Sep 28, 2009

The canine contingent weighs in.

Brady has a few things she'd like to get off her, uh, chest.

The Food Lady isn't as much fun as she was before. She used to take me to the dog park every day and let me check out the new smells, and pee on anything that needed my own mark. We went even when she got fat and had to waddle after me, and we'd usually pick up a friend on the way there. (Sammy, are you out there?) I used to sit on her lap every night while she read or watched TV, and she always sang me to sleep at bed time. (I let her sleep on the bed.) She could have been more chill about me eating poo and dead animals, but I did my best to act guilty so she wouldn't totally freak.

When they brought the Small Human home, I knew things would change, but OH MY DOG! I got shoved in the back of the car with BARS to keep me there, and no way to stick my nose out the window. And park visits? Well, let's just say I was lucky to go once a month.

Then we moved and I lost my backyard! I got some great walks, and the Treat Lady started taking me to the park once a week (Jodi, are you out there?), but the Food Lady spent all day playing with the Small Human, and usually by bedtime she was too tired to sing to me.

Then we moved again. The new house was awesome, with a fenced backyard, carpeting on the stairs and top floor, and all the mulch I could eat. (Food Lady wasn't too crazy about that.) The Small Human started disappearing some days, and I STILL got to go to the park with the Treat Lady. I could totally have gotten used to that, but then all kinds of crazy things happened, I lost track of the moves, and Food Lady got super cranky. Thank Dog for the Bone Guy. He snuggles with me, walks me, talks to me, lets me outside all the time and best of all GIVES ME FOOD FOR NO REASON. So now I stay with him most of the time and it's okay, but I miss Food Lady when she's not around, and sometimes I even miss the Small Human. Except when she barfs and Food Lady is all, "Oh Gigi, are you okay? Poor thing, let's get you cleaned up." When I barf, she glares at me when she cleans it up and mutters something about, "...staying out of the goddamn garbage."

I like it when Food Lady and Bone Guy are in the same room and the Small Human is sleeping. If only I could figure out what I do that makes that happen.

Progress, not perfection.

I came across a list I made while on a road trip early this year (January, maybe?). Once I stopped laughing, I realized it was a pretty ambitious list. While my success rate is hovering around 40%, I haven't given up just yet.

- finalize divorce
- sell house
- find new home
- publish novel
- find job
- finish second novel
- find Mr. Right Mr. Maybe
- plant edible garden
- say "I love you" more often

I look back on this and can't help but notice how goal-oriented I was. Yes, list making is about setting goals, but this particular collection is a doozy, and sort of, well, punishing in it's focus on BIG CHANGES. Now, I would add a few items related to physical health and well-being (thank you, car accident). I would include more truly important, life-affirming changes: spending more time with the people I care about; making time for fun; recognizing the support and generosity from friends and family; and appreciating the good in my life rather than dwelling on the challenges. Things may get worse before they get better, but the point is that THEY WILL GET BETTER. Right?

Sep 18, 2009

For you fashionistas out there...

Last week I read "The Gospel According to Coco Chanel" by Karen Karbo (in one sitting), and realized the sad state of affairs to which I have sunk, wardrobe-wise. My basic uniform is jeans and a T-shirt; if it's cold, jeans and a sweater. (The selection criteria are simple: Does it smell bad? Is it stained? Does it fit?) I have a closet full of ridiculously girly clothes that seemed like a good idea at the time, but even when I want to look especially presentable, I just trade out the jeans for black pants. Needless to say, Coco Chanel's style appeals to me, for the simple fact that it's simple.

Last summer I went to The Mercantile with a girlfriend who can afford to buy clothes there, and is on a first-name basis with the staff. The saleswoman helping us (okay, her) was older, maybe sixty, with lovely silver hair and what I judged to be the perfect outfit: an exquisitely tailored, crisp, white oxford, untucked, over slim black pants and fabulous loafers. I told her that if I had her build (tall and lean) I would wear a variation of that outfit every day. (My body does NOT resemble that of Mademoiselle Chanel's ideal model, herself: flat-chested and boyishly lean.) The saleswoman laughed off my compliment, or more likely laughed at the fact that her "simple" ensemble cost more than my monthly mortgage payment. She left an impression, however, one that was brought to mind the other night as I read Karen Karbo's wonderfully enjoyable account of the life and sensibilities of Coco Chanel.

A few days later I was to meet with a woman charged with the daunting task of treating the anxiety that has frequently paralyzed me since my car accident in July. I dressed that day with my renewed appreciation for simplicity: crisp white oxford, untucked, over jeans and loafers. (The stupid black pants didn't fit.) Since the woman's business card included the words "life coach" and "hypnotherapist," I assumed she would be a hooey-wooey type, complete with flowing skirt, beads and, possibly, incense. Imagine my surprise when I was greeted by the (almost) spitting image of the saleswoman from The Mercantile: crisp, white tuxedo shirt, untucked, over slim black pants and fabulous loafers. I thought to myself, "Huh, I think I'm gonna dig this lady." And I did. Not only was her outfit no-nonsense, but so was her approach to healing. No digging around in the past or looking deep within; rather, she encouraged me to look forward and start behaving like the person I want to be. Pretty cool, and I believe quite consistent with Coco Chanel's own philosophy. Strangely synchronistic, and very reassuring for my mental health, not to mention the future of my personal style.

Sep 11, 2009

School? Fall? What?

Fall is my favorite season, but this year it snuck up on me and screamed, "BOOGABOOGABOOGA!" in my ear. What happened to summer? I feel a bit cheated, not having spent the last several months having HAPPY! SUMMER! FUN! Instead I was focused on finding a job, recuperating from my accident, legal disputes, blah blah blah. The initial pleasures I found in yard work, trips to the park with Grace, writing, barbecuing and eating outdoors were derailed suddenly by a body and mind that simply couldn't do any of those things. So I'm pissed, both on my behalf, and because Grace got the short end of the summer stick, along with a cranky mommy.

On a positive note, fall is the season that feels (to me) most loaded with the potential for change — positive change. And if there's one thing we could use around here at the asylum, it's positive change. My accident took a big toll on my health, physically and mentally, and until now I've been content to let my medical team deal with the whole mess (while following doctors' orders, natch). But I'm realizing that I need to take a more proactive approach to regaining my health, if only because I can't go on wondering if I'll be able to function tomorrow, or the day after that. Grace deserves more than that, and so do my friends and family. (I do, too, of course.)

Today I spoke with my lovely chiropractor (see "Asula" ad in sidebar), and we agreed that a more aggressive approach is my only hope of feeling like my old self again. I've watched friends go through this for years, and I've toyed with it myself, but always resisted fully committing to such a drastic change. But I've been inspired by friends and, more recently, by my favorite fellow blogger, Girlbert, who has a much larger mountain to climb and an amazingly positive attitude about conquering it (or, more accurately, working in harmony with it). It just feels like it's time.

A gluten-free diet isn't that much of a stretch for me, since I really do love all of the foods I am allowed to eat, and don't ordinarily indulge much in sugary snacks or processed foods. I will desperately miss a few things: yummy bread and crackers, cheese, wine, pasta, seasonal fruits, and did I mention CHEESE? Also, I'm not going to be militant to the point of making myself so crazy that if I have a glass of wine at dinner, I will then fall off the wagon altogether. In my fantasy world, I'll just remind myself that, yes, this is a bad choice I'm making and I will suffer the consequences. Over time, I hope that the results will be motivation enough to do the best I can without feeling too deprived.

This little bit of nasty is Candida. (I searched for an image that would look pretty on my blog.) It is, however, the enemy, and I will not hesitate to kick its ass. I've heard so many testimonials from friends who I trust, I believe it's worth the effort for me to give it a chance. Can you imagine how tickled I will be if eliminating a surplus of yeast makes me feel better? At the very least, it will force me to stop scarfing down what's convenient, and take a more thoughtful approach to eating. I'd like to be a positive role model for Grace when it comes to nutrition, and eating her leftovers is clearly not the way to go about it. Wish me luck; I'll keep you posted, whether you like it or not.

Sep 6, 2009

Gotta teach that kid how to scrub toilets...

"Mommy, what's that stuff in your potty?"
"Uh, nothing Gigi, it's just dirty."
"Do you suppose we should clean it?"
"Well, yes, I suppose WE should clean it."
(Pause while I consider my options.)
"Or we could watch a movie and cuddle on the couch."
"Ooooh, can we watch the pig movie?"
(We've watched "Babe" about a hundred and forty times now.)
"Sure, bug. What a great idea!"

Priorities, Gigi, priorities.

Sep 5, 2009

I blog, therefore I am?

I started my first blog out of laziness. I was tired of emailing photos of Grace to everyone who was interested in watching her grow, so I figured it made more sense to post pictures in one central location that anyone could access. Then, because I'm a writer and parenting was so challenging fascinating to me, I added commentary and began addressing other amusing aspects of family life. It was a funny blog and, validation junkie that I am, all the positive feedback was like a drug to me.

I'm not sure why I started this blog when John and I split up. There's nothing particularly funny about divorce, and I knew I was walking a fine line between venting and oversharing. Surprisingly, however, traffic to this site outnumbered the original "Grace Under Pressure" two to one, leading me to conclude that everyone loves a train wreck. So I've tried to keep it honest and somewhat entertaining, without being too maudlin or stepping on anyone's privacy. It never occurred to me that complete strangers would find my ruminations interesting, but I've made friends through blogging that I wouldn't have otherwise, and I cherish them as much as my friends that I see and talk to. Unexpectedly, both blogging and facebook have helped me feel connected during what I hope will be one of the most challenging years of my life.

This week I spent a few days in bed with Grace, both of us miserably sick and grumpy. Every now and then we'd wake up, stare at each other and groan, then go back to sleep. When I needed to, though, I got up and sat in front of my computer, reaching out to friends without having to leave the house or even pick up the phone. (Or shower, or brush my teeth.) I found comfort in knowing I could do that, that if I needed support it would be there, regardless of whether it was my brother and Michael dropping by with supplies, or a virtual, long-distance hug from someone I've never met in person.

I have lots of loose ends to tie up in my life, but now that I see a light at the end of the tunnel, I'm hoping the scales will soon tilt, and that my posts will become more entertaining and less depressing. (But not too cheerful; I know my audience.) Also, I've given the site a little makeover, and I'm adding free ads as a way of saying thanks to friends who have been particularly there, or things I think are nifty.

All of this is my long-winded way of saying, "Thanks, internet. You've been a good sport."