Baseball Cap Koan - part 1

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

I got this hat several years ago - well, on the back is the date; it's almost exactly 5 years ago - at a wedding reception where I was bartending. It was at a country club here, one of Charlotte's oldest, home to Charlotte's "old money" and the Charlotte elite. I was working for a temp foodservice agency; basically, I was a "cater waiter" and I'd go wherever the agency needed me to. There were aspects of the job I loved - meeting all kinds of people, getting to go to all types of events, even if I was working. I enjoy bartending, too, and was good at it. I don't think I'd be so good at it now, what with all the new flavored specialty liquors out there. Watermelon-tini? What? But it was enjoyable, and I had lots of flexibility.

That business goes through phases, though, and there are times of the year when work is basically nonexistant. It surprises me, now, when I look back, at how little money I was making, and it was never consistent.

I kept this cap because I experienced something at that wedding that I wanted to make peace with. I was in a particularly struggly time, there had been very little work, I was behind on ALL of my bills, most pressing was the rent. I was so stressed out.

Anyway - I got this assignment, and was really glad, because it was a lot of hours, and sometimes at weddings, I might get tipped. People think bartenders always get tipped - not so for temps, especially in country clubs. A tip gets included on the final bill, but that tip gets divvied up among the permanent employees of the club who had worked the event; I'd never see a dime of it, even though frequently the temps were the ones doing the sh** work, the hauling and dumping and cleaning. But there was a chance! Sometimes out-of-town relatives who don't know any better will slip a tip in. We could not put up tip jars, we'd get fired if we did.

So, we got everything set up, and it was just hitting me, the contrast between the people who were celebrating, and my financial situation. Knowing that what they spent on one pair of shoes could have paid my rent for at least one month, those kinds of thoughts. Not helpful, really, but there I was. Running through numbers in my head - hmmm... club members have yearly dues, monthly minimums, for the wedding there was the cost of the space, the cost of the food, the staff, the band.

I was feeling resentful. I was feeling indignant. What good is it? I thought. If these people weren't spending their money on this stuff, they could donate it somewhere where it could really make a difference! I was judgmental, my friends, very judgmental.

I have to add, this was after I had called our housing authority here to see if I could get put on their waiting list for housing assistance. My plans to watch children after my husband and I had split did not work out, and I was living on very little income each month. I had no doubt I would qualify for help. I picked up the phone, made that call - and got laughed at. Literally, laughed at. I found out the waiting list was at least 3 years long, and they weren't taking any more names for it. I made the call in desperation, and was scared about what I was going to do.

I was not in a good place.

So there I was, at the wedding reception, watching the bride and groom hold each others' shoe up to answer cute questions, listening to toasts and the clink of silverware on crystal to make them kiss. The family was going to have a formal reception, with 250 people and dinner and drinks for 3 hours, then they were going to open it up for a more informal reception for 500, with passed hors d'oeuvres and open bars. While we were clearing tables and restocking our bars for the after-dinner party, the groom's mom came in with all these boxes. She'd had these caps made, and wanted to give them out to all of the guests, and could we help with that? Very nice baseball caps, with custom embroidery, the bride's & groom's name and the date on the back, how sweet. My stomach turned over.

What?! 500 baseball caps? And these were not people I could see wearing baseball caps, either. She said it was kind of a joke, because her son loved to fish so much. She was giving away 500 baseball caps... as a kind of a joke.

My head was spinning. Numbers were racing again - at a conservative estimate of $4 per cap, that was $2,000. Two. Thousand dollars. Rent for over three months. For a joke.

I HATED those caps. Hated them. I couldn't believe it. At the end of the evening, when she saw that lots of people were leaving their caps behind, she said all of the employees could each have one. My, how generous, lady.

I was pissed. Even more so, when I got home and looked up the brand of cap, and found out they were closer to $8 each. So - $4,000. For a joke.

I couldn't believe it.

to be continued


Unschooling is Not a Method of Education

I was reading on unschooling basics this morning, and someone put into words something SO important:

While unschooling is considered, for the purpose of the law, to be a form of
homeschooling, radical unschooling is not a method of education. Its an approach
to living with children in partnership, as if school did not exist.

The phrase that helped make unschooling really click for me was a similar quote I first heard from Ned Vare: Unschooling is living your life as if school didn't exist. That helped me drop any expectations I had about grade level, who should learn what by when... it helped trip me over into living more authentically with the boys, more in the moment.

There are so many more aspects of unschooling, of course, but I wanted to pull that quote out and save it.


Another Day in Paradise

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

I don't talk about my work very often - as in, the thing I do Monday through Friday for pay. Part of the reason is that I believe my real work in this world is being with the boys, unschooling with them, guiding and sharing with them: they are my priority.

Also? It's kind of a tough job, in some ways. Mentally, emotionally tough. I know I have it easy compared to, say, a coalworker. I work for a non-profit that helps connect people with affordable housing. It started out as a small company, just locally here in Charlotte. A man (now my boss) thought the internet would be a great way to let people know what affordable housing options were out there. To hear the story of how the company started... it's magical, in a lot of ways. It started with, literally, a dream that my boss had, and has plenty of the right people being in the right place at the right time. Coincidences, some people call them.

The company has grown a LOT - we're now in 26 states, and we just got the contract for another one. Shortly after the site was launched, we started partnering with the housing authority here, to list the homes that were available for section 8 rentals, and because we do that efficiently and very well, we just keep growing.

I am very, very lucky to have the job I do. It started with an e-mail from a friend, they were looking for someone for maybe 10 - 15 hours a week, in the office. I talked to the owner, went in for an interview. My boss makes a point of hiring people who need some stability in their lives - people out on work release, people who are in recovery, people who need a second chance. I have heard story after story of the gift this has meant to some of my coworkers, and my boss is proving something: give people some trust and some responsibility, and they'll pay you back with their loyalty. Our turnover is very, very low. We're a call center, and I don't know the average turnover rate for those - I know it's high! - but we rarely lose anyone. We hire people because we grow. It's an amazing company.

So, I was hired, and my second day in I realized the work was internet-based, and I asked my boss if I could work from home. We talked about that, and 3 months later I was set up with an office computer and phone at home, and I've been working for them for over 3 years now. I am SO grateful for the ability to earn an income while I'm home with the boys. Before this job, I was taking what I could get here and there, bartending on the weekends the boys were with their Dads, barely making it every month. A stable job with stable income has meant so much to us. The fact that the work itself is meaningful is a huge bonus.

I have the best boss in the world - he listens to his employees' ideas, everyone really feels like we have a stake in this company. There were months when the company was just starting out that he took no pay, going into debt to make sure his workers were paid.

The hard part? My job is answering e-mails, from both the property owners and people searching for homes. Here are some examples:

My son is disabled, and he's trying to make it on $516 a month from SSI. He needs a place to live.

My husband and I have been unemployed since last year. He has asthma and a heart condition. We were evicted, and have been living out of our van since September. His health is getting worse and worse, and we need a place to live.

It's just me and my two kids, I paid a man a deposit on a house, but he's gone and won't answer his phone and there's a note on the door saying it's been foreclosed. I don't have any more money, and don't have a place to live.


can you helping me with housing.ssievery month $740.i have a burglery charge.no money depost.please call me! .need help with medical,dentist

Hi, my name is _________. I was a Section8 recipient recently. I moved because the neighborhood I moved in I could not let my kids out to really play and people would just be in the yard and grown-ups were fighting in broad daylight with each other on the outside. The landlord refused to let me out of the lease, so I decided that I could just do it on my own. So I saved and left the property. At this time on my current job I am really struggling cant seem to make ends meet. I wanted to know if I would be eligible to reapply or what I would need to do in order to get on the waiting list. I am willing to do whatever I need to in order to reapply.

Hello my name is __________ and i am in need of assistance , i really need employmet i was layed off on my job. Now i cant pay my bills wich means i cant aford to live in my aparment anymore .Im just asking could your organazation could help me with my heartship.

Again, and again, and again. Every day, story after story after story. These were the tamer ones - I've had page-long e-mails, filled with everything that's happened to the family over the past year, in ragged, horrible detail. All ending with: Can you help? Is there help for us?

The answer? Really, really, often it's: I'm sorry, there's nothing in your rent range, or, everything in your rent range is on a waiting list. I can give you the numbers of some agencies that may be able to help.

In Charlotte, where I live, our section 8 waiting list has been closed for years. Years. People can't even put their names on the waiting list - that, at the time it was closed, was at least 3 years long.

Ironically, on the other side? I get e-mails, too:

My home has been listed on your site for 3 months, and I've gotten only one call. Am I doing something wrong?

I just wanted to make sure our property was still listed. It's been available for quite some time, and we haven't heard from anyone.

Do you have any suggestions for how to get our property rented? I've gotten 4 calls, but no one has come to see the property.

Plenty of properties sitting empty, plenty of folks needing housing, and rarely the twain shall meet. Actually, that's not true - properties are rented all the time, some people do find help. But it's hard.

So often what the people on the other end of the e-mail need is for someone to HEAR them, really hear them, and that person, because of my job, is me.

I won't be just another person shuttling them off somewhere else... well, I might need to shuttle them off, because of the limited service our company provides - BUT! They will know they were heard. They will know someone cares.

I don't know if that helps someone sick and tired, who really just wants a place to live. I hope it does. It's often all I have to offer.



At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

And then the day came,
when the risk

to remain tight

in a bud

was more painful

than the risk

it took

to Blossom
~ Anais Nin

Resistance, resistance, struggling - but I just don't feel like writing. I'm tired of being on the computer! It's boring, anyway. No one cares. Do you think anyone cares?

I'm coming to find, it's less about the revealing of me, and more about the clever ways I can continue to remain hidden.

Because if I stay hidden, then I can stay safe. I can remain in my bubble, and not be touched by others - because, ultimately, connection with others leads to pain. Why would I want that?

That belief: "Connection to others means pain" was revealed to me during some intense coaching I experienced last summer. Since last summer, after being thrown for a loop and acting out in old ways - spending money I didn't really have, allowing the house to get ever messier - I kind of unplugged from connection.

I'd come out every now and then, but overall, I've stayed deep within. Stayed home more, asked for help less (with getting rides and things).

It's been an exercise in deep connection with the boys, because I can even keep myself "safe" from connection with them, too: staying on the computer when they're speaking to me, not making eye contact, thinking of a million different things rather than BEing with them when we're together.

That was the first thing I noticed, how I can still hide from them. So, the first thing I started changing. It's like a spiral, I've mostly been connected with them - but this is on an even deeper, more honest level. It's like - running toward them, connect, run away, run toward, connect even deeper. Since that session that kicked my ass last year? Lots of running, some connection. So, over the past few weeks, I've really been focusing on being present with them. Making what they're asking for a priority, whether it's a sandwich or snuggle time or a book or to share a youtube video.

It feels thrilling, this deeper presence. What strikes me most is, I'm Safe. It's OK. It's really OK, and better than OK.

It's how we were meant to live, and how I so rarely remember that.

I'm afraid something happened when I was little to make that belief - connection = pain - be what has dictated my choices, without my even knowing that. I am afraid if I open more, connect more, I'll reconnect with that initial pain.

I have to remember that even if I do, I'm safe now. I'm OK now. I'm 43, a grown-up, with a grown-up's power and choices in the world. Not only can I keep myself safe, I can keep my little self safe, too.

Pema Chodron has said, 'Typically what happens when we experience pain is that our habit of avoiding pain gets stronger, or the pain gives birth to other sorrow-producing habits based on the fiction that there's something wrong. But when you taste experience fully... the doorway opens into what I would call "a timeless now."'

She means - feel it. Feel the pain. Stop creating distractions from it.

So, I'll keep writing, even if it's stupid or boring. I'll be gentle with myself. I'll love those around me.

I'll keep blossoming, into the timeless now.


Day mumble-mumble-mumble

Seth woke up this morning with a faux-hawk! Kinda-sorta.

I'm working on another post, but mercy me, it's boring to ME, and I'm having trouble being motivated.

So I thought I'd let you see what I'm privileged to be greeted with every morning:


Day 18, because I say it is

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

I was unsure whether to call this Day 18 - 18 days since the exercise started, or Day 13 - the 13th day I've written since the exercise started. I'm not calling it Day 1, even though I know I could. Maybe the thing I'm saying today is that I'm not so great at long-term commitment. Can you even consider 37 days to be long-term? Apparently I do.

I found myself dreading this morning, dreading Monday. I never thought I'd get to this point again in my life. I worked a few full-time jobs from the time I was 18 - I never really thought about it, I just thought that's what you're supposed to do as an adult, so I did. It was only after doing that, and seeing how soul-sucking and deadening it was, that I realized THAT life is not for me. The life of punching a clock (or being on salary), going to work five days out of seven, spending most of the day indoors, waiting for the weekend and my real life? Nope. But that's what I was doing when I got pregnant with Evan - biding my time, I guess, until I knew for sure what I did want to do.

After having Evan, there was no question - what I wanted to do was nurture and be with this tiny little person. I was actually surprised by that! I had figured I'd take maternity leave for ten weeks, then put him in daycare and keep working... because that's what people did. After I met him? There was NO WAY that was happening. I was a single mom when I had him, and I found ways to make it work - watching kids so I could be with him, working on the weekends when his Dad had him. We lived on next to nothing so I could be with him - I found a place to rent for $200 a month that was, admittedly, falling apart. It didn't matter.

It was during that time that I asked myself, "If I had all the money I needed, and all the energy I needed, what would I do with my life?" My thought was - and this was before I had read anything about Law of Attraction - if I know what I would do with all the resources I needed, I can find a way to do it now. What I wanted to do was be with him, be there for him.

I also found out - because I am a champion navel-gazer, people!, always questioning my thoughts - that I didn't WANT to work. I wanted to be taken care of. At the time, that seemed like something to fix: why would I not want to take responsibility for my life? How immature was I? In the intervening years - marriage, another child, divorce - I have grown so much in that regard. It was actually shortly after our separation that I got - really, really got - that I was responsible for our lives. It was on my shoulders. Man, it took a lot of growing, a lot of making bad choices, etc. But I'm definitely in a different place with all that now than when it was just me and Evan.

The problem I'm having - I'm not living the life I want anymore. I want more. When I got the job I have now - and I'm planning a post about that soon, my job and what I do - it was meant to be 10 - 15 hours a week, in an office. I went in on my first day and realized I could do the job from home, so a few months later, I was set up with a company computer and an office phone, and here I've been, ever since, for three and a half years. My duties have changed, my hours have grown. For years, I struggled with not making enough money each month - pay one bill one month, one bill the next, always trying to stay just ahead of the cut-off... I'd get really far behind and ask friends for help. I managed my money poorly, on top of under-earning. What a mess! But for the last year or year and half, I've kinda gotten it together. I pay my rent on time, and now, most other bills, too. I earn enough each month - well, combined with child support - to pay our bills, get groceries, etc. We're not in a totally secure place, but much, much better than it's ever been.

But in gaining that security? I lost time with my boys. I've lost some connection with them. I didn't even really GET that, until we moved last year, and my office is in a separate space from them. We were all in one room at the other place - the TV, game systems, books, computer, drawing stuff, toys. I struggled with it being quiet enough when I made phone calls, so I was glad to get a separate office here. But in doing that, I realized how much I'm not here. I actually wasn't at the old place, either, but because I was physically in the same space I didn't realize it. Now? I feel so separated from them, for large chunks of the day.

My dream? Man, it's been a long time since I've asked myself what I would do if I had all the resources I wanted. But without looking inside too deeply, just off the cuff here, I'd say - to have more free time with the boys. To have resources we needed to travel more, be with other unschoolers more. I don't even have a car! I'd want to explore wherever and whenever they wanted to explore, and we'd have time, too, to just hang together. I'd also want to share drumming with more people, promote my drum circles.

I am a gifted intuitive reader. I know this. I've had success giving people readings, been told that what I "saw" was right on - and beyond. I want to study this, get stronger, find a mentor. There is so much healing I could offer - if I dared. I haven't taken one step to promote myself, or find support for learning.

But I can see that life - I could learn to give effective readings, earning enough each hour so I could take care of our needs, but still have plenty of time for us. With phone readings, I could give readings wherever I went. I'm not feeling that rush of excitement as I write this, meaning - maybe this isn't what I'm meant to do. Or maybe, it means I don't trust that I would be good enough at this any more. It's been a while since I've done any readings.

I feel stuck, and scared, and frustrated. I'm not finding the gratitude right now - gratitude for my current job that has allowed me to work from home, and gain some security. Gratitude for an incredible boss, and work that makes a difference. Gratitude for the fact that any time I want, I can step outside, plus, my office has HUGE windows on both outside walls. I went downtown this past weekend, and I was walking in the overstreet mall - there are offices where people don't even SEE the outdoors!! Every single day, in this artificially-lighted place with no windows! I've got it good, compared to those folks.

But I want more. I want the life I want. I want to not dread Mondays.

And I'm feeling unsure about how to get there, out of touch. Which means it's time to look within again, time to re-prioritize, time to figure out the next step, tiny step to take. That's all it takes, most times, one small step in the direction of your dreams.

Maybe one small thing every day for, say... 37 Days? Hmm... someone should write something about that.

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." ~ Thoreau

I've learned that even if one flails awkwardly, full of self-doubt and insecurity, in the general direction of her dreams, that's enough to start. It wouldn't sound as good on a plaque, but it works.

I first wrote that imminently quotable quote on a comment on a post by Christine Kane. In remembering that, I looked up which post it was - and found one way out. Wow! I've read the answer... two years ago! Answers really are everywhere, once you start looking.

I'm feeling overwhelmed, unable to pull this off. Once again, I'm wishing someone would come in and help me.

And again, something I read by Steve Pavlina - posted this morning, how's that for good timing? - is offering hope. I just need to get out from the overwhelm just enough to take that first step. Or take it even in the overwhelm. Maybe that's it.


Day Which?

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

So, I write that I haven't had a date in forever and a day and what happens? I have a date.

Out of the blue, unexpected, really fun.

And listen to how it happened -

I had won tickets to see DanceBrazil by entering an e-mail contest. Neither of the boys wanted to go, so I invited a friend whom I thought would really love it. The show was on a Sunday night; she decided to go out of town the next week so ended up being unavailable, and I couldn't find anyone else to go.

I seriously thought about staying home... I have that problem sometimes: it's nice at home, I like it here, I love being with the boys and the dog and the cats - BUT - I thought: Go see the tiny ninjas! So I went, thinking I could give the extra ticket away. Well, every single person coming through the door was part of a couple. Couple, couple, couple - oh! Here comes a single person! Oh, no, wait - they're meeting THAT person... couple, couple, couple. FINALLY, a single woman walked through the door, and I asked if she needed a ticket - nope. But someone overheard me ask, said they needed a ticket, I gave it to 'em, they were really glad it was free... great!

Oh, DanceBrazil was incredible. Incredible. Just beautiful - very athletic. Every single dancer was so muscular and toned, their whole bodies. And the drumming was great to watch! There are videos at the link I posted above, and on youtube - check 'em out! During the break, the gentleman who got the ticket and I started chatting, and it ended up he lives in Portland, Oregon. He had a conference in SC, and decided to bookend the conference with a stay in Charlotte the weekend before and the weekend after - just to go somewhere he'd never been, check it out, see what it was like. I gave him some ideas for things he might want to see when he was here, and we chatted just a tiny bit...

Then, this is SO unlike me - I gave him my number just as the second half started. It just felt like the thing to do. I said, "I don't mean to be forward, but I can look into things going on next weekend, and if you call, I'll let you know what's happening." And you know what? I have cards, with my name and that I'm a drum circle facilitator, and my number and e-mail address, but I *never* remember to put them in my purse. So, as a friend reminds me, basically I don't have a card, because I don't have them with me when I need them. I ripped a page from the program and wrote my number on it. He handed me his card.

I had to leave the concert early, because the bus runs only once an hour on Sunday nights, and I didn't want to be waiting at the bus station for 45 minutes late at night.

So - long story short, he called, we had dinner last night, and we chatted. And chatted and chatted. And then talked. We were at the restaurant for close to 3 hours. It felt like - there was no pressure. I was so at ease, I didn't feel like I needed to impress him, it didn't feel like he was trying to impress me. We just... got along.

It was really, really cool. As I said on my facebook page, I think I like this dating thing. It was very enjoyable.

I can no longer say it's been five years since I've had a date. phew

I have no grand plans for this person, we will probably stay in touch 'cause it was a fun night... It was enjoyable in the moment. I don't need for it to be anything else.


Day 11

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

Saw this on Madeline's blog, and couldn't resist.

I am from a bunk bed shared with 2 sisters, from cornbread in milk, and biscuits with molasses eaten with weak hot tea.

I am from the country, cows across the road, buggy summer nights and the hum of the fan in the window.

I am from the cherry tree, the dogwood, the pink and white azaleas bursting forth each year. I am from earthworms and lightning bugs as friends.

I am from Sunday dinner at Grammy's, from Monopoly played as quietly as we could and the old Royal typewriter with its letters on long metal arms, from That Room We Could Never Go Into and the front porch glider.

I am from the silence, and no crying or laughing, from no talking during the evening news.

I am from the rural mountains of Maine, from outhouses and bathing in streams, and sleepovers with cousins.

I'm from Charlotte, NC and Mobile, Alabama, from sweet iced tea and practicality so rigid it sang when plucked.

I'm from a Methodist Church that we never talked about, from Jesus Loves Me and the youth choir, from revivals where I fell in love with God.

From two sisters, and Barbies, and a lavender room with lavender pillows, curtains and bed shams. From my sister and I making our oldest sister miserable, hiding under the bed to surprise her, from our old playhouse built by my father's hand.

I am from one old picture album, pages and pictures falling out, from stories told with laughter until we catch each others' eyes, from shared understanding of what was.


Day 10

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

Years ago, I realized that whenever I would tell a lie, what I lied about would somehow end up coming true - if I said I was sick and couldn't do something just to get out of doing it, invariably, I'd get sick a day or two later. If I said I was late because my car broke down? Yep, my car would break down within a week.

I don't claim to know how the universe works; at the time, I looked at it as Some One Larger Than Me was moving things around so I wouldn't be a liar. I've read things since about the Law of Attraction, words being powerful, etc. In the immortal words of Bill Maher: I don't know. I don't know why that used to happen.

I do know it helped me stop lying.

Last week, I overheard Seth playing on XBox Live - he was telling his friends that we had Oreo cake, that he loved it, and that his mom made it all the time. All of which are wishes on his part - I never even knew such a thing as Oreo cake existed. I didn't tell Seth I overheard him or ask him about it; he has always been a champion story teller. This past weekend, I came up with a recipe for Oreo cake that I'll try later in the week - white cake with crushed Trader Joe's Jo-Jo pieces mixed in, or deep chocolate cake (I haven't decided) and creamy Jo-Jo-flecked frosting. I want to surprise him with it, and I love that he doesn't know I overheard him. There it will be: an Oreo cake! (the no-high-fructose-corn-syrup version)

It wasn't until today that I remembered what used to happen when I lied, before I learned to be honest, just me, unadorned. I used to feel cared for in a way when I'd get sick or my car would break down after I had lied about it. Like Some One was saying: I won't let you make that mistake.

This isn't exactly the same thing, but it feels right to do this for him.

But, really? It was mostly me, going... Mmmmm.... Oreo cake.


Day 9

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

Why I don't want to cut my grass:

I'd have to behead all these tiny lovelies:

Bunny food!

You wouldn't believe how teeny-tiny these flowers are

Why I must cut the grass:

The cats bribed the dog into breaking trail for them so they could find their way back home from the back yard:


Day 8

This was my day yesterday: Wake up and snuggle with Seth, read some books together, watch him play Zelda, then work. At lunchtime, hang with Evan and Seth, fix their lunch, watch a few more Chuck Jones cartoons we had DVRed, go get groceries. Return home, watch a video on YouTube Evan wanted to show me, make a smoothie (pineapple, strawberry, spinach); share half my smoothie with Evan, hang with Seth while he plays Castle Crashers.

Get violently sick, go to bed.

Is there anything worse than that sudden pounding headache, hot, flushed feeling, and general woozliness that lets you know you're moments from throwing up? Maybe the throwing up itself.

It must have been something I ate - after I slept ALL night (with a few moments here and there to get a movie-on-demand for the boys and pay for their pizza when it arrived), I feel OK today. The only thing I had that the boys didn't was a little sample salad at Trader Joe's - would just a little bite of salad cause all that?

That was my Day 8.


Day 7

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

I make what the boys and I call Cheezburger kitties - submissions to the I Can Has Cheezburger site. They haven't picked any of them to feature on the site, but it's fun coming up with them!

Awww, my first one:

funny pictures

Seth came up with this one:

funny pictures

I couldn't believe they didn't pick this next one! Guess the Requiem for a Dream reference was a bit much. The kitty doesn't really look like Ellen Burstyn anyway -

funny pictures

I really like the next one of Evan along with Seth's Christmas kitten, Chip:

funny pictures

I also can't believe the following didn't get chosen:

funny pictures

And this next one I just made today, after seeing the picture on a friend's facebook page:

funny pictures

It's just something goofy I do, that I don't tell many people about. Because now, people will think a) I'm a crazy cat lady or b) I live and breathe the I Can Has Cheezburger site, and won't rest until they pick one of my entries.

Neither of those is true. Completely, anyway. ; ) I'm learning to embrace my goofy, non-hip self.

I love the site 'cause it makes me laugh frequently - here is one of my absolute favorites:

wash me

Still makes me laugh.


Day 6

At the prompting of Patti Digh (and life, and timing, and the universe), I'm doing one thing every day for 37 Days, and sharing that journey here. You can read about what I'm doing in this post.

I was going to write more on my concert list yesterday, but Evan needed the computer and I had already been on here for EVER (My emphasis, not his - I had worked all day online), so I cut it short. I didn't get to explain that I was posting the list to look for connection, so maybe people who read it who liked the same artists could let me know. I was going to write about the concerts where I felt that heart-level connection that happens at concerts sometimes. It wasn't just going to be a long list, it was going to have context and meaning... But all I wrote was the list, and it was hard to click "publish", because without the context - what would people think? Then I realized the whole exercise of this 37 days is to de-emphasize what others are thinking - I'm me, and I know who I am, so people can think what they want!

So, today, I thought I'd write out some of the brain chatter I've been hearing.

Oh, my God, you are such a loser. Who cares which concerts you've been to? That big list looks like an exercise in egotism, that's what it looks like. What are you - showing off? Not to mention, this whole thing, the whole writing about yourSELF thing... for 37 Days?! Come on. Surely you could think of something different than that! Good grief. Do you really think this is going to change anything? Do you really think anybody cares? Someone called you brave for doing this. Ha! Brave? You know who's brave? Firefighters are brave! People who go into burning buildings to save others are brave, not someone sitting on their ass, typing at a computer.

Isn't that lovely? I hear it, and I breathe, and I say, "OK, brain, you think what you want. I am at peace." And repeat about a hundred times.

Yesterday, I sent Lev Yilmaz a facebook friend request - and he accepted. I've written about him before, here. He had a new video, and I watched it, and uh... googled him... and found his facebook page. (I've got a little crush. He's kind of amazing.) So - when he friended me - I was all: Eek! I need to change my profile information! I need to look really cool! What should I change? What should I put as my favorite books? Should I put up a new profile picture? Oh. my. God. He's going to see the link to my blog, and click over and see that totally egotistical list of concerts! And - there was no context!

I want him to like me.

So, uh, yeah, his facebook page, wherein he has many, many fans, many of whom are women with crushes. And I was worried about what he was going to think. Of me. It's like... a little crazy. Just a little bit nutty.

Again - breathe. "Thank you for those thoughts, crazy Caren. I appreciate those thoughts. I am at peace." I gave myself a good laugh with that one, at least.

Another good laugh - I had a dream last night, where I was working in some kind of restaurant/cafeteria place. Part of the dream was that I was caught stealing food so I was fired. In the dream, I was really, hugely overweight. I woke up feeling awful. In my dream, I was scared and sad - how was I going to pay the rent? What was I going to do? How could I tell the boys? And - I was angry! Even though I was the person stealing food, they didn't really have proof! How could they think it was me?

So when I was thinking about my dream this morning, trying to shake off that panicky, yucky feeling, I saw it clearly: Me, quite largely overweight, going, "How can they know it's me?" Oh, boy, I cracked myself up with that. I'm still chuckling.