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May 2009
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July 2009

Piles of Files

Sunday kicked off another spurt of activity on our house project(s). Matt got the storage room that will become our master bedroom closet emptied and painted. The minor problem being that I'm the one who has to figure out where all the stuff goes during my Sam-free moments. Now that we know what the function of all our rooms is going to be, and we know how we live in our house, it's easier to decide what stays and what goes. Having no garage or storage space to speak of makes it even easier.

Still, though, I have such a hard time getting rid of things! I cringed when it became obvious that most of the boxes up there where full of my files, newspapers and, yes, magazines. Cringe.

Boxes full of: Pay stubs from every check of every job we've had since 1998; Files and files of notes from interviews for stories that ran ages ago; a user manual for every cell phone I've ever owned; drafts of stories I'd forgotten I'd started (that part was actually pretty fun to find).

I promised myself I'd do 15 minutes a day going through and purging those files until I had just the ones I want in my filing cabinets. Luckily, I got a huge head start today when Retta took Sam for the morning and I, for once, stayed focused on the task at hand. I did a lot of Google searches that started like this: "How long do I have to keep credit card statements? Phone and utility bills?" Because I had a copy of every bill I've paid since, you got it, 1998. Many, many of them where in one of several files labeled: "Things to file."

It was hard not to read every letter I came by and every story I'd started. But don't worry, I made a new pile for the stuff I want to read later.


Michael Jackson for Prez

ASB 7th Grade The worst part for me personally about Michael Jackson's recent passing is hearing his songs over and over again. It brings back awful memories. Sorry, A.

I know people who adored Michael Jackson and I can see why, he was as talented as he was tortured. I can't pretend to understand the man. All I can tell you is I got my butt kicked in Junior High because of him. Well, him and my mom.

I have no idea where my mom found them but my brother and I had matching bright red sweatshirts with "Michael Jackson for Prez" written across the front in "Thriller" font. They were exactly as hideous as they sound. I was already a pretty funny looking kid with short crooked hair, hairy arms and bizarre ideas about clothing. There was truly no shortage of nasty little nicknames for me before said sweatshirt appeared on the scene. But it was just too much for even the nicer mean kids to resist.

My most distinct memory, besides the basic spitting on my head, kicking me at the bus stop, etc., was when I was sitting by myself at one of those big, long cafeteria tables. Just me eating my lunch which most likely consisted of a mandarin and a salami and butter sandwich. You know the group of kids I'm talking about, the "cool" ones, decided to sit the same table. Before I knew it, they were laughing and all leaning to the left in order to push me off the table onto the floor.

I hated that sweatshirt. Reasonable or not, I blamed Michael.


Friday Favorites

IMG_0719IMG_0717

Me:

The fact that I seem to be feeling better some of the time!

Tazo's Ginger Green Tea, cold

Perfect summer weather, not too hot & not too cold

Public Parks

Sam:

MUD. He recently discovered the one mud puddle at the park and went to town. He had mud everywhere, including inside his ears.

Matching music mobiles with Ella. They turned it into a "gentle" game of bumper cars.

Salad. Seriously.


Writing from the edge

Matt, my faithful and most hardcore, editor looked over my column before I submitted it yesterday. He made very few changes.

"It's really good. I mean, I wouldn't publish it but it's good."

"How good can it be if you wouldn't publish it?"

"I mean, I wouldn't hang myself out there like that."

"Ahhh. Yes, we are different that way."

I suppose I'm different than a lot of people, what with my willingness/compulsion to put it all out there as I see it, as it happened, even if it doesn't paint me in the prettiest light. I guess I'm not as into being pretty as I am about being honest. Raw, even, if it helps others know they're not alone hanging out there at the edge of sanity.

I owe no small debt of gratitude to the author Anne Lamott whose book, Operating Instructions, I read long before having children was really on my radar. Reading her controversially truthful account of what her experience was like as a new mother made me feel like I was really going to be okay being a mom as I am, when the time came.

That was huge for me. If my writing publicly about the challenges of parenting puts me under the microscope for judgment, so be it. I'd rather take a little extra crap from people lucky enough to know it all and help a few other folks along the way than censor myself just in case it offends, or upsets, people who don't agree with, or understand, me.

 


Goodbye Project 365 Sticky Notes

Project 365 sticky notes From a young age I thought that whole "quitters never win" thing was a bunch of b.s. made up by parents to force their kids to stick with piano, ballet and tennis lessons that they hated - ahem.

Instead, I think trying something for awhile to see if it works for you is way better than never starting anything at all. That, to me, is failing.

All that is to say I made a liberating decision this morning to quit participating in Project 182.5, which for me has turned more into Project 365 Sticky Notes anyway.

My intention is to catch up to early June and call it Project 180 or something. I figure it still shows a slice of our day-to-day life but really? How many pictures of strawberries and the bath routine do I really need to take for posterity? The one picture, however, of Sam's "buggy" stained shirt next to a bottle of Spray-N-Wash, that I'm glad I have.

I'm glad I've done the project to this point because it was nice to look at the ordinary as meaningful. I am also so relieved to let it go and move on to other things.

Pregnancy seems to suck the creative right out of me. I told Matt the other day I feel like I've done nothing creative in the last, oh, 13 weeks. He said: "Well, I don't know, making a whole person seems kinda creative."

Love him. Except when I'm ticked that he's suffering from none of my symptoms beyond cravings for Snickers Ice Cream.

Thanks to you who read my notes. :)


Friday Favorites

IMG_0689 Friday already? Okay, a few favorites this week:

Me:

Sam's smile

Tazo Brambleberry Tea

Getting quotes for a maid service and pretending I can afford it



Sam:

Surprising his parents with his rapidly advancing climbing skills.

Yelling "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" every time he sees a truck

Chasing "Good Girl" around the house


Link of the week: Ali Edwards' site because it makes me happy and inspires me to get back to that creative part of me buried under piles and to do lists.


These days

Morning Sam (2) Missing: my keys, my cell phone and my mind.

Man, it's not that I don't think about writing and posting, it's just that you very likely do not want to hear the specifics of what I've been up to these days. It is getting better at times, though. Sometimes. And I hear it should be lots better really, really soon.

Sam, in his most recent act of aggression, started waking up at 5 a.m. Really, kid? He's not old enough to come downstairs and make his own breakfast so I'm waking up with Matt at 4:30 a.m. and just as he leaves and I start drifting off to sleep, my human alarm clock starts chirping. And he will not be silenced. Those who know me know this is a very, very big problem for me.

So we're I'm kind of fumbling through the mornings to keep up with little Mr. Bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed (what is that expression about anyhow?) and then I stayin a hazy fog the rest of the day. It's pretty pathetic, really. If you stopped by my house these days, I would step out on to the porch and close the door behind me to protect you from the atrocities inside, and me from embarrassment. So when I do manage to pull myself off the couch or away from my porcelain friend, I'm generally busy doing the bare minimum to keep things going. Like making sandwiches for dinner. Again. Or putting the contents of the freezer and pantry back in place now that my little friend can open them and enjoys stacking and moving piles of things to odd places. Or just walking around picking up random things and thinking: Didn't I just do this? 

See, pretty boring stuff these days. And frankly, with how I'm feeling, boring is great!