Someone I Used To Be

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” Stephen King

This quote becomes especially poignant on this, the day of my 20th high school reunion. I’m not there, obviously, but I wish I was.  Every time I’m with someone from high school (except for My husband Cohiba (Have I told you we met in high school?)) I remember someone I used to be.

Continue reading “Someone I Used To Be”

My Top Ten Favorite Things Right Now

This is a list of 10 things I really love right now.  I will not say I’m “obsessed,” because I hate the overuse of that word (I have seen obsession, and this is not it), but they are things I really appreciate in my life right now, in no particular order.

  1. The drive through at Starbucks. I love being able to drive through and get coffee. So easy.
  2. The pool at the gym I just joined – I joined a gym! I’ve never done that before, but it has childcare, so the Wee One is tended to for up to two hours. I have started swimming thi week and love it. This accomplishes one of the goals on my 52/52 challenge.
  3. My ergo. I’ve loved it since I had it. It’s quick, easy, and keeps my hands free while I hold and love of my Wee One. (It’s also valuable and useful for Syrian refugees, as used by the Carry The Future organization. If you have an extra carrier no longer in use, I highly recommend this organization.)
  4. My crothet hooks. I’ve started making some things I hope I can sell with some friends who are vendors in a few Ren Fairs in the Midwest.
  5. Pens for drawing zentangle. Which I haven’t been doing as much, in favor of doing the above.
  6. This computer for writing. Which, again, I haven’t been doing much of in favor of crocheting, and of doing the following:
  7. Candy Mania – It’s one of those Candy Crush-like games that you can download onto your iPhone, but the other week when I was dying with the stomach flu, it kept me company and entertained.
  8. Giving the Wee One her bedtime bottle. It’s the first part of her bedtime routine and we sit in the recliner and watch something. Since she doesn’t take as many bottles, she doesn’t sit in my lap and eat like she used to. This is one last warm and snuggly little time. For a second, I thought about getting rid of it, but for right now, I’m not going to fix what isn’t broken!
  9. The Kindermusik class I go to with the Wee One. After about a month, she has become more comfortable crawling around and interacting with other babies and the teacher, which I like to see, and it helps me learn different ways to interact with her, to play with her. And she likes music, so it’s good. The teacher is kind of weird, and I get the feeling that it’s like a posh little club and you’re lucky to get in, but still.
  10. My mom squad. I have a squad. 38 years old and I have a squad. But we’re an awesome team, particularly for only having known each other for several months and for having four toddlers to look after.

Top Ten Ways Going Out as a Mother is Like Going Out As A Tween


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by cigars and a whisky flight. (Oh yeah, and it’s the Wee One’s first birthday today!  I lost my baby today and gained a toddler!)

Last Monday, a girlfriend and I went out and had so. Much. Fun. I mean, so much fun, and since then, I’ve been thinking about how similar going out after baby is to going out in junior high and early high school. Unlike previous Top Tens, these listed in the order in which they come up in a night.

(Note: This was in the early to mid 90’s, so we didn’t have the internet or even ubiquitous computers. We had landlines and cassette tapes. And acid washed jeans.)

  1. You dress differently. In youth, since I was going out, I wanted to look cool. So I would wear the one shirt that was a little tighter/lower cut, the one I wouldn’t normally wear. When I go out after baby, I’m not worried about access to my boobs, and I knew I wouldn’t get any spit-up on my clothes!
  2. You wear makeup, usually badly. In junior high, I wouldn’t wear makeup really, and when I did, it wasn’t put on very well. It wasn’t always even mine own make-up! I have found that post-Wee One, I wear make-up so rarely that I’ve kind of forgotten how to put it on.  When we went out, my friend was wearing perfume – she got in the car and she DIDN’T smell like baby wipes. I was like, “What is that weird aroma?”
  3. The first few minutes together are spent telling stories about how you got away. In junior high, the story may involve what you told your mother or what you had to go through to get a ride. After baby, you’re dancing around bedtimes and evading separation anxiety, so it can be hard to leave the house. My girlfriend’s daughter has strong separation anxiety right now and her husband distracted the child as my friend slid out the door. She said she could hear the baby’s wail as she went down the hall. On her way to the car, she tore her pants.  “But I worked so hard to get out, and I couldn’t go back in and have to leave again, so fuck it.”
  4. Once you get out, you go to a place you wouldn’t normally go. In junior high, we would go places our parents wouldn’t want to hang out, maybe even places we weren’t supposed to hang out. This time, my girlfriend and I went to a cigar bar, a place I used to go with fervor, as you well know, and I haven’t gotten to do as much since the Wee One came along.
  5. One there, you tell everyone you meet that you got away. Not that we would do this in junior high, but there were several references to it amongst the group.  When my girlfriend and I went out, we told the hostess at our restaurant, our waiter, then later, a bartender and a couple of strangers that we were having a girl’s night out.
  6. You eat what normally wouldn’t or couldn’t. I feel weird drinking alcohol when I’m out with the Wee One, unless it’s wine and I’m in an Italian place. When I was a freshman in high school, I would go with girlfriends to Applebees and we would all order virgin strawberry daiquiris. We felt so cool drinking those, but we wouldn’t try to do it in front of our parents, who would look at us sideways.
  7. You scream with laughter. As much as we loved our families as kids, and as much as we love our babies now, we felt free in a way we normally weren’t.  We felt joyful and full of life, and that was our way of expressing it.
  8. You talk to lots of people. When you’re finally out on your own in JH, you’re the one doing that talking, not your mother. Your opinion is the only one that matters. AB, you can suddenly make conversation with anyone about anything and stand there and talk for as long as you want! Which wasn’t always a good thing, as it might lead to #9
  9. Get talked to by someone inappropriate. In JH, it was the creepy guy in the food court who kept smiling at you when he refilled his soda. This time, it was a guy at the craps table who thought he was slick in asking about my friend’s husband. (Now that I think about it, it was probably the same guy.)
  10. Come away from it feeling very much alive. Both then and now, you laugh for days afterwards and hold on to the memories for a long time.


Weekend Coffee Share #15


If we were having coffee, when I walk to the table, I notice a cherry danish where I would normally be sitting.  “Are you expecting someone?” I ask you, half serious.  You, silly! you say. You bought me a treat for Valentine’s Day, and now I feel like an asshole because I hadn’t thought of the same thing.

You wave me away when I say that, and point to one side. A side you cut. It was actually half of yours, but you knew I would feel like a jerk and you wanted to get a little chuckle this morning. I’m so glad I please you, I say, rolling my eyes. You notice I’m not drinking out of a paper cup, but a porcelain one. It’s actually quite big and you joke with me about being at Central Perk, from Friends. Oh stop, I say. You’re not that funny. You throw a napkin at me.

If we were having coffee, you ask me about Valentine’s Day with Cohiba and the Wee One.  I shrug and roll my eyes. Cohiba and I really think it’s just a Hallmark holiday to make money so we don’t really care about doing big gestures. Instead, we went out for (a very early) dinner as a family, as we usually do on Saturday nights. We talked and made plans and watched the Wee One interact with other kids and learn about gravity by dropping things. You tell me you’ll be having a ‘Galentine’s‘ dinner with friends, which I think sounds like fun.  I’ve actually never done that, and I just now realized that I could. You can come to mine next year, you say, if you make the cut.

This reminds me of a really sweet offer a friend of mine made. The Wee One’s birthday party is next weekend, and she said I could call on her if we needed any help picking anything up! Until she said that and I started thinking about it, I didn’t even realize how much having an extra person would help and how much her offer meant to me.  You know, being a mother is also teaching me about friendship and being a good friend. Lessons I would not have learned otherwise. Cohiba and I were talking about that at dinner last night, how the Wee One has helped us be a better couple.

That sounds like a pretty nice Valentine’s Day lesson, you muse, and I agree.

If we were having coffee, you would ask me about how the story is coming; am I still working on it? I tell you that I think I’ve set a goal to finish my March. Ooh! I should put that on my 52/52! I say. Have you heard of National Novel Writing Month in November? You squint your eyes and say you think you have. When I do the blog posts every day in November, I’m doing it in lieu of a No, a novel.  Have you every written one in a month? you ask me, and I tell you I haven’t, but I did write over 10,000 words, which is more than I’ve ever done before.  And I don’t think this story should be a novel, at least not right now. So a 10,000 word story is good.

Well, I’m looking forward to it, you say.



Weekend Coffee Share #9


If we were having coffee, you would be late and practically pushed in the door from the strength of the wind behind you. Is the wind always this strong in the winter? I ask you, and you shake your head and keep walking to the counter.  You return with a croissant and coffee, and talk a bit about Christmas shopping. I’m preparing to travel, I tell you, so I haven’t been making many purchases – I’ll have to fly with it all!

I’m going to be on the road for a couple of weeks, and I’m going to miss Washington. You aren’t planning to leave the region, maybe go to Oregon, because a lot of people who live here are from Oregon. That is only one place on my list of places to visit while I live out here, I tell you, and you invite me for a visit with your family anytime. I want to go to Montana, Northern California and retrace steps I took in high school to the northwestern point on Washington and Tatoosh island.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about being a Seattle tourist and going to Pike Place Market. It was a lot of fun and not as far or hard to get to as I thought it would be.  Perhaps I am used to Mid-Western distances, but it used to take me 30ish minutes to drive to work every morning (and then a half hour back, or, if I took the bus, a 30 minute walk to and from the bus stop, plus an hour to the city), so driving 30 minutes to the Market or 20 minutes to story time in another town is nothing. Even with the horrible traffic – and it really does suck – its not that bad.

Ooh! But I saw one of the tent cities I’d heard about! I tell you, and you make a face of confusion. It seems that the city of Seattle actually allows homeless people to build up “tent cities” to live in.  St. Louis doesn’t officially permit tent cities, though they line the river bank, particularly on the south side of the city. I remember visiting a few of them on the north side, about where they want to build the new football stadium right now. My agency had a Mobile Outreach team and I went with them to visit some of the folks living in the tents.  We brought boxes of sandwiches and bottles of water, and checked in with people. A few people asked specific questions about vet representatives or clothing giveaways. They were working on getting their lives back together, though they were living off the grid.

If we were having coffee, we would each comment on how much we’ll miss meeting over the next few weeks and wonder if we could Skype? Or just text messages. This makes me think of a conversation I had with some friends last night. Some of us were in St. Louis, I was in Seattle, another one of us was in Costa Rica, and the other was in London. It was so cool for all of us to be chatting together in real time.

We’re going to meet for Sunday brunch after Christmas. We all used to be travel buddies, traveling together or visiting people and places based on each other’s recommendation. Now two of us are married, two are living abroad, and I have the Wee One. Oh, the places we’ve gone! It’ll be fun.

We part, eager to return with stories and insights.