Writing This Week, or Not

Last Sunday’s shooting brought up a lot of heavy stuff about … so much. Let’s just sum it up as an overriding feeling of sorrow, anger, and grief, to keep it simple.

But children must be fed, and laundry must be washed, and deadlines must be met. I couldn’t get to a vigil on Wednesday because I had hot, hungry, tired children and also I’m not great at filtering news sometimes, so if they were to ask me what the vigil was about I’d probably have blurted out something about how easy it is for really disturbed people to buy guns and do terrible things to crowds of others (“Remember your ALICE drill, children? How you had to hide in your classrooms and pretend there was an intruder in your school, and you had to hide and stay quiet?”)…*

…and how even though people who aren’t hetero and gender-conforming have gained a lot of rights and acceptance in the past two decades, the world is really still not a safe place for them/us, and hand-holding in public can be dangerous, and I worry about friends living in less tolerant places…

…and even though what led to or at least made possible this shooting is a combination of the crappy gun laws and NRA control of Congress in the U.S. — as well as a still overriding homophobia in this country and elsewhere, despite legal gains — people are up in arms about Muslims again (or still are but even more so, even though extremism exists in every religion), and I worry about Muslim friends (and, yeah, Muslims I don’t know)…

And the divisions (religion, gay rights, gun control, racism, immigration, more) that have come up after this most recent mass shooting are so awful, like so much hate-pus being drawn out of a terrible deep wound.

Anyway, talking about it, or not. The children and I listen to public radio every morning, and I know they’ve heard about the shooting, but we haven’t talked about it, because I just can’t talk about it right now. And they haven’t asked about it. I think for whatever reason it didn’t catch their attention the way a plane crash might.

My very privileged children (white, male, in a nice suburb in a liberal bubble in the Northeast) have enough going on right now, even though their newly-separated parents are getting along well and we all get together for birthdays and for dinner sometimes and we all see each other all the time and we have a home (well, two homes) and books and toys and aren’t hungry. They know I have to move soon, they know we’re probably moving out of town but we don’t know where but it has to do with afterschool childcare and my working full time soon and other mysterious grown-up reasons. They know that lately I am a little tired and impatient, and they don’t quite understand why they’ll be going to summer camp instead of being home all summer, going to the pool and eating popsicles.

We’re so privileged.

So I’m sorry. I meant to start writing regularly about running and food and work and life, but this week is a tough one.

Reader, thanks for being here. Know that you’re loved, and you’re not alone, and you’re OK as you. Go and be kind to strangers and loved ones.

* I might also be a little edgy because we have a second annual camping trip coming up in Connecticut. Right next to Newtown. Last year we met up in Connecticut with dear friends who’d moved away for a camping trip. It poured rain one morning, and despite great efforts at hanging a tarp, we decided to go to a diner for breakfast instead of eating oatmeal in the rain. We found a diner. It turned out to be in Newtown, Connecticut, six months after the shooting…and here we were, going to the diner that had fed so many rescue workers, with four children, two of them first-graders. I have possibly never been so self-conscious. There were framed newspaper articles on the walls about the shooting and the diner’s role as a place of gathering and comfort.

I took some deep breaths.

And then the kids KNOCKED OVER a table, jelly packs and sugar packets and ketchup and syrup bottles on the floor. WAY TO KEEP A LOW PROFILE, KIDS. I was mortified, but the diner people were very kind about it.

We’re going there again in a few weeks.

 

 

If You’re Wondering Why I Am Tired

[Scene: Alarm goes off, I hit snooze, I finally wake up and find older child next to me. I get up and have coffee and make breakfast before waking up the kids. I return to my room.]

Me: Good morning! Why did you come into my bed?

Max: I don’t know.

Me: Do you remember grabbing my face in the night? [He’d reached both arms over to solidly grab my face/head and pull it toward him.]

Max [waking more and slowly smiling]: Oh, yeah. I had a dream I was washing an apple and I was drying it but then Ben took it from me.

Me: So you grabbed my face?

Max: Yeah, I thought it was the apple and I was pulling it back from Ben!

Me: My head was the apple?

Max: Yeah!

 

 

Previous night, 3 a.m.: Cat coughing up hairballs, Ben climbing into my bed.

Night before that, 3 a.m.: Cat yowling, birds chirping.

 

 

A #SummerCravings prAna Giveaway and Stonyfield Recipe

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 9.39.30 AMIt’s technically not quite summer, but it feels like it, and I’ve been craving the lighter clothes and lighter foods of summer. We’ve already been swimming (in a pond, on the Cape) and eagerly await the true marks of summer, when my farm share starts up and the local pools open and school’s out (Massachusetts schools get out in late June).

Summer Clothes

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my new prAna Quinn dress, which is comfortable, pretty, and sustainably made. It’s nice enough that when I recently wore it with a cardigan to a parents’ event at school, someone asked me if I was heading to work afterward! The dress is equally at home on the beach or around town.

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Serious face due to trickiness of selfie attempts, with the neighbor’s cat trying to “help” by rubbing against the table/chairs on which my phone were propped.

The Quinn dress is made of a stretchy, quick-drying fabric and has a shelf bra (yay! — I hate putting on an actual bra in summer!). Like a lot of prAna clothing, it’s made partly from recycled polyester, and it is made using bluesign® systems, an environmentally friendly and sustainable production system.

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Ready for summer in my #prAna dress!

Summer Food

I’ve long had a bookmark to this great chopped spring salad recipe and finally got around to making it last week. It calls for chopped spring vegetables (such as radishes, scallions, and greek-whole-milk-plain-30ozcucumber) drizzled with a yogurt-based dressing and sprinkled with herbs.

I had only parsley (which I forgot to use) and just used what veggies I had on hand: sweet peppers, cucumber, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, carrots. I only really cared about the dressing, frankly, but modified it (of course!).

I put the chopped salad on top of a huge bed of greens, then put shredded poached chicken on top of that, then drizzled on plenty of the dressing. A quick grind of lemon pepper, and I had a great dinner!

Zippy Summer Dressing/Dip Recipe (adapted from Bon Appetit)

  • 1/2 cup plain Stonyfield Whole Milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1.5 T lemon juice
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, grated or minced (I think more is better, but it’s up to you)
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • a few grinds of black or lemon pepper, for serving

Whisk all ingredients together. Adjust seasonings. Drizzle over salad, toss with veggies, or use as a dip.

chopped spring salad on greens with chicken and a zippy yogurt dressing

chopped spring salad on greens with chicken and a zippy yogurt dressing

Discount Code

Do you have #SummerCravings for something from prAna? Here is a discount code for 15% off of anything at prAna.com! Use code SCS16JUMA.

  • Not valid for Influencers, on Gift Certificates or valid with any other offers
  •  Valid June 1 – July 7, 2016

Giveaway!

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to Stonyfield and prAna, I am giving away one Quinn dress! Winner selects color and size.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Winner will be selected on June 22.
  • Giveaway is only open to U.S. citizens.
  • Prize will be shipped directly from prAna.

How to Give MY Cat a Pill

I know there’s a really funny thing out there about how to give a cat a pill, which ends in drinking whiskey and rebuilding furniture or something.

It is spot-on, in general.

Tonight (and tomorrow night) I have to give my cat a pill. I stupidly wore shorts and a strappy tank and did not bring a towel to wrap her in.

Also, I’m off my game in other ways. I held her on the couch and got the pill onto the tip of her tongue, as if that was useful. She promptly spat it out.

I wondered if I should change into heavy jeans and a thick fleece for protection, and wrap her in a towel, but decided to try one more time. I put it in the side of her cheek.

She immediately clawed her way free and ran into the dining room, where she spat the pill onto the floor.

The she sniffed it, lipped it up, and ate it. She ate it. She took her pill herself.

I am not shredded and bleeding.

This is great and confusing. Confusing. I’m not dead. She took her pill herself.

Yay, kitty!!

The Kitty Is In…thanks to a cat fight

My cat has a bestie. A best friend. He waits for her on our front steps for when we let her out, be it 8 a.m. or 3 a.m. Even cuter, they are almost identical, except his face is longer, he has a paunch, and he’s known for sprawling on the bike path or sidewalk to be petted by everyone. Everyone loves and knows T–.

He looks so much like our cat that I’ve had a neighbor call me to complain my cat is meowing at her door (I don’t think so, sorry, my cat is sleeping on my bed right now!). It was T–. He’s even come into our house a few times to eat.

We know his humans. They live a few doors down. They seem really nice. We’d probably be friends if we four adults weren’t always hurrying around getting our kids to daycare and preschool and school and ourselves to work.

Anyway, right around the time C moved out, two months ago, our cat got kind of depressed. After all, C left for work after I did, so he had been around in the mornings to pet her. He went to bed after me, so he stayed up late petting her (he’s not some weird cat guy — he loves and takes good care of our kitty). So suddenly C was gone. The kids weren’t around half the nights and mornings, half the weekends. Our home was weirdly quiet and she wasn’t getting as much attention.

Worse, right around then T– got into a cat fight. He was a week or two past his rabies vaccination date, so he has to be quarantined (indoors, in his own home) for six months. Poor Hunter. The man is gone. The kids are gone sometimes (well, maybe she was liking the quiet?). Her best kitty pal was nowhere in sight. 

We rallied. C stopped by to pet her. The kids and I made foil balls (her favorite) to play with her and set up paper bags and boxes for her. I brushed and petted her as much as possible.

She got back to her old self.

But. She and T– are standard tabby domestic short-haired house cats, normal cat-sized cats. We’ve had a few problems with a big, fluffy black cat, and I’ve broken up a few nighttime or evening fights. Now there’s a new cat around, or two, both also big and fluffy, one dark orange, one buff. There have been so many cat fights.

A bite from one of the orange cats is what landed T– in quarantine. Then our cat got into two fights in a row, once mid-afternoon with both orange cats involved, once at 3 a.m. with the buff cat.

Then she started hiding in the closet, not eating, limping.

Diagnosis: “Bite of unknown origin” on her foot. Thankfully not abscessed yet, but her temperature was up and the foot was swollen. The vet cleaned it and gave her a rabies booster…

…and told us that according to state rabies law, even though our cat is up-to-date on her rabies shot and just got a booster, she has to be kept indoors for 45 days.

In late spring/early summer. For an indoor/outdoor cat. Who would much rather be outside, smelling all the smells and chasing things.

She’s feeling better enough that she’s already yeowling to go out, and I haven’t even gone to bed yet. I will probably not get much sleep until mid-July.

What I’ve Been Cooking: Eating Down the Freezer

This isn’t the sexiest post I’ve ever written, but sometimes when you’re going to be moving* and you like to keep a well-stocked pantry and chest freezer you think, “Yowza. I don’t want to move all of this, too!”

My freezer is worse (better?) than my pantry. It is stocked. Veggies from our summer CSA, organic beef and chicken (usually, but we’ve used it all up), berries, banana chunks for smoothies (and six whole bananas C threw in there once), frozen veggies from the store, chunks of a whole coconut we’d broken up, cranberries from the Cape, peaches from last summer, homemade stock and pesto, tasty things from Trader Joe’s, a frozen pizza.

That’s rather a lot. Plus I sometimes tend to put leftovers in there, too. Maybe I’m a little bit of a food hoarder, but I like to have stuff on hand.

Our pantry is less full, but it has a fair amount of food in it, mostly pasta, grains, and beans. And canned tomatoes. It’s really quite reasonable, not excessive, but we’re not going to starve, that’s for sure.

On my own, and with the kids gone half the week, and thus my not having to cook a major meat-containing meal every night, I’ve started to making recipes that catch my eye or that I’ve been wanting to try for a while and also generally simplifying what I cook. In addition, I’ve again begun cooking out of interest and pleasure instead of as a dull repetitive chore.

I once again love to cook!

I went through the freezer the other day, partly to see if I had anything affected by that recent listeria recall (I did not) and partly to see what was in there. Year-old birthday cake? Goodbye. Year-old unfrosted cupcakes? Six-month-old pastry dough? Two-year-old pesto cubes (ugh)? Gone, gone, gone.

Here’s what I’ve been cooking lately, using up what I have on hand:

Cacio e Pepe: It’s like adult mac-and-cheese. So simple, so delicious. I don’t make it quite like Mark Bittman does, but it’s lovely. I also made another version with fried sage leaves (oh…..so good) and threw in some fresh spinach leaves just before the pasta was done cooking. Helpful tip: Frying sage leaves in brown butter can make your house smell like pot (come on, I went to a small liberal arts college in the ’90s). If you don’t like the smell of pot (I do not), ventilate well.

Fruit Cobbler: On Tuesday I took all the frozen berries and that one remaining sheet of puff pastry and made a cobbler, also adding chunks of fresh mango and some of last summer’s peaches, which I’d managed to peel and slice last summer (and froze in anticipation of making jam at a later time, which I haven’t yet done…). The puff pastry wasn’t great. Maybe I didn’t vent it enough, but it was soggy and thick. And the fruit was really runny. Tasty, but I should have done something different.

Banana Bread: The same day, I defrosted the six whole frozen bananas and made a 9×13 pan of chocolate chip banana bread…just in time for yesterday’s epic seven-boys/two-moms playdate.

Chocolate Chia Pudding: Yesterday morning, I made chocolate chia pudding. I had no nut milks/rice milk on hand, and while I do have very nice cows’ milk in the fridge, I decided to use a can of coconut milk (with the fat skimmed off to save for another use). It seems a bit too chocolately for the texture, frankly. I think this would be good mixed with a good whole-milk yogurt (Greek or not, whatever’s on hand) to balance the flavor and texture.

Vegetarian Chili: Max wanted chili for dinner last night. After our epic seven-child playdate I needed to make something quick. Thus this delicious skillet chili. This nicely used up most of an onion, some carrots and green peppers from the produce drawer, two cans of beans, and a can of tomatoes. Alas, my chili powder and cumin seem to have moved out with my husband, so I found a half-packet of Trader Joe’s taco seasoning and put a little of that in. Ben complained the chili was too spicy but otherwise liked it. I would have used more of that seasoning but it has a really strong note of cayenne and not much else (that is, to get the other flavors you’d have way too much cayenne going on). I had to add water to the chili to make it soupier for my traditionalist children, who like a soupy chili instead of a bowl of beans. With some shredded cheese on top, it was delicious and everyone ate two bowls (yay!!).

Veggie Tempura Nests: I didn’t really make these. I had some from Trader Joe’s (man, I have a lot of TJ’s stuff in my freezer!) and wanted to use them up and thought they’d be a nice counterpoint to the chili. Ben didn’t like them, and Max thought they were just OK, so I ended up eating them all (don’t judge).

So that’s what we’ve been eating. I also, when I can, maybe every other week, make a trip to a local produce market and stock up. Then I roast big pans of eggplant and peppers and summer squash and zucchini and make big salads, and another night I might grill a pile of veggies as I continue to learn to master the charcoal grill (windy days are tricky).

What I’d like, frankly, is a big juicy steak, cooked rare. Alas, I haven’t yet found one in my freezer, fridge, or pantry. Maybe when I get the chest freezer nearly empty and schedule a pickup for a big pile of stuff to donate, I will celebrate with a steak. Let us hope I’ve fully gotten the hang of the charcoal grill by then.

*I don’t know where yet. But it will be sometime this summer, away from the city. And yes, I’d probably be better off focusing on cleaning the basement and getting stuff ready to donate, but hey, we need to eat, right?

Fitness at Home: Work Out in Your Living Room

I care about fitness. I care about having a functional, strong, healthy body. Also, I need to move and be active and challenge myself. And running for hours or doing a hard workout or spending 60 or 75 minutes doing yoga is fun for me. I’m really connected to my body, and often I stay centered through fitness. And, yes, the endorphins sure help a lot!

When the Kids Are at Their Dad’s

On my days without the kids, I go to the gym before work or go for a run or do a boot camp-style workout with a friend. Or, okay, sometimes I wake up early and then just lie in bed reading The New York Times on my phone. That’s nice, too. If it’s a weekend, I’ll meet my trail group for a run in the woods or go to yoga. Or, you know, lie in bed reading on my phone.

Single-Parenting Workouts

When the kids are here, however, I obviously can’t go for a run, and by the time I drop them off at school and get downtown there’s no time to get to the gym. My boot camp friend could come over and work out with me in my yard at dawn, but sometimes one (or both) of the kids gets up  and climbs into bed with me at quarter past it’s-anyone’s-guess. And I fear that if I’m not in the apartment but instead out in the yard, the child would search everywhere for me but not think to look in the yard (because when you’re half-asleep and needing Mommy, why would you check the backyard, especially if it’s barely light out??).

I’m just now getting to the point where 1) my hip is recovered enough that I’m ready to return to regular workouts and 2) I’m finally ready to get up early and work out on the days the kids are here. I’m tired lately, people. And that’s OK. Lying in bed reading before the day starts is a luxury.

Wednesday

This week, there was one day I got up early, ready to rock, except there was nothing to rock. I couldn’t leave the apartment. And I’m terrible about working out on my own. I know what to do. I could easily do an hour or more of yoga or circuit training or a boot camp-style workout or whatever. But alone — unless it’s running (and even then I like company!) — I’m not terribly motivated.

There. I’ve said it. I’m a very unmotivated fitness freak. I’m an introverted extrovert athlete. I’m a hermit until it comes to working out, which I can do for hours on end as long as I’m with other people.

Whatever.

I realized it was early and I should make good use of the time before the kids got up. Full disclosure: Ben had climbed into bed with me at 4:30 a.m., waking me at exactly the point in my sleep cycle at which I cannot go back to sleep, and then his small body somehow took up most of my bed. I had somehow nearly dozed off again when he started laughing in his dreams. I love that sound. Max used to laugh in his sleep all the time (maybe he still does). To hear Ben laugh in his sleep was delightful, if not terribly restful. It was, by then, nearly 5 a.m., and I gave up.

Scones

Anyway, there was a scones recipe I’d been wanting to try (more on that later).

Scones in the oven, I still had an hour before the kids would get up I had to get the kids up for school. I was so antsy to move.

chocolate chip scones with whole wheat flour; sort of a fitness treat?

Not necessarily your typical fitness treat, but they’re really good whole wheat chocolate chip scones.

Fitness Online

I’d retained enough of what I’d seen C and the kids do with the TV that I knew there was some kind of yoga or fitness channel somewhere. Long story short (wow, I’m getting more and more like my father every year — love you, Dad!), I found it is possible — very possible — to get in a good workout in your living room even if you’re an unmotivated/socially-motivated fitness slug like me.

I found my workouts on the Gaia channel (don’t ask me, maybe it’s a ROKU thing? I don’t really know how to work our TV except to use that device).

First workout: Kate Kendall, Flow Barre: Spicy Buns, 19:27. Kate Kendall is a lovely person who does these yoga/barre workout videos. You usually need a mat and a chair, and she’s filmed in some lovely location (a garden in Thailand? I have no idea). She’s approachable, friendly, knows when it burns, and will get you to the burn point in this nearly 20-minute workout before you’ve quite realized you’re going there. Go, Kate. She has a few other videos on the Gaia channel; I’ve done one other before “Spicy Buns” which is, as its name implies, a hip/glute workout.

Second workout: Rebekah Sturkie, The FIRM: Get Chisel’d: Kick It Into Gear, 14:29. Rebekah Sturkie is all business as she took me through a cardio/kickboxing routine. Mostly I could keep up (I’m terrible with learning new steps). She kept it simple, named the steps, and warned in ample time if a new step was coming up. She was relatively easy to follow, and the sequence got progressively more active (side kicks, knee-up, punches, front kicks). It definitely got my heart rate up and a sweat going. I would love an hour of that workout, but the almost 15 minutes was all the time I had left before I had to jump into the shower and then wake the kids. It was a really good and efficient workout, considering it was only 15 minutes.

So there you go. There are plenty of online/TV resources if you’re stuck at home and want to work out. I know Rebekah Sturkie is on YouTube if you don’t have Gaia.

And dangit, now I have no excuses, right? These people are just so personable that working out alone doesn’t feel so…alone.

Three cheers for learning how to use the remotes!

[This is not any kind of promotional post. I’m just trying to share what I found one morning when I wanted to work out at home. I’m sure there’s lots more out there, and I’ll share it as I come across it. Enjoy!]

On “Annie” and Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

I took the boys to see “Annie” tonight. I’d been tossing around the idea of taking them to the Big Apple Circus, which is an excellent circus (creative, funny, with all kinds of exciting acrobats, and they’re kind to animals and have sensory-friendly shows for people who can’t take a lot of noise and flashing lights and such).

But we’d missed all the “buy one get one free” ticket dates. And the last time we went, I was there to review it, which meant spectacular seats, which are not quite in the budget right now. Plus, I wasn’t up for schlepping the kids by T all the way into Boston, getting home late (or getting home right in time for an afternoon of soccer and T-ball with no time for lunch).

I was sorry to have to miss the circus, but then I found out the local middle school was putting on a performance of “Annie Jr.” tonight. I have no idea why it is called “Annie Jr.” It was basically “Annie,” the musical. I haven’t seen it since I was five or so (and no, I’m not going to do the math for you on how long ago that was), so maybe there’s more to the story, but let’s just call it “Annie.”

Of course I made the boys hit the bathroom before the show. And there was the “Boys’ Restroom” and “Girls’ Restroom” and then this:

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Yay, Ottoson Middle School!

 

We headed right for it.

The boys had some questions about this. Why did they have this bathroom, which was a good-sized single-room bathroom? Who would use it? Why would anyone need it if there’s a girls’ room and a boys’ room?

“Well,” I began, “some people might not feel comfortable in the boys’ bathroom or the girls’ bathroom.” Never mind the wheelchair accessibility issue, which I completely overlooked in this conversation; bathroom rights are on my mind.

“Why?” Max asked.

“Well, they just might not feel comfortable in there, or going to the bathroom in there.” Wow, I am lame.

“But why not?” Max persisted.

“Well,” I began again, “some people who are born as boys feel more like they are girls, and some people who are born as girls feel more like they are boys. And so they might not feel comfortable in a boys’ or girls’ bathroom.”

“Oh, you mean ‘transgender,'” said my wise second grader. “So a boy feels more like a girl.”

Right, thanks, yeah, that’s the word I was looking for, child.

“Yes,” I said. “Well, not exactly. It could be a girl who feels more like she’s a boy. Or someone who feels like they are either or neither, they’re a person without having to be a boy or a girl.”

And then, in a rush, I remembered the middle school years and all that might happen there — periods, having to take a dump at school, weird body stuff, whatever.

“Oh,” I added, “and sometimes people just want to be in the bathroom by themselves. Do you ever want to use the bathroom by yourself at school?”

My children looked confused. “No. Why would anyone want that?”

Nope. I am not going to get into early menstruation here.

“So where did you learn about transgender people? And do you have any questions about it?” They did not, and they ran off down the hall toward the theater. We’ll talk about it more another time.

And then we miraculously got pretty good seats in the middle school gym, and when we found out we still had another half-hour before showtime, we played tic-tac-toe and I bought the boys some candy and we had a grand old time. It’s nice to see them so happy.

When the show began — this middle school production easily on par with the community theater I once performed with up in Maine — the boys were mesmerized. I wasn’t sure they’d be into “Annie,” since they’re so into “Star Wars” and wars and battles and Nerf guns and are definitely not into singing and not entirely comfortable with dancing and here they were at an entire musical about little girls and everyone’s singing and dancing.

They loved it. They loved it all. They were as rapt as they’d been at the circus, in fact.

After intermission, as we waited for the second act to begin, Ben said, “This is boring!” and I tensed but then realized he meant the intermission.

Best part, maybe? He clapped. This is a kid who hates when I applaud at any event. It bugs him, and he tries to block my hands. Tonight? He clapped. After every song. And so did Max. They’d close up their push-pops (don’t judge) and applaud.

So. Congratulations, local middle school, for an excellent and full-hearted production. And extra congratulations, local middle school, for your gender neutral bathroom and the conversations it brings up.

Applause.

 

 

Without the Kids

We’re all still adjusting to the new schedule, but we’re coming along. Some things haven’t changed much: I still pick the kids up from school every day, for example. And we’re all together each weekend for T-ball and soccer, plus we all see each other on soccer practice nights during the week.

My first weekend without the kids, I kept busy. Very busy. I transformed my living room from an unlit space with merely a chair, a rug, and a TV to a warm, inviting, somewhat stylish place with a couch, a side table, lamps, and a plant (thanks, IKEA and the woman whose moving sale I happened across on my way home from a trail run!).

The weekdays are just busy, anyway, what with work and school pickup and trying to get done what I can and figuring out who has the cleats and which house has the favorite pajamas and do the kids have pants for tomorrow. Tonight felt like the first real night of being without the children.

I brought the boys to meet up with C at a sporting goods store to get baseball gloves for the boys (alas, C and I couldn’t find any for ourselves at a reasonable price). Then in the parking lot I handed over their backpacks, kissed them goodbye, and headed off. Without them. It was jolting and freeing but mostly, at the moment, jolting.

Stay busy. I went to the grocery store and then home. The night’s plan for a coconut curry veggie soup had to be postponed because I wanted to get to a meeting. My road running club is trying to find a new location for their annual ultra, and I want to participate.

But home alone, making dinner (well, reheating leftovers from when I grilled on Saturday night — and ask me if I have finally mastered the charcoal grill. Yes, yes, I have. I’m very proud of this after an adulthood of gas grilling), I felt a great aloneness. It wasn’t terrible. But I realized that so many people live alone all the time, not just part of the time. They eat all their meals alone. I know it can be satisfying sometimes, but that seemed a little lonely to me, to have to eat alone most of the time.

Me, I ended up pretty happy to eat dinner and read the paper and then brush my teeth and head out. Would I have been so sanguine if I didn’t have somewhere to go? I don’t know. I would have found something to do, I’m sure. But I’ve had constant chaos and noise and movement for the past almost eight years. For me, the quiet and the not-being-in-charge-of-everything is not terrible. It’s hard to talk about what all of this is really like without sounding disloyal or unmotherly or… let’s just say that as a Capricorn introvert, this new quiet in my home is interesting.

Yes, keeping busy is my M.O. for now, and that’s OK. There’s plenty of time for meditation later. It’s OK to stay busy as we get used to this.

I met the group to brainstorm possible race locations, discuss pros and cons, and figure out next steps. I met new people. I laughed. I was asked for my opinion. I came up with ideas. I felt useful and independent.

And then home again, home again. On my kid-free days I can leave home super-early to get to the gym before work, but tomorrow I might try to get to a 6 a.m. yoga class instead. I’m not sure that will quite be possible, as it’s more than a mile in the wrong direction.

I’m always lugging lots of stuff to work: gym stuff, my laptop, shower stuff and work clothes (for after the gym), breakfast and lunch (in reusable containers, of course, so I lug it all home again). That’s a lot of stuff to lug. I don’t mind, but I’m not sure I can add a yoga mat and bike helmet to it all.

So it’s off to the gym tomorrow, and I’ll probably meet my running club for the track workout tomorrow night, mostly because I can.

Being alone sometimes is OK.

 

I kind of hate big announcements.

Hey, blog readers, I’m going to tell you something personal.

I’m telling you because you read my blog. Maybe you’ve been a longtime reader, someone connected since my exceptionally open postpartum depression days, or someone who just stops by now and then. In any case, I know my blog has really sagged lately for many reasons: my kids want privacy, I share a lot on Facebook that I previously would have talked about here, I no longer want to share as much personal stuff as I once did. And I’m busy with work and kids and no longer prioritizing my blog as much as I used to.

Anyway, we’ve told family, we’ve told close friends (and oh, dear friends, if I haven’t yet told you, it’s not that you’re not “the closest,” but I have a LOT going on right now–you have no idea–and I love you, and let’s talk), and as last weekend we have told the children: C and I are separating, heading for divorce. In short, it’s been a long time coming. We are fine, the children are fine. we have support, and his new place is very close to our current place. He moved out today.*

We’re OK. Feel free to ask me what you want to (I reserve the right not to answer), and please feel free to reach out if you want to hang out sometimes on weeknights or the weekends on which I will not be with my children. Which will be both freeing and painful. I’m here. You know how to reach me. Thanks for reading.

*Mostly. It will be a little while before the new place is fully set up. You know.  Lots of beds and stuff to obtain. It’s OK. There’s no rush. We’re getting there.