Wednesday, February 25, 2015


After dinner tonight I mentioned to my husband that I hadn't achieved my step goal for the day. At the time I was lying on the couch in my pajamas. He said, Well, you could go to Walgreens and get
Dora some cat food. 

I thought about it for a long minute, and then I got up and went to change. I left the house a few minutes after 8. It was a little cold but otherwise, a quiet, beautiful night. Walgreens isn't that far; it's about a ten minute walk. About half a block away, my Fitbit buzzed that I had reached my goal. I had only needed 250 steps. I considered turning back and just driving there, but I didn't. 

As I walked, I thought about the clothes I had thrown on: a man's zipper hooded sweatshirt, burgundy, that's too big for me. I bought it when I was pregnant. It's very snugly. I was also wearing a blue t-shirt, skinny jeans, and my new black converse that desperately need breaking in. Oh, and my canvas backpack from Powell's Bookstore in Oregon. I looked like a very old runaway. 

The whole trip was about 1,300 steps. I'm glad I went. This afternoon I had cake and ice cream at a coworker's goodbye party. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

This post is not titled.

I got home a bit early today, and as I was driving here, had made all sorts of plans for how I would spend this extra time alone. One of the things I wanted to do was practice. Last night, I listened to an old performance with the flute choir from about six years ago, and though that performance wasn't perfect (I never am), I was struck by the difference in my sound from then to now. Hearing the difference really bummed me out. "Bummed me out" is the stupidest phrase for describing what I really felt, but I'm not sure I want to put it all into words. I listened to the performance three times, and I heard the obvious mistakes (a huge, wrongly placed breath, for example), but what I mostly heard was my clear tone, some pretty vibrato, and expressive playing. The piece wasn't anything hard, but I heard me, sounding like me, playing like me: and I don't think I'm playing that way anymore.

This feeling sort of applies to other things I've been thinking about lately - well, maybe not "things" - maybe just my outsides. I was able to express this in conversation with my brother-in-law, and I told him: I'm losing weight, I'm the smallest I've ever been, but I don't feel much better about my body than I did before. He totally got it and gave me some good advice, but the thing is, I still haven't done any of the things he suggested.

So I got here and the house was a bit cluttered and there was laundry to do (Jules had an accident in his bed last night) and so instead, I straightened up a bit, threw the sheets I had washed this morning in the dryer and the rest of the blankets in the washer, put on my sweats, and now I am sitting on the couch with my iPod syncing to iTunes, watching "Mexico One Plate at a Time" on the TV. Patrick will be home with Jules soon and then we are going to go to the grocery store.

Maybe I'll practice later. Maybe I'll go for a walk after dinner. Or maybe I won't.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The value of a handwritten note.

I don’t know if everyone who has lost a loved one thinks the same way I am, right now.

(Actually, I doubt very much that anyone thinks the same way I do. That statement probably has "psycho killer" written all over it.)

As someone who is unsure about God and all the things my mother believed so much in, it might sound crazy, what I’m about to say (any of it it, actually). I’m finding it hard this year to get excited about Christmas. On Saturday, December 20, it will only be five months since my mother passed away. I’ve been missing her so much lately. The few sentences in this paragraph seem to cover so much ground, and none of it goes together: faith, Christmas, grief. But the other day I was sitting in my car, driving somewhere. The car is where I either get a lot of thinking done (quietly, alone, moving along, or not moving along, depending on the flow of traffic) or I do absolutely no thinking at all (iPod on, volume set to very loud, singing badly and as loudly as possible). I was sitting there, driving somewhere, and for some reason I was imagining myself having a conversation with a friend, who was not present at the time. I don’t know why I was talking to him in my mind. Maybe because this person is a great listener, and unemotional but kind. It’s good to talk to someone like that – it makes me control my own emotions, and to be a better storyteller. In my head I was telling him about something that happened last week.

Jules found the little bag of cards I've been saving for him. I keep them hanging on the inside knob of his bedroom door, but he’s never noticed it before, even though it's been there his whole life. I thought it contained only the cards I received at each of the baby showers I was so lucky to have, but it turns out I had forgotten that I've been putting other cards in there for him. Birthday cards, Christmas cards, even an anniversary card from my husband. He dumped all the cards out on his bed, and started pulling out the ones he liked: one with a kitty on it, one that made sounds. I read them all to him. He was enjoying it. Then he found one that my mom had sent to him for his first Valentine’s Day. He asked me to read it, so I read the corny printed message. Then he asked who wrote it, and I said, "Grandma wrote it."

He asked me to read it, so I did. I don't remember what it said, but I remember feeling shocked to see her actual penmanship: her style of writing, which I always thought was so pretty. My sister agrees. Mom's handwriting packs a powerful punch. In those loops and swirls: my mother lives. She had a special way with the cursive capital letters. At the time she gave him the card she was still strong and able to move around well. Later her writing got messier and her thoughts weren't clear. I read what she wrote, and I started crying. It was the actual penmanship that made me undone: her strong hand that I'll never see or feel again, and neither will he. I wiped my face and said, "Let's go get your daddy." We went to the living room where Patrick was relaxing on the couch in the dark (only the Christmas tree lights were on), and Jules went back to his room to get something to show him. While he was gone I really started crying. Patrick rubbed my back and gave me a hug, and then he went into Jules’ room to finish getting him ready for bed. I went to my own bed and fell asleep for a while.

So... I’m telling this story to my friend, in my head, remember, and I say to him (he who is not present), as I get to this part in the story, “I miss my mom... I wonder if she misses me.”

I haven’t actually said those words to him yet. I don’t know if I will. It’s totally illogical, and therefore, something he would hate. But I think that’s what is at the core of my sadness right now. I'm pretty sure my friend would say, in response to my question, “I think that’s something one tells, not something one asks.” But how will I know if I don’t ask? I've been saying that my whole life. Anyway, there's no one to ask, is there.

(I think my friend would also remind me to not take what he says so seriously.)

She's gone. I don’t know how “gone” she is. I don't feel like, wherever she is, that she could miss me... but how could she not? - I don't know. I don’t know how to find out. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Lately I've been sleeping pretty well. (Shoot, I just ruined it, didn't I.) I haven't even been waking up when my son gets in bed with us in the middle of the night. I'm not sure what the change is or why it's getting better. I haven't really been doing anything differently. Perhaps I should stop talking now.

In the past week I had two funny dreams that, since content on this thing has been slim, I thought I should share with you.

The first one was last week sometime. I think it was Wednesday.

I've been wanting to get glasses from Warby Parker for a while now. I even went there early last summer to check them out. I even recommended a friend get some (he did). Right now I don't really need new reading glasses, but I could really use a new pair of sunglasses. My old red Ray Bans are not really cutting it anymore. Plus the prescription is old. So I visited the store in LA in the summer (I think it was the hottest day of the year). However, when I was there I was told that my prescription is too strong, and they won't make it in sunglasses. It took me a while to figure out that I could buy the glasses from them and then have them made elsewhere. Anyway, that's not my dream.

I dreamed that I went into the store, and stood looking at the display for a while. Finally a hipster-y guy came up to me and asked if I needed any help. I said, yes, I'm looking for a new frame. The guy and I looked at frames for a long time, and we chose some for me. He was really nice and the frames were beautiful. I took them up to pay for them, and told the woman at the register, "That guy was really helpful! I love these frames." She looked at the guy, who was walking out the front door, and said, "Oh. He doesn't work here."

The other dream I had was just last night.

I dreamed that I was hanging out with my sixteen year old niece. She and I were talking about boys, but she was getting annoyed with me for some reason (it's doubtful that this would happen. My niece is very sweet, very polite, and even if I was actually annoying her, she would probably not show it), and so I changed the subject. Then, for some reason, I started teaching her the words to "I Don't Like Mondays," which upon waking, seems like a really bad idea.

Neither of these dreams were particular interesting but as I said, there hasn't been a lot of activity on this blog. Gotta fill the space with something, right?

Monday, November 24, 2014

You may find this offensive.

Well, maybe if it was 25 years ago. Or maybe if you're Irish. Or a fan of Les Mis. Or just don't think I'm funny (the most likely option).

I've been watching "The Voice" a lot this season. I'm really enjoying it. But because my life does not allow me to watch it in real time, I'm a couple of weeks behind. And I admit it: I don't watch the cheesy results shows. So I just tune in and wait and see which "artists" I miss.

Anyway, tonight on my way home, I heard U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday." This was a big song when I was a teenager. We didn't necessarily know right away what it was about (to me, in those days, songs were stories about things that hadn't happened in real life. It was that Crosby, Stills and Nash song "Ohio" that clued me in - these people are singing about shit that actually happened. Blew my tiny naive mind). Some of us had to be educated about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and Bono was just the man to do it. This post is in no way intended to belittle or demean those sad events.

But "Sunday Bloody Sunday," while yes, is a political statement... it's also a story. It's a drama. It's Bono kneeling on the edge of a stage somewhere in a billowy white shirt, waving a flag, looking like a leading man in a movie. If it took hunky Paul David Hewson to get me interested in events outside my tiny little world, then hey, that's what it took.

So I heard "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in the car on the way home. It's one of those songs from my youth that's colorful and comes with a time and a place. But I was also thinking about "The Voice." And suddenly I was picturing little Regan James (is she still on? And can someone please explain to me why Blake thinks she's the next big thing? And yeah, she's 16, but there are way better, more interesting 16 year old singers in the world), dressed as a waif, with pretty Jean Kelly (is she still on?) inexplicably dressed as a World War II nurse standing behind her, and Elijah Rene (I know I spelled his name wrong. Is he still on? He's one of my favorites) also dressed as a waif, and all of them belting out "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in some kind of ripped off "Les Miserables" blocking, tears streaming down the waifs' faces, with John David Chapman climbing down from the scaffolding, and then sweeping up Jean Kelly in his arms, and then she busts out into "There Goes My Hero," by the Foo Fighters. And then there are fireworks. As the stage clears, leaving only John Taylor John Williams striding around in that hat, wearing a guitar, looking mournful and alternatively handsome, he starts to sing "Sugar Mountain" by Neil Young. For no thematically sound reason whatsoever.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My first ride in an ambulance. May it never happen again.

Last night, Jules had a fever. I knew he was hot, and when he was in my bed, he was fidgety. The last couple of nights, I haven't been sleeping very well (as I told a friend the other day, "let's stop talking about my sleeplessness. It's boring even to me") so when he kept kicking and wanting to snuggle with me, I hate to admit it but I got a tiny bit annoyed. I got up with him to use the bathroom once, though, and he seemed fine.

We had a busy day planned for today - I had an appointment at 8 to take my car to the Honda dealer for the most recent air bag recall, then we had Jules' music class at 10, and then his school scheduled family photos today. I think one of the other parents is a professional photographer. We were going to do that at 11. However, when we got up, Jules still had a fever. At around 6:30 a.m., it was about 100.5.

I decided to get up and go to the Honda dealer, and on the way stop at Weight Watchers. Jules would stay home with his daddy, and then at 11 we would go take the pictures if he felt okay. I've been looking forward to it. If the photos came out nicely, I'd planned on using them for our Christmas cards. But when Jules heard that I was going to Weight Watchers, he wanted to come too (when I have him with me, we always stop at Starbucks for an iced coffee for me, a chocolate chip cookie for him). Even though he was hot, he was in a great mood. So Patrick started getting him dressed. They were in his room, and I was in ours, doing something (I was already dressed... maybe I was just making the bed), when I heard Jules cry a little. Then Patrick called me.

Jules was having a seizure.

We don't have a land line in our house anymore. We only use our cell phones now. I grabbed mine and called 911. I could hear the difference in my voice: I was precise, maybe too loud, unemotional. I said, "My son is having a seizure. He's 3." The woman on the phone asked me my address and within seconds I was on with someone from the local fire station. I remember thinking, "Speak clearly so you don't have to repeat anything." The firemen were here in minutes.

By the time they got here (I think the paramedics were right behind them), he was starting to come out of it. They evaluated him, and told me we were going to go to the hospital. I got a little choked up - I was scared. One of the paramedics said, "You're doing great, mom." I have to admit, it's weird to be called "mom" by a grown man. My room seemed so small with the firemen and paramedics in it. I carried him outside and they said they were going to put him on the gurney, which freaked me out. It may have been my only moment of being illogical. I said, "I don't want you to put him on the gurney!" But there was no other way to do it. Jules was pretty much alert by now, naked except for underwear. I calmed down and he and I got into the ambulance with the paramedic. His name, by the way, is Paul Rodriguez. He was awesome. He was sweet with Jules, and checked on me periodically. During the ride, he talked to Jules and tried to make it fun. I couldn't see much outside, and really didn't know where were going. The siren was on.

Patrick followed us in his car, and we went to Long Beach Memorial. The paramedics said that was the best place to take him. The nurses were kind, and the doctor who checked him. We stayed there for quite a while so they could evaluate him. He got an x-ray and they tested his urine. All that was fine. He still had a temperature (not very high) and he wanted to go home. I just realized: they didn't give him any medicine. He didn't cry or whine, though, and he was such a big boy with all the sticky things for the medical equipment on him, and when the doctor and nurses were checking him. We watched a bunch of TV. At around 12:30 we were released, and came home. On the way I ran into Weight Watchers. I lost almost two pounds this week. It's not really all that surprising, considering that last week we had the stomach flu.

When we got home, Patrick gave Jules some children's Motrin and then went off to get us some lunch. Jules ate great, played with his cars for a while, and is now sleeping with his daddy in our room. I just went in to check on him, and removed his socks and pants. He seems comfortable.

Needless to say, we did none of the things on our list today. I don't know if you remember, but this happened before when he was 15 months old. For some reason I'm having trouble linking to what I wrote then. It was in May 2012. On Monday I'm supposed to call his pediatrician at Kaiser to let her know what happened. I might just stay home with him, and maybe take him to the doctor. I called the school to let them know that we were going to miss the photo appointment, but I just told the director he was sick. I'm pretty sure I mentioned that other time he had a seizure on the medical questionnaire; I'll tell her in person about this one next week.

That time, I wrote about it a few weeks after the fact. It took me a while to be able to write about it, because it was so disturbing, but febrile seizures are very common. The doctor who treated him today said she and her brother both used to get them all the time, "and we both went to Harvard and became doctors." He's had fevers since that other time, and this didn't happen, so I guess I thought it was an anomaly that other time. I guess I was wrong.

Updated 11/16/14 at 9:54AM

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cell phone

My dad started using my mom's old cell phone and telephone number. I'm not exactly sure why his own was canceled; my sister handles these things, and I'm sure there was a great reason.

I haven't changed the contact information for that number, so when my dad calls me, it looks like my mother is on the line, at least until I pick up.

Maybe I should change it. I think I should... just not yet.