Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Talking Is Overrated.

When what you have to say to someone is simultaneously everything and nothing at all, sometimes the best course of action is to avoid the person altogether.

At least half a dozen wedding responses were waiting for me when I checked the mail. I flipped through them, stopping on one with no return address. I opened that one first, anticipation coursing through my fingers, only to find an X was placed next to Will Not Attend and the bottom was signed "Dad and Dolores."

I turned the card over, looking for a note, an explanation, an apology, but there was none. The envelope held nothing further. I fumbled for my house key, desperate to get inside. I knew they didn't have another commitment. I knew they just didn't want to be at my wedding.

I tossed the other responses onto the kitchen table with the rest of the mail and headed into the bedroom to find my phone book. His number and address were listed formally by last name-comma-first, giving no indication to an outsider that he was anything more to me than the neighbor whose information was on another page.

The distance between us had been considerable, having only connected intermittently over many years of estrangement. This last time he sought me out because he had done the math and deduced that at twenty-four I must have been out of college thus ending his responsibility to pay child support. My mother had never notified the probation office and had continued cashing his monthly $25 checks firmly believing he owed her so much more than that. Much to my mother's dismay, I agreed to write a letter affirming my graduation and the cessation of his obligation.

After that call, we spoke a few more times. I told him about my life. I thought he was happy for me.

When I included him on the guest list, I imagined he'd walk into the wedding hall and I could tell my friends, "Look! That's my dad!" I pictured him hugging me and telling me I looked beautiful. I thought maybe he might dance with me.

I pictured him showing a friend the photo from the thank you card I would send him and saying with pride, "My baby got married and the wedding was wonderful!"

My stepmother answered the phone and curtly told me to hold on. When he got on the line, I told him I received his response.

I assured him no one would enforce the fifteen year old restraining order. I told him he could sit with my future in-laws or, if he'd prefer, near a wall since I knew his time in Vietnam left him uneasy in an open room. I told him I'd sit him anywhere he wanted if only he'd reconsider.

"I can't do it, Babe. I just can't. I hope you understand," he said flatly.

I bit the inside of my cheek. "I don't," I said, hoping he didn't hear my voice crack.

He finally broke the silence, "Will I ever hear from you again?"

"I don't know."

I hung up, honestly not knowing the answer to his question.

Submitting this post to the challenge grid at yeah write. Come check out the most supportive community for blogging writers you could ever hope to find.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Can't Blog With Paper on the Laptop.

Ten days without an update. Eek! Egads. Yikes. Stuff like that.

I woke up last Thursday (that's LAST, as in the tenth of October), with a scratchy throat.  I figured it was allergies.  I figured wrong.  I seem to have contracted a small form of death.  Coughing, sneezing, fatigue, general malaise.  It's fun times.  I've been going to bed at 8:50.  Why such an odd time? Well, when one normally goes to sleep around 9:20, there isn't a whole lot of wiggle room.

Why do I go to sleep at 9:20, you ask, and not just 9:15 or 9:30?  Because. That's why.

I think I'm finally starting to see the tail end of this cold, which would be great since I'm really tired of feeling like crap.

Next month I'll be participating in NaBloPoMo.  That's National Blog Posting Month for those of you unaware. I did this last year, with moderate success (I missed one day that I made up about 8 hours into the following day).  I'm hoping to do better this year by planning my posts via an editorial calendar. The problem is that I was so busy saving posts for next month that I sort of forgot to keep planning posts for this month. And I was in a phlegmy haze too.  You'll forgive me right?

So I have some good stuff planned for next month, with about 10 days of posts planned. I'll be hooking up with BlogHer and yeah write this year as well because these things are just more fun when other people are involved. That translates roughly to mean that I want better traffic.  It's all about the numbers, people. (No, it's not.) {Yes, it is.}

November is also known as NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month wherein people shoot to write a novel during the month.  I don't write novels, so I'm not doing that.  I decided to make up NaMeWriMo, National Memoir Writing Month.  I won't finish mine in one month, but I hope to work on it every day of the month.  Maybe if I do that I'll actually hit my goal of finishing the first draft this year.  I doubt it.

I also acknowledge that I may not have made up NaMeWriMo but I'm too lazy to go look it up. So if I bit off your idea, sorry.

I wanted to give you a quick glimpse into my life these days.  I have done that.  I need to wrap this up because my child has ripped up and crumpled three sheets of paper and he is throwing them at me while I type.  This makes blogging more difficult than you'd think. I'm trying to finish this last sentence while he gathers his scraps into a pumpkin shaped bucket. Too late, he just dumped them on the keyboard.

Hooking up with yeah write's weekend moonshine grid. That's fun times, for reals.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: RIP Edition.

Well, it looks like Wellness Wednesdays are going down and for a variety of reasons.

1. How often can you hear me say I wish I ate better/exercised more/took care of myself and then not do any of those things?

2. Committing to write on the same topic every week feels more like being backed into a corner and less like fun. And blogging is supposed to be fun right?

3. I was going to miss another week this week, so I might as well just pull the plug instead.

4. The reason I was going to miss this week? I'm unwell! Ha. How funny is that?

(I'm not dying or anything, I just have a very bad headache.)

So why am I writing a post to say I'm not going to write a post? Because I like closure. And in case anyone says, "Hey, what happened to your wellness thing?" then I can just say, "I totally blogged about killing it. Did you miss that riveting post?"

It doesn't mean I'm giving up on my well-being and I'll likely still write about it from time to time, but from week to week? Still fat, still eating pizza, still not exercising enough, blah, blah, blah.

That's it. Farewell Wellness Wednesday. It's been real.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I'm depressed again. I realized it a few days ago. I thought I was just tired, but then there was what should have been a slight disappointment that actually felt more like a devastating blow. I cried about nonsense that I knew was nonsense but cried anyway. I didn't feel better after I cried and that's when I knew.

And just like I knew I was depressed I know that it will pass. I need to ride out this storm and it will all be over eventually.

I yelled at Nathan the other day. He acted poorly, I asked him for some space and when he not only didn't go into the other room like I asked but acted even more poorly, I lost it. We've been talking a lot about using our words when we are upset and need space. I used my words and he didn't respect them and I yelled at him. A rational woman would have had better control. A rational woman would not have expected a six year old to respect her need for space.

I don't want to feel this way. I don't want to yell at my kid. My mother used to yell at me like this. I'd do something that I knew I wasn't supposed to do, I'd push buttons, and she'd blow. She'd explode on me in a way I didn't deserve and was excessive considering the infraction.

I was watching TV later that night and one of the characters had to attend the funeral of his father. He turned and looked at the casket and the reaction was one I understand so well, that feeling when you fully realize that your parent is dead. There in a box, or in my case a marble urn, just utterly and completely dead. No longer alive to complain about, or hope someday things will be better, or to see as a burden, or any of the other feelings one could have when a father/son or mother/daughter relationship is complicated beyond measure.

There's a certain comfort in the norm, in the same-shit-different-day life with someone. Even though it may seem like it won't ever end, at some point it does. Things change. People die.

I watched the guy on the sitcom come to terms with his newly dead father by the next commercial break. I remember sobbing in the church at my mother's funeral, feeling completely gutted. To this day, I do not know why I was crying. I guess it was 34 years of cut-short sobbing that flowed forth, unstoppable, a culmination of everything. To see this guy look at his father's corpse, feel the gutting and get over it so quickly and neatly, it didn't feel genuine to me.

I wish I could say I'm depressed about my mother and so I yelled at my kid, but it's not that linear. The depression, the yelling, the grieving, they all happen in swirls around each other, connected, but no one causing the other. Of course I can see how my relationship with my son conjures up unresolved feelings about my relationship with my mother. How I use what I know to not screw it all up, to not do more harm than good, that escapes me. Keeping the past in the past, being the mother he needs amid the uncertainty of the future, that's the difficult thing.

Sometimes I'm still standing in that church, gutted, wondering where I go from here.

Joining my pals on the yeah write grid again this week. Stop by.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Spaghetti and Meatballs.

I just finished the dishes. There weren't that many, just a half dozen or so little plastic bowls from my son's endless stream of snacks and meals since noon. And one frying pan of bacon grease from his dinner. This whole house smells of bacon right now, and not in a good way. In an old bacon sort of way. I could light some candles, but that sounds like a lot of work.

I contemplated getting a marinade together for tonight's grown up dinner which is to be some sort of low fat chicken concoction. I'm not in the mood. I don't want chicken and I don't want to cook.

What I want is spaghetti and meatballs. Homemade by someone's Italian grandmother would be ideal, but I'll even settle for take out. I'm not going to make it though, that's for sure. If I'm going to cook, it's going to be that damn low fat chicken concoction.

Last week I was on a major high from being at a blogging conference.  Now, at this moment? Not so much. It's Sunday night - bath night, get ready for school and work tomorrow night, I'm just too tired from the weekend night. Nathan has been talking to me for about 13 hours now and I've heard most of it, except for maybe what he was saying when I was hiding in an exceptionally long shower.

Spaghetti and meatballs would help. Instead, we'll be having some sort of low fat stupid chicken concoction.

I don't want to clean up whatever I cook for dinner.  This is the trouble with cooking two dinners (and two lunches and two breakfasts). I have to clean up two dinners. And let's not forget all the snacks and the half dozen little plastic bowls necessary to deliver such snacks.

I'm supposed to be eating healthy again, but since my trip I'm not in the mood.  I want to eat all sorts of junk. Today, in fact, I stopped to get a coffee and a doughnut in an attempt to pick myself up. You generally can't beat a sugar/caffeine combo to wake a person up, but sadly, today, it didn't work. I could still just slip right into a coma if someone would stop talking long enough to let me sleep.

You know what helps ACS (Almost Coma Syndrome)? Spaghetti and meatballs. It's been proven. Carbs and protein. Sounds reasonable, right?

But we're not having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tonight. We're having the chicken.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wellness Wednesday Week 8

I think it's week 8.  It is right? Anyone have a calendar handy?

I missed last week. No one complained. As a result I shall ponder the fate of this feature.

Last Wednesday night I was preparing to go to a conference. Remember that 10 day mega diet I was on to try to drop massive weight before I left? Yeah, it didn't really work out. I was super careful with food for 8 of the 10 days, but there was no exercise. Unless stressing and running around packing and doing laundry counts.  Or running up and down the stairs from my bedroom to the full length mirror to see if my outfits were cute enough.

While away, I drank way too much coffee and soda and didn't exactly eat well.  I didn't eat too much, but many of my choices weren't so great. Luckily I didn't gain too much weight while I was gone. I brought my workout stuff to the conference, but I couldn't put my sneakers on because I decided to tattoo my foot. I didn't plan it that way, but I'm not really complaining about it either.

Here are my stats as of the end of September.

  • Miles walked/run this year: 73.59
  • Miles walked/run in September: 16.56
  • 18 of 30 days I cooked at home. Of the 12 I didn't, 5 were when I was travelling. So not great, but not bad either, considering.
  • I have no clue how many days I exercised. I think about 8-10.
  • Weight lost since starting all this: 6.8 pounds.
  • I totally bailed on my crunch and jumping jack challenges.
I'm easing back into things this month. By "easing back" I mean that I ate bread and butter before dinner because I was starving. And I ate an ice cream sandwich after lunch because I wanted to.  Maybe I'll walk tomorrow. Maybe I won't. I know for a lot of people exercising helps them alleviate stress, but for me, adding exercise into a super full day stresses me out.  So we'll just see what happens.

I feel like I'm beating to death the theme of accepting myself for who I am, shortcomings and all, but it's the truth. There was a time when I would have traveled and done even worse with my diet. It doesn't really look like I did well, but I know how much worse it could have been. 

Maybe I won't do this weekly and I'll change it to a monthly thing. I'll have to give it some thought.  

For now though, I'm going to go make some cheeseless tacos and veggies for dinner, even though I'd really rather order Chinese.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Just Write: What I Learned at the Type A Parent Conference

I am going to be honest and tell you that I don't know how to write a recap post. This blog tells my stories, so that's what I'm going to do here. You and I both know that the internet will be flooded with recaps that will actually do the speakers justice, so you can check them out when you're done here.

You're not leaving yet, right?

Type A was my second conference ever. My first was one of the larger conferences and, while I got quite a bit out of it, it was too big for me. I'd been told that Type A was more intimate, more of a community, but seeing truly was believing on this one. The people, my goodness the people I met, made this such a wonderful experience that when I was in my room on Sunday night after the last party, I cried because I was leaving a new community that I'd come to really love in the previous few days.

I have a pile of business cards from wonderful people and a whole new group of blogs to check out. I heard some great stories and I look forward to reading more from these writers.  I got better at telling what my blog is and passed out a few cards of my own.  If you're here for the first time, please do leave me a comment and say hi. That would make me so happy.

I have pages and pages of notes to read through.  I attended wonderful keynotes and panels and a hands on workshop run by amazing people.  I'll give you a list at the bottom of who inspired me. The message that I kept hearing, because I really do believe that we take away from these things what we need to, that message was to write. To write it out. To tell my story. I need to tell it. I need to write. Followers will come (and go, but that's OK), I may not have sponsors or paid gigs or receive free stuff and that's OK, too. I need to write.


And no one can make that happen but me. No one will take it more seriously than I do. No one is going to move schedules and juggle responsibilities to get the writing done. No one.

Michelle, no one cares about this like you do. Sit down and write that story.

Over and over, it was as if the speaker was looking right at me and telling me to prioritize, to really think about what I'm doing and where I'm headed and to write. That's a lot to take in over the course of a few days. My head is still spinning and my plate is just as full as it was when I left. And the writing will get done. It will get done.

I'd love to tell you that all of the inspiration caused me to run out and get myself a tattoo. It might have, but I beat it to the punch and got the tattoo first. I had wanted a third tattoo for a long time, but there was a long list of reasons why I didn't. Notice I didn't say couldn't. I didn't. But this weekend, I did.

Across the side of my right foot, I had myself inked with these words. So now, every single day, no matter what else is going on, the reminder is there to just write. To just sit down and write and the words and the story will come out. No one is going to remind me the way I can remind myself.

So that's it. That's what I have to say about the conference. I recommend it, the content, the speakers, the organization of it all, fantastic, wonderful, amazing.  It was worth my time, my money, my energy, missing my family, having to wait 24 hours to watch the series finale of Breaking Bad.  All worth it. I plan to go next year. I plan to leave more room in my suitcase for takeaways and wear some warmer clothes, but that's it on my advice to you.

So which speakers really spoke to me? Here goes, in the order I saw them:

This isn't to say they were the only good, and I know just saying that I thought they were awesome isn't enough and they deserve better, but it's all I have, what with  my swimmy-brain and exhaustion and all.

Ooh, one other thing.  If you're reading this and you are one of the lovely people I hung out with, spent time with, chatted with, please know you left an impression. Your words, your passion for your subject, your life, your advice to me, all of it mattered. There are too many to list and I would forget someone and feel just terrible about it.  But I want you to know, if we spoke, even briefly, I'm grateful you made the time to chat with me. Thank you.

When all is said and done, when I'm back sitting on my couch thinking on the weekend I just had, it comes down to this:

If you have a dream, go do it. That's it. It's that simple (yes, and that hard, but that's not the point here). No one will make your dreams come true for you. Go make yours happen. I'm going to go work on mine.

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