Wednesday, April 9, 2014

stick to the rivers & the lakes that you're used to.


Growing up, we had an enormous backyard. Absolutely enormous. The front yard was huge too which lended itself nicely for things like tag and manhunt. We had a pool which we put in when I was still in single digits, so hopefully there is still a piece of the concrete surrounding it that has my hand prints and my initials inscribed with a toothpick.

The neighborhood was surrounded by woods. My dad and I had this unspoken code where 'let's take a walk' meant wandering on the path behind our house through the forest and trees and over a stream where a rusty, old tractor sat decomposing. He would teach me things and explain things about nature; I loved and cherished this special us time that no one could infringe upon. These walks were for me and him alone.

There was a cleared path in the woods behind our house that led straight down a hill to Hannah's house {my neighbor from this post}. We used this path every day - in winter, it was for sledding; in summer, it was for running down as fast as we could over and over again until our jelly shoes wore blisters in the sides of our feet.

I spent a lot of time at Hannah's house. Mostly outside, as her mother would almost never let us inside, despite any weather conditions. Always a cost saver, my mother still remembers the time she came to pick me up and she found me, Hannah, and her two brothers playing in the playroom in our winter coats. Her mother had shut the heat off.

Hannah had the longest, most flat driveway. It served a perfect forum for t-ball, Skip-it competitions, sidewalk chalk artistry, and best of all - riding our bikes.  I lived at the top of a very large hill, which later on, when we were older, was infinite fun to roller blade down or fly down on your bike. When we weren't old enough to ride to the cul-de-sac ourselves, her driveway provided the perfect place for continuous, uninterrupted bike riding. It was here that I almost met my maker.

I remember it was summer. We had just recently added a sunroom to our house that led outside to our inground pool. My mother was toiling away adding a delicate ivy stencil to the top perimeter of the room. I had gotten up that day, pulled on shorts and shirt {most likely from the Limited Too and covered in flowers} and told my mom I was taking my bike down to Heather's house. This was the norm, so she most likely called out some variation of "Fine, be home for lunch!" but I was out the door before I could even hear her. This was a time when your children could still disappear for most of the day and you didn't have to worry about whether or not they were hogtied in the back of someone's van.

I pulled my bike out of the garage. It was white with purple and pink accents - the same bike Hannah had. We had insisted on owning the same bike because that's what best friends do. I walked it down the sidewalk to her house as I was still too scared to take it down the big hill without losing control. It was hot and easy to get sweaty.

When I got down to her house, Hannah pulled out her own bike and we started riding. Back and forth, back and forth we biked the length of the driveway. My favorite band at the time was TLC and they had just come out with a new song I couldn't get out of my head after hearing it on the radio and seeing the music video on VH1. This was also back when VH1 was super lame and I wasn't allowed to watch MTV.

Don't go chasing waterfalls...I sang as we rode back and forth. Hannah hadn't heard the song yet, so she sang the learned chorus along with me, which was jumbled with my eight year old mind's errors. We recently had begun to get daring, so we practiced pedaling without holding the handlebars. It was surprisingly easy. We continued to ride back and forth on the driveway, testing the limits of our abilities and grabbing the handlebars back when we were jolted by almost falling. I had begun a pretty impressive streak of not holding on, and I looked back at Hannah and yelled, "Wow, look at me!". I didn't hear the car coming.

The horn blared in emergency as I sailed out into the road, unaware that I had run out of driveway space. I hadn't been paying attention since I was gloating and looking back at Hannah. In an instant, I skidded and screamed, narrowly missing the bumper of the car as it's brakes screeched and squealed to a halt. I flipped over my handle bars and landed in the grass across the street.

Hannah was crying. A man got out of the car and asked me quickly if I was all right before he continued down the road. He muttered something about kid's and their bikes being reckless but I was too busy shaking and processing what had just happened. I got up and brushed myself off with a sense of urgency. My butt hurt from landing on it. I felt more embarrassed at first then scared; I trudged home with my head hanging in shame and my bike. After putting my bike back in the garage once I was sure it wasn't damaged, I headed inside. My mom was still stenciling on the sun porch, so I walked in covered in grass stains and dirt to tell her what happened.

Now, I was a kid who embellished things. I was dramatic {I'm using was very loosely here} so I don't fault my mom for what happened next, though I love to tease her about it to this day. She was on a ladder painting the ivy in. I was just beginning to feel the weight of what had just happened so I walked in and nonchalantly said, "I almost just died." My mom said, "No you didn't." and kept on stenciling. I tried to explain what happened but she was too busy concentrating to hear it. So I went up to my room.

It was there that I felt the weight of what really had just happened. I cried a little and felt scared. My mom came flying up the stairs about an hour later after a few of our neighbors called to make sure I was all right. Some had witnessed what happened from their houses but others had heard the brakes screeching and got concerned.

It was an important lesson to learn - ones of the careful judgement and awareness you need when you're out on your own, but also of mortality. As children, you feel invincible, as if nothing bad will ever happen to you because you're a kid. You don't know most of the evil's of the world and your innocence it still preserved in a way that you think you're going to live forever. That moment taught me that carelessness has consequences.

In the end, it also taught me that anything can happen. So, the next day, I got on my bike and continued to practice riding with no handlebars. Plus, it gave me a great story to terrorize my mom with {sorry, mom - love you!}.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

lately.



Today, it was 60 degrees out. Hallelujah. It's been really nice out lately and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it sticks.



So what's been going on lately? Aside from my daily routine and wistfully hoping for people interactions, this:

On Saturday, we said arrivederci to my parents after we dropped them off at the airport for their Tuscany trip! Yes, after 10 excruciating months, the time was finally here. My mom and I had spent time shopping and prepping for the trip. They got to our house around 11:30, dropped off Chloe, and we headed over to Rustic Kitchen in Hingham for lunch. Thankfully they took my advice and ate a decent size meal because...plane food.

Both of my parents were so excited; my mom has never been out of the country and my dad hasn't been to Italy since the 60's when he was in the Navy. I've already gotten copious photos of the architecture and it's amazing.


Time off means lots of free time for reading - my favorite.


Carl was sick on Thursday and Friday so he stayed home from work both days while I played nurse. It was super dreary and miserable out so we took the opportunity to get snuggled up on the couch and dive into some books. I had just recently gotten The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, which is absolutely fantastic. I had heard about it a few times and kept meaning to pick it up. Carl scoffed at me initially thinking it was a self-help book but instead, it talks about how your instincts work and the difference between real and manufactured fear. It was very eye-opening and I wish I had read this before I went to college.

Carl's book is insanely cool. He got an Amazon giftcard from my sister and her family for his birthday, so he splurged on this book S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst. This book is probably the most creative thing I've ever seen. It comes in a sleeve and looks just like a weathered library book, complete with splotches and stains. The main story is a fictitious book called The Ship of Theseus, which ends up being a mystery. In addition to the main mystery, there are notes in the margins of conversations between several different people discussing the book who are in turn involved in their own mystery. It's riddled with artifacts like inserted newspapers, postcards, and letters that all tie into the story. It's basically Bookception and you need to read it more than once. I'm dying for him to finish it so I can steal it.


Very rarely do I have the makings of a Pinterest outfit. Here is proof that it can be done. I never would have put these two shirts together but it was cute and comfy. Still mad short though...damn you long legged peeps.


During Carl's sick day, we had a bit of cabin fever. We wanted to do something fun but not too over the top as he still really wasn't feeling well. We hadn't been to the movies in forever so we grabbed matinee of Bad Words...it was hilarious. So worth seeing...it's snarky, funny, and doesn't have the cookie cutter Hollywood ending. It's very real life.

The best part is that they recently re-did this theatre, which was kind of a shithole. Think duct tape covering the chair rips, bad smells, the works. It needed some TLC pretty badly. When we walked in, we both gushed about the plush seats and WOW look at all this leg room! We sat down a bit confused as to why the leg room was so spacious until we found the button on the side panel....BOOM: recliners! I could have taken a nap in that thing, it was so comfortable. The middle arm rest went up too for maximum snugglage.

Speaking of...I often post about my dog's burrowing ability. It's totally the dachshund in her and it never ceases to amaze me how human it makes her. Well, I was hanging out watching tv when I happened to look behind me and see this:


Count em, not one, but TWO blankets. Completely ensconced with her head poking out. She did this to herself. I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Now...onto the beckoning calls of laundry/ironing #housewifelife

Monday, April 7, 2014

life, unemployed.


My life is pretty boring lately.

If it's a weekday, the alarm goes off at 5:20-ish or whenever Carl has set it for. He hits snooze once or twice, depending on how hard it is to get up that morning. When he does reluctantly climb out of the warm covers and heads into the bathroom, I do the same. I sleepily pull on my robe, Ruby still tucked away in her bed dreaming, and stumble downstairs to brew a hot cup of coffee from the Keurig.

More often then not, I'll already have a mug waiting that I placed there the night before, so I just have to turn on the machine, toss a Splenda and a dash of cinnamon in there, and wait for the water to heat up. I usually collect any dishes from the living room from the night before while his coffee brews, before lazily heading back up the stairs and into the bathroom where he is mid-shower. Sometimes he hears me, sometimes not. I like to pretend I'm a coffee ninja. If he does, he pokes his head out, smiles, and says thank you before I nestle back into the still body-warm covers.

After his shower, Carl comes back into our bedroom where I'm most likely still awake, and apologetically turns on the light to get dressed for work. By now, Ruby has made her way up onto the bed and is burrowed under the covers at my feet. Once Carl is ready, he gives me a quick kiss goodbye and says I love you, and then he's out the door. Ruby and I sleep until about 8:00am or so, where either I wake up on my own or with Ruby licking my face because she's hungry. I'm on my own for the day.

As I head downstairs for the second time, I change Ruby's peepad and give her new food and fresh water. I fill my own water bottle and start up the Xbox so I can die for 20 minutes during 30 Day Shred. By the end of it, I'm sweaty and breathless. To relieve this, depending on the temperature, I'll either take Ruby for a walk {kinda cold} or just open the back door and stand on the porch while she runs around for five minutes {super no effing way cold}. After this, I head back upstairs for a shower and get dressed, because if I stay in yoga pants until Carl gets home, I know my mood is not going to be good.

Most often, I don't have plans for the remainder of the day. All my friends are at their jobs so save for spending time with my parents, I'm mostly resigned to get out of the house by doing things that require spending as little money as possible. If it's early in the week, I'll plan out meals for a few days and head to the grocery store. Since Carl's commute lands him home around 6pm, I've taken on the task of cooking most evenings. It only makes sense, even though he always offers.

I try not to sit on the computer all day. I accomplish things around the house, like cleaning, organizing, and laundry. Last week, I even cleaned my washing machine after reading about it on Pinterest - it ended up being filthy. I watch movies and catch up on the Netflix things that Carl would rather gnaw off his arm than watch. I don't snack too much. I drink water only all day. I walk the dog if I haven't already.

By the time 4-5pm rolls around, I begin making dinner. Carl comes home, we talk about his day {another perk of not being online - no gchat's}, eat, and settle in for the evening.

I think about my grandparents and the earlier generations where women didn't always work. Granted, people had children much earlier than most do now, not to mention, technology wasn't as sophisticated, so there was much more to do around the home. There was a different standard and expectation of women then. But there were also women who didn't have children, by choice or not. I find myself wondering what exactly these women did when they were technically housewives. I suppose they were more involved with their neighborhoods but even that has changed. My town is not that large but there is still a disconnect among the sense of "community".

One day while walking Ruby, an elderly woman approached me and introduced herself as Mrs. B {Burgess}. She gushed over Ruby and chatted with me about lots of different things, including how long she had been living here. Quite a while, it turned out, and before I even had a chance to comment on it, she remarked about how it just wasn't the same. I asked her what she meant and she replied that most people now were cold and unhelpful. When she first moved here, everyone knew each other and people's homes were a revolving door of family, friends, neighbors, and guests. Even in speaking with her so briefly, she reminded me greatly of my Nana with her warmth and friendship. I could tell she was the type of person who would do things for you - the kind who offered to get you something you need at the grocery store, or gave you a birthday card because she remembered when you told her once. She recalled a time when she came down with a terrible flu and couldn't even get out of bed. With her husband gone, it was a time when she had to rely on the people around her to get the things she needed...except no one came. No neighbors stopped by to check on her or even offered to take her to the doctor. It was her one dear friend, also her age, who drove from across town to bring her homemade chicken soup and collect her mail everyday.

This story resonated with me because I've felt the same way in this neighborhood. We make efforts to say hello and wave to our neighbors and make small talk. Sometimes it's warmly received and other times, it's with a scowl. Even though the houses here are packed together, I only have met two of our neighbors, and even then our interactions are few and far between.

I guess what I am getting at is that it's lonely being home. With children, you have extracurricular activities like sports or ballet that bring you into situations where you meet and consistently see new people. I don't know my neighbors very well because the rise in two-career couples means that fewer people are home during the day. We spend more time watching television and using the Internet then hosting neighborhood pot luck's.

My mom has this photo from back when I was a young kid. I grew up on a street that was bursting with children and we all congregated down by the cul-de-sac. When we were older, we would play by ourselves, but in the younger years and warmer weather, all the mom's would sit and hang out with drinks watching the kids play. The photo is a line up of about 7-8 mom's/neighbors just enjoying the late afternoon and letting their kids run around with their friends. I remember hoping that I would have the same kind of memories in the future - there is still time for that to happen, but I'm still not sure if it ever will.

How about you? Do you know your neighbors?

Monday, March 31, 2014

blurbs


It was supposed to get warm out and it's still freezing. Days that actually are warm are cloudy, rainy, and just shitty. I am so over this weather and am longing for days driving with the windows open, getting goosebumps from the breeze, and just feeling like myself again.

**

I'm doing okay. For everyone who has sent me emails, {thank you} I am totally fine. I'm waiting to here back on a few opportunities, but until then, I've just been sitting tight. My house is cleaner than it has been in a long time and even though I go a bit stir crazy sometimes, it feels like it's good practice for being home with a baby. Ruby has been sick again over the past week so she's needed a lot of attention in addition to everything I've been trying to get done around the house.

It's hard though. I feel so insanely guilty all the time. I get snapchat's from my friends and comments from Carl about this being like a mini-vacation and how I'm so lucky I get to sleep in. I love my sleep, so there is no part of me that is under-appreciating that sentiment, but...perspective. Does it suck to watch me lay in bed until 8am? Probably. But I'm also not making any money. I'm not contributing anything to society...so, hooray, I get to sleep in, but I also am starting to feel pretty worthless. The other day I felt so guilty for hanging out all morning in my pajama's that I cleaned the entire downstairs just to "compensate". I apologized to Carl the other day because he came home and I had never changed out of yoga pants. I know he doesn't care...I wouldn't if it were him.

Unless you've ever lost a job, it's hard to understand. It's easy to look at myself and say, what could I have done differently? Was there someone I could have talked to? In speculating with Carl, I know that the decision had nothing to do with me - but it doesn't stop me from apologizing about it. Apologizing because I still got laid off. I still had my source of income taken away. Whether or not it was my fault and even though Carl would never blame me for this in a million years, there is a still a heavy sense of responsibility to my family that weighs on my shoulders. Luckily, we've both been standing in these places before. I know exactly what I would tell him if he were making the same comments to me...again, it's a matter of perspective.

I think the other part of it too is I was recently given a bit of hope that a certain situation would take the first steps toward moving to resolution. It hasn't, even with a somewhat significant life event like this that left the perfect opening, and it only validates what I've felt are this person's intentions and feelings towards me.


**

On a happier note, this weekend was great. My parents Italy trip is coming up this weekend (!!) and I'm so excited for them go to. My mom had called me on Thursday asking if I wanted to go get a mani/pedi with her on Friday. She also wanted to get some shopping in so she could pick up a few new items before her trip. Um, happy to oblige!


We had a ton of fun - I haven't had my nails done since my wedding!

Saturday, we officially celebrated Camryn's 6th birthday. I still cannot believe my niece is 6 years old. I was looking at her on Saturday and it's amazing how much of the "babyness" is missing from her face. Her features are starting to resemble an actual person instead of the chubby cuteness associated with being a baby or a toddler.

Keeping with tradition, we did the same thing as last year and had brunch at the American Girl Store in Natick. Obviously, I dug my fossil out of the closet.



What a difference a year makes...


 We had so much fun...you start off with tiny cinnamon rolls and teacups for your dolls, one of which you get to take home.

We had pancakes, eggs, bacon, and french toast - plenty of food to fuel some shopping afterwards. Carl and I hadn't planned on getting her anything and just taking her shopping at AG since she is completely obsessed right now.


It still blows my mind every time we go into that store. AG really only got started when I was a young kid, when you could only order the dolls through the catalog and they came with all their books. The only outfits you could buy were the ones associated with each book. As you can see above, I kept Kirsten pretty well maintained over the years but I gave all my others to Cam to play with.

After our shopping spree, we headed back to my sister's house where we spent the day playing Elsa and Anna from Frozen and American Girl. Even Carl got in on the action. (Cam's outfit and her doll's matching outfit came from AG and was part of our present to her - how cute?!)


I tried in vain to find Cam the Elsa Frozen dress from the Disney Store. Parents , if you have this dress, be glad you do because they are sold out errrrrrrrrwhere. I even had Caitlin checking her connections down in Disney World to see if we could get our hands on one since Cam wants one so badly.

The problem is that the Disney Stores aren't selling them consistently. The dress is gorgeous and not horribly priced normally, but the second it does come in stock, the dresses are being bought by scalpers and sold at about a 1200% mark-up. It's really disgusting - case in point, go on Amazon, see the prices, and read about how pissed people are.

What totally made up for it was her awesome cake. My mom saw this cake and when she asked about who had made it, it ended up being the bakery right down the street from my house! Seriously...how cute?


I'm always impressed by cakes made completely from buttercream. Fondant is cool but not everyone likes the taste, especially kids. That being said, I am determined to try and re-create this cake because I'm convinced I could do it.

Sunday, Carl and I just lazed around. It rained all day and was cold, so the most we could muster was breakfast at the diner down the street. Chocolate chip pancakes can solve any winter blues.

Now, I'm off to tackle my inbox I've been avoiding. Keep your fingers crossed that I get some good news today.

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