Archive for the 'everyday' Category

New year, a little late

I’ve made a new vow to myself to try to make things easier on me and those around me. And to not apologize for it so much (I was about to start out by saying, “I know my life isn’t so hard, but it feels like . . . blah blah blah. But I’m not going to do that.).

To that end, I’m trying a few new things. Some self-care. This is taking a couple of forms at the moment. The big one is letting go of the idea that taking the easy route is somehow bad. Yes, we can forage for dinner from the ingredients in the fridge, but we can also order in and that’s a-ok. Yes, I can go to the store and buy some flowers, but ordering a monthly subscription of flowers from Bouqs has already made us so much happier than any flowers from Trader Joe’s ever did. And the smaller ones are doing things like making my bed more often than not, doing a little gentle yoga most days, and trying to say no more often. Well, that last one isn’t small. But it’s a very big work in progress.

And then I’m trying to make things a little easier on AO. Although he loves to cook and is the best chef I know, there is never enough time in the day for him to get to all of the cooking projects done that he wants to do. And he often ends up being very hard on himself for being too tired to have an interest in making meals every night. So, I thought we should try something new that could give him a well-earned break and maybe even allow me to help out in this area. I mean, we all know that I’m not going to actually cook cook, but I can probably handle putting things on a plate or following a recipe with pre-measured ingredients. Maybe. We’ll see.

So, to that end, this week we have pasta meals coming from Big Mouth Pasta and next week we are trying out a four-week subscription to Pasture and Plenty. I love that these are both local businesses and that the ordering processes couldn’t have been easier. I’m really excited to see how this works for us and I feel really liberated at letting go of the idea that we have to do this all for ourselves. Because there’s no medal for doing it all.

Stay tuned to hear about the meal stuff!

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Mourning

My dad died on October 17 of this year and I haven’t been doing so well with it.

I see his name here – in recent comments – and the waterworks start. I had thought for so long he wasn’t interested in the blog, but of late he was one of its few readers. Everyone keeps commenting to me on how we had such a “complicated” relationship. But really, it wasn’t that complicated. I loved him. Like, it broke my heart how much I loved him. And he loved me. The part folks describe as complicated, I guess, is that he was never able to love me for who I really am. And that broke me. He was forever upset at how sensitive I am, constantly telling me to toughen up. He was always criticizing my taste in things — movies, art, books, tv. He didn’t like the way I played sports, criticizing me for generous calls I made in tennis. I was just under the omnipresent understanding that I was doing it all wrong. But it wasn’t all that complicated. I loved him. He loved me. I just knew he wanted me to be a different me.

He also always made me know that he’d had it so much worse than I could know. His parents had been blindingly horrid to him and his brother. And I believe and believed it. But what was I to do with that as a seven-year-old? Or now? I was always taught that I was lucky that my dad was as “normal” and kind as he was; I should be grateful: it could be so much worse. As if any of it were something I had a part in.

I’m not exactly sure what lessons to take from my dad. I know that he gave me extraordinary gifts and tools. But he also gave me heightened sensitivity and anger and depression. But besides Molly, I know that he gave me tangible good. The thing that makes me more grateful to him than I can articulate is my love of art. It’s what makes me get up in the morning and what makes me believe in humanity. It’s what gives me hope. And I thank my dad for giving me that gift. My mom fanned and fans it for sure. But it was my dad’s passion. And I’m grateful forever to have been born in its shadow.

Day X

So, on Day 19 we fell a bit off of our Monster 30-day plan to be our best, calm selves and get our lives in order. This Administration and, well, life proved too much for us. Instead we said screw it to the mess in the house and the House and everywhere, had some nighttime cocktails and binge-watched some telly. It was cathartic in its own right.

And now, ten plus days later, the house is still a mess, the chaos in Washington is bigger than before and I’m dealing with a flood of emotions at having just celebrated Mollybear’s fifth birthday. With every one of these birthdays – or any milestone really (like, for example, she’s taken to saying, “Oh. My God,” which has to be a rite of passage) – I seem to die a bit on the inside. As cliched as it is to say, this parenting business is not for the weak of heart. And weak of heart I am.

On that note, I give you this article, which I thought was written by me at first. What tipped me off wasn’t the name of the author (I thought that perhaps I had submitted under a nom de plume), but that I drink coffee, Coke Zero and icy cold water in the morning. And then it struck me that the voice seems to be somewhat younger than I. And I don’t have one of those fancy towels she speaks of. And she showers more frequently than I do. And she’s funnier. And a better writer. Look, I didn’t write it. I get that. But still. For just a moment, I thought, “Wait. Did I submit an article to Slate?!”

This is 40 (Yahoo!)

A billion years ago, my mom told me that it was perfectly acceptable to decline to be weighed at the doctor’s office. Years later, Doc Heather confirmed the accuracy of my mom’s report. Despite these wise women’s words, I never used my voice to ask not to be put on the scale. The most I had ever braved on this front was saying meekly to the nurse, “I don’t want to look.” Often, this was met with mucho respect. The nurse would go out of her way to shield me from the computer screen or whatever other papers would show the numbers. Other times, not so much. Today, though, I was staring down the barrel of a doc appointment to look at some itchy splotches on my right calf that have been there for months that, according to the interwebs, could either be (a) eczema or (b) cancer. What’s more is that said appointment was going to directly follow a lunch I was required to attend to listen to the Administration defend its budget proposal. Add to that that I’m swamped at work and feeling like there’s not enough time to do anything well in any arena, and I was just not feeling the scale. Plus, I have a regular physical in June so what in the world is the point of adding insult to injury? I remembered my mom and Heather’s advice, and told myself, “Today is the day. Today is the day I say, ‘Uh, can we skip that wretched machine that discounts all of my positive attributes and shows me an ugly number that will make me feel bad forever? Please!’ Yes, today is the day.” So, I steeled myself. I drove to the appointment, parked, checked in, got kicked off of the self-check-in kiosk because I admitted I’d traveled outside of the country in the past 21 days, was gently told I broke the kiosk, was asked about Ebola and corpses, used the restroom, sat down in the waiting room, stood up when a nice woman asked if I were ‘Kate’ and told me that the nurse had called my name, and then nearly lost all of my resolve when I relaized that the nurse assigned to my appointment was male. Why would this matter? I’m not so sure, except I think I worried that maybe by asking not to be weighed I’d be fulfilling some sort of stereotypical ‘women can’t handle the truth’ nonsense. In any event, it didn’t take long before I snapped back to reality and my courage returned. The nurse made his polite introduction and said, “And then if you’ll just come this way and we can get your weight.” He swerved to the right, ever-so-slightly. I said, quickly, “Actually, can we not do that?” He swerved back into his lane and took a left, saying, “Sure. No problem.” And that was that. And this is 40.

RIP, Robin Williams

I can’t say anything meaningful on the passing of one of the world’s most vibrant talents. I’ve been devouring the tributes and the memories that have recently been written about him. Given how much of him we have seen and heard over the years, it’s obviously not shocking to learn that he was dealing with such horrible demons, but it’s nevertheless devastating to hear that he fell to such ultimate pain. I am immensely sorry for him, his family and, frankly, for all of us. Robin Williams was one-of-a-kind and, I think, that this is a brilliant story that beautifully illustrates his importance. Kudos, once again, to Dahlia Lithwick for having such a lovely (and I mean that literally) voice.


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