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Friday Flashback: Can You Handle Some Inspiration?

standard March 19, 2010 Leave a response

Friday Flashback is all about bringing to light some of my favorite posts from my archives to breathe new life into them. I was poking around in my archives when I came across this post. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day flow of life and to forget to take stock. I’m not making any major life changes like I was back then. I’m not about to take the plunge into the scary unknown, but that doesn’t make the question posed at the end any less timely. This was originally posted in April 08. (I can’t believe it was two years ago. Feels like it was yesterday.)

Can You Handle More Inspiration?

Tonight I joined my fellow bloggers from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog to hear Maria Shriver talk about her new book Just Who Will You Be? First of all, she’s gorgeous. No seriously, I spent half the time wondering how she gets her hair to be all wavy and curly and full of omph. I spend a lot of time, effort, and money on terrible hair products trying to get my hair to look just like hers. But whatever, that is so besides the point.

She was more than just gorgeous, she was also incredibly inspiring. She radiates self assurance and poise. She was funny and articulate. She was quoting poetry and talking about the books she’s written and she made me want to read more and write more and help her save the world. Luckily right now that just means buying and eating ice cream. Right up my alley. (Heck, you should come hang out with me in the alley, that was some good ice cream.)

So there we all were, in a cozy new bookshop, eating insanely yummy ice cream (Oh, shush, it was a really long day and I hadn’t had any dinner.) listening to Maria tell us about how she found herself trying to figure out what she was going to do now that her husband’s new career had pretty much blown her own career out of the water. As she put it her “little jewel” of a book was born out of pain. She thought that she was writing a book geared towards high schoolers trying to figure out their life path and then she discovered that people from all walks of life were coming out of the woodwork to tell her that her book had helped them figure out what they were doing with their lives. And I keep nodding and nodding, because I’m in that very spot myself. And even though I’m truly not a believer, I couldn’t help but marvel at the perfect timing of this book reading. (Maybe, just maybe I’d be more of a believer if I didn’t work in a synagogue. As backwards as that might sound, sometimes too much of something just turns you off. I bet the people who work at Hersey don’t eat a heck of a lot of chocolate.) Sometimes you just get to be in the right place at the exact right time and you hear exactly what you needed to hear.

At the end of her talk Maria quoted two poems by Mary Oliver: The Journey and The Summer Day. Both poems, each in their own way, are about being true to yourself and doing what you need to do to live the life you are meant to live. What she said resonated even more with me than anything else she’d said before: “Putting my one wild and precious life at the end of the line is no longer acceptable.” It’s all fine to want to do what’s best for our spouses and our families. It’s great that we want to care for others, but it’s not OK to do it at all costs. One doesn’t need to exist at the expense of the other.

M and I have been talking for weeks now about what’s next for me. Five years ago I accepted a job as an administrative assistant because I truly couldn’t find anything in advertising; my chosen field. It was supposed to be a temporary stop gap measure that would keep us afloat until we found our dream jobs or at least until the economy picked up. I never left. M went to law school and became the stellar lawyer that he is today. We had two kids. And still I’m there, doing what I was doing five years ago. Until this year that was just fine, but now I want more; I want to write, I want to be there for my kids when they need me, I want to take care of my home, I want to take care of my family.

I’m done spending my days waiting for the clock to strike 5. I’m done wasting my time doing things I don’t really believe in any more. From 9:30-5 I don’t live, I exist, and it’s time for that to stop. Shh, don’t tell anyone yet, but this week I’m giving notice at work. In a month I’m turning pro; I’ll officially be unemployed a freelance writer. By an incredible stroke of good fortune I’ve managed to stumble into my first real writing gig. It’s nothing huge, but it’s enough to make me feel like I’m not completely insane. And with luck more work will come along sooner rather than later. But even if nothing does pan out and in six months I need to pack up my computer and go find a “real” job, it doesn’t matter, I will have tried to do this one thing that is so very important to me. I’ll still be truly living my “one wild and precious life.”

So “tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Friday Flashback: Some days it’s all about perspective

standard January 30, 2010 Leave a response

Friday Flashback is all about bringing to light some of my favorite posts from my archives to breathe new life into them. I was going to repost this because I’m having more asthma med issues and I desperately need to place an order to the Canadian pharmacy. But then I saw this one and I realized that this weekend is the first anniversary of Tuesday’s death. This is for her. And for me. Because once again I needed the perspective reminder. This was originally posted in January 09

Some Days it’s All About Perspective

I woke up to an email from an editor saying that the publication for which I was writing my first print article was going on an extended hiatus. For a year or so. She said this in reply to an email sent by me the night before, letting her know that I was on track for my Monday deadline. I salvaged the situation as best as possible, but to say that I was disappointed would be the understatement of the year.

I checked the rest of my email and found out that a dear friend’s new baby is terribly colicky. She’s going insane what with the no sleep and non stop screaming. Right then my disappointment seemed petty.

I checked some more email and learned that somewhere in the blogosphere two parents brought home their 2 year old daughter so they could watch her die. Her cancer has become so aggressive treatment isn’t an option. What’s a missed writing opportunity in comparison to the death of a child?

I hugged my children close and took them to school and daycare. Then I sat down to salvage my day. I sent emails and worked on some projects. Then I answered a call from my husband. He was delirious, hardly making any sense. He sounded like he was crying and laughing at the same time. He’d thought he was better from his flu and had gone to work. He was on his way back home, freaked out by the incessant chills.

I dropped everything, rushed to pick C up from school so I could take her to daycare early. I hurried home to see what was wrong with M. I found him shaking in bed, burning up, lethargic, completely out of sorts. One frantic phone call later to his sister, our internist, and we were in the car headed to see her. Shortly after that we were headed to a nearby radiology office, script for lung x-rays in hand. We didn’t learn until later that he didn’t have pneumonia, just a terrible case of the flu.

I took him home and put him to bed, I went out to get his meds, and then I sat on the couch to try to get a tiny bit of work done before going to collect the girls. Unfortunately, I was too riled up from my pharmacy trip to get anything worthwhile done.

It was a long and very frustrating day. It was filled with disappointment, sadness, fear, and frustration. The kids sensed all this and were extra challenging tonight. In fact, it’s 11pm and for some reason Little L won’t sleep. Instead she just keeps crying and fussing.

But I just learned that that little girl passed away today. So I’m going to take my tear stained face and go cuddle gratefully in bed with my grumpy daughter and sick husband, because even though I had a truly terrible day, I know it could have been so very much worse.

Friday Flashback – What’s so great about the Fall?

standard October 31, 2009 3 responses
Friday Flashback is all about bringing to light some of my favorite posts from my archives to breathe new life into them. I’m reposting this because last night we had to add a blanket to our bed; a sure sign that Fall has arrived! This was originally published in September 08.

What’s so great about the Fall?

As I tossed and turned last night in bed trying to get warm I grumbled about the start of Fall. Then this morning I read this at The Inspired Room, and well, I got inspired. Odd how that works. So instead of ranting, I’m going to go all Pollyanna on you and give you 20 things I treasure about Fall.

1) It’s cool enough to cuddle at night. Which is great because I seem to be popular these days. M, C, and Little L keep fighting for who gets to sleep in my arms.
2) Pretty leaves changing colors. In CA we don’t get a lot of this, but every so often we turn a corner and spot a gorgeous tree aflame with colors and it leaves us breathless.
3) I can drink a late night cup of tea without needing to take a cool shower after. ‘Nuf said.
4) Flannel jammies. I know it’s not sexy, but they’re oh so cozy and I’ve missed them.
5) Orange and Black. I love watching Halloween decorations pop up right and left.
6) School supplies. I know, it’s odd, but nothing soothes my frazzled brain like row after row of neatly organized school supplies. If that makes me a dork, so be it.
7) Slow cooker meals. Something about Fall makes me long for slow cooked stews and other yumminess.
8) Pie. Warm. With heavy cream ladled on top.
9) Art and wine festivals. Sure it’s always the same stuff, but I still love going.
10) The beach in the cold. I love taking a walk on the sand when it’s cold and the wind is blowing.
11) Fluffy slipper socks. Especially when you slip them on before getting on the couch.
12) Huddling under a blanket with a loved one to read books or watch a movie. Goodnight Moon is oh, so much better under a fleece blanket.
13) Soup! Butternut squash. Carrot ginger. Cream of mushroom. Yum.
14) Putting the kids to bed when it’s already dark. What? That totally counts.
15) Car seat warmers. Toasty tushies.
16) Apples! Apple pie, apple crumble, apple sauce, apple chicken, apples and honey, apples, apples, apples!
17) The smell of chimney fires.
18) Sweaters. Wool or cotton? Thick or thin? Doesn’t matter as long as they are cozy.
19) Scarves. Stylish or functional. Love ’em all.
And last, but not least
20) The feel of cold little noses when you get hugs and kisses from little ones coming in from the cold.

Happy Halloween everyone, and happy Fall!

Friday Flashback – Sisters

standard September 26, 2009 5 responses

Friday Flashback is all about bringing to light some of my favorite posts from my archives to breathe new life into them. I’m reposting this because I just spent the afternoon with my sister and I get to see her again tomorrow evening. She lives across the country and we don’t get to spend time together nearly enough. Also, when we were kids we didn’t get along at all. I’m glad that’s changed. This was originally published in October 08.


I expected that I’d be moved by the relationship between C and Little L. I thought there’s be cute hand holding, fumbled kisses, maybe even the odd hug. I did not expect the unbelievably deep bond that links them.

I didn’t expect that C would be Little L’s self appointed soother. If Little L is fussing or even outright crying C rushes over and sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Instant quiet, every time. For example, this morning Little L got upset because she kicked off one of her shoes and C got right down to business. “Mama! You drive the car!” She ordered,” I’ll take care of L!” And she did. Moments later they were both singing and clapping and crisis was averted.

I didn’t expect that they would be so tight. As long as they have each other they don’t need anyone else. The two of them play endlessly, entertaining each other with their goofiness and silliness. They’re very favorite game consists of crawling around the house in a perpetual game of chase. As soon as one girl catches the “leader” they turn around and race off in the other direction.

I didn’t expect the sharing! Sure, there’s squabbling over stuff, but usually only when one girl is tired or cranky. The rest of the time they constantly look out for each other. They share toys, books, and even food! If one girl has a cookie or a banana you can be sure that moments later the other girl will have a piece of that coveted item in hand, and not because she threw a tantrum to get it!

I didn’t expect the desperate need for equality. Sure I expected big discussions about fairness, but I didn’t expect the turn they usually take. C always wants to know if Little L gets to do something that she’s doing, but not because she’s keeping score, rather it’s because she’s worried that Little L is going to be left out.

The two of them are a tight little team. They turn to each other for support and fun and I love seeing that bond grow a little more every day. Nothing makes me more proud or love them more.