Sometimes I Forget I Am An Adult

Sometimes I Forget I Am An Adult

 

Being a grown-up isn’t turning out the way I planned. Not exactly anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, adulthood has provided me with some great things which I’m very fortunate to have – a wonderful husband, two awesome kids, a house, a job, a semi-futuristic hybrid car.

But, forgive me for sounding whiny here, it isn’t quite as much fun as I thought it would be.

When I’m calling the shots…” 10-year-old me thought as I dreamt about ice cream for dinner and wearing pantyhose every day.

I wanted to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan. I wanted choices. I wanted control. More specifically, control-top. And I wanted to never eat cabbage rolls again.

Then I actually grew up and realized eating ice cream for dinner every day will make me fat and sick and pantyhose are the devil’s undergarments. And cabbage rolls are really pretty good.

Adulthood isn’t one big chocolate-Frosty-fueld rave. There are endless obligations that compromise our independence – budgets, schedules, deadlines, the needs and wants of the people we share our lives with. In some ways we aren’t in control of our lives any more then when we were 10.

So, when something happens that reminds me being an adult is not all work and bills, but something that sometimes has its benefits, I grab hold.

For instance, I am legitimately surprised and thrilled when I remember:

I can buy a bottle of wine and drink it in our hotel room when we’re on a trip.

I can take my daughters to a fancy restaurant, whether my husband wants to go or not.

I can eat noodles on the couch.

I can go out dancing until 2 a.m.

I can stay home and watch Monty Python and The Holy Grail in my sweatpants.

I can make eggplant for dinner even though I’m the only one who likes it.

I can go to bed at 8 p.m. or I can stay up until 3 a.m. reading Emma for the 500th time.

It doesn’t matter. The important thing is I get to choose.

This list might seem a little sad and pathetic, but it’s my list. And I’m a grown-up. So you can go jump in a lake.

What about you? What do you do to remind yourself you’re an adult?

 

 

Random Thoughts on Rollercising, Leggings and Amy Poehler

Random Thoughts on Rollercising, Leggings and Amy Poehler

I need to have more fun. I spend too much time on our couch, especially in the winter. Our couch has a butt dent – my butt dent. I wouldn’t describe my relationship to my couch as a fairytale exactly, but like Cinderella’s foot, mine is the only butt that will fit.

I need to get out more.

It was much easier to exercise when we were kids. Maybe because we didn’t call it exercising. It’s not like we got home from school and said, “Sorry, girls, I can’t play Barbies today. I need to get in 45 minutes of kickball or this Pudding Pop is gonna go straight to my thighs.” We played kickball because we wanted to.

(Well, some kids did. I actually hated kickball. I’m not coordinated enough to run then kick a ball. But you get the idea.)

Roller skating is a great example of this. It was exercise. It just didn’t feel like exercise. I used to roller skate all the time when I was a kid and never once did it cross my mind that I was getting a great cardiovascular workout. It was just something I could do while listening to “Thriller.”

I loved everything about roller skating – the Limbo, the Dice Game, the additional challenge the Hokey-Pokey presented when done on wheels. I even had my own pair of skates. They were white with blue wheels and had Smurfs on them.

Just thinking about it makes me happy inside. I would gladly roller skate three to four times a week. Do grownups roller skate? Without their kids? Like as exercise?

I know some women do roller derby. I’m not talking about that. I am the least competitive person on the planet. If I am winning at Monopoly and someone lands on one of my properties, I will look the other way just to level the playing field. I am not roller derby material. I think what I’m talking about is roller dancing.

We took our daughter to a roller skating party before Christmas, and when the song “Hello” came on, I had the overwhelming urge to glide around the rink like Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu. I can’t even skate backward, but in that moment, I was the closest I will ever get to being Nancy Kerrigan.

I want to more of this,” I thought to myself.

So, maybe roller skating will be my thing.

Ah, forget it. It’s too cold to go outside.

* I was in such a bad mood the other night, I put myself to bed at 7 p.m. I was stressed out and throwing little temper tantrums all day like a toddler. So, after dinner I made myself go upstairs and get in bed. I like to think of it as protecting my young from myself. I picked up books then tossed them on the ground. I looked at websites and rolled my eyes. I laid there fuming and stewing about all the little nothings that felt like huge somethings. Then, finally, I wore myself out. I watched an episode of Orange in the New Black and fell asleep. When I woke up the next day, I felt better.

* I never understood the appeal of leggings until my mother got me a couple pair for Christmas. They are so light and comfortable it begs the question, “Why am I wearing normal pants all the time?” I feel like prancing around the house like a lord-a-leaping. I try to find surfaces to do lunges on. Oooh…I wonder if they would look good with roller skates….

* I am re-reading Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. I read it a while back and loved it so much my “fantastically awesome” and “insightful” daughter (she paid me heavily for that endorsement) got it for me for my birthday. At the time I had all these other books I “needed” to read so I put this one at the bottom of my pile. Every night, I would force myself to pick up one of the other books, groaning inwardly like they were college English assignments. Six more books until I can read Amy … five more books until I can read Amy. Finally I told myself to quit being stupid. I’m not in college. I can read what I want. So I put the other books in the library basket and read Amy’s book. And it is just as wonderful as I remembered it.

 

Dear Bridget Jones’ Princess Diaries of a Wimpy Kid

Dear Bridget Jones’ Princess Diaries of a Wimpy Kid

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I’ve been a parent for nearly 14 years now and never has one of my children tapped into my thoughts so completely it bordered on eerie … until this weekend.

I was in our living room dismantling the gigantic Scotch-Brite scouring pad that poses as our Christmas tree, and – to avoid thinking about the depressing task of boxing up our seasonal joy – I was fixating on the notion of diaries.

It’s a new year, a fresh slate, and nothing symbolizes that better than a blank journal. We really seem to like diaries and journals. Maybe because they offer us a whole set of blank pages to fill up and be the heroes. Or maybe because they are a way for us to tell the truth. I think that’s why we like them as a storytelling device. They make us feel like we’re in on it.

I loved getting a new diary. Like a lot of girls (especially girls who liked to read or write), I got a diary almost every year, either for Christmas or my birthday. And, for me, they served two main functions.

The first is pretty basic – just a place to write down what went on in my life. This wasn’t so obvious to me at first, though. I think I got my first one when I was in second or third grade, and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. I would write a sentence or two and then get bored.

Then, one night, a soap like Knots Landing was on in the background and this woman was writing her secret fantasies down in her diary. That’s when it hit me … You’re supposed to write dirty stuff in them! That’s why they come with a lock!

Michael Jackson was pretty big at the time, so drawing on him for source material, I wrote up a story about how he was in town on tour. It was hot, so he stopped by our swimming pool for a swim. I was there, too, and when he got in the pool, I was so excited my swimsuit just came off. The end.

I kind of forgot about the whole thing until a couple months later when my very Catholic mother found it and was understandably upset. In her mind, I went from adorable nine-year-old to sex-crazed pervert in the span of a minute.

I was too humiliated to be upset by the obvious breach of privacy. And it taught me two things … don’t ever write about something you wouldn’t want your mother to read and, don’t ever look at someone else’s diary. You might not like what you see.

By middle school, I learned to tone it down a little and just write about the every day stuff. Ironically, I didn’t have much of a life to write about. I would come home from school, watch the latest episode of Days of Our Lives, and then recap what happened between Jack and Jennifer in my diary because they were the only two characters I cared about. I’m sure it was a thrilling read. But I had nothing but time to write pages and pages of all the nothing that was going on. And I loved it.

Which leads me to the second function … As I was writing down all this nothing, I truly believed that I was doing it so one day my legions of future fans would have something to look back on and analyze my early genius. I call it the Anne Frank effect. It didn’t occur to me that my fans might not want to read all about Jack Deveraux and Jennifer Horton. I was the subject of my story and I was interested in Jack and Jennifer. Therefore, my fans would love to hear about them as well.

But, is this a universal experience? Do all diary writers think of themselves as future somebodies? Do we write in them because we think someday someone will want to read them?

So, there I was, wrestling with my gigantic toilet brush of a Christmas tree, pondering these questions, when my my nine-year-old daughter came out to the living room and … I kid you not … sat down on the couch with her diary in hand.

That alone might have been enough to suspect her of some sort of witchcraft, but my daughter is an avid diary-keeper. She has had a total of seven diaries in her nine years on earth. She got this particular one for her birthday and has written in it almost every day since. Probably because it’s part stuffed animal. It’s covered in nubby brown fur and has big blue eyes, ears that stick out and an adorable pink bow. She was so excited when she opened it, my sister leaned over to me and said, “I think she’s going to cry.”

So, it wasn’t an unusual sight to see her with her diary. But, I was a little surprised at her timing. And a little curious. What was she writing in there?

I am a huge snoop. Whenever I see her diary sitting on her desk, I’m tempted to pick the lock with a paperclip. Then I remember my Michael Jackson erotica and leave it alone. But it kills me not to know. And here she was flaunting it in my face! While I was thinking about diaries no less! I had to know what she was writing!

Then, after about 10 minutes of her sitting there writing and me peeking at her from behind the wad of jagged pipe cleaners we decorate every December, she looked over at me and said, “Hey, Mom. Wanna hear something?”

I think my eyes might have bugged out of my head. Uh…Duh! But I tried to play it cool.

“Sure,” I shrugged.

She cleared her throat then stuck her finger at the top of a page.

When I write in this diary, I am writing to you my future self about childhood and I hope you’ll never forget this young me. Well, see ya. Bye!”

“Isn’t that funny?” She laughed at herself. “I wrote something really serious and then ended it with ‘Well, see ya. Bye!'”

She shook her head and went back to writing whatever it was she was thinking about.

How did she do that? She answered two of my burning questions – yes, she is a better writer at nine than I was; and yes, we all write in diaries with the belief that someday someone is going to pick it up and care about what we had to say – without me even having to ask. Amazing!

Now I’m curious about something else. Do any of you out there still keep a diary?

I haven’t kept one since before I had kids. I guess this blog sort of serves that purpose, but my blog is very different from a diary in one big way…I will never reveal my secret crush here (Shhh … it’s still Michael Jackson).

Or, do you maybe keep a journal for posterity’s sake? Maybe something for your kids to look back on? Or have you ever read someone else’s diary and really regretted it?

Like I said … I’m a snoop. So, drop me a comment below and let me know! You can make up code names or use Pig Latin if you want to reveal any crushes. And, I swear, I won’t tell a soul!

This Blog May Not Actually Be a Blog

This Blog May Not Actually Be a Blog

I’m back!!!

Ugh. I really wish there was a better way to say that.

I can’t help but feel that me saying, “I’m back!” is a little like the Backstreet Boys saying “Backstreet’s back…all right!” … on the fourth song … on their first album.

(Where did they go? They were only three songs in. Were they thinking, “You didn’t think we were coming back after that last song, did you? You thought maybe this was just a three-song album. Well, haha, joke’s on you. We’re back!” )

It just feels like a bit of an overstatement at this point in my blogging “career.”

I have roughly 50 regular readers, and judging by the lack of messages I got in the two months I was away, I’m guessing your thoughts ran less along the lines of:

“What happened to Jean? I looked forward to her posts, no matter how erratically they came. Her writing filled a hole in my life I can now only replace with massive amounts of chocolate or scotch. Come back, Jean. Come back.”

And more along the lines of:

“Hmmmm…. I should probably buy some new socks,” or “I really need to schedule that colonoscopy.”

So, my absence feels more like a shrug than a “Fire up the chatrooms! She’s back online!”

Whether you missed me or not, I did have an excuse. And, it too, is cliche. It was the holidays.

I am a terrible multi-tasker. Only one thing can occupy my mind at a time, and I ruminate on that thing obssessively until I eventually get bored and move on to something else, like how my interest in 5ks morphed into an interest in sitting on the couch and watching reruns of The Office.

For the last two months, my thoughts have all revolved around one thing, “What should I feed my family for Christmas dinner this year? Nut loaf?”

That was pretty much it. Any space left in my mind not consumed with nut loaf recipes was filled with basic daily chores like showering and refining my Christmas playlist on Spotify.

So, I took a break. And now that the nut loaf has been picked at and then thrown in the trash, my mind has wandered back to this abandoned blog.

I feel bad. It almost as though my blog was become the Western Barbie I got for Christmas one year … something to be played with for a couple of weeks … her white, fringed outfit admired … the button that made her blue-shadowed eye blink pushed so much that she looked like she had a tic… then tossed carelessly into the toy box by the end of winter break… left for dead among my brothers’ G.I. Joes and He-Men … only to remember her a week or so before the next Christmas with the gnawing fear that she knew I had abandoned her and would seek her Western-style vigilante justice on me.

I don’t want my blog to end up like Western Barbie. So, I’m back in the saddle, so to speak.

But, I’m also trying to figure out where I want this blog to go. I’m coming up on my one-year “Bloggiversary” and its time to take stock.

I’m a little worried. You see, I’d like to have more than 50 readers, but whenever I do research to find new ways to “grow my blog” I come up with a set of answers, which, if Pinterest is to believed, leads me to one startling conclusion:

I don’t have a blog.

I don’t do anything bloggers supposedly do.

I don’t offer makeup or beauty tips.

I am 40 years old and am still really confused about how to put on eyeliner.

I don’t have any DIY ideas.

I can’t think of 10 new uses for coconut oil. I have never made an ottoman out of a wood pallet. I use mason jars to can stuff.

I don’t share recipes.

No one wants my vegan recipes. Just ask my kids. See also, nut loaf.

It’s not a mommy blog.

I love my kids. Really I do. But, honestly, they aren’t all that interesting or unusual. They do the same things all 9 – and 13-year-old girls do. They also aren’t assholes. There seems to be a cetain type of mommy Blogger who loves to write about how their kids are assholes. Mine aren’t. They’re great kids. Boring. Not assholes. But great. I just don’t want to write about them all the time.

Other reasons … I post irregularly. I don’t do enough lists. I don’t post videos. I don’t know how to use Instagram. I haven’t had an internet troll. I reference outdated things like chatrooms and Backstreet Boys.

So what am I to do? How do I “grow my blog” when I’m not sure I have one. Is there any space out there left for a 40-year-old woman who wants to write about her past obsessions with boys bands, Patrick Swayze and Days of Our Lives?

It’s time to ask myself some tough questions.

“Am I original?”

“Am I the only one?”

“Am I sexual?”

“Am I everthing you need?”

Time will tell, I guess. But while I ponder these questions, I will leave you with these wise words…

“Everybody…rock your body…rock your body right.”

http://youtu.be/h4QLZTW8W-I