I Have Been Writing...

I have been writing
appointments and post-its, endless post-its
I have been taking the time to write notes to summarize meetings that take time away from me
I have been writing
how to spell certain words and what we're out of
I have been writing
emails to take care of things
the kids' names on labels
to do lists
I have been writing
lesson plans and html code and letters to the teacher
I recently watched a TED talk about writing poetry
I recently read an article about writing
I recently bought a book about how to encourage your child to write
I recently made a "book making kit" for my 6-year old
I have been writing
notes to remind me of things I'd like to write about and stuffing them in my grandmother's wooden secretary and my digital folders
I have been dreaming about writing
I have not been writing

- 04.01.12


There Has To Be A Better Way!

An undated neon green post-it of mine reminds me that many months ago I wanted to write about how I was so overwhelmed by the sheer process of just getting ready to get all of us out of the house each morning.  

I was regularly carrying the following things out to the car each morning:  my work bag with laptop and charger and important papers and calendar and all the purse-y stuff I need in it, my work lunch bag with a morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack and ice packs in it, my pump with cleaned and dried cones, empty bottles, lids, milk storage bags, pumping bra in it, my work shoes (because I needed to wear easy to slip on shoes for infant drop off/pick up, but then change into not so easy to slip on/off shoes for work), my jacket/sweater, possibly my scarf and gloves, my coffee mug, Fox's baby lunch bag which had to have her jacket, shoes, socks, bottle, sippy cup, bottles of pumped milk, and daily instruction sheet filled out in it, Turtle's backpack with binder, homework, reading books, filled out forms, water bottle, and often packed lunch with afternoon snack, too, and ice packs in it, and sometimes loading the stroller and diaper bag, too, because we were heading somewhere after pick up where we would need that stuff not to mention if we planned to do a specific activity I might also need more snacks for both kids or whatever activity specific stuff we needed such as casual clothes and shoes for me or sports equipment or swimsuits, towels, goggles, toiletries, padlock or groceries or certain toys...

...and then at the end of the day I was unloading the two kids and unloading all of the above back out of the car and washing the pump parts, bottles, sippy cup, and sometimes pump bra and various clothing items, unpacking and processing as needed the items inside the three lunch bags, backpack, and work bag, which could mean lots of rinsing things, throwing things away, putting things away, signing things, fighting to convince a 6-year old to read/write/calculate things, sending emails, reading things, writing things, preparing presentations, and then late at night starting over with re-packing snacks and lunches and so forth...

...and then I would start all over again the next day.  

I swear I have packed and unpacked less for some vacations in my life!  

And I think this is the part where I am supposed to refrain from mentioning that Backtire typically grabbed his keys, wallet, and sunglasses, maybe a backpack with a laptop and just headed out the door each day.  

And I even sat around and put a lot of quality mental energy into trying to come up with some system that would streamline it all, but no matter what I did, I couldn't get around the need to put all of that stuff in the car each day and the fact that it had to be a lot of different little bags, too, because each one was traveling with a different person to a different location or certain items needed to be portable once the person got there.  So, everyday I dragged 10 or more separate items out to my car and just felt inefficient and annoyed and weighed down by it all.  

The whole thing is just so ridiculous and exhausting and takes up so much time and bandwidth.  If moms everywhere weren't having to pack and unpack and keep track of all this junk, do you know how many productive and creative hours the world would gain back? Millions of great minds are mired in trying to remember to prepare and lug all this junk around instead of teaching our youth, healing the sick, administering justice, generating products, providing services, designing the next best thing. Millions of creative minds are being wasted coming up with peanut free lunches instead of solving the world's problems or conceiving of art that enriches us all.  

And I want to say, as a friend of mind puts it, that I know that this is a "first world problem." But it still makes me crazy!  

(And I don't know why blogger is suddenly putting these giant gaps between my paragraphs when it didn't used to and it totally annoys me because I am very sensitive to formatting but I don't care to spend time solving it right now.) 

Is That With A Capital S?

Today Turtle and I were engaged in my Supermom-designed-home-summer-literacy-program, which consists of dragging him around town doing errands and trying to get him to read street and building signs out the window when we are at red lights.  We saw a sign that said "Safari Camp" and I asked him if he knew what safari meant.

His answer:   "Yeah, it's that place that you go to go on Google"

Huh?  Oh. Right. Safari. The browser.  Ahh, how sad and funny at the same time.

After, he was confused as to why I was laughing and laughing.  I tried to explain, you know about real safaris and why they named the software that and how old people like me knew about real safaris before Safari but he only knows about Safari, not safaris...but it was all totally lost on him.

So what did he image they do at Safari Camp?  All the kids sit around and 'go on Google' all day?  It's a big room filled with computers and kids all staring glassy eyed at the screens. What a camp.  -- Huh! Actually, knowing Silicon Valley, there are probably lots of camps like that.  Yikes.

Mental note:  Take my kid on a real safari-or a close facsimile of-quick!

What I Learned in Kindergarden

On the last day of kindergarden, my mom asked Turtle what the three most important things were that he learned this year. He thought and thought and said 


 silence: more thinking


more silence: more thinking


The 3 "R's"!  We eyed each other and cracked up.  I swear, this wasn't scripted!  I'm not sure what I expected him to say, I guess much more specific things that were of interest to him, but not this textbook answer. The follow up question was what were the three most fun things that he learned.

These came immediately and in rapid succession: "snackandrecesslunchandrecessandfreechoice!"  

Again, I must have been hoping for art, music, PE, a field trip, something...

Shrug.  All very classic Turtle.  He's a very no-nonsense kid who usually has things pegged just exactly right.  He's totally right about which things were the most important and he's totally honest about what was the most fun- the only three times of day he got to do whatever he wanted! 

(*BTW, related side story:  Tonight Backtire was relaying to us how he took a 2.5 hour lunch to take a motorcycle ride with some co-workers, the first time he's taken a ride in months and months and an unheard of break from his typically intense schedule.  Turtle, incredulous, said "they let you out for that at work?  You have a lucky work!"  Let you out.  Spoken like a kid who has now been fully indoctrinated into the school system.  Sigh.)  

(Yay!  Crumpling a post-it never felt so good... onto more...) 

When Everything is Overdue

I'm trying really hard not to cry at the fact that my last post was nearly a YEAR ago.

Which means a year's worth of writing (here or elsewhere) basically hasn't happened.  I have a stack of not-followed-through-on post-its to show for it, others that I went ahead and tossed because they made me too pressured, guilty, and sad, and yet more ideas forever swirling around in my head, mostly unprocessed, waiting to be freed somehow.

It's not a good place for me to be.  Having a brain that is next to impossible to shut off and letting it run rampant for a year leads to not only the frustration of the accumulation of unfulfilled creative ideas but also the stress, anxiety, and sadness of keeping too much inside.  I realize that it's really important for me to process everything- little crap that happens throughout the day and big stuff that hangs over me, too.  And I'm such a verbal processor.  I need to either talk it out or write it out and I've had a huge lack of both of those this year.  No time to write.  Not nearly enough time to talk over things with Backtire, family, and friends.

And on top of it I feel bad that I haven't made a point to carve out time for myself to write (or get a haircut or exercise or buy sorely needed clothes or or or or...).  So, I rarely put myself first and then I feel guilty about rarely putting myself first.  Isn't that great?  Beating myself up for that?  It's like kicking myself when I'm already down.  Then I feel guilty about feeling guilty about it because I know that won't help anything and then I'm headed very quickly down a spiral of inner craziness.

Instead, I'm trying to remind myself of the good way to look at it: I have been in the throes of Fox's first year on the planet and Turtle's first year of real school, doing my best to do right by them, manage the household, and keep up at work, too.  Plus all the junk that goes along with keeping a post-second-kid-mid-life-mid-career-exhaustion-how-did-I-get-here? marriage afloat.

I already look forward to the days when I'll look fondly back on all of this!

So, here I sit at a downtown coffee shop with free wireless, having forced myself to leave the house with laptop in hand and make myself sit down and write even if it's crap and even if I put four posts up tonight and not again for another year, just to try to get back in it again.