Wednesday, December 06, 2017


Jon’s hometown is on fire.

It’s been burning for about two days and people the family knows have lost their homes. The winds have not slowed down, so it’s moving quickly and not sparing much in its path. Including the spot where we laid our Baby’s ashes.

I know it was ashes already, that the baby is hopefully hanging with my Nani in heaven and I’m relieved that very few people have died in this disaster, but seeing the gorgeous hill on which  we left her charred and bleak just broke my heart. It’s a sacred place for us.

This is just a reminder that the grieving never really ends. We just learn to live with it better every day.

This is what it usually looks like.

And now it is this.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

veteran's day

Thank you, servicemembers, for all that you have done and do today. Gratitude, also, to those you've left behind here to soldier on, missing you for the good of all of us.

Friday, November 10, 2017

not so fast, mommy

Today I had both the kids all day while Jon went to work and attended a work event in the evening. We got up, did teeth, potty, breakfast, play, a craft project and put lasagna in the oven. We ate lunch, cleaned up and started some laundry. I had big plans for "quiet time" after lunch, playing with the dollhouse and a dance party before dinner.

Just as I texted my mother, "Hey, maybe I *can* handle these people all day, every day," things got eerie. The baby was snoring softly, but Ro was nowhere to be heard.


Bam, it was over. Suddenly, I'm coaxing her to come to the bathroom to get washed up, scrubbing the accident spot on the carpet, the baby is howling, Alexa says lunch will burn if I don't get it out of the oven and the phone is ringing.

That was the only time--and it was just for a moment--when I missed the office.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

i had one wish for myself, it would be diligence

When I had Ro, Jon's cousin got me this one-line-a-day memory book.

I have generally been pretty good about writing in it, but after a seriously insane work situation last October (followed immediately by nonstop nausea and vomiting of pregnancy), I missed writing in it from November through January. Now I'm circling back around and trying to piece together from the bullet journal, calendar and photos what happened. This is not ideal.

Oh the things I could accomplish if I were more disciplined. Let's see how this NaBloPoMo goes when I start back at work on November 20...

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

but *i* will know they're not right

There were two places in which Jon and I splurged during our wedding planning: The photography and the invitations. Everything was DIY (I did an entire NaBloPoMo's month of posts on it in 2011).

I drew out the invitations by hand and had a printer create a mold, ink and crank out every invite and rsvp card. She did it by hand. Then I hand-addressed every single one with a calligraphy nib and a jar of ink. Few probably noticed and no one cared as much as I did, but those invites made me incredibly happy.

I succumbed and have used eVite for Ro's parties (this year the theme was Sofia the First), but I'm still hanging onto the tradition of handwritten thank you notes. Jon is trying out going printer-free at home (to him the entire world should still be digital), so this year I couldn't do my usual method of drawing out the design, scanning and printing onto blank notecards.

I went to Kinko's and had the attendant, a very nice woman who clearly knew how to use the equipment. I thought I'd be able to get stationery and tweak the spacing before printing out using the self service, but she convinced me that it would be better for her to space out four per page, then use a fancy machine to cut them all. Here is the example she showed me of how they would look:

The image is slightly farther to the left than I would have put it, but no big deal, right? 

This is how all of the rest came out. After I had already paid for them.

My mother--the queen of "it's fine, just get it done," said "Wow those are off center!" 

I had already been there for an hour. Attendant lady thought they came out fabulous. I went home and tried to put a silver line down the right and color in some of the jewels silver to match. Jon thinks I could cut them down, but then they would be too small for the envelope. He insists I should just send them as is; most people are just going to throw them away.

I get it. I don't want to re-do them and I don't have time to figure out how to "fix" them. I should just send them and move on with life. Which is what I'm going to do. But I'm not going to be happy about it.

Monday, November 06, 2017

i'd better not lose this notebook

As a kid, I was obsessed with my assignment notebook. Sure, I wrote down the homework (often after I'd completed it) but mainly liked making lists and lettering headers in fonts and styles. I fell out of using it after college, because classtime was the best time to work on it. In fact, one of the first things I did when I started this blog, was participate in Hundred Things meme.

The Hundred (or something like it)

More than a decade later, everyone has become obsessed with planners. Ri has the equivalent of four CD-cases full of pretty stamps for every possible occasion, as well as a variety of washi tape and watercolor pencils with which she colors in her stamped images. Her planner pages are called "layouts" and she has a following on Instagram.

I'm nowhere near as fancy. Work has pretty much taken over my life for the last five years, so I have kept a running list of to-dos in a notebook. Sometimes a personal task would sneak in. I fill it out during the more mind-numbing conference calls or meetings that require my attendance. Then I realized this was my assignment notebook all over again.

Juggling work meetings/deadlines, grocery shopping, birthday presents and events was getting tricky now that I was permanently braindead from birthing children. If I didn't write something down, it would simply evaporate, never to be found again. I tried several methods to wrangle reminders and tasks. I bought an old-school assignment notebook, fancy day planners (stickers! inspirational pages! birthday logs!) and even got in on the initial Passion Planner kickstarter.

None of them worked for me because I'm just not regimented. Sometimes I would religiously fill it out for a couple weeks, then just carry it around in my bag, unopened. Some days I had a LOT going on, and others, nothing. The only thing that I religiously went back to was my unending list of work tasks: Nothing beats that satisfying rush from crossing something off as completed.

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon the Bullet Journal, but it had me as soon as I saw that the book is BLANK; you don't have to make your life conform to preconstructed boxes. If you google or YouTube "bullet journal," there are hundreds of ways to set it up, and no way is "wrong." I was sold.

Each person needs to do what works for her, but here is how I have mine set up: bare bones. No decorations, all business. I have a monthly page with a line for each day/date. I write events there or big deadlines. On the page next to that (the two comprise a "spread") is a list of monthly goals, split between personal and work. The following pages are a running list of to dos with the date at the top. I don't bother moving tasks to the next day--unless it's been a long time--because I just keep working on them until they're done. Some days go on for pages, and some days are skipped entirely. In between are all kinds of random things, like a page with book/tv/podcast recommendations from friends, gift ideas  for holidays coming up, meeting notes.

The genius about this is that everything is all in one place. I haven't bothered indexing anything because I tend to take notes with drawings and symbols and groupings of notes, which creates a visual that I remember. If I recopy those notes later, I mysteriously cannot find them.

Jon has made it his mission to find a digital platform for me to accomplish all this. Nothing has worked. Not even the special pen/paper you can download and microwave clean (I don't like the feel of the paper and the pen is too "slidey"). I can't do drawings/arrows/circles or doodle on my phone/tablet, so that doesn't work for me, either. I think I just like things the old way. Hell, I'd still have a flip phone if it weren't for my husband pulling me into this century.

It's been time to move to a new notebook for a few months now. I've been putting off starting the new bullet journal for almost all of my maternity leave, because it means I will soon have to jump back into the circus of the workplace. I'm thankful to have a job to go back to, but I'm dreading the petty office politics. I prefer my drama in the form of a tiny dictator bellowing for milk at 3 in the morning.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

she should have the option to like me

I'm really struggling over posting about Ro. She is simply amazing. And there's so much about her that's still developing. She's so much NOT like me, most days I'm trying to figure out how to best react to what she does. I read a story from a parent who refused to post about her child for fear the assessments about her at that time could stick with the kid forever. Or worse, impress upon her qualities that aren't true to her personality--once she figures out what that is.

My kid is so incredibly thoughtful and observant and charming. Even when she's pulling power plays like regressing on toilet training and responding to our requests with "No, I don't *have* to." One flash of that dazzling smile and I'm melting. Her father is a downright puddle on the floor.

She's stubborn. If she doesn't want to hug or thank someone, she just doesn't and cannot be bribed. I'm stubborn, too, but somehow became docile about things like that as I grew up. I don't want that for her--I don't want her to be 14 and not standing up for herself or 26 and getting trampled on in the office for fear she isn't being "a good girl."

She's shy. I can sit down on a strange park bench, turn to the person, dog, lamppost beside me and have no hesitation making smalltalk and possibly friends, even if it's just for the afternoon. My kid has a much stronger sense of stranger danger. She must be coaxed into her own house if she even suspects a foreign person is there. I worry she will find herself lonely or left out, and my heart pre-breaks for that eventuality.

She's a shrewd negotiator. Each time we ask her to do something, she responds with, "But first I have to..." even though she rarely gets to do said thing. And if we try to tell her the reason she has to let others have a turn/be patient/communicate what's going on with her, she will inevitably find a later situation in which to apply our logic right back toward us. Example:

Jon: We just listened to 22 Sofia the First songs. Daddy likes this band and they just came out with a new song. So now it's DADDY'S turn to listen to something DADDY wants to hear.
Ro: [proceeds to scream through 3/4 of the song Daddy wanted to hear] NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I WANT TO LISTEN TO WHAT I WANT TO LISTEN TO! NONONONNONONONONONONO!
Jon: [gives long lecture about taking turns]

The next day. Ro grabs the tv remote and sits next to Jon on the couch watching sports.

Ro: Ok, Daddy, you got to watch what you wanted to watch. Now it's my turn to watch what I want to watch.
Jon: [obeys her command]

The main thing I don't want to put upon her is my hangup that she doesn't like me. I mean, she loves me; I'm her mother. But 10 out of 10 times she prefers her dad, who is a special combination of the sun, moon AND stars for her.

Mommy is B team, only needed when A team is unavailable. And Jon is a good dad, so he's seldom unavailable. I have theories--most of them stem from the fact that after I delivered her, I was so incapacitated for so long by the separated pelvis that all I could do was lie in bed and have her brought to me to nurse. Jon pretty much did everything else--the rocking, the singing, the changing, the bathing. My mother was here every day, to take care of her own child. Daddy-daughter bond became so tight, there wasn't room for me. When I was finally be able to do things again, I found myself in another high-risk pregnancy, leaning on Jon to handle her by himself again.

During this last pregnancy, I found myself saying, "This one is going to be mine." Maybe it's because Daddy is so busy with big sister, but so far, that looks to be true. 

Everything will even out in the end.