Three things — 4/17/14

Things I’m loving this week

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1. My new Nano. I know. Just last week I was saying how much I would miss my beloved old Nano *cue the violins* and that the new one just wouldn’t be the same. I was right. It’s like 9,000 times better.

My new Nano is awesome. It plays radio stations! It comes with Nike’s Fit+ app, which tracks my workouts & calculates mileage and pace for me (who needs that clunky man-sized wrist Garmin). It has a stopwatch and a timer. AND….AND….the new earbuds are more like Yurbuds and they actually fit my ears.

It’s pretty awesome. (Though I did think for just a minute…oh, I wish it had a camera…see how entirely spoiled we are?)

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2. Parenthood. I only watch this show on the interwebs (thank God NBC hasn’t shut us out yet) because I haven’t a clue when it’s actually on TV — late, I know. But I do love following the Braverman clan around….even if it is sometimes just a little to much like real life.

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3. Amazon Prime. Guess who realized on Tuesday that Easter is Sunday? Guess who has no worries because she has Amazon Prime? With two-day free shipping, the smiley-face “bunny” will be delivering basket stuffers to my doorstep on Thursday and all I have to do is hit the local chocolate shops. Winning.

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4. Bonfires. We had our first redneck dinner of the year this weekend — hot dogs and smore’s cooked over an open fire out back. I even let Lauren light the fire because I read this the other day.

Things I’m not loving this week

1. April crush/rush. April is the cruelest month in academia, particularly for a writer/editor. I’ve got to conduct interviews & get photos (or at the very least, touch base with sources and get their summer contact info) for four upcoming publications. So, I’m currently conducting interviews for some stories that won’t be published until late August. *sigh*

It can be overwhelming to keep everything straight. But, then, I am a master at multitasking and organization. And it’s kind of an adrenaline rush/challenge.

2. Winter clothes. I’m sick of all my winter clothes. I want to “shop” on the summer side of my closet.

 

Worth Reading — 4/16/14

A random collections of blog posts, articles and other things I think are worth sharing.

Buddhist Broadcasting Network: Accepting yourself as an introvert and loving your inner tortoise

Atlantic: Sweden: The new laboratory for the six-hour workday (Oh….what I would give for another two hours in my day..and I have to tell you that nothing makes me more productive than a deadline, so condensing the workday would only make me buckle down & get more done — ask any working mom who’s hell bent on getting out at 5 p.m.)

Time: The Simple Thing That Makes the Happiest People in the World Happy (All true)

New York Times: I refuse to be busy (I think that this should be retitled…I Refuse to Do Things I Don’t Want To because that’s what she’s really saying…which is fine and really what we should all be doing anything. We women do too much out of obligation or to “look good”. Bleh…who cares?)

The Digital Media Mom: My Secret to Getting the Best Deal on a Laptop (Helpful advice if you are in the market for a new PC).

Worth playing with

How many states can you name in four minutes? (I got 41…can you beat me???)

 

Just Write 101 ~ Scorched Earth

I recognize the flamboyant swirling scrawl on the front of the pale blue envelope addressed to my daughters and covered in Easter stickers, and internally groan.

Why can’t she just forget about us.

A relative I’ve chosen to cut ties with for lots of reasons I’m never going to go into here, likes to twist the knife, communicating solely with my children through holiday cards. Typically a few dollars stuck inside. I wish she’d stop because then I have to explain why we never see her anymore.

I’m sure she’s told everyone who will listen how I turned my back on her. I know because I endured her complaints about everyone else in her life for years. I was the one who gave her the benefit of the doubt. I was the one who was compassionate and kind. I was the one who stuck up for her with the rest of my family.

But, then…she went too far and took advantage of a situation in a manner so blatant and appalling it caused my jaw to drop. All for money. And that was it. I was done. Done. I don’t hate her, but I lost all respect for her.

Sometimes Lauren asks why we never see her anymore. For awhile I just brushed her off, but she’s relentless, demanding to know the real reason. I explained it as simply as I could. I sugarcoated. Why I care, I don’t know. I guess because I don’t want them to hate her. It’s not right to hate, and I don’t think she can help herself.

Folded up inside the Easter card are four dollars and an Easter card I sent her when the girls were young. A handmade card, with the girls’ fingerprints turned into chicks.

She’s been doing this for years now. Returning everything we ever gave her. She sends them a few at a time. Sometimes she sends entire albums and photo boxes full of every greeting card, every school photo, every letter, every coloring page we’ve ever given her.

I’m amazed that she’s kept every single one of these things. I can’t believe that after all she has already sent back she still some left to send. She must be holding back to draw it out. I’m sickened by her need to hurt.

Lauren is particularly upset about these returns. She has fond memories of this relative lavishing them with attention and gifts. Always gifts. But her gifts came with a lot of strings, invisible to excited toddlers, clear as cable wire to me.

There are some things in the basement that I’d love to send back to her. I never wanted them in the first place. I never wanted anything, but to make her happy. I know now what an impossible feat that is. She thrives on drama, spending much of her energy locked in (mostly imaginary) epic struggles with everyone from her neighbors to her former coworkers to her own son.

It’s quite sad, actually. I do feel sorry for her. But I can’t deal with it anymore. I tapped out.

“Mom, why does she keep sending our things back?”

“I don’t know, Lauren. I guess because we hurt her feelings and she wants us to know that.”

“It makes me feel really bad,” she says.

“I know. I think that’s what she wants,” I say sadly.

I know that she means to hurt me, not the girls. But when you go around burning bridges, you’re bound to scorch the earth around them, too.

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About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking

Three things — 4/10/14

Things I’m loving this week

1. Getty images. Getty Images, one of the largest stock photo companies in the world, recently made their stock image library free to bloggers, and it’s a true gift, especially for those of us who have been flirting with lawsuits by relying on a Google images search with the keywords “creative commons.”  Getty images has made it easy with embed codes that include the credits. Sahhhweeet.

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2. Great Dane Puppy Cam. My Aunt sent me a link to this Great Dane cam featuring new puppies, Gis, Ziggy, Emmit and Hugo. According to my aunt said this woman breeds Great Danes for people who have balance difficulties. She trains them and then gives them away to vets and other individuals.

I am fascinated by these Great Dane puppies and…I gotta tell you, I feel sorry for the mother…all she does is lay there and feed those things all day long. Seriously. Check it out.

Scroll down for links to lots of other interesting wildlife cams, too.

3. Spring peepers. I heard these little amphibious harbingers of spring this weekend. Music to my winter-weary ears.

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4. My new sliding glass door. The sliding glass door we put in years ago was too narrow and if there ever was a time to replace it, it is now while we’re gutting the kitchen/dining room anyway. We spent a small fortune on this new, wider door, but…oh…do I love it. It glides open so nicely…has a real lock…and the blinds are in between the glass.  If only it came with a 2 inch force field to keep dog slobber and nose prints off of it….

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5. Seeing the neighbor kids again. Warmer weather means parents can finally throw their kids outside without looking negligent or feeling bad when they’re banging on the door whining about frostbite or some such crap. We are fortunate to have a bunch of kids living in the houses around us. I love when they come over because then my girls don’t fight.

Things I’m not loving this week

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1. My dead Nano.  My longtime running partner is gone. I ordered a shiny new one, but …it won’t be the same.

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2. Chapped lips. This has never happened to me before and now I know why everyone else is always bitching about it. Chap Stick wasn’t event cutting it, I had to go get the medicated stuff Blistex stuff. Come on, spring.

 

 

Worth Reading — 4/9/14

A random collections of blog posts, articles and other things I think are worth sharing.

It’s All Good in Mommyhood: 12 uses for white distilled vinegar

Salon: Near Death, Explained (not really, but…interesting reading nonethless)

Buddhist Vision: How to Stop Overthinking Everything

Huffington Post: I’m Done Making My Kids’ Life Magical

Roadtrippers: Harvard Discovers three of library books bound in human flesh. (Holy. Shit.)

Salon: 5 reasons why anxiety is so hard to manage and what you can do about it

Just Write 100 ~ 20 years

I was about the call the credit card fraud number when I realized I’d probably just ruined my anniversary surprise. A large charge to a jewelry store had raised red flags. That’s the last place I’d drop a few hundred bucks.

But then I remembered that our 20th wedding anniversary was coming up and, clearly, he’d been paying attention when I casually mentioned I’d like an anniversary band. Nothing flashy (that’s just not me), just simple and understated.

Crap. Now I have to think of something for him.

(Leave it to me to be annoyed and inconvenienced by his thoughtfulness.)

I put it off until two days before our anniversary and, I text him: What do you want for an anniversary present?

He text back: Nothing. Just you.

And for about the millionth time I think: He deserves so much better than me. He deserves one of those sweet, soft-spoken, kind wives that’s always happy and never yells at the kids, and still loves making out on the couch, and surprising him with his favorite home cooked meals.

I’m a jaded skeptic with a tendency to be bitchy and standoffish. You won’t find me cuddling on his lap or singing while I put the kids’ clean clothes away (swearing, maybe, but not singing). I’m a lousy hostess and wife because I don’t like serving people; my mother raised me to be independent and I’m too independent for my own good. I’m selfish, impatient, sarcastic, and unemotional to a fault.

I’d be a better wife if I could. I do try. I know that when he comes home from fishing camp I should smile sweetly and say, “Welcome home. Did you have fun? Did you catch anything? Let’s sit and talk.”

But what usually happens is that I bang into him when he’s coming downstairs with his laundry and I’m coming up with a load of clean laundry and I say something like….”Great, cause I just got all the laundry done” or I tell him the girls have been fighting all weekend and he owes me big time, or I grab my purse and yell over my shoulder, “They’re all yours,” as I escape to upper Peach street for a little retail therapy (or payback, depending on how you look at it).

I can’t help it. It’s like that story about the scorpion and the frog in The Crying Game — it’s in my nature.

Sometimes I feel sorry for him. I wonder if he regrets marrying me. I’ve never asked him. You know the old saying, “Never ask a question you don’t want the to answer to.”

I’m pretty sure I know what he’d say. He’d tell me I’m being silly and that I’m not as bad as I think I am. Kindness and unwavering love are in his nature.

He doesn’t over think things. I can’t stop.

I recently read The Noticer, in which the author touches on four of the “love languages” (gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch) in Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. I knew immediately which dialect I was fluent in (bet you can’t guess?!?), but I wondered which language Dan speaks. After 20 years you would think I should know, right? See what I’m saying about being a bad wife? See what I’m saying about over thinking things?

I end up going to the chocolate shop and buying him the jumbo constipation-guaranteed size of sponge candy they sell because I know he loves it (sponge candy, not constipation). It’s a pittance compared to the money he plunked down on the band that’s now sparking around my finger, but he says it’s enough.

Of course he would say that.

I seriously don’t deserve him, but I’m truly grateful he’s mine. I wish I didn’t need a keyboard to say that, but, then, the written word is my love language.

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About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking

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