16 years

I’ve been a mother for 16 years. It’s absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done. My sons are both taller than me, and funny, sweet, and they love Star Wars and Marvel and their momma.

We’ve been working hard to create an escape, a peaceful refuge, in our backyard in time to host a birthday party and SUCCESS! This is phase 1. More to come with time, patience, and money.

Still werkin’. Same place, but these are from two different events on either coast back to back: SF & NYC. One of my HS BFFs met me in NYC for shenanigans. Well, we both worked, had Starbucks, pub food, and alcohol. So 40’s shenanigans. Plus my favorite Sales colleague in the last pic.

I dunno. Sometimes life just goes and you sort of float along with it until you can plant your feet and walk with intention again. I’m planting my feet.

Mucho grande amor, amigos!



This is the story of a girl

Who cried a river and drowned the whole world

and while she looks so sad in photographs

I absolutely love her

When she smiles

Do you know that song? You know how you can hear just the words “this is a story” and you can immediately connect the lyrics and sing the whole song 500 times in your head (or out loud) after that? And then your husband (or boss, or teacher, or friend) says “AS I WAS SAYING this is a story about cattle futures and the stock market . . . ” Or, actually, my husband or boss or teacher (if I had a teacher) would never say that. Maybe “. . . about Edward Gorey” or “. . . about intellectual property, counterfeit product sales online and their crossover into phishing fraud.” Or something like that. Anyway – I LOVE THAT.

I find great comfort in the familiar. It’s soothing to me to hear a song I know and love. The cadence, the words, they all flow through my mind effortlessly and, if I love the song, it makes me happy. Like a hug (because hugs make you happy. Unless your heart is cold, black and shriveled up). The same with my favorite old tv shows or the same books I have thumbed through a dozen times or more. The characters are like visiting with old friends and the familiar words are like a salve to my metaphorical open wounds.

On a recent business trip I had to figure out a book to take with me.

(Yes, technologically adept as I like to consider myself I do still have an overwhelming affinity for actual books. I like to feel them in my hands. I like to dog-ear the corners. I fear the term “dog-ear” will go out of fashion in 2.5 seconds due to all the electronics permeating our society. I’m so conflicted).

I have no less than 7 books on my bedside table that I have barely started or not cracked at all, but when I turned to grab one none appealed. Why? Well, there’s a lot of newness in my work life and I just couldn’t stand the idea of embarking on a new journey with a new author and a new story to work through in my already clouded and over-taxed head.

What if I didn’t like it 30 pages in? What if it was sad and depressing? What if it didn’t hug my soul like a tried and true good book can do?

So I chose an old favorite. Through 4 “please watch the safety demonstration in the event of an emergency landing” monologues while “all electronic equipment is switched off” I plowed through my old favorite, smiling at the words, remembering the characters. I found myself immersed, once again, entirely in the movie in my head – how Amelia’s jetty black hair looked (via a bottle, shhh), her blushing indulgence to femininity in her crimson gowns and fancy undergarments, and her painful need to be right and strong ,and her huge heart and conflicted morality. Ahhhh. There is nothing like catching up with old friends on long plane rides.

Or is it catching up with yourself? I have a theory (supported by nothing except my second Diet Pepsi tonight) that when we connect with something from the past – a book, a movie, a song, even a fragrance – it can take you back to the old YOU. The person you were then, when you first loved it, and it can feel like a comfort because it makes you feel like, or connect with – consciously or not – the old you. That old friend that you knew better than anyone, foibles and all, before you went through the experiences that makes you the YOU of today.

Over the summer I made several long car trips by myself (or with my children, but with THEIR electronic equipment I may as well have been by myself) and I had this odd thing happen. On one trip I was in the middle of the Oregon desert, the boys had their headphones on and I resorted to mindlessly hitting “seek” in hopes of finding something interesting. There were 3 radio stations that came in; one was political news (not on your life), the other was in Spanish (and that gets old when you don’t speak it), and the third . . . just happened to be playing a country song I LOVED when I was in high school (and filled with high school angst, I might add). I found myself singing the words before I could even remember the name of the song or who sang it. I just knew that I knew the words and as I sang each verse and got closer to the chorus I remembered the full song and . . . tears. No kidding. Tears. Because that song comforted me when I was a teen and broken-hearted and here I was, so many years later, and BAM! It pulled at my heart and I was in tears. I don’t remember the who, what or why of that broken-heart – I just remember the emotion the song conveyed all those years ago.

It’s like that movie with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Sleepless in Seattle? And she’s in the car driving and listening to him on the radio, in a bit of a trance, and he just says something that clicks with her heart (something her mother had said, about love & magic) and she’s crying. Just like that. Those things they reverberate in your soul.

Or is that just me? Bah. Maybe. But that’s okay. I can own it.

So – if you find me listening to the soundtrack for The Sound of Music in my headphones please don’t mock because I’m probably a major stressball and I’m just reverting to my childhood happy place as a coping mechanism. Back when my mom and I used to pop popcorn and watch this movie every year around the holidays when it came on tv and I felt loved and when I watched Julie Andrews sing and I could breathe and I knew ALL THINGS IN LIFE WERE POSSIBLE.

Ahhh. Sigh. Breathe. Repeat.

Mucho amor, mes amis!


(No, I don’t speak Spanish. Or French. It’s Frenish. Just go with it).

An affirmation

Because I need this today and maybe you do too:

You are smart, clever, and resourceful.

You are brave. You are strong.

You are caring and kind.

You will not be intimidated by any boys’ club or bully.

You love fiercely, with passion and without restraint.

You will carve your own path – as a parent, as a member of your community, and as a superstar in your work.

You are loved.

You are all these things.

So am I.



Stress, baby – it’s a killer

I had planned to post about books next (today or otherwise soon-ish). There’s a books post coming – because I really do need some ideas for what to read next – but before I could write that post I got sick and I’m pretty sure the major culprit is stress.

I’m not a doctor or a nurse, but I can tell you that I firmly believe that overall emotional health can affect physical health. Obviously, when someone is stressed they can do things that negatively affect their health – binge eating, drinking, drugs, and other unhealthy decisions. But I also think stress can just slowly eat away at your overall health like a gigantic, parasitic leech.

Nom nom nom = die die die.

According to the American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” report (2010) the common effects of stress are:

Body: headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, stomach upset, sleep problems.

Mood: anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, irritability or anger, sadness or depression.

Behavior: Overeating or undereating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal.

So let me see here – headache: check, muscle tension or pain: check, fatigue: check, stomach upset: check, anxiety: check, lack of motivation: check, irritability, sadness, anger: check, check, check.

Under behavior I would say social withdrawal simply because I’ve been less than social lately- less FB, less Twitter, less blog, and less social, in-person chitchat – but that could be due to time constraints more than anything. Or not. What do I know?

So what is the freaking dealio here?

Well, in a word, WORK. The entire month of September I worked some crazy long hours due to a staffing shortage (freaking people and their honeymoons) and, at the same time, an increase in workload. Then I was given even more work. Then I went on a short vacation last week in an effort to take a FREAKING BREAK but my first day back I worked a 12 hour day because I’m so behind from the 2 DAYS I took off. So how does that help? NOT AT ALL.

Now I could really go into quite the violent rant right now about my job, but this isn’t the place for it and if I did it could potentially get me fired (hmmm) so I won’t do that. Suffice it to say – I’m perpetually short-staffed and I do the job of about 3 different positions so I’m always pulled in 15 different directions at one time.

Monday – first day back from vacation and a 12 hour work day. Seriously didn’t get up from my desk to pee and grab some lunch until 3 pm.  Ridiculous. Came home at 8 pm, made dinner, promptly developed a headache – a headache that has not abated since Monday night.

Tuesday – headache all day. General feeling of malaise. Slammed at work, but determined to not work a 12 hour day again so I worked a typical day – 9-6. Felt marginally better at home when I was making dinner, but after dinner I sad down for bit and began to feel an overall ick. A little achy and shaky but not full-on FLU ick. WTF?

Wednesday morning – woke up with the headache, still have the ick. Stayed home with the intention of working just a little and then resting but, instead, I can’t catch a break and I’ve been working ALL DAMN DAY. At least I’m in my yoga pants, yo. (On a conference call as I type this).

Allergies are an issue, for sure. But this is MORE, and I’m pretty sure it’s stress.

So what’s the answer? I don’t know, but I think working more towards a healthy work/life balance is the best first step. I try to do this a lot but sometimes I execute it better than others. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a lot of control over it.

I can’t slack off on my job otherwise I’ll lose it. I can’t request to do the “mommy schedule” without it negatively impacting perception of my work ethic/goals. (I know this. Just trust me on this one. LAME.)

I’m the primary breadwinner at my house (my husband works freelance and is the primary at-home parent) but I have to be mommy too. I sacrifice going on the field trips, being room mom, working on most of the homework, etc., but I try to be there for them when they need me and I take time off as needed. But as my work demands it I’m there for them LESS than I wish I could be. Yesterday my little dude called me when he got home from school and asked if I was going to work late again. I hate that.

Guilt and stress? Check.

My husband put his arms around me this morning and said, “I just want you to be healthy.” Me too, dear, me too.

Does it come down to working less and possibly sacrificing the security of my job at the same time?  Is there a happy medium?  Sometimes I think I find it and then it all goes woefully wrong.

I’m trying to get my work/life balance figured out so that I don’t have more health issues. I’ve been putting off going to the doc knowing that I’ll have to face that reality of a few things I need to change or start on some meds. I started working-out this summer to get healthier – but with the increase in work that has fallen by the wayside as well.

Sometimes the idea of working on my health just seems like so much WORK and it’s easier to just push it to the back of my mind. Please tell me I’m not alone in this feeling.

The whirlwind of life at it’s finest.

So do you all have any bright insight into how to manage life and stress more effectively? I would love to hear it. What do you do to keep yourself healthy? How do you deal with stress?



What in the H – E – double hockey sticks is wrong with me??

I can’t get any freakin’ work done! I don’t wanna. 
I don’t wanna pay the bills.
I don’t wanna work on the stinkin’ IEP paperwork. Seriously, kill.me.now. 
I don’t wanna wash the dishes or fold the laundry.
I don’t wanna do my work work. Even when I’m at work. Cuz, you know, I’m kinda over this whole working for living thing. I wanna be home with my babies – see. (Who aren’t babies, but they’re MY babies so, whatever).
I wanna write. I wanna be creative. I wanna bake stuff. 
I wanna read blogs and play on Twitter all day and marvel at all the awesome women out there. Can’t I get paid (an exorbitant amount) to do that? Why not?
It’s 8 pm – do you think the kids have noticed they haven’t had dinner yet? I don’t hear yelling, screaming, or painful starvation moans. In any case, I need to get my freakin’ arse off the internets and do something productive. 
(I’ll be back – don’t worry. I knew you were worrried). 

P.S. I CAN say hell. See? Hell. But H – E – double hockey sticks is more fun, don’t you agree?

Why isn’t it Friday?

I have seriously lived a week in 2 days. Now, I consciously know that it isn’t Friday yet, but I just feel it should be considering everything that’s gone on the last few days. But then I thought, “At least it’s Wednesday. Only 2 more days.” Dude, it’s Tuesday. TUESDAY. 3 more days. 3. 
See, the problem is my work. It’s different this week and that throws me off. We have 2 clients visiting. One from Brasil (as he tells me to spell it) and the other from Argentina. The one from Argentina doesn’t speak great English and, I think, understands even less. Fun. The one from Brasil speaks Portuguese, English fairly well (except for the occasional, “uh, uh, how you say _____”), and some Spanish. Today I spent 6 hours talking. Like non-stop. Tomorrow we have another half day, at least, with them. 
The thing is, it’s just constantly being with them, entertaining, socializing, being positive and blah, blah, blah. My people bucket gets too full. We spent hours out to dinner last night. Tonight I had to go to a school function for Bubba. My people bucket has runneth-the-hell-over.
Buenos noches amigos. Hasta mañana!

A half-baked idea is okay as long as it’s in the oven.

Do I shirk my duties and dive into the blog thoughts swirling around in my head? I could literally write volumes right now if given the proper time and space to sit and think it all through. 
Alas, that’s not even an option! Too much freakin’ work.
I got home from my trip very late on Friday night, or extremely early Saturday morning – depending on your point of view. I was delayed an extra 6 hours in the Denver airport after sprinting to my gate only to find out I missed my connection. Also, I DON’T SPRINT. I don’t even jog. Seriously. I think I almost died. But then I had to spend 6 more hours there and I truly knew what death was.
Spotty internet connection and limited charging capabilities meant I couldn’t stay online or watch a movie to bide the time. I read some but I was completely distracted. Too many people hustling and bustling all over the place.
Saturday morning I woke up stiff and sore. I sort of decided then and there to take the rest of the weekend off. We celebrated the hubby’s 41 years young, I hung out with the boys and caught up on some of my Tivo’d stuff. 
Back to the grind today and, wow, do I have a lot to do. Plus, at home, there’s so much kid STUFF to deal with – Invention Convention, dentist appointments, IEP appointments, Katie Beckett Applications, laundry, lunch money, etc. I feel like I might never come up for air.
When I do, indeed, come up for air then I hope to put together some great blog posts around what I’ve been reading. I’m absolutely loving Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed. I seriously want to take a highlighter and go back through and mark all the poignant passages. In fact, I think I may do just that.
If you are married you should read this book. If you are thinking about getting married you should read this book. If you are divorced you should read this book. If you at any point in your life plan to live in a committed relationship you should read this book. No lie. 
The thing is – it’s all the stuff we learn after 10-15 years of marriage. It’s the distance and experience. The plain ‘ole knowledge we don’t have when we are all in L.O.V.E. and dying to get married RIGHT.THIS.MINUTE. 
It’s the things our mothers (some of them) or our grandmothers (a lot of them) went through and thought about and dealt with without actually giving it a name. They just lived it. Sucked it up and dealt with it. It’s the angst wives go through – the sacrifices, challenges, juggling we all do and learn to deal with some way, some how. It’s all about finding that happy medium for us “modern” wives.

More to come.

My warring dualities

I am a full-time working mom with a fairly demanding job. I work until 6:30-7 (or later) every night. Most nights when I get home I clean the kitchen and make dinner and help with homework if needed. Or, like last night, assist in the filling out, folding, stuffing, and stickering of Valentine’s. Then there’s the whole getting the kids ready for bed thing. The hubby freaks out if the kids’ room is messy at night so it has to be picked up. Every. Night. Then sometimes I’ll sit down at my desk and work even more.
This is my daily life. 
But some days, like today, I get to enjoy the other side of me that I don’t get to tap into very often during the working day. I got be a mom, just a mom, for a while this afternoon. It was wonderful. 
My little guy was diagnosed as High-Functioning Autistic as well as ADHD a couple years ago. It wasn’t a shock – we knew it was something. My 3rd grader is ADHD too; the hubby and most of his family are as well so I suppose it’s no surprise that the kids inherited that gene. Back to Jamie, my bubba – he’s really the cutest kid. Sweet and so loving. He’s my little cuddle-bug. He’s learning so much. Maybe we have always low-balled him because of the Autism, but when he does something well (that is learning level appropriate) we are just ecstatic. Maybe it’s because we’re scared he’s going to go backwards instead of forwards. Each time he reaches a milestone we are over the moon. 
He can seem normal. Sometimes he acts like any other 1st grader. But there are definitely situations we have to deal with more carefully than we would with our other son. Like when we know that his class will be doing something out of the ordinary we have to prepare him for it in advance. Talk it up to him several times and make him aware of everything that’s going to happen. Sometimes I think we forget to do that as much as we should. 
It really shouldn’t have been a surprise when he started being belligerent and difficult this morning. Right before leaving to go to school he got very upset because he didn’t like the way his hair looked and started insisting that it be parted the other way and beating his own head with the brush. I soothed him as best I could, and then I left to take the 3rd grader to school before going on to work. The hubby called 30 minutes later and said it took him 20 minutes to get Jamie calmed down and into his class (tardy, of course). I thought, oh boy, that does not bode well for the rest of the day.
So I called the school to find out when Jamie’s class party was going to be. Then I looked at my schedule and decided I could make it work. I left the office at 2:30 and, oh, I can’t tell you how liberating it was! (I swear I would be an awesome stay at home mom. I would, I really, really would.) Jamie was SO excited when I walked into class. I got to watch him interact with his friends and play games and he did it all so well! You wouldn’t have known he was different. My heart swelled.

When the party was over we picked up the 3rd grader and decided to get a Redbox family movie to watch on this lovely Friday night. As I was driving down the road at 4 pm with my kids chattering in the backseat I must say I was as happy as I have ever been. Oh, we have problems aplenty and I like working . . . but, really, none of that mattered at that moment. 

Yes, I would be a very good stay at home mom indeed.


I overslept this morning. It’s true, it happens. My alarm didn’t wake me up because I’m blessed with having a very curious 6 year old who likes to fiddle with things – like the volume knob on my clock radio. I prefer to think that he just knows when his mommy needs a little more sleep. 
But this morning, when I sleepily turned over and focused my eyes on the clock to see 7:54 am, I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, an extra hour of sleep – bless him!” I was thinking, “ACK!! I have a meeting in an hour!!” Jumped up, turned the shower on and did all those first thing in the morning things. As I was lathering up in the shower I kept thinking, “Ack! I hate being rushed!” Then it hit me – I’m SO Cathy this morning!! Remember Cathy? Then the situation just turned comical and I laughed! What’s the point of getting all irritated?
I showered, make-uped, and dressed in record time and at 8:35 walked into the kitchen. The hubby (bless him!) had jumped up when I did and gotten the kids up, dressed and they were breakfasting when I walked in. To my 6 year old bubba I said, “Did you turn the sound knob on mommy’s radio?” 
Here’s the best part, are you ready?
“I didn’t do it!! I think it was a thief. He broke in and he did it.” 
Yes, baby, it was a thief.