Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Remember when I was going to take charge with my master plan? Yeah, no. Life pretty much knocked me off my feet. I don’t have the luxury to plan so much as respond these days. My have-to list is beyond me. The dominoes continue to fall.

The brilliant feat is to remain calm. I thought about my mother today. Growing up, the house could be so hectic with my brothers and I. She had a gentle way of responding to the chaos. She maintained tunnel vision for the small, quick tasks – somehow ignoring the big, unruly picture.

It’s challenging for me to be that yielding. I want to whip my world into shape, from top to bottom. And sometimes, when it’s not behaving, I feel like slamming a door or tossing something in the trash. I get scrappy with the chaos.

Today, I sat with my laptop for hours, until my thighs were sweaty and uncomfortable from computer heat. I got Violet to her new summer preschool program and returned to the computer. I made lunch for Daisy and a neighbor kid then returned to the computer. We picked up Violet, and I got snacks ready for the courtyard, then I returned to the computer.

Violet spent some quality time in my closet, pulling on dresses until the hangers snapped out of them - sometimes in half - and stockpiling heels in the middle of our bedroom floor. Exhausted from her handiwork, she fell asleep in the afternoon heat while Daisy and the neighbor kid threw a party for their barbies in the mountains of discarded clothes and toys and shoes.

I think the barbies enjoyed themselves, but the party may have gotten a little out of hand. By the time I was done with the computer, there was not a clothed barbie in sight. One was laying down with a washcloth over her face, and another was going through my underwear drawer. You know how barbies are.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Slacking on the Master Plan

We cut girl scouts. It was a tough call, but my ex and I were rarely available to participate, and there was a social dynamic that seemed to inhibit Daisy’s confidence from blooming. She was surprisingly OK with the decision. She mostly joined girl scouts because BFF did. We need to find her own thing for the bloom.

Daisy asked about yoga classes, and Violet, gymnastics. I wanted to find something better than the sometimes limp parks and rec offerings. I did my research. After reading about a yoga class for kids and adults designed to push past spiritual limits in a circus-like atmosphere, I googled “gyms.” We just want some exercise.

So, we toured a gym yesterday. I know, I hate gyms. And this one’s got a French theme - not really a selling point, especially in a gym. I imagined shakily lifting weights while skinny trainers with teased hair and sexy pouts mocked me in a smoke-filled room. It wasn’t like that at all.

For about the price of the typical weekly class for one kid, both kids can take as many fitness, gymnastics, dance, and climbing classes as we have time for, and I can work out AT THE SAME TIME. It’s a takes-all-kinds atmosphere with no veiny Arnold types in sight. I had no idea the French ran such friendly gyms.

When I stumbled upon the idea, I was only thinking about Daisy . . . hmm, where do you go when you want to get stronger? Wait, let me think . . . by the way, I could really use some exercise. I’ve been eating enough quinoa and organic veggies to make a hippie blush from high-five exertion but failing in exercise. So, I think we're going to brave the risk of exposure to the next pandemic with a sparkly new gym membership. In the time of radiation falling out of the sky, it seems like a reasonably safe bet. No locker room showers though.

And I realize the idea of a master plan that is mine to control is a myth. All I can do is assess and improve and accept. I had a talk with my mother tonight, and she made some observations. I’m trying to do something about too many things I can’t do anything about. Let it go - let it happen.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Master Plan

Not long ago, I opened my eyes to a tired morning and a bank notice that my account was overdrawn by hundreds. WHAT THE HELL! Either my math skills have taken a hit, or I’ve been robbed. Then I found the check still folded neatly in my purse. I’m at the conveyor belt grabbing at the flow of responsibilities, but I’m missing things. I’m getting owned by the flow.

I believe in a magical schedule that will allow me to meet family, financial, health and social needs, sparkly with clever shortcuts. Buying Daisy hot lunch toward the end of the school year was brilliant when you take into account the fewer shopping trips, the food that didn’t perish, and the individually wrapped not-food I didn’t buy. Fresh, local, organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, whole-grain, time-saving cafeteria lunch is amazing.

I once knew a teacher who annoyed me when he insisted on telling students to work smarter, not harder. The particular crowd he was addressing really did need to work harder. And so do I, when I’m being paid. Otherwise, I need to work smarter. Laundry service? That’s worth a cost-benefit analysis.

While I go back to dreaming up the master plan, please enjoy Violet’s Sunday photos.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy Graduation, Violet!

Preschool Class of 2011, this is the first day of the rest of your life. The graduates squirmed and spaced out and went on emo tour while the teachers called them up one-by-one to receive their diplomas. Each kid did the walk in a signature style. Violet daintily bent one leg behind her when she hugged her teachers, trying out her stage presence.

But she was unimpressed when she unrolled her diploma after the ceremony, "What's this? It's nothing!" Totally, all that hard work for a measly scrap of paper.

I was not the only parent fighting the tears during the ceremony. There's something sad about the sweetness of this age when looking ahead to the undeniable big kidness of kindergarten.