Saturday, June 1, 2019

All the things

I'm laid up in bed because I'm old and fell out of my front door, twisting my ankle epically, on our way to our first grown-up party in forever. The TV in our room doesn't work, so I broke out the laptop. And then I realized that it's been a million years since I posted.

We've been doing things! Non-falling-out-of-door things.
Averson is reading all the things and every time it makes my heart burst. (Also, I'm trying to fix my hideous kitchen and I'm pretty sure the yellow is awful. Is it awful?)

I bought a Cricut and I'm crafting all the things. I'm "upcycling" everything I can lay my hands on. I need some pithy sayings for wine glasses next, since I classily drank the wine my neighbor brought over out of a mason jar (aka our "good" jars)
Eli made me a heart for Mother's Day along with the sweetest bullet point list of the things he's grateful for. I totally cried. Then he asked for the heart back because he'd snuck it out of class ad he still needed to get it graded and if that's not the most perfect situation for us I don't know what is. 
Syd finished out softball and they were the champs! Softball was bittersweet, since she's the first grandkid to play and my dad would have been ridiculously excited about it. I'm glad she didn't let grief stop her, and tonight her coach presented her award and said that whenever he saw her play he thought, "Wow. She's a natural."

It's been so long, I don't even remember where I left off. Like, did I tell you about my fight with the HOA about my "vicious pitbulls"? Or how that led to the woman who'd been reporting us to get cited? Or how I took a new (temporary) job back in a prison, but it's an hour away and I'm driving all the damn time. But also it's really fun and some crazy stuff happens. A guy tried to climb the fence last week! Or in TMI news, how I went off birth control pills and realized that maybe I'm not as crazy as I thought I was? And lost five pounds almost immediately. 

I have to go back and figure out what I've left out. In the meantime, we have a week left of school and everyone is DONE. I didn't even buy stuff for lunches this week. I figure we'll just throw a bunch of random crap in a grocery sack and call it a day. We're going to family scout camp in a couple weeks and I'm stupid excited about it. And the pool is up and running! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Books that leave you feeling happy, inspired, and optimistic

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law (the amazing creator of Punch Life Back) asked me for book recommendations. I LOVE giving book recommendations! Like, it's one of my favorite things ever. But she specifically asked for books that would leave the reader feeling happy, inspired, or optimistic. So I jumped on GoodReads to look through my read list to cull out a list of recommendations for her. Cue sad trumpets because happy, inspired, optimistic books apparently are not my key genre. Need a dystopian universe full of manipulative teenagers? I gotchu. Graphic, disturbing crime writing. ALL OVER IT. Happy, optimistic, inspired? Little bit harder to find. BUT! I found a few. And I'm also working on adding to the list because geez. No wonder I'm irritated and anxious all the time and feel the need to have two obnoxious hellbeasts. How many psychological thrillers is really too many? Asking for a friend (who is me)

So, without further ado

Books That Will Leave You Feeling Happy, Inspired, And Optimistic

OMG. I pretty solidly do not love memoirs (I typically find them irritatingly self-absorbed which I acknowledge is the whole point of the genre) but this should be required reading for basically everyone. If you are starting to feel like the world is a dumpster fire, go read this book. It's amazing.

Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Oh how I love this book. It's my go-to book gift for people because it's just so perfect. AND, there's a bit of a dark side to it so it didn't feel super off-brand for me. I love Elinor and everything about this book.

The Keeper of Lost Things
Again, a little bit of a dark back-story but such a beautiful tome about legacy and being open to the world as it presents itself.

The Hazel Wood
Okay, this story is NOT super rainbows and unicorns but I love it and I'm including it because I love the premise. It's essentially a YA rewrite of several fairy tales and I enjoyed it for the creativity and story-telling. I'm including it because it was a fun book to read.

This book falls under "inspiring." It's a story about a woman who is redefining her identity and how she sees herself and others. I loved it and it spoke to me on a number of levels.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Okay. So technically this one is kind of sad. But also it's super heartening and I still thing about the characters as if I had lived in the house with them. I would say this book is perfect for someone who maybe is feeling like a bit of a misfit or who is feeling lonely. It's all about seeing the beauty in people and making connections.

Matchmaking for Beginners
This is another book about a cast of characters that you immediately fall in love with. Give me a brownstone full of oddballs and I'll give you a book that will make you smile.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
This one was a fast, light book about people who love books. I literally LOLed while I read this.

What books would you add to this list? And please let me know if you're looking for other book recommendations! I really do love it. It feeds my narcissism and bibliophilism

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Today was a good day

Today was a really good day, and I want to remember it. Syd has a sleepover with her bestie last night after they went to a birthday party. They’ve been friends since preschool but don’t see each other much. I don’t know when the last time I saw her so silly and happy. We made breakfast burritos and the kids were in the pool by 9:00. I had planned on going to a craft fair, and at the last minute Eli asked if he could go. He was LOVELY company and we had a great time. Then a fun, low key Girl Scouts And a walk with the dogs where they both behaved like decent, normal dogs (including ZERO) reaction to the off-leash and yippy dogs in the neighborhood. Including the ones belonging to the family who I think reported us to the HOA because our dog made them “fear for their safety.” (Which I’ll write about later but made me completely freak out, culminating in crying in the neighbor’s driveway.) C made the kids dinner and we put them to bed early so we could get to our sushi and Game of Thrones. Now I have a new book to start and an I’ve cream date with a friend tomorrow !

Friday, April 5, 2019

Hot cocoa mindfulness

Image result for hot cocoa coloring page
This week was Career and College Week at the girls' school. I talked to Syd's class on Tuesday and it was so great. They've heard me talk about being a psychologist before, and I was afraid that it would be redundant, but these kids have grown so much since last year! This year I talked about college and how much schooling and training it took to be a psychologist, as well as the different roles I have within the prison system, including behavior management and assessment. They really loved that I have tests to tell me if people are faking or exaggerating. I led them through a behavior chain analysis and talked about how they could use that to help them make good choices or change outcomes in their own lives. This morning two moms stopped me at drop-off to tell me how much their kids liked it, and one even dressed up like me for "When I Grow Up" day. She wore a heart on her t-shirt because she "wants to spread love and kindness" to people who need it. *swoon*
I went into Averson's class today. I'm always a little hesitant about how to explain what I do in a concrete way, as well as steer away from the whole "bad guy" narrative. I think I did okay, since they only asked a couple of questions about the bad guys :) For her class, I focused more on feelings and how I help people get back into the "green zone" (OMG. If you're not familiar with the zone system of emotional regulation it is SO GREAT for kids. These guys got it in under five minutes.) I wanted to give them something tangible to take away, in addition to my very favorite emotion chart. One of my favorite shrink tools is breathing. For them, I gave them each a picture of a cup of hot cocoa. We slowly smelled the cocoa through our noses, and then blew on it to cool it down. It was so sweet to see them all doing mindfulness on their carpet squares. I think they liked it too. I mean, I followed an actual Strongman, a Police Officer, and a nurse who handed out goodie bags, so I'm pretty sure I wasn't the favorite, but no one fell asleep so I'm counting it as a success. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019


C's sister and her family came to visit from Colorado for their Spring Break. They were anxious to get some of our glorious California weather and we did not disappoint with the ONE single day of non-rain. But alas, they were troopers and we bought a bunch of umbrellas. The kids always love having cousins in the house, and her kids are teenagers which made it even more awesome. 
We dyed their hair blue. Unfortunately for my dark-haired girls it was a lesson in futility and wasted money. But K's hair looked great! 

They requested In-N-Out. We hardly ever go and when the guy told me my total I made him recount because I was sure it was about half of what it should be. I have a theory that only people born in California are fanatical about In-N-Out, but if I can feed my teenager two full meals and still pay less than $25 I may be a convert.

A rainy day in San Francisco where we forced them to eat clam chowder on the sidewalk. Despite Averson's face, she actually really loved it. 

SO GOOD. Also, they hand out free samples when you walk in. I may have taken the kids through a couple extra times. 

They wanted to see the ocean but I don't think that this is what they imagined. BUT there was a giant pile of sea lions to their left, so that was some consolation for the lack of palm trees and surfers. 

It's not a trip to the flea market without petting a llama

Cousins! They were so thrilled with their flea market hats.
Our nephew turned 13 right before they came and he requested to go to a trampoline park. This is our new favorite place. No pics of boys though because I couldn't catch them. Averson, on the other hand, jumped for 30 minutes and then fell asleep on my lap. 

It was so fun to have the house full of family! We're already anxious for them to come back :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Moscow Loops

This is how I served Averson her cereal this morning, because we were completely out of clean dishes and spoons. Even better is that I "borrowed" this cup from a restaurant last weekend and when she saw it she said, "MOM! You still haven't returned the cup you took?!" So yep, totally earning my MOTY award today...

I don't know what this face is, but she keeps making it so there ya go

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Solidarity, Mamas

I don't write much about Eli these days because it's starting to feel like more and more of an invasion into his privacy to share his life semi-anonymously to the interwebs. He's nearly 13, he has an online presence (as do his friends), and also, he has a much more private life now. And really there's only so many pictures of a tween staring at his phone that I can post and still remain interesting. 

But you guys? This whole parenting a near teen boy is KILLING ME. Like legit, I want to say it loud for those parents in the back. THIS IS REALLY FUCKING HARD. I would go back to potty training and public tantrums in a heartbeat. I feel like we all commiserate about the lack of sleep and the keeping them alive bit. We laugh and joke and support each other and build our amazing tribes. And then around age 7 everyone starts to go their separate ways (probably because that's when sports start and homework becomes real and we remember that maybe we have a partner we'd like to cuddle with occasionally and then we're all too busy to form coherent sentences beyond that.) I think I maybe thought that if we set a good foundation, this next bit would be easier. We've always been big on letting our kids make decisions, have opinions, etc. but also to know that they need to be respectful and kind. We've come through some shit with this kid, and he's been so sweet and resilient. And yet...

He made me cry yesterday. Like, we were having a totally normal, unremarkable conversation and I caught him in yet another "less than truth" and I lost it. I went to apologize for my outburst later, and as I was apologizing the tears just sprung loose. I get it. This is when he needs to figure out who he is and what he stands for, and he needs to do a lot of that on his own. But I also need to make sure he stays alive and doesn't turn out to be too big of an asshole. And instead of having to bear the judgmental stares from Karen at the grocery store and brush off your elderly neighbor's well-meaning advice, there is a community of people who are looking to you to fix some bigger issues and you sit there and nod and make all the right noises while on the inside you're frantically trying to figure out how the fuck you're going to handle this shit-show because I'm pretty sure they didn't cover this in What to Expect When You're Expecting. And I love him with all of my heart, and he is going to be the most amazing man someday, and this shit is really fucking exhausting sometimes.  

So, I got nothing. But I wanted to put this out there in case your first-born (or second or sixth) is coming into their own and is making you question all the things you held true. I see you, Mama. This shit sucks and it's hard, but we can do hard things. So when I see you chasing after a skulking teenager while simultaneously trying to be as invisible as possible so that his friends will never know that he didn't spontaneously come into being, I will send you a silent fist bump. And if you need to come over to say all the things you know you shouldn't say to your kid, but need to say anyway, we can drink cheap beer and hide out in a corner. 

Also, I'm just going to stare at these for a minute and remember when he didn't think I was out to ruin his life.