and one younger sister) moved across the street from me back in1981, when I was 7, we have been besties. And I mean ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

In the early days we played Barbies and Strawberry Shortcake, built forts and had clubs with her siblings, mine, and other neighborhood friends. Later we both awkwardly pushed through adolescence, with our giant hair, braces and glasses (she got contacts before I did, and WHOA was I jealous). We had a couple of part-time jobs together, although she spent her summers working at a golf course and I spent mine working at my parents’ ice cream shop. We passed notes every day before second period in high school.

And then it gets really nerdy because we both went to the same university and majored in almost exactly the same thing (she, early education with a concentration in English, me, English with a concentration in Journalism). And now we live 15 minutes from each other. She is married with twin 10-year-olds and a 5-year-old, all boys. And, well, you know my story.

Our paths diverge here and there. She was SO not into the hair bands that I was completely obsessed with in high school. She used to do a little bit of theater but doesn’t do it anymore. She got married and had kids years before I did. She’s a runner, a healthy eater, and an excellent cook and baker. I’m much more of a drinker than she is. She was never into the bar scene; I was. She likes books and movies with vampires and dragons, I don’t.

But oh man, we share the same sharp, sarcastic sense of humor. She has made me laugh more than anyone in the world. She was the first person who knew I was pregnant. She held me up – both literally and figuratively – when my father died. I hope I did the same for her when her mother died very unexpectedly a few years later. I would do anything for her, and I know she would for me.

We have shared the highs, lows, heartbreaks, births, deaths, weddings, funerals, baptisms, birthday parties, holidays, cookouts and all of the everyday moments in between for the past three-plus decades.

I cannot imagine – CANNOT IMAGINE – not having her in my life. I could go on and on here, but instead I’ll just answer the question “are you still friends today?” The answer is YES, and forever. And ever.

I picked a picture in which we both actually are dressed up and wearing makeup.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

scintilla day 7: I Got Life

(Weird title to the post I know. But as soon as I read the tribe prompt, I started to get songs from the musical Hair in my head. What?)

Today's Scintilla prompt asks: List the tribes you belong to: cultural, personal, literary, you get the drift. Talk about how the experience of being in your element with your tribe.

You totally know when you’re with your tribe, don’t you? You feel looser, happier, energetic. You feel surrounded by love. Support. You feel right.

This is another Scintilla prompt that reminds me how lucky I am, because I am card-carrying member of some pretty amazing tribes.

My family. The only person in my family I speak with (or really, email with) several times a week is my mother. I usually see my brother once a week, maybe, and exchange some texts and FB messages. My two sisters, every once in a while, my nieces and nephews, on holidays and birthdays…you get the drift. It’s not like we’re all coming together for Sunday dinner every week. But what I know is this: they are there for me. I am there for them. Whenever something hard hits our family – and it has, it has – we are there for each other, hardcore.

My friends. Well. I’ve talked about core group of friends an awful lot on this blog, haven’t I? My tribe I’ve been besties with for over 30 years now. I might as well have put them up there with my family, for how close they are to me. And am so lucky to add so many other fabulous people to my friend tribe – from work (present and past), my fellow happy-hour loving moms, from college, etc. I am lucky lucky lucky.

My book club: OK, OK, so my book club is also made up of my friends. But I love it, OK? We’ve been going for well over two years now, and one thing that I am always excited about is my next book club meeting. We take it seriously, y’all. We theme the snacks around the book, we have printed out lists of questions, an order in which we answer them – oh yes. It’s nerdtacular.

My theater peeps: I mean, really. Can I even express how much I love doing shows? I think I expressed myself best about it in one of my favorite posts ever here – and the fact that another show is brewing next month has got me very excited. I have a need to be with my theater peeps sometimes. If I don’t address that part of myself, I start to get itchy.

I love the idea of tribes, and I feel extremely blessed to be included in my own

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

scintilla day 6: that's me in the corner, redux

Today's Scintilla prompt asks: Talk about an experience with faith, your own or someone else's.

I know this is epically cheating, but this is still such a huge conflict in my brain so it's worth reposting. From January.

Everything remains the same, except for the fact that I did start taking her to church, and then I got so heated up during the whole birth control debate I stopped again. So, you know. No progress.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Scintilla day 5: lost and gained

Today’s Scintilla prompt asks: Show a part of your nature that you feel you've lost. Can you get it back? Would it be worth it?

 A part of me that was greatly diminished after my father died unexpectedly was my ability to laugh easily. I’m kind of known for my wildly loud laughing among certain friends – I surround myself with funny people and then laugh myself sick. It’s an excellent way to live, I tell you.

When my father died – well, understandably, my sense of joy died for quite a while too. I couldn’t laugh, I got severely depressed, turned into a major hypochondriac, and was a miserable wreck for a long time. Eighteen months after that happened my brother got into a near-fatal car accident. My friend died of brain cancer. My uncle died. September 11 happened. I broke up with a long-term boyfriend. This was all well within two years.

 I felt dead. I was in survival mode. I sat in my apartment for long periods of time and stared at the wall.

 It took a very long time to get myself back, if that makes any sense. To have fun, to feel joy, to laugh.It felt selfish, you know?

I am glad to say that in the decade-plus since, I have been able to recoup that ability to let loose with a cackle. It took a ton of work. It took a massive amount of support from friends. It took a lot letting go of the idea that life is a controllable thing. But was it worth it?

Oh, hell yes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Scintilla day 4: just another manic (insert day)

I am completely loving Scintilla! Psyched to be in week 2. Today's Scintilla prompt: What does your everyday look like? Describe the scene of your happiest moment of every day.
I love reading about people’s day-to-day lives, so that is how I am going to approach this question. Now, when I am doing a show, my everyday life is different – there would be three hours of rehearsal in the evenings. And now that I’m doing the wretched 17 Day Diet, I am doing my cardio in the evenings instead of first thing in the morning, like I typically do. Normally, at this time of year, I would be getting up at 5:45, but now that I don’t have to squeeze in exercise, I am getting up a little later. So here’s what a typical weekday in my life looks like at the moment:

Alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. I get up. Notice I didn’t say, “I wake up,” because I will already have done that, usually because Jane has already asked me many, many questions. Like how to spell something. Or what a penguin eats. Or to button up one of her princess costumes. Or to help her in the bathroom. Yesterday I was so tired when she came in to ask me how to write the letter “V,” for some reason my answer was to “put some extra legs on it.” What does that even mean? Was I half-dreaming of an octopus?

6:30-8 a.m.: Shower, hair, makeup, iron something, get dressed. Get Jane dressed and fed. Feed myself something protein-riffic (eggs). Make my salad and snacks for work. Deal with some sort of drama. (Today it was because Jane didn’t like her waffles. She said they were “brown, not yellow.” They were the same waffles she’s had for days. She was bawling like a lunatic.) Let the dogs out. Call the dogs in. Call them in again. Beg them to come in. Check them for ticks. Feed the dogs. Clean up any of Jane’s small toys on the floor so the dogs don’t chew them. Sometimes pry a toy out of Junior’s gaping maw. Get Jane’s supplies ready for school (today it was her nap backpack, permission slip for a field trip, and weekly sticker drop-off chart). Wake Greg up at some point. He gets ready in five minutes. By the end of this morning routine I often feel like my head is about to explode, and I haven’t even left for work yet. Take Tylenol.

8-8:30 a.m.: Strap Jane into Greg’s car, and make sure she can see me waving to her, because she REALLY NEEDS TO SEE ME WAVING TO HER or all hell breaks loose. They head off to daycare. I drive to work with a stop at Au Bon Pain for coffee. Get to work at 8:30.

8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Work. Marketing. Still adjusting to the part-time schedule, despite the fact that I have been there for six months already. It still feels weird but I know once Jane starts kindergarten (which is part-time in my town) in September, it will be ideal. Going part-time while she was in the early years of school was my goal since she was born because I wanted to be around more before and after school, and I am extremely fortunate to have found a job in my field that I really like that offers benefits with the hours I have. I am a lucky ducky.

12:30-3 p.m.: Chores – grocery store, Target, cleaning, blogging – stuff like that. Today I have to go to the AT&T store to get help for my ailing Blackberry. Poor, poor little Blackberry, how I abuse you. Again – once Jane is in school, this free time to myself goes away. It feels so strange to have it in the first place – I feel guilty that I have it– so I try to use it to get stuff done for the house and the family. Of course, I do sometimes take the time to do me stuff – like the lovely, lovely pedicure I got last Friday. And I also often take trips to the library. I used to also often stop at Starbucks but my wretched diet won’t let me do that right now. Eh – my wallet’s happy, anyway.

3-5 p.m.: I usually pick up Jane around 3ish. When I started working part-time, I wanted to pick her up earlier in the afternoon – but when I’m getting out of work, she’s settling down for nap at school. Waking that girl up from nap is basically saying you want to take a hellfire beast home for the afternoon. So, you know, to avoid that, I pick her up after nap and snack, and if I’m running late, while she’s outside in the playground with her friends. It’s a rough life for Jane, obvs. Then we hang, play, go outside if it’s nice – you know. Kid stuff. On Mondays like today, we go from school to dance class. She dances from 4:15-5 while I chat with the moms, and then we’re home by 5:30ish. Sometimes there is post-class sticker crying drama (she didn’t get the sticker she wanted from the teacher). I repeat: it’s a rough life for Jane.

5-8 p.m.: And here comes another whirlwind timeframe. I make dinner for myself and Jane (sometimes Greg is home in time, sometimes not). For me, at this point, it involves some fish and salad most likely, and she eat typical kid stuff, like pasta and chicken nuggets. Whatever she has, she adds a healthy dose of ketchup. Feed the dogs. Let them out. After cleaning up from dinner, I get her into her bath, which can last up to an hour, no lie. She had a swell time for herself in the bath. While she’s in there (assuming Greg is now home), I go out walking. I live in a hilly area, so power walking around here is for serious. I come home, if Jane’s out of the tub I get her ready for bedtime if Greg hasn’t already, then she plays and/or watches some shows (Dora, Diego, Backyardigans, Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus and Barbie and the Magic of the Rainbow are current faves). During this time I’m either reading or messing around on my computer, although lately I’ve been going through our closets and drawers and doing a massive purging, so I might also be doing something useful like that. I’m a lot more inclined to get my ass off the couch now that it’s light out in the evenings.

At 8 p.m. the epic bedtime battle begins. Jane. Does. Not. Like. Going. To. Bed. She employs every stalling tactic in the book – needs water, bathroom trip, an extra hug, and extra kiss, needs to be tucked in, needs some crayons, needs five books, needs five more books, is scared, needs room checked for dragons, monkeys and dinosaurs, etc, etc, etc until forever. After she’s come out and I’ve gone in to her room about one million times, she will fall asleep. Sometimes this is as late as 10 p.m. It’s insane. (Can you see why I love escaping the madness for rehearsals when I’m doing a show??)

During this time Greg and I are messing around on our computers and/or watching the shows we actually watch together, like The Daily Show, The Office, Modern Family, Up All Night, or maybe a movie. I can tell you for sure we will be watching my beloved MAD MEN when it returns on Sunday night -awwwww to the freaking yeaaahhhhh. A couple of times a week Greg has band practice in our basement so I read or watch the shows he hates (Survivor, Biggest Loser, Parenthood). Right now I am reading The Submission by Amy Waldman, which is my book club’s current read (my choice).

I usually fall asleep with a book on my face around 10:30-11. I typically wake up three or four times a night.

These days, the happiest moment of my day often happen when I secretly watch or listen to Jane playacting. She has started to act out all of the movies or shows she watches complete with props and cast (her stuffed animals) and I freaking love it. LOVE. IT.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Scintilla weekend bonus: out the door

I have a few minutes on this Sunday morning to answer one of the Scintilla bonus prompts this weekend, so here goes:

Talk about a time when you left home. 

I moved out of my parents' house when I was 23. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was on the older end to do this, especially, save for one semester away at college, I commuted to school (my university was only a half hour from our house; since I paid for college myself, it made no sense that I lived there. This is a regret, by the way.)

I was SO READY to move out. I finally had a real, full-time job as a reporter at a newspaper, I had saved up my money, and found a perfect roommate in my friend Chris. He and I had worked together a year prior, when we were both full-timers at Barnes and Noble. (As much as I loved working there, I was in no way making enough money to live on my own. So it was a brief, nine-month stop on my way to bigger things - but hey, they offered health insurance.)

Chris and I had found an awesome apartment about 30 minutes from where my parents lived, and we planned and schemed and purchased things and finally it was move-in day. I was beside myself. I had taken a full month to clean, purge and pack my childhood room, my sanctuary for the first 23 years of my life. It was time.

And then.

My herd of friends who were helping me move were outside, their cars packed with my stuff, ready to make the trek over to the new place, help me unpack, and if I recall correctly, drink. I was carrying my final box out the door and went to say goodbye to my parents. Well. My mother was crying. Hard. I couldn't believe it! It was so heartbreaking. Of COURSE I was beyond ready to move out, and I'm QUITE sure my parents were ready too. It's hard, living as a full-grown adult with your parents, especially when yours are as old-school as mine were.

But in that moment of leaving, my mom was crying, my father was saying incredibly, unnervingly nice things to me, was hard, y'all. It was a moment I really didn't understand at the time. This was not how we were as a family. The word "demonstrative" never described us.

Now, of course, I completely understand. The idea of Jane leaving us breaks my heart daily, because, while she's only 4 1/2, as everyone tells me, the years blast by and before I know it, she'll be heading out the door, last box in hand, her life ahead of her.

And, let's face it - I'll be bawling too.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Scintilla day 3: an aisle, a canon, a song.

Today’s Scintilla prompt asks us to talk about a memory triggered by a particular song.

The moment I read that, my brain filled with flashes of music. Guns ‘n Roses, Poison, Whitney Houston, a million showtunes, some Barenaked Ladies, a tune by Bryan Adams (I am horrified to admit this, but it’s true), a whole lotta U2 – and then.

I was at the mall this morning, for my daily stop at Au Bon Pain for coffee (yes, I am still having my one stupid coffee a day on this 17 Day Diet – it is my only joy). And piped over the loudspeakers was a song that always makes me lift my chin, straighten my back, and walk slower.

When I was planning my wedding, there was one thing I was absolutely sure of. Hell, I was absolutely sure of this years before I even met Greg: when I walked down the aisle, it would be to Canon in D. (Oh, and to have a cupcake wedding cake. Another must.)

It does things to my heart. It makes me feel happy. It lifts me. It’s peaceful. It’s wonderful. I am not a big fan of classical music – but I could listen to this over and over and over, and am now, as I’m writing this.

The priest who officiated at our wedding argued a bit with me about it. “Don’t you want something a little bit happier? A little bit more celebratory?” Nope, I told him. This was it. I may have gotten a little defensive to him. I can assure you it was the only time I’ve ever raised my voice to a priest.

Walking down the aisle was a little bit of a tough thing for me. My father had died a few years earlier. When he had walked both my sisters down the aisle, he had said something special to them that sent them both down the aisle in tears. I didn’t want to cry, because if I cried, it would be because of his absence, because I was sad, not because of something sentimental he said. I wanted it to be perfect.

I warned EVERYONE – do NOT say anything sad to me. Do not mention how much my dad would have loved to be there. Do not tell me that he is there, in spirit. Believe me, I am well aware that he is not here for this most traditional of moments between a father and a daughter. I KNOW. But please, please make this happy. I’m happy. Don’t bring me down, you know? (I said this, you know, in a nice way.)

My mom walked me down the aisle. And she told me way ahead of time that she knew exactly what she was going to say to me when we walked down the aisle. And I’m not going to share it with you because it’s private. But it made my face crack open with a giant smile. That, and Canon in D, is what I remember about one of the most special moments, during one of the most special days, of my life.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Scintilla day 2: I don't wanna grow up (but I did)

Today’s Scintilla Project prompt asks:

When did you realize you were a grown up? What did this mean for you? Shock to the system? Mourning of halcyon younger days? Or the embracing of the knowledge that you can do all the cool stuff adults do: drink wine, go on parent-free vacations, eat chocolate without reprimand?

Whenever I have one of those moments where I realize that I am the adult in a situation, it seems kind of insulting, and also just a little bit crazy. Who would trust me to be the responsible one? I'm cool, I'm young, I'm a rebel - right? No? No.

There’s no denying it – with 40 in the not-so-far distance, I’m decidedly an adult, and not even a young adult anymore.

It’s funny – when I think of the things mentioned in the prompt – the wine-drinking (delicious!) the chocolate-eating (also delicious!), the parent-free vacations – well, I look at the version of myself who did all of those things in my early 20s as still a kid. Sure, I could vote, sign up for the military, rent a car – but the me I am now is definitely more of a grown-up than the me who, all of the sudden, was allowed to legally do a whole bunch of adult-style things. And had a great time doing them. (Well – I didn’t sign up for the military.)

Grown-up-ness came gradually for me. Boy, we really don’t want to be seen as adults, do we? We don’t want to be adults because when we think of adults we probably think of our parents, and even if we love our parents, we can’t possibly be old like them, right? And all responsible and shit? And because people are generally getting married and having kids later and later, a prolonged adolescence can happen well into your 30s, or even 40s. I notice this with guys in particular. Sorry dudes – it’s true.

Of course, I do not speak for everyone. I know plenty of 20-somethings who are FAR more adult than I ever was in my 20s, or even early 30s. Or, really, even now. But for me personally, the realization that I was an adult was something that happened when I became a mother, and became fully responsible for someone else. (I feel like this is a totally cliche answer, and I'm sorry, but for me it's the truth.)

I mentioned this in yesterday's post, but sometimes I feel like I can be a selfish mother – or, at least, I have selfish tendencies that I control. In part, I think that is because until I was 33, I primarily put myself first. And it was wonderful. I got to do what I wanted, when I wanted, and sure, I worked full-time and did eventually get married when I was 31, but I had a whole lot of my “adult” life where I had freedom like I had never had before, and never will again. And it was awesome.

And even when I first had Jane - who was totally planned by the way, lest you read all of this as a "woe is me" post -  I didn’t really feel like a grown-up. Despite the fact that I was nowhere near what you would call a “young mother,” I felt like I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. It was the first time in my life that I felt completely unprepared, completely unknowledgable, completely…dumb. Referring to myself as someone’s “mother” felt insane. At best, I felt like a mostly-unqualified babysitter.

Now, nearly five years later, I have absolutely accepted myself as an adult. When I walk into Jane’s preschool, the other kids call me “Jane’s Mom” when they talk to me, like it's my name, my only identifying factor. Like yesterday – “Jane’s Mom, how do you spell rainbow?” If someone is calling you “Jane’s Mom,” it’s time to stop fooling yourself- you’re an adult.

Acting as Jane’s advocate, whether at school or the doctor’s office – certainly makes me feel like a grown-up. Knowing I will ask any question, no matter how idiotic it makes me look or feel, for her benefit, makes me a grown-up, I think. Signing permission forms makes me feel like an adult. Being her main disciplinarian definitely makes me feel like a grown-up – particularly when I hear words my mother said to me coming out of my mouth.

That’s right – I’m starting to sound like my mother.

I don’t know any other thing that signifies I’ve finally become an adult more than that.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Scintilla day 1: who am I?

It’s here, it’s here! Finally, the first day of the Scintilla Project. I would be remiss if I didn’t say how proud I am of these three women who got this who project up and running. Love them!

Today, we were given two prompt options, and I’m going to answer this one, all stream-of-consciousness style:

Who are you?

I’m Amanda.

I’m a lifelong Connecticut resident. And as much as I want to live somewhere much warmer, I’m here for the foreseeable future. Probably forever. This is where my family and the bulk of my friends are, so this is where I will be. Also, the beach is 40 minutes away. I cannot imagine not having a beach close by. My goal upon retirement is to have a house at the beach, either here or in San Diego. And to be a mall walker, but that’s another story.

I’m 38. I find that somewhat shocking. THIRTY EIGHT. I want to be OK with turning 40 next year (you know, after I turn 39 in September, LET'S NOT RUSH THINGS), but there is a part of me that is decidedly not OK with that. It’s better than the alternative, I know….but really? 38? When did that happen? Do I look 38? What does that even mean?

I’m married to Greg. He’s a business guy, an entrepreneur. His brain works completely differently than mine. He is in a band. He plays guitar. He sings. He watches CNBC a lot. He’s a boat captain. We have a boat. You can find us there all summer. He is completely obsessed with that boat. He is also completely obsessed with U2. We laugh.

I’m a mother. I have a 4 ½ year old daughter, Jane. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m a mother. I didn’t want to have kids until my early 30s. I’m not always a patient mother, sometimes I’m a selfish mother, but I try my best. I’m stricter than I thought I’d be. I’m way more fearful than I thought I’d be. I want the world to treat her well, but I know, at best, she will go through the heartbreaks we all go through. I want to protect her, but I know the best thing I can do sometimes is to do the opposite of that. I loathe every story I read online about bullying. It scares the shit out of me. She is my light, that girl. I am inordinately proud of my sassy kid. She is a drama queen. Like her mama.

I’m a theater dork. I’ve been obsessed with theater for many, many years. I worked in theater for 11 years. I do tons of community theater. I’ve directed, acted, produced, stage managed, and every other backstage and front of house role you can imagine. I’ve sat on the board of my community theater for 16 years. Many of the friends I’ve made through theater are as close as family. I get twitchy when I’m not doing a show. I know I can’t do shows as much as I used to, because it means I’m away from home and Jane three nights a week. It’s a balance, and sometimes it's hard (see the part where I said I'm sometimes a selfish mom). I’m DYING to start a show again, and have something brewing beginning in April. I love seeing shows almost as much as I love doing them. My favorite musical is RENT, which I’ve seen 22 times. The first time was in 1997, less than a year after it opened on Broadway, with the original Broadway cast. My friend and I went to NYC and spent nearly all of our money on tickets because we wanted to see it so badly. We had enough left over for a slice of pizza and a train ride home. So worth it. The first show I saw on Broadway was Les Miserables, and the most recent one was Arcadia. I'm going to see Anything Goes next week.

I love my friends beyond reason. I’m lucky to have a group of best friends that I’ve been tight with for over 30 years. That’s insane, right? I wish I saw my friends more. It’s hard, you know? Work, kids, activities – there are a lot of roadblocks. I am psyched that summer is coming. Summer = more friend time, including a week away at a rented house in RI with my peeps. PSYCHED. Vacationing with my friends is one of my adult dreams come true.

I am obsessed with the weather beyond all reason. Specifically – good weather. The kind of weather we’ve been having this spring in CT. It’s supposed to be in the high 70s next week. Do you have any idea how crazy that is?? It makes me so so happy. Everyone is walking around in a daze, in flip-flops and shorts. And it's not even officially spring yet!

I am extremely sarcastic and snarky. But, you know. With love.
I work in marketing at a college. And that’s about all I will ever say about work on this space.

I am a bleeding-heart liberal.
Other things I am obsessed with:

Bookstores - specifically, the smell of real books with real pages, not Kindle pages

Mad Men

Downton Abbey



Gossip mags



San Diego

Carbs (this is because I am on a terrible, terrible, carb-less diet right now called The 17 Day Diet. I am literally shaking as I write this because I am so hungry. I am on DAY TWO. It is a HOLY NIGHTMARE. I need to lose 10 lbs.)




Iced coffee (it’s spring!!)

My two dogs

The beach


So, that’s me, right now, this minute, in a nutshell.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

new york city. center of the universe.

So, if you were following me on Twitter on Saturday, you would have known all too well that I was in NYC with some friends. Here are some of my fave pics from the crazy ruins of an old smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island, the tram, drinking at 8th Street Wine Cellar (or we may have been at Mecury Bar at the point these pics were taken - not sure), posing like idiots at Washington Square Park, and generally having approximately one million laughs. If only I could explain what ass I made out of myself when signing out of our friend Bryan's dorm room at NYU....however, these pics will have to suffice to show how much fun we had. Can't wait to go back.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

overhead projectors are amazing, and other kindergarten thoughts

The best part of kindergarten so far, for Jane

So, yesterday was Jane’s second kindergarten orientation meeting. A lot of people have been telling me they can’t believe our district holds so many meetings, but to be honest, I’m happy for it. Having the kids go in monthly to get used to the classrooms and the teachers will hopefully pay off in September with fewer tears (for the kids – don’t worry, I’ll be crying like a maniac. Please send wine.).

ANYWAY, in February we had the first meeting that the kids came to as well (January was just the parents meeting). And, if you recall, Jane had a fit and I had to stay in the classroom with her, instead of going upstairs with all of the other parents. And of course I totally get she was uncomfortable hanging out with a teacher and a bunch of kids she didn’t know at all – and certainly didn’t want to be abandoned – and, let’s face it, I’m super-cool and I assume everyone feels sad when I leave them – but I just wanted her to be OK with it, you know? It seemed like all of the other kids had absolutely no problem, which was kind of shocking to me, actually. I just want her to be happy, and feel safe. I have so many feeeeeelings about this. And a lot of them are stomachache-inducing. Don’t worry – I project none of this on her.

So we’ve been gearing her up for weeks about yesterday’s meeting. We promised her that she could go ice skating with Greg if she was brave and strong and stayed in the classroom herself and let us go up to the parents’ meeting. She was cool going in, but she started to wobble once we go into the crowded classroom with unfamiliar people (and this time she was with the other teacher, so even that part wasn’t familiar). As the parents were leaving, her eyes started filling up and I could see we were going to go down the same weepy path again – until I caught the teacher’s eye, and she asked Jane if she wanted to hold her hand. As soon as that happened, Jane took the teacher’s hand, put on her brave face and waved us goodbye. (Side note: I really like both teachers so far, but this one reminds me of Fran Drescher slightly, in a very positive way. So she has the edge, not that we have a choice.)

And after a 45-minute meeting on the school budget, a typical kindergartener’s day, and plans for upcoming orientation meetings, we headed back to the classrooms to scoop up the kids. There was Jane in the pack with the rest, absolutely fascinated by the overhead projector the teacher was using to show them some artwork. So much so that she asked for one for Christmas. (Which was the perfect opportunity to tell her that Santa doesn’t bring overhead projectors – that’s something special that kindergarteners get to use.)

I love how much this school does to get the kids and parents geared up for kindergarten. I know it’s going to be rough (because I know Jane), but I couldn’t expect more out of the school and faculty in terms of easing the students in to the shocker that is public school.

Oh! And I put myself on the mailing list for the PTO. Which feels like the most grown-up thing I’ve ever done IN MY LIFE.

Here’s hoping next month goes as well….

PS They should really serve cocktails at budget meetings. Just sayin’.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Five Thoughts.

In the spirit of warming up my typing fingers before Scintilla begins, please do enjoy my rambling thoughts:

Thought the First: This week has all the ingredients of being super-annoying. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow which won’t be fun, and then on Wednesday we have another kindergarten orientation meeting with Jane (if you remember, last time she freaked and wouldn’t let me leave her in the classroom with the perfectly nice teacher and fellow students). I am pretty much dreading both of these events.

Thought the Second: Please disregard Thought the First. I have been trying to be less negative and complainy. Because I think when people think “negative and complainy” (yes, I see your red line, Spellcheck, and I AM IGNORING IT BECAUSE COMPLAINY IS A WORD NOW) they often think of me. And I don’t like that association. So instead, I will look at the happy and positive: I have plans to go to NYC on Saturday. And there are very few things better than that.

Thought the Third: When people have kids, they often will say they don’t want them to grow up, which I think is kind of creepy, because if they don’t grow up….well….then what happens? But I did decide last night that 4 ½ is pretty much the perfect age. Jane is right on the brink of becoming a real KID who goes to PUBLIC SCHOOL and everything, and even though she is at daycare every day, I feel like this time where she is just ours is quickly dwindling away. This doesn’t make any sense, as she is not really just ours now (please see aforementioned “is at daycare every day”) but it’s what I’m thinking, so there. Pretty much one of my favorite things these days is to listen to her playing in the other room, bossing her dolls around, or “reading” her books…she’s so imaginative and funny and creative and…I don’t know. I guess I feel a tiny bit proud, like we’ve done pretty good with her so far. Oh, shut up Amanda. (Remember when I said I was going to stop blogging about Jane? So far, so good.) (I mean, so bad.)

Thought the Fourth: I have decided to starve myself during the month of March and if I don’t lose any weight I’m going to start severing off limbs. In other words, I need to lose weight. (Again.) PS I am terrible at starving myself. PPS I am eating popcorn as I type this.

Thought the Fifth/Request the First: Please tell me one fun thing you are doing this week. You know – reward me for all of this fine writing I just did.

Friday, March 02, 2012

on weekends, writing, Scintilla, blogging and weather.

It’s Friday, party people! Here are some thoughts from this week:

It’s March! Which means by the end of this month, it will officially be spring. Which, living here in New England, does not necessarily mean it will feel like spring, but I have all of my fingers and toes crossed. I have worn my winter coat a grand total of THREE times this winter. Now, I hate wearing coats, so I wear them less often than regular (by "regular" I mean people who like to be warm) people, but only three times in Connecticut is pretty amazing. Anyway, I do not want to add to that number, and frankly, I just would like a nice long spring, so let’s start it right now, OK?

I’ve been reading some possible scripts for an upcoming spring show with my nerdy theater group. We don’t have a title nailed down yet, but auditions will be in the beginning of April, and then we’re off! Not sure exactly what my involvement will be this time around, but oh, I WILL be involved. Mama needs her hobby back. Mama's getting antsy.

Speaking of Mama, the following is a little exchange between Jane and myself yesterday (if we’re friends on Facebook, sorry, you’ve already seen this):

Jane: Am I going to get married someday?

Me: Someday when you’re older like Mommy, you can get married if you want to.

Jane: ….when I’m seven?

That’s just a little Jane-related humor for you.

Speaking of Jane, I know I hinted on Twitter last week-ish that I have been contemplating how much I share about her, and how I think I should do less of that here (although, really, I don’t share too much on the blog anymore, I don’t think. My Facebook page is Jane-heavy). There is a whole uproar right now concerning Heather Armstrong, author of the massively popular Dooce blog, because she started going off on her 1.5M Twitter followers, and people were really upset, etc, etc (go here if you want the backstory, and the comments are great). Anyway, a part of the discussion about Dooce is about whether it’s right to share so much about your child(ren) on a public site, in terms of their right to privacy. And, OBVIOUSLY, like, three people read this blog, but it IS public, and…..well……this is just something I’m thinking about. More to come later, I’m sure. I clearly don’t have a coherent thought in my head about it now.

BUT, speaking of the blog, and writing in general, as you know, I’ve been kinda blah about posting here lately. And once again I was contemplating just taking a few months off (which I’ve never actually done! I don’t think I’ve ever taken a full month off of the blog. My poor readers.). BUT THEN. My internet friends Kim, Dominique and Onyi came up with a super-amazeballs awesomely awesome FORTNIGHT OF STORY TELLING project called Scintilla. Please please go here and read up on it, and join in for the fun the last two weeks of March. (I mean, the last fortnight of March. I AM SO EXCITED TO BE INVOLVED IN SOMETHING THAT HAS “FORTNIGHT” IN THE TITLE, GOD I AM SO AMERICAN.)

At my core, I like to think I’m a writer. I do some writing for my real life job, and I used to be a journalist, and my last job was writing-heavy. But I have always thought I could put more into the blog. But sometimes you need a little kick, don’t you? That’s why I’ve done things like Reverb and NaBloPoMo. But for some reason, this project seems more….special, and I think it’s because it was created by these three mega-talented ladies who I met on the big, giant internet. And I am grateful.

Speaking of grateful –I am very very grateful it is the weekend! We don’t have a ton scheduled – I’ve got my moms’ happy hour tonight, Jane has swimming lessons in the morning, I have book club tomorrow night (where we will be discussing Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, which I hadn’t read til now, if you can believe it). (PS: not my favorite.) I also am picking the next book, so I get to do the big reveal tomorrow night. And for book club geeks, this is a BIG DEAL.

So, to conclude this extremely rambling and mostly ridiculous post, I bid you a happy weekend!