Wednesday, January 30, 2008

for gail--half a scoop

The scoop:

His name is Corey and he is an online teacher who is, in fact, there everyday.

The caveat:

He wasn't actually there when I went in last night, so I asked a staff member. Figures.

The back story:

For the better part of a year, whenever I go into the Lancaster Starbucks, I see this man sitting at the same table, with the same laptop, the same travel mug, the same Patagonia fleece jacket, and same expression, etc., every single time I'm there. Obviously, there could be many plausible explanations for this, but as the predictability of his presence wore on, I became unduly fixated on discovering his purpose. And, since I was frequently at Starbucks with my friend Gail, constantly pointing this man out, it wasn't long before the mystery was something we shared.

Ever since she moved to Colorado a few months ago, I have been threatening/promising to walk up and ask this man why he is there everyday, a prospect I find equal parts hilarious and totally offensive, and Gail has wholeheartedly encouraged the idea. To the point of prodding even. The problem isn't that I'm all that shy or anything, it's just that as a manic mama, I'm a drive-thru kind of gal, and rarely go inside now that Gail is gone. Cut to last night when B and I went in to have tea and knit. True to Murphy's Law, the guy wasn't there, so at the risk of revealing my true stalker nature, I pressed the counter girl for his story. She gleefully revealed that he is Corey, an online teacher, and does his work there everyday. I resisted the urge to ask if he owns any other jackets.

Granted, this wasn't exactly a sleuthing triumph, but at least Gail and I can stop wondering, and the rest of you can see how wholly indiscriminate I am when it comes to overloading my mind. :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

seeing red

For reasons I cannot explain, I have always had a moderate aversion to the color red. In light of our political climate, I'd like to say it's because I'm quite enlightened and it's my subconscious way of subverting oppression and Republicans, but that may be stretching it.

When my kids were little, and I controlled what they wore, I didn't buy them red, and I've never been attracted to all the classic red things we are supposed to hold dear, like '57 Chevys, Kitchen Aid mixers (mine is white), and apple motifs in the kitchen.

But from time to time, starting a couple years ago, I have been compelled from somewhere deep within to buy the red version of something. Case in point.: In 2005, when treating myself to a very expensive pair of black and brown loafers at Nordstrom (albeit it was back when the juxtaposition of black and brown was still frowned upon), I suddenly became obsessed with the red pair, and bought them instead. They matched nothing I owned, but I didn't care. Most of my clothing is black, so I made it work.

And yes I was in among the mindless droves of GAP-lings lining up last year to shell out $40 for the (red) t-shirts.

Meanwhile, I have pined for this particular red colander at Fred Meyer for about six years. One might see nothing wrong with just satisfying the impulse to buy such in an innocuous object, but we already own two perfectly good colanders, and I think $20.00 is outlandish for something that will totally clash with everything in my black, white, and chrome kitchen, not to mention, not fit anywhere. And yet I have made a ritual of visiting the red colanders for years. To look, to yearn, never to buy. Until last Monday.

Over the course of holiday returns/exchanges, I wound up with a $12.00 gift card to Fred Meyer, for which I had no particular plan, and it rested comfortably in my wallet for weeks. Then last Monday, I had a little time to kill and went to visit the red colanders, and blow me down, they were on sale for 50% off! They've never been on sale in six years, so I felt like this was the universe's way of insisting that I have one, and I whipped out my gift card and beamed as I toted my shiny new, cumbersome, unnecessary red colander to my car. I passed my green colander along to someone else, and hung the new red one in its place, so everyone can see my perfect inability to color coordinate my kitchenware, lol.

Perhaps this intermittent attraction to red is hereditary, because Reilly, who shares my low opinion of the color, fell in love with a pair of red valentine pajamas at Old Navy the other night, and was so adamant about having them, she offered to pay for them herself. They are very cute, but nothing I ever would have suspected her of liking, let alone loving.

So here it is, our odd assortment of red must-haves, a collection unto itself.

monday monday, can trust that day

It wasn't so long ago that I kept us on such a manic schedule that Mondays were literally our only day at home, a fact which I found simultaneously comforting and terrifying. You see, of my many idiosyncrasies, racing thoughts is perhaps the most prevalent, and the one I describe as my kryptonite. In a nutshell, the problem is that I try to function at the speed at which I think, and mercilessly force everyone else, including my children, to try and keep up as well. But for some time, Mondays have been exempt from this cycle, and we have enjoyed some of our most quality time doing everything we normally do, just in slow motion.

Lately Mondays have gotten lost in the shuffle, and have found us scurrying around like any other day, which has been issue #405 on my list of things to address. Then today, we woke up to snow in some parts of the city, and the roads covered in ice. There were strict warnings not to drive at all. Like any addict, my first thought was missing my Starbucks run. Would making my kids walk a mile in 18 degrees be a wonderful rustic homeschool PE experience, or child abuse? Anyway, I settled for a homemade espresso. Sigh. As I enjoyed the waning moments of solitude before my kids began rustling in their bunks (fourth night sleeping through!), it occurred to me that this was my chance to recapture our magic Mondays. I consciously took several deep breaths, looked around my house so I could radically accept its imperfections, and pledged not to dwell on all the things I wish were different. Just for today. And I have made the following goals.:

* no yelling, no matter what
* eat breakfast and lunch at the table with my kids
* crank up our favorite music and do chores at a natural pace
* take a shower before I grow barnacles
* prep lessons while feeling consciously grateful that I have the privilege of staying home with my babies and teaching them, my way, everyday, even if it's a chore
* doing aforementioned lessons with the kids, hoping my new-found sunshine appreciation will radiate from within and motivate them with glad hearts, lol
* a light round of pick-up after lessons, again, set to music
* one hour of quiet reading, for mama too, sometime this afternoon
* call the Gilbert House to confirm that we're signed up for the science fair
* make four separate dinners for four picky eaters (spare me the lectures)
* take deep, deliberate breaths all day long, to keep anxiety at bay
* play a game with the kids
* no yelling no matter what

And if all goes well, we will reward ourselves by risking the two-block drive to my mom's to watch Jon & Kate tonight. (One of my recent attempts at good parenting was having our cable television turned off, and Jon & Kate is the one show we still follow.)

And eat Fruity Pebbles.

And work on conquering the other days of the week.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

it's so hard to say goodbye

And while I'm on the subject of John Edwards, let me just say that I'm not laboring under any illusions of him securing the nomination. Okay I said it. (Voice gets quavery.) I do think that he has brought a lot of important issues to the table, issues that have been seldom heard over the shameful mud-sligning of our two celebrity candidates, and I do think his conduct has most closely resembled that of an actual adult (even if his appearance is far from it, lol). However, none of his golden boy flair changes the fact that the best we can hope for is 200 of those 1,700 delegates at stake come February 5th, which would, in essence, put him the position of kingmaker. (He's already the primary force keeping Hillary under 50%. You can thank him for that, B.)

I've said that I am holding out for an Edwards/Obama ticket, though at this point I'd be thrilled with an Obama/Edwards consolation ticket. The point is I'm not snuffing out this little light of mine just yet. But the realist in me is prepared for the fact that I may have to transfer my support entirely very soon. And at six-foot-one, I will be waving my Obama sign high, believe me.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

crazy little thing called the constitution...

I know it's a cop-out to to post a link rather than offer, in my own words, some insight on this issue, but I haven't made my Starbucks run yet, and I certainly can't ignite you people better than John Edwards can. Please read what he has to say. This one really has my blood running cold.:

Friday, January 25, 2008

to bean or not to bean

There is no way to euphamize this, I am a Starbucks devotee. If I had the time, I might flit through airports in a green robe banging a tambourine to spread the good news. (I can borrow this description because my dearest auntie is a hare krishna devotee, and she wouldn't mind.) The moment I toss my beautifully-labeled cup into the garbage, I become envious of anyone who has one, even if I am no longer in the mood for coffee, to the extend that I have almost entertained the thought of carrying my empty cup, like Linus with his blanket. Almost. But come one. Who does that?

As a measure of my addiction to their coffee, which I concede isn't even the best I've ever had, I will confess that I own a very nice Krups espresso maker, as well as a regular coffee maker, and every morning, I pretend not to see them, the way a senior in high school pretends not to notice passing freshmen, and I begin to plot a way to get a Starbucks coffee instead. My greatest obstacle is that, while I only live a mile from the nearest drive-thru, I refuse to leave my seven and nine year olds alone while I make the run, whether they are sleeping or awake. The law says that because Quinn is nine, I can leave him in charge of his sibling for up to an hour, a fact of which he is keenly aware and desperate to try. But I am just not ready. We live in town, northeast to be exact, and my mind can't help but conjure up all sorts of hazards that might arise in that fifteen minutes. But, my kids sleep in quite a bit longer than I, so if I let them sleep, I am forced to wait an eternity to get my fix. So I crash around in the mornings biding my time until they wake up. My friends think I am absurd and ought to make the run while they're asleep, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Can you see my dilemma?

Fortunately I think we're on the verge of a breakthrough. The kids have been staying up way too late, and now that we've moved them to their new bunk beds, we've also implemented an earlier bed time, and one of the ways I hope to tire them out for this is to WAKE THEM UP EARLY! The sooner they rise, the sooner they fall right? One of the main reasons I homeschool my kids is so they have the option of getting enough sleep, so it seems a little hypocritical to be ripping them from their sheets because I am brainwashed and need my Americano right now. On the other hand, it sure is nice to have them tired at 9:30pm, rather than asking for popcorn at 12:30am... Wow. Perhaps the answer lies in the question. It seems getting up earlier is a win-win-win situation.

Who knew that foaming at the mouth could lead to such clarity?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

let there be light

The depth of my candor in last night's post has given me a case of the morning-afters, but I'm resisting the urge to delete it, hoping that all my squirming signifies some measure of personal growth. No pain no gain right?

The fact is, in spite of my misgivings, I'd have to say the process was at least 25% cathartic, if for no other reason than an obsessive mind such as my own loves to have messy things such as thoughts neatly compartmentalized into crisp white bins, or in this case, paragraphs.

Today things are markedly better, and I woke up ready to reclaim my life, even as I stepped over, and on, the sea of wayward kid bedroom overflow, toys displaced by the bunk beds. For the past week I've been cowering at the sight of this heap, but today I am ready to kick some ass.

I'm hopeful that with another coffee, (that's right, I'm back on coffee, I told you I live in the danger zone) and some Footloose, I can show this house who's boss.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

if it weren't for this imp in my mind...

For those of you who have been thoughtful enough to inquire as to my recent reclusion, I thought the decent thing to do would be to explain. And, against my better judgment, I've decided to be honest.

As most of you know, my Goliath takes the form of manic depression, better known as bipolar disorder (which I am averse to calling it), and by golly if I didn't hit the skids in a major way a few weeks ago. Mind you, I am in the care of extremely capable doctors, the most stellar friends and family, and have been getting successful treatment for a couple years, but lo and behold that relentless bastard depression can still emerge from the recesses and grab ahold when you're not looking, even when you're doing everything right. So that is what has happened, and that is my blanket reason (note I don't use the word excuse) for everything I've said/not said/done/not done for the past, let's say, month.

To say that I'm a very busy person is a gross understatement, and pretty much every extreme tale of my burning the candle at both ends is true, only in my case, it's a stick of dynamite, so give yourself a bit of clearance. I am fortunate enough not to experience a backslide into depression but maybe two times a year, but as those of you with any history can attest, every moment spans a black eternity, and nary a second is to be minimized. I don't usually notice I'm wobbling until I start sleeping in and/or friends call to ask why I'm not out and about as much. But I never think to say that I must be backsliding. Because in my mind, in my decidedly compromised state, what has really happened is that all my friends, even the very ones who are calling, have finally abandoned me, alone and naked, shivering in the cold of my sudden confused bleakness. I question their motives, their sincerity, their ability to help, even as I wish I could enjoy their company, as I know I so often have. I am blessed with many friends, all of whom have proven themselves to be the truest of the true, with Brandy at the helm, tirelessly championing me to success in so many realms I can't even say, but when the dynamite blows, I find myself literally rocking in the corner wondering how it is I have lived thirty years on earth having never made a friend. Even in acute moments, or "episodes," as we call them, I am intellectually aware that I have friends, but emotionally, I don't feel any more connected to them than I do to the man on the street. What's worse, I shroud myself in guilt over burdening these gems, my friends, yet again, with my irrational and sometimes hurtful behavior, and am thusly even more inclined to avoid them. And yet they continue to reach out to me, to bring me coffees, to listen to me whine incessantly, and issue me so many free passes on everything from missed dates to criminally poor conduct all around. I'm telling you people, were it not for these friends...(getting teary)

So that's where I've been. Around the block. The block. As I traversed this harrowing landscape (read: scraped along), I was also transitioning my seven and nine year olds from our very overflowing family bed into bunk beds in their own room (can I get an AMEN?!?), which has definitely been one for the Fitzpatrick Family Follies in every possible sense. I have also recently conceded to the fact that denial is not an effective treatment for endometriosis, and have been forced to put that on the front burner, along with, once again, my children's education, joining the gym, and surrendering my mind to the fact that my house will never be clean enough. Period. Did I mention that in the interim I literally worried away my stomach lining and Sam had to take me to the ER for esophagitis, resulting in my giving up coffee (HELL-O caffeine withdrawal!)? So needless to say I'm a skoch behind on my prize-winningly absurd/obsessive/grandiose new years resolutions.

But I'm officially on the mend, and will resume running myself ragged in no time. I intend to cash in on all your offers of coffee, tea, knitting, movies, and anything else I can squeeze out of you suckers before you all get wise. :) See you soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

speak no evil

It's simple but far from easy. Today I vow not to yell. No matter how much time it takes to get our shoes on, no matter how far behind we fall. I will keep a soft jaw, and remember that no to-do list takes precedent over being a loving, smiling, open-armed mama.

Serenity now serenity now serenity now...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

what 11:47 am looks like for an insomniac...


Great. Now I too am held hostage by the incessant ticking of smug clocks all over the house. At first I thought it was my penance for not knowing enough about the candidates, and that it would subside if only I would educate myself once and for all, but now I think I've just caught Brandy's insomnia out and out. Just as women cycle together, it seems they can also suffer delusions of grandeur together, which seems to come with the territory of not sleeping. While B is busily planning her Obama fundraiser at 3:15 am, I am mixing khaki green paint for my living room, which I hope to have completely painted and dry by the time she drops off Addison and Maia at 11:00am.
Gone are the days of greeting each other in the mornings with cool geography or world news links in an email. Now, B is expecting me to help her raise a thousand dollars for Barack Obama by dawn, even though she knows I am still clinging to my blankie of hope for John Edwards, and I am sitting here hoping to catch her on gmail at 3:20 to ask her how to superimpose a photograph onto a black template, because who in their right mind can sleep until that happens? Sigh.
It's not as weird as it seems. Maybe insomnia's our superpower. I mean, she's reading Emma, I'm reading Wherever You Go There You Are. She's making Rocky Road candy from scratch, I'm assembling bunk beds. She's spinning blogs like plates, I'm cleaning until my fingers bleed. Okay so every superpower has its cost. Maybe I ought to pace myself, but hyperproductivity seems the smartest way to combat the blink blink blinking hours spent wishing insomnia away...

B, couldn't you have just given me a sore throat or something?

Monday, January 14, 2008

jack, get back

Best get-up-and-clean-the-house-right-now-song of all time?

Footloose, by Kenny Loggins.

Everybody cut, everybody cut.

I will concede that The Chicks (of the Dixie persuasion) can get me into one hell of a groove, but if I'm really dragging, please Louise, pull me off a my knees. (bad grammar cringe)

Which tunes get your mops flying?

Saturday, January 12, 2008


After my major crash-and-burn at (last night's gathering), I've been forced to take inventory of the repertoire on which I've relied for so long to see me through the social seas I so often sail.

It seems I've been failing to impress for several weeks now, and I'm at somewhat of a loss for solutions. My phone only rings a paltry twelve times each day, I'm no longer c-r-a-m-m-i-n-g events into miniscule margins of my calendar, leaving scant seconds to get from one function to the next, and I'm not overbooking myself for so many coffees a day that there's enough of a current running through me to power a locomotive. On several occasions recently I have reduced friends to silence upon my arrival, generating about as much interest and merriment as a giant slab of meat, and let's face it, my Myspace page has tumbleweeds blowing across it. If you listen closely, you can hear that whistling theme song from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly when you're there. A few of you have been forced to seek refuge in reading when in my company so as not to fall asleep. Superficially this is of great offense to me of course, but the truth is, the blame is mine alone. The old nuts and bolts got sent in for some cranking last month and somehow I emerged only vaguely resembling myself. I am the same heap of junk you'd better watch out for, lest you cut your foot, but I'll apparently never be able to make a joke again in my life. Sure I'll take up the same amount of space in your living room, eat the same amount of your dinner, and, if you're my mom, charge the same amount, if not more, onto your Old Navy credit card, but there will be nothing in it for you. And, because of my size, the absence of a personality is painfully conspicuous, and will only to serve to make us all itch with awkwardness. So really, I don't begrudge you guys not calling, and/or not knowing what to say when you see me. But I'd be lying if I said there weren't moments when this didn't cause me gallons of embarrassment. Thus far, my reactions to this stark new reality have been utterly unimaginative, and even less constructive. Aside from shopping, I'm afraid I have pretty much kept it to a) crying, and b) crying and apologizing.

(Sound of welcome mats being whisked inside all over town.)

Give up on me if you must folks, but I have other things to offer besides busting your guts. I make good omelettes, though I loathe eggs to such a degree that I will usually pull up a stool beside you and tell you about it while you eat, I give killer back massages, I can literally return any physical item to any retail store, I can do 55 errands in one day, including clean your house, which I enjoy, and am learning to knit, which is both charming and practical.

So stick around.

Friday, January 11, 2008

the little blogger that could

Hey you guys, no fair judging my blogging prowess based on the two counterfeit entries Brandy posted the other night to secure my slot in cyber space. To say that I lack the savvy to get this thing up and running myself is such an understatement I actually think it would be a misdemeanor, but I hope you all know I would never attach the word "neat" to having seen Senator Ron Wyden. (More on that later.)

My zeal for blogging has been tempered, like everything else in my life, with anxiety, my merciless foe. Word on the street is that I'm winning the war, but my recent battle was indubitably lost, and I landed myself in the ER yesterday, minus some stomach lining and sporting some shiny new esophageal lesions. I was scarcely able to sit up, let alone keep you all in stitches with the wit to which you've all grown accustomed. This past year, I've been too busy keeping myself in actual stitches, lol. I've attached a picture of my hospital bracelets for those inclined to doubt my excuse.

For what it's worth I will try to run our rusty, odd-shaped little anecdotes through the polisher now and then and put them on display here when I can, that you may be amused, and grateful, that by comparison, your life is decidedly normal, and possible, whereas mine is absurd and defies all logic and reason. In turn perhaps you will forgive my run-on sentences, my self-aggrandizement, and for god's sake, LAUGH AT MY JOKES! That's really all it's about.