Susan's Blog

Friday, October 12, 2007

Not Giving You Short Shrift

Yesterday was a day full of pleasant surprises. It’s as if the Day-Fairy just did not want me to have a bad day, though at first I was determined. Most of it had to do with my boys. Ever wonder if good days are like good dreams, where they are just good because of some hormonal bath rather than the actual happenings? This Penn Professor does. (My Penn friends and I know Seligman a bit differently — he was the house master in our dorm, in fact he threw the party where Ned and I first met — but his theories do merit some real attention.)

Anyway these days I take more than one hormonal bath a day! So I started out kind of harried because of all that I had to get done. I had to do a million little stupids, like CVS, dry-cleaning, meat-buying, talk to the cleaning women about not letting the toilets run (because that stresses out our old waste pipe, which we have to coddle until we decide to bulldoze the MF), I also had to workout, etc., and I couldn’t find the nano (which replaced the shuffle, which died on my last run).

First I got an email from a good friend that really pissed me off. So I had to deal with that. Then I realized I had gotten a slow burn from a teacher at Ben’s school, with whom he had gotten in trouble. She seemed a bit harsh, wanted to do an incident report, all that. I had worked out an apology essay as the consequence, but she didn’t seem to want to let it go. So I knew I had to deal with that, and before my head built up to big a cloud of steam. Then another friend pissed me off, again on email. Syeestyer called and it was her day off but I knew I had absolutely no time to talk to her the way I wanted to, and when I did have a moment my phone was going “bee-woop” every few seconds; the battery was in the red. No cell-phone talkies for me, which is the only way I really like to talk on the phone: on my cell, while driving. Yes, I am one of those.

So I had a big nudgy burning in my belly for quite some time. I felt my day shredding apart. It was sure to be a lonely, hassle-filled day. I found myself wondering if I was going to have to flush Friend number one and Friend number two. I drove over to Great Eastern Trading Company after doing all of the above and hung out for a bit with Marlena, a bellydancer, who owns the store. I bought a white petal skirt and two pairs of really tarty earrings, totally gorgeous. Then, when I got home, there was a long email from Friend One. Very, very satisfying. And then, a brief but good email from Friend Two. So my equilibrium came back. I know it should not be so Other-dependent but that is me.

I went to the school to get Beast and have a heavy with that teacher. I noticed that my Tab column was up on the office door! That felt good. Upstairs I went, my heart pumping, my fingers ready to rip her head off.

She smiled really happily when she saw me, and totally disarmed me. I regrouped and told her that I wanted to make sure we were “on the same page about Ben.” We really were. I really liked her! The whole incident was, at last, over. I took my Beautiful Beast and went downstairs. We ran into his little friend, C, whom he loves. C wanted a playdate!

Then two or three friends who hadn’t responded to my party invite told me they were coming after all! The count is going up to 35+ which will be tight, even with a big livingroom. I decided, at last, on what my cake would be, and that was a relief, too.

Met and interviewed a young woman who will be working with Nat on weekends. A lovely person, with experience from working in Nat’s school! I felt very good about hiring her, and she seems to enjoy Nat quite a bit. He greeted her nicely. Huge load off my mind. Now we can get back to expanding his leisure and community skills at home (see, this is one of those things that I pay for out-of-pocket that Nat really needs in order to learn all that he has to learn about being in this world. My school system will not pay for this, at least not for enough hours).

I wrote and wrote some more Dirt. Really, really almost finished now. There was more that I had to say about Eric, it turns out, (thanks Melinda and Ned!). Up to 290 pages. Fell into bed after a long, fruitful day but found I could not stretch out my legs, no matter what I did. What the…?

The bed had been shortsheeted! I guess I should have been clued in my the Simpson’s joke book lying open to “pranks” that was sitting right on my dresser! Little B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Thursday, October 11, 2007

All the News That’s Wit to Print

I have restarted my column at the local paper, the Brookline Tab. You can read today’s column here. That is a really fun job. I get to write about the stuff going on in my heart and head, as long as I relate it to things going on in town. That kills many birds, happily, because I like talking about what’s going on around town. I like the opportunity to change people’s minds or make them think about something differently, or just from my perspective.

I have also mentioned before that I am now on the PTO board at Ben’s school, and that it feels surprisingly great. I am the communications co-chair, and so the newsletter described in the Tab column is my responsibility, as well as getting notices out to the Tab about important school events and speakers.

This job is far more geared to my skills and talents than being on the School Committee, which was largely a frustrating venture. There I learned all about being a “can’t-do” kind of person, where I learned all the things that that particular position could not, or was not supposed to, or people did not want you to, do. I felt like Chicken Little, always pointing out how the sky was falling (“There’s all these kids with autism who are not being well-served and it is going to be a crisis for the families and for the school system!” and “Social responsibility and social support need to be just as important as math and science and language arts!” and “If we don’t have enough money we have to go to the Town and scream for it!”) I also felt like the kid who said, “The Emperor has no clothes,” because it felt like so many others around me were all ga-ga over my school system — and as systems go, it is as very good one, of course, but far from Emperor- perfect — and I saw so many areas that needed work. Maybe I just groused too much. It was not for me.

But being in charge of a newsletter: YEAH!!! I get to edit awkward text to my heart’s content without having to present it first to a subcommittee, then to the full Committee for consideration, then wait another week for the full Committee to vote, and by then the issue would be a non-starter! On the newsletter, I get to decide what goes in and what stays out, and what gets premium, page one placement. And I have a vehicle for publishing Little B’s art! I scan it in, shrink it down, and stick it in. So much fun! I have asked for artwork from all kids, I hope that happens.

That’s all for today, folks.

A Curse on All Their Heads

My friend Michael Goldberg is my special needs news resource. Autism Bulletin is an excellent, no-nonsense, smart and elegant presentation of national special needs news stories, especially about autism. Today I read about a court case where the Supreme Court was tied regarding a New York City family, thereby allowing a lower court ruling to stand. So the family who had sued the city for cost of their child with LD won in this case. First I jumped to the conclusion that the family had been wronged by NYC and had triumphed. Then I learned that this was pretty much what I refer to as a “private school family,” one who sends their children to private school from the start. So when the family learned that their child had a disability, they asserted their rights under the law to public money for services, and the school system has to pay.

From what an NPR Marketplace report said, it does not appear that the family ever even tried the public school program. This sounds piggish, but it is not clear what they did; they may have explored the public school offering without actually sending their kid, knowing it was sub-par. Unfortunately the reporting makes it seem that the family, who is very wealthy, was acting piggish and snobby as opposed to possibly acting in the child’s best interests, not wanting to see the child fail first and founder in the public school.

I was once offered a public school placement for Nat at our high school that I never sent him to. I could tell that it would be too great a leap. I could not even get assurance that Nat’s aide would have special ABA training. I could not get a tour of the vocational component. So I said “no thanks,” sight unseen and continued to send him to his hugely expensive private program, at the town’s expense. Why should I consent to put Nat at risk like that? I know what the wrong supports can mean (read the book if you don’t know).

And so I reserve judgment on this case because I don’t know enough of the behind-the-scenes. It feels a bit unsavory to me, considering that the family always sends all their kids to private schools, and yet it could also be that in this child’s case, it was right to do so. Ability to pay is not a part of the IDEA, nor should it be. But I do confess that there are many, many services I have paid for on my own because I just couldn’t bring myself to ask my overburdened school system to pay. But — why are they overburdened?

Because state and federal legislators refuse to raise enough taxes to pay for the public education they have legislated because they want to hold onto their powerful jobs!!!! A curse on all their heads, as my great grandmother Sarel Wolfson used to say, referring to the Bolsheviks and the Tsar and his henchmen, the vile Cossacki.

Justice Anthony Kennedy apparently recused himself. When Ned told me this, we both looked at each other and said at the same time, “He must be a grandfather…”

In the end, is politics always personal? Is that inevitable, that we are informed by our personal experiences, but then we must strive to see beyond that and think of the Greater Good? But what is the Greater Good? I know, but do you? Of course you do, but we may disagree…

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So there

A packed, busy day. But to my disappointment, busy does not equal happy. I woke up far too early (5a.m.) and I’ve just been running all day. I had to give a talk today and I don’t feel that I did a good job. I felt that my talk was stale because so much has happened since that slide show I made. I felt more cynical, mature, and also protective of my boys’ lives. I don’t know what that means. It is hard to look at the beginning of their lives and go through it all, up until now. It is so hard. Sometimes putting words to things/people freezes them and makes them less than what or who they really are.

Maybe because I’m tired, I am not happy today. So I tried to think about my party and my costumes, the things that will always make me bubble up again. I made this tabblo mostly for Ned to help me decide which one is the best/favorite. I sent it to him at work but he wouldn’t even look at it! And then he left late. 🙁

Not making dinner.

Tiny Bubbles

Bubble, bubble
Toil and trouble.

Karma is a strange and satisfying concept. We had a big day yesterday. We had our first interview with the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR) to begin Nat’s transition planning, (in Massachusetts it is called Chapter 688, as opposed to Chapter 766, which entitles him to a public education and the services required to make that happen. I’ll bet some wanted to call it Chapter 666, because of all the money it takes and the paperwork it makes) because next month he’ll be 18. There are no entitlements post-22. It is then all about eligibility, need, and ability to get it. (We will have all three, I’m sure. I will be in fightin’ form for my boy.)

I came in with my sheaf of papers, all xeroxed and filled out, and the guy said, “Wow, you’re hired!” You bet I’m hired. He was very friendly and had some very good information for us. There is nothing we really have to do now, except start to research vendors and their services. That doesn’t mean I’m sitting on my ass. I made calls yesterday anyway. Fightin’ Form, Folks.

He gave us a great website and the name of the person in charge of our next step, discussion of services once eligibility has been determined. I started to feel that bubble of hope in my throat, probably not what one would expect after talking to a state agency that is chronically severely underfunded.

This office of the DMR happened to be housed in the Fernald complex, which has been the site of a large political and emotional controversy and an example of the terrible choices people in government are forced to make when there is not enough money to go around where it should. Taxes, hello? No? Okay, so here’s the choice, Solomon: Close an old institution for the severely mentally retarded and remove the vulnerable residents from where they’ve been living for decades? Can we really know how that will feel to those people? Or is it that we are seeking to take the huge profit those lands would bring and spread it around more effectively to the many, many other severely challenged DMR clients by investing in personal care attendant salaries, new, state of the art assisted living homes, group homes, job supports?

I think that you could probably still operate some of the residences there, the most needy and oldest residents, and try to transition out the rest to some first-rate residences and sell the rest of the grounds. Then plow all that money into those who transitioned out, and into the thousands of others who are probably almost as needy but living with aging parents or worse. Because if you don’t, what will people like Nat have as adults? What about the quality of his adult life? He is so close to being able to be somewhat independent. With just the right combination of supports, he could do it. I think he could do it. That is my hope bubble talking, and when it starts talking, there is no shutting it up. But don’t you dare try to pop it. Read the book, you’ll understand.

On our way into the Fernald, we passed the Shriver Center, which is where we first had genetic testing as a couple when we were going to have our first baby (guess who). Back then we were screening for Tey-Sachs disease, but we as a couple are not Eastern European enough to give it to our kids (due to NS’s Western European gene pool). Check Tey-Sachs off the long list. Okay, thank God.

The Fernald is also where Natty first went swimming with a class. Many schools out there use the Fernald pool because it is large and very warm.

And so there we were, at the Fernald once more, papers in hand, bubbles in throat, closing a loop.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ceci N’est Pas Un Blog Post

Very disoriented this morning. Ned and I went to the Middle East and stayed pretty late because we really wanted to see the dancers, one of whom is a friend. I also wanted Ned to know everyone there because I go there so often.

Tired, can’t really wake up, bad dreams where I was trying to clean out Mom and Dad’s fridge, and it was full of very heavy old carrots and and yams and old water, and I made a huge mess getting them out, because the bag ripped. Then neither of them would hug me. D’oh! Hello, Dr. Freud??!

(Which reminds me, the other night I had a wonderful dream, where Ned tossed me in the air and I could do a double flip. Then he filmed it, and we looked at it and I thought my thighs were really fat and dimply. Then I looked again and I realized it was not true. I woke up so happy.

Rain, Nat pacing and worrying about our neighbor’s light. They seem to leave it on all day when it’s rainy, curse them! If I call and ask them to shut it — well, I can’t, I am too wimpy. It just seems too farfetched. I have no coyach today. Argh. So it’s just a pacing and obsessing day until the sun comes out. I sure know how he feels.

Hah! I just called them and left a message, explaining our predicament and begging them to shut their outdoor light. I’m such an enabler!!! No, I’m a Defender of Darkness. No, I’m just a big squooshy Mommy, as Ned would say. (But not that big and squooshy, right?)

This counts as a blog post, though very high on the Lame-o-meter. But at least I did one good thing today.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

How Can You Not?

You, glorious deep red Eman Zaki, are next.
It is a sickness, I know…
But — red! Red!!!

Vale of Smiles

O terra adio, adio valle di pianti –Guiseppe Verdi, the best scene in opera ever

Got my first birthday present last night, from Beastie. Although I had planned to go to an escape room with my friends after my brother recommended me to go to this website and find it’s benefits, but as Ned and Ben both showed up at my front door early in the morning thus all the outdoor plans were cancelled. Ned and Ben couldn’t wait because I was planning my party decor and I kept saying how I was going to have to buy more chiffon for swags, because even though I already have 9 veils, half of them are not right for decorating (not big enough or too schvach in color). Then I said how I would make those lengths into veils when the party was over, but for now the plan is to take 8 veils of about 3 yards long each, and hang them in different places in the party rooms. The entry hall will have one or two as well, festooned overhead like the tunnels they created for the harem women to walk in privacy to the markets in ancient Turkey. (I wrote about this in my very first novel, In the Presence of Mine Enemies, copyright 1991, which takes place in Kiev and in Constantinople in the 1860’s.) I’ll put one long swag overhead down the center of the dining room ceiling. In the livingroom, I’ll do a pair from the windowseat alcove and maybe one above the fireplace mirror. In the fireplace, I’ll put a ton of candles on varied-height candlesticks. Clearing out the coffee table and another round table so that maybe people can dance, ahem.

So Ned and B presented B’s gift. I recognized the bag, from Great Eastern Trading Company in Cambridge. Two veils! I pulled out first one long, multicolored veil, that sparkled and is so incredibly light it will be a breeze to dance with. And the other is a deep and vibrant green chiffon, it looks like something the Sea Witch wore in the lenticular picture book of The Little Mermaid that I had as a child, with thick cardboard pages of dolls acting out the scenes. Oh joy! How did they do that? The most beautiful book ever! (The real one, by Hans Christian Andersen, that is very, very sad but beautiful, because actually the Little Mermaid, who is not given the yuppie name Ariel, has to choose between dying with her beautiful long hair or cutting it off. She chooses to die, of course, because this was Hans Christian Andersen, rather than Walt Disney.

I guess I can be thankful that Disney did not at least make this a hair-extension happy ending.). In the book I had as a child, the Sea Witch was beautiful. She was old, but had flowing long hair and a green seaweed dress. MMMMMMmmmmmmmseaweed dress. In a world of young bombshells in clamshell bras and shiny fishscale botoms, she had a bit of class. Not like that Ursula-octopus thingy. (Thank you NS for the picture)

This green veil — remember the green veil? — had little rhinestone beads sewn in here and there. Benj said, “It has jewelry,” knowing that this was something I would love. OH, LITTLE B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Was there ever such a lucky mommy? Bonjiorno veil of smiles!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Crazy Summer-Love

She’s a summer love in the spring, fall and winter.

I know that it is freakishly warm for autumn, but I think that is one of the things that is making me so happy. I usually kind of hate the fall, even though it has my birthday packed into it, because fall feels like an ending, like brown, dried-out death. Even the air is more brittle. The light is too bright and does not foster growth. I know it is pretty, but it is pretty like a supermodel; all the parts are right and perfect, colorful, sunny, and yet somehow, it is only that and kind of vapid and empty inside. Spring and summer are, to me, real, lush, full-bodied, perhaps uncomfortable, sweaty, chilly: the stuff that creates life.

So I’m being lulled into a happy summer state by the Indian Summer. It was 86 degrees yesterday (Boston!) and I could go for a run at the Rez in my old navy blue paint-spattered disintegrating Penn shorts (from 1984, rescued from Mom’s house) and fluorescent pink tank top. (Pink always helps you succeed, at whatever it is you’re doing.) No wind to hurt my ears. Ducks a-splashin’ and Canadian geese a-shittin’ everywhere like it was early June. The lake smell of the water. The happy oldsters walking and talking. The moms and nannies pushing fancy strollers, fat babies straining to get out. College girls going impossibly fast, no fat on their bouncy bodies.

Crazy weather, but so much fun. My iPod finally died, after all this time, at the halfway point, yet I could keep going because those same old Arabic and John Denver and Bob Dylan songs are just so in my head, that it was as if it was playing for real! I feel like I know the Arabic words by now, but of course I’m just singing it all phonetically. I have to ask my Lebanese friend what are the following words: damon, ay-wah, leysh, el, and one that sounds like Miss Honeydew?

Well, I’ve just had coffee cup number two (never as good as # one, that’s why it is #two) out on the porch, again, like it was July. So sweet. Made Natty a bagel and greeted N.S, who is shopping for a new stereo (our oldie finally broke; it is so old it came with a record player). He is also buying me a dark purple, fuschia, and lavender velvet costume with holographic beads and gold fringe for my birthday. Deep Purple: Wa-Wa-Waaa; Wa-Wa-Wa-ah; Wa-Wa-Waaa; Wa-ah. I will provide no link because you should be able to guess what that crazy thing is.

Boys two and three are still asleep, and probably look SO cute, but I’ll leave them alone. I will kiss Ned instead, who just got out of bed, a sleepy look about his head.

Ah, Saturday in the “summertime.” Feels like my whole life is stretching out lazily, like a beautiful, entitled cat.

Friday, October 5, 2007


I know I’m being so boring but I just have to write some more about dancing! I put on the full gold cossie tonight, hair in a high ponytail wrapped with a gold sparkly tiny turban, and a slave bracelet on my ankle, which looked fabulous and sounded jingly. I took out my longest veil, the very first one I ever bought, the pale pink chiffon. I must get more veils, my colors are hurtin’! I need the veils anyway for the after school kiddo belly dance class I’m teaching at Beastie’s school. Plus I will use the veils as decor for my birthday party.

I started with a bunch of Greek tunes from a CD M & D bought me, lots of jangly guitars, traditional lovely high-spirited stuff. Perfect for what I wanted to do, which was master the barrel turns! I did the turns with the veil in back and then in front, with a long mirror leaning against the living room bookcase. I was so excited about how great it looked that I called Ned in to watch. He loved it, too. I could really do it and by the end of the half hour I was no longer getting dizzy because I figured out exactly how to spot.

I am always amazed at how much my ballet training is used in bellydance. This new teacher likes us to do everything elevated, in rélevé (on the toes), which is very Egyptian. What I do is picture the hieroglyphic drawings, of the women in long straight gold skirts, hands bent artfully at angles, taking little steps. That is the spirit of this dance, with a lot of coquetry thrown in (lift the hair off the neck, or put your hand to your forehead, that kind of thing). I did throwing the veil down, throwing it up with one snake arm (shoulder, elbow, wrist, knuckle, fingertip), and you watch your hand with great interest. My audience goes crazy every time (it’s only me).

I’m just immersed in this Egyptian thing. I don’t know if it’s because it is all intrinsically beautiful or if it’s a little bit of forbidden fruit (Egypt vs. Israel), but that’s probably kind of bullshit. I think it’s mostly that I love that I’m doing this dance that is very close to ballet in discipline and form (on the toes, arms rounded but graceful, core straight up) but — the costumes are even more beautiful and the dance moves are far sexier!!! And you don’t have to be rail-thin, cause God knows, I ain’t. You have to love it, feel it, and then you are simply beautiful because you are it.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Turn, Turn, Turn

To everything, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under Heaven.
–The Byrds, and also, Ecclesiastes

Last night felt like a miracle to me. I went to my new bellydance class, ready to work hard, but a little nervous. Last week had been so hard, so new to me. I had never done turns before. So I had practiced them at home all week, and now I was feeling a little more confident to try them in class, but I knew something was still missing from what I was doing.

I walked in and went off to the side, where the barre was, and started stretching. A woman named Ritia came in shortly after and we started to talk. I asked her a few things about the mechanics of the three-step turn, and she answered me, but I was still confused. Then she showed me while the other women got ready. While I watched Ritia, something clicked about the turns — you are always supposed to start each turn from the same leg, so you need to do a small setting-up step in between turns. I tried this, thinking of her feet in motion, and I could do it.

The whole class then lined up in front of the huge mirrored wall and started warming up with Katia, our teacher, leading us. Katia, who is a delight, seemed more playful this week, or maybe it was that I was more relaxed, and could tell at the beginning of most things what it was we were supposed to do, but I found I could concentrate on the little nuances of most moves, the kind of accents that make your technique engaging and playful. I was so happy to be able to keep up with just about everything she had us do.

When it came time for each of us to do our turns from one end of the room to the next, I struggled a little, but was able to remember what I had just learned — with Katia coaching me. When I completed my row, Katia had the class applaud for “Lilia.” She calls me by my dance name! And I didn’t feel stupid, I felt proud. It was a truly wonderful moment.

Then we learned barrel turns, which is a gorgeous turn with a veil held behind you at arms’ width. As you turn, your arms and the veil appear to be making a fan shape, and a rhythmic flutter of colored fabric behind you. It is mesmerizing.

I could not do it at all at first, no matter how much Katia broke it down. Once she moved away from me, I asked Paulina, the woman behind me, who had it down, to show me what she was doing. She demonstrated how you just keep alternating one arm up overhead and then the other; using the veil makes it easier to get it right, we found. (My veil was pastel pink; hers was an earthy rust.) I realized that just by watching and feeling where her arms were as I raised my own, I could do it, better than when it was broken down tiny step-by-tiny step. I thought it was fascinating to realize that sometimes breaking something down into little steps hinders understanding. It makes you overthink at times.

You would think that, knowing me and how much I love to massage any point, overthinking would be impossible. And yet, in dance, it turns out that just doing may be more effective for me to learn.

I wonder. If that is true for me, could it also be true for Nat? But Nat is largely taught in a method that breaks tasks down to little steps. What if Nat needs to see the whole of something, or needs to understand the overall purpose of an exercise, for it to make sense?

I am now going to try to find ways to step back and show him things I want him to understand, all in one piece, because that might be the way he learns — like me.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Giving You The Time of Day

Here is my ranking of the times of the day:
1) Early morning. This is my favorite, because I feel so happy when I wake up, so eager to begin, so psyched to taste my coffee. I love watching the darkness gradually take on the familiar, beautiful shapes of my backyard view, the gray sky turn lavender and then pink and then suddenly blue. reading my email, unloading the dishwasher, making lunches, all when the house is quiet and I’m alone. It feels like a precious moment to me, kind of an “extra.”

At about 6:30 I have to wake up Max, to take his shower. I go in and he’s all covered up under his indigo comforter, a giant with my baby’s face, now roughened by beard. I can lean over and kiss him, rather than reach up. He is a complicated young man now, but in sleep, I can still remember who he was, who he will always be.

Nat’s already awake because he is such a light sleeper. He says, “Yes,” as soon as I come into his dark room. “You have a few minutes, Sweet Guy,” I say, and he, of course, says, “Yes.” I give him a kiss and tiptoe out but the old floors creak mercilessly.

Ben is never up and has to be awakened several times. His blankets are a mess, his sheets are twisted. He sleeps with an Uglyguy, and sometimes PBG (Purple Bed Guy, who apparently is a Pokemon, whom I don’t recognize) but no more Blue Beary. He is a little precious darling, he has my face, but with small, perfect features (no lumpy nose, no pimples, no marks except for the faint square freckle nestled next to his nostril, furry dark lashes, long, lanky perfectly blond-highlighted brown hair that no salon could ever duplicate.

2) Worst time of day: 4 – 5:30 p.m.. This is when everyone’s around, kind of frantic and nudgy, at loose ends. I’m supposed to make dinner and not eat sweet things, but my body is craving all kinds of bad stuff, and this is when the boys are circling like hawks, sensing the dinner hour, needing food, and just taking it when they can. They snare a mallomar, or some yogurt, corn chips, all when I’m too harried to say, “Take fruit instead.” I can no longer read or write because I really should be cooking. I am tired and grumpy and not at all sure when the relief troops will be here.

3) Pretty great time of day: 9:30 – 10:30 p.m. Kids are all upstairs, Ned and I have an hour to ourselves. He shows me funny stuff on his laptop and I tell him what’s on my mind. We problem-solve, snuggle, laugh, gossip, whatever. At 10:30 I am totally asleep. Ned laughs at how quickly I shut down.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Keys in the Song of Life

Songs in the Key of Life
by Stevie Wonder

I am working on a serious blog post, but it’s not ready yet (it even offended me!) so I’m moved to post another of my series called “Keys to the Universe.” These are items that always, always do exactly what I need them to do.

1) Nyquil. Any time I get the stupid tickly cough, just enough to keep me from sleeping; or the other extreme, the horrible, violent in-the-middle-of-a-juicy-cold cough, Nyquil will stomp it right out and put me to sleep for the entire night.

2) Two mugs of very strong Peet’s French Roast with a drop of cream and 1 1/2 Splendas. The staff of life. To wake me up after the Nyquil.

3) Run at the Rezzie. Even when I’m in pain, (perhaps from the chest-shattering cough), three times around the Reservoir clears my head. Must be sunny and warm, however.

4) iPod shuffle. I’ve used this one before, but that just means it is so good. Especially needed for my run at the Reservoir. Shuffle is good because I never know what’s coming on, what mood I’m actually in, and suddenly a song I thought was so over comes on and I am just running and running.

5) New cossie. Pulling it out of the Fed Ex box, holding it up to the light to see all the sparkles, trying it on for Ned, imagining the dance moves I will try with it. A new cossie is like the Red Shoes, the fairy tale about the girl whose magical shoes enabled her to dance and dance. I know it ended kind of Grimm, but…

6) Designer’s Circus. My friend Benna introduced me to this; it is a traveling outlet for designers, comes to town twice a year, and there is always, always something great and inexpensive to buy. The camaraderie in the huge dressing room is a terrific thing, too, with women of all ages, advising each other and trading items that don’t fit. A really fun thing to do with a friend for two hours and truly not a lot of money. (See Mom, you should have come to it instead of being so wimpy about the traffic.)

7) Joseph’s Lavash bread, multi-grain, low-carb. Mom or Laura turned me on to this. They are huge healthy, and delicious, you cut one in half and for almost no calories or carbs or fat you can have a sandwich!!!

8) Working on my weekly PTO Newsletter. It sounds dorky, but I love this new little job of mine. It is just one two-sided piece of paper, and the challenge is to fit everything important for that week, in my designated format. I love getting Benj to do my art, I love choosing fonts, editing down clunky text people have sent me, and trying to make it eye-catching in layout.

9) One pound of Kosher chop meat. I buy several at a time, freeze them, defrost one in the microwave, put it in my cast-iron skillet (thanks, Mom) with onion and peppers and a can of tomatoes, and I have the basis of two possible dinners that nobody hates: chili or meat sauce. (Doesn’t have to be Kosher, I suppose, but why should you take a chance? Rhetorical question asked with a Jewish accent)

10) The Lolcats, especially this one. They always, always, always, squeeze my heart and make me laugh and feel a rush of love for my own kids!

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