Thursday Ten: The Week After edition

  1. I couldn’t write last week. I just couldn’t. There is no way I could wrap my brain around the world enough to make sense of it. A week later, I still don’t know that I can make much sense of anything, but I’m trying. And I’m trying to not be so angry. I’m trying to be productive. I’m…well, I’m trying.
  2. I feel like there’s really no escape from it. It’s too dark for running when I get home from work (and I managed to squish my knee somehow anyway). It’s getting colder. The calendar is crazy busy with so much stuff nearly every day. I need a break, somehow, but there’s none in sight.
  3. I can’t get warm. My hands feel numb. My brain is busy. The shorter days are hard for me. I’ve always felt I was prone to SAD or the winter blahs, but it’s been worse since my stupid retinas got stupider.
  4. That thing where you say you want to be positive and then you whine. Sorry.
  5. Okay. I… guess I can’t really finish this. Here’s a puppy.
    cute puppy

Thursday Ten: The 15K Edition

  1. This past weekend, Chris and I went to Chicago and we ran a 15k and I’ve never done that before in my life and I SURVIVED YOU GUYS! I totally lived to tell about it, but oh my god, if you look at my souvenir race photo, you would see just how rough I was feeling at the end of it. Running is not my prettiest self, but I am so so PROUD of what we accomplished.
  2. My GPS totally screwed up during the run though and it was telling me I was further than I was and it was telling me that I was running faster than I was. Like…significantly faster. And it was a bit of a slap in the face to finish and realize that nope, I’m still slow. The good news is that while I was running, it motivated me to think I was running so fast, so… that helped.
  3. No, I have no idea what the hell I was thinking that I thought that I was actually running like 90 seconds faster per mile than usual. Guess I was giving adrenaline a lot of credit.
  4. My running playlist rocked my socks, though. I threw it on shuffle and started the race with REM’s “The End of the World (As We Know It)” and moved through the Chicago streets singing along to TLC’s “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” went through some weird loopety thing by McCormick Place to Kanye’s “Runaway” – and hit a variety of other songs in between in the 98 minutes I was running. Such a fun list…if I do say so myself.
  5. I’m not sure when I’ll get out to run again but soon I hope. I have visions of getting a half marathon under my belt in 2017… and since that’s just 3.8 more miles than I just did, I think it’s totally doable. I know there’s a 25K in Grand Rapids this spring. I also know that I don’t think I want to run 15 miles.
  6. It’s funny how you hit a goal and then push a little harder to see what else you can do. And uh, I just subscribed to Runner’s World, y’all, so either I’m gonna keep running, or I’m gonna be the most informed couch potato ever.
  7. Wow, so I talked about running for over half of this list. Can y’all believe it? (Pick a half marathon for me. Watch me fly. I can do big things.)
  8. In other news, HOLY BANANAS it’s NOVEMBER. How the heck did that even happen?
  9. Between the Gilmore Girls and Moana, we’ve got a lot to look forward to this month.
  10. How are y’all? Talk to me, goose.

Thursday Ten: And Somehow I’m 40 edition

  1. So, somehow I turned 40. I let it go by on the blog without the fanfare I was planning on but I made it through the day with only a small amount of sadness and a huge amount of trying to just be grateful for my years and my blessings. Aging is hard, but, as they say: it beats the alternative.
  2. The day before my 40th birthday, I ran farther than I ever had before in my life. Nine miles. Nine. It sounds absurd to me – how on earth could I manage that, when last year I couldn’t even run one? But nine. I did it. And then in the midst of it, somewhere around mile seven, I tripped over a crack in the pavement hidden by a pile of fallen leaves and my knee hasn’t bee the same since. Yay Team 40!
  3. Chris and I will be running a 15K in a few weeks – should be interesting seeing as how we both are moving a bit slower lately. Anyway… all of this to say: I had no idea I could ever do this, and I’m amazed and excited. And… after this race, who knows what’s next. (Spoiler alert: I have no desire to run a full marathon)
  4. Rewatching The Gilmore Girls with the kids and yeah, we’re looking forward to the reboot this November.
  5. I took the two days before and after my birthday weekend off from work and it was…pretty great. I hadn’t taken that many days off in a row since…ever? And I needed it. On the heels of project after project over the summer, the downtime was much needed. I wasn’t as productive as I thought I’d be, but I enjoyed the time off tremendously.
  6. I bought a bunch of books and magazines during my vacation, even managed to read a whole book. I have already surpassed my goal of reading 30 books this year… will I make it to 40?
  7. I made the mistake of starting a post about politics on Facebook last night and I should know better but anyway, here we are and ugh… It could’ve been worse, but it still wasn’t great. It feels rotten to have my friends insulting each other. Ready for the election to be over so I can start liking people again.
  8. Had the exciting opportunity to take the girls to see the Olympic gymnasts in Grand Rapids. It was truly amazing to see Simone Biles in person – what a phenomenal athlete. It was pretty exciting and the show itself was so well done. What a treat!
  9. The fun thing about taking off Thursday – Tuesday is that you end up with two three day weeks in a row.
  10. When you want to be healthy but you want to eat a brownie sundae.

month at a glance

I haven’t posted in over a month. The hiatus wasn’t really intentional – I was in the midst of changing over blog hosts but my life is such a cluster at the moment that it took me that long to do it.

Work is busy – insanely so – with lots of projects, most of which will wrap this week or next and have resulted in my brain being a pool of melted cheese for the most part. Some of what I do, I do with extreme confidence… some, less confidence.

I find lately that I’m letting things get to me too much – things that shouldn’t. Trying to work on keeping perspective and being kinder to myself.

I’m…not so good at that.

I wrote a blog post for OWN THE EQUINOX, the campaign to create awareness for Usher Syndrome – and I shared it, publicly. The response was overwhelmingly supportive and positive. Today, my mom forwarded me the email from someone who claims to have had experience working with people who have Usher – and the email said that I need to learn sign and I need to learn braille and, well… I got a little angry.

Hope or GTFO, people.

I’ve been running. I’m not very fast, but I did run 6 miles morning for a total of 15 miles this week. I’m training for a 15k in October, and honestly, the thought of running nine miles IN A ROW makes me want to throw up a little – but then again, I never thought I could do six and HERE I AM CRUSHING IT (slowly).

So, more of the same and a whole lot of nothing. But I just went through a whole lot of trouble to move this blog over so I guess I better write on it.

 

So….

 

Hi. How are y’all?

A letter to my daughter on her 11th birthday

Dear Pumpkin,

Happy birthday. Today, you are 11 – which is mind boggling to me – feels like such a big number and I’m sure part of that is knowing that you’ll be heading to middleschool this far – so this is going to be a year with some change. I know how you feel about change.

You’re kind of worried about middle school – of the locker, the classes, and when I told you the other day that they had recommended you for advanced math, you got so upset. The thing is – I know you’ll be fine, but you’re worried that math will be too hard, that you won’t be able to keep up. You are your own toughest critic, and while I admire your drive to do well, I wish you could realize how amazing you already are, and that your worth is not defined by a grade in math.

(I also know that you come by these perfectionist tendencies honestly, and I’m sorry – and I’m trying to do my best to make sure you know that you being you is enough – always – and that I’ve always got your back and I will always love you no matter what)

You are a creative and shining star and I love that about you. You still are so much your own person and I love that about you. I think it’s really special that you are true to yourself and don’t follow someone else’s path.

I love that you love to read – you are an avid reader and you have a list of books you want to read. You read series and you love to spend time in bookstores. Not only are you an amazing reader, but you’re a strong writer as well. You want to be an author some day and I believe you can do it.

This year, you did something new called Odyssey of the Mind – which was cool to see – you and your team worked so hard to creatively solve problems, think strategically and perform a skit. I saw you thrive in that environment – with other creative kids. I love how you are excited to try new groups and explore challenges, especially when they build from your love of creativity.

You just finished a week of theater camp this summer and that was exciting as well. You looked amazing on the stage – you had such poise and presence. I admire that! You learned so much in one week – memorizing a script and performing with only five days of practice! You even learned a whole song and dance number. I was really impressed – and I’m excited to see if you’re involved with plays and musicals in school this year.

You still love dogs, especially our pup. I bet someday you’ll end up fostering dogs. Lately, you’ve even asked me for a cat (no go! I’m allergic!).

Recently, I got you and your sister hooked on the musical “Hamilton” so you both want to be Schuyler sisters for Halloween and I love that too. (Also, y’all amaze me the way you can recite the speedy parts of “Guns and Ships”)

You are tender hearted and sweet and kind and sensitive. You are beautiful and funny. You are sassy and bright. You have brought me immeasurable joy in the last eleven years and I can’t wait to see what this year brings. Eleven years ago, I held you for the first time and got to begin to learn who you are. You are a wonderful daughter to me and sister to Princess, you are a kind friend, and a lovely and wonderful human. You are pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.

I love you so very much and I am so very lucky to be your mom.

Love,

Momma

 

Thursday Ten: A Third Down edition

  1. So, yeah, June is almost over. It feels like summer has barely started but it’s actually almost a third over and how is that even possible? (THE TIME IT FLIES)
  2. With a free download from the Starbucks app, I downloaded the 5 Minute Journal this week. Just a few days in and though it may well be shortlived, it’s good for me to work on practicing gratitude and looking for the moments that made me happy.
  3. I have watched an insane amount of Greys Anatomy on Netflix this week. I’m still pretty sure I could intubate y’all if you needed it.
  4. I was selected to be one of the “Awesome People” on the launch team of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Textbook, due out on August 9. I’m not paid to have opinions – just received a free copy of the book – which I devoured in the span of a few hours while sitting by the lake a few weeks ago. It’s classic AmyKR – whimsical, joyous and sweet. I’ll be posting more about it in the coming weeks, but y’all might consider pre-ordering it, especially if you need a feel-good book to read this summer.
  5. Finally, after over a year of the envelope sitting on my counter, I’ve finally booked an appointment to use the spa gift card that’s inside of it. Next week I have an appointment at a local spa, where it will cost an ungodly amount of (gift card) money to probably dye my hair the exact same color it is now.
  6. I’m working on so many big projects at work right now that I’m barely finding time to breathe, but still making sure that when I can, I get outside for some fresh air and exercise. I used to be a “work through lunch” kind of person but I’m glad to have ditched that habit for the most part.
  7. Dog farts are lethal.
  8. There’s a three day weekend coming. While I’m excited about that, I’m still focused on just getting to the end of next week. I know, I know, wishing my life away, but basically? Just trying to get some projects crossed off the list.
  9. I haven’t cooked in ages. I have no desire to cook. It’s too hot. I’m too tired. I’m not prepared. I’m sick of ordering (and paying) for takeout, though. Next week, I get my shizz together. Tonight, I need to menu plan and make a grocery list.
  10. Hard to get excited about puny fourth of July fireworks after the awesome of Disney fireworks… but I’ll still try.

Thursday Ten: A Change Is Gonna Come

  1. As I type this, I think back on the post I wrote last week. The one where I was so maxed out, so stressed out, so overwhelmed. Well… I’m still there. And feeling this way is not a good thing for me. I’m trying to practice self care as best I can – yesterday, I worked out twice! I drank lots of water! I reached out to my friends! But… I’m still having a very hard time and I’m not quite used to this.
  2. There are 39 messages in my spam folder right now and they’re almost all from the Gap.
  3. I am watching season 12 of Greys Anatomy on Netflix and getting my heard stomped on over and over again with all the drama. In a good way?
  4. I downloaded a new app called “Streaks” in order to try to create some healthy habits in my life – it’s the only reason I’ve managed to remember to floss my teeth for the past 8 days in a row.
  5. Tickets for Hamilton Chicago went on sale and by the time I was able to try to get tickets, all I could find were tickets that are $500+ each… or tickets with an “obstructed view.” (Hey theatres: why would you obstruct the view of the stage?) So what I’m saying is: I didn’t get Hamilton tickets.
  6. And I hate that I am even feeling badly about my life at all because so many people I know are going through some SERIOUS stuff and I’m all like, “Wah wah wah…I’m overwhelmed.” Realistically, we cannot compare our challenges to those that other people face – otherwise we’ll make ourselves even crazier trying to minimize our struggles for fear they’re not big enough to be justified. We don’t have to do that. At least, I don’t think so.
  7. You know, a year ago I was terrified. A year ago, I was newly diagnosed with Usher syndrome and I didn’t know how long my eye sight would last. I was looking for signs all the time about my vision – was it better, was it worse? My visit in Iowa changed a lot of that fear to hope. About my eyes. I think that has altered the changing about the other stuff. In some good ways and some less than great ways.
  8. As you can see, I’m working through my thoughts as I type this list.
  9. It hasn’t rained in a very long time and my yards are dry and what’s there is more likely a weed than grass.
  10. Is it Friday yet? It would be really lovely if it could be Friday.

And that’s about when my brain melted

Have you ever started filling up  your kitchen sink to wash dishes (because your dishwasher is broken and every time you think you’re going to buy a new one, well, something else comes up and then you don’t get a dishwasher and you have to keep handwashing everything even though it makes you want to punch a manatee) and then walked away, completely forgetting what you were doing until you register the sound of the still running water and you glance over at the sink, the water dangerously close to the top of the basin?

Or you were pouring flour into a glass measuring cup and the flour crashed out of the jar in a huge glump and then the cup overflows – flour everywhere.

I don’t know what’s up with the kitchen analogies but essentially what I’m saying is this: these containers have a finite capacity to hold stuff. You try to put too much stuff in, and eventually – poof – stuff everywhere.

That’s…kind of where I am. Dangerously close to being an exploding bag of flour or overflowing sink.

And it’s not a great feeling.

My grandma died on Wednesday.

My mom called me on the drive to work – and in the span of ten minutes, I was on a roller coaster: the paramedics were on their third round of CPR and no response to… they had a pulse and grandma was on her way to ER.

Sobbing, I navigated through a dismal road construction bottleneck while sobbing to my coworker on Bluetooth, telling her I would not be into work. I arrived at the hospital the same time mom did, and we were immediately ushered into a family room

Not a good sign.

We waited for everyone to arrive.

There’s not much you can do in a moment like that. You sit, and you cry and you wait. You try to get ahold of family on the phone. You scroll Twitter and feel envious of the people who haven’t had their morning go completely astray. You check your email.

A ventilator was breathing for my grandmother and I was thinking about work and the things I would have to delegate to someone to get done and a teacher was emailing me about an award my daughter was being surprised with the next day at a ceremony I would be unable to attend because I was chaperoning my other daughter’s class trip.

The glass measuring jar. The overflowing sink.

One by one family arrived. The priest arrived. The doctor disconnected the ventilator and we watched as she took her last breaths.

We cried and we hugged and then we didn’t know what to do next and so most of us just went our separate ways.

That push and the pull of all of the obligations facing me in that moment, that’s what has replayed in my mind over the past few days. The moment when I realized that no matter what I did, I couldn’t possibly do all of the things when they needed to be done, to please all of the people.

It was also the moment when I realized: there’s just too much.

If you thought that this was going to be the kind of post that tells you how to overcome that, well, you thought wrong. I had this epiphany several days ago and I’m still pretty much a mess.

I don’t sleep well. My home office is filled with laundry that needs to be folded. There is a crockpot sitting on my counter that needs to be emptied of leftovers and scrubbed clean, but it’s the first time I’ve found to write in days, so I’m typing this post, eating Dots candy and watching the Food Network Star on Netflix. I only feel a little bit bad about that.

In trying to find peace, sometimes all I can see is the clutter on my bookshelves. I stress about work projects and problems that never come to be because I’ve just created some imaginary worst case scenario and beaten myself up over it…only to have it never happen.

I am an overflowing sink.

And I don’t know how to turn the water off.

The thing is, I suspect I’m not the only one. In fact, I know I’m not. And it’s a bit sad, I think, that so many of us are operating in this mode – this gogogogogogogogogogogogogogo mode of getting things done and running-running-running-gotta-get-it-done until we are about ready to collapse.

Until we are wide awake at three a.m. imagining awful things, pulled so far in every direction, feeling like we’re not succeeding anywhere.

Things are going to change. They have to. Because I cannot function like this anymore. My sink is overflowing and I’ve got to let some of this water out. Somehow. Someway. Soon.

 

 

A Letter To My Daughter on Her 14th Birthday

Dear Princess,

I’ve been writing these letters for more years than I can remember without looking but surely somehow we’ve gone from elementary school to middle school to where we are now, just weeks away from graduating 8th grade – about to begin your high school career. [Side note: I still think the idea of “graduating” from 8th grade is asinine, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be there, teary eyed and so proud of you.]

It’s been an amazing year. I admit, the thought of the end of this school year has me a little bit sentimental – as we dug through photographs to put in the eight grade slide show and the choir concert slide show, I watched you grow up in pictures, from this round faced toddler to this graceful young lady. I never stopped paying attention, I was always watching and yet – somehow you teetered right out of childhood.

This year you were one of the leads in the school musical and oh my god was I so blown away – not only by your voice which was clear and beautiful and so perfect for the role, but by your presence. Your confidence and charisma radiated – and I could not take my eyes off of you on that stage and I kept thinking to myself, “I get to be her mom.” How lucky I am.

Your grades are excellent and when you struggle, you work to pick yourself back up. Some parents have to prod their kids and chase them down to do their work but I’ve never had to do that with you. You push yourself harder than I could dare imagine – and you are your own biggest critic, not that that’s a great thing. But you are self-motivated, and that I am grateful for because you do things for you and not because of what I, or anyone else, tells you.

Another year of gymnastics under your belt and a slew of medals to show for it. You had meets where you felt like you were on top of the world and meets you left disappointed and discouraged, cheeks streaked with tears. But my gosh, you tried and you tried – and when you went to the state gymnastics meet, I’ve never seen you work quite that hard. You medaled on the balance beam and even though you missed your goal of qualifying for regionals by such a narrow margin, I saw the joy on your face as you raised your arms in salute on the podium.

People tell horror stories of what it is like to have teenage daughters but I don’t feel that way at all. You’re pretty freaking likeable. You send me the funniest texts, and you have a dry sense of humor that’s probably several years older than you are. And I love it.

We watch Gilmore Girls, and you get my Friends references and sometimes we all go have ice cream for dinner. You help me talk your sister into brushing her hair. You are a pro at sorting laundry and you tell me what to eat when I’m hangry.

Fourteen years ago, I saw your face for the first time. Fourteen years ago, I held you in my arms for the first time Today, you are nearly as tall as I am and we wear the same size shoe (which means that we can share Chucks which is pretty much the best thing ever though I have yet to actually wear your Chucks – though I did wear your koala socks to work the other day).

I am excited for your future. Recently you’ve decided that you want to own a bakery when you’re older – and since you’ve started a Pinterest board for it, it must really be a thing. Whether it’s a bakery – or something else – I cannot wait to see what the years ahead bring for you.

Let’s start with this one. Fourteen is going to be a good one. I can feel it.

Happy birthday, Princess. I love you very much and I’m so very lucky to be your momma.

Love, mom

 

Thursday Ten: A Vacation From My Vacation edition

  1. A week ago, we were in California and now we’re back and I have been exhausted ever since. A quick trip to see Chris win an award for work and to spend a few days at Disneyland and then back again – just a matter of days but it was good to get away even if I’ve been sleepwalking since I got home.

247 | 365

2. And yep, I still hate flying. I was fortunate that the long stretches of time in the air were quite smooth, but even the littlest bumps set me on edge. I am the actual worst. The one kind of awesome thing about being scared of flying is that my fear leads to some nice conversations with the poor unfortunate souls stuck sitting next to me. The conversations I had with people who saw fear in my face – well, I’m grateful that in this world where we all tend to put on our headphones and keep our eyes forward, there are still some people who truly see you.

3. I am frustrated that I spend so much time wishing away my weeks. For example, do you know how giddy I am that it’s THURSDAY and I’m only one day away from Friday? And while whooohooo the weekend is almost here, I don’t just want to endure my weekdays. I need to shake that sense of rushing through my life, because that sucks.

4. I have been working on the Couch to 10K running program and managed to hit a 70+ minute workout last night. I never have that kind of time to get a workout like that – which could be why these run/walks are kicking my butt so badly. You’re supposed to do them 3 days a week, but who has that kind of free time? Not me, which is why I’ll never be able to run six miles without stopping to walk.

5. Seeing the fireworks spectacular at night at Disneyland was one of the most awesome things I’ve seen in a very long time. I took so many pictures and so much video – I loved it so much. You never really outgrow the magic of Disney, I guess.

6. It’s raining a lot lately. I know, that’s a spring thing, but I wish it wouldn’t rain quite as much. My backyard looks like a jungle and I don’t have time to mow it.

7. In the home stretch of the school year so that’s starting to get chaotic as well. Concerts, field trips, and all of that fun stuff. Makes for a chaotic few weeks. The Princess will be 14 in just over two weeks, so there will be a birthday celebration coming soon, also. Will be ready for summer to come and slow life down a bit.

8. SOooo. New Instagram logo. It’s pretty bad. And according to my kid, it’s somewhat traumatic. (We’re a family full of people offended by bad design, I guess)

9. Tomorrow’s Friday.

10. A summer vacation fell through this week and while I’m bummed, part of me is a tiny bit relieved I won’t have to deal with that whole re-entry back to the real world after vacation thing again. I should probably learn how work-life balance works.