Friday, February 17, 2017

Stress Nesting

My husband actually asked me the other day: Are you pregnant?

Um, no. Most definitely not! But I could see why he asked. I've been irritable. Feeling sick. Major headaches. And the nesting. So much nesting.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Taking Back Thursday and Other Things

Confession: Thursdays are not my favorite.

It's the fourth day in a series of waking up way too early and not going to bed early enough, the fourth day of a week that's starting with peanut butter on toast because it's easy but I know I shouldn't start my day with toast because for me, it's a processed carb domino. Thursday is the day my son sleeps through his alarm, the day when my daughter's attitude is in it's most heightened form, the day when I want to be whisked away to what must be my real real life, more akin to a Real Housewives montage of shopping and sleeping in and primping.

But that is only Real on TV.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Note to My Future Self

Fall 2017

Dear Mari,

Hi, this is Mari from back in February. It's a rainy Valentine's Day and it's a Tuesday and it already feels like Monday part II at 9:00am.

But that's not why I'm writing.

Why I'm writing is that I looked over at our to-do list—the one we so thoughtfully posted on a giant dry erase sheet of poster board tacked to the wall in our office. The one where we had visions of tracking some to-do list items but mostly writing fun quotes to provide inspiration.

But today, I'm looking at that to-do list that's almost too long to fit on the 24x36 sheet of paper and it makes me want to crawl underneath the desk table and curl up with Trixie, still damp from running around in the rain.

Because a funny thing happened this year, like it does every year, like I remember every year and try to keep in mind for later in the year. Because right around the time you're reading this, you're going to think to yourself, Wow! A full to-do list sounds awesome! because this is the time of year when that list is fairly fallow. This is our ebb and flow of freelance life, this is what we should be used to, but—never fail!—come February, we are overwhelmed by projects that sounded great in the fall when we had so much free time but now they're just weighing down on us.

Silver lining? Come summertime, there will be a respite. But summer is a long way off.

Just like you're looking at the calendar thinking spring is a long way off.

I assure you, it isn't.

So I'm going to set a reminder to read this post come fall, when I'm all about the YES! Because it's like having babies, in the afterglow of accomplishment, we forget the hard work and sleepless nights. We are a serial yesser and were reminded yesterday by a great friend that saying "no" feels really good sometimes. But we still seem to want to err on the side of yessing, so we're going to need a reminder.

So, later this year, when I'm you, I'll read this and maybe chuckle a little before I start saying YES! to all the things all over again, because who am I kidding? As I write this, email is pinging me with shiny new things that I should say no to, but like Lin Manuel Miranda's Alexander Hamilton sang about Mariah Reynolds—how can I say no to this?

A girl's gotta try.



Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Book Review: Nonsense

As previously established, this is a year where I strive to overcome the bullshit that surrounds me. It makes sense, then that a book about managing uncertainty would find me.

Nonsense: The Power Of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes isn't a self-help book. Rather, it's a well-researched investigation into events that seem confusing and ambiguous. As humans, we are hard-wired to seek out the certainty in ambiguity but Holmes advises us that maybe we shouldn't try so hard.
"In an increasingly unpredictable and complex world, it turns out that what matters most isn't IQ, willpower, or confidence in what we know. It's how we deal with what we don't understand." — Jamie Holmes
This resonates with me and my struggle to gain control over my own reactions to the world around me. The book is reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell's Freakonomics in that it takes statistics and facts (which, lets face it, don't always make for good reading) and makes it entertaining and easy to read. My only criticism would be a Bill Cosby focused anecdote in chapter one; some readers might be bothered by including a reference to the man with the recent legal issues surrounding him.

It's interesting to read more information about subjects I'm already familiar with (like the Absolut vodka late 80s ad campaign or the 1993 standoff at the Branch Davidian compound). Overall I like Holmes' style and think that "how we deal with what we don't understand" is an especially important topic in this time of unrest.

Disclaimer: this book was sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are not for sale, and all opinions included in this post are my own.

Aaron Burr, Sir

I had a bad day yesterday. So,
I spent a lot of time listening to Hamilton yesterday.

The songs of Hamilton are soothing when I'm needing to be soothed. And this is the line that keeps echoing in my brain.
I'm the one thing in life I can control... (from "Wait for It")
Maybe it's because Leslie Odom Jr's voice is like a warm compress, maybe because I sort of identify with Burr and his desire to be cautious in situations. (I know he's often thought of as the villian but is he? Is he really?) He's the cautious opposite of Alexander Hamilton, who as told in the musical, is the one who jumps and hopes the net appears.

What came after the words above in my original post was a long, whiny, unfocused rant. So I deleted it and will just post the following, which I will mediate on today:

Wednesday, February 01, 2017


As in, thank goodness it's February.

January was quite a month. It was a month where I heard the YES! I've been waiting years to hear, only to get an epic clapback from the universe that sounded like "haha, just kidding, PSYCH!" and at this point, things are still up in the air. Did I mention that I don't do well with uncertainty? Yeah, I'm sure I'm not the only one. This led to the making of all the "shit mood" playlists (more on that below).

Friday, January 13, 2017

Prophylactic Snow Day

Snow Day Pregame
Just in case—I mean, there was a big ice storm forecasted. I don't like driving on ice. I don't know anyone who likes driving on ice and I don't like the idea of my kids riding in the schoolbus on ice.

I'm okay with the prophylactic snow day called in advance of the ice storm that's taking its own sweet time getting here.

And I know it's coming because the animals in the hood are prepping for it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Deception of Deep Thoughts

Every day, I'm peppered with questions, like: What's your favorite color? or If you could only watch one TV show for the rest of your life, what would it be? and If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, what would you choose? 

I don't like these questions and my kids pose them to me constantly. It's how my daughter defines her world, but the questions just stress me.

Now, I want to be the kind of person who has favorites, but I just don't think in those terms. I don't like to be stuck with just one when there are so many options. My favorite color for shoes might be oxblood but you can't go wrong with basic black, but I'm loving cadet blue right now and can't get enough of it! I want it in socks and sweaters and ... you get my point, yes?

Friday, January 06, 2017

On This Day: 1-6-2017

Snow Day! Usually the words strike fear in this work from home mom's heart, but everything is good in moderation. My alarm chirped at 5:45am and the first thing I saw was a text message from the school announcing the closure. I let the dog out while my husband made coffee, and she tentatively stepped into the world made unfamiliar with the smells all covered under a scent-free blanket of white. It was quiet—like weirdly quiet, nary an engine nor a chirp to be heard. A few minutes watching the dog make sense of it and a lone owl hooted briefly before the silence returned. I love the snow. I love the smell of snow in the air, the sparkle of it across the lawn, the way it coats the brown winter blah with something beautiful.

Last year, we were cheated and had maybe a half inch dusting that lasted an hour or so on Christmas. This snow is still light, but enough to close schools. I'm adapting to red dirt snow, so different from the northern snow I grew up with, where you'd get half a foot and not half an inch.

We've had snow days in years past, some ice days. Some days when school was called and the roads were delightfully clear but our southern zip code means snow and ice in the forecast can cripple the city (not to mention clear the shelves at the grocery store) so best to be careful. Back when the kids were in elementary school, snow days meant making hot cocoa for the kids to sip after spending an hour searching for the mismatched, rarely used pile of snow gear in the closet, another half an hour getting warmly dressed and about 10 minutes playing outside in the snow before clamoring to come back in the house.

Now, it's almost nine and the kids are still in bed. The dog is sleeping on the couch and I'm sipping coffee in the quiet. We've had the major wave of snow overnight, the rest forecasted to come through shortly. We've got milk, bread, eggs and wine (the staples) and the birdfeeders are stocked and the birds have shown up en force (including a batch of yellow finches, new to my feederhood). The kids will likely whip up a cup of cocoa to sip when they finally roll out of bed in an hour or so. They'll look fondly at the snow every now and then while he plays videogames and she reads the books she checked out from the school library in case of snow day, and the extent of them playing in the snow will be when they take the dog out and get the mail.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

On This Day: 1-4-2017

Do you hear that? Aside from the snuffles of a snoring dog and the weird sounds the coffeepot makes, it's quiet. The kids are back at school, hubs is at work and it's me and Trixie doing the work from home thing.

I haven't seen 5:45am for a few weeks now (since last year!) and the day is spread out before me like a canvas. I'm having a hard time deciding between Gilmore Girls marathon (I'm almost through my season 6 rewatch and I'm loving/hating it) or productivity. I'm leaning toward productivity (see previous posts regarding no bullshit).

I started on the new year reorganization yesterday with the closets and cabinets. It felt good. Damn, that Marie Kondo might have been onto something. Getting things in order, pitching expired products and getting all the extra bottles of shampoo into one place is liberating. It's amazing that after just a year in the house and my organization of said house needs to be addressed. How much time can one woman spend standing in front of a shelf full of spices muttering about the three years past expiration dates when I just vetted all those dates prior to the move? Too much time.

Spontaneously apparating spices are clearly the opposite of randomly disappearing socks in my universe of home mysteries.

A wonderful side effect of this cleansing purge is finding the bracelet I'd misplaced last fall—my Live In the Moment bracelet that I lost when I clearly was not following directions and was rushing around, multitasking.

It's an auspicious start to the new year to find my reminder to stay in the moment. I wear it on the wrist that also has the permanent memo, to be thankful. Living in the moment is a good, no-bullshit way to live, but I'm not that experienced at it yet.