Drink one for me

My friend Carrie and I decided our co-authored memoir would be titled “Drinking on a Tuesday”, because life and kids are stressful. I DID drink last night, in fact – sake. I am not a huge sake fan but it was pretty good. I paired it with a volcano roll (that was actually on fire, like so:)mKsqg26ABHCLWa

which made the stuff on top all hot and melty. I also had a spicy tuna roll and a couple pieces of unagi and then my night was capped off by picking up birth control. LOL. Actually, the best part was driving across town at 9 pm. It is rare that I’m out at night or at least, near downtown, so it was kind of nice. I always liked driving at night, seeing everything lit up, and it was a moment for myself as I approached the intersection of Tennessee and Monroe, looked up at the folks on the 8th floor of the Hotel Duval, and on the distant horizon, the sky was just a wee bit still illuminated a cerulean blue – because it’s high summer.

Our summer hasn’t been exceedingly hot, I noted, which makes it easier to get out and mow the lawn, walk the dogs, and enjoy outdoor activities. Tonight is Family Night at Ell’s camp so we’ll be attending that. I’m assuming it’s outside, as it is at a local park. On Saturday we have a birthday party for Ell’s friend, Lucas (my boss’s grandson) and I want to enjoy this weekend. Last weekend was kind of, well, crappy. It rained all Saturday. I normally wake up on weekends and make breakfast, drink a cup or two of coffee, then start on tasks. I usually feel motivated to do so and energized by accomplishment but this past Saturday? Nope. I didn’t feel like doing ANYthing. I read in bed actually, and it was hard for me to get going at all. I opted out of the birthday party so Ash took just the boys, in the rain, to a pool party. I stayed home with a cranky teething baby and forelornly stared out the window at the driving rain. Sunday wasn’t much better. Though the sun came out in the late afternoon, it was still a long day inside, watching movies.

I desperately need a beach day.

I’m ready for the summer term to be over.

I want more coffee, always.

I want the motivation to do more fun things with the kids.

I need something awesome, random, and unexpected to happen.

But as they say, a watched pot…

The intangibility of memories

Not long ago, I began a new board on Pinterest when I was feeling particularly nostalgic for my childhood. Specifically, I was remembering the McDonald’s near I-95, down Hollywood boulevard. That was the one with the indoor playground. I remember it had a green floor in that area that was slightly spongier than normal tiling. There were two Filet-o-fish bouncers that sprung back and forth, a slide, and a little climbing type house. But not much else. I was not able to find any photos of pre-plastic monstrosity indoor playplaces but it was one of my favorite places to go.

This led me down a wormhole of things I remember as a kid: Teddy Ruxpin, Lite Brite, telephones with long curly cords(!), Oregon trail, Muppet Babies, Picture Pages, smelly stickers! The list goes on and on and all these faded images made me feel young again – made me relive the feeling of being that kid again. There are few things  today than can replicate how wonderful it is to think back on these memories. And every time I get into one of these reveries, I feel as if I can’t *quite* reach the true feeling I want to. I can’t touch them; they’re just fuzzy images in my head but oh, for that brief moment, I am a carefree little girl who likes to ride her scooter over the hump of grass out front and catch a slight bit of air before landing in the street. I am the girl who runs around the perimeter of my huge yard because I love the speed and the feeling of being fast. I am the girl who builds Lego houses and names all the little Lego men. I’m a good student who puts everything into her work and I seem to have balance in my life: school, homework, play, tv, family.

These days I struggle to make sure everyone gets their respective lunches; did all children get a towel for water day? Did I pull out cash for various activities? Is it laundry day? Bottles have to get washed and clean laundry sits in baskets for far too long. I have these grand delusions of you know, reading a book or getting other work done once kids go to bed. But I am always exhausted.

When something triggers a childhood memory though, boy, that’s a magical little moment in my day. Instantly transported back to jelly bracelets and velcro shoes. Riding on the back of my dad’s bike, getting slushies from a trailer parked by the beach. I’m the kid my dad took to McDonald’s for his favorite filet-o-fish sandwich and who he graciously watching  play on the plastic toys, the slide, the swings. In that moment, I am free.

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Currently

Stolen from Kenzie; done before but needed blog fodder today. SO, Currently I am:

 

READING | Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. So far I like it. The 80s references are great but it’s depressing that I can imagine our world being this way.ready_player_one_by_sepiawolf-d5iw7bc

WATCHING | World Cup, mostly. When Game of Thrones ended, we haven’t’ picked anything else up.

LISTENING TO | If you know me at all, Jimmy Buffett.

LOVING | These “vintage” v-neck shirts I found at Old Navy. I needed a new one to replace my old brown shirt from there and though they haven’t a single bit of brown in their current line, these are super soft and wash great! They fit even better after the first wash.Old-Navy-Vintage-Tee-Product-Photo

WANTING | To do some fun things with the family but with the energy needed. I feel exhausted and blah every weekend so it’s hard to make plans. (OK, last week we made it to the beach so I should stop.)

NEEDING | Clarity. Simplicity. I have some possible new things on the horizon and they might bring this about for me.

GETTING READY FOR | class, and working on editing a manuscript.

EXCITED ABOUT | The fact that it’s summer and I do feel a sense of laid-back-ness. It was actually hard to think of something I’m truly excited about. All I could think about was how I might be getting some extra money soon and it’s like, should I be happy about that as much as I am? I kind of hate money, in principle.

THANKFUL FOR | The fact that I have a job and money and great kids and for the most part, stability in my life. Silly, I know, but I just feel grateful for those things.

Second son

There were about two years, right after Isaac was first born, that I liked him more than Elliot. Parents always love their children but it’s true that we sometimes favor one over the other. He was my baby and at the time, I thought I was done having children so I held onto his sweet innocence for a long time. As he’s entered his fourth year, some of his less desirable traits have come to the forefront. He’s always been a rogue, sometimes stealing food right off your plate if you’re not looking, but lately, he’s just mean. He’ll push his brother to the absolute limit and he’s not afraid to hit him if need be. He gets frustrated when Ell talks over him, which anyone would since that boy can talk and talk. But what is really irritating lately is the fact that he’s holding onto the feeling of being a baby – THE baby.

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He cries and moans over so many things. And perhaps I have vaulted him forward, ahead of where he may actually be, emotionally and maturity-wise.  Every child outgrows things at their own pace, I know this. He still wants to carry his little doggie in the mornings and as soon as he gets home from school and his major concern lately is that he’ll one day have to leave the house and be on his own. He says he doesn’t want to leave us and even though we can visit, he’s scared. I don’t ever remember worrying about this as a kid, just as I noticed Elliot is worried about having to be an adult, Isaac has similar worries.8133276423_f014f0ab70_z

 

 

I hope he can let go of that fear and just enjoy his childhood. I sometimes wonder if we’re doing this to him; if in telling him we want him to be responsible and independent he mistakes that for us pushing him out and away. I have no idea how to explain to such a young child that I both want him to understand that the world is a harsh unfair place AND that he needs to enjoy being a kid for as long as possible. I felt like a free and easy child for most of my youth and I so very much want mine to enjoy and appreciate that time. Lord knows it’s not getting any easier!14394167381_0f34dfb5d8_z

My life in tweets

Not that I DID tweet these thoughts, but this is what I’d say if I did:download

 

My parents are taking the boys to Animal Kingdom today and I have to grade papers. Seems unfair.

My sister and her boyfriend were supposed to come hang with us at the hotel next Tuesday but he has to have a tooth pulled; poop.

One of Ell’s friend’s dad is this big guy, epic beard; feel like he’d be a mechanic. But he’s getting a PhD in… religion. I was way off.

I watched a video last night of these mobula rays flying out of the water; they looked like they were having the time of their lives. Rays!

If I take a photo of a nail design to my local salon, do you think they’ll do it? I have never asked for anything other than solid color. (OK, this one I actually did tweet. I gotta know…)

Watched a 20 min vid last night about the Barkley, the hardest ultra in America. It made me realize I will never run that far or that hard.

I’m revisiting ELO’s Eldorado album, whose cover scared the hell outta me when I was a child. Curse that Wicked Witch from Wizard of Oz!Front

 

 

Summer daydreaming

This time of year makes me think of your typical summery things: sprinklers in the yard, sunglasses, warm breezes, cold beer, and grilling out. My father had a basic charcoal grill and sometimes I get a whiff of that smell somewhere in our neighborhood. I am instantly transported to our Hollywood backyard. My dad would be starting the grill with his makeshift coffee can and newspaper chimney, and I’d be running around the spacious yard or hiding under the Persian lime tree. 2ba25495963e7f7d767d98814697bca3

 

Our tree was huge and had a big dome-like shape so I would climb under and play in the shade. The smell of charcoal floated on the air until it switched to the savory taste of  country-style ribs or hamburgers. Every now and then, we’d eat outside but mostly, I remember climbing the huge sycamore tree, then being called into a big Sunday meal. My parents went all-out on those days: meat, mashed potatoes, corn, salad. We ate as a family almost every night and that really embedded the importance of family meals.

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When I was in high school, we moved to Orlando and started going to the July NASCAR race. This was before they added another layer to the stands so we had seats in the top row. In the case of car racing, being higher was better. For the summer race, this was the case because at the top, you got a breeze. Since that one is an evening time start, we used to stay in some little beach motel called The Talisman, eat breakfast, then tailgate at the track all day long. I wasn’t old enough to drink, but the adults did while we grilled and chilled until race time. I remember it being so hot but distracted just enough to ignore the swelter. We’d always get a fly-over and a good race, followed up by amazing fireworks.13e8c3479011b67fcc8d2fd61c1b8008

 

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Lately, my summers equal trips to the beach with the kids and seeing how much they enjoy it. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that we’re helping them build childhood memories that they’ll look back on – hopefully like me – and think fondly of. I love seeing how much they love the water and building sand castles. As they grow, we’ll try skim boarding and shell collecting (on other beaches; St. George, not to much) and other summer beach type things. The goal is to rent a beach house at some point and maybe these memories will morph into extensions of that. I want that so badly, it huts. But for now, plug away at work, bide my time. It will happen.Beach-House-4

When the wildlife betrays me*

*Jimmy Buffett

You can pretty much count on all references to be of that nature. JB playlists ad nauseum. I have no interest in listening to other things right now. We all go through phases; you understand.

Here’s a mosaic of my mind today:

It’s hot again in Florida, which is normal for about 8-9 months out of the year. I still contend that I’d rather be warm/hot than cold so I’m not *actually* complaining about this. I love the sun. I don’t necessarily like sweating in my own home when I am cleaning, but I’m also not bumping the A/C down any more. For now, this early summer is suiting me just fine.

I was perusing the rest of Elliot’s baseball schedule and you know what? We have to play that little team of no-good punk kids for the final game. This bothers me – a lot. I wish we could end our season on a high note but, well, probably not.

An acquaintance of mine recently posted that she and her husband got divorced. I didn’t know a whole lot about her personal life but when I first met her, she’d recently gotten a boob job. She was one of those people who was very proud of it and she even mentioned it was something both she and her husband wanted. I guess I just find this all sort of interesting. Sometimes that superficial stuff can’t fix what lies underneath.

I scored a 117 point word in Word with Friends against my dad.

It’s been bothering me for a little while now but I have to confess this: I didn’t really like Frozen. I think I am being nit-picky but here’s a brief list of its problems: unexplained powers, horrible examples of men, songs that don’t send good messages but do get stuck in your head, no clear resolution, what IS the message it’s sending? I don’t know!! Ok, there. I feel better. I just expect more from Pixar but that was pretty sub-par.

We saw one of these cars on the road the other day:2012-Fisker-Karma-6

It’s a Fisker Karma 6. The company was not in business very long so it’s kind of surprising to see one here in Tally. Though, I have also seen a Delorean and a Tesla, so you never know!

Did I tell you about how I was searching for the call of the mourning dove last week? (Scroll down) I’d heard one in the trees outside my office as I walked in. It reminded me of being at my grandparents’ house in South Florida; something about its calming call plus the breeze ruffling palm fronds and the distant shh shhhh of the ocean… echoes of my childhood.

What is more odd is that one of my friends on Facebook just posted how HE was also searching for this sound. And one of our other friends said she’d googled it just last week. Mourning doves ftw.

I have leftovers for lunch and zero interest in eating them. I am very tempted to go out and pick up something. I am going to wait until noon and see how badly I want to eat something else.

A Cowboy in the Jungle

We’ve gotta roll with the punches/Learn to play all of our hunches/Makin’ the best of whatever comes your way

-Jimmy Buffett

Sometimes I feel out of place. I think back to all the conscious choices I’ve made between applying for college and now, and wonder if things would be different if I’d been more aware. I applied to two schools in my senior year: Tulane and FSU. I only got into one of them. Had I not floundered so much in high school math, I’d probably be living in Louisiana today. But I remember not really understanding all my options. There was some kind of muddy film over the correct path. It was a confusing thing – applying – and even once I got to college – as self-aware as I thought I was – I was pretty blind to what needed to be done to set myself up for success. Maybe I only feel this way because I have the prior knowledge of what I did right and what I did wrong; I’ve learned from mistakes and see what I could have done.

This is not some admission of regret – because I don’t think regretting things really gets you anywhere – but I guess it’s just a musing on how we are in control of only so much but if you don’t put in the effort there, things just sort of seem to happen around you. I am actively trying to make things happen for myself these days. I remember Ash saying that his mother fully believed that if you thought good things, then good things would come to you.

I am going to focus on positivity more often. It is incredibly easy to be angry and exasperated and just annoyed by the world. I admit that this department has made me angry almost this entire semester. And the worst part is that it’s over dumb stuff. Difference of opinions happen; I need to let it go. The stuff they were all kvetching about really doesn’t affect me anyway; I just allowed it to. So I’m not going to go there. I’m going to mind my business, do my work, and stay positive.

I have a lot of good going on in my life – too much to be upset about things. A brief list appears below then I’m out; have a lot of papers to grade. Time to buckle down!

  • Summer money won’t be (fingers crossed) as lean as expected
  • Elliot finally learned how to tie his shoes
  • We’re just about ready to move onto the deck rebuilding process
  • Isaac’s end of year pool party is on the 22nd
  • We’re going to the beach next Saturday!
  • I bought a super cute bracelet today
  • I may have an editing gig coming up and that would pay me and give me fuel for my CV
  • T25 is going well and I can feel myself getting stronger
  • Vacation is in June!

What we do

Last night, Ash chose The Way Way Back and I didn’t want to watch it because I wasn’t in the mood to feel. I knew it would be emotional and I’ve been getting really good at living my life without letting too many emotions drag me down. But, I am glad we watched it because it was excellent. The final scene is cry-inducing for sure. We got in bed early and sometimes Ash and I end up talking a while on nights like that, which is nice because as most parents know, it’s nigh impossible to have a conversation when kids are around. You’re either too busy or getting interrupted. It’s also nice to reconnect when our lives are so busy. I mean, we’ve been pulled in so many directions lately, I barely know where one day ends and the next begins.

This morning was crazy because I forgot it is bike day at daycare so I had to go back. Isaac has a new bike so he’d be devastated if he didn’t get to ride it. Then I had to get into work, get coffee and breakfast, then prep for class. I am so glad it’s the last week but at the same time, a bit stressed about money. My adjunct pay will be over after the next pay period and it’ll be all pb&j sandwiches for me and being smart with what I spend. It’s like this every summer and I am so ready for something more steady, more reliable. I know it’ll happen here some day; I’ve applied a million places. And my sister and I have decided: this is the year that my parents and I all get new jobs. (My dad’s been looking for almost 2.5 years, she had a crappy one and quit but has had interviews.)

My mom just got hired at Disney but it’s only seasonal, for now. She’ll be a greeter at the Animal Kingdom character breakfast/lunch place. The process for getting hired was interesting. She applied for a research person – taking guest info and analyzing it – and then got invited to do two separate online interviews before getting called into the Casting Center. There, she interviewed with a woman who then gave her options for jobs that better suited her. So they actually try to place you in a job you want. How cool! My mom has been swearing she’d work at Disney one summer for as long as I can remember; bucket list item checked!

We’re excited for her because we might be able to get at least 3 of us in for free! But we’ll see; she might have some kind of probationary period. Either way, it’s pretty neat, to me.

Today I am grading papers and working on my website that I plan to accompany my resume. I got inspired to showcase and highlight my many talents (LOL) and I figure it can’t hurt to put that with the rest of my info. When done, I’ll let y’all see it. Anyway, just a random, mundane post from me today. See you on Friday!

On letting things go and being a better person

I admit it: I lost the desire to work when I thought I might change jobs. I couldn’t MAKE myself feel better about doing the work; it had to come as part of the logical progression. In time, I started to feel a little more motivated (granted, this was a small amount of time.) Yesterday was my low point. My back is still giving me fits so I left and went directly home, running a hot bath, using a face mask I got for free at that oils party, and reading a book. After, I put one drop of lavender oil on each temple and fell into the most blissful sleep. When I woke, I went to Publix and then home to catch up on the baskets of laundry I fail to put away, day after day. That four hour stint by myself was exactly what I needed.

I came into work today and the office was having a pot luck breakfast/birthday thing for our department chair. It was nice to converse with those people because the sense of unity we once had has been corrupt ever since the last office manage left. The only person I consider to be my friend up there – the one I thought was mad at me – is clearly angry at those other folks. She didn’t participate and this made me sad but you know, I can’t let that bother me. That is her issue to deal with.

I got mad at Elliot this morning for being so negative about pretty much everything people said. But I realize I have been like that for about 2 weeks now. Ash and I always tell the kids to have balance in their lives. But I am just as guilty here. I’ve been unpleasant, unmotivated, and angry. I’m allowing myself to tip the scale too far on the work side of things and it’s taking away from the rest of me – the mom side, the wife side. I guess the first step is realizing it though.

What I have been, mostly, is sad and anxious. I keep thinking that something will turn my mood around; I’ll find a new job and that will be the answer. But I guess what I have to do is make something happen. I know I whine on here quite a bit about breaking out of the funk but as always, there are peaks and valleys. I felt great this morning but as this afternoon wears on, I feel less and less human. I type, I read papers, I check Twitter. My brain barely computes what I am seeing. I take in knowledge, my mind drifts. My ideas are like marbles rolling around one of those old wooden Labyrinth games; plunking into tiny holes – traps – and disappearing.  Not long to go now and it’s home to fix quick snacks and run off to baseball. My life is a crazy mess but I should be thankful that it is this and not something awful. I am… I am…