Monday, September 24, 2012

Cosmos

I'm drinking a cosmo right now. I put too much cranberry juice in it. I think I need to go vodka it up a bit.


I almost never drink vodka anymore. I've been having a love affair with Stella Artois and most recently, with the case of New Glarus we picked up while in Wisconsin last week. 

But I didn't want to feel bloaty (as I typically feel with beer), so I made myself a cocktail. 

I used to drink 4 or 5 cosmos a night when I worked full time a few years ago. It's how I brought myself down from a difficult day. Funny thing is, I'm doing work with that company again. And here I sit, with a cosmo.

What is different between then and now is that I managed to not do any work over the weekend, even though there was work that could have been done and my computer was here in the 'south' office of our condo*.  I finally figured out that if I break for the weekend, that is, if I take a real break, where I don't respond to e-mails or try to get 'ahead' for the coming week, that I'm infinitely more productive and creative on Monday.

I'm 40, and I'm figuring this out now.

I'm not working 40, 45 or 55 hours a week now. That's good. But I do have work. And the other work. And the whole being-in-charge-of-two-kids-and-a-household deal.  

And I have this cosmo.

Next up, Hoarders and knitting. 

Also, the satisfaction that I've blogged for the first time in two months, and reached out to an old online friend, Midlife Rambler, which has weighed heavily on my mind for some time.

Maybe now that it is fall, I can hole up in the house with my computer and get back to blogging, with the occasional cosmo. 



* A recent purge/reorganization + rehab has given this household not one, but TWO functioning office spaces in our 2200 sf condo.  I chose to use the south office (front sunroom) today.

Photo credit:  Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Monday, July 23, 2012

Focus on the Healing

I have a lot to get done today. I'm trying to take close to a two-week vacation one week from tomorrow and I have a LOT to accomplish today. 

And I can't focus.

It's tough to focus when you manage social media accounts for a few clients and you're seeing a shit-ton of 'insight' about gun laws, Penn State University, the NCAA and by and large, retribution.  Who deserves what. Who had it coming. Who should be punished. How it should be moving forward. 

It's really tough when you are a Penn State alum.

Honestly, I think everyone is completely off track, here. 

Our world is sick. And sad. And miserable. And the misery pours out in inexplicable violence on innocent people. I don't think the pills are working.

I guess we can busy ourselves with who did or didn't say certain things. Or who is or isn't going to jail for it. Or how we'll do the best we can with crisis management until someone else fucks up and the focus is elsewhere.

At the end of the day, I think it still comes down to lonely, unhappy, grieving people who act on impulses a lot of us can't fathom. 

It's not all about who has the right to carry a gun. Or about institutions not doing the right thing. Those are big fucking parts of it, for sure, but at the absolute root: a growing part of our society is lost. 

Snarky comments aren't going to fix it. 

I hope that anyone that reads this will think of ways to focus on the healing, instead. It doesn't mean sending a card to the survivors of the Colorado shooting. It doesn't mean burning your PSU shirts to support victims of molestation. 

I'd like anyone reading this to genuinely think about healing. 

Start with yourself. Let it go outward. 

Focus on the healing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's Hot

Chicago is on some kind of hottest-weather-since-this-side-of-Hell week. It's 9:48 pm as I type, and 93 degrees F outside. We reached a high of 104F today, only 1 degree shy of the record temp set back in July 1934.  Tomorrow, it's expected to hit 103F.

I want to stab everything.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, Hare Krishnas...

Husband and I ran an errand today without the kids. On our way back, and within just one mile from our home, we found ourselves behind a giant, slow-moving float: The Hare Krishnas were in our hood. 

The Hare Krishnas, as it turns out, are always in our hood. They have a temple a few blocks north and west of our place. We see them about once a year. I remember the day after we moved in ...12 years ago ... we heard the sound of tambourines coming from out front. We ran to our sun room and saw a small parade of 12 (or less) Hare Krishnas: Rogers Park diversity in full force within the first 24 hours of home ownership! 

For anyone following this blog, it seems like I may be on some sort of path: I'm searching. Or, I'm just getting old. Or, I'm getting old and starting to search for something. I don't know, but 6 months ago, two Kundalini yogi's called me up for some marketing work and nothing has been the same since. 

Actually, a lot of things have been exactly the same. But other things have been remarkably different. In short, I've chanted mantra and I read Russell Simmons' Super Rich. I treated my kids' liced-out heads with essential oils instead of chemicals. I started doing more shopping at Whole Foods. And amazingly enough, I still haven't taken a damn yoga class. 

Regardless, this kind of spirituality, chanting mantra and making personal changes, is stirring something up inside of me more than any kind of forced, organized religion (Catholicism) has. And because I want my kids to be less freaked out about stuff than I was at their age (more on this later), I called the kids immediately: "Get your shoes on and meet us out front in 3 minutes. The Hare Krishnas are having a parade. Bring the iPad."

They didn't know what was going on. By the time we got to the front, the kids were still inside. I called up and Little Guy answered: "Who in the heck celebrates Christmas in the middle of summer?"

"I said Hare Krishna, not Merry Christmas!" I yelled from the yard.

If you look closely, you'll see the rope in the middle.
Two confused kids and an iPad ended up downstairs and we high-tailed it up Sheridan Road to find the float. I was worried we had missed it. I would have not been worried about missing it had I realized that the float was moving from the slow, but steady force of at least 100 Hare Krishnas pulling a rope that was attached to the axle of the giant wagon: Slowest. Float. Ever.

What a spectacle! 

I don't even remember what traffic in the southbound lanes of Sheridan was doing ... it was either getting redirected or it was moving at an absolute snail's pace behind the float. Northbound traffic proceeded cautiously.  In the float, an amplified Hare Krishna was chanting mantra:

Hare Krishna
Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna
Hare Hare
Hare Rama
Hare Rama
Rama Rama
Hare Hare

Now, as much as you probably want to sing this to the tune of George' Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," that's not how it went.  Focus.

I haven't made any commitments to new practices yet. And until I came home and Googled it, I didn't know what this mantra meant. But I will tell you that after 15 minutes (to travel 2 whole blocks) of hanging with the mantra-chanting Hare Krishnas, I felt good. Happy. Not enlightened, because that's going to take some work on my part, but good.  They're throwing out good vibes and I'm picking them up. Is this what happens when WASP's sing Amazing Grace on Sunday morning? I don't know, Amazing Grace usually makes me cry.

Positive vibes of peace and love? Or just that I was self-indulgently patting myself on the back for literally grabbing my children and running to see the parade, where my parents would have grabbed me and run in the opposite direction. 

6-Year Old Me: Who are they?
Parent: A bunch of god-damn weirdos. Stay away from them or they might take you.

Evidently the Hare Krishnas have this festival in our park every year. I don't know if they do it on the same weekend (like, if this is a celebration connected to a holiday), but if they did this last year at this time, Rodd (my father) was in town.  Actually, we were in Wisconsin a year ago today for my first Olympic-distance triathlon with Rodd.  But I can't even tell you how much I giggled at the idea of Rodd being within touching distance of a bunch of 'god damned freaks in their weird little orange dresses singing about peace and shit. Get a god damn job and some pants.'

It made me wish that teleporting was possible. 

I can hear them chanting from my bedroom window as I'm writing this piece. I'd like to go over and chant with them. But even more, I'd like to take a nap since I've been awake since about 2:30 this morning. 

Chanting?
Napping?
Chanting?
NAPPING!

Clearly, my path is a little twisted. I'll get there, even if it takes so long.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Debulked

Poor Boyish.

Yesterday, for the first time in his life, he had to have his teeth professionally cleaned. And while he was anesthetized, the doctor 'debulked' the polyp in his ear.  

I imagine cleaning cat's teeth is kind of tricky. I can only guess that debulking an ear polyp is squishy and messy.

Poor Boy-o. 

A whole day affair, I picked him up from the vet's at 5 pm and brought him home. He refused to eat while he was there and was completely ravenous once in his own house.  As much as I doted on him, he wanted nothing to do with me. 

Forgiveness came at 4:15 this morning, when we had a serious session of Cat-to-Mom lovin'. 

He's our Boy.

They shaved his little arm for the IV. Poodle arm.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Favorite Things

I just hyper-clicked my way into a really divine blog: The Life and Times of a Yogi Mompreneur.  I'm no yogi, but I do consulting work with two amazing yogi's who have - without intentionally trying to 'fix' me -  brought new dialogue and understanding (and questions! lots of questions!) of sound, breath and movement (that's Yoga, folks!) to my life. 

For the past two months - after my yogi's gifted me with a copy of Russell Simmons' Super Rich, I've been so aware of my gifts and my blessings. The reactive, knee-jerktivity that has defined me for the first 39 years of my life has found a quiet place to hang out until I can process my experience and respond in a way that still honors my feelings without being a caustic, snarky bitch. 

I think we're all in agreement that that is a good thing.

So, if you've clicked on the link above, you'll see that this wonderful, yogi mompreneur has taken time to list some of her favorite things. I'm going to do the same. 

Join me?

1.  My gift: writing and marketing.  The ideas I've had for a variety of clients in the past few weeks have rocked my own face off. I love that I can offer my clients creative, energetic and {clears throat} fucking awesome ideas and that they like them enough to give me some money in return.

2. My kids incredible sense of humor and how when they laugh -- it's a 200%, full-body, no-holds barred laughter. Even if I'm in a funk, those giggly kids can put a smile on my face.

3.  Husband. Because.

4.  Gardening. It's new to me but I am at peace in the yard. Getting stuff to grow out of dirt is wildly rewarding.

Sleepy Boy.
5.  Boyish. Senor Pussypants. Sister Mary Fat Pants. McBoy. Fatmandu. Raoul the Cat. Rolling over in the middle of the night to find him wedged between me and Husband.  Love it even more when he opens his eyes and kisses my nose.

6.  A mug of coffee in bed while watching the morning news. I'm not a caffeine junkie -- I only need one cup a day -- but if I can get it while I'm in bed and watching the news, things are good.

7.  Not feeling guilty about putting "my gift" as my #1 thing, even above my kids and Husband. 

8.  Training. Triathlon training. Marathon training. I do love the process, even though it leaves me exhausted and I seem to need to take breaks before getting back at it. I love the purpose. I love the camaraderie. I love the shoes.

Not our backyard. But close enough.
9.  Stolen, quiet (kids are upstairs watching TV) moments with my husband in the backyard: feet up on the table and nursing a cold bottle of beer.

10.  Knowing when to stop working for the day. Knowing when to start playing.

That's 10. I may come back periodically and add more because there are a lot more things that make me smile.

What made your Top 10???



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bhavana's Responsibility

After today's "Race Against Hate" 10k (Husband ran it, not me. I provided enthusiastic cheers.) we stopped at the local Jewel to pick up a few things for Father's Day breakfast, including a $10 bottle of champagne for mimosas.

When we got in line, I accidentally took my Jewel card and ran it thru the debit/credit scanner.  The cashier, an Indian woman in her mid-50s named Bhavana, looked at me like I had three heads. I apologized. Husband, attempting to help navigate the technology that had clearly already gotten the best of me, got out his debit card and said, "I'll do this."

Bhavana stopped. She let out a sigh to show she was annoyed. Then she looked at both of us and angrily said, "which one of you is buying the alcohol?".

"Me. It's me. I'll do it," I said. 


Husband quickly - and with some shame - stashed his debit card back in his wallet.

Bhavana did not like us.

Within seconds, she asked for my ID. Because I knew she hated me, I was all thumbs and managed to pull out three YMCA I.D.s (I carry my kids Y IDs in my wallet) and my Voter's Registration Card before I could get the driver's license out.

Bhavana waited.

Once I handed her the card, I thought maybe she was having a hard time finding the year I was born, because she was looking at it for what seemed like a long time. But she kept looking. 

And looking.

And still looking some more. 

For a second, I thought she was trying to commit something to memory - possibly my address - so she could leave a steamin' pile of poo on my doorstep for inconveniencing her so much with this 5 item order.

Bhavana looked up from her meditative trance with my ID and said, "Please remove your glasses."

I lifted my sunglasses up above my nose as she glanced at me and then back to the ID. "I'm 40," I said with a laugh.

Bhavana stopped, looked me straight in my once again sunglass-covered eyes and coldly said, "This is my responsibility, ma'am."

Bhavana wasn't fucking around.

The trio in line behind me - the ones with 6 bottles of Pinot Grigio - completely lost their shit when they heard her shut my ass down. Husband, who had started to silently sidestep his way to the end of the register so he could bag our groceries and not further inconvenience Bhavana, was also smirking and I was guessing he was on the brink of a solid case of church giggles.

To join anyone in laughter would be my death.

I managed to get out of the store, champagne in hand, unscathed. But I'll be honest, it wouldn't have surprised me if Jewel had authorized Bhavana to perform cavity searches on problematic, trouble-making customers like myself. 

And if she would have snapped a latex glove on her hand and told me to bend over, we would have had a serious problem on our hands: I really wanted a mimosa.