Posted in adventure, faith, family, fun, happiness, kids, Learning, Life, living, motherhood, Musings, parenting, People, random, women

Playing Outside Again

I just got back from my morning walk with Lucy- we left a little later today, and we went a little further, since Devon is here (albeit, locked in the spare room where he has been since last Tuesday when he arrived- he caught a bug somewhere between California and Maine, and though he was only sick for 24 hours, I am not willing to take any chances) and I don’t have to worry about leaving Cam alone.

It occurred to me while I was walking along, up and down streets I haven’t been on before, that my best moments since I have been here have happened almost exclusively outside. Or at least, outside of my apartment. Because some awesome times have been had just out driving around as well.

Here in Maine, at least the part I am in, everything is beautiful. I’m not just saying that, either- it is really, really pretty here. But sometimes, you come around a bend and see something utterly breathtaking, so gorgeous it’s almost unreal. The urge to slam on the brakes and jump out to take a photo is pretty overwhelming at times. I’ve been trying to resist the urge to capture everything, and simply enjoy it, tuck it away as a memory.

The other thing I keep realizing is the way I feel when I am out on my several-times-daily walks, whether alone or with Camryn. It’s the closest I’ve felt to being a child in…a really long time. Do you remember that feeling? When you were a kid on a Saturday morning, and you took off on your bike and you just felt this expansive sense of freedom, like you could go forever and stop wherever and who knows what you might see? When you would turn down alleys and zig zag back and forth through neighborhoods you could never see so well from the window of a car? That feeling.

Everything is new here. And because the weather changes all the time, it is new in other ways as well. Since I have been here, I have kicked through many piles of autumn leaves. I have jumped and kicked through puddle after puddle in my Maine- appropriate lace up boots. I have fallen over in snow banks, made butt prints and snow angels, thrown snow balls and simply delighted in the crunch-crunch-crunch sound of my boots in the snow. I have slid through slush on a golf course and grown braver and braver about slipping down paths and darting through yards to see what is on the other side. I have yet to pass an iced over puddle that I didn’t give in and crack, just to see if I could. I can’t help tricking my dog onto ice patches, either, just to watch her slide. I have swung on swings in several parks, and slid down slides, laughing with Cam as we flew through the air. The birds and plants and trees and buildings are lovely, the sunsets and sunrises unmatched. But it’s the walking and playing and taking it all in that really does it for me.

I thought that I had forgotten how to play- I despaired of this fact, actually, many times. Because I have a child, and it’s important to me that I engage with her this way. The truth is, I just needed a little bit of wonder. I needed a change of scenery. I needed puddles and piles of leaves and waking up to streets that had disappeared under a foot of snow. I needed swing sets and ancient grave yards and candy stores that are a hundred years old. I didn’t know that was what I needed, but I found a way to give it to myself anyway.

Maine is not the solution I thought it would be. It has not changed me into some easier, more calm-minded person. That just isn’t how things work, I don’t think. But the gifts of this adventure are not few, and though they are different than what I thought I wanted, they are somehow…perhaps exactly the ones I most needed.

Posted in Dating, friendship, happiness, inner peace, Life, Musings, People, relationships

Spectacularly Exhausted

Spectacularly Exhausted

It is 5:50 a.m. on Sunday, and I think I had about 45 minutes this morning where I felt like ‘oh, I finally got enough sleep! Today is going to be great!’ Before the (now familiar) veil of exhaustion tumbled back down over my head.

Honestly, I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I’m beginning to wonder if maybe there is a Deer Tick stuck to my scalp, or in some nook or cranny that I can’t see, sucking out my blood while simultaneously infecting me with Lyme’s Disease? Seems far fetched, but…Jesus Christ, I’m beat.

As I sit here, contemplating my lethargy, it occurs to me that my legs and hips are sending little pain-signals up to my brain, my knee muscles hurt, and even my feet are a little bit sore. The feet are truly the least of it. My lower back has also been a bit…I don’t know, it feels crooked or something…since I woke up. I can attribute that, at least, to a night of sleep that more closely resembled death (I imagine) as I do not think I so much as disturbed the covers last night. Although I did wake up on my back, and I know I never, ever fall asleep that way, so…I must have moved at least once.

The rest of it, though? Well, I can place the blame evenly in three places. One would be the trampoline. Despite the fact that I absolutely qualify as a middle-aged woman at this point, I cannot seem to resist the call of that damn thing. My daughter always wants me to come watch her jump (kids need an audience for EVERYTHING, don’t they?) and despite my protests that “this time, I am only watching!” I can never make it more than five minutes without joining in. It’s just so much fun! So much fun, in fact, that I can’t even recognize it as exercise. Oh, but it is! If you don’t believe me, ask my knee muscles- not my actual knees, but the little muscles around and behind them- that is where the pain is. Perhaps it is low impact, but that’s not the same as no impact, and again, I’m kinda getting old, you know? Still, I highly doubt I’ll be stopping anytime soon.

The second would be the guy…let’s call him Mr. E (get it? Myster-y? Hahaha! I kill me.) for now, shall we? He’s killing me. Like, maybe for real. Yesterday, he took me out to the middle of fucking nowhere in like 90 degree heat for a “walk” through a veritable desert…with NO WATER. “Do you always hike without water?” I asked. “Quit focusing on the lack of water.” He replied, “And yes, I do. It makes it more interesting. You appreciate it more when you get it later.” Okay, first of all? That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Second of all, he probably just forgot the water. He forgot it last time we hiked, too, but I remembered. We ran through two giant bottles of water on that hike, and it was through a shaded forest, so…yeah.

Anyway, I’m mostly joking around. I mean, it’s true, we didn’t have water, and it was really hot, but it was a great walk. I hadn’t been there before, and getting out in the sun really helped the ever present, bone deep tiredness lift for a while. Right up to the moment that I realized I had A.) forgotten to wear sunscreen, and B.) was on antibiotics that specifically instructed me to stay out of the sun. Oops. I remembered about a mile and half in, when I noticed I was…rather pink. “Do I look like I’m burning to you?” I asked. “We better turn around.” was his (alarming) response, once he took a good look at me. I spent the rest of the walk back run-walking from shade tree to shade tree, and there just weren’t that many to be found. “I’m not like other girls.” I reminded him, “I’m like one step above albino.” “Poor little cracker.” He said. (I googled to see if that term was offensive-not for me, I am obviously not offended. But for any of you. I have determined that it really should not be.)

The third bit of blame lands squarely on ME. I have been burning the candle at both ends. I have been going to bed much later, but getting up as early as ever. I have been trying my hardest to plan activities with friends, plan activities with Camryn, to play as much as possible, and have also added an entirely new human to my life. This is most definitely a good thing, but it is also a new thing, and new things in my life are always a bit…challenging for me.

I have been 100% single since sometime in 2014, I believe. Prior to that, I was at least semi-single (still waffling back and forth with the ex) for about a year. So it’s been a long time without…all the stuff that relationships require of us. Just the number of times per week I have to shave my legs now has skyrocketed. The makeup I am applying. The sheer amount of time spent thinking about a person in this way is…kind of hilarious. And freaky, to be honest. And awesome. Really pretty awesome. I spend more time on the phone talking than a teenager…maybe a teenager in 1993. I don’t think current day teenagers actually realize they can use their phones to speak to people in real time.

BUT, and I cannot stress this enough, I am sooooo okay with it. If I have to be tired, so be it. I’m always one jump or hike or conversation away from rallying again. And really? I had given up hope that I’d EVER be here again- I just didn’t think it was possible. I thought I’d have to, eventually, when I really got so lonely I couldn’t stand it anymore, settle for the company of someone who was…so-so. Instead, out of nowhere, I find myself hanging out with this guy who is just…the best. Every once in a while, I can’t help but pause and wonder how in the world this even fell in my lap. And I mean, that’s a pretty good thing to wonder, right? How you got so lucky? Because I feel like I SCORED.

So yeah, I’m tired. I’m wiped completely out. But I’m also deliriously happy most of the time. And I think that’s a pretty decent trade off. Don’t you agree?

Posted in fun, Holidays, humor, Learning, Life, Musings, People

5 Good Reasons to Go to the Party

christmas party

If you are like me, (and I hate to be the one to break it to you, but, no matter what you are telling yourself, you ARE) then something funny happens to you when you are invited to a party. I am not talking about a kids birthday party, either, because no one who has reached puberty ever wants to go to those, including the parents of the child whose birthday it is. We just go because it is the right thing to do, and also because if we don’t, they can opt out of OUR children’s future parties, and that, my friend, is where society starts to break down. We go to kids parties to fill seats at our own kids parties, essentially. Not pretty, but generally true. But, shockingly, I digress. What I AM talking about is an invitation to a grown-up party, say, perhaps, a Christmas party, for example. The kind that clearly, in writing, states “No Children”.

Sort of like the one I was given, about a month ago, by, ironically, the woman who runs my daycare. I know, I know- you are thinking “Your daycare lady invited you to an adults only Christmas party? Like, she’s a DAYCARE provider…so…I mean…how does she know about adult PARTIES?”, and I totally get where you are coming from. But, I assure you, this woman is not your typical mini-van, soccer mom, daycare lady. She is actually really cool. Way cooler than me, if I’m being real. She has ten, yes TEN, children of her own, most of whom are grown and out on their own. She is chill, in a “I raised ten kids, so there is pretty much nothing that can faze me” kind of way. She has cool hair, she works out in one of those cross-fit type gyms where it is pretty normal to throw up in the course of your morning, and she has a ton of friends. This lady knows how to throw a party. So, when I got my invitation, I felt like Charlie when he got the golden ticket.

I was fine, and super excited, until about Monday of last week. That’s when that weird thing that I have been trying to write about since the first paragraph started happening. And I am pretty sure you already know what I am going to say, since pretty much every single person I have brought it up to says they feel exactly the same. So, I am all set to go to the party. I have a sitter, I know what I am bringing (everyone was told to bring appetizers instead of kids) (that was not really how it was said, of course) and I am pretty clear on what I am wearing. Except…all of the sudden, I don’t really want to go. I am tired. I won’t even know anyone there. She only invited me to be polite…she doesn’t really want me to actually show up. These are actual thoughts I had leading up to the day of the party. The day of the party, yesterday, they only intensified, and it was like there was an actual battle going on inside of me- there was the me that was going to the goddamned party, if for no other reason than I said that I would, and there was the crazy me, who was like ” But I am TIRED!” “Why are you doing this to me? This is going to SUCK!” “You are going to feel so stupid walking in there all alone!” “You are definitely going to embarrass yourself.” And on and on and on…

But you know what? Fuck that crazy voiced me! I was going to the party. And I did. And you know what? It was way, super, fun. So, here are five reasons why you should squash that asshole part of you that wants you to stay home for the rest of your life, and go to the party, even when you are nervous:

1) Go because you don’t even remember the last time you wore high heels- I mean, yes, you may be wearing them with jeans, but they are tight, moderately uncomfortable jeans, and that counts for something, right? I mean, seriously, there is more to life than yoga pants (and scrubs, if you are me, which you clearly are not, but you know what I mean), Ugg boots or tennis shoes, and bra-optional environments (If you are over 30 and an A cup, home is really the only bra optional environment, just to be clear.). Suck it up for one night, and suck it in- it won’t kill you. If you aren’t sure how to doll yourself up for an evening event, just do what I did, and put on MORE make-up- wing your eyeliner, re-apply your mascara, pick the next darkest shade of eye shadow, wear red lipstick. Curl your hair. So what if it’s raining, you will still think you look like you did when you left your house, and besides…there may just be one 29 year old girl at the party who nearly dies of shock when she learns you are ten full years older than her. I loved that girl, bless her little heart.

2) Go because you will know at least a couple of people there, even if it’s just the person who invited you, and one or two of her friends. If you live in a smaller town, like I do, you will know at least two people well, and be familiar with others, and it will be good to talk again without kids interrupting- even if all you talk about are the kids that you are finally getting a break from.

3) Go because you have probably forgotten how awesome you are! Seriously, all that stuff you were thinking, about how socially awkward and inappropriate you are? Hogwash! The vision you had in your head of sitting, alone, in a corner chair, trying not to see the pity in everyone’s eyes as they avoided you? Uh…that is not going to happen. Chances are, if you have a night like I had, you will remember how good you are at talking to people, about anything at all, and you will realize that all the mean things your teenage daughter said about your awful personality were total LIES. People love you.

4) Go because you are almost certainly going to find yourself laughing out loud, with other people, not the “LOL” we use as a response on Facebook. It feels really good to actually laugh, out loud, with other grown ups.

5) Go, because all of these things, above, will make you feel really, really, good about yourself, and we could all use a little of that, am I right? You need to break from your stifling routine sometimes, painful as the process may be, simply because you have almost certainly forgotten how much fun you can have…And more importantly, how much fun you can BE.

I am so glad I did not allow the paranoid, reclusive, side of me to talk me out of what turned out to be a really great night. I hope you take my advice and go. There may be a million lame excuses you are making to stay home, but now you have five solid reasons you should go- have fun, and happy holidays!