Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My space pod

I tend to complain in the evening on Facebook.

If we are FB friends, you likely know this. You may even be all, seriously, Lisa and bedtime again? Can't she get a grip? Set up a routine? Stop whining?

No. I mean, yes, we have a routine. But for the rest, it seems that I cannot quite get there.

Dinner, bath (not nightly, although usually a pleasant part of the evening), teeth brushing, into jammies, bedtime...all of these things are a potential nightly struggle. Some nights they are ALL a struggle. Some nights, none of them. This is rare. Usually there is at least one activity that incites belligerence.

If I can get them past brushing their teeth and into their jammies, we tend to be good. We will sit together and read, and then, with minor struggles, get into bed.

This isn't to say that some nights India doesn't protest wildly. Usually I stay with her until she falls asleep. This can take a long time. Sometimes I have stuff to do, and when she seems like she's asleep I get up as quietly as I can and she is all, WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

Sometimes I say I'm going to take a shower, which is true.

And then when I tiptoe past, naked because I always forget to bring my jammies, she is all, "Hey! Still awake! You're back!"

Most nights if I get up before she's asleep I tell her I'm going to clean the kitchen. She told my mom, "At night Mama kisses me and goes to clean the kitchen."

She typically makes me promise to come back. Sometimes she falls asleep before I do, but that is rare.

Recently she stayed up for over an hour yodeling and making dying goat noises.

Yes. I get it. You don't want to go to sleep.

But back to my evening lamentations.

One night my dear friend Banna, who has a grown child, said, "What you need is a space pod and a bottle of vodka."


Since then, this space pod has been my imaginary little safe haven. Let's ignore the fact that I never, ever want to go to outer space. Nor am I all that interested in vodka.

Really, it's more like my I Dream of Jeannie bottle. Somewhere personal, fabulous, cushioned, and indulgent for me to retreat to. I add to it regularly.

My space pod so far has the following:
  • Super comfy couches
  • Squooshy pillows
  • The absolute perfect temperature, whatever that means on any given day
  • Wine and martinis
  • An endless supply of M&Ms
  • Oh, and Reese's cups
  • A soft serve ice cream dispenser under which you can fit your face for easy consumption
  • All the 80s music ever, plus the option of David Bowie and Prince on endless loop
  • Orange Gatorade
  • "New Yorker" magazines. Which sit in a pile under a sign that reads "NO GUILT!"
  • Shelves of delicious fiction and difficult-childhood memoirs
  • Amazon Prime and Netflix and a really easy to use remote control where you never click something and then have no idea how to get all those commands off the screen or why you suddenly have French subtitles.
A friend asked how I'm going to dispense ice cream straight into my mouth in zero gravity and I was all, uh. Hmm.

The truth is, I hadn't actually thought about going anywhere.

I love my children more than my own life. I like Earth and I like gravity. This is where I belong.

I mean, I know I've been rhapsodizing about my space pod. But it wasn't ever meant for space. Really, it could even be, you know, a big closet.

Space pod just sounds better. In fact, it sounds a hell of a lot better than WHERE IS MY CLOSET AND BOTTLE OF VODKA?

Which actually sounds rather alarming and problematic, no?

Really, I am just mentally constructing a little retreat space that is entirely my own. With a lot of imaginary stuff that makes it perfect. It is my mental refuge from the entire world.

I intend to keep calling it my space pod.

What would your space pod have?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Of the wonderful things that you get out of life there are four

Dear India,

Now you are four. Yesterday was your birthday, and you had a spectacular day.

The night before, when you were still three, you expressed some trepidation, saying, "I've been three for a long time. I don't know how four will feel."

Sometimes I am in awe of your sophistication.

We made sugar cookies for your preschool class and they were a huge hit, both at home and at school. 
We got you a pink (had to be pink) bike for your birthday, and you love it. You're scared of hills and I have to hold the handlebars when we go down them to make you feel safe. But you're pedaling so well, using your brake.
When I am hauling you and your brother uphill on the bike, you always say, "You can do it!" Now I say this to you.

I know this is just the beginning of you becoming faster than me. One day you will leave me far behind.

You alternate between wanting to be a big girl and wanting to be my baby. It varies with the day. Sometimes I joke with you and your brother and tell you that you're getting too big. I ask you if you'll please stay little forever (but not like that little wretch in the Tin Drum).

Both of you laugh and scream and say no! No! You're going to keep growing up!

I tell you that even when you are bigger than me, you will always be my babies. I will always be your mama, and I will always love you.

You both love to sing and dance and Taylor Swift is still one of your favorites. Jordan says he's over her, but he still sings along in the car.

I was driving one day and from the back seat you asked, "Mama, can Taylor Swift really make the bad guys good for a weekend?"

I so wanted to say, dude, I  used to be able to do that. But there is just no earthly reason to have a conversation like that with you basically ever. So I said, "Sweetie, if anyone can, she can."

You love clothing and shoes and you've started dressing yourself and layering dresses over skirts, and shirts over or under dresses, I think to have as many cute things on as possible.

You love to have on an outfit.

This makes me wonder if I've put too much emphasis on looks. I mean, I can talk about clothing and shoes all day long. But I don't want you to feel, particularly as a girl, that looks are the most important thing.

But let's be fair, clothing and shoes can be really fun. And fun is good. And also, I'd have loved to work in fashion, but it never occurred to me as a possibility, and wouldn't have been encouraged. You decide you want to be a clothing designer when you grow up? Go for it.

I want you to do whatever it is you want to do. (Unless what you want to do is be a fascist dictator. Then I'm going to have to stop you.)

You're so bright and you grasp ideas quickly, and you have an interesting mind. You're also extremely strong and stubborn and I want to honor this. It's so important for you to be strong, to feel confident in your ideas and opinions.

They will get squashed and quashed in this male-dominated world. Even though sometimes your strength and stubbornness drive me crazy, I don't want to be a squasher.

The other day you asked me if I knew the word "chaotic" and if I'd ever heard it before you told it to me. When I said that in fact, I had, you asked me to tell you what it meant.

Pretty sure you'd overheard me describing our household as chaotic on the phone the night before.

Sometimes when I get dressed up you get all breathless and say, "Mama! You look gorgeous!" You also say this to Daddy in his suits. Gorrrrrgeous!

And sometimes you eye my outfit and say, "I want that dress." I tell you that you can have it when you are bigger. (And you are like, no, really. I want it. Now.)

The truth is, you can have anything of mine.

Nana used to do this to me. I'd love something of hers--usually jewelry--and she would say I could have it when I was older. And I would wonder why on earth she'd be willing to give away something so beautiful.

But now I understand. I would give you anything and everything. You're my baby, my girl, my love.

You and your brother have my heart. Everything else is easy. You want it? It is yours.

I love you love you love you.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Wearing shoes with no socks in cold weather I knew my heart was in the right place

OK, to assuage my guilt about another shoe post and potential shoe purchase, let me first say that I've given away a lot of shoes and boots lately.

I have this new policy of getting rid of one (or more) items if I buy a new one. One new top? Give away two.

Obviously, at a certain point this no longer works, but I am far from that point.

I started the Marie Kondo book but honestly, the idea of pulling out all my clothing at once and piling it up then sorting through it and getting it all put back or gotten rid of before we would need to sleep on our bed just overwhelmed me. And then we started construction and now our whole bedroom is like a closet with extra furniture shoved in.

However, I've taken the advice of touching things and seeing if they spark me, and if not, getting rid. But I haven't done the massive undertaking that she suggests.

Anyway, it is shoulder season once again, and it's been a wretchedly cold spring. Although I've been informed that really, Lisa, it's just spring. I think Nick enjoys telling me that it can legitimately snow until mid-April (which, yay, is now!).

The problem is that I take cold weather very personally.

We had a couple teasingly warm days and then cold cold cold and now it is sunny and glorious. But I have lost my trust.

And, as always I am on my quest for the perfect pair of comfortable shoes that are not sneakers because, well because. I can't wear sneaks every day of my life. I just can't.

You may recall that I ordered and returned approximately 70 kabillion pairs of shoes last year. I did wind up with a few, although none absolutely perfect. It was Internet dating with lower stakes.

Now, I do really enjoy my cowboy boots, and I know for Texans they can be the solution to everything, but for me they are not everything shoes and my particular pair do not go with my dresses plus I wear them with thick wool socks so for me they not my in-betweeny solution. I probably need a short, lighter colored pair. That naturally I would have to buy in Austin. With Nicole.

So I tried on those peep-toe booties the other day. They were totally comfortable and seemed like they might be a good in-between kind of shoe. I could wear them with jeans and, if it ever gets warm, dresses (no?) and they're sturdy enough for the bike.

But then I just wasn't sure. Am I a peep-toe bootie person? I don't know.

I didn't get them in the end because Nordstrom Rack had only one pair and they were kind of rubbed in some places and they were made of fake snakeskin sort of suedey stuff and so there was nothing to be done about it.

But now I'm on kind of a mission for the perfect and perfectly comfortable in-between shoes that I can wear in the cold but keep wearing when it warms up. A shoe that will cover a lot of my foot and give me some height but that will also be great to walk in.

I now have to be able to walk at least one quick mile in all shoes I purchase.

My friend English suggested these but they do not have them in my size in black on any of the sites I've searched on. But they look kind of fabulous.
Photo: Dansko site
Plus Dansko is generally comfy. Although I read a couple reviews saying they were wide, which won't work for me. (Which doesn't matter because of the not in my sizeness, but the lack of I can have it always makes me think it is probably perfect for me. Grass is greener, anyone?)

What's your happy footwear solution for this hard-to-dress-for coldy-warmy in-betweeny weather? (And are you impressed with how many hyphens I squoze in there?)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Your inner voice

I was just talking to a friend who is studying health and fitness, and she said one of the exercises that they had to do was to listen to their inner voice for a day and write down what it said,

For a whole day.

She said her inner voice turns out to be a taskmaster, keeping her on schedule, laying out the day, making sure she moves from one activity to the next.

Have you ever done this? Stopped and really paid attention to your inner voice? What kinds of things does it say to you?

I don't know about yours, but my inner voice is an asshole.

I haven't spent an entire day focusing on it, but ever since I listened to Brene Brown's TED talk, which I have linked to before, I have thought about my inner voice.

I have paid attention to the voice that tells me I'm not good enough. Or asks me who the hell I think I am. Brown was so right about those voices of shame.

Some good things have been happening in my little world, and when they come out, I am going to tell you and the rest of the entire world. One is that I wrote a small piece about my miscarriage and mental health, and sent it off to The Mighty, and they want to publish it!

But! Even after they wrote to say they were interested, let me tell you what my voice said to me: It's not that great. It's kind of a dumb subject. They're said they'd publish it, but after reading it again, they're going to change their minds.

I heard the mean words, and I knew what was going on. I knew that it was the wretched, ugly little voice in my head working to tear me down. It wasn't real.

So I told it to shut the hell up. It sort of worked.

Then I told this to my friend Jessica, who said to most definitely tell that voice to shut the hell up. Because it is so completely wrong. (And then she told me lots of very nice things about my writing and storytelling, which I have reread like 50 times.)

I was raised to look for external validation. I didn't grow up feeling like I was good enough, or even just enough.

This is a process, something I work on every day.

But listen to this.

Here's one of the really interesting things my friend told me this morning. You can actually change your neural pathways. But interrupting your negative thoughts, you stop the cycle. And eventually, the recurring negative thought just stops.

What if we just went forward in our lives, feeling good about what we did, not second-guessing ourselves all the time, or worrying that we'd said the wrong thing? How good would that feel?

I intend to find out.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Coming clean

So, I asked this gross question in a small group, and for the most part people were like, um, no, not as such.

I mean, nobody was offended or horrified or even bothered. It's a workout group run by my dear friend Wendy. So I knew it was a safe space to ask such a question. And in fact, there were hilarious responses and anecdotes.

But nobody, until one friend at like 11pm, said yes! Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about!

And here I should probably include a scatology warning. There. You've been warned.


I said:  OK, this is super gross but do you ever take such a huge poop that you are dying to show it to someone (but know better than to do so)?

Because, you guys! Don't you?

I remember before I had a baby and I was like, something that enormous is never, no way in hell, going to come out of my little body.

And then it did!

And every once in a while, I'm just stunned. Absolutely astounded. So much so that I want someone else to be all, "Whoa! I can't believe it either!"

It's not exactly that I think I'd impress anyone with my poop...but something like that.

So one of my friends in the group asked if I'd taken a picture. And I was about to feign shock and be all, "No! Of course not!"

But. Then I was like, am I really going to lie? Because I mean, the answer was no...Not this time.

Because the truth is that like three or four years ago, when I found myself in this same astounded position, I did take a picture. Surely Nick would want to see this giant! And share in my horror/amazement!

Turns out he didn't. He really really didn't.

So now I know better. But the urge to share? Still there.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Another one from the Don't Try This at Home department

So it turns out that getting a vasectomy appointment in DC takes a long time.

Like, you can schedule a root canal or a boob job or I don't know what-all in much less time.

Also, I somehow have trouble remembering the word vasectomy. I kid you not that before I started writing, I had to google "urologist" and "birth control" to find the word.

Because I myself have been calling it The Big Snip. I'm alone in enjoying this nomenclature, however.

In any case, it takes months to get an appointment. A friend had told me this, and it was true.

So the other night I was like, "Why does it take so long? DC is full of men with penises!"

And this is a true fact. Hand to God. DC is full of men with penises.

You'd think there would be more urologists. Or maybe there are lots of urologists, but not a lot who do vasectomies? Why would this be? It's just a tiny little snip, no?

In any case, when Nick called, the receptionist was like, sure, you can come in at 2pm on this specific day in June. And when he said he'd be out of town for work she said, "Can you change your trip?"

And Nick said, "Let's just look at the calendar and talk about some options."

So July. July is when the magic happens.

But as I said, we were talking about it the other night and I was all, "It can't be that complicated, right? We could probably even do it at home! I mean, as I understand it, you can just put a rubber band around pet balls and wait for them to fall off."

(Not that I know anyone who has done this. Nor could I imagine doing so. But I like to say it for the horror it generates.)

Nick, who is used to me and did not leap in horror, was all, "And then I'd be really, really grumpy for a long time."

So yah. We'll leave it to the professionals.