Structure Tag: Rules for Parents

“Mom, you have to play with us. Mom, we’re playing Structure Tag. You have to be ‘It’.”

It was middday Saturday. We’d had a long week and a long Friday night, with yet another soccer practice getting us home at 8 p.m. Showers, dinner, late bedtime, late morning. Thank god for the weekend.

But Saturday morning involved some errands and scurrying around and then heading half an hour east to a soccer game. We arrived early.

People, it is possible I needed just a few minutes to myself. So when the children went off to the playground without me, I enjoyed a few minutes alone. Then they came back to get me to play Structure Tag.

The rules: Everyone has to be on the climbing structure. The person who is  “it” has to count to 10 before starting. That person has to be on the structure when they begin the count. You have to stay on the structure; if you fall off, you are “it” and also you have to restart where you left off (like, hanging off the side of the slide).

Yes, we are absolutely not using the climbing structures as intended, and other kids start imitating sometimes, which can be problematic when a toddler tries to hang off the edge of a bridge.

And yes, I don’t let my kids play this when there are toddlers/smaller kids on the structure, because the little kids can get scared if a big kid runs past.

I didn’t want to play today. I wanted to have some downtime, to chill out and read Facebook and The New York Times and review a few recipes I’m making this weekend.

I didn’t want to play. But I did. We got another kid to join us. A girl was near us, watching. She hung upside down. She climbed outside the structure. She climbed up and stood on the roof of the highest part. She did a breathtaking balance on the handrails of the bridge.

I think she wanted us to ask her to join. She didn’t ask to join, and I thought my kids would hate it if I invited her.

I should have. I’m sorry, Rockstar Upside-Down Climber Kid, I should have invited you to join us.

Then, once the older kid joined his soccer team to warm up, I talked the younger boy into doing an obstacle course. First I led, then he did. He led a very complicated course, continually looking back to make sure I was following exactly.

I followed exactly. It made him happy.

It was time to head over to watch the game. We retrieved our stuff from the playground bench. I heard a tired-looking man say, “No, I can stay on the ground.”

“No, you have to be up on the building! You can’t be it if you’re on the ground–you have to be up here!”

It was the Upside-Down Girl, with what looked to be her younger brother and her dad. Her father tried to insist he could be on the ground. She tried to explain our rules to him.

She’d heard every word, and she was trying to explain it to him.

“It’s called ‘Structure Tag,’ and you do have to be up on the structure to play,” I jumped in. “We were playing it, and your kids heard it from us. You have to be on the structure.”

The girl smiled. The man looked at me.

“And yes, I tried to get out of it, too,” I added.

He turned to his kids. “There are other kids here! Can’t you get the other kids to play with you?”

Me to him: “Ha, I tried that too. They don’t want to play with other kids. They want to play with you. You’re going to have to play.”

As we walked out of the playground, the dad climbed onto the structure to be “it.”

And that, dear parents, is Structure Tag. Play. It sucks, and you might not fit through the slide entry, and your feet might be on the ground for the hand-over-hand. But they want your attention, and if you only have them half the week, well, you give your attention, even if you need some downtime. And you’re going to lose at Structure Tag unless some hapless uncoordinated other kid joins the game (sorry, Jack from today, but it’s true).

That other dad looked resigned. But his kids looked happy as hell.

 

 

Tuesdays Through Mid-November

6:30 a.m.: Alarm goes off. I find myself surrounded by sleeping children. Just two, but it seems like a lot to wake up to sometimes. The black cat jumps on the bed. He wants to snuggle. He’s a demanding and aggressive snuggler. I give in, hitting snooze several times.

6:45 a.m.: I shove the cat away. He curls around the head of the child who is mildly allergic to cats and begins to lick his (the child’s) cheek. I get up. I find enough coffee from yesterday in the French press for one mug. I decide it’s not worth the time/effort to make a new pot. I prepare breakfast for the children. The older one appears in the kitchen and begins to eat.

6:58 a.m.: I carry the younger child down to the kitchen, wrap him in a blanket, and leave him facedown on the table next to his breakfast while I head for the shower.

7:10 a.m.: Younger child has returned to his bed, claiming he has no pants, but at least he’s eaten his breakfast, which is a surprising and pleasant change. I find him an entire outfit, then go dress myself.

7:15 a.m.: Why does no one have shoes on? Has anyone brushed teeth? Get your pants on! Why aren’t your pants on? Thank god I packed lunches last night.

7:22 a.m.: In the car. It’s go time.

7:57 a.m.: Drop off older boy at school for orchestra. Drive to Starbucks with younger child. Buy us both coffees (his is decaf, despite his protests) and the chili chicken wrap he asks for. Protein and veggies, right? We hang out, talking, reading a book about the 1936 Olympic rowing team,  talking, taking selfies. I love this time together. He keeps trying to switch our coffees so he can have the dark roast that is not decaf.

8:48 a.m.: Drop younger boy off at school. He strolls in with his backpack, Starbucks cup clutched in his hand. He’s in third grade.

9:16 a.m.: Arrive at work. Dive in. Eat the rest of the chicken chili wrap for breakfast.

5:00 p.m.: Log out. Race out of the office. Email a colleague from the parking lot.

5:30 p.m.: Arrive at afterschool to pick up the kids. Feed them (beef jerky, trail mix, fruit leather, watered-down apple juice) while the older boy pulls on shinguards, socks, cleats. Would love to be the kind of parent who shows up with a cooler of homemade food but people, let’s be real. I let Trader Joe’s take care of this situation for me because I knew Tuesdays would be just one degree shy of a total shitshow.

5:45 p.m.: Drop older boy off at soccer field 15 minutes early. The coach is there, so I feel OK leaving.

6:04 p.m.: Arrive at our CSA farm. Find out what we need to harvest (PYO). Head to the fields with the younger boy to harvest string beans (green, yellow, purple), edamame, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, husk cherries, parsley, Indian spinach, various hot peppers. Return to the barn to collect the rest of our share. We have a choice between potatoes and a musk melon. Child chooses potatoes, in part because “the bag is cool.” Realize it’s now 6:45 p.m. and we need to go back to the soccer field.

7:01 p.m. Arrive at soccer field. Practice should be over at 7:15 p.m. Younger child wants me to carry him or drag him. He resorts to sitting on my feet.

7:10 p.m.: Coach announces practice officially ends in five minutes, but anyone who wants to stay can play “lightning.” My older child kind of wants to stay. His brother is hungry. Older child is hungry. I tell him he can stay late at Friday’s practice but tonight we need to head home. He agrees and gathers his stuff.

7:46 p.m.: Arrive home. Send older boy up to shower. Brotherly mayhem ensues. Maternal yelling ensues. Child ends up in shower. I heat up Sunday’s pre-prepped veggie chili, then slice green onion and put out a bowl of shredded cheese.

8-something p.m.: Child emerges from shower, dried and dressed. I feed the children and let them finish a movie. I tell them I will be in the kitchen sorting the farm share stuff, if they don’t mind. They don’t mind.

Even later: Younger child finally finishes eating. I send him up to shower. He wants me to stay in there with him to adjust the water pressure and towel dry his back. I have to clean the kitchen and start a massive load of laundry. We somehow compromise.

9:12 p.m.: Older child has agreed to practice violin in the morning, as it sure as hell is not happening tonight. I am about to send them to up to brush teeth, then put them in bed wiith books, then I will read to them and LIGHTS OUT.

9-who-knows-when? p.m.: I will pack lunches for tomorrow, for all of us, plus pack workout clothes for me, check email, and finish cleaning the kitchen.

We normally have a fairly mellow, low-activity lifestyle. But Tuesdays? We maybe drew the short straw this year. Everything happens on Tuesdays. Can’t wait until the younger boy’s soccer practice starts. Will those also be on Tuesdays, at a totally different field? Stay tuned!

Don’t Start Out With “I’m Not Looking to Date”

I recently told someone, before meeting in person for the first time, that I’m not looking to date.

That’s half true and half bullshit, but I am in super-shy/protective mode right now.

I cannot stand the Tinder/Match/Bumble/OKCupid kind of dating anymore, in which (as a woman) you’re bombarded with messages and flattery and if you move to the chat stage, you might get a dick-pic or invitation to come to his condo for your first date. (Or, “date”?)

No thanks.

Or you might meet for drinks or something, both resigned to getting through it, hoping for a spark, and both having more dates with others on your calendars because there are always Oh So Many Possibilities.

Yes, I’d very much like to be in a relationship again. I’ve had two pretty good relationship-type things (how do you define a relationship?) since my marriage ended — and then something brief but really shitty. I wouldn’t call it a “relationship.” I’d call it — well, doesn’t matter. It was short and shitty and made me feel like crap.

It didn’t help that I was at a low point in my life (depression flare-up) and therefore not as strong as usual.

The first person I’d met “organically” (I think that’s the term for it, when you meet through friends but not because they set you up, you just happen to be on the same camping trip or something). It lasted about a year, a little more. It was so much fun, so many adventures. I felt like I was being reintroduced to the world again — skiing and weekend trips and concerts and camping and spontaneity. We’re still close. The second person, I met on a dating app. There were strong feelings but it had to end, but we’re still occasionally in contact.

The shitty person, I won’t give details. Reminder: I was at a low point. So my confidence was low, and instead of reacting like I normally would and walking away with some well-placed retorts, I put up with shittiness. I don’t otherwise know why I’d put up with that. It didn’t last long, thankfully.

But I now approach the world with “I don’t want to date,” which isn’t actually true. I just don’t currently trust my sense of, “Is this reciprocal?”

So then I meet this person — friend of a friend, a situation much more appealing and promising than an online thing — and whoa. It was an interesting and funny and at times intense hour over lunch. For me, at least.

But probably starting out with “I’m not looking to date” before we even met was stupid. And my schedule for having any kind of a dating life isn’t great (because at this point I’m mostly happy to mountain bike with my people any weeknight I’m free, plus weekends, and I have been so out of the social loop for so long that I don’t know what normal people do on weekends if they’re not weeding and cleaning their basements and watching Netflix, alone).

So. I tried to express enthusiasm post-lunch, via text. But, you know, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.

I’m still starkly single. And not sure what, if anything to do about it. Online dating — while I’ve met some great people, including a couple of Match people I am still lightly connected to nearly 15 years later — can be fine, but for me right now, it’s not what I want. And I don’t want to rummage through all the possible shared interests/schedules/etc. in meeting someone. And it seems that single parents meeting other single parents leads to maybe one night per week both people are available, so the ROI seems like it has to be high for both (not to get gross about it, but isn’t that what it comes down to, when your spare time is limited?).

I don’t know if I will ever find my Person. But I want to. I really, really want to. I miss closeness and intimacy. I miss connecting and sharing my day and hearing about someone else’s day, and having someone to care about, and having someone to care about me. I miss sex. I miss cuddling.

And…I want someone to want all that with me.

 

 

We Tried SunBasket. Here’s My Review.

I’ve tried those meal-box kits in the past, when they made more sense, when we were four people for dinner, every day.

They don’t make as much sense when we’re now sometimes three people for dinner and sometimes just me, and when the children  have their favorites and thanks to divorce guilt I just want to make them their favorite stuff — chicken fried rice, spinach and black bean enchiladas, homemade pizza, grilled chicken “gyro” salad — rather than try new things for them. And for me, it’s easy enough to come home at dinnertime with children and go through the rehearsed motions of making something familiar.

It’s different when you’re making a meal that says it only takes 20 minutes but you have to be glued to the recipe the whole time to determine next steps, and the timing is more like 30-40 minutes and your children are hungry and the food is new and strange to them, and they’re tired, and so are you.

Thanks to a friend, I got a big discount to try SunBasket. We haven’t used one of these kind of meal kits in years, and I thought it was time to try again.

First week: Quick Chicken Chow Mein, Seared Salmon with Pearl Couscous and Salsa Fresca, Southwestern Steak with Roasted Poblanos and New Mexican Chile Salsa. I ordered the 2-person plan, not the family plan, figuring if the kids hated it, I’d have leftovers for lunch, and if they liked it, I could open a can of sardines or something for myself.

Monday: Quick Chicken Chow Mein

The box was arriving Monday. I was picking up the children from camp Monday after they’d been away for a week. Between transitions and the Monday-ness of Mondays, I’d planned to make the Quick Chicken Chow Mein (the quickest meal) that night.

On the drive home, the older boy asked if I could make chicken fried rice, one of their favorites, that night.

“Well, I am not really prepared to make that,” I said. “We’d have to stop at the store. I was going to make Chicken Chow Mein tonight.”

Same flavor profile, kind of, right?

“OK!” he said cheerfully.

OK.

The children were really hungry but the meal was fairly quick to make. And…kind of bland. I added soy sauce to mine. The children ate seconds but said they preferred my chicken fried rice and found this kind of flavorless.

Short review: It’s fast, full of veggies, they ate a lot of it, and it makes a lot of food. I’d call this a win if it were more flavorful.

Tuesday: Southwestern Steak with Roasted Poblanos and New Mexican Chile Salsa

I’d planned to make the salmon on Tuesday night, then hold the steak until Saturday (the kids would be back on Friday, but that’s Pizza Night). SunBasket recommends using the food up within five days, though, so I asked the kids what they wanted tonight: steak or salmon.

“Steak!”

OK, then. I proceeded with that recipe, roasting sweet potatoes and red onion and poblanos. None of us really like sweet potatoes. The children don’t like red onion or any onion. They don’t like peppers, sweet or poblano or raw or roasted.

I wasn’t sure they’d enjoy having their steak rubbed all over with sweet paprika, so I left that out. I also left out the chile salsa, because they like their meat plain.


Honestly, it was too hot to have the oven at 400 degrees for that long.

Short review: Not a great summer meal unless you have AC. Not a fun meal for children (or me–I didn’t really like the veggie combo). Might be too zippy as a family meal. Meat was great quality. I would love to follow this recipe to the letter and try the steak with the paprika and the chile salsa).

Also Tuesday: Seared Salmon with Pearl Couscous and Salsa Fresca (minus the salsa fresca)

I also realized I wouldn’t have a chance to cook the salmon until Saturday (ugh), so I decided to cook that tonight, too, along with the couscous in case the kids needed a neutral side because we all hate sweet potatoes.

The salmon prep bag included a yellow pepper, a tomato, and a cucumber (and shallots, a lime, and honey) for the salsa fresca. I thought the salmon would be more interesting with the salsa fresca, but I knew the kids would be eating the steak, not the salmon, and I could use the veggies in their lunches tomorrow, so…I sprinkled the salmon with sesame oil and soy sauce instead.

The children ate all the steak. I ate some salmon. I ate the roasted veggies that went with the steak. The children did not like the couscous (MY CHILDREN DO NOT LIKE COUSCOUS, WHICH IS ANOTHER FORM OF PASTA, WHAT THE…).

Short review: Salmon was very fresh, excellent quality. Veggies for salsa fresca were very fresh (and will be great as crudites for the kids’ lunches tomorrow, because no way was I going to chop everything up just for myself). Maybe the kids would have eaten the couscous if I hadn’t put granulated garlic on it, but honestly they don’t mind garlic, so…I think we’re just not couscous eaters. I don’t love it, either.

In Short…

  1. I was pleased with the meal choices, variety, recipe layout, and quality of ingredients and packaging.
  2. I still suffer divorce guilt, and my kids are only here half-time, so when they are here, I will generally make them their favorites, which tend to have them eating a lot more vegetables than they ate tonight.
  3. I appreciate the chance to have them try new things, and it’s good for them, too.
  4. Getting out of our food rut was fantastic for a few meals.
  5. All in all (see “divorce guilt,” “favorite foods,” and “eat their veggies”), I can’t continue this.

SunBasket, you’re fine, but we’re not a great match at this time. Thanks for letting me try you at a discount.

How to Have a Fun and Productive Weekend When Your Minimal Plans Get Washed Out

This was my last kid-free weekend before two weekends in a row with them. I can’t wait to have my children back.

But…this weekend. I still haven’t developed much of a new community, and it’s not always reasonable to drive nearly an hour to hang out with my old one. So when, on Friday, my mountain bike club cancelled our Saturday morning ride due to forecasted rain, I fell into despair.

Me. Alone. Entirely. All weekend. Friday, when I left work, until Monday morning, back at work. No plans. No interactions with other humans. Me, the cats, the guinea pig, the rain.

1. Sell Stuff and Make Your House Seem Bigger.

Buck up, chica. First, I texted the two people scheduled to come to my house Saturday to buy some items I was selling (including a massive piece of furniture that came with the house, and I hate it and it is too big and dark and not useful) to let them know I’d be around in the morning after all. 

2. Run With Strangers and Make a New Friend.

Saturday morning, the stuff was gone (and cash in my hand, thank you FB Marketplace) by 9 a.m. Meanwhile, I’d posted to a new town running group to see if anyone wanted to join me for four miles (as the arrival of the people buying the thing would make me miss a scheduled local group run). Someone responded, saying four miles was her dream, but she can only do one mile right now.

Great, I wrote back. Why don’t we run 1 mile together and I’ll do the rest on my own?

So we met! I ran to meet her. She had a toddler in a stroller. We ran nearly two miles together — her furthest in at probably three years — talking nonstop, and then she said she had to walk but I could keep running. I said I’d walk with her. We walked for another two miles, talking about everything food and cooking and adjustment to parenthood and exercise! It was great. She told me where to find a great (and cheap) farmstand I hadn’t tried yet.

And, it reminded me of how very much I’d like to become a running/fitness coach for new moms, to encourage them and help them realize they can do it, they can get fit again even if they’ve let it slide. It is really time to pursue that and start the certification process.

3. Declutter and Clean. All Day.

Then I ran home and proceeded to deal with my house.

My dining room had become kind of a shitshow, between that huge thing and another medium-sized piece of furniture my mother had delivered. I moved stuff to the basement, I moved furniture around, I moved a shelf of plants from the living room to the dining room.

And now both rooms are really nice spaces that feel open and bright, and I love it.

I cleaned almost all day Saturday. So much cleaning and decluttering. But it was just me, with nothing on the schedule, knowing this was my last chance before school starts.

4. Canvass for a Candidate who Might Bring Change.

Today, I drove to another town to canvass for a Democratic state rep candidate. Planned Parenthood volunteers called me two weeks ago to ask if I was interested in volunteering for their endorsed candidates, so here I was, out in the pouring rain knocking on doors and talking to people. It was interesting how support (or hostility) seemed to vary by street in the neighborhood we were in. You could practically slap labels of R or D on the cul-de-sacs.

5. Meet Ex-Boyfriend for Lobster Sandwiches.

Then I cruised into Cambridge to meet an old friend for a quick lunch of lobster sandwiches and catching up. OMG, so much lobster stuffed in that toast, so good. And always nice to see him.

6. Meet “Friend” from Facebook for the First Time Ever IRL for RBG Movie.

Then I was off to the MFA to mee another FB stranger (but one I’ve been “friends” with for over a year–we met in a foodie group, I think) to see the RBG film. She was lovely, and the film was great. Somehow I did not cry, though thinking about how hard RBG has worked and how much she has accomplished and how tireless and strong and smart she is–and yet how much more work needs to be done–is depressing. She’s a total superhero.

7. Grocery Shop.

Like a responsible grown-up whose children will return tomorrow. They need food and things like fruit and pretzels for snacks at camp, and they might not enjoy the inventive, spiky things I eat when they’re not around (dragon noodles, sopa de ajo).

So. That’s how a sort-of introvert with few local friends spends an unplanned weekend.

 

 

My Current Life

I admit, I am still fairly untethered after our move last summer. The kids have settled in and made friends, which is really what counts. But me? Still looking for community. I’m not the me I was a year ago. I’m kelp in the ocean. I’m a milkweed seed in the breeze. I’m…I don’t even know. I’m alone. I sense I’m gonna be alone for a long, long time.

I sort of wish we hadn’t left the city, though we had to.

I’ve started mountain biking again, and I am getting to know one group I regularly ride with. I had high hopes for a women’s mountain biking group that formed last fall, but it’s kind of fallen apart. Meanwhile I’m riding with what seems to be a bunch of middle-aged men (they’re really nice and welcoming and don’t hit on me, so that’s awesome) and occasional women every week, so there’s that.

Recently I found an old notebook with notes from an event or conference I attended; I forget which, but one line I’d written said, “Find your community.” I think this was a Ming Tsai (the chef) event, because there was also something about peeling ginger with a spoon and that was definitely Ming.

It’s been hard to find my community, and I’ve gotten much more used to being alone. It doesn’t freak me out as much, going days without really interacting in real life with other humans. And sure, it helps that I’m now working onsite and therefore at least see other people all day. But I’m alone. I’m probably the most alone I’ve ever been in my life.

Hi, my name is Alone.
I’m OK with it, mostly.

Most of my old social life revolved around running. I can’t run much now. And the running-with-my-new-town-running-group has not worked out so well. I can only join their weekly runs every other week.

Dating life? Really, you think I’m going to go there? I’m not. Sorry. Let it be said: I am quirky (also known as “weird”), boring, have an unfriendly schedule, and want to spend at least one of my two free weeknights mountain biking. So…the dating pool is small.

But hey, fun fact: I’m in a foodie group somewhere on social media, and it’s a wonderful community. Funny and weird and into food and we also all have to meal–plan thanks to children and life, so…And it makes me realize I end up giving the few people I’ve dated a food nickname, based on some food-related incident with them.

So. My life. My radishes bolted, my lettuces are rich and excessive (why so much fucking lettuce, whyyyyyy), my cucumbers all sprouted blossoms overnight, my tomatoes look tired, my strawberries are almost dead…

…and my whole inherited cottage garden situation has gone from “enchanting” to “holy shit, that needs to be edged and weeded and mulched and is that a weed or will it bloom???” Something I thought was a weed is gooseberries. Gooseberries. It’s by sheer luck I didn’t chop it.

Ok, so my full name is I’m Alone and I Don’t Know What Is In My Garden.

See why I’m alone? Doesn’t it all make more sense now?

#weirdos_unite

 

 

 

A Touch of Melancholy: My Baby Turns 10

Never before have I started crying in the baking aisle of Market Basket, I think, filling my arms with different colored writing icings and birthday candles and regular icing (because people, let’s face it, Ms. DIY is not going to have time to whip up several colors of icing in the morning to decorate the giant birthday cookie, and no one will care if the few dollops of fancy decoration don’t taste homemade, right?). Tomorrow my firstborn turns 10, and for the very first birthday of his ever, I will not be with him to start his day.

Yeah, thankfully I will get to pick him up from school and have dinner with him and go to his orchestra concert, so there’s that.

But we’re both morning people, and tomorrow morning, he’ll be without me.

I know his dad will get up and they’ll do something fun, go biking in the woods or go out to breakfast or something. He’ll be very happy. But I won’t see my baby, age 10, first thing.

I was feeling pretty OK about M’s birthday tomorrow. We were all cheerful when I dropped them off at school this morning. I don’t know why I got sad tonight; probably because I won’t see him until tomorrow afternoon, and it seems like such a special day. And yes, to get sappy, ten years ago tonight I was refusing to accept the fact that I was in labor, because although I’d been pregnant for more than nine months and my baby was well overdue and my water had broken hours earlier, I was still not entirely ready to accept the massive life change that was about to happen to me and sort of thought that as long as I didn’t give birth, I could maintain the status quo.

Or something.

My scrawny little overdue scrap of a newborn has become…well, he’s still pretty lean, but tall (thanks, grandfathers on both sides!) and smart and kind and has a pretty spectacular sense of humor and can’t stop reading, and it’s so great to see him run on the soccer field and you should see him ski glades, and I love how he shows affection to me and his brother in a way that doesn’t openly show affection but is pretty damn clear.

He’s low-key. He keeps his feelings close. He feels things deeply. He’s kind, and responsible, and caring, and he’s happy to join me in making up silly songs for and about the kitties.

And so ultimately this is a birthday letter to my beloved firstborn. M., child, I love you more than you could ever know. Happy birthday, kid. Tomorrow’s gonna be great, and your party on Sunday is gonna be great, and you know what? YOU’RE great, and you are much loved.

Keep being you. And let’s keep singing to the kitties. They love it.

Big Apple Circus Review

It’s here, it’s here! The circus is here!

We have long been fans of the Big Apple Circus and were excited when it came back to Boston. Well, Somerville now. This year it is at Assembly Row, so not only is there plenty of parking, but it is also T-accessible. It was cold and sleety the day we went (you know, mid-April in New England). Our seats were fairly close to the ring.

The ringmaster, Ty McFarlan, was sparkly and commanding, and the clown schtick seemed to have a bigger role this year. My kids really get a kick out of the clown routines.

Elayne Kramer’s contortions were stunning.

 

The trapeze artists were a little nerve-wracking to watch. I thought they were going to hit the tent ceiling or the platform. In fact, one catch was not made, if you will, and the flyer fell gracefully to the net. It was exciting, but we wished the trapeze act had gone on longer.

There were amazing feats of balance and juggling, and the Anastasini Brothers did not fail to entertain in their icarian act, as always.

The Wallendas came out on the high wire, Nik cycling across as his wife hung below by her teeth (I kid you not). They successfully performed their 7-person pyramid, no easy feat, which required a massive amount of intricate coordination and communication to set up, get across the wire, and dismount.

In all, it’s a great two hours of daring feats and entertainment.

Details: 

The Big Apple Circus is performing at Assembly Row, Somerville, through May 13. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

It’s Big Apple Circus Time Again! #giveaway

It’s been a few years since we have seen the Big Apple Circus, and my kids have been asking (for most of that time) when we can go see it again.

Well, kids, the circus is coming to town! The Big Apple Circus returns to the Boston area, playing under the Big Top at Assembly Row in Somerville, April 7 – May 6.

Here’s a video of some of the exciting things you can see the performers do (click the link to see the video).

And one of my lucky readers has a chance to win 4 tickets to the Sunday, April 8 at 4:00 pm. show. 

About this year’s season:

The 40th anniversary season program features the famous seven-person pyramid on the high wire with Nik Wallenda and TheFabulous Wallendas and the daring quadruple somersault attempted on the trapeze by The Flying Tunizianis – the first time in circus history that both legendary feats are performed under the same big topThe record-setting acts are joined by Dandino & Luciana, a dynamic duo who combine speed, acrobatics and daredevil grace on rollerskates; award-winning contortionist Elayne Kramer; master juggler Gamal GarciaJan Damm on the Rola Bola; acclaimed Risley acrobats The Anastasini Brothers (who broke the World Record for Most Flips on November 9, 2017); Ringmaster Ty McFarlan; and circus trainer & presenter Jenny Vidbel, who performs in the ring with 16 horses and ponies, as well as six rescue dogs.

These people have MUCH better balance than I do.

Why else is the Big Apple Circus so wonderful? From their press release:

Outside of the ring, BIG APPLE CIRCUS continues to honor the essential and iconic characteristics that have set it apart for the past four decades, with multiple community outreach programs and a vital no-wild-animals policy.  Circus of the Senses, which will take place on Wednesday, April 11 at 11:00 am, offers specially enhanced experiences for audiences who are deaf, blind, deaf/blind, visually impaired, or have cognitive or developmental challenges. The special performances include ASL interpretation, live audio description, pre- and post-show touch experiences, and a Braille program book. On Sunday, April 8 at 12:00 pmBig Apple Circus Embraces Autism, a sensory-friendly performance for autistic audience members, will feature lowered light and sound levels, a descriptive social story, and a professionally staffed “calming center” that can be accessed at any point during the show.

What’s not to love?

Giveaway: 

    • It’s easy to enter. Winner will be selected and notified by 10 a.m. EST on April 2, 2018. Winner has 24 hours to respond to the notification; if winner does not confirm within 24 hours, another winner will be selected. Tickets can be picked up at the performance.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Discount Codes: Save 25% on all Opening Week Performances,  April 7th through April 13th.

  • If you don’t win this giveaway, or you want to see the show a different day or time, I have discount codes for you!
  • Use Offer Code FAMILY25 when purchasing at Ticketmaster; go to www.BigAppleCircus.com and click Buy Tickets.
  • Tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster or at www.BigAppleCircus.com for all Boston performances.

Key Details for the BIG APPLE CIRCUS at Assembly Row, Somerville, MA:

  • Performances run Saturday, April 7 through Sunday, May 6, 2018.
  • Playing under the Big Top at Assembly Row, off Grand Union Blvd., Somerville, MA
  • Free Parking for 3 Hours is available on-site at Assembly Row.
  • Assembly Row is accessible via the Orange Line – Assembly stop.
  • For tickets, visit BigAppleCircus.com, Ticketmaster.com or call tel: (800) 745-3000.
  • Ticket prices begin at $25; early bird pricing is available through March 12th.
  • For Groups of 10 or More: (212) 257-2330 or groupsales@bigapplecircus.com

It’s Not About My Body

So recently I wrote about how I felt really fat and gross and out of shape and seeing a picture of myself ruined my night.

Well. The night before that, I’d gotten very little sleep, and everything was so off. After I wrote that post, I got a decent amount of sleep and felt normal the next day, and I liked myself again.

Yeah, it’s that fragile. Sleep is the culprit. Not the scale or my jeans or a bad pic. It’s about sleep, and while I rarely get enough, the night before that post I’d gotten almost none, somehow.

It really is not good for my head.

It felt great to be on firm footing again, after some sleep, and to realize I’m totally OK with my body. And I ended up not cutting carbs (because I don’t believe in cutting an entire macronutrient), and I ended up not using a calorie-counting app a running friend recommended, because I had an eating disorder as a teen and if I started counting calories again I could potentially spiral right into a hole.

Eating disorder as a teen. Shocking, right? Maybe in some ways it never leaves you. I eat what I want now, and many days I don’t exercise, and–unless I don’t get enough sleep such that it kicks off a bit of body dysmorphia–I’m OK with the condition my body is in right now. I can’t train hard these days. I can’t run a lot right now. I’m privileged enough to eat well and exercise sometimes, but I have to take care of my children, do well at my job, and pay my bills. Those are MUCH bigger priorities.

I have watched my thighs grow bigger and squishier without flinching, until I lost a night of sleep (and wore ill-fitting jeans), and that totally wrecked my perspective.

My body is fine. It looks great. I look good. I am definitely not as fast and can’t run as long as I used to, of course. That’s a little hard to accept, but it’s OK.