Watch the seasons runnin’ away

purple boots

It was a busy weekend. The kid had his first race yesterday. It’s part of a new kids’ racing series where different age groups run each Sunday for five weeks. The really little kids ran a 50-yard dash. My kid is in the group running a quarter mile. He can easily run a quarter mile, he was running that far and further two and three years ago, but most of the time he doesn’t want to just go run. He wants to bring something – a ball, some toys, whatever. I feel like the kid is a runner, though, and wanted to get him into something where he’d have an opportunity to figure that out for himself (or not).

There were probably thirty or forty kids in his age group and then they split them into boys and girls so he was running against about 20 other kids, and came in third. I don’t think any of the kids really knew what was going on other than generally where to go and they weren’t really giving it their all. It was really, really cute watching all the kids run and pure enjoyment. But I saw that competitive side come out of my kid the last 50 yards or so, and he powered ahead of a couple others to come in what looked like third (the finish line was a little disorganized).

“That was easy,” he said. I took him back to the course and gave him a little coaching for next time. Stay with the other kids in the front until you round this last corner and are in the homestretch, then just book it until the end. “Like here?” he said, indicating a part of the course? Yes, I nodded. “Easy.” We shall see. I wasn’t sure if he really liked doing it or not but his Dad reported that he slept in his race shirt last night so I’m calling it a win.

My patio is finally ready for nice weather and we finally had some this weekend. The 70s and sunshine make me both filled with energy and deliciously lazy. I want to get everything done and then just sit down and relax and enjoy it. Reading on the patio with the birds chirping and only a light blanket over my lap was pretty nice. Now if I can just win the lottery and get some cushions for the patio chairs, my ass won’t be sore after sitting out there for awhile. I found the little plastic dinosaurs my son left in the dirt patch next to the patio, and sadly brought them in and put them away. They will wait until he returns, as will that part of my heart. I just put it away for a week and try not to think about it.

I got a fairly long run in as well on Sunday. I’m kind of just ignoring my foot pain at this point, just taping it up and running anyway since it hurts whether I run or not. I have places to go and things to do, no time to nurse an injury. Felt good.

The weather changed so quickly. I’m challenged to keep up with it, to find all my shorts and summer dresses immediately, to think about pool time and vacations. It’s hard to make plans when you don’t know what’s ahead, so I’m just trying to be ready for anything and everything and live each moment as it comes.

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I wanna hope so

tree in bloom

Spring is here. Hope is everywhere. My mind is bursting with ideas, my body wants to move more every day, my heart can’t keep up with all the changes. I’m holding on for dear life as we are vaulted into sunshine and trees with blooms exploding and energy, everything shifting. Hard to keep your balance sometimes.

I’m to the point where I just want to stay home and write most of the day and wish I didn’t have to go to work and write for other people. I have so much to do and so many ideas, but then I also want to get OUT. Outside, away, traveling, moving.

I knew 2016 would be a year of change, I just didn’t know it would be almost constant. I’m hanging on and hanging in, though. I’d rather keep moving than be stagnant. At least it’s interesting.

Busy weekend coming up. The kid starts next set of swim lessons. One day he will actually learn how to swim. I told him I’d take him to the Jungle Book so there’s that. We have to shop for a gift for a birthday party that’s next weekend. And Sunday he starts a kids’ race series so I’m going to that as well.

I have my mind on my own races as well. Trying to sneak in some 5Ks is becoming increasingly tough. If they are on a Saturday morning and I don’t have the kid, I can do it. A lot of races seem to be on a Sunday morning, which is impossible as that’s exchange day. I signed up for a half-half (6.5 miles) which will officially be my longest road race. The Turkey Trot is 5 and I’ve done that for two years now. I’m trying to work up to doing an actual half but none of the halfs I can find scheduled for this year are dates I can make it because of the kid. That’s ok. I’m not actually sure I can run that far. I’m also saving the date for some repeat 5Ks I like to do every year, so there will be a few, not too many. I’m still working on beating back the plantar fasciitis in my R foot, and now have managed to get tendonitis in my L arm from strength training. Getting old is fun.

Friendships and relationships take work to maintain. Some friendships are easy. People who live close by, who are just like you. Some are more work and are more complex, but they give you a richness that fills in the gaps in your life so you’re not just singing one note. People who disagree with you, who show you the other side of the coin push your boundaries and make you think. People who disappoint you can apologize and work to do better if they can stay in your life, and sometimes you have to get out of your own way and let them do that work. Friends who couldn’t be there when you needed them can surprise you when they ARE there and what they can bring. Friends who love you no matter what and can bend and change as you continue to bend and change are ones you should work hard to keep in your life. In short, love worth having in your life takes work, and also requires a certain degree of vulnerability. I’m working on it. It’s scary, but life in a vacuum completely under my control is numb and boring, and not what I want.

Spring is out there, waiting. My ideas are bursting. My heart is full. I have the energy to go grab it all, if I can just make space for it to happen.

 

 

Here where the lens is wide

newport sunset

It was a great, whirlwind weekend. These are the weekends I love, even though they leave me a bit drained. Rich and full and adventurous.

Spur of the moment trip to Cincinnati to see a guy giving a free lecture who has shot a number of award-winning films. It was at this little tiny college in Kentucky where you’d never think anyone of note would be presenting, but it was a really interesting presentation. As an actor and writer, I found it inspiring in that it made me want try to write films perhaps more so than any other experience I’ve had. So the ideas I have for screenplays may be making their way into actual scripts soon.

I called in a favor from an old friend in the hotel business and got a really beautiful room in a really beautiful hotel for a really beautiful price. Got to see a gorgeous sunset and eat some great food, lived life hard. Winning.

Yesterday, raced back to Cleveland to pick up the kid, then the usual whirlwind of putting on my mom hat – battling with the other people at the grocery store, cooking, getting the laundry together, all of the stuff I do to get ready for the week ahead with the kid that I couldn’t do before hand since I was on the road trip.

It was so good to see him sleeping in his little bed again last night.

More coffee.

Be yourself don’t hide

pinksunset

Marching ever forward, despite nature’s admirable attempt to try to give us a winter NOW. It’s like Mother Nature realized she fucked up all winter and is all like here, here’s some snow! Hail! Here’s some wind and cold! All of the weather! All at once! Can’t fool me though, I know this is the death knell and in another week or two, things are going to be a lot brighter and warmer. I can be patient. I’ve been patient a long time.

I have rain boots now, like real boots designed for rain. You can’t keep me inside for long. I also have lotion that makes my skin sparkle, which makes me feel like a jewel. I’m shining on the inside even if outside it’s cloudy and rainy.

I sent out a couple of stories for possible publication. I need to generate more content and send more shit out, but there never seem to be enough hours in the day. That’s ok. I’m working on enjoying my life more instead of making it all about an endless to-do list. I think it’s starting to work. Ever in search of that balance. Sometimes turning down more opportunities to do things so you are alone more often results in more balance. Sometimes letting people into your life who continue to knock is the right thing. It’s always shifting and changing. I make the best decisions I can in the moment.

I’m getting a travel bug itch as well. Trying to plan some long weekend trips for me and the boy over the summer. We will probably take the trip to Wisconsin to see my sister, but I’m not sure when. I’d like to take him somewhere we’ve both never been. He really, really wants to see the “real ocean,” but that’s a super long drive to make alone, and an expensive proposition. We shall see how the rest of the year plays out. Like the weather, it’s always changing and continues to surprise me.

I’m reading a piece at Dark Room on Tuesday. I keep editing it in my head and making it longer. I need to actually make the changes to the piece, but I already have all the copies of the scripts for people with current version. Decisions.

I need to do something to generate some extra income. Being this fabulous ain’t cheap. But it sure feels good.

 

And the springtime take a long way around

hail

The Stones really nailed today for me with this one, what a perfect song for this day.

Last week my son wore shorts one day, it was so warm, and we blew bubbles and drew with sidewalk chalk on the patio. Today, it was really cold. Then it rained. Then there was a thunderstorm. Then a hailstorm. Now, a big snowstorm. I thought this one might miss us, though I know it’s hitting all around us, and though I know this is not unusual for Cleveland in April. I still remember the year my family made the snow bunny for Easter back at the house where I grew up. My sister and Mom made it, as I had gone off to college. They sent me pictures in the mail. That was the year she sold the house and moved to Cleveland, where, believe it or not, the winters are milder. The coldest spot in Ohio is often a spot in my hometown. This isn’t so bad, and it won’t last.

I’ve been going to bed so early for the past week or so. I think my body is just tired. Tired of winter, tired of stress, tired of so much. I have been working out more and that’s also made me more tired. It’s amazing to me now to think how I used to come home from work, go to the gym and work out for an hour or two, get changed and go out clubbing until the wee hours several nights a week, and still go to work and function the next day. Of course, functioning was a lot easier at those lower-level jobs. I remember sleeping in my car at lunch, or in the lunch/break room a couple of times, so burning my bell, book and candle was taking a toll even when I was young, but I bounced back more quickly. Today I sat on the floor for two Monopoly Jr. games with my kid and it took me a half hour until I could walk right again, my back hurt so much from it. Fucking middle age. And I know it only gets worse.

Trying hard to find the balance with the kid is a continued challenge. Fed, yes. Played with, yes. Homework and reading (him to me, and vice versa), check. But not too much. I think he needs to be told no, too, to find his own stuff to do while I clean up the kitchen, so he can see cleaning up is important, or while I change the sheets on the beds (he took his off, one of his small chores – he also vacuumed the bathroom with the hand vac, one of his other chores). And dancing and watching a funny video and some cartoons and ok donuts and even pizza the night before and staying up late because it’s the weekend, but that balance, all the time I’m working it in. No, I have played enough ball, that’s enough dancing, you’ve had enough to eat. I work hard to not make things indulgent, but it is a lot more than what I grew up with, which was probably not enough, so I don’t know if my meter is right or not.

My Mom and I talk on the phone daily. Even though she only lives a few miles away, she doesn’t like going out that much anymore, and isn’t really prepared for visitors much either, spending a lot of the day in her robe and watching TV, but we do talk on the phone. She often asks me what I’ve been doing with D on the weeks that I have him, and tells me what a good Mom I am. Sometimes I’m just filling her in and don’t mean anything by it, but accidentally expose something that she really didn’t do, and she finds herself apologizing for not having done this or that, and I backpedal and find ways to tell her what she did was great, and more than enough, or that what I’m doing is probably too much. I just don’t want her to feel bad. We were talking about how people talk about idyllic childhoods in the 70s, where neighborhood parents would give you a snack or make sure you got home ok or whatever, and how that wasn’t my experience at all. She reminded me there was a brief time I brought one or two playmates home with me from the nearby pool in my pool rat days and we’d have snacks, and after it happened a few times she finally had to tell me to tell them they couldn’t come over anymore because she actually couldn’t afford to feed them. They were eating the little bit of food that was meant for our family and we literally could not afford to buy more. I didn’t remember having to tell my friends about that until she mentioned it, and then I felt bad that she still felt shitty about that all these years later, and that somehow I made her think of it. Gah. Motherhood guilt has no expiration date, I guess. All we can do is hope we’re getting it as right as we can and doing the best we can with what we have.

I told her I was taking my son to see a children’s theater play, and invited her to join us, even though I knew she wouldn’t go. She said she felt bad for never exposing us to anything like that, not that there was a whole lot of culture in the small town where I grew up. But what there was, we couldn’t afford to go see/do, and what was free and available, we didn’t pursue. My family just didn’t do kid-oriented stuff at all, ever. It was all adult stuff, all the time, unless it was your birthday or summer vacation or something. Playing with strange kids at HAM radio fests and flea markets and auctions was about it. I pointed out to her that she did take me to the movies downtown sometimes, and made me sit down more times than I could recall to watch a lot of black and whites that I never would have seen but for her influence. That was what she had to teach. White Heat. My Dear Secretary. Singing in the Rain, which we saw downtown in the big, grand old theater. The big epic dramas – Cleopatra, Ben-Hur, the majesty of the annual religious epics like the Robe and the Ten Commandments, which were actually the foundation for a lot of my basic knowledge about religion since we didn’t go to church. The annual viewings of Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka, and Snoopy Come Home, which left me in such tears when they said “No Dogs Allowed” that they had to shut it off a couple of times when I was really little, I was crying so hard. I knew who Victor Mature and Tyrone Power and Kim Novak were in middle school. I had a favorite Hitchcock film, knew Robert Mitchum from Night of the Hunter and only knew Andy Griffith from A Face in the Crowd, not from his hokey TV show. That was what she gave me, which sparked my obsessive love with the entertainment industry, and which continues to this day. I try hard to explain that to her so she doesn’t feel bad that what she did wasn’t enough.

I expect my son will be doing the same for me one day. I hope I’m giving him enough material to be convincing.

Got to find a way

cabbage

Worldwide violence and U.S.-based hatred really make me sad these days. I quit watching television news several years ago as it was mostly one horrible story after another – split up by saccharine packages about dog parks or school choirs which left me with a headache. I’ve never much been the newspaper type. I have pretty much always had to get up and go in the morning and never had time to sit around eating breakfast and reading a paper. On the weekends, when I can have a little more time, I prefer music in the background. But I get plenty of news every day through various forms of social media. Lately all I want to do is turn it off and try to ignore it, even though you can’t really do that.

Yesterday was the last day of my son’s spring break from school. I brought him to work with me, where he did a decent job of holding it together, behavior-wise, with a steady stream of snacks, books and screen time. Then he had to come to a doctor’s appointment with me that took me three months to get, so I didn’t want to reschedule it. Continuing to search for a cause for my wheeze. It’s been deemed not lung-related, so I went to the ENT who did my sinus surgery a couple of years ago. He sprayed some numbing stuff in my throat and then my son’s eyes got really big when the guy slowly put a very long tube down my nostril so he could look at my vocal cords and top of my esophagus. The good news is there’s no visible damage or anything that looks askew. He suspects I may have VCD or vocal cord dysfunction, which is often misdiagnosed as asthma, and which can be frequent  in athletes/runners. But hey, not cancer is a good diagnosis. So after the appointment, I took D to one of his favorite places in Cleveland for lunch. It’s not my favorite place, but he’s a born Clevelander and it’s a Cleveland thing so I take him there from time to time because he loves it. Then we drove to an indoor play place on the east side, where there’s a big arcade, laser tag, a climbing/play area, bowling and roller skating. Of course, because I suck, I forgot to bring a lot of cash with me. I paid for an all-day pass for him but we couldn’t do a lot of the stuff like games as they required tokens and the token machine didn’t take debit cards. Oh well. After he played awhile in the ball pit, he decided we should go roller skating. We went roller skating about 6 months ago and it was mostly a disaster. He fell about a thousand times and while I didn’t fall, it took like an hour for me to be able to get around without looking like an animal trying to escape a trap. It’s just been like 40 years since I skated and my muscles really didn’t remember how to do it, plus this body doesn’t behave like my body did when I was little.

Some kid a year or two older glommed onto my son and was insistent he was going to teach him how to use the plastic, wheeled assistant thing the right way so he could learn to actually skate. I left them alone and worked on staying upright and trying not to look like a huge embarrassment. Honestly, 90% of the people on the rink were kids. Most of the parents stayed outside and sat on benches on their phones. Which is fine, not everyone is into trying not to look like a fool and avoiding things that might break your wrist is a great idea, but I just wished more people would try so I wouldn’t look so dumb on my own.

As with everything that I do with my son, I looked around for people who might look like they were carrying a gun, since that’s legal here. The last thing you want is some guy with a gun who falls down on the rink and shoots someone. I also sized up where the exits are at every place we went in the facility. I’ve got a slightly higher sense of situational awareness than most people and I hope it never comes in handy. So that’s different than when I was a kid. But we also took a chance and left our shoes and sweatshirts (and my phone, tucked deep into my shoe as I didn’t want to fall and break it) in an unlocked locker and nobody bothered our stuff the whole time we were skating, which was a couple of hours. So in this way, there is still some innocence and safety out there. It’s a weird world.

We were both sweating when we finally took a break. I used my last two dollars to buy us an apple juice to split, and got him to agree we should go home as we were getting tired. A year ago, he would have thrown a huge tantrum and I would have had to drag him out of there. But now, though he was upset, he was able to listen to my reasoning, that it’s not that far, that we would come back again, and that it would soon be dinnertime and I didn’t have any money to buy any food at the facility, and he reluctantly agreed to go without further argument. So that’s progress.

We had dinner and I gave him a bath, and then took a shower while he had Second Dinner. Man I wish I had that kid’s metabolism. We were both pooped by the end of the evening and hit our respective beds pretty hard.

He forgot to bring his Spider Man shirt for his Spider Man book report/presentation today, which he was supposed to bring from his Dad’s. He’s had a month and a half to prepare for this report, and I’ve reminded him several times to bring the shirt here, but he didn’t do it. He was mad when I wouldn’t call his Dad at 8pm last night for him to run it over, but he needs to learn we are not always going to rescue him. I didn’t call, because I know his Dad would have brought it over and I wanted D to see that he could do the presentation without it, and to learn that if you forget the shirt, you do without the shirt. He was pretty mad this morning and asked again if I would call Dad to see if he would drop off the shirt on his way to work (at 615 am!) and I said absolutely not. But he’ll get over it. Hopefully one day what he’ll remember is I took him skating and to Sokolowski’s, and to a playground and for ice cream the day before, and not that I was a bitch about making him quit eating 10 minutes before bed or about not arranging to have his Spidey shirt brought to him, but who knows how it will end up.

I try to focus on these challenges and battles since the ones going on in the world are too sad to think about.

 

Close your eyes, open your heart

ladybug

Gosh but it was lovely today. Yesterday, I woke up very early, bundled up and went outside to watch the sunrise from atop a nearby hill. It was freezing cold, but I bundle fairly smartly and I was able to comfortably sit on the ground and watch the beauty emerge in purples and blues and pinks from over the buildings that are part of my apartment complex. I went out later in the day, when it was slightly warmer, for a four-mile walk but it was still really cold, and without the brisk walking, I’d have been uncomfortable.

Today it was a kiss of summer. It was in the low 50s when I picked my son up from his father’s place, and raising a degree practically every few minutes.

Grandma was at our place when we got back, and she came in and we had a long, leisurely late morning of me cooking a ham, making au gratin potatoes and broccoli, and we managed to fit egg coloring in then as well, even though it made a terrible mess. My son bopped in and out and helped a little with the cooking, and a lot with the egg coloring. After lunch, we had the traditional Macedonian egg cracking contest, which somehow my son seems to win every year, so he’ll have good luck the rest of the year. That’s ok, I got the big side of the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey, and that’s working out it’s own way to bring me some good luck in 2016.

Then we played a couple of board games. D is getting slightly better about losing, though you have to play enough games for him to win at least one.

By the time the kitchen was all cleaned up and grandma had gone home, it was in the high 70s. D and I set out for a playground I’d heard was great which is pretty far from where I live. We had an ok time, and saw this ladybug, which was cool, but it was a long way to go just to visit a playground. I asked a Dad who had sat down next to me to strike up a “parenting” conversation if there was a place to get ice cream nearby, so after a while we left the playground and went and got ice cream. Or rather, D got ice cream, as I am still carrying all my winter weight, and I got a fat-free fruit smoothie. He ate all his ice cream and drank a good portion of my smoothie. Must be nice to have that metabolism. Yeah, it was, actually, I remember it and still miss it.

He fell asleep almost as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot and it was pretty late for him to nap, but I’m just trying to roll with life. You can’t make a kid stay awake in the back seat when you’re driving unless you have a cattle prod or something. So I decided when we got home that we’d spend the last couple of hours of the day cleaning up the patio and getting it ready for spring and summer. So we swept and beat rugs and cleaned off patio chairs, moved the bikes all around so there’s room to sit on the chairs, and brought the plants out…so I’m sure we’ll get a frost soon and they’ll die. I need more plants. And all my cheap patio lights from last year are pretty much broken and scattered all over, so I need new lights. I’d really like to have more plants indoors as well. If only they weren’t so expensive and were easier to transport. It’s hard to get more than one or two plants into a sedan.

Then we blew bubbles and colored the empty spaces with sidewalk chalk. He drew zombies and I drew flowers and peace signs, and we blasted some rock and roll. I got to tuck him in and kiss him good night. It was a good day.

The patio is now ready. And so am I.