Killing the Blues

I am doing ok.

Some things that are helping:

I’m taking an hour to myself, every evening, and running three miles on the treadmill while I watch the Wire on my laptop.  Even though it’s hot as hell, this fixes my mood right up, and it gives me immense hope for a workable routine.  I can do an hour every night, you know?  I am never going to be that girl who makes herself get up at 7 am and right now I’m not interested in running 8 miles or starving myself to the size of a toothpick, but  I can do an hour every night. I already feel so much better about things.  The time away, just for me, the quiet, the exercise, the clean and tired feeling I get when I’m done, the nice close to my day, the time to watch something I’m interested in, instead of Family Guy…it’s working for me.

The heat wave we’re going through is very frustrating, I won’t lie, but I just keep telling myself that when it finally freaking cools off, running is going to seem SO easy.  But still. So so so so so annoying.

I also switched from counting points on Weight Watchers to CORE, and so far I really like it.  Like anything else, it still doesn’t mean I get to eat whatever the hell I want, but it lets you out from under the rigid grip of counting points and it gets rid of alot of bingey foods I can’t control myself around, like bread and diet ice cream and cool whip.  I feel like I am headed in the right direction. I’m in a little bit of a financially imposed transitional period – as much as I’d like to throw out all the non CORE food in my kitchen, I just can’t afford that, so for awhile I will still be eating some non CORE things, but I think that’s ok.  When I buy more pasta, I’ll buy the whole wheat stuff, when I buy more yogurt, I’ll buy plain.

My mother in law is coming to visit for a week, on Thursday, and I am so excited I might wet my pants.   I am going to hand over one eighteen month old as fast as you can say “crankyface” and then do all the things I’ve had on my to do list for a year.  Starting with “sleep” and “pee without having to hold someone on my lap.”  Thank freaking goodness.

Mr. E and I decided that maybe, unlike the rest of the world, we should buy a big ass SUV so that I don’t feel as nervous when I drive.  And we should find a babysitter and I should work on getting away a little bit more, think about going back to school, figure out what I need to stay sane, instead of just descending slowly into madness.  Any suggestions on how to find a good, cheap babysitter?

I still wish my child was a tidge less of a pain in the ass.  And I wish my ass was a tidge smaller.  And I wish I didn’t have this weird frustrated sadness stuck in my head, right behind my eyes.  I can’t help but notice that I cry every time I turn on the convention, and I wish at l least one of the seven trillion books I’ve checked out on raising your spirited child held some magic answer.  If nothing else I wish the damn child would just freaking sleep for a change.

But at least I feel like I am working towards something.  Hope is in sight.  The One Tree Hill premiere is in five days! And I have the best readers in the world, readers who take in my embarrassing revelations and who fix so much in my world just by saying “me too.”

You really all do mean so much to me.  Your words matter. They are what got me here.

Thank you.

I Hope You Know, I Hope You Know, This is Nothing To Do With You

I’ve got some figuring out to do, myself and I.

I’ve become obsessed with One Tree Hill lately.  Beyond obsessed.  I watched all the clips I could find on You Tube, the best bits from seasons One through Five weeded out by someone with too much time on their hands.  I searched for spoilers online, I ordered up season four on netflix.

I tried to pretend as long as I could that there was nothing wrong, and then I stood and cried in my kitchen, hot salty tears, about passion and fun and life passing me by.

Raven and I emailed back and forth about style icons (mine is Jackie O with a side of Jessica Alba) and I told her about the stacks and stack of spiral notebooks I have in my garage, filled with sheets torn from Vogue and the New York Times Style Section and Elle – reams upon reams of heartstoppingly lovely shoes and satin ball gowns.  Dresses I’ll never own, dresses I’ll never need.

I stopped in Marc Jacobs to visit my birthday wish and I casually slipped a rhinestone bangle on my wrist, and it seemed to hold so perfectly there, a sparkling line across an impossibly skinny wrist, and it flashed up at me a movie montage of what I don’t have…fancy parties and flirting with the wrong boys, a high water booty and a great hair cut, a convertible broken down by the side of the road, ball gowns and romance and manicured toes slipping into high heels, red lips and tall champagne glasses and drunk stumbling into the wrong bed, a fantasy life of clips strung together and backed by Coldplay.

I can’t think where I would wear a black strapless ball gown, a skinny rhinstone bracelet, too tall heels.  I don’t know why I feel so sad. I’m not sure of the moment when my days first seemed to lose meaning. I couldn’t tell you why I have stuck in my head, all the time, Julia Roberts saying – with a catch in her voice, “I want the fairytale.” I’m not sure why I’m having such a hard time with real life this week, why I’m so caught up in the fake lives of two imaginary tv characters, what’s wrong with me.

Maybe this is just what happens when you’re 32 years old and you never go to go to the prom.  Maybe I should just be happy that I didn’t go because no one asked me, and not because my fake stalker ex brother came back from the dead and held me and my best friend captive in my basement with a knife and tried to kill us.

But seriously.  I am wondering, today. Does this ever happen to you?

Do you ever look around and wonder where the fantasy went? Do you ever wish you had somewhere to wear those impossibly high heels? Do you miss them, your dreams? Do you buy the bracelet anyway, and save it in a drawer, and slip it on your wrist, on your most sad days, on days you need it the most, and think to yourself “Someday.”?

Aw. You Don’t Like Me! You Really Don’t Like Me!

Can I confess something to you all?

I’ve been writing this blog for darn near four years and in all that time, I have never gotten a mean comment.  I’ve had zero trolls, I haven’t deleted anything.  No one came by anonymously to rain on my parade.

And I felt really left out.

Clearly I spew out enough emotional sturm and drang here on a daily basis to leave me open for oodles of criticism, and so I just assumed that I  never got mean comments because of the law of numbers – not enough people were reading.  I always told myself that the day I got a mean comment it would mean I had made it after all, and I watched and waited, and still, nothing.

Very shortly, ON MY PERSONAL BLOG WHERE I WRITE ABOUT ME, (oh, the shocker)  I will go back to writing about how I am seriously upset with my life followed by a post with an overwhelming realization that I am, in fact, not, but first…

I am very happy to announce, with comment number 10 on August 21st, that I have arrived!

Woo hoo!

Although, really? I’m kind of concerned that it’s not that rude. Sigh.  I wish these things were less confusing. Perhaps if I was less self absorbed I could figure it out.  But anonymous did call me hilarious, and that’s a compliment, so I just don’t know. Crap.

Could someone please just tell me “You Suck” so Dooce and I can start braiding each other’s hair?

Gifts

I have a few hopes and dreams for my kids.

I hope Eli is a runner.  I can’t tell you how I wait for the first time I see a “Go Mom’ sign held for me on the sideline of a race somewhere, or the first run we run together, or the first time he kicks my ass and leaves me in the dust.

I hope Eli is kind.  I hope his gentle nature is a real part of him, like it is his father, like their blue blue eyes, and not just a way that all babies are.  I hope with all my heart that he is the kid that sticks up for the other kids on the playground.

I hope my kids are joyous, in that happy just have to let it all out kind of way that really happy people have.  I want to live in a house full of laughter and I worry that that doesn’t come from me, so I hope my kids are just fun people to be around, somehow.

More than anything else though, more than all my other hopes, I want my kids to love books as much as I do, as much as I did when I was growing up.

Jennie mentioned that she wanted to read to Baby Purple before she is born and I have to say, Jennie, you can’t do much better than Charlotte’s Web.  The other day I heard this story on NPR, and it made me love E.B. White even more than I did before, although technically that may not be possible.   I challenge you to listen to the story and not cry when you hear the announcer tell you that E.B. White had to do seventeen takes for the audiobook because he couldn’t stop breaking up in the middle of the scene when Charlotte dies.

Eli is named for one of my favorite books, and his three sisters that I plan on having some day will be as well :). And the moments now when I want to rip my hair out because I simply cannot hold a child anymore than I already do and he is waking up at night again and he is only happy when he is sitting on you, dear god, those moments are somehow all made so worth it because of the moments when he toddles up to me dragging one of his favorite books by the corner and demanding to be read to. It makes him a real honest to goodness person, some how, now, instead of just a little baby.

When I think back on my childhood sometimes I am horrified at the things my parents thought were a good idea.  Sometimes I recoil when I remember how little I got to be a real kid.  My parents got divorced when I was ten and I think my mom kept my dad sane, somehow, and so the first ten years were a lot different than the second ten years, but still, for some of the moments in both of those sets of years I am grateful, and there is nothing that I am more grateful for than the fact that both my parents put books in my life at every opportunity.

My father read to me every night, and he taught me to read using the Bob Books and a cardboard pizza, and when I finished the twelfth and final book, with such hard words in it, like zoo and lion and vet, I snapped the last cardboard pizza slice into place and we went out and had a real pizza, together, just us two. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

And then I got a library card and a giant stack of books every week and late at night, long after I was supposed to be asleep, I’d hang over the edge of my bed, holding a book open in the crack of light that spilled into my room from the hallway.  All the blood would rush to my head and my neck would ache, but I didn’t care.

Despite everything else, all the screw ups, and the wrong turns, this childhood of mine, filled with as many books as it could hold, was an incredible gift, and when I remember the good parts of being little kid me, it is always pretending to be Heidi, or my dad explaining the big words in Tarzan, or how he cried when Laura and Mary had to leave Indian Territory, or buying me yet another Anne book at Powells after church, or my mom letting me leave The Catcher In the Rye in her car so my dad wouldn’t see it, or my parents letting me sit in my room, alone, for hours, plowing through the Betsy Books or solving mysteries with the Happy Hollisters or reading The Secret Garden for the first time.

That’s how the memory lingers and leaves me.  A still shot of myself, younger, smaller, more rumpled by life, curled up on a summer night by my open window, reading by moonlight, accompanied by crickets and watched over by fir trees silhouetted black against the sky.  Mud and sun and brothers and sisters and suburbia and station wagons, divorce and boys and love and loss.  I read my way through it all.

Getting There From Here

I have no idea how it got to this point, but I am not happy with the road I’m walking down.

I have no idea how to dig myself out of this, how to get myself back to being a runner, to feeling pride in my body and what it can do, to get myself back into a routine that works for me.

This is exactly what terrified me about having children.  The extra thirty pounds.  The vast time suckage. The loss of my time to do what I wanted to do with.

I used to come home from work, make dinner, eat, and then run. Every damn day. It worked for me. I didn’t have to get up early, and I had a running path outside my door. I could run in my spare room on my treadmill in front of the tv and I had a bunch of fall shows and closed captioning.  I was tired out afterwards and would fall into bed and sleep the sleep of the virtuous and I had just eaten dinner so I didn’t have to worry about fueling up before running. And after I ran food grossed me out so I didn’t have to worry about eating all night long in front of the tv.  This is how I lost sixty pounds. It worked for me.

Then I had Eli and it all fell apart. I don’t know what works for me. I hate waking up early and I hate trying to squeeze in time for a run when he might nap. Right now he’s standing next to me screaming because I am won’t pick him up, I am DONE, and he can’t take it. I had to put him in his crib and walk away because I was shaking with how angry he was making me.

I don’t want to count points. I really don’t. But I also don’t want to weigh what I weighed when I was 38 weeks pregnant, only not pregnant.  It is so discouraging that you can work so hard to carve out a routine, to make something work by sheer insane force of will, by herculean efforts, only to have it derailed, so quickly, so totally, so fast.

I am right back in that spot where I can’t sleep. I feel angry and defensive and coated in a hard thick layer of something that slows my responses. I am scared that I can’t do it. I am afraid that I may never get a routine back, that I may never find my way back to what works for me. I am terrified that I will never get my groove sorted out.

The only way out is thru, so they say.  Nothing will happen if I do nothing.  One step at a time.

This morning I dug out my running shoes and my too small sports bras. I need to find my IPOD and pump up the tires in the jogging stroller.  I need to find a good running route and I need to put together the treadmill in the garage and I need to sleep train my damn child, because this just is not working for me anymore, something has to change.

I am terrified that I have lost something I might never get back.

Terrified.

I loved that orderly life, I loved the way it all fit together. It worked.  I loved that.

I wouldn’t go back there, I wouldn’t. When I really think about it, that life seems lonely.  A bit dull. Empty.  But I feel the desperate need to get some thing going, of my own, some kind of fit to my day.  Some point.

My best friend and I are registered for the Sacramento Half Marathon on October 5th, my birthday.  I do not have enough time to train, I will not run fast or set any PR’s. I might walk the whole thing.  I might have to run with an eighteen month attached to my leg screaming.  But dammit, i am going to do it. It’s the only way I know how to get there from here.  One foot in front of the other.

I Can Only Think of Sort of A Dirty Title For This But I Thought It Was Too Innapropriate*

My husband just tried to hide his Otter Pop wrapper in a plant pot in the living room!  !!!! Good god.

Speaking of the living room, we have the worlds most awkwardly shaped living room, I believe I have mentioned that before.  This weekend we had an enormous fight in which I believe I was referred to as Sassypants several times.  I may have used a few choice expressions (cough “dickhead” cough) myself. After we had that out, we rearranged our living room, and it looks way way better than it did before but I had to repurpose my beloved $50 Target hallway table into a behind the couch table, and so now I need a new hallway table.

Which brings up my decorating philosophy.  Did you know I had a decorating philosophy?  Well, I do.  In general, I’m a fan of modern design, just because I hate clutter and I like clean lines.  But I’m also a big fan of vintagey, cottagey, pottery barney, french industrial, farmy, spanish, hollywoody girly shabby chic and so I try not to get all worried about what exactly my style is.  I am huge believer in the idea that if you buy things you love, regardless of labels, eventually they’ll all just fall together in a way that works and that looks like you.

My taste changes from day to day anyway.  Some days I want nothing more than a whole house full of that chippy paint furniture.  Other days I wish everything I owned was made of cool clean stainless steel.  Some days I dog ear every page in the Pottery Barn Teen catalog and oogle pink refrigerators.

Regardless, Mr. E isn’t really a pink refrigerator type of dude, and he has expressed a distinct dislike of chippy paint.  He really loves California Modern, but our house was built in 1935, not 1955 or 1975, and I think trying to shoehorn an era onto a house feels awkward and themey and it might surprise you to learn this but “awkward and themey” is not the look I’m going for.

This is just a really boring and long winded way of saying that I get around all of this decorating schizophrenia by semi unconsciously decorating my house in zones.  Eli’s bedroom is the vintage/classic/potterybarn kids zone.  The dining room is the french/hollywood regency/craftsman zone.  The kitchen is trending towards farmhouse with a little Martha Stewart thrown in.  The bathroom is a war zone where flying toilet germs launch themselves towards my toothbrush on a regular basis.  The bedroom is the cozy retreat zen zone, and the living room is the midcentury modern zone, and the hallway/foyer is going to be the farmhouse/shabby chic/country zone.

Anyway, it’s empty right now, but I’ve got some big ideas.

I’m thinking this pendant lamp, which I can only sort of afford, someday, but which I love so much I must have it anyway, and I am I the only one wondering if I could make this out of one of those fluted tin jello molds from the thrift store:

This is the table I want but can’t afford.  LOVE.

And another one I love and can’t afford,

and these are the two tables I can afford that I am choosing between. I would replace the knobs on both of them with white milk glass knobs.  I’m not going to tell you where either of them is from because I don’t want to influence your decision.

Mr. E hates number two and thinks it’s too country cabin.  I think it would be nice, with white knobs, and I am worried number one is too small, and it gives me a teeny bit of an asian vibe, which is not what I’m going for.

I won’t buy either one until I check out the Alameda Flea Market, but I want to have a plan in place so I am not emotionally devastated when I don’t find anything there.

Hey, I take my tables seriously.

Opinions?

By the way, if I ever do find a table I’m going to put a bunch of trinkety knicknackery crap on it, including one of those glass bell jars, so that Mr. E can bitch at me every day for putting breakable items on wobbly tables, because that’s the kind of fun that money just can’t buy.

*Zone Awesome Is In My Pants

Olympic Hangover

Is anyone else so ready for fall?

Fall is just such a movie season, at least in my head.

I like to sit around while I’m sweating balls and sucking down another Extreme Gulp full of lukewarm Diet Coke and romanticize fall. You know, in my spare time?

I’ve already scienced out a project involving my front steps, candy corn, and some mason jars.  I’m thinking dreamily of my first pumpkin spice latte.  I picture myself walking down a country road covered in fall leaves, wearing plaid.  I have the strong urge to tail gate something. I’m planning my FOUR YEAR blogiversary.  I am way way way way way too excited for the season premiere of One Tree Hill and I might have thought a time or two or ten about buying a pair of shoes just so I could take pictures of them for NoBloShoeMo or whatever the heck it is.

Fall, when I think of it, is always that scene in When Harry Met Sally when Harry and Sally are walking around the city doing that weird Indian accent and Sally is wearing that wool jacket and that long purse?  In the movie of my life fall happens like that.

Of course I am the girl who has declared many many many many many many times in her life that she’d like to move permanently to the land of Endless Summer, and live out the rest of her days wondering whether tomorrow was going to be 82 or 81 degrees.   Yesterday the heat wave broke and I had to wear a HAT because it was 90 degrees and my ears got cold. I don’t deal well with cold, and I have never, since the dawn of time, wanted it to be fall before.

Maybe I just have an Olympic hangover.  I tried really hard to care about the Olympics, I wanted to get on the Michael Phelps bandwagon, I tried to find some underdogs to root for, but so far, eh.  It’s on too late at night and also, Michael Phelps is just not my type.  My type is much more the boy who would dislocate something just looking at a pool.  That or the boy who’s already been kicked out for smoking in the locker room.  Or Apollo Anton Ohno.  Maybe I am just a product of our over stimulated society. I did find myself watching the synchronized diving and thinking, “why stop at two? Why not three, or four? Hell, why not FIVE?!”

Perhaps I am ill.  I did get  baptized with my first projectile vomit on Friday night, courtesy of Senor Pants.  Projectile vomiting whole bananas onto his mother since 2008.

Anyway, for whatever reason, this is the first time in my entire life I have ever gotten my fill of summer.  You know, I am strangely tickled by that.

And also I am going to San Fran again this weekend so that Mr. E can go listen to some ear bleedy hipster noise disguised as music, and San Fran is the land of perma fall, so there’s that.

I’m putting up some new stuff in the shop today and tomorrow, go check it out!