Monday, August 4, 2014

Mornings with Moo

What? Could it be? My moo?
Much as I love our morning cuddles, there are some days that D just doesn't feel the same. Up at 5:30 ish, bottle, and come on, mommy, quit with the hugs I am ready to GO.

A few weeks ago I had the realization that there's nothing that keeps us inside and mandates a wrecked apartment on those endless mornings. Hang on a minute. Two hours to spare before work. Why aren't we outside?? Why am I not running?? Good questions!

So out came the BOB and on went the shoes and away we went. And it was awesome. In two slooooow miles, I remembered all of the reasons early morning runs rock. Misty river views. Sleepy dog walkers. Greedy groundhogs flopping out of the way. D realized that at the end of our route awaited his beloved Moo.  And that understanding made the whole sitting in the stroller listening to mommy wheeze so, so, worth it.

Behold, the Moo. 

This little gem sits along the river, right outside of our apartment. You can see it from the front window. You can catch a glimpse of it walking out the front door. D adores it. By adore, I mean, anytime you are with him and your body is pointing remotely in the direction of the Moo, D will start to plead and point. Mooo? Mooooooo! and is pretty crushed when its clear that's not your ultimate destination.


The other day, we were chilling with the Moo after a run and some lady in a bike felt the need to tell us, You know, that's NOT what a real cow looks like. And off she sped, leaving me mouth agape (and obviously still annoyed days later) and D oblivious, because, really, what matters more than the Moo? Of course we know what a real cow looks like. Do YOU, lady, understand my son's love of animals and how many we've tried to get him up close and personal with in his short life? Of course you don't. But you did feel a need to insert your holier than thou judgment-filled oh these poor city kids tinged comment as you smugly cycled to work or wherever you were going. To you, lady, I say, mooooooo. 


So, running. I'm attempting to get back track after a long hiatus. A mile here, a jog there, but nothing to prevent my first 2 miles out with D from feeling ugh. Despite that, after a day or two under my belt, I somehow found myself signing up for the next half marathon in my city. A little more than a month away. What? 

I think nostalgia got the best of me. My first (and only) half was ran just days after dad passed away, and done mindfully, with him and I and J guiding my way. It was the most wonderful, focused, meditation I have ever had. And I miss it. And I want it back. So, off we go. Far from  a streak, but I am coming up on a week - 7 consecutive days with at least a mile in the books. And the Moo to cheer me on. 

Look, mom, it's not HARD! Just go!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Calling All Philly Peeps

subtitle: Where I put myself out there way more than I usually do

So, I was really, really, really hoping this post would be the one where I announce my new job and our move to the City of Brotherly Love, which also contains a sisterhood of bloggers and former bloggers, whom I love. Still close to M's parents; closer to mom; way closer to my birth family who are itching to meet D....


I came this close. And didn't get it. And I've been told (because I kind of have an inside scoop) that it was neck and neck until the end....and that the fact that the other candidate lives right there right now and I do not (despite me saying outright, numerous times, that we are ready to pack our bags) was probably the tie-breaker.

Some of that makes me feel a little better. Most of it just stings.

And makes me all the more determined to make a move.

Because the search and interview process, like most things with non-profits,  lasted longer than expected, I had plenty of time to think about what life might be like in Center City, or the Main Line, or Mt. Airy, or Chestnut Hill...I think it would be awesome. So does M. D already has an honorary residence since he spent years in deep freeze there. Our little Han Solo.

Now, I love my little city, I truly do. I hype it any chance we get. You know this. We invite friends over just to show it off.  But you can only grow so much in a city with a population this size. And at the end of the day, even though we've lived around the world, this is the city where M and I both grew up. We went to (rival) high school(s) here. Besides reaching our career ceilings here, as M says, "I just want to drive down a street and not know every single thing that I'm going to see on it."

Yes. That.

And this is where I ask for your help:

If you happen to live in the Philadelphia area, and if you happen to hear of an executive opportunity (wheelhouse: associations, nonprofits, communications, govt relations) can you give me a shout? Of course, I'm looking in all the usual places (LinkedIn, ASAE, Nonprofit Times, all that) but I'd love to have some eyes and ears on the ground.

In the meantime, M and I have both been taking a new approach to our current jobs - "go with your gut, because you might quit tomorrow." I can't speak for M, but I think my work product has actually improved because of this new philosophy. I know my evenings and weekends have. Here's a glimpse of what went down last weekend (this is for you, S!):

Before (I made this! And yes, it is vegan.)


After (complete with favorite horsey. Neigh!!)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dates and Deadlines

There are some words I need to just stop saying. Actually, more like phrases. Phrases like,

"I will get that to you...
  • ...ASAP."
  • the end of the today."
  • ...tomorrow at the latest."
  • the end of the week."
Because you know what? It probably won't happen. Today. Tomorrow. Maybe not this week. Most of the time there are things (or people, or one person - insert icy glare here) involved that are beyond my control. But sometimes there isn't.  I make my deadlines maybe 50% of the time. And thankfully, I am in the field of human services and that is seen as pretty damned acceptable.

I suck at deadlines. Really, really suck at them.  Just ask my friend L who is still waiting for me to push the review of the book she wrote last year out of my drafts and into the world. (I'm sorry, L! It's coming. It really is.)

When we started trying to make the hope of a family a reality, I gave myself a deadline of 35. Which then extended to 40, which, you know, 8 years ago, seemed like a world away. But here we are. In my 40th year.  And I may or may not be done with this whole family making adventure. Screw you, deadline.  You are an ambiguous marker on an abstract concept we call time.  I choose to ignore you.  Matrix-like.

You think that's air you're breathing? Hmm. 

Some big dates are looming - D's first birthday!
Some I chose to let pass quietly - happy 5th birthday, little girls.....
Some I just totally spaced - happy 7th blogoversary to me.

Posts are few and far between, I know. But the blog is still here, so therefore, I am.  Brother is better. M is still muddling. D is delicious. I mean, ridiculously delicious. And that glimmer of hope is still glimmering. And maybe I'll have some news about that later this week.  You can help by sending all of the, "wow, that m. would sure make an excellent executive..." thoughts you can muster towards the midatlantic section of the United States.

Deadlines: Useful focal points? Distractions? Meaningless? Meaningful? Discuss.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


So, one month later, where do things stand?

Good question, my friends. Good question.

Let's start with the good news. Brother started a new job this week. Brought in 2 roommates to help with the bills. Got "grounded" by a number of "friends" after a wayward night out, giving him ample nights at home to rethink and reassess. He claims he's shed a lot of baggage - possessions, people and the like and is eager to move forward. So, regardless of whether or not any or all of this is true, I'm thankful for the calm.

M. Dear sweet stressball M. I thought we had reached a point of balance there for a bit. I really did. That, or he was just getting good at shaking things off before he walked in the door at night. But we're back to the tossing and turning at night. The sighs before waking. He sent me a text the other day from work saying he was having spasms and couldn't make them stop.

Ok. At this point, my tolerance (low anyway) starts to wane and every bone in my body screams, shit or get off the pot, dude. Quit. Or don't quit. Figure it out.

He still hasn't figured it out.

So, we're still wading through that one. But there are some glimmers of hope on the horizon. One that could mean big changes for all of us. For once, I'm trying not to over share, so I'll leave it at that.

But as a consolation, I will also leave you this:

This whole polar vortex thing blows. just blows.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Baby D on the Move

Don't worry, friends. No amount of stress can dim the joy that this guy brings (along with his trusty remote) 

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Right now, I can't see the forest for the trees.  End of year reflections,  new goals and objectives for the new year, resolutions to blog more and more often. ...I can't.  I can't seem to see beyond the situations circling me.

Let me start by saying I'm fine. D. is amazing. Me and D, we're solid. He is truly the Best Baby Ever. (Don't believe me? Ask his grandparents. No bias here. Natch) Xmas rocked. Many visits with family and friends.  Many outings before the weather turned frigid. I think he finally figured out the whole opening presents thing, now that there aren't any left to open. D dazzled everyone with his walking (!) and new front tooth (!) But some other family members are weighing down my heart, and my shoulders. Heavy. Both feel so, so heavy.

Let's start with the easy one (it's all relative, isn't it.) M got a promotion at work. A pretty huge one. As in, he is now kind of a public figure. A pretty visible member of our little community.  For some, this is a dream job, a career goal, something to aim for and hope that you're in the right place at the right time when a position opens.

For M, it is not exactly that. In fact,  some days it feels like torture. Constant and steady torture. It is nothing he asked for, nothing he actually ever wanted. But he was in the right place at the right time and didn't really have a choice in the matter. As in, "can I go home and think about it?" "Not really, we're making a public announcement at the end of the week." "Oh." A painfully shy person with some serious social anxiety and remnants of PTSD who is pretty averse to confrontation is now managing a staff of 20, most of whom have been in his field for 20+ years and are, shall we say, pretty set in their ways.

You would know NONE of this if I didn't tell you. M puts on a helluva a front. And by all external accounts is kicking ass in this new role.  So, if you know us in real life, ixnay on the ob-jay talk. Mums the word, ok? For all you know, all is well. The new job is "challenging," but that's it.

To the world, he's confident, knows what he's talking about, has his shit together. And he does! But he doesn't think he does. Every step is filled with doubt and apprehension. He dreads most days (And nights since he's pretty much on call 24/7 now.) If you break it down to an hourly wage,  it might not be worth it. And when I say "it," I mean losing the person I love.

Moments of joy and laughter feel rare. Even with the Best Baby Ever at his feet. At the end of the day, he's just not sure this is what he wants to do, how he wants to spend his time and more importantly, his mental and emotional capital on.

So, we're dealing with this. Do you owe it to your son to stick it out and provide for him? Have a job that he would be proud to tell his friends about? Or do you owe it to your family to understand that what some people define as success is not necessarily what works for you? Is it brave to leave a job that is sucking out your soul, or cowardly? I'm not sure.  Neither is he.

When I started this draft, it was 11 pm on a Saturday night and M was in front of 3 computer screens and 2 laptops with his cell phone on hand. Taking calls.

This is success?

It's selfish, but I want my husband back. And I would like to have just a portion of my brain back to not think about this 24/7.  I can't speak for M, but I had a dad who put "providing for the family" first, before anything else. And I can tell you it harbored resentment, not pride. I would seethe when he actually showed up for any awards ceremony in grade school, because in my mind, what did he do to help me get there?

And yes, I know. He put food on the table and a roof over my head. But he never let me forget that either. Food and shelter, essential, yes. But I think there is more to life than the first row of Maslow's pyramid.

But right now, another family member is pretty focused on maintaining that first level. My brother, through every fault of his own, lost his girlfriend, his job and fears he could lose his house. All in the course of a few short weeks.

I'm not going to go into it, because, well I'm tired of hearing about it and I'm tired of talking about it. But let me just say this, yes, it's important for someone to admit, "I f-ed up." But the next step, and this is an important one, is to STOP F-ING UP.  Like, now.

He's said things to others about borrowing money from me, or moving in with us. Both of those statements make me laugh. Out loud. Ain't happening, dude. I will change my locks first.

I had offered a month's mortgage payment when I heard the first version of the sob story, but as further editions were refined, and more info was gathered from other versions others had heard, that offer is off the table.

Because what is the line between compassion and enabling? How gray is that space? How fuzzy is the boundary? I am probably the last member of my family still in the gray. Everyone else is on the "you've made your bed...." side.  Even my mom.

But I spend my days trying to get people the resources and help that they need, so I can't really shut that off when a situation presents itself so close to home.  But I can only open the door. My brother still needs to walk through it.

And here's a little tip: one should probably lay off the FB status updates with pics of nights on the town if they conflict with the tales of woe you are feeding your family members, who are also on FB.


But he's my brother. So how far do I watch him fall? How far is he going to fall? And more importantly, will that fallout hurt me? My family? Because when my brother feels helpless or frustrated,  that's when threats of violence emerge.  His reaction to feeling out of control is to regain some sense of control through intimidation. And as much as I claim that I'm used to it, these are the things that fill my mind on these days off work once D is asleep.

I hope this explains my silence. My absence lately.  I know these things will work themselves out.  I do.  M will find peace and, dare I dream,  satisfaction in his new role.  Or he won't.  My brother will dig himself out,  or he won't. And the world will keep turning and I will remember to be thankful for all of the things we have.  But right now,  I feel like I'm going through most days without my glasses,  and I can only see as far as the emotions in front of and around me.