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Rambling Robin



Bringing bitchin' back...



Updated: 2015-09-16T14:01:20.551-04:00

 



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2013-07-09T14:04:09.933-04:00

Oh my fucking goodness. Didn't realize how much I missed this little corner of the Interwebs until the other day. Throughout the years I've had 5 blogs. Each has held a different purpose and has allowed me a different outlet. But none have allowed me the freedom I have here. I miss being able to write anonymously. To drop f-bombs. To throw things out there that would likely piss off family members. To express myself without a filter. This blog gave me that. I'm at a bit of a crossroads with blogging. I need to figure out what I'm doing with each of my blogs. For some the distinction to keep or kill is easy. I know this blog should fall into the "kill" category; but I can't bring myself to do it. Yesterday, in order to improve my other (mostly business-based) blogs I did some research on blogging and learned how much it's changed since I started, how different the model is, how this blog - that once had a decent amount of traffic - would never survive today. It's not pretty, it has no photos, it has nothing of use to social media. But I still love it. I'd love to say I'll be back but, well... I've already pitched that lie. So, maybe I'll be back, maybe I won't. But I can say that I'll still be here. (image)



Writing. Again.

2012-07-02T13:50:38.884-04:00

There was a time when I wrote. I wrote about inane things like my life and my dog. But, a few times a week, I'd sit down and write. I didn't write to gain readers or to get a book deal. Very few people knew about this blog and I didn't censor my writing for those who did. I wrote to write. For me. And I enjoyed it. A lot. Then I took a new job at a company that blocked the vast majority of websites - including Blogger. And then I had a kid. And then I had another kid. And, somewhere along the way, I stopped writing. I've missed the anonymity of this blog - of being able to write about what I want without criticism, without judgment, without anyone knowing it's here. I do wonder if I'll be able to do it. If I'll be able to keep up the schedule and habit of writing. If I'll find things to write about. And I wonder who I'll be as a writer now. If my voice will have changed since having kids, since I'm less willing to put myself out there. Or if I'll have a more serious tone now that my life, well, it's a bit more serious. At its worst, this will be a good exercise - a good mental break from a career that taxes my emotional health, a step toward being the writer I've always wanted to be - and, right now, that's enough for me.(image)



On Losing

2010-11-15T04:40:12.874-05:00

I thought I'd be drafting an email this weekend. It would follow calls to close friends and family and would contain a witty, slightly self-depricating and excited announcement of a new baby.But, sometimes life has other plans.On Thursday we went for our first doctor's appointment. I asked my husband if he was nervous as I got undressed and my stomach tightened - an odd question given that we really had no reason to be nervous. Perhaps it was some type of mother's intuition; perhaps it was just an odd coincidence.The doctor came in and we chit-chatted a bit. She commented on my long hair and bangs; surprising since she hasn't seen me in over 18 months - with all of the patients she sees on a regular basis, she remembered something as trivial as my hairstyle. But, this is the woman who helped us through three years of infertility, who, on my first visit, sat with me for 45 minutes and explained why we could be having issues conceiving and then did it again when my husband came in a few months later; she was my last hope when other doctors had prescribed clomid and rushed me out of the office (even though I had none of the issues clomid fixes). She has, for the past 6 years, been an amazing and incredible part of our family's journey. She was thrilled to see us again, there for a second pregnancy.We hadn't planned to get pregnant but, while lulled into an artificially blissful state thanks to a tropical location, fruity cocktails and the ability to sleep past 6 am, on a vacation to the Dominican Republic in September, we threw caution to the wind. After all, it took us three years to make a child the first time around.And it happened. First try. Take that infertility.We were shocked. And, by the time we found out, we were back in the real world, complete with tiny house, crazy dog, active toddler and ridiculous schedule. All on top of a very tough year full of many tough choices and changes. But as we got past the initial shock, we were excited. Another baby, siblings three years apart and with birthdays just 2 months apart - perhaps, if it was a boy, I could actually use all of old clothes I'd been stockpiling in Miles' closet for the past 2 years.As the doctor started the sonogram, I saw the baby on the screen. "There's your little bean..." she said before trailing off. She looked around for a few more minutes and her silence said it all. She broke the news, I got dressed and a few minutes later I was sitting in her office, listening to a list of options for closing the chapter that we'd just started.So here I am, still pregnant. But not. I'm walking around with a big belly - causing people to give me the 'fat or pregnant?' stare as I talk to them. I think about the fact that I have a dead baby inside of me and it's crushing. I'd planned on getting my maternity clothes down from the attic this week and pack away the clothes that started to bind my waistband until I could fit into them again. I thought about Christmas - about the fact that I'd be able to enjoy all of the treats without worrying about an extra couple of pounds - this was going to be the last time I'd go through pregnancy, I was going to let myself enjoy it. Now I sit here, 7 pounds above a pre-pregnancy weight that was higher than it should have been, bordering on the need for maternity clothes, while I wait for the doctor's office to schedule a D&C, assuming nature doesn't take care of things on its own before then.Sometimes I feel silly - like I'm not entitled to be sad about something we weren't even planning on in the first place. I wonder if it isn't karma, my payback for not understanding why women who suffered miscarriages early on in pregnncy were so upset about something that wasn't even a part of their life yet.I don't know why I feel compelled to write about this. Perhaps because, as I've told friends about what happened, I've heard so many of them tell me about the same thing happening to them and it surprises me. I wonder why more women don't talk about it, [...]



Sick Time

2010-08-10T12:49:23.052-04:00

I have a cold. Nothing horrible - just enough to make me feel crappy. This morning I went into the bedroom to try and sleep some of it off but I couldn't sleep - instead I laid in bed, doing nothing. And, I realized how long it's been since I've taken a sick day - an honest-to-goodness, sit around, watch TV, read, let your body recover from the funk it's in, day.

When my brother and I were in elementary school, sick days were spent at my grandparents' house. They'd set us up on the couch, provide us with plenty of Red Zinger tea, toast made from homemade bread, potato soup and white noodles (my grandmother's homemade white cheddar mac and cheese). The television was ours to commandeer for the day and we got our fill of 'I Love Lucy' or 'The Andy Griffith Show'.

Somehow over the course of the next 25 years, sick days became a thing of the past. For the past 12 years any time out of the office was spent tethered to my blackberry or laptop - naps were limited to an hour or two and, the closest I came to rest and relaxation was spending my day in my pajamas or typing on my laptop, propped up on pillows in my bed.

Now that I'm self-employed and have a 2-year-old, I feel compelled to take advantage of every single minute of time. My to-do lists are pages long, I feel as though I'm never accomplishing everything I should be and I am perpetually trying to squeeze a just one more thing into an already overcrowded day.

Today is no exception. Today was supposed to be my day to get things done. My husband is watching our son all day, the office is mine to work in and I'd lined up a rigorous list of tasks to complete in record time. So far, I haven't accomplished anything on my list.

Part of me thinks I'm wasting the day away; part of me thinks it's the universe's way to telling me to slow the eff down.

I'm planning on spending part of my afternoon making homemade split pea soup. Perhaps once I do, I can sit on the couch with a big bowl of that, watch some crappy TV and enjoy some real sick time.(image)



Rolling the Dice

2009-08-01T23:13:56.339-04:00

When do you know it's time to take a jump?

My whole life has been calculated - each decision carefully planned with full knowledge of the consequences of each side of the decision, weighing the ramifications of both sides of the coin. And, in each case, I've made the safe bet - the 6 or 8 at the craps table and, while I've eyed those "4 the hard way" bets, the so-called suckers' bets, knowing that when they pay off (which they inevitably will for someone) they pay off big, I haven't been brave enough to throw my money down on them.

But now I'm faced with a bunch of decisions and, to be honest, I don't know if I can keep playing the 6 and 8. There are so many aspects of doing the right thing that are comforting, familiar but there are also so many parts of the "right" route that make me want to bang my head against a spike-studded wall.

I don't mean to be cryptic - it's not because I have anything to hide or because I don't want the general public (i.e., the 3 of you who still read my drivel) to know. Instead, it's because I don't have the energy to go into the numerous ways in which I feel stagnant, the lack of confidence that plagues me or the back and forth that I go through on what feels like an hourly basis.

I struggle with the difference between being impulsive and being willing to take a chance. While I'm willing to take a chance, I fear my decisions may be viewed as irresponsible or lazy: two traits with which I never want to be associated.

A friend asked at lunch today, "If you hit the lottery but someone told you that you had to still keep a job, what would you do?"

I hate questions like that and were I not busy juggling a 15-month-old who was more interested in shoving his face in a dirty fountain than in his ravioli, I would have told my friend that questions like that are bullshit - that if we all asked ourselves those questions and lived our lives based on them, we wouldn't have trash collectors, customer support representatives or janitors. While I'd love to have a career I love, I wonder what entitles me to have a job I love? Why should I be allowed to follow my dreams while someone else is resigned to working two crappy jobs?

When do you let yourself take the plunge? How do you just give up the reins and truly live life instead of living a the life you've carefully crafted? Or is that careful crafting what makes living life worthwhile?

Oh hell, I think I'll just go have another drink....(image)



1 Comments

2009-07-11T21:42:22.725-04:00

To say that the past 2 days have been inspirational and educational would be a gross exaggeration.

While it's frustrating at times - not being as good as I want to be, making mistakes I know I shouldn't make and trying to cram a ridiculous amount of information into my tiny little brain - the past two days have been so, so much fun. And, really, isn't that what it's all about? Having fun on the job?

Even at its worst: when things are falling into place and the light doesn't seem to be working how i thought it would, I'm always happy behind the camera. The only thing that even comes close is writing for comfort - sitting down at my blog, like I am now, with a glass of wine on the table beside me, pounding on the keyboard.

I know I was put here to do something other than what I'm doing now and, better yet, I know I can do it. I just hope I have the discipline to follow-through with it and that I don't let life bury the ambition I feel right now.(image)



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2009-07-11T06:29:17.876-04:00

Dear Miles:

Yesterday I didn't spend much time with you and, unfortunately, it doesn't appear I will get to spend much more time with you throughout this weekend. While I know I don't see you much more on a regular day - when I'm rushing out the door to work or just in from a long day, only able to spend 5 - 10 minutes with you before we start your dinner and bath routine - this weekend is different.

Last night as I watched to you on the baby monitor - making little grunts in your sleep, laid out looking perfectly proportionate in the crib that once dwarfed you - I was proud of the day I put in today. Proud that I'm taking steps that will hopefully put us in a position where I will be able to spend more time with you and not view my days with dread: as an exercise in earning a paycheck and nothing more.

So stick with me, have fun with Grandma and Grandpa and know that one day these long days will be worth it. I'll make it up to you one day; first round of ice cream is on me.

-Mama(image)



1 Comments

2009-07-09T09:57:22.004-04:00

I've made no mystery of the fact that I don't love what I do for a living. And, each time I stop short of admitting I have the perfect life, it's because of one thing and one thing alone: my job.

I acknowledge that I'm lucky. In the grand scheme of life, I have a great job. I work in a nice office, have a great boss, truly like my co-workers, and get paid a rather significant amount of money. But it brings me no fulfillment. I've tried to find the silver lining - to pick an area of the law that might appeal more to my personality, to work for a small company, a large company and a law firm, to throw myself into it and, in the alternative, to acknowledge it's just a job but, in 10 years of practice, I can't think of a single moment in my career that has brought me true inspiration or satisfaction.

I can clearly remember a moment, just after my first semester of law school while I was home for the holidays; I was seated at my parents' kitchen table, scanning the classified ads in the newspaper just hoping I could find something, anything for which I was qualified so that I wouldn't have to go back to school in January. It was some ridiculous hour of the morning and my eyes filled up with tears as I realized that the law just wasn't a fit for me. But, I promised my parents I'd finish out the year - give it a fair shot - so I went back to school in January and the next 10 years, as they say, are history.

I spend much of my time being jealous of people who have followed their dreams - people who haven't worried about money, status, or the pressure of friend and family. I envy their ability to have such blind faith in their ability to achieve and their ability to fail. I grew up in a family with very little tolerance for failure and frivolity - the mere thought of leaving the law and giving up a secure, stable profession is enough to send me in search of xanax.

I read a number of photography blogs including one by a rather prominent Atlanta-area photographer. A few months ago he sent out a call for people in the Atlanta area who would love to quit their day jobs and photograph full-time. It spoke to me in a very serious way.

I've been a photographer my whole life. I am in love with photography's power - its ability capture moments, put them into a tangible medium so that people save them, share them and cherish them.

So, I fired off an email about how I've dreamed of making photography my profession and forgot about it. Until I got a response back - a response from the photographer offering me a free spot in his upcoming workshop.

Tomorrow is day one of the 3-day workshop and I can barely contain my excitement.

While I know the workshop is just that, a workshop full of suggestions, information and wisdom and that it won't change my life. I know that I have to do the work to make a change and to make it work. But I do hope it's a stepping stone; that it's the first step in moving toward a career that I find fulfilling, a career into which I can dump my hopes, dreams and ambitions.(image)



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2009-07-08T10:48:42.312-04:00

A few weeks ago I watched the infamous Jon and Kate Plus 8 episode. (Yes, I watched it. I figured that, as an US Weekly subscriber, it was my inherent duty.) And, while I rate the experience up there with stepping in a fresh pile of dog shit barefooted, there was one line that stuck with me: "It may be a crazy life but it's our life." (I anticipate that line will be removed from the intro on episodes go-forward because, well... um, yeah. I digress...)

A while back over a few cocktails, I had a discussion with friends about a couple I knew who seemed to have it all: good taste in music, amazing looks, tons of friends, a beautiful house. Everything any person could ever want. "If given the chance, would you change lives with them?" my friend asked after I acknowledged my jealousy. It surprised me but, when I thought about it, the answer was a resounding, "No."

There are days when I look at my life and I wonder why I juggle a demanding, uninspiring job, a very energetic toddler, a borderline-insane puppy and a traveling husband who, to the surprise of most people who know what he does for a living, is not the breadwinner. It's those days - when the exhaustion washes over me in waves - when the proverbial tunnel is so long that there's no sign of light.

But then I remind myself why I'm here: because I choose to grab life by the proverbial balls and hold on tight. I don't want to leave this world thinking that I missed out on anything. Could I have elected to have a life in which I went to work, came home, went to bed - rinse, wash and repeat? Sure. Instead I chose a life where, at the end of the day, a child who walks like a drunken sailor greets me, a crazy little furball jumps on my freshly dry cleaned pants, and my husband meets me in the kitchen where we cook dinner while discussing our day, our hopes, and our future.

And, I wouldn't trade that for the world.

That couple - the one that I thought had everything? They divorced about a year ago. A cliche, I know but sometimes you need real world proof that the proverbial grass really ain't so green.(image)



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2009-07-06T09:49:01.265-04:00

So we did it. We added a new member to our family.

About 4 weeks ago - after a series of panic attacks, many discussions and a full-on freak out - we adopted a golden retriever puppy.

I had great ambitions: I planned to blog about The Dog each day, to keep a record of each moment so that, in the event we ever again thought it would be a good idea to add a member to our family - furry or not - we'd rethink the situation. After all, I'm already almost forgetting the complete chaos of the first 8 months of The Child's life - the utter exhaustion, the projectile vomiting, the complete inability to get even the most minute task done (note the use of the word almost.) And, now that we're in full-on puppygate (complete with non-stop energy, chewing everything in sight and an insistence that attention be paid to him RIGHT NOW) I need to be certain that in the future I'm not blinded by the balls of light yellow fur, floppy ears and big droopy eyes.

But in true Robin fashion (see: last post dated March 22 in which I vowed to return to blogging) I haven't done a damn thing.

However, it hasn't been for lack of material. There are moments when I look at things and want to burst with excitement - when The Child runs, smiling, to me, when The Dog licks my face, or when I just survey the complete awesomeness of my life. While I acknowledge and own my bias, I don't think it's too much to say that I could cast a commercial that would make grown men weep using The Child and The Dog. It's that much cuteness.

But there are also times when I want to get in my car, drive until I run out of gas and never ever come back. Times when The Dog grabs hold of my skirt and rips it in half, The Child is screaming bloody murder and my husband calls me to tell me that, while I'm barely getting by, he's having cocktails with Jon Bon Jovi on a rooftop bar in Chicago. Those are the days that make me wonder why anyone would willingly do this and make me long for days before The Husband, before The Child, before The Dog.

Then there are glimpses of the future: The Child and The Dog playing in the yard, days when I actually have 5 minutes to myself, or weekends when I can do more than glance at my to-do list. And it's then I know that I will look back on this time and acknowledge that, while completely insane, it was an amazing, wonderful point in our lives.(image)



Back in the Saddle Again

2009-03-22T21:35:38.869-04:00

I considered titling this post with a euphemism dealing with cherries but decided against it because, while I'm quite certain nobody even reads my blog anymore, I really don't want to announce my return to the blogosphere with that kind of traffic.

I had dinner at friends on Friday. They're good friends - friends who, 11 months ago, I would see on a regular basis. But, for the past 11 months I've only managed to see them a handful of times - and each time it's required planning that would rival that of the Secret Service if the President decided to go to a Britney concert. While at dinner, my friend asked the question, "Are you going to write again."

It's a question I'd already answered myself a few weeks ago.

Life has slowly been returning to normal over the past 3 months. Truth be told, I didn't recognize myself for 8 months. But that's another story for another time... For the past 3 months we've been getting sleep and returning to routines. We've been slowly integrating those old parts of our lives back into our lives. Miles turned 11-months-old yesterday and I can finally say that I feel back to normal. I'm returning calls, catching up on emails and (finally) doing the aforementioned dinners with friends. Eleven months ago I didn't think I'd be here but, while it took a bit longer than we expected, here we are.

I feel a bit rusty with this whole blogging thing - like I need some time to get back my wit, my humor and my voice. But I'm excited to get settled back in.(image)



A Letter for the Future

2008-11-04T09:54:08.835-05:00

My dear Son,

Mama woke up excited because today has the possibility of being a historic day. Today has the ability to be the day in which we elect a president who will break down barriers – barriers between race, class and other nations. As I head to the polls, I am optimistic that in casting my vote I will help make your future and the world in which you spend your time a better place.

I hope that when you’re old enough to read and understand this, the things that concern us in this election will no longer be an issue. I hope that you have to struggle to understand why a black man running for president was such an incredibly novel thing because the color lines have become so blurred that the race or gender of a presidential candidate isn’t given a second thought. I hope that you won’t have to worry about how to pay for healthcare, that innocent men and women won’t be dying for wars that never should have been fought, that people will be free to marry whomever they please and that you won’t have to watch a crumbling economic landscape with an ever-mounting federal deficit.

It’s been a difficult time for Mama as most of her family doesn’t feel the same way about this election. They – and many other people – have a great deal of fear. Change is never easy and the prospect of change has led many to use scare tactics and insults in this election. We need to look at the way we live – to make some sacrifices, to implement some changes and to move ahead together – and many people think that by making those sacrifices they’re losing something to which they’re rightfully entitled. I hope that these thoughts never cloud your judgment. I hope you don’t ever take this world for granted – that you’re appreciative of everything you’re given, that you realize we all need help at one point or another and that if you’re lucky enough to be as blessed as Mama and Daddy have, you give to those who need it more than you.

My hope is that this day will be written in the history books – that you can look back and proudly say that your Mama had a hand in an event that ranks up there with the abolishment of slavery, putting a man on the moon, the passing of the 19th Amendment, and Civil Rights Act of 1964.

I love you Boo.

-Mama(image)



Writing the Long-Awaited End of a Chapter

2008-06-26T16:17:06.963-04:00

To you who shall not be named:First, thank you. All of these years I doubted my intuition - while I thought you were a self-interested bitch, everyone else's praise of you made me question my judgment. Turns out it just took a little longer for all of them to see what I saw all along. But, the thanks end there.Your little sympathy parade is growing old and I can't take it any longer.Just as none of us are perfect, nobody has a perfect marriage. We all work at it and, funny thing is, most of us find that those tough times - the ones we grit out teeth through, that make us want to pack up the car and head to Patagonia - or even the little things like the dirty socks strewn throughout the house or the slurping, lip-smacking that goes on each time a bowl of soup or cereal is consumed, those are the things that, once we work through them, teach us lessons about each other, that make us understand each other better, that strengthen our bond or that remind us how imperfect we are.It's never sunshine and roses all of the time - in fact, sometimes even those of us who think we have it pretty good go through times when we wonder how the hell we will ever get through. But we trudge ahead - sometimes we can't make it and ask for help or decide it's best to try a different route. Nevertheless, we give it a fair shot and, in my book giving it a fair shot doesn't involve running off to someone else's bed.You love to preach about communication - about honesty in a relationship - so where was that honesty and communication when things got a little rough? Where is that honesty and communication now that you've shit all over everyone close to you? While some people may buy into that rose-scented package you're selling them, it's still a package of shit and I already have enough shit in my life, I don't need yours too.Keep trying to justify your poor judgment and lack of character. Keep lying about what you did and intentionally misleading people with careful omission of certain facts. Keep trying to elicit sympathy from strangers. And, keep blaming everyone else for circumstances that were completely within your control. You're racking up one hell of a karmic debt and I am quite certain that when that karma train comes rolling through, it's going to take a direct beeline for your address and I will revel in the sweet schadenfreude.You could have handled this like an adult. You could have chosen so many different paths along this road that all would have led to the ultimate outcome you wanted: to enjoy your fleeting modicum of local notoriety without the one person who was your biggest fan, the one who helped get you there, the one who supported and advocated you when you were a pee-on. Instead you've worked so hard and so deceptively to protect your image, some bullshit public persona and, in the process, have hurt people who cared greatly for you, people who thought of you like family and who genuinely and selflessly would have done anything for you. But I guess it all works out - they were all too good for you. Better you surround yourself with new friends - ones who, like you, are in it only for what they can get out of it.I suppose I should be thankful for one more thing: I don't have to worry about how to handle this or to work through the awkwardness that situations like this often present. I can easily do something that I've wanted to do for a very long time but wasn't ever able to before: erase you from my life completely and, I've got to tell you, it feels fucking great.-Robin[...]



New Beginnings

2008-06-26T16:36:14.543-04:00

Most of my friends and family are well-versed in the world of prescription pain medicine: vicodin, percocet, darvocet, they can name them all and easily tell you which are their favorites (which will often elicit a long diatribe about the benefits of each with eyes glazed over and the type of salivating, lip-licking look associated with a Krispy Kreme run.) I, however, often have bottles of pain pills sitting in my medicine cabinet rotting away and may as well have said I club baby seals when I tell friends and family that I've often disposed of almost-full bottles of their beloved medications.The thing is that I have a relatively pain threshold and don't like to take unnecessary medication. Probably because, while it takes something short of an act of God to make me uncomfortable enough to reach for that bottle of narcotics, once I have one toe over that Maximum Pain Threshold, I need relief, IMMEDIATELY. I'm talking, if there were one percocet left in the world and it was a race between me and some old lady in a wheelchair, I'd stick something in her spokes type of need. When I reach that level of need, the last thing I am able to handle is my body being immune to a certain drug - I need shit to work and I need for it to work now.Which is why on Tuesday morning at 7:30 am I called my doctor. By 9 am I was sitting on a table in his office undressed from the waist up, wearing a paper robe. Ordinarily I love my doctor. In fact, I love him so much that I pay full retail rate to see him because he doesn't take my crappy (Aetna) insurance. But this time I wanted to rip his face off when he insisted that what I have is not the flu (his totally medical reason: because he hasn't seen a case since February) didn't test me for it and, after a negative strep test, told me I had a virus and to continue my current (ineffective) 2 tylenol every 4 hours. If I'd had the energy to lift either of my arms I would have stabbed him in the eye with a tongue depressor.Nevertheless, I was resolute and spent the rest of the day pounding tylenol. Finally, around 8 pm when the pain was so bad and my fever was so high that I was considering throwing myself into moving traffic I called the on-call doctor on call at my OB/GYNs office to see if there was ANYTHING I COULD JUST TAKE OTHER THAN FUCKING TYLENOL. I had to repeat myself three times to the answering service - my throat was so swollen and my head so congested that they couldn't understand anything coming out of my mouth.When the doctor called back five minutes later, he was enthusiastic. "There are a TON of things we can give you to make you feel better!" he gleefully exclaimed. "Nursing is much more tolerant of certain medications than pregnancy."I already wanted to kiss him.He started to rattle off a litany of medications I could take including 800 mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours WITH my tylenol. While that was a bit extreme for my taste, given that I'd just taken two tylenol an hour before talking with him and I still felt as though I'd been hit by a Mack truck repeatedly, I was desperate and immediately grabbed the hardly used bottle of 800 mg ibuprofen tablets I had left from Miles' delivery and slammed one.He also suggested Sudafed and I waited on pins and needles for his answer when I asked if I could take the 'fill out five forms and give us every bit of information about yourself including your social security number and underwear size' Sudafed that you have to get from the pharmacist or the totally ineffective crap that they put out on the shelves. I expected him to say the latter but, hallelujah, he told me I could take the full-on, meth-head version. Thank you baby Jesus.And then, he asked for a pharmacy phone num[...]



I have to laugh at this point or I'd run screaming through a 10-story high window

2008-06-24T06:30:48.505-04:00

The latest installment in 'Seriously? Am I going to wake up from this nightmare soon?'

Just in case you weren't keeping track, it started with me giving birth to a colicky/reflux baby. Following events included our dog dying, our friend's father passing away, and my husband being gone for days on end, leaving me full time with an inconsolable child.

While most people would say things start to look up around 2 months, I spent most of the weekend sick with what I'm pretty sure is the flu (a 100 degree fever, chills, a head that felt as though it would explode and a throat so swollen that I can hardly swallow.) Because I'm still giving the child the boob juice, what I can take is limited, I have to feed him every 2 hours and he screams incessantly (probably because he's sick too). Sleep is non-existent. My husband was out of town all weekend and had to extend his trip by one day (for our friend's father's funeral). Just yesterday, we finally pulled the plug on our trip to Florida to see family (our one chance to show off the screaming wonder before I go back to work.)

Oh, and did I mention that I'm only getting 4 - 5 hours* of sleep per night and I'm supposed to go back to work in 2 weeks?

Right.

Awesome, huh?


*That's 4 -5 COLLECTIVE hours - lest you think that I get 4 - 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If only life were so kind!(image)



The Cold, Hard Truth

2008-06-02T16:41:12.580-04:00

So, yes, I am a mom. Those are scary words.I'm of the opinion that the whole child-rearing experience is a bit like a cult - make it look appealing to non-members, woo them with tales of greatness, and then, once you have them, when it's too late for them to escape, when the talons of the institution are firmly entrenched in their backs, commiserate with them about the brutality of it all.For years all of my friends told me how great this parenting thing is. "You need to do it. Greatest thing that ever happened to me," they'd say while bouncing a smiling, cooing infant on their hip. Now that I have a kid the truth comes out. Over the weekend I had no less than 5 people tell me that the first three months after the birth of their children were, "the worst 3 months of my life," "pure hell," or "absolute misery." It's the same thing each time - those people who spoke with twinkles in their eyes about their glorious babies change their tune the minute they realize you've come over to their side.So, I'm being honest. Sure, you hear about the sleep deprivation, the constant feedings and the dirty diapers. But you don’t hear the rest. New parents joyously read the parenting books during pregnancy – dreaming of their little cherub feeding pleasantly in their arms or sleeping soundly in his perfectly decorated nursery. Then they have a kid and learn the reality: the baby books are bullshit. I laugh hysterically now when I think about all of the grand plans I had for when the baby came - the sewing projects I'd complete and the spring cleaning I'd get done in 2-hour increments while he slept.A schedule? Time for you? All the rest of the expert advice that works for approximately .5% of infants? All crap. Hell, you'll be lucky if you can find 5 minutes to pee. A decent shower is a thing of the past and, shaving? Give it up - by the time the kid is 3 months old, you'll be able to braid your leg hair in pigtails that would envy Melissa Gilbert circa 1975. Don’t worry about the baby weight – you’ll loose it easily since you won’t have a chance to eat and, even if you can find 5 minutes in which to scarf down something chances are, you’ll have to do so while standing and trying to hold on to a screaming, writhing child: see how much food you can actually consume under those circumstances.What none of the books and existing parents will never tell you is that your child will probably scream incessantly, hate his crib and insist on falling asleep in one of two places - in your arms or in some contraption that requires you to carry, watch or hold him for the entire length of his (very short) nap. Then you'll spend 3 weeks beating yourself up and worrying that you’ve irreversibly damaged your child because you’re not disciplined enough and can't seem to make anything in any of the books work.Ever wondered how the parents a table away from you at dinner are able sip their wine and continue to carry on a conversation while their children scream at a volume usually generated only by suburban housewives at a Vera Bradley clearance sale? Try this: crank up a Creed album as loudly as your stereo will permit, hold your ear next to the speaker for three hours – feel that ringing in your ears? Try 6 weeks of that and tell me if you can (or want to) hear anything ever again. Ear damage of epic proportions. Yeah. Mystery solved.And for those women who think that sacrificing wine, unpasteurized cheese and sushi during pregnancy is rough, just wait. Enjoy that cheese dip and savor that Scharffen Berger because nobody ever tells you that there’s a high likelihood your kid will have an allergy or food in[...]



The End

2008-05-17T22:09:51.333-04:00

Funny how life works sometimes. Just the other night I was looking through this blog - thinking about starting to write on it again - and I read the posts below about Coltrane. At the time I read the posts, a little over a year had passed since the surgery and we were still dealing with the consequences - a leg that wouldn't heal, a litany of medicines, and a dog that, for the past few months, hadn't been himself.Then the bottom fell out.We noticed some changes in Coltrane about a week ago. Some we chalked up to the new baby in the house, others we thought were a result of the lingering surgery issues and a few we thought were caused by a recent change in his food. But we knew things weren't right a few days ago when he wouldn't eat. Then on Wednesday, when we went out for a walk, he collapsed - he did it again that night.Yesterday we took him to the University of Georgia - where he'd been receiving treatment for the past few months. We met with the doctors in the morning and ran some errands while they ran tests - that afternoon, while in the Target parking lot, we got a call from the doctor. Coltrane had an infection - a serious infection.When we got back to the hospital that afternoon, we met with the internal medicine doctors who kept stressing the severity of Coltrane's condition. Apparently this was more than just an infection. But, we left Coltrane in their hands, remained positive and headed back to Atlanta.That evening we got a call from the doctors - the infection was so severe that it had caused inflammation throughout his body. While they thought they could get the infection under control, the other issues - mainly the condition of his heart - were grave. They felt we should come over the next morning to see him as he might not make it through the weekend.A few minutes later we got a call telling us to come that night.We drove back to the university that night and got there at 10:30 pm. The school was dark and, as they let us in, I felt as though I was someplace I shouldn't be; it was eerie and ominous. We went into one of the exam rooms and talked with the doctors who told us how Coltrane was fighting but that his prognosis was grim; after discussing options, we told them to do whatever they could to save him.We went in to see our buddy, saying what we knew could very well be goodbye. He recognized us and I promised him Brewster's ice cream every week if he pulled through. We told him how he needed to fight for his new little brother Miles. We choked back tears as we petted him while he laid there in on the floor of the ICU with tubes attached to him everywhere.We headed back to Atlanta in silence and hoped for the best but ultimately his little heart couldn't handle it. At 1 am, when the phone rang, we knew - we didn't need to hear the doctor say it, Coltrane had passed.There are a million and one things I could say about how amazing Coltrane was - about how he was the kindest, gentlest dog in the world (even at 100 pounds, he'd play with the 5 pound bichon frise down the street without any of us ever worrying about him hurting her), how he was so happy (no matter how crappy my day, just hearing him run to the door to greet me would cheer me up the minute I stepped in the door), how he was loving (he never wanted to be without us and would follow us around the house - complete unconditional love)... Honestly I could go on for hours but it would never do service to what an amazing creature he was.We loved that dog as if he were our first child and, while at the hospital after Miles' delivery, the only thing I could think about was getting home to see that furry[...]



A Welcome Surprise

2007-10-05T21:37:50.582-04:00

We stood in the bathroom as our dog Coltrane pushed his way in there too - not willing to miss out on any of the action. "This is taking forever," I sighed. There are few times in your life when 3 minutes seems like an eternity and this was one of them.

Finally I saw it. "Wow - so I guess that's it, huh?"

My husband stood there in shock and finally asked, "So are these things ever wrong?" His skepticism not for lack of excitement - but rather a direct result of his disbelief, our disbelief that after three years - at the time when we least expected - the moment was finally here.

But just a few weeks later we learned the answer to his question. It wasn't wrong and we're really, really excited.



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The proverbial end of the tunnel light

2007-04-28T20:54:58.143-04:00

If you'd have asked me on Thursday, I would have told you that I didn't know how I would manage life for the next 6 months. The day matched my outlook: grim, rainy and depressing.

But over the past 2 days, things have improved dramatically.

Sure the dog still hates - run around the house away from me, bury his head in a corner, one step away from biting off my hand kind of hates - having to wear the 'lampshade'. And, after hearing him bump into all of my furniture - repeatedly - at 4 am, my feelings about it aren't much better.

He's still limping and I'm quite certain he still has some pain but my dog is back. His tail is wagging, he’s walking around the house and those eyes that were so droopy for the first two days are full of life – full of expression again. I knew my dog was back when he stood by the couch (that I’ve covered (with the exception of one small spot where I sit) with magazines and pillows) and just looked at me, saying, ‘Please, please move that stuff so I can get up there next to you!’ (his favorite pre-surgery spot while I watched television and played on the computer - complete with his head in my lap). Unfortunately any jumping - including jumping up and down from the couch - is strictly forbidden until his leg heals completely. This morning I had to chase after him when he started to run (again another no-no until he's healed) around the house and when I took him outside for a walk he bounded out of the house and, before I could stop him, completely skipped the ramp outside in favor of the stairs. Even now, as I type this, he keeps walking to the back door – unable to understand why he can’t go down the stairs to the backyard and chase squirrels.

It's hard to put into words the night and day nature of the situation - both physically and mentally. For both of us.

As for the crying, I'd say it's over but one of us still can't control the waterworks. Last night, watching Coltrane walk around the house, putting weight on his 'bad' leg, smiling at me from across the room, I couldn't help it - I bawled like a baby. Knowing that the end of this road, albeit long and with many more challenges that I'm sure I haven't faced yet (like keeping him from running and jumping once he feels a bit better; or trying to explain to a dog that he can't play with his buddies Davi, Uno and Gawain when he sees them walk by the house) is in sight, it no longer feels like an impossible struggle. I'm slowly realizing that life will return to normal - even if that version of normal is a little different than it was before.

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My baby

2007-04-26T22:39:31.970-04:00

I've never been good with babies crying. I purposely do my best to spend as little time as possible with my friends who have newborns - not because I don't love them or their children but because the crying, well, the crying just about kills me.They say it gets better - that when it's your own child you don't mind it or that somehow your ears grow used to sounds a decibel levels no human should have to endure.I don't know that I ever will.As I type this, I'm sitting in my sun room next to my 100 pound 4-legged child, Coltrane. Yesterday he went in for TPLO surgery; today, my ordinarily happy, never-seen-him upset, could-eat-a-small-cat-for-breakfast-and-still-want-more dog won't eat and is lying here crying. Moaning, whimpering, crying. And it's breaking my heart.A friend noticed him limping a few weeks ago. We'd spent the weekend with them in Birmingham and Coltrane was in pure unadulterated doggie heaven - he spent the entire weekend doing his favorite activity: chasing our friends' puppy around the yard trying to hump him. I dismissed the 'limp', chalking it up to my 5-year-old mildly overweight dog trying to keep up with their 6-month-old, more energy than Richard Simmons on crack, puppy.But, a little over a week ago, the limp was undeniable. So, I called my brother who is a vet in Florida - his telephone diagnosis: a pulled muscle, a torn ligament, arthritis, or, worse, cancer. He forwarded along some anti-inflammatory drugs and told us that if it didn’t get any better we’d need to take the dog to our local vet.Two days later things were dramatically worse so off we went to the vet. Diagnosis? Torn ligament. Thing is, I feared this diagnosis. Sure, compared to cancer, it's a great diagnosis. Compared to arthritis, it's also a pretty darn good diagnosis – a torn ligament is treatable whereas arthritis never goes away. But compared to him just pulling a muscle? Not so good. My brother had already briefed me on the average cost of fixing the ligament: $3,000.So what did $3,000 buy me?Let's see - a metal plate and a shaved leg full of staples. Ah, yes, and the glory of having to carry my 100 pound dog outside – holding up his back legs with a beach towel wrapped around his abdomen while my husband leads him out the door. And let’s not forget how he - the dog, not the husband - peed all over the floor and himself (and how I can't give him a bath for at least 2 weeks.) And did I mention the crying? The gut-wrenching, heart-breaking crying? Imagine the saddest thing you've ever seen - multiply it by 20 and that's what this is like.But it's not just him. I cried the whole way home from the vet's office - big weeping, snorting 'life will never be the same again' type of tears. My husband drove while I sat in the back, holding Coltrane, whispering to him great promises about what we'll do once his leg gets better ("I'll take you to the dog park where there are tons of little dogs that you can chase and hump! All the humping in the world Coltrane - and I won't once pretend to be embarrassed or tell you to stop!") His leg looked like a big raw turkey leg - all white and shaved - and I could only imagine how much the huge staples running down the inside of his knee hurt. Knowing that I was the one who made the decision to pull the trigger on the surgery (even if I thought at the time - and still believe - it was the right one) hurt me and anger welled in me (Why does my dog have to go through this?) How quickly I was able to forget the other dogs we saw in the waiting room at the vet's office who, unlike[...]



As much as you'd like to believe I'm making this stuff up, there's no way I could ever be this good

2007-04-19T18:03:57.988-04:00

Today I received an email from my mother with the following and nothing else: “Dad wants me to email you to see if you can find out what is happening by us. Helicopters are circling, etc.” Sensing this will be another occasion for story time, I open a blogger window, call my mother and, as the phone is ringing, type in the address of their local newspaper. Mom answers, hilarity ensues.Me (noticing a story about fires in the Everglades): I think it's fires - there are fires in the Everglades. (I read a bit of the story about Alligator Alley being closed down.)Mom (screaming to my father who is outside watching the helicopters): Honey - Robin says it's fires. Come get the phone.Dad: No - it's not the fires. The helicopters are too close - they're circulating right above their house.Me (moving from the local newspaper site to the most overly sensationalized local news station website): Um, Dad, get inside NOW. There's a manhunt for an 'armed and dangerous' bank robbery suspect.Dad (very excited): Cool! I'm going to get my gun!Me (worried): Dad - get inside! And while I'm on the topic, what is wrong with the 8 televisions you have in your house?Dad cracks some joke about inviting the suspect in for a glass of water if he sees him.Mom (using my father’s name instead of her usual ‘hon’ or ‘honey’ – which we all know means ‘I am not messing around: listen to what I say or you will endure the wrath of a ‘I might be small but I’m Italian which means I can make you cry just by looking at you’ woman.’): John - get inside! Now.Me: Seriously, I'm interested in why, when you saw sheriff’s helicopters circling above your house, you thought 'Hey - instead of turning on the TV, searching the Internet or even calling a neighbor, let's email our daughter who lives over 600 miles away to see if she knows what's going on!'Mom: I don't know - I just know you're so good at all of this computer stuff.Shortly thereafter they apprehended the suspect (in a bush - which brings me immense humor for some reason.) Although I was tempted to screw with my parents and keep them in the dark - to insist that they stay inside with the lights and television off and the phone unplugged so that the suspect would think they were out of town and not bother them. To insist they call me no earlier than tomorrow morning – as it would be likely that by then the suspect would have fled the area. But, I figured it's too much to ask my parents to go without their Fox news for more than 3 hours. Plus, I want to stay on their good side - after all, I don't know what I'd blog about without them. PS Apparently I read the story wrong - got the following from my mom (via email of course): "Just to let you know they have not caught the gun man. He went into a wooded area. Helicopters still flying around." So I again call the house (hoping my father has regained his senses and moved inside and that they've remembered how to work the television remote.) I get their voicemail and begin to worry about my damaged karma. I can see the newspaper reports: “Daughter pokes fun at father just before he is abducted by armed suspect!” I quickly call my mom's cell and she thankfully answers.Me: Where the hell are you?Mom (laughs): I'm outside. Apparently my mom drank the Kool-Aid and now, like my father, thinks the idea of an armed and dangerous criminal in their area is amusing.Me: What? Get your ass inside!Mom: I’m going. Me: Did you turn on the TV?Mom: We’re inside – just locked t[...]



Yesterday.

2007-04-05T16:43:41.876-04:00

What’s better than spending a beautiful day in a perfectly manicured, not-a-single-blade-of-grass-out-of-place, awe inspiring location, eating $1.50 sandwiches and drinking $2 beer, watching old legends jesting and joking, and finishing the evening with a delicious meal in a serene and picturesque location?

Quite honestly, nothing.

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Shall I save you a seat?

2007-04-06T09:39:45.242-04:00

I've found a circle of hell lower than water: the children's inflatable birthday place circle of hell.

It's bad enough to endure a 'regular' 4-year-old's birthday party: boys fighting over the red Power Ranger and girls pulling each other's hair in an effort to procure the coveted lavender My Little Pony*. Chaos usually ensues for a good hour, everyone eats cake, the thrill quickly wears off, the party ends and the kids go home.

But the larger-than-a-super-sized-Costco warehouse filled with giant, air-filled cartoon characters? A nightmare of epic proportions.

Want to get an idea of what it's like? Get in your car, crank a Mariah Carey album and sit there for FOUR HOURS. That's one-tenth of the amount of pain you'll feel when experiencing a birthday party at one of these places.

You'll want to find and slowly torture the genius who decided that it would be a good idea to load-up a bunch of pre-schoolers up on high-fructose corn syrup and bad pizza and set them free with 20 other pint-sized beings that have no fear, no balance and no common-sense - but a distinct ability to scream at frequencies that nobody knew existed.

Add a group of annoying suburban parents complete with video cameras, 'my kid is vastly superior but I'll pretend that he isn't while making passive-aggressive statements about your borderline short-bus kid' attitudes, and meaningless chit-chat (usually centered around what they recently purchased (which is, 9 times out of 10, a boob job for women and a ‘my penis might be small but my TV is freaking huge' flat screen for the men)) and suddenly slamming your head in a wall repeatedly sounds like a pleasurable activity.

I made it through 5 minutes of my godson's 4th birthday party before I'd calculated (a) the distance to the closes liquor store and (b) how much liquor I could fit into a Capri Sun pouch.

If I ever have a daughter, she's having her 16th birthday at an inflatables place. Birth control has never been easier.

*Yes, those damn Ponies are back. Oh but that's not it - just think of every toy popular in the 80s: transformers, Strawberry Shortcake, Cabbage Patch Kids. The minute I see a purple barrel purse with a rainbow and unicorn on the side, I'm hunkering down in the basement and waiting for the second coming.

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The Results

2007-03-26T12:55:49.872-04:00

So for the sake of those who might be googling it in the future, yes, if you're a relatively physically fit person who can run at least 3 miles, you can do a half marathon without training. Expect to do a little walking and don't expect to finish with a personal-record-setting time but also expect to feel a good bit of pride.

It's hard to put into feelings what this half marathon meant to me without sounding cliche or cheesy but I'm still riding on a bit of a runner's high so indulge me.

I was so proud of my city and of all of the people who got up at the butt crack of dawn and came out to stand along the streets and cheer. It was an amazing route - through historic, beautiful neighborhoods that make up the character of Atlanta. The enthusiasm was amazing and it definitely carried over on to the course - it's hard to think about that huge hill in front of you when there are people ringing cowbells and screaming your name. I tried to thank people along the course, to tell them how much I appreciated them being out there but I wish I could have thanked every single person out there - on behalf of those running but also on behalf of our city - for showing visitors what great people we have here in Atlanta.

I was proud the winners - who, beginning at mile 7 of my half marathon, started to pass me on their way to completing the full marathon. Although it's humbling to know that they finished the marathon in less time than it took me to run half of the distance, it's also pretty cool to see what the human body is capable of doing - we were both out there seeing just how far we could push our individual limits.

And I was proud of myself. I almost cried when I started and I definitely cried when I finished - there's something about challenging yourself, about being stronger than you thought you were, that makes life really, really awesome. I finished around the same time as two women who, immediately after their finishing medals were placed over their heads, hugged each other and cried. I know exactly what they were feeling.

I finished in 2:53* (13:11 minute per mile pace): definitely not a time to brag about but a time to be happy with considering I didn't do any training. No knee problems, a few very small blisters and, as I type this, almost 2 hours after I finished, my legs feel a little tight but definitely not the 'I'm not going to be able to move for a week' feeling I anticipated.

I can’t wait until next year.

* That time includes one bathroom stop that took an unheard of 15 minutes. (I have a few minor gripes about the marathon but the lack of porta-potties is my biggest.) I calculated my time without the stop (just because I'm ridiculously anal): 2:38 (12:03 minutes per mile) which makes me even happier. And, yes, I had to use the bathroom because, when you're a woman sometimes life doesn't cooperate with your schedule and, let's face it, I'm just not competitive enough to do what the real athletes do. (image)



0 Comments

2007-03-23T15:17:53.509-04:00

I might actually be losing my mind.

I just got back from picking up my number for the ING Georgia Half Marathon and I'm planning on running the race on Sunday.

Not so crazy, you say?

What if I told you that the longest run I've done in the past 3 months is 4 miles. And, that although I know it isn't the best idea to do a 4 mile run after spending half the afternoon on your knees scrubbing the grout of your very hard saltillo tile, I still can't shake the feeling I had half-way through the run when I thought my knee caps felt were going to fall off and disintegrate on the sidewalk.

Still think that signing up to run 13.1 miles doesn't sound so crazy?

I keep reminding myself that I'm physically fit - that I work out at least 5 days a week - and that, even if I walked at a snail's pace, I'd finish in the allotted seven hours but that hasn't stopped me from googling things like "half marathon without training" and getting freaked out when I see results with words like "severe injuries".

While waiting in line for my number, I had the distinct urge to stick the head the head of the guy in back of me in a very tight, very small, and very air-tight plastic bag. But, instead, as he rattled incessantly on his cell phone switching between the only two topics about which he was capable of carrying on a conversation ((a) his hatred for Atlanta or (b) how he was going to "kick so much ass on Sunday") I smiled as I envisioned him taking a big, fat nose dive into the asphalt on Sunday morning.

I wish I could say he was the only one. A few others in line felt compelled to whine about the wait. I tried to be positive by insisting that it was moving quickly and that it was nothing like the 3 hour ordeal I went through in Nashville but apparently they were visiting Atlanta from the birthplace of Nasty. "It's in and out in Chicago," one said with an exaggerated ‘this is unbelievable’ sigh. (Note: Chicago is in its 30th year; this is the first year for the ING Georgia marathon.) "The lines in New York are long," another chimed in. "But c'mon that's New York and this is Atlanta," she finished with a sour look on her face as if Atlanta were the cesspool of America.

I wanted to remind them that they signed up for this – that this wasn’t some unilateral marathon draft - or that outside it was perfection (77 degrees, low humidity, and sunny with a nice breeze). But, instead, I imagined them sliding face-first in the asphalt too.

Wish me (and my slightly damaged karma) luck on Sunday!(image)