Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Waffles and savasana all day long.

Welcome to my midlife crisis! It's probably more like a three-quarter life crisis, given the genes in my family, but 'midlife' rolls off the tongue more easily. Yesterday afternoon I played a piano cocktail hour and decided that I would end the job with a bunch of green chili wontons, go home, play with children, and start doing all kinds of fun midlife crisis things in the morning. There were no green chili wontons at the event, alas, so I ate crackers and a gin & tonic.

My 3-year-old took this photo.
This morning, I awoke at 6am because children. We all went downstairs, and I immediately decided to be self-indulgent and also kind. We all had waffles for breakfast -- frozen, processed, Trader Joe's waffles. We all read books. The boys read books to each other. I walked Graham to the bus stop and made him wear this ridiculous Budweiser umbrella hat from the 1970s because I couldn't find the box that held actual umbrellas. I got some work done. I had a meeting.

I went to yoga -- that was the big thing ... I'm committed to going back to yoga, mostly because I need something to manage my anxiety and irritability. After going through a couple of sun salutations, I decided that I actually wanted to just lie in savasana the entire class. Being that it's my midlife crisis, I did just that. I was in the back row, so every time the rest of the class did down-dog, they surely noticed me still lying on my back, but whatever. I paid a lot of money to lie down on that mat, and it was really nice.

My midlife crisis is going to be some sort of balance between doing all the things I want to do before I die AND not destroying the environment in the process (because guilt about the planet has followed me ever since my enviro-conscientious 8th grade science teacher told us not to flush if it's just pee).

So ... what are the kinds of things people do during midlife crises?? Do they join a gym? (yoga -- CHECK) Take a ridiculous vacation? (in-the-works!!) Buy a car? (MAYBE?!). Totally change careers? (COULD BE!) Stay tuned and check back what antics I'm up for.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Settling into the next chaos

Thanks for all the love on my last blog. I haven't slipped out quietly (nor done the hair-flip departure), but I'm having trouble settling. Sitting still lets the grief pour in, and quitting breastfeeding is messing with my mental stability, and generally, there's a lot going on. Adulting seems to be getting used to the fact that things will never settle down.

You know how it goes ... we constantly tell ourselves, "Once ______ is over, things will calm down." It turns out there is always something around the corner. I am just trying my hardest to not stress out over what that something will be.

For now we are settling into our new, old house. It has great bones, and I think it is the best lot in the entire city of Louisville (not joking; location is everything to me). The interior, however, needs around $200k worth of work to bring it up to a standard of living that most people would like. I, however, am ok with holes in the walls, I guess.

Our next priority is building an actual kitchen. I'm even going to have a DISHWASHER, folks!! There's one wall that needs to come down, and David, in an attempt to give my emotions an outlet, has told me where he keeps the sledgehammer. I started with a tiny metal hitting device, but I'm feeling the sledgehammer soon...

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People keep telling me how awesome it is that I've got my parents' house.
Gratitude that I own this amazing house, but... it's a project:) How do you like this kitchen?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Building community or slipping out quietly?!

I am surrounded by the ghosts of my family, but am raising my children in a place without family. It's a little exciting as it offers freedom to move anywhere in the world, but it's also hard: there's no one I can call at 2am. We are doing our best to establish a family-like neighborhood in the surrounding blocks, and truthfully it is a community like no other.

Last family photo. 2018.
It's weird, as I spent the last many years either raising a newborn or caring for a dying parent (or both -- not recommended). One of the things my mother apologized for on her deathbed was for not helping out as much as I needed when Graham was an infant. In his infancy, my mother and I had our biggest arguments: me begging for help, telling her how hopelessly depressed I was, and her telling me to "get over it" and that "life is hard," and me shouting back that "I'm 34, not 16, and you sh
ould be a grandmother and help me and hold this baby," and her saying essentially "you got yourself into this mess." Tears and shouts and arguments and eventual apologies (from both of us -- from me expecting the help, and her just not really being a baby person, which I totally get. She did a 180 when Angus was born and was the only person he'd go to sleep easily for.)

Anyway, we'd finally come to a sweet little grandmother-hangs-out-with-grandchildren beautiful arrangement when she got her stage 4 pancreatic diagnosis. Shit luck, eh?

Now I'm torn between throwing myself fiercely into the neighborhood by hosting sleepovers and potlucks and outdoor movie nights and serving on committees at Lakeside ... and the opposite: extracting myself completely. We could homeschool. We could travel and worldschool. We could liquidate and buy a forest in Scotland. We could buy an RV and start a new blog about traveling families. We could move to LA, like Graham is begging to do, and let him just audition all day long. We could move to the woods, and I could write romance novels.

But the community where we live, while only half a mile away, has so much more of a commune feel already that I don't really want to leave. There are so many kids, and they are all brilliant and kind. Last week a 5-year-old I didn't know knocked on the door (alone!) and asked of my boys could play. It made me smile so much and reminded me that this street is a really fun place to grow up. So maybe we'll stay?

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Faux-pair dreams

I spent a glorious week in Telluride, playing music for smart people, soaking in new ideas, brainstorming, laughing and meeting so many smart new friends. It was peak week in that part of the mountains, so the aspens were golden sparkles everywhere. Riding above them in a private gondola was pure magic.

I first visited Telluride three weeks after my mom died. This visit was three months after my dad died. More than just escape that drew me to the mountains both times, the trip was family-seeking. Technically there's no family in Telluride, but some of my absolutely favorite people in the world live there: the family I used to nanny for.

"Nanny" is the wrong word because it was less an employee/employer situation (and also, I worked a full-time job at CBS News while I lived there, so I wasn't babysitting 40 hours a week or anything) and more of an au pair -- or faux pair! -- situation.

Twenty years later, I fell right back into my role, not in Brooklyn, but at their mountain home. I walked dogs, lent a hand, hung out with the kids (who are all grown up now and so smart and delightful and fabulous that I want to boast on them as if they were my own sweet ones!) and had coffee and got book recommendations from my ... host mom? Friend? Chosen family?!
Morning walk with sweet pups.
It was really nice. It was nice to remember that there are people in the world you can go years with out seeing, but you can fall back into place as friends or family as if not a day had passed. You can have real talks and share real feelings with people who are just, well, real.

Seeing my fauxpair family made me realize what a special connection I had and how much I wish for my kids to have someone they can visit with as they grow.

I'll be looking for new childcare come March (our wonderful au pair's visa will be up, and she'll be off to new adventures), and I wish I could have a clone of what I was to my Telluride family. Someone to live with us, to co-parent and to love on the kids, but who also has a life of their own. Someone who wants to be part of our family and who will pick pumpkins with us and hang out just because.

I keep thinking that surely there is some Bellarmine student who wants to live close to the university, but can't afford a room. A Lakeside staffer who wants to move our of their parents' home, but can't afford an apartment yet?

The barter system is a beautiful thing! I had a free room in NYC in exchange for babysitting. It was win-win-win: for me, the parents and the kids, too! I'm back to daydreaming of that kind of magic.

Louisville: SHOW ON SUNDAY, October 20. Early show, with Luke Powers. at OdeonDoors at 5pm
Music 6 to 8pm
Tickets $10 at the Door Food truck will be outside, and you can bring your food in and SIT DOWN in the listening room and eat and enjoy the show.

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Aaron Burr, SIR! I cheesed a little asking for
a selfie with Brandon Victor Dixon. #hamilton

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Cast iron and home cookin'

I have gone a little crazy and am throwing away anything resembling non-stick or Teflon or waterproof or basic disgusting carcinogenic chemicals in our house. I know, I know -- we've all known about it for years, but it apparently takes seeing your dad's eye turn inside out and spontaneously bleed before you decide maybe teflon isn't the best idea.

I'm slowly replacing everything with Le Creuset and Staub, but here's my exception:

I can't find the exact online like, but it's similar to this one. Just cook it on LOW HEAT AND IT WON'T STICK!

Have y'all seen the trailer for this movie? Because I suspect it's gonna make ALL of y'all throw out your Teflon:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Wherein I accidentally read 3 pornos this week

Thing I just googled: porn vs erotica vs romance.

My kindle suggested this free novel to me a couple of weeks ago, and I thought, "Sure, that looks cool. I need a nice escapist book. This one is called The Scotch King, and the cover has a crown on it. Must be some historical fiction about whisky and royalty."

I opened it and wow did I get a surprise because the book is total, like, Fifty Shades fan fiction (maybe? I don't really know my fan fiction terminology) and is just a lot of sex scenes with a story woven through. I have nothing against sex scenes, but these were definitely the most saucy and graphic ones I've ever read. I was a little embarrassed, so of course rather than stopping reading it (I mean, I really need fast-reads so I can beat my dad in our GoodReads Challenge this year, and I have a leg up on him now that he's dead), I just decided to tweet to the universe that I was reading porn.

Then I felt kind of guilty because porn has a negative connotation (though I don't think it should -- but I'm also not up on the ideology and academic arguments that support it), so I wondered if it was erotica instead. I'm still really confused, but trying not to think about it.

I never made it through Fifty Shades (i read the first, but not the others), but I did manage to finish all three of the Scotch Series, actually not even realizing it was a trilogy until I got to the third book. My Kindle had sent me the whole series as a group.

Anyway, that was my first experience reading really graphic, um, romance novels? And I had some observations.

1. I am a total sucker for plot. I really somehow needed to know what happened to these characters.
2. I didn't actually enjoy the sex scenes and kinda skimmed them for a while.
3. I went back and re-read them because I wondered if, now that both my parents are dead, maybe I could have a future writing really dirty romance novels? It seems like they are pretty thin on plot and maybe don't take a lot of time to write.
4. I will, in fact, read anything that is set in Scotland. Anything.
5. I have now, for sure, screwed up my targeted Kindle advertising, but ...
6. I am going to DESTROY my GoodReads Challenge this year, even though I started very far behind.

What are you reading this week?