Monthly Archives: January 2008

Dreams of Summer

Sometimes these days I stand by the sliding glass door to my little deck and dream of how it looked last spring and summer. I remember what it’s like with all the windows and doors open, with people flip-flopping down to the beach to play in the lake, and the sounds of the gulls flying overhead. With our “murphy table” pulled down and piled high with fresh produce from the Farmer’s Market. Dinner out there with friends by candlelight on a hot summer’s night.

Which really helps because this is what it looks like right now.
Can you see how hard it’s snowing here?

But summer will come again.
I just know it.


Big Boys Do Cry

Baxter, snuggled next to me in bed: “Mommy, there is one thing [The Teacher] is wrong about.”

Me: “What’s that, honey?”

Baxter: “She says second graders don’t cry anymore. But everyone cries. Even grown-ups.”


In the end, no matter how whacked The Teacher is, our lessons seem to be overriding hers. And for that I’ll count my blessings today.

Popcorn from God

So, it’s snowing again. The weather’s been bizarre lately – up to 50 yesterday and then back down to freezing by this afternoon. Tomorrow’s wind chill will be 20 below. Lots of sudden shifts. The snow melts and then starts to fall anew.

I feel like I’ve been disengaged from the blogging world of late. Yes, I’ve posted enough but lately I’m often writing on the weekends and then posting the pieces as the week goes on. This allows me to write when I have extra time and get work done and relax more during the busy-ness of a typical week. And so although maybe my readers don’t feel like I’m absent during the week, I sort of do, just stopping in to hit “publish” and then enjoying the comment conversations, and not commenting as often on the blogs I love to read all the time.

I am relaxing more. I’ve rearranged my schedule and routines to make things work better, and the outcome has been very good. I feel more zen mama and less hysterical mama. The trouble for me is, once I relax a bit, I want to stay there. I don’t want to get up and make dinner. Or play cars. Or write a report. I just want to be on the couch reading my book. I don’t know if this is because my busy times are so ridiculously busy or if this is a challenge I have personally, but it’s hard to find the middle ground.

It was my assist day at Lyle’s co-op preschool and I was actually counting on him to nap afterwards; this is silly because he so often doesn’t anymore when he’s home with me, but he’s been sick and he looked exhausted, so I had decided that he was going to nap. Which of course led to dreadful disappointment when he didn’t. But I insisted on quiet time, during which I lay on my bed reading “Eat Pray Love” with the space heater pointed directly at the bed, while Lyle alternately looked at books next to me, rearranged the settings on my alarm clock, and dug his fingernails into my Chap Stick. I knew I should get up and do something with him because, really, how relaxing was this for me? But I just couldn’t. I didn’t feel down or blue, just glued to my bed and book. All I could think of was that my stomach was grumbling and maybe it would be fun to make some popcorn for a snack. That was literally my one and only true motivation for getting off of my bed.

When I did get up, it was because there was a knock at our door. And do you know who was at my door? It was our great neighbors from across the hall, a mom and her toddler who come over nearly every day to play, with a bowl full of delicious popcorn to share with us.

And what more do I need, really, on a cold winter’s day when I don’t feel like doing much of anything?

Materialistic Monday: Eye Concealer

When Matt and I met, I wore no make-up and the color pink hadn’t touched my body in years. I probably didn’t shave my legs at that point, either, seeing as how I was in the Women’s Studies program at a small liberal arts college and involved in MPIRG on the side. Times have changed – and if you stop and think about it, perhaps we should all be grateful for the changes that have taken place, because imagine if you were frozen in 1993? Shudder.

But let’s move on.

I was accompanied to the cosmetics counter of a department store by my mother when it was time to buy some make-up for my wedding in 1996 (I did my own hair and make-up for the wedding because the idea of having someone else do that crap made me gag with the preciousness of it all), and the fruits of that trip were still the only make-up in my possession when Baxter was born in 2000.

And then came the children. Is it about having babies and feeling more in touch with one’s feminine side (and exhausted, pathetic, “what about me?” side)? Or maybe having boys and needing to claim one’s new role of being the only woman in the house? I don’t know, but all I can say is that every time I have another son I buy more pink and a lot more make-up. Thank god there will be no more children or I’d need my own bathroom.

Soon after Baxter was born I walked into a Benefit cosmetics store in Mill Valley, California and never looked back. I go in every few weeks in order to keep my eyebrows from taking over the entire top 2/3 of my face, and always enjoy a little sampling of the goods. I tend to ask for Benefit cosmetics for birthdays, Christmas, et cetera and by now have an impressive supply. (Matt gets lots of credit for freelancing on gifts there.) But for the very first time, about two weeks ago, the fantastically flamboyant young man who waited on me (I love this guy, and not only because he transports me back to many such interactions in San Francisco) pulled out the eye concealer. Now, this shouldn’t be a shock, I think that was the week when the wheels were seriously falling off the bus. I’m sure the bags under my eyes had taken on a life of their own.

The product he tried on me had to be purchased immediately, and I have been using it nearly every day because it truly hides the puffy circles I wake up with but doesn’t look caked on or fake. It’s called Lyin’ Eyes and it’s the best $13 I have spent in a long while. Now, drama mama commented last week that she uses Boi-ing, which I then discovered I have in my Realness of Concealness set (another treasure to check out if you want to try a few of their best goodies – this is a great one to throw into your handbag). Boi-ing appears to be a heavier-duty concealer that looks like it’s meant for the lids as well, and it was great. For me, a solid application of Lyin’ Eyes, along with a little magic from my Eye Bright pencil and Lemon Aid on the lid (oh, how I love Lemon Aid!) does the trick. But be advised that you can’t go wrong with Benefit. In addition to their web site, their products are available at Macy’s and Sephora. If you are lucky enough to live near an actual Benefit store (thank goodness one opened in Chicago the minute we moved here), stop on in – if only for the fun atmosphere and to marvel over the brilliance of their product naming team. And if you live near me, invite me along.

My, how the times have changed.

We are Living in the Future

The boys did a video chat with my parents in California tonight:

Such mild-mannered urchins I have.

Should I be Concerned?

Each of the boys spelled a word on the fridge this morning.Somehow, this is what we ended up with.

Have a Heart

A couple years ago, my good friend Sahara sat a couple of us down to dinner at Savor in Noe Valley and told us a story. More than a story: she shared an inspiration, an aha! moment, that came to her one day when she drove by a man who was obviously suffering, and wanted to reach out to him in some way. I can’t do it justice, but thankfully you can read it in her own words here. Like everyone else who crosses paths with Sahara, we were drawn in by her magically positive energy and enthusiasm.

This inspiration led Sahara to work (with typically Sahara-like dogged determination) for a couple of years to create Heart is Hot, a fantastic new web site where we can all purchase these beautiful glass hearts you see on the left there, to give to anyone who impacts our lives in some way. The recipient of each heart can then go to the web site (inscribed on each heart along with an individual number) and tell the story of where the heart is and how it came to be in his or her possession. The idea is that over time it will be possible to trace the paths of all of these hearts all over the globe (“following your heart”), illustrating the idea that we are all connected through love. You can already visit Sahara’s site and see the progress of the hearts that are out there in the world – it’s very cool! With Valentine’s Day approaching, I felt it was the perfect time to share this with you.

I have one of these hearts in my possession, thanks to Sahara. I know that I will pass it on at some point, maybe soon, but am waiting for the moment of inspiration.

And the day when I am willing to see it go.

Cats and Dogs and Allergens: Oh, My!

So that Suzuki violin class? The one we won in the auction and went to visit tonight to see what we thought of it? Where Baxter excitedly got measured for his quarter-sized violin?

The one that both kids wanted to participate in, with even Lyle whining for a violin (which he could have soon, if we so choose)? Close to our neighborhood? With the really fantastic teacher?

Yeah, that one.

Well, it’s in the teacher’s house. A perfectly lovely house, I should note, but one that has cat and dog hair swirling into the air and taking off from the floor every time a child so much as places his violin down on the floor to play the “who can pick up their bow properly the fastest” game. With the actual multiple felines and canines racing through the house at the end of class.

There is no way I can spend all that time in that house every week, this much became clear by the completion of the hour.

Damn these allergies.

Damn them.

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In my head, I have been excitedly preparing the first post in a new series for today. “Materialistic Monday” will bring my fair readers some of my very favorite stuff, new and old, each and every Monday. I’m going to start out by sharing my super-amazing new eye concealer, because what it does for me – for which I shall kiss it every morning – is to conceal those tired circles under my eyes quite perfectly! I mean, really, who doesn’t want to read about that??

But then it hit me: today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I simply cannot write about eye concealer, for God’s sake, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Bad enough that I am doing the opposite of commemorating it by going to work – I cannot make things worse by using this space to talk about cosmetics. You’ll have to wait another week for that.

So here’s what I want to say to you all, kind and thoughtful Wonderwheel readers near and far:

On this day, I am going to think about how I am using my time in this world.

It is imperative that I see the people around me, and do what I can to make the world safer and more comfortable for everyone, not just my little family, starting within my own community and moving beyond it.

I need to continue to serve the families I work with to the fullest. I need to continue to reach out to those less fortunate than me, and hug the panhandlers in the grocery store parking lot, even when I don’t know if their problems are as they describe. And I need to do more. A lot more.

I refuse to lead a small life. I want my life to be big, and full, and exciting. I will continue to seek out new experiences and learn new things, and then I will share all of that with whomever will listen. And a few who won’t. In light of that, I am going to share a quote that I’ve kept posted over my desk for years. It’s by Marianne Williamson from her book, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.

We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not in just some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., let your own light shine today and every day.

And may we all be liberated from our fears.

Making Hot Cocoa in Long Underwear

Winter doesn’t get much cuter.