Tuesday, March 29, 2011

List of things I love about myself (an exercise suggested by a self-help book I am reading.) This is really hard. You should try it:

1. I am funny. I crack myself up. I make D and the baby laugh. Even Catface chuckles from time to time.
2. I have a nice, friendly, big smile.
3. I am mostly optimistic and in general happy. I like moving on. I dislike grudges and like to forgive and forget.
4. I like my hands. Yes, they are huge, and slightly masculine, and dry and cracked and ugly, but I like them. My hands are strong and expressive. My hands are trustworthy.
5. I am a good mom (so far.) I like my kid and playing and being strong for her and helping her eat, and go to sleep (even when she doesn’t want to but is so tired that she is falling over). I enjoy her.
6. I am better at yoga than I think, than I admit. I am strong at yoga. I like my body when I am doing yoga.
7. I am a good friend. My loyalty and ability to forgive makes me a good friend. I have learned in the last 5 years, how to let people love me too, which also makes me a better friend. Not so one-sided, less competitive.
8. I am not competitive (which I say is a plus, something good about me.) My push and drive comes from myself, from inside; I do not look to others to set my bar—I set my own goals. (That’s why this whole weird mommy competition was so foreign to me. Thankfully, that’s over for now.)
9. I do not care much what others think of me. I am good at being myself. I am not sorry. Here I am. This is me. Like it or leave it.
10. I have cute toes and strong feet.
11. I am a really good cook. I love food and cooking. Cooking is my love language; I cook therefore I am, etc.
12. I am generous. I am generous with money and gifts and love and I read people as generously as possible (except when driving. Everyone is a stupid asshole when I am driving.)
13. I am an exceptional driver. Safe, efficient, and conscientious.

List of things I hate about my apartment:

1. mold. There is mold everywhere. It was painted over, left for dead, or at least forgotten, but it’s still there; seeping through the walls, foaming out of the cracks and crevices of the bathroom and kitchen. I find traces of it in window ledges in the baby’s room and our bedroom, sometimes even in the living room windows on a steamy day. It sucks. It’s gross. I have a war with the mold. Me and the bleach spray (which is dangerous for the baby so, I spray at night or when she’s in the other room and then open all the windows so we are freezing…it sucks. Did I say that already?)
2. the toilet. The toilet hates to flush. The toilet is lazy. One piece of paper or ten it won’t flush. In this house, it is best to pre-flush the toilet (in addition to post-flushing it, please don’t forget.) Remember Ally McBeal (which I used to call Molly McButter)? Remember the little character that had a remote flusher because he liked a clean bowl? Wouldn’t that be nice?
3. neighbors. My neighbors are nice enough, but people are noisy and nosey and sometimes inconsiderate even though well-meaning. I am sick of neighbors.
4. creaks. Everything creaks. The floors creak like crazy. We can hear Cat walking around at night because the floors creak so loudly.
5. the bathroom. Add mold, door creaks, and a non-flushing toilet and what do you get? My ugly, nasty, falling-apart bathroom. It is the worst. A constant battle to clean. Noisy plumbing and a useless toilet; maybe we should start going outside like Cat.
6. landlord. Useless.
7. storage. No storage. No closet space. No counters. No real cabinets.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Truths etc

-browning meat before you stew it or slow-cook it adds 10 times more flavor (that is not a scientific measurement of flavor)
- quick pasta sauce: on low heat cream goat cheese into freshly-strained pasta, add canned tomatoes (diced or cut them yourself) with a little tomato juice (from the can) to make a sauce. Add a little bit of minced fresh garlic and salt well. (“Cream” is used as a verb above…it means “to break into, or break down”) I make this often with sautéed veg (whatever you have around, red peppers work nicely) and sliced, grilled sausage
- high heat is good for cooking. High heat over time equals burning.

- if you get into a cooking rut—making the same 6 dishes every week, buy a cooking magazine, and plan, yes, PLAN, a menu making one new recipe each day. It’s fun and helps you get out of the rut. This week I made:

1. pea and spinach risotto with mini pita pizzas with roasted red pepper sauce and fresh mozz
2. poached, shredded chicken with French lentils and kale
3. roasted chipotle rubbed pork tender loin with black bean salad
4. shrimp, leek, and spinach linguine with lemon sauce
haven't made yet but, 5. coconut, chocolate chip, oooey gooey bars? if I have time

Downward Dork (that's me)

I am back to yoga. I went to three classes already this week. I think I will start to go to two classes a week—one during the week and one on Saturday or Sunday. It felt really good to do vinyasa again. I feel strong and quiet (and a little old.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weigh In

4 pm. 198 lbs...is it crazy that I am happy as hell to be under two-honey? Then, call me crazy.

Keeping It Real (“Get over yourself! You’re going to fuck up! It will be OK.”)

I used to call myself Bea Real. I thought it was funny. Funny, and a good reminder to be honest, to be real, not to forget myself, not to be someone else, not to follow. That phrase has lost a lot of meaning over the last decade. It seems that many phrases have been picked up by advertising giants and turned into cliché—a cliché which makes us forget the original meaning. Be real.


I just finished reading a book called Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer. It was one of those books that came to me as if in a dream. Good book karma, I suppose. The topic of the book is something that I’ve been struggling with in my life, in my marriage, in my new family. The book is about balance. The book is about being good versus being real. I have always struggled to be good. It is not what comes naturally for me, not what comes first. Usually, I think about an answer and try to choose what is good. It amazes me how often I choose what is morally ambivalent. I err on the side of morally neutral, but I want (or have always wanted until now) to be good. Ha!

Thanks to my new book-writing friend, Claire, I am convinced that I no longer need to work so hard (and fail most of the time) to be good…that I need to shift my perspective toward better balance and be more real (i.e., relaxing, enjoying, not reading so much, maybe doing more, just being myself that is not trying to be anything at all.)

I am not sure where this pressure to be perfect came from. I resisted all of the typical teenage desire for perfectionism—I was the bully, the leader, the loner. I didn’t look to others for approval—they looked to me. I set the standards; I was the bar. So why now do I gawk at other mothers on the street trying to ogle their babies, trying to gage how I’m doing. That baby isn’t nearly as cute as mine. Oh look, that mom has huge black circles under her eyes, I look better than that, don’t I? Is that mom radiant? She is! How does she do it? Oh, we need that nice, expensive stroller with the SPF visor, don’t we baby? Where the fuck did this come from? The litany of thoughts that flow through my mind on a daily basis is pure torture, mundane, banal torture.

I care too much about sleep training, and breastfeeding, and which diapers are the best, and how to make my husband participate more in family life, and is it organic? Is it local? Is it cheap, we are on a budget, you know? Life has become didactic and competitive and I am becoming a lemming, a follower, a fan. A fan of all this prefect-mom bullshit. Moms have to be perfect now, didn’t you hear? Recently I have been telling my friends and sister-in-law that I am tired of all this. I don’t want to do it anymore.
Then I found this book (or this book found me, woooo watch out karma.) I don’t want to be perfect. It’s too hard and not real enough. I have always been happy with my mistakes. I’ve always thought that my mistakes and hard-living make me who I am—and generally, I like who I am. How does having a child change this, change me? What am I so scared of? Book quote time:

             There. I had said it. The world hadn’t ended. Nor had my marriage. Maybe each trial
             didn’t make another chink in the armor of marriage, bringing it to its inevitable end
             point: divorce. Maybe each trial made a marriage.

Keep the noun marriage or substitute family, adulthood, life, motherhood, etc. Now, that I have everything that I want (that I’ve wanted for years) I’m so afraid that if I don’t do everything perfectly that I will lose it all—that the god(esse)s will think that I don’t deserve to have it all and they will smote me. If I fuck up at all, my baby will be gone, my marriage will end, my life will come crashing down and rinse away in the Olentangy. That’s what I am afraid of. Sounds realistic, doesn’t it? No? Right.

I am tired of feeling this way. So, no more. Thank you book karma. Thank you Claire for being so smart and living through this crap too and writing about it so I could be reminded of myself. I am a leader although no longer a loner, I co-lead a tribe now, one specific tribe. My people. And we struggle in this together. Me and DD and Babyface (and the cat) are a tribe. We will fuck up. We will not be perfect. We will not die. We will be happy and have fun and love each other and live. Perfectionism is dull and not real. Fuck being good.

I feel better. Keep it real.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why do all movies sounds like plays these days?

Who talks like that? I do, well, I did. I don’t now. Now I say things like, “Come on Babyface, let’s go to the store and take Bunny in a Carrot Car to play with.” I feel so un-special. I feel like my vocabulary has taken a nose dive. Words are slippery elusive things that I can’t seem to get my hands on. I used to live in words. Now, I live here in poopy-doo-doos and binkies and meltdowns and silly-head-face gigglinas. Argh. It’s all onamonapic and personifications. I no longer have enough time or narcissism to be witty.
Just watched: The Romantics (don't bother, one long, wordy conversation after another)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Are you happy?

What the fuck does that mean? Are you happy? Who is happy? What is happiness?

Yes, there are happy moments in life. There are moments of joy or elation. We all want to be happy. That is the goal, right? But maybe the goal is wrong. What does it mean to be happy? I read a book that discusses this, a book called The Happiness Project. I never finished the book, but the premise was smart, a smart way to tackle this question of happiness. The author is trying to figure out what the components of happiness are (work, energy, family, marriage, etc.) and how to improve her overall happiness by achieving specific goals in each area (i.e., get more sleep, have date night, etc.) I am not sure what her conclusions are but let me make my own…. No one thing makes us happy or miserable. Most of the time we walk around and we are fine…not great, not terrible, but alive, and not hungry, and not asleep, and not dead.

Maybe that is my new answer…I’m not dead. What a downer.
How are you?
I’m not dead.
Ok, then.

There has to be more to this than that. Being alive in itself may make some people happy, let’s say the terminally ill, or someone who just recovered from major surgery—they are probably happy to be alive. What about the rest of us? Is just being alive enough? No. Maybe it should be.

Yes, I do know that I think too much, that I am going over, and over, and over this same question that people have been thinking about for like a million years…or so it seems. What is art? What is beauty? How can we define ourselves? If we leave cave drawings will they know we were here?

The goal of happiness seems silly in the grand scheme of things. But maybe not. Why live all this life if we are just living “through” it. I don’t just want to get through this (alive?) I want to enjoy my life. But wait, don’t I enjoy it? Wasn’t I just smiling and laughing with a friend on Skype? Wasn’t I just playing and smiling and laughing with Babyface? Didn’t I just have a delicious pot roast leftover lunch? Am I not fat and warm and healthy and writing on a nice computer? What the fuck is wrong with me? I have everything and yet I sit here pondering my happiness. What a vain, narcissistic thing to do? Who cares? More circles.

Too much time on my hands? Or wait, I thought I didn’t have enough time for things? Which is it? Maybe it is that life is all of the living we do in between happiness and death. Maybe it isn’t happiness that we should be searching for…maybe we don’t deserve that. Maybe happiness can only be experienced in small moments, in little pieces, in between the other stuff. Can you imagine being happy all the time? What would that even feel like? Would you have to stay high? Shit, you would have to be high, right?
Remember childhood…you were happy right? Wrong, really remember it…you were always questions things, struggling to learn, vying to grow up faster, wanting to be something that you weren’t—certainly that was not happiness. Once again, it was only moments.

More on this to be sure. Maybe I can think on it and get past all this boring crap I am writing now…and come up with something more concrete, more interesting, more real.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

To my dearly departed

My day of the dead is here. My dead. I am well and at peace and happy. Thank you for watching over me, I needed it, but now I am okay. Go on then, go on.