Jun 27, 2009

Not surprising, but extremely disturbing.

A facebook friend shared this, and I thought I'd pass it along so you could feel as furious about it as I do. I'm a giver.

Time flies.

Sometimes I look at Grace and I can't believe how grown up she is. Makes me want to stop time, or at least slow it down so I can catch my breath.


How did she go from this...


...to this?

Jun 23, 2009

Unreal.

You may have already seen this. If not, it will either inspire you or make you want to curl up in the fetal position. I'm on the fence.

Jun 22, 2009

A love story.

When Michael first met Brady, I believe he said something to the effect of, "I can't stand it when people spoil their dogs. I don't feed them scraps and I won't put up with any crap." Guess who now pours chicken broth over her dry kibble, feeds her leftovers, lets her outside twenty times a day and buys fancy dog biscuits? She L-O-V-E-S him (duh), but she also obeys his every command — in German.


When Michael sits, so does Brady. On him.


She's a shameless tart.


They just want to be alone.


It's just embarrassing, isn't it?

Yup, sure enough — divorce sucks.

In my last post (depressing!), I believe I promised a rant about divorce. I haven't delivered, because my heart isn't in it. In my experience, there just hasn't been enough drama to perpetuate my self-pity party. There have been logistical hurdles in our lives, sure, but most of those have been a product of the economy. Trying to sell a house and find a job in a recession isn't supposed to be easy, and it's not terribly imaginative to complain about what so many others are experiencing. I could have lived without the legal complications surrounding the sale of our house (ongoing, by the way), but the anger and frustration I felt earlier on sort of sucked the joy out of settling into a new home, and discovering what positive changes this different path might bring.

Divorce, at its worst, is a failure, a broken promise that hurts everyone involved. At its best, it's two people who have worked like crazy to live peacefully together but have decided it's best to move on. At no point have I experienced some huge wave of relief, or thought, "Woo hoo, I'm FREE!" At the other end of the spectrum, I haven't regretted our decision or felt the stigma I anticipated at being divorced. Yes, it's a painful process, and I'm aware that I made a lot of mistakes over the last eighteen years, but I'm doing what I can now to stop the pain, and to right some of the wrongs.

Then there's Grace. Would she be better off living with both of us in a happy marriage? Of course she would. She was always happiest when all three of us were together; she doesn't have that anymore and she clearly struggles with it. But people told us, "If you're going to do it, do it now," because even very young children pick up on tension between their parents, but they will likely adjust more easily to new living arrangements than older kids will. And while older kids may not give a rip whether Mommy and Daddy are happy, they can't help but react to a stressful home environment, and that reaction is generally one of fear. I think we chose the lesser of two evils, because that first idyllic scenario wasn't going to happen. I hope I haven't made a mess of my life's most important undertaking, parenting. Unhappy couples who choose to stay together for the sake of their children have a difficult time ahead of them, and I wish them luck. Me? I think we're going to be okay. I'm going to try to stop second-guessing the decision we made. At least for the next hour or so.

Jun 12, 2009

Wild ride.

I'm back on that wackadoo emotional rollercoaster, where one minute I'm feeling connected and in the moment, and the next thing I know I've fallen into a funk and can't get up. I thought I had become fairly adept at rolling with the punches, focusing on the positive and trying to believe that everything is happening for a reason. Perhaps I was premature with my smug self-congratulations.

Grace still keeps me on my toes, but she seems to have turned a corner where expressing her frustrations is concerned. This is great, because now I know what's bothering her, and if it's that Brady is in her spot on the sofa, I can deal. But if it's that she's sad because she misses Daddy when she's here and misses Mommy when she's there, well, that's heartbreaking. And another post entirely. (Next up: my thoughts on divorce. In a word? Shitty.)

Back to good things. I got a sweet review on mamalit.com, which gave me a much needed boost (but has done diddly for sales). I also got a lovely email from a woman who read Soft Landing and took the time to sit down and tell me why. THAT made my day, mostly because of the act of kindness, but also because she came to read Soft Landing in exactly the way I imagined. She read a comment I left on another blog, which prompted her to check out my blog, which resulted in her ordering my book. If that happened a hundred times a day, I'd be set!

I've also finished the first three chapters of my next book, and I can't express the feeling I get when I'm writing and I'm in a groove and I know the words are coming together beautifully. It's a high, and sometimes I get going and before I know it the day is gone. Other times, I can't even open my laptop, because I'm afraid I won't find any words at all. I don't like to write when I feel uninspired; but, just as momentum can keep me going for hours when I'm loving it, inertia can paralyze me for days if I don't force myself to sit down and WRITE ANYTHING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST WRITE.

Back and forth, back and forth. I'll spend time with a friend and feel so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life, and the next day I'll pick up the phone to call someone but I can't imagine a single person will want to talk to me. I spent all day today working in the yard, happy as a clam and full of optimism about the time we'll spend here. Then I came in, showered, ate dinner and totally hit a wall. (Blood sugar could have been the culprit there.) So here I am, babbling away and not really feeling anything but sore at the moment. Bedtime, and, I hope, happy dreams.

Discovery.

We've spent a lot of time outside lately, enjoying the weather and exploring our new yard. We've tried to be patient, rather than tearing out anything that looks like a weed or that we can't identify, and we've been rewarded with surprises that just keep coming. (We've added touches of our own.) It's such fun to see the beauty unfold through Grace's eyes.


I'm not a big rhody fan, but these were pretty spectacular (made more so by Michael deadheading them, which is a pain).


We have two bushes, one on either side of the front gate, and we had no idea they would bloom so beautifully!


Potential. You should see them now.


It's hard to resist blossoms like these; I wish they lasted longer.


Our hummingbird magnet, right outside the kitchen window.


This is one of my favorite plants, golden euonymous, and I will plant it wherever I live, for it's burst of color and indestructibility.


We thought the violas were goners, but they're thriving.


We waited too long to get the alyssum in the ground, and it's still touch and go. They, and the lobelia, would stand a much better chance if Brady would quit stomping all over them.

Jun 3, 2009

Shake 'n bake toddler.

I'm not a fan of sandboxes, for many reasons that I will not go into. Grace loves them, of course, and when I went to pick her up at school yesterday, I could not believe my eyes. Head to toe, covered in sand. No joke.


Slather a kid with sunscreen, give them some time in the "sensory tub" filled with water and then cut 'em loose in a big 'ol sandbox and you know what you get? A child who is literally breaded with sand. As if the sand stuck to her body wasn't bad enough, I watched as a little boy scooped a shovelful and poured it over her head. (She didn't notice.) I don't care so much about my car, but on the way home all I could think about was how to get her from the front door directly into the tub. To make matters worse, I had made the mistake of uttering the "b" word at school, whereupon she began wailing, "I don't WANT to take a BATH!" and didn't stop until she was in the bath. Then there was the drama of washing her hair (she has A LOT of hair), which must have the neighbors wondering what that blonde lady does to cause that sweet little girl to scream as though she were being professionally tortured. I wish I had taken a picture of Grace before and after, or at least gotten a shot of the sand at the bottom of the tub, but I was pretty goal-oriented. So instead, here are the toys required to keep her distracted enough that I could actually wash her, which was apparently excruciatingly painful.

I'm off to pick up the little kiddo right now. I'm afraid.

Jun 2, 2009

Doggie down.

Brady broke a nail. I noticed her incessantly licking a paw, so I kept yelling at her to knock it off, until it finally occurred to me that something might be stuck in there that needed to be addressed. (I maintain this state of denial as long as possible, because if I do find something amiss on the little angel's body, there is no way in hell she will let me examine it properly or do anything to remedy the situation. Michael doubted me on this the other night when I mentioned she could use a grooming; he suggested we trim her ourselves and I burst out laughing. To prove my point, I got up and retrieved a pair of scissors from the kitchen, and as soon as I entered Brady's line of sight, she poured herself off the couch and slunk into the farthest recesses of the house.)

Anyway, the nail was at a right angle to the toe and had been bleeding, so I called the vet thinking they could do a quick nail trim for twenty, thirty, maybe fifty dollars, tops. And then the adventure began. Unlike my previous dog, Dutchie, Brady LOVES going to the vet. She jumps on the scale and sits patiently; she makes herself comfortable on the couch that wraps around the room (for which I'm pretty sure Dutchie's ongoing care paid); she wags ecstatically at everyone who pays her the slightest attention; she trots happily to the exam room and greets the vet with enthusiasm; she politely accepts a treat and enjoys a quick scratch behind the ears. The trouble starts when her canine intuition tells her that she is no longer being petted, but examined. Then all bets are off, and they whisk her to the back room where she must be muzzled and restrained by numerous vet techs. It's a real hoot.

Apparently a broken nail that exposes a good deal of quick is rife for infection, so they treated it as though she'd had some sort of organ transplant. The bandage seemed excessive; the antibiotics made sense; the painkillers — well, who am I to pass judgement when it comes to painkillers? I do love that pinhead of a dog, as evidenced by previous veterinary emergencies. But if she's going to continue straining the budget, she's going to need to start bringing something to the table, financially speaking. The total bill: $224. The look of outrage on Grace's face when she saw Brady's fancy bandaid? Priceless.