A few lessons from the weekend

Start out with an open mind and low expectations. You may or may not have time to yourself. You may or may not have meaningful alone time with your spouse. You may or may not "get anything done" around the house. You may or may not go somewhere new or do something most people would consider "fun". You may or may not get any rest of any kind.

With that said, it's a good idea to have somewhere new and fun to go. It's good to get outside, even if it's raining, even if it's frigid.

Let your dog run off leash. Remember you didn't exactly bring your leash either.

It's good to make a date with another family with at least one member that at least one member of your family really likes. (We had a successful playdate! GO US!)

Go ahead, dress your girls in matching pjs. A 6:30 am wakeup on Sunday morning is just a little more bearable that way.

Try to limit the sugar because even though those bakery cookies the size of your head are delish, EVERYONE seems to crash and burn after too much sugar.

After things have been going really well, you may be tempted to check on Facebook and read your childless friends' status updates. DO NOT as you will have been up for 6 hours and they will say things like "Just woke up and am trying to decide between brunch with the paper or watching a movie in bed." and you will want to poke them and/or yourself in the eye with a sharp stick.

Hope you all had a good weekend!


Rites of passage

"Who's this?" Z asked, holding up an unmistakable blond form.

"That's Barbie," I said, noting that Z instinctively knew this doll must have a name, must be a Big Deal.

"Bobbie," she murmured to herself and I didn't correct her as she turned back to my tangle of 30 year old Barbies and accoutrements (including a set of handmade clothes from the 70s that I bought at a yard sale in elementary school.) "Hi Bobbie!"


I took Z up to New Jersey with me last weekend, for a brief 24-hour visit with my parents who were keeping Sweet Dog for us while we were in Arizona. My dad had his last round of radiation last week and is feeling pretty terrible. It was not easy to see him like that, but it felt important to check in, especially now that we live this close. Plus we needed Sweet Dog desperately, I'm tired of scraping peas and tofu off the floor under E's high chair three times a day.

When we got to my folks' house, Z ran to both my parents and gave them hugs and kisses. She sat on Grampa's lap and exclaimed about the men in shiny unitards racing across the ice on TV. In the middle of dinner, she asked, "Is Grampa ever going to get better?" and we were all quick to tell her, to tell ourselves, an emphatic YES.

My Barbies, prize possessions from my elementary school years, held Z's attention for much of the visit. I thought I might feel differently about her playing with Barbie, get all feminist-y about it, but I didn't. She was playing happily for impressive lengths of time. Most days, I would sell a kidney for that.

Still, watching her carefully push high-heeled boots onto tiny pointed feet, I felt her slip a little more into a new, older place, a place where baby dolls get replaced by Barbies and babies transform into big girls.

On the way back to Virginia, with Sweet Dog on the seat next to me, I glanced back at my big girl in her carseat. She can see out the window now and we played I Spy, grappled our way through a simplified version of 20 Questions and told made-up "knock, knock" jokes.

It felt SO easy to have just her with me and I realized what a relief it was for us both to have this time together when we didn't have to be quiet or tip toe around because of E. I was able to focus on just Z for the first extended time in a long time. At my parents' house, Z was able to spread out all her tiny plastic toys on the floor and not worry that some little twerp was going to come along and mess with her stuff.

So when I finally pulled out the Dora DVD (Knock knock jokes can only take you so far. In our case, only as far as Maryland.) and we heard Dora admonish us to say 'map' louder, we both yelled at the top of our lungs and grinned at each other.



"R--- and A--- have a Sketchers club and they let me join them sometimes. Do you know what Sketchers are?" Z asked, glancing at me sideways over her usual lunch of cheesy bread.

I didn't know whether to be happy that she's "sometimes" included or completely freaked-out that the girls in her preschool are already forming "clubs".

"I do. They're shoes."

Z nodded thoughtfully and that was the end of that.

Until the next time. I know there will be a next time.

We both are still struggling to make friends. Z's still learning how to channel her enthusiasm and share her things; I'm still working on finding like-minded women and having basic conversations. Often I feel like I'm failing her. If I could just manage to find a good friend for myself, we would arrange playdates and easily overlook our kids' occasional behavioral bumps along the road.

I understand that many of the girls in her school have "best friends" already and that many of the moms are old friends. Sometimes it seems the popular girls replicating themselves in the next generation.

Z still regresses during playdates, her boundless excitement about her "friends" overtaken by a sudden need for THAT TOY YOU'RE HOLDING RIGHT THERE GIVEITTOMEWAAAHHHH. I'm nervous setting up new playdates for her, ones with people we don't know well, particularly with mothers I may want to be friends with. How will Z act? Will I be embarrassed/seem too harsh/let her get away with murder? Will her behavior get in the way of ME making friends?

I wish I could smooth this road for both of us.


Bait and switch

For the first few months of her life, E was a round, mellow Buddha baby, not at all demanding, fussy or easily startled. She seemed content to hang out and gaze at her surroundings while we clucked tritely about her "wise, old soul". I struggled with the usual post-partum hormonal maelstrom coupled with OMG THERE ARE TWO OF THEM NOW but eventually settled into being a mother of two with a lucky feeling: this one is going to be easy.

You would hardly recognize E now.

She is full tilt from the moment she wakes up. She lunges at me if I dare to try pass by her when she's on the floor, but the moment she's done being held, she strains to launch herself toward the floor. She grabs at anything and everything that is within her reach when she's up in my arms and has toppled placemats full of dishes and food and grocery store displays of toothbrushes and graham crackers.

(And that's just in the past week.)

She is rarely quiet and emits a bevy of sounds, the requisite "mama"s and "dada"s have been joined by a lot of insistent "SSSSSSS!!!" and "PFFFFFFF!!!" and "HE-YAHE-YAHE-YAHE-YAH!". It is often very loud in our house.

Toys hold no interest to her, unless they are small and choke-able and not specifically hers. She makes a beeline for power cords, outlets, stairs, cabinets with sharp things and/or dangerous chemicals in them, metal edges, shoes, the dog's water bowl.

A month ago, she started crawling in earnest, hands slapping the floor in a steady cadence, belly off the floor. Her skin on the front of her knees is red and raw and she has worn holes in the front of many of her sleepers, though we've given up on the button sleepers as they are impossible to get on her while she's crawling away from us. I have now become adept at changing a baby while she's crawling away from me, as that is preferable to using all my bodily force to hold her down while she screams bloody murder.

Two weeks ago, she pulled to standing.

This week, she started cruising.

She's nine months old.

This was a classic bait and switch.



I watch Z as she trots around her Nana and Papa's patio. The dress that used to graze her ankles now hits her shin, just below her knee. Ragged hair falls in her more angular face, her arms suddenly appear inches longer.

But it is her feet that catch my eye. Where once two perfect marshmallows plodded along, now there are long toes and arches, even a big girl arch on the outside of her foot where her suddenly bony foot no longer squishes into the ground.

At the playground that we visited this time last year, she doesn't need a boost up the stairs. She's no longer afraid of the tube slide. She lies on her stomach on the swing and pushes off with her legs. Instead of insisting on squishing herself into a baby swing, she pushes her sister instead.


I pick up E from the crib and fumble in darkness for the Boppy. Holding her with one arm is suddenly impossible, her lead-like bottom almost slipping out from under my elbow. When I lay her down on the Boppy, her feet extend off the side of the chair, her head is almost to my shoulder and it dawns on me that she may not need it anymore.

Without it, she sits on my lap to nurse. As she adjusts to this new position, her eyes still look up at me, one hand still grasps for my hair, the other still pinches at my stray flesh.

I stare at the plump, useless Boppy on the floor.


I wait in the pick-up line on Z's first day back to school after our vacation and close my eyes for a moment, feeling the weak sun's rays on my face, remembering Arizona.

When I open them, I see her, the mom I emailed a few weeks back. (And never heard back from.)

I watch her, bouncy and smiling as she runs around her car to buckle her daughter in. My car is right behind hers and there is no one behind me. E is happily playing in her carseat. For some reason, I don't feel nearly as shy and dorky as I normally do.

I don't give myself time to think about it more than that.

I jump out, run toward her - Hi! Are you R---?

When she nods and smiles, I keep going.

I'm J---. I sent you that email? The one that probably didn't make much sense?

Then she and I are both talking at once, standing there in the sun, both of us still smiling.


Dear friends

Dear friends,

OMG! You're pregnant! Yay! I'm so happy for you!

What a thrill ride you are embarking on! I don't know where to start! (You: How about you start by laying off of the exclamation points, mkay?)

People are probably throwing all kinds of crazy information/ideas/opinions at you. Sleep now, because you'll never sleep againnnnnnnn. So I'll try to spare you those worn out lines.

(But I'll fail.)

Of course, I am tempted to put together a little care package with -oh say- 43 of the most important baby items in my world. From "Happiest Baby on the Block" to Miracle Blankets to Snack Traps and everything in between, I think I know just the things you'll come to rely on, maybe even adore. One day, when you are thanking your lucky stars for that perfect kimono-style onesie, you'll remember just who gave it to you and say a silent prayer of gratitude for my deep wisdom. (Kimono-style onesies! They don't have to go over his/her head! Trust me, when the poop starts a-flowin', kimono style onesies are WHERE IT'S AT! I myself have actually cut a onesie off rather than taking it over my wee babe's head.)


But then I have to remind myself that we were given just such MUST HAVE items from other people and we never used at least half of them. I know my desire to throw a bunch of random baby products/books/advice at you is just hubris and ego and a potent desire to put the knowledge born of my blood, sweat and tears (not to mention other bodily fluids) to good use.

Your babies, your experiences, your choice of onesies, will reveal themselves in due time. We all have to figure it out for ourselves, to some extent.

I'm so excited for your visit! I promise I won't stare at you all moonie-eyed (lie) or tilt my head to the side and grin at random intervals (LIE) or spout aphorisms about sleeping when the baby sleeps (Notice all the crap about SLEEP YOU'LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!?)(Oh and LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE.).

I will do my best to sit back and let you ask what you want to ask and not seem too eager to discuss baby names! Or recount my labor stories (PLURAL!) in excruciating detail! Or help you plan your entire Babies-R-Us registry!

I will hopefully keep my children from making you wish you weren't pregnant at all.

I will definitely remind you that I am always here if you ever need to talk. Then I will hand CG the stun gun and allow him to use it if when I suddenly start spouting off about BREASTPADS OMG LET'S TALK ABOUT BREASTPADS apropos of nothing in the middle of dinner.

I will remember to check up on you when the baby is about 5 weeks old and all the frozen friend-made casseroles are eaten and the family has gone back home and at least one of you is back to work and you're a tearful, hormonal roller coaster and you're still not sure how to get the baby to burp/sleep/nurse without making you want to die and a tiny little voice in your head says who decided having a baby would be a good idea anyway?

I want to tell you that being a parent will bring out the very best parts of you. The parts you are proudest of, the parts you will recognize when you see them in your child and make you positively SHINE from the inside out. But it will also bring out the darkest, worst, most-in-need-of-therapy parts of you. The parts you try to hide, disguise, wish away.

(Same is true for your partner. And your marriage. And, to some extent, your parents and families and friends.)

As you watch your child grow, you will probably revisit, even relive, all the good and bad parts of your childhood. Only this time, you will probably be able to see it all from several angles, with new lenses and different perspectives and more understanding of just how great/wrong/bizarre it was. Just what an ass you/your mother/your father was.

If you're scared, you should be. I know I'm only three years in but I'm convinced it's the hardest thing we'll ever do, raising another person.

If you're excited, you should be. I know I'm only three years in but I'm convinced it's the best thing we'll ever do, raising another person.

OMG! You're pregnant! Yay! I'm so happy for you!

Your friend,

Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Luckily, my cranky pants pack well

Well, they certainly don't make air travel much fun any more do they? Or even reasonably comfortable? I know there used to be a time in our country's history when air travel was a big treat, a positive event in one's life, worthy of dressing up and feeling special. NOT SO MUCH these days. Pretty soon they will strip us of all personal dignity, maybe even actually STRIP US, and smush us all in a big pile in the center of the plane, chuck a few cans of soda on top and slam the door.

When did they do away with pre-boarding for "families traveling with small children"? I used to ADORE the feeling of skipping past the Power Suited First Class-ers, even though I'm not exactly sure I needed "extra time boarding", aka. more time spent on the plane trying to keep my kids from becoming an airborne birth control ad, and I could never actually skip while laden down with children and their accoutrements.

Yesterday, on our way back to Snowville, we were just hoping to make it back here before THE NEXT SNOW STORM WTF. I started out the day with our carry-ons well stocked, extra diapers, snacks, PB&J sandwiches, changes of clothes, multiple forms of anti-bacterial wipes/sprays/FULL BODY COVERALLS, all ziploc-ed and in their own compartments of the diaper bag. We made our connection, took off only an hour late ("only"! Celebration!) and then.... E pooped. Big time. Not to fear, I am a seasoned traveler, I know that airplanes have a little fold-down shelf behind the toilet for just such purposes. I gathered my diaper items and headed for the bathroom.

No shelf.


I waited in line and checked the other bathroom.

No shelf.

The queeny flight attendant smirked and uptalked at me: "Oh. Yeah. These are older planes? They don't have any facilities for babies?" (I have many gay male friends [see: was a dancer in a former life] so I feel I can say this with impunity: HE WAS BEING A TOTAL QUEEN.)

So I asked if I could change her on the floor.

"Not in the galley!" he said, aghast at the thought of me changing a diaper in the precious NO MORE FOOD FOR YOU, PEON PASSENGERS, OH EXCEPT FOR A $10 BOX OF ASSORTED SNACK PACKS FROM COSTCO food area.

"Oooookkkkaaaayyyy. Where would you like me to change her McQueeny-pants?"

"I don't knoooowww." he said, not even trying to feign sympathy, and turned away.


I headed back into the sardine can of a bathroom and looked around. The closed toilet was the biggest horizontal surface. I took a deep breath, put down my changing pad, placed all my tools in reaching distance and opened the diaper.

I should tell you that E is in a particularly difficult diaper changing phase we like to call the Immediate Flip Over. It's pretty self-explanatory.

So there I was trying to wipe poop off of every fold (there are many, MANY folds on this girl) and she was trying to flip over. She succeeded in flipping her top half over and started grabbing at every dis-GUSTING surface she could find while I grasped her ankles in the air and fruitlessly jabbed a wipe at random spots on her lower half until the combination of our two efforts resulted in contorting her little body into serious chiropractic territory AND slid her face onto the side of the airplane toilet and then SHE PUT HER TONGUE OUT.

O. M. G.


I wiped her tongue off with a wipe and then freaked out about the chemicals in the wipes. I went to rinse out her mouth with water from the sink before remembering that the water in those lovely airplane bathrooms isn't usually potable. I give up.

Finally I got her changed and tried to balance her on one knee to wash her hands in the sink. But you have to hold down one of the little faucet levers to get any water to come out and the cold is freezing and the hot is too hot but I could only press one while still holding her resistant hand out so I start using an antibacterial wipe and then she started trying to eat it and I. GIVE. UP.

When I got back to our seats, I found Z in a loud, tired, cooped-up tantrum and I contemplated walking back to the bathroom IT WAS THAT BAD.

After a lovely three hours of MORE OF THE SAME, we finally got within striking distance of our home airport when the pilot announced that we were in a holding pattern because the DC airport can't handle another SINGLE inch of snow, so we were circling there indefinitely and OH YEAH if we start to run out of fuel we will have to divert to BALTIMORE.

Then, E pooped AGAIN.


At the last moment, we were able to land in DC, two hours late. I actually clapped AND cheered before stumbling out into the airport to wait an HOUR AND A HALF for our bags.

Z on the weird shuttle between terminals at Dulles.
And yes, just a moment before this, she had been holding onto the grimy hand rail AND crawling around on the floor. So much for our anti-bacterial wipes.

It was ALMOST enough to make me swear off of air travel with small children. Except that our trip to Arizona to visit my in-laws was SO AWESOME and driving three days to get there would be even more insane.

We went to the playground every single day.

We woke up to this view.

We gloated (Enlarge to read headline.). (We also ALL need a haircut!)

We ate snacks outside in our shirtsleeves.

Z insisted on putting her feet in the (freezing cold) pool.

CG and I went on a child-free hike (where I sprouted a saguaro out of my head.) (TANK TOP!)

We even attempted a family portrait (BARE FEET) (CG is only wearing a coat because he was catching a cold and shoes because he was just back from the park with Z. I wasn't cold IN THE SLIGHTEST.)

So, in summary: Flying BAD. Arizona GOOOOOOOD.


Take good care of yourself, you belong to me

Lately, Z has been seriously clumsy.


Spill-y, trip-y, stumble-y.

She squirms around in her kitchen chair at every meal, often spilling her milk or dropping her silverware or falling onto the floor with a thunk.

She trips. A lot. It happens more when she's tired and it's been months and months since she last napped (RIP NAPTIME OH HOW I LOVED THEE) so I know she is often a little sleep deprived.

Her favorite thing to do when excited is flop around -HARD- on her knee caps. She might later mumble something about how her "legs feel a little ow-y".


Do I ever find myself concerned? Yes. Do I sometimes feel compassion? Yes, often. But mostly, embarrassingly, I feel angry. Almost every time I hear the thunk/crash/OWIE, MOMMY, I FELL.

I have spent countless hours tending to this precious body of hers: nurturing and wiping and patting and bathing and rocking, not to mention GESTATING WITHIN MY BODILY CONFINES. I confess to feeling a bit resentful that she doesn't treat it with a little more care.

It's as if she doesn't know that I spent the first year of her life in abject terror that something might one day hurt her. Does she not care that I wept big, messy, self-admonishing tears when she, as a new walker, fell and hit her head at the split second I wavered from my never-ending head-bonk monitoring? Doesn't she remember me sobbing for a ridiculously long time when I cut her teeny, tiny perfect fingertip with those blasted baby-nail Scissors of Doom? (Not to mention....)

Where is the gratitude for the hours I've obsessed about the many, many ways she might possibly injure herself and how I could prevent it? (Hint: I'm convinced excessive and imaginative worrying has protective powers.) Where is the recognition for the countless times I averted sharp pointy edges and topple-y changing tables and RAVENOUS RABID WOLVES on her behalf?

(No, she doesn't understand these things. No, she won't appreciate my efforts one bit, at least not until she, maybe, possibly, has kids of her own.)

I know some of this carelessness is an attention getting tactic. E is on the move, sitting up, pulling up, and, of course, bonking her head. It makes sense that Z would regress a bit and need a little care over her own head bonking.

While I am hopeful she'll outgrow this particular floppy, spazzy, careless phase, I realize that it is doomed to be repeated, in many different ways and forms over the next -oh- 48 years. Some if it is just plain old risk-taking. And I know life is about risks. Only those who risk are free BLAH BLAH BLAH.

I want her to take risks. I understand her developmental need to push the boundaries, to literally ram her little body into the confines and structures of her life. I know it is our job as parents to focus our worries on the things that are truly dangerous and ignore the rest. I don't want to hold her back or be cemented in her childhood memories as the fret-er in the corner asking her to Be CAREFUL SWEETIE, JEEEEEZ!

I just wish there weren't so many bruises involved.


(We hope to fly out to Arizona tomorrow, before the next big snow storm. Fingers crossed! Hopefully my next post will be full of saguaro cacti and wide open skies!)


Perhaps Virginia didn't get my memo



We were supposed to fly out to Arizona this morning to visit my in-laws.
After shoveling the 34 and a half inches of snow that fell here, we hope to make it by Tuesday.

I may be from New Jersey but I've lived in California for the last 15 years.


Bouncing baby

Some of you will remember that it was about this time last year that I shot a pregnancy workout video with my (now former) boss.

I just got my copy in the mail.

It's a little odd, to say the least, to watch a video of myself, very pregnant, mouth-breathing my way through a workout. And you can go out and buy a copy. (Not that you should! Not that I get any money from it! But it IS a pretty good workout. If I'm correctly remembering the never-ending dinner I ate the night after filming it, I'm pretty sure I burned 4,000 calories during the filming.)

At first blush, I am a little embarrassed by all the awkward moments captured forever on film. There are so many! It's hard to pick one to demonstrate! There's the moment when they do a slow zoom in on my flat, flat a$$. And the several moments when I seem to have forgotten why I'm there and am staring into space. And the many, many times where I am grimacing instead of smiling.

And, of course, there is the fact that they later shot more publicity stills for the cover with a beautiful, photogenic model, one who isn't in the video. I'm sure the publicity stills we shot were too .... blurry, right?

But mostly I am moved by seeing it. It IS the testimonial I was hoping for. Here is E, bouncing around in my taut watermelon belly. Here is me, moving my body, working on being a healthy and strong mama. Here we are, cupped together, but not for long.

Sometimes I lie in bed and feel the striated skin on my belly and marvel at the myriad ways I have been stretched by motherhood. After years of covering my face and groaning while watching dance videos of myself, I watched this video with open eyes and an open heart.


Slow: month one

Before we talk about all things SLOW, we must first talk about my new FAST idea: speed friend-making! Just like speed dating- you gather a bunch of local moms who want new friends and put them all in a room. Half of you sit at chairs and the other half walk around the room and chat for 5 minutes with each mom. Then all of you get to choose who you would like to have a mommy-date with! No harm, no foul, no bad feelings! I think it could be big!


Okay, on to the SLOW project.

I'm pretty smart really, for picking an easy New Year project for myself: just focus on SLOW. Laundry didn't get done? I'm being SLOW. Dinner isn't ready on time? Yay! I'm SLOW. Took me almost a week to write this blog post on my first month of being SLOW? SUCCESS.

But, as I mentioned, I actually have a very hard time doing most anything slowly. Eating, walking, cooking, putting clothes away: I do everything quickly, often to the detriment of doing things WELL.

So in my first month of trying to be slow, I found myself often discouraged by how little actually gets done when one is being slow but pleasantly surprised by how WELL they get done.

When I put clothes away slowly, they actually-GASP- stay folded instead of getting put away in a rumpled tangle. But it does take about 10 minutes longer. When I cook dinner slowly, I actually- almost- enjoy the process instead of feeling rushed and frantic and spazzy. But then the meal doesn't make it to the table at the normal time or I have to allot more time to make dinner, which at the kids witching hour is a bit hard to manage.

As some of you noted, doing things slowly is really about finding ways to be more present in the here and now. It's hard to do things slowly and not find myself hearing my own breath, feeling more relaxed and more calm and more aware of what is.

As you can probably tell, I have always been attracted to pop Buddhist "Wherever you wind up, there you be"-type stuff. I don't know much for sure (Oprah moment!) but I do know that if there is only this now, I don't want to miss it because I was racing along to the next moment. I want to make this now AWESOME and I want to be aware of it when it's happening.

This month, I focused on reading slowly, which is new to me. In elementary school, I was taught to speed read, which is a great skill for school but a major handicap when reading for enjoyment or meaningful retention. I just finished "Olive Kitteridge" and WOW if that book isn't worth reading slowly, I don't know what book is. I savored it. I read and REREAD some chapters to allow them to sweep over me and sink in rather than doing my usual racing ahead to the next plot point. It helps, of course, that this book is so well written, so full of characters and shading and depth, all of which would be lost if raced through. I learned that I can choose to read slowly and actually enjoy the process and save my speed reading for the newspaper and People magazine. Next up, I'm reading this book about Buddhism for mothers of young children. And boy howdy is it a good wake up call. Lots of underlining in my copy already. Allowing myself to read it slowly is a joy.

The biggest realization for me this month was that even though my life often requires a speedy response from me, I ALWAYS benefit from taking a moment to breathe and slow down even- ESPECIALLY- when it seems least possible. I tend to panic and spin my wheels when called upon to think and act quickly. But when I take a moment to breathe and let my shoulders sink an inch or five, my response to most every situation is more calm, more caring, more true to my best self. SLOW can just be about an internal feeling, if only for a moment, it doesn't have to be an constant, outward state of being.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that there was a moment when I thought this whole SLOW project would go belly up. I have been working on cooking slowly and mostly, it's been a success. But early on in January, I wanted to start introducing meats to E and I decided homemade chicken broth to mix into her veggie purees was the way to go. In order to make that, of course, I decided to roast a whole chicken for dinner. A basic cooking endeavour but one that I'd actually never done before. So rather than start an hour before dinnertime and wind up racing around the kitchen like a spaz, I started out in the morning, reading several recipes, assembling all the implements, preparing the ingredients. And I roasted a lovely, organic chicken. Working on it all day, letting the broth slowly simmer on the stove for hours as I put E and then Z to bed felt good and home-y and SLOW.

Then I realized I needed to put the broth away before I went to bed. I let it cool off for a bit and slowly weighed my options. It was still hot, so I didn't want to throw it into a big plastic tupperware (hot liquids and plastic give me the heebie jeebies). I considered putting the whole pot outside on our screened in porch for the night but I knew it would freeze and I worried it might damage my new, beautiful pot. Normally I would make some snap decision and watch it blow up in my face but NOT THIS TIME! I was THINKING THINGS THROUGH! Slowly!

But it was getting late and I wanted to go to bed and ENOUGH WITH SLOWNESS. I decided to pour it into a glass storage container, one that is safe for the microwave, so surely it'd be safe for all this hot liquid. (I'm sure you can see where this is going). So there I am, in my pjs, ready for bed, content with the knowledge that all this lovely liquid that I labored so hard for will be waiting for many uses over the next month. I took a breath and slowly, carefully, poured it into the glass container and as it was just about totally full with 8 cups of hot organic COOKING ALL DAY chicken broth, the glass container SHATTERED, pouring hot chicken broth and tiny glass shards all over my counter, the floor, behind the toaster oven/mixer/can-opener/stove/refrigerator.

It even seeped INTO MY DRAWERS, people.

And I dissolved into a puddle on the floor.

I am not sure what the lesson is about that one. I'm pretty sure it's that I should never, ever try to make chicken broth ever again. EVER.


Inside, looking out

So. I haven't heard back from the mom I emailed on Friday. Because, OF COURSE NOT.

It's all sorts of sad and predictable and YES I talked about it in therapy with a new therapist on Saturday. As pathetic as it seems, when the therapist asked me what I hoped to accomplish in therapy, I looked right at her and said "I'd like to talk to a grown up, in person, other than my husband."

That's pretty much what I've resorted to: paying someone to have an in person conversation with me.

Listen, I have good friends. Really, I do. It's just that they don't live HERE. Plus, they have jobs and families and there are time zones and I hate the phone and, well, it just doesn't work out for me to talk to them very often. I need friends who live here, who I could actually see in person from time to time. I'd like to get a pedicure, go to a chick flick, exchange favorite books, ET-girlie-CETERA with someone local.

And it just so happens that we moved to a small town. A small, apparently conservative, apparently religious town. And I'm not conservative or religious. So I go to mom's groups and try to simultaneously be open minded about being friends with someone who doesn't think exactly like me while also trying to slyly scope out who might be of the more liberal, humanistic persuasion.

Anyone for a Democratic rally that meets on Sunday mornings?

I've made several efforts to reach out to various nice moms I've met. But it takes ENORMOUS effort on my part to pick up the phone or write the email and invite someone for a playdate. And when I'm rebuffed? It takes another month for me to muster the energy/confidence/gumption to try again.

CG keeps reminding me not to take things personally. When someone doesn't call back, maybe they're busy? Or sick? Or didn't get the message for some reason? When someone doesn't email back, maybe she did see it? Maybe it got sent to a spam folder?

Or maybe, she's just not that interested. Which is also fine, I can't expect that the first person -or first FOUR people, AHEM- I meet and reach out to will be my long lost best friend. But I can only do this so many times before I start thinking that there must be something HUGELY wrong with me that everyone can see.

I know that this time of year is the worst for meeting people. There are no low-key playgound chats. There are no easy, low pressure Hey we're going to the outdoor music festival? Want to join us? type invitations. I know that spring will bring everyone outside and increase the chances for natural interactions. We're heading to the pool? Maybe we'll see you there? Hey, we're grilling tonight and would love to have you and your family join us for some carcinogenic burgers and non-political, non-religious conversation, if you're free?! See? I'm practicing it in my mirror already. NOW WITH NATURAL FACIAL EXPRESSIONS.

I just hope that all this hibernating with my little ones won't leave me completely devoid of all social skills. I didn't have many to spare to begin with.

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