Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lib-erated

An island of sanity in my sea of change, my dear friend Libby abandoned me for greener, or rather, warmer pastures a couple of years ago to start a new life in San Antonio. She and I have known each other since college (don't jump in and do the math, thank you) and though my seven years in Los Angeles were nearly communication-free, we picked up right where we left off when I arrived in KC. Playdates to wine drinking, cat sitting and wallpapering, we did it all. And even though I was certain I couldn't go on without her nearby, I helped pack her possessions and let her drive away two summers ago.

Luckily, she is forever tied to Kansas City by a slew of relatives (her parents both came from good, ambitiously reproductive Irish-Catholic families) and her ex (who Martin and I introduced her to) lives here as well. I was glad to hear she would be visiting during her spring break and giddy to be the one to host her. Again, we picked up as if it had only been a week since we'd hung out. During the days, I was working and she was buzzing about visiting aunties and cousins but when the sun set and we were child-free, we found ourselves back in our college ways, using our feminine wit and wiles to charm an entourage of men from bar to bar. They were married and we weren't interested in anything but captivating conversation -- and maybe polishing our flirting skills -- and we had a phenomenal time.

We also shared an unusual afternoon here at Casa Del Mar. We spent the day with her ex, my ex and all the kids. We'd all been friends some 15 years ago and though we've grown apart and invented lives of our own, we enjoyed hours of comfortable conversation, ranging from jobs and personal goals to each of our current dating situations. It's nice to think that despite the bruises that come with their parents' divorcing, our kids might come away seeing that despite what used to be earth-shaking differences, getting along is a reasonable and attainable goal.

But as most good things must end eventually, Dear Libby returned to her fabulous life in Texas and I continued mine here in Kansas. I miss her once again, but am all the richer for the recharge to our friendship. And if I'm lucky, she'll continue to weigh in here on my Mountain now and then.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

As Giddy as a School Girl

I realized a couple of weeks into my current work fiasco that there weren't many years that I could labor so very hard for so little money. I knew I needed to make a real effort to explore my possibilities for working smarter, not harder. Still unsure of what I wanted to be when I grew up, I tried to really open my heart and my mind to careers that would bring me a sense of fulfillment...along with a sweet paycheck.

It wasn't long after I declared my search to be a sincere one that a girl in one of my spinning classes asked me about a particular style of yoga. She knew I'd practiced for more than ten years and I was honored to weigh in with my opinion. A bit later she was discussing the same topic with the spinning instructor and I heard her say, "Well, my nutritionist said that Bikram yoga burns 900 calories a class." And of all of the words that were said that entire day, nutritionist rang in my ears over and over and over. After work and kids and bedtime I managed a few minutes to peruse the net. Nutritionist led to Dietitian and a great calm fell over me. I was home.

It is no great secret that of the few regrets I carry with me, the greatest is that I didn't finish my college education.

Now that's about to change.

I have enrolled at JCCC to begin classes this summer taking prerequisites for the Dietetics distance program from K-State. It will likely be a three year journey to my ultimate destination and I couldn't be more excited.

And now that I've told the world (or at least all fifteen of my readers), I guess I have to follow through on it. Gee, I wonder what I'll wear on my first day of school...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lucky Seven

I'm finding the silver lining in that ever-looming cloud that is my insomnia. For my next trick, I will catch up on posts that should have been written two weeks ago...

Audrey turned seven! Hard to believe it's been that long since I spent a day-and-a-half in labor, crawled into my warm bathtub and caught our little girl in my arms. She was tiny compared to the others. 7 lb. 8 oz. (Em was 9 lb. 2 oz. and Isaac weighed in at 10 lb. 5 oz!). The midwife declared her perfect and she's been a little princess since that day.

With work continuing to be crazy, I knew I couldn't handle a big to-do of a party so only a week before the big day, I called a few of her friends and invited them to my place for a tea party. I didn't know quite what I had in mind at the time, but ended up with four little girls along with Emily, Isaac and Martin, charm bracelet making supplies, walkie-talkies and a modest spread at the coffee, or for the day, tea table.

I wore myself out getting ready for the party -- mostly with the housework that had been neglected during the previous weeks of work madness, but it all came together at exactly the right time (and it certainly feels good to be on the tidier side of life now). I made mini-loaves of bread, including one inspired by Libby's visit with Nutella and raisins. I put out a few spreads and a bit of fruit. Audrey's cake choice was her third year for a delightful strawberry cake, this time with chocolate icing.

After everyone had their fill, gifties were opened, girlies were retrieved and we all breathed a sigh of relief (hey, did you know that first-grade girls have a tendency to run around screaming for no real reason?) I melted into a puddle of goo for a couple of hours afterward and Audrey reveled in her new title of seven-year-old, as she will likely do for the next twelve months.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Meet Me in Saint Lou-ee

I made my first single-mom road trip with the kids. I had two consecutive days off at work (the first that's happened in six weeks) and the kids were on spring break so we packed up Hot Red Speed and found ourselves on the other side of Missouri enjoying a few of the tourist attractions that Saint Louis has to offer.

With only a day-and-a-half to spend, we managed just a few stops, but had a fine time. The Science Center, the zoo and naturally, the Arch were the biggies for the kids. I personally was charmed by my old friend, Trader Joe.

We enjoyed a night in a hotel, which of course meant swimming for the young 'uns. And a few days before the trip I realized that I had never before personally checked into a hotel so now I can mark that, er, milestone(?) off my list.

The first day I was able to find my way around town without much trouble, but on the second, I lost all sense of direction and burned up more time and gas than was ideal. We can't wait to make a return trip (perhaps with navigational aids). Saint Louis is a very kid-friendly city and we're excited to see more of what it has to offer.

And by the time school is out and we have a few free days, I might even be out of Three-Buck Chuck.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Road to Recovery

I've been busy.

So busy that I've wanted to blog and return emails, but instead I incessantly check my friends' facebook statuses and walk around in circles forgetting which annoying task I'm attempting to tackle.

If you want to keep up with me these days, you really should join the facebook bandwagon. The notion of completing a compelling, witty and mostly truthful blog entry is daunting. A one or two sentence this-is-what-I'm-doing from my cell phone (but not while driving!) seems to be all I have to offer anymore.

But I'm not telling you anything you hadn't already figured out.

So it's been two weeks and so many things have happened. Libby popped into town for a fabulous visit. I made a delightful Chana Punjabi. I baked a multitude of sweets for school activities. I hosted Audrey's seventh birthday tea party. I continued my frantic work pace at my manic work place. And now the kids' spring break is here and I'm going to whisk them away to St. Louis tomorrow for a two day fun fest.

I have every intention of covering each of the previous topics with a complete and amusing blog entry, but the I have too much to cover and I don't have the time to tackle it all factor has had me stymied. Now that I've admitted I have a problem, I guess there are only eleven steps left until I'm all better.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Old Yeller

I'm mean.

I yelled (profanities and all) at my sweet co-worker and friend today. And I can't even tell you how many different people have asked, "Are you okay?" in the last few days. Sure, the work situation is ridiculous (hey, are you interested in a temporary cooking gig?), but is it really necessary for me to resort to making folks retreat from my presence?

Apparently so.

And as I was driving home from work tonight, I reflected on my fit (and subsequent apology), I had to wonder if Angry Girl is my true persona. I like to think myself a pretty amicable gal. I hope folks like to hang with me and I'm a pretty good friend. But if insomnia + too much workplace + household obligations = nasty bitch, doesn't that make me nasty bitch at the core?

Man, I hope not. I'll have to rewrite my Match profile if that's true.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Testing -- Testing

While driving from my house to Martin's a few nights ago, I heard Audrey begin a story and Isaac quickly stopped her, saying, "You've told us that twenty times!"
Audrey: "Not twenty."
Isaac: "Well, it was an exaggeration."
Audrey: "It was figurative language."
Emily: "Or hyperbole."

I can sleep well tonight knowing that much to their schools' delight, my kids will perform well on their upcoming state tests. Thank goodness for No Child Left Behind. I feel much better now. (Do you hear a child in the background explaining that I just used sarcasm?)

And as an added bonus, Audrey (need I remind you she's not quite seven yet?) told me she learned a "sixth grade word" a few days prior. Onomatopoeia. And then she had to refresh my memory as to its meaning. I guess I'll start throwing around French cooking terms so I can feel smart around my children.