Monday, December 24, 2007
In case you didn't hear my son exclaimations yesterday - he's FREE!

I went to work in the afternoon, but not before giving him a miniature birthday party (complete with miniature cake and gifts wrapped in inside-out Christmas paper decorated with glitter, stencils and crayons, because that's how I roll.)

Labels: ,

Friday, December 21, 2007
Ramble Ramble
I'm wondering if I'm normal. Having said that, I also wonder if you are too. No offense. I don't mean to suggest that everyone reading this falls into the category of abnormal, especially not in any perceptible way. I'm simply curious if most of us out there, reading blogs might fall into the same sort of inner-panic that I do. The sort of anxiety that leaves us writing and reading blogs almost as a form of therapy, for lack of a better word.

I myself am perceptibly normal. I bathe. I wear appropriate clothing. I speak clearly, manage (somehow) to function most normally in every situation. Sit. Speak. Eat. Breath. Keep your hands inside the ride at all times. I am a mother of two, for goodness sakes. There's no room for crazy here.

To the outside world, I'm vanilla.

It's the inner struggles that have me questioning my grounding in the realm of "norm"

For example, today I dreaded the holiday potluck here in the spacious (note sarcasm) office kitchenette, as though I were walking into the office of a needle-happy doctor. Caught at my desk by my boss, I followed her at command (I mean, invitation) to the roomful of Christmas-sweater clad middle-aged mammography tech's where I felt immediately out of place, as though I were vibrant and loud like a shrill, shrieking alarm. All eyes turned to me and I shrank back, hoping to disappear between the time clock and bulletin board.

And then they foisted their pot-luckiness upon me. Eat! Try these! And look - feta burritos with cranberries. Cranberries! And I grew more and more uncomfortable. Bumbling, really.

I scrambled to pluck appetizers, scattered them over my plate, snatched a few squares of fudge to bring home for the kids - and then I raced back to my quiet, private office - where all feta-stuffed burritos found their home in my trash bin (cranberries and all.)

And I thought - I wasn't always like this. I was a bold child - a wake-up the neighborhood, go door-to-door with my zany ideas type of child. As a teenager and young woman too - even the things I did, the social situations I was involved in less than a decade ago, all give me anxiety just thinking of them. Have I changed that much? And if so - why? Age? Is all this adulthood finally getting to me? Or is it stress? Stress-induced maturity, leads to social anxiety? What was once OK is now risky, therefore, stressful, therefore, causes me to be anxious?

Or maybe I've just never been a big fan of forced socialization. Maybe my not wanting to participate in a yuletide potluck with a gaggle of virtual strangers is nothing short of normal. Maybe they're the ones who are strange - the people who want to reheat food from their home kitchens and then serve them in a room no larger than the gutted interior of an SUV - maybe they're the weirdos.

Come to think of it, I was almost always home sick from school on Valentines Day. It became like a joke between my mother and I. My sister would go to my classroom after school and bring home my box of valentines and a plate of cookies and cupcakes, and I'd go through the thin paper envelopes in the quiet of my own bedroom. Not much different than today, I suppose. (Though cupcakes fared better than the feta burrito's...then again, maybe not.)

Labels: ,

Monday, December 17, 2007
The Overnight
Things to do while working the graveyard shift...

Nibble the dark chocolate from the outside of about a dozen miniature peppermint patties (discarding the insides)
Re-read the Lorrie Moore book you've brought with you (since you've already read every magazine and Popcorn Factory catalog already at the desk...)

Jog around the back offices. Do jumping-jacks, squats and a few elbows and toes.

Write, what you can (without the use of Word, it's difficult)

Read anything even remotely readable online (Did you know that a man sold his son's $90 video game for $9,000 in an online auction? Or that apparently Jennifer Love Hewitt is overweight? Or that Guiliani is pulling political Ad's out of NH to focus on Florida?) Really. Read anything. At the very least, it keeps your mind from wandering too far.

Work, of course, as needed - but also make grocery lists, do online Christmas shopping, and start games of
Scrabulous with any friends who might be willing to play with you (even better if they live in another part of the world...where it's already daylight and completely normal to be awake.)

Daydream about how nice it will be to not be working while the rest of the world is sleeping. But not too much. Best not to get ahead of yourself.

And really, aside from the whole graveyard shiftiness of the whole scenario, how bad is it to get paid to do (virtually) nothing?

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 16, 2007
Holiday Meme

It's late. I'm at work. Something light.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate, I do not do the nog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Predominately wrapped - unless the gift is too awkward or large.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No

5. When do you put your decorations up? First weekend in December-ish

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Mashed Rutabega (or turnip, as my mother refers to it)

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Coming down the stairs and acting out miniature songs/skits with my siblings before opening our gifts.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? In the car with my mother. I was wearing a denim skirt and cried.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Simply. I grew up with a big-bulbed, brightly colored tree with a LOT of ornaments. Our tree is decked with small white lights and simple silver/gold and wooden ornaments, for the most part.

11. Snow: love it or hate it? Considering that I'm working the overnight shift and might not be able to make it home in the morning, due to an impending Nor'easter - I do not like snow. It's pretty to look at while it's falling, but not good for anything else.

12. Can you ice skate? I have in the past. Though, I don't think I know how to stop.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? A pool table, probably.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Family

15.What is your favorite holiday dessert? We don't have any traditional desserts. I suppose my grandmother-in-law's Christmas cookies?

16. What tops your tree? A star (so original, I know)

17. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving. I'm terrible at receiving, I think. I always worry that I'm not making quite the right face - too surprised? Not surprised enough? Happy? Bored?

18. What is your favorite Christmas song? Breath of Heaven, Amy Grant (that and the instrumental version of Sleigh Ride)

19. What is your favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, The Santa Claus, White Christmas...really too many. I watch Christmas movies all year round.

20. What would be the best gift you could receive this year? Peace. Time with my family. Thankfully, both are free.


Friday, December 14, 2007
And in Morning's Light
I paced around the house last night, telling my husband about how good this would be, how good it would be to be around fellow writers, to be working with authors, to temporarily shrug off this forty-hour work week and the daily routines of childcare and housework, to simply write for a week, even if we can't afford it.

And in this mornings light, it feels somehow more possible. Or maybe it's that after finally getting some rest I can see more clearly the things that I want and I realize that this is a blessing of a problem to be facing. I'm in! afterall. For now I'll celebrate that.

Let the money take care of itself.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 13, 2007
Maybe I'm just plum tuckered (huh?) or simply to distracted by all the what-if's and who-know's in my life right now to really get myself enthused with the news I received today.

Or maybe it's that I applied on a whim, literally. I think I did it from work one afternoon.

At any rate, in my inbox this afternoon I found an email acceptance (official letter to be sent in January) to
The Kenyon Review Summer Writer's Workshop.

Who knows. Miracles can happen. Maybe we'll actually be able to swing it.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

See that look in her eye there? It's saying, "Get me outta here! I know I'm a mess and you're only trying to help, but really, look, over there, I should be over there. Seriously. Get. Me. Out. Of. Here."

I've decided to use the impending Nor'easter as an excuse to call off from work on Friday. Not my boring-I'm-overqualified-for-this-job hotel job, but my one day a week office job where they hardly have enough work to keep me busy for eight hours anyway, so I can't feel guilty for not driving the thirty miles to get there in the middle of a snowstorm.

And besides, on Friday my husband has business to do. At least one phone interview, perhaps two. Big things, potentially. Though, very unknown things. We're not even sure what this job he's interviewing for is...or even where the job is.

Did someone say Arkansas?

At this point, I'm so tired that I'm absolutely ready for whatever comes our way. Whatever it takes to get me back home to my children and my writing.
I am that girl in the highchair begging to be let down as quick as possible - messy or not.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 06, 2007
We are a light family. We dance in the kitchen, wrestle with our kids in the living room and toss pillows and towels and blankets over our heads (or throw them at each other's heads) nine or ten times a day. We are lighthearted, my husband and I. And we try to pass this on to our kids, let them know that making a mistake is more bearable if you laugh it off, that (minor) boo-boo's can be fixed by shaking it out, or getting a quick peck from Mom or Dad. That sometimes you just need to dive off of the couch into a pile of pillows, and that's ok.

But kids are smarter than that, more intuitive. And despite our best efforts to not let them see the burden that we're carrying, they do. Even my little son, not yet three, knows that his mom and dad are struggling, he reads us better than we read ourselves.

Standing in store check-out line, I'm humming and holding The Boss to keep him from running amuck through the aisles of Christmas decorations. He pulls back from me and looks me squarely in the eye. "It'll be ok, Momma," he tells me. And though I'd been masking my worries through humming and smiling and pointing out the big Santa decorations and the plastic snow globes that inflate on your lawn and spew Styrofoam snowflakes - he hasn't been fooled.

While I worked recently, my husband was playing with our son. Some quiet game, not their typical wrestling match, something peaceful before bed. And my son came to my husband, looked at him seriously and told him gently, matter-of-factly, "Love can heal that boo-boo, Daddy."

I saw the woman who fired my husband last night.

The hotel I work at is practically in the same parking lot as hers (and they're currently at war, nothing to do with what happened with my husband). She came through the lobby door, pulling her gloves on her hands, too distracted to notice who was behind the desk. When she looked up and met my eyes, her face turned red, turned raspberry, maroon even. She stumbled over herself, almost turned back around to leave. My presence had caught her off guard - the friend she was coming to see wasn't at the desk, and in her place was the woman working 40+ hours a week to keep her family afloat in the wake of what she did to her husband, her family.

My kids haven't had their annual doctors appointments, we don't have insurance.

I smiled at her politely, treated her with the same warmth and welcome as I do any of the guests who walk through our door.

And when she left, I smiled and waved and would've sent her off with a pleasant "have a good night..." had I not been on the telephone with a guest.

I felt a burden lifted. I am not bitter. She may have disrupted my life, but she has not disrupted my heart.

We are a light hearted family. We dance in the kitchen and laugh off our mistakes and let love heal what we can not.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Wherein She Lets Go
This has been me as of late. Just plain tired as all get out. And today, slogging through brownish slush to and from my office today, the weather matches my mood.

Lately, as I've gone to work without showering, gone shopping with a baseball cap over greasy hair and without makeup or even clean pants, I've been pondering where exactly the crossover is from simply being tired to "letting oneself go."

And I think I've come to terms today - that the line in the sand is as simple as this:

Tired = too exhausted to physically bother with the process of presenting oneself.
Letting yourself go = Not caring. Not bothering to present yourself at your best, even when you have the energy to do so.

And I am firmly in the latter - but honestly, and this just solidifies my assertion, I don't care. Pimples? Don't care. Lips pale and in need of gloss? Pshaw. Wearing a sweater inside out and sweatpants with holes in the knees? If I'm actually at home long enough to enjoy dressing down like this - then yes, yes and yes.

Labels: , ,