#MicroblogMonday: Scientology Is Strange

book-pages-1313474_1920I’m happy to say I’m back to a regular reading schedule. I had slacked off for a while there, as work deadlines and commitments were seemingly never ending. But just like a child with his favorite blanket, I am reassured and renewed by books.

Also, I can never seem to keep up with the growing pile at my bedside. Now, to add to my literary anxiety (in a totally good way), my book list is growing on my electronic devices and I’m totally diggin’ it.

An online friend introduced me to an app that syncs with your local library so you can download audio or e-books to your phone or Kindle. I had thought about joining one of those subscription-based audio book sites, but I just couldn’t see spending the money. Especially since I wouldn’t have a real life book to add to my bookshelf when I’m finished reading.

I’ve downloaded a few ebooks to my Kindle, but I have to say I get through books faster if they’re of the audio kind, right on my phone. It’s just easier to press play and listen for a few minutes when I’m getting ready in the morning or driving to and from school drop-off or for longer listening on the treadmill.

I gravitate toward non-fiction more than fiction, although I do love a good novel. Lately, I’ve been fixated on autobiography, biography, and memoir. Billy Crystal’s memoir was one of my favorites. In fact, I’ve considered re-reading it (even though I read it when it first came out in 2014.)

It may be on my phone right now … just waiting patiently for me to finish the book I’m currently reading: Leah Remini’s memoir “Troublemaker.” It’s about her life in and out of the Church of Scientology. All due respect to any Scientologists out there, but oh my lord is that religion messed up. I think there’s a little bit of a “cult-like” phenomenon to most religions, but this one just seems super strange. But hey. At least they’re not knocking on my door trying to convert me, right?

*flashback to repeated attempts by local Jehovah’s Witnesses to persuade me to find salvation in their little pamphlets as I try to stifle my regret for even opening the door*

Anywho. The book is captivating. Plus, I love listening to Remini’s signature Bronx ‘take-no-shit accent.’ It makes me smile.

I realize I should probably make more room for literary classics and books that really take a deep dive into tough issues or universal conundrums. But for now? I guess I’m hooked on memoir. And books that spill some celebrity gossip.

I’m at the part of the book where she describes what *really* went down at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ wedding. JUICY.

Follow me on Goodreads for my final review of the book, but so far it’s no less than three stars….

**************This post is part of the #MicroblogMondays series>>>find out more here!

My Bedroom Wall Is Better Than Trump’s Wall

Thirteen-year old Kim would be very disappointed if she knew how this whole thing turns out.

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This is what one of my bedroom walls looked like circa 1983.

Check out that groovy floral print wallpaper. I. Am. Dying.

Yes, Scott Baio was my everything back then. Tuesday nights were all about ABC and Happy Days.

Oh Chachi…

I raced to Bob’s Market to get the latest issue of Tiger Beat, always hoping he was on the cover or – even better – on a full page spread inside.

I knew all the words to the Joanie Loves Chachi theme song “You Look At Me.” Omg I’m singing it now.

I thought for sure our nine-year age difference was no big deal. I figured we would date as soon as I moved to California to start my new life as a photographer / actress and then we’d get married and live in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills forever and ever.

I had a plan.

And I admit that for years I hung on to my Scott Baio fantasy. Even though he turned into a skeevy creep, I still defended him. Omg. I even watched his reality show a few years ago. Nothing could turn me against him. Nothing.

Until he came out loud and proud for Donald Trump.

Sleep with millions of women? Eh, they’re exaggerating.
Kind of a jerk in social circles? Eh, he’s just moody.
Pledge your allegiance to Donald Trump?

I believe we’re all finished here.

Bye Chachi. My heart is broken.

Nothing will give me greater pleasure than voting blue tomorrow.

(Omg I can’t just walk away forever. My lucky number has always been and WILL ALWAYS BE 22 in honor of his birthday on September 22. I just won’t tell anyone.)

Bubble Wrap and Prayers

I’m not a praying person. At least not in the conventional way. I don’t attend church and I don’t have a bedtime ritual or even a dinnertime ritual that involves any kind of prayer or meditation. Unless of course you count our five year old who occasionally feels compelled to say the mealtime prayer she learned at school, which ends: “thank you God for feeling me.” She says feeling me instead of feeding me.

Any time I travel by plane, I engage my pre-flight ritual. It’s a very informal phrase I recite silently as I walk the jetway to board a plane. I used to close my eyes but after one collision with a headphone-wearing teenager, I’ve decided to keep my eyes open. I’ve been saying it to myself for years. Every plane flight. Same words, same sense of worry, same intention. And even though I don’t always remember to express gratitude every day, I do always remember to pause when my plane has landed safely and send a silent note of gratitude to the universe. Just my way of coping with my fear of flying, I suppose, without letting it paralyze me and literally ground me.

But despite the lack of any formal prayer routine, I find myself thinking lots of little prayers or whispers throughout the day. Please help her to be a good friend. Please help her be patient with herself. Please keep him safe. Please help me not yell so much. Please don’t let me buy any more Oreos. 

I like to think that whomever receives my little prayers and whispers is sympathetic to the Oreo struggle.

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I saw this today in a friend’s Facebook feed and I liked it.

I try really hard to not be one of those helicopter parents, but it’s hard. Oh my lord is it hard. Sometimes, I just want to get a huge roll of bubble wrap and wrap it around my kids’ hearts, bodies, minds, spirits – so nothing can hurt their little bodies and their little hearts.

I know it’s not practical, but I still wish I could do it.
Since I can’t, I think I’ll lean on this.

 

#MicroblogMonday: Patriots Day

#MicroblogMonday: Patriots Day

1385861_10202622211899717_1295683755_nToday is Patriots Day across most of New England and it’s one of the coolest days to be a Bostonian, even if you don’t live there anymore.

It’s a state holiday in Massachusetts and, I’m pretty certain, Maine. Not quite sure about the other four New England States. What’s up, Rhode Island?

Patriots Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord which of course, kicked off the Revolutionary War, and it’s also the day when thousands of runners tackle one of the toughest courses in the country – the Boston Marathon.

Today, I’m catching highlights on Twitter, but back in the 70s and 80s, I remember watching the Marathon live on TV (Channel 5, to be exact. With Natalie Jacobsen and Chet Curtis anchoring) and hearing familiar names like Bill Rodgers, from my hometown (did he live there? train there? grow up there? not sure). And goodness. Joan Benoit – a woman who seemed to defy conventional female athleticism then and apparently now, as per my Google search just a moment ago to see what she’s been up to.

Patriots Day was always a school holiday and it usually fell during school vacation. (The battle date is April 19, but the day is always observed on the third Monday in April.) One year, I spent the day at a friend’s house. Her father was a mailman, so I remember he was off work. I was in fourth grade and my friend and I sat coloring in the living room nibbling on iced oatmeal cookies and apple juice while the  TV, with antennae positioned just so, was tuned to the race. I remember hearing the reporters’ voices over the cheering crowds, gleefully announcing names (usually Kenyan) of those finishing in the first spots. And I remember hearing about Heartbreak Hill and watching the agony on runners’ faces as they faced this daunting challenge in an already grueling race. For a kid watching on TV, it was always a pretty exciting day.

And of course, just a few years ago, I remember being at home working and suddenly seeing my Twitter feed light up with news of a bombing. Suddenly this annual hometown tradition was thrust into the world spotlight, as I tuned to CNN to fill in the gaps and put images to the words I read on social media.

It was a horrible day, but the spirit and resilience of the city shone brightly in the days, weeks, and now years that followed.

Today, in Delaware, I caught the highlights on social media as usual, and I couldn’t help but notice it’s a bright, sunny day for the runners. Happy Patriots Day, Boston.

This post is part of #MicroBlogMondays. Head over to Stirrup Queens to find out more.

A Doll, A Squeeze, and a Connection

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that pretty much every mother knows the feeling.

Whether it’s the first day of daycare, preschool, kindergarten, or college, there’s an ache that comes when it’s time to walk away. Are they ready? Will they know what to do? Will they miss me? 

I remember the first time I left my little one at daycare, nearly 11 years ago. I had clung to her almost obsessively for the first two years of her life. I had just landed a great part-time professional opportunity and was ready to get back in the swing of things, but a cloudy haze of postpartum depression and anxiety unknowingly loomed over me. Looking back, I can see how my depression manifested itself in an almost unnatural relationship with my daughter. I pushed everyone else away and made her the center of my world.

No wonder she cried when I dropped her off. I was all she ever knew.

When she needed to be held or comforted, it was me she turned to. Not my husband. Not our friends or family. ME.

And so when I accepted this job, I realized I would have to start pulling away a little bit. The only way I can describe it is like this: it felt like I was leaving a vital organ behind. We would no longer be tethered. It was like a deep grief that worsened when she cried at the doorway and tearfully waved goodbye to me. It was heartbreaking. The only thing that made my legs work was knowing she was in a clean, safe, fun environment with professionally trained caregivers. I held back tears and stopped in the main office before I left. I begged them to call me every hour with an update on how she was doing. They were nice, but not overly sympathetic to my emotional state. I knew she would be cared for, but I felt like I was falling apart.

When I finally got to my car and drove the 20 minutes to work, I cried the entire way. The roads were still unfamiliar to me in this strange new town. My tears made the signs blurry. It’s a  wonder I didn’t get lost more often.

I cleaned myself up a bit before going into work. No one was the wiser. Within a matter of minutes, the center called. They emailed a picture of her laughing and playing with the other kids. The time stamp on the picture was 15 minutes after I’d left. She was doing fine.

A few weeks later, she skipped into her new “school” and searched for her friends and fell into the routine of coloring, dancing, and story time. It was a hard adjustment – but I often wonder if it was harder on me than her. I wish someone had told me back then that everything would be OK.

So, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found myself crying in the parking lot this morning after dropping my youngest at PreK.

She had been very clingy this morning, as kids sometimes are. Not crying or upset, just needing some extra mom hugs, which I absolutely love and am happy to oblige. I grabbed my keys and yelled “It’s time to go!” She came down the stairs and into the kitchen carrying her doll in her arms. I could tell she had just dressed her and brushed her hair. Her baby, whom she named “Anya”, was all dressed and ready for school. Please can I bring Anya to school today?

Her school doesn’t do show and tell on a regular basis and toys from home are generally not allowed.

But something pulled at my heart and before I knew it, I said yes.

When we got off the elevator on the second floor of her school, we could hear the screaming from all the way down the long hallway leading to her classroom. One of her classmates was having a *really* hard morning. Crying – no, wailing. When we walked into the class, we saw the girl’s mom fighting back tears. The teacher had swooped in and was trying to comfort and reassure the little girl.

But the mom was left standing there.

Her face was red, a mix of embarrassment and desperation. Her eyes were watery, fighting to hold back the emotions. She put her hand to her mouth nervously and started to walk out. I squeezed her arm as she walked by and whispered, “You’ll be OK, she’ll be OK.”

And then I noticed that my daughter had walked over to the sobbing girl. She wanted to share her baby doll with this little girl to help her feel better. The doll that isn’t normally allowed in school, but on this day, was able to help this little girl calm down and even smile a little. My little one made a connection this morning.

And apparently so did I. When I left the classroom, I was a little teary too. I saw the mom talking with the school director and as I walked past, she squeezed my arm and whispered, “Thanks.” She couldn’t make eye contact. No doubt her vision was a little blurry, just like mine was on that day long ago.

And of course once I got to my car, I cried my little eyes out.

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