Category Archives: Note to Self

On doing something

When we moved back to Austin, Claire was 3 months old and I was staying home with her.  I didn’t mind it so much; she didn’t DO anything and I got to just sit around a lot.

But, a week or so after we moved back, JR started travelling.  He was gone 9 weeks in a row.  Not 9 weeks total, but he’d be gone 3 days here, then 4 days there.  I don’t remember the days being all that bad, but the nights were hard.  I wasn’t hanging out with the people I used to hang out with because I had a kid. I couldn’t just go out if I wanted to; I stayed home a lot.

JR’s friends really stepped up.  A few times a week, usually when JR was gone, one or two of the boys would come over.  We’d drink beers and talk.  It was those nights that kept me from going crazy that first 9 weeks.  I don’t know if you know this, but a 3 month old doesn’t have the best conversational skills.  I’d ask Claire what she thought about the new movie that was out and the best answer I got was a blank stare.  Sometimes she’d drool if she really enjoyed the conversation.

With our friends, I could have a conversation with someone who didn’t grunt when they were pooping.  Or maybe they did, but being gentlemen they kept that from me.  We didn’t talk about anything life changing; there wasn’t discussions about politics, or Kant, or the state of affairs of Cuba.  But it was important to us.  One of the guys was going through a divorce.  He’s one of the most introspective people I’ve ever met, and it hurt me to see him as withdrawn as he was.  Talking in our garage, over cheap beer, we worked out a lot of things.  I didn’t directly benefit from any of them, and I don’t talk to him any more, but for that moment in time we really TALKED.

Soon, JR would stop travelling and start hanging out in the garage and the conversation would turn to less intrusive topics.  Then I went back to work and stopped hanging out there altogether.

I was reminded of those late nights tonight.  A friend of ours is leaving next Wednesday for New York.  A few weeks ago he went to a 10 day acting workshop and was awarded a partial scholarship to an acting school.  He tells me that he always liked to perform, but never thought he would act.  Then one day, he just…decided to try it out.  And he was hooked.

He’s 27.  He’s been to college, he’s had a full-time job.  And now he’s going to New York to persue a dream that he’s had since he was a kid, even if he didn’t realize it.  I’m so envious.

Not about moving to New York, although I would love to live in a city like that.  And not about the acting part, although I would like to act.  I’m envious of him because he is doing what he wants to do.  It’s not going to be easy, he’s not that naive, but he’s decided that this is what he loves and what he wants.  And he’s working toward a goal.

We’ve lived in Houston for almost a year now and I’m still trying to find my place.  I’ve taken up sewing, I turned the guest bedroom into a crafts room, I buy scrapbook paper and sharpies and fabric.  Cork board lines my walls; I have a notebook labeled “Inspiration.”  I subscribe to DIY blogs and decorating blogs and I visit forums.  I have a folder labeled “Crafts” in my bookmarks and I add something to it every day.

But I’m not DOING anything.  I know I want to create something, but I’m scared to try.  I can’t draw, so I’m scared to try.  Writing doesn’t come easy for me, so I just don’t write.  Every night I find myself looking back over the day and wondering what it was that I did.  What did I accomplish that day? What did I spend my time on?  Usually the answer is “I finished the first season of True Blood, and started watching The Wire.”

My life can’t continue like this.  I need something to work towards.  I need deadlines, and specific goals, and they don’t have to cost money.  If I want to write, I need to write.  If I want to take beautiful pictures, I need to pick my camera up and fumble through it.  I’ve gotten used to not doing anything that I’m not DOING anything.

Starting tonight, I will create something every day.  It can be perfecting a drawing of a dandelion, or sewing a pillow case, or writing for 10 minutes.  I need to work out my brain, to shake off the dust and cobwebs and push my limits.

Starting tonight, I will DO something.

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Filed under Houston, Note to Self, Random thoughts

On starting over.

We had lived in Houston about two months when Claire and I really started getting sick of each other.  The craziness from the holidays and unpacking was over, and we needed things to do.  Because I didn’t feel comfortable driving into Houston yet, we ventured into a safer part of town – the Sugar Land library.

The library has a great children’s area, with blocks and Lego’s and a doll house for kids to play with.  I settled myself into one of the couches with a book, and watched Claire interact with the other children.  Or I should say, not interact.  She spent a lot of time looking at everything, studying what the other kids did.  She would watch someone line up the blocks, then after they moved to something else, she would do the same thing.  Every few minutes, she would run up to me and hug my legs, as if to prove to herself that I was still there.

Mothers and fathers were watching everyone closely, interrupting playful screams with a hushed “Shh” or diverting attention from a possible fight with the promise of a better toy.  The kids where playing nicely, for the most part.  Except one little girl.  She couldn’t have been older than 2, judging by her limited vocabulary, but she was bigger than a lot of the other kids.  Her mother followed her around; giving back stolen books, apologizing to pushed children, trying to reign in the brat she brought.

There was no question who was in charge in this relationship.  Even though I still had some misconceptions about “Sugar Land Mothers,” this one was right on the money.  She wore gold earrings, high heels and at least a 3 caret diamond on her left hand.  Her clothes were apologetically expensive, and her hair was styled perfectly.  I couldn’t imagine she spent much time with her daughter, judging by the girl’s reaction to her.

“Madison, you have to share.”

“Madison, please don’t run.”

“Madison, stop gnawing on that little boy’s arm.”

Madison had no bias, picking on everyone equally, regardless of age or gender.  Except for Claire.  For reasons unknown to me (or Claire, I’m sure), she was especially nice to Claire.  She would steal a toy from some poor little boy and hand it to Claire.  Or, she would push a little girl off a chair and practically shove Claire into it.  After ten minutes or so of this, Claire got fed up of being the favorite one and joined me on the couch.  We read a book, and pointed out colors and animals.  The whole time, Madison’s mom tryed to involve me in conversation.

“Oh, she knows the sign for a lot of words!  How wonderful.”

“What a beautiful dress she’s wearing.  She’s just precious.  And so well behaved.”

“Oh look, Madion brought her a doll!  How sweet!  THANK YOU MADISON!  THANK YOU!”

I tried to brush off her comments, not wanting to have anything to do with her, or her mean daughter, and when they started packing up their things we all breathed a sigh of relief.

“Madison, say good-bye to your friend!  Maybe we can get her number and play with her again!  Would you like that?  WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY WITH THAT LITTLE GIRL, MADISON?!?!”

I froze.  Surely she couldn’t be serious.  Her daughter was a demon, and she was terribly annoying.  I didn’t give her any indication that I would ever want to see her again.  I hadn’t even given her my NAME, why would she think I would want to give her my NUMBER?!

Needless to say, I made up some excuse as to why I couldn’t (“I don’t have a Houston phone number.  In fact, I don’t have a phone.  I’m Amish.  I was dead at the time.”) and forgot about it.  Until yesterday.

Yesterday Claire took a nap later than usual, and when she woke up it was already 3.  We usually go to a playground at a mall in the afternoons, but it takes a good 20 minutes to get there, and we were inching dangerously close to rush hour traffic.  But, we were both bored and hot, so I decided we’d go to an indoor playground in Sugar Land that we haven’t been to in a while.  You have to pay to get in, and Homeslice doesn’t like playing by herself (I have to climb up with her or she’ll spend the whole time in my lap), so we stopped going.  But, it was close and had been about 4 months since the last time we were there.  Maybe she would play now.

I got settled at a table, and Claire ran off to play.  She only spent about 10 minutes on the Big Kid’s side before the banchee-like screams of one feminate little boy scared her off.  We walked over to the “2 and under” side, and I sat down on a bench.  There were three other women with their kids there, and they all looked to be my age.  Two of them were friends, and their sons were playing together.  The other one had a daughter who would not play by herself.  She spent most of the time on her mom’s lap, watching the other kids.

I could tell the mom was getting frustrated.  I knew exactly how she felt; it was just a few weeks ago that Claire would go play by herself, and only at the playground in the mall.  I couldn’t figure out how to make her more confident, or social.  I said to the other mom, “Claire is the exact same way.  We’ve tried almost every playground in the city.  But, she just wants to spend the whole time on my lap.  That’s why we haven’t been here in a while; I don’t want to pay $5 for her to sit with me.”

The other mom looked a little relieved.  We talked a little bit about her kid’s school, and made small talk with the other two women there.  After about 30 minutes, everyone started packing up to leave.  We said good-bye to each other, and everyone left.

It wasn’t until I looked around and noticed that I was alone in the little kid’s section, that I really felt…well, alone.  These women were my age, something that I’d been having a hard time finding.  It’s probably all in my head, but I feel like in every social situation, I’m the youngest mom there.  I never wanted my life to revolve around my kid, but that’s all I have to talk about with other moms.

Suddenly, I understood why Madison’s mom was so interested in getting my number.  Hell, I had almost written my contact information on the back of my receipt and shoved it in the face of those women.  It’s almost impossible to make friends when you stay home with a kid.  Finding someone that you like, who’s kid is around the same age as yours is hard.  The places I meet women are at Gymboree, or dance class, or the playground.  It seems like everyone already HAS friends; like everyone in Sugar Land knows everyone else.  Except for me.

I spend my days with a two year old.  Sometimes one of JR’s friends will come over, but it’s not to see me.  It’s to drink with JR.  My conversations are made up of jingles I make up to get Claire to clean up or eat her food or take a bath.

In January, this all hit me.  I had never felt so alone, or useless, in my life.  I didn’t have anything to look forward to, and everyday was worse than the one before.  Weekends weren’t better, because I knew that Monday would come around and I’d be alone with a kid again.  I shut off; living life in auto-pilot.  I don’t remember much about February, or March or April.  I would take Claire to dance class, gymnastics, Gymboree, then come home and cry.  Anything would set me off.  I remember a few times just lying on the couch next to Claire, looking at her and wondering if she would remember this.  Worried that she would remember how much I screwed up in those 3 months.  Every time she looked at me, I imagined that she was thinking about how she totally got hosed in the mother department.

Nothing held my interest.  I would get through the day by counting down the minutes until JR got home from work (god help him if he was late).  I would go to sleep at 8pm, right after Claire, get up at 7 and be tired all day. I smoked too much and cried too much and was the most unhappy I’ve ever been.

I remember driving over the flyover toward Sugar Land on numerous occasions, thinking “If I just turn my wheel to the left, the car will go over the side.”  I remember watching an episode of House, when the main character sits in his running car in the garage, and being surprised at the fact that he put blankets at the bottom of the garage door.  I hadn’t thought about that.  I looked at every bottle of Advil and Benadryl and Theraflu with new eyes; gauging how much was in each bottle and how much I would have to take to just fall asleep.  I wrote my suicide note in my head every time I took a shower, and wondered if I should take Claire with me, or if it would be better to leave her with JR.

It’s hard to write that here, out in the open.  It’s even harder to admit that it’s all true.  I knew I was in trouble, but I didn’t know how to fix it.

Then one day, JR and I got in a huge fight.  I can’t remember what it was about, but I remember sobbing in his arms.  That day I called a psychiatrist.  A few days later, I was on medicine.  I went back every month for 3 months, and she upped the dosage of my meds each time.  By my last appointment in June, I was finally feeling better.  Not great, but not bad.  I started asking for help from JR more, and being honest with myself more.

And now I can laugh with Claire.  I didn’t realize it until a few weeks ago that she’s hilarious.  I couldn’t see that before; I never laughed before.  I’m still not 100%; in fact I think I need to see the doctor more often then every 6 weeks, but I’m better.  I have a lot that I still need to work out, but now I can laugh.

The last time I wrote anything here was the end of January.  I missed 6 months of letters to her.  That’s 6 months I won’t remember.  But the only thing I can do now is start again.  I can start fresh and try again.

That’s all I can do.

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*exhale*

Ok.  So it’s been 4 days since the Day Of Reckoning, and things are a lot better.  Tuesday was spent at home, all day.  We didn’t do any chores, we didn’t run any errands, our main focus was to have fun. And we did.  We played with blocks, and balls.  After a small argument about the necessity of wearing a coat, we went outside and played with the dogs.  I think I handled that one pretty well, actually.  I asked Claire if she wanted to go outside and play.  She said yes, so I put on my coat and held her coat out to put it on her.  She shook her head, and walked away.  So, I said, “You have to wear a coat outside.  If you don’t want to wear it, we’ll stay in.”  Three tries, and she let me put it on and we had a great time.

That was the only hiccup the whole day.  Wednesday JR stayed home from work, so of course Claire was a little angel.  She got in her carseat without even a whimper (at one point while we were driving to get lunch, she was kissing her baby doll.  Making a liar out of me, she is) and we had a lovely lunch.  Thursday was much of the same.

Today’s been a little rough, but I think it has something to do with the fact that Granny watched her last night while JR and I went out to dinner, and when we got home (at 11), she was STILL AWAKE.  Granny said she tried to put her down, but that she wouldn’t sleep.

The one saving grace throughout this whole thing is her naps.  She still takes two, one at 9 or 10 (depending on when she gets up) and one around 4.  Both times I take her in her room, make sure she has her milk, pacifier, blanket and pillow, and she just lays down and falls asleep.  How long she sleeps is another story, but it’s been my one victory that she falls asleep so well.  Of course now that I say that, she’s going to cry and thrash about every time I try to put her down.

The next week is packed with holiday visitors.  My dad is coming in tomorrow afternoon, and staying until Monday.  My mom (assuming she can get off work – please let her get off work!) will be coming in Wednesday and staying until Sunday.  We have Christmas morning at my lovely sister-in-law’s, Boxing Day on the 26th and JR’s old theater troupe is having a reunion at our house on the 27th.

My Christmas shopping is done, save some stocking stuffers for JR and Claire.  I need to wrap everything and ship presents to JR’s dad, but I can do that tonight.

So, things are better.  Much better.  It might be her, but it might also be my attitude toward her.  I was so frustrated on Monday, and she could tell.  I’m not letting myself get frustrated like that anymore.  She’s beautiful and wonderful and yes, a little headstrong, but that’s ME and JR in her.  And I love her; I just have to show her more often.

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What I think.

A few thoughts I’ve had while washing my face, which by the way I’ve been totally doing every night, except that night I forgot, but I didn’t so much as forget as I passed out before I could make it to the bathroom (even though the bathroom is on my WAY to my bed), but to my credit I had been drinking the bottle of wine I got for $4.50 at the W@l-Marts (which, incidentally, didn’t give me a hangover.  No hangover, AND cost effective?  This is an adult beverage I can get behind!).

File all that under things that no one cares about, except my mother and the makers of Desiten (because you’re supposed to put Desiten on a zit to make it go away, but I haven’t had any zits to put it ON because I’ve been washing my face every night.  And morning!  And I’ve been moisturizing! And using wrinkle cream!)

Hi, I like commas and parenthesis.  The end.

1. In this day and age, why haven’t they come up with something that turns thoughts into written text?  My mind goes so fast (See: above ramblings about diaper cream and cheap wine), that I don’t write it all down, and I typically don’t even shower most days so the odds of me learning shorthand are pretty slim.  I mean, just imagine with Jenny The Bloggess could do with such technology!  Although I supposed what she writes is not far off from what she thinks.  There are some people who write a blog post in Microsoft Word, then edit it a few times, then post it, and there are some who type until their fingers get tired, then hit publish.  My money’s on the fact that Jenny is of the latter persuasion.

2.  I have done nothing of consequence in the last 3 days.  Nothing.  The highlights of my days are naptime (so I can clean up everything in the house so it’s nice and orderly when Claire wakes up.  So, you know, she cal pull it all out again), and 4 pm when Gilmore Girls comes on (not that I ever get to WATCH Gilmore Girls.  No, it’s Nemo Nemo Nemo all the time in this house hold.  Finding Nemo?  Try FUCK Nemo).  This is my life and it bores me to tears.

3.  This is a picture of a wall hanging that was so kindly left by our landlord.  In our bedroom.  If you can’t tell by the (upside down) picture, it’s carpet.  And very disturbing.  Even more disturbing?  The fact that not one, but TWO people have asked if they can have it.  And yet it’s still in our bedroom, just glaring at me while I sleep, with all it’s carpet-ness.

photo82

4.  Small lines + my handwriting = This.  Horrible penmanship.photo7

5.  While watching Condi Rice play the piano for the Queen a few weeks ago on the local news:
JR:  This is horrible news.
Me: What?! Is she getting out of the political game to  play the piano professionally?  That IS bad news! If she’s getting out, who else is leaving?  What is Obama going to do?  Is the world SO BAD?  And why become a pianist?  Why not go into the private sector? It must be worse than we thought!  Oh NO!
JR: No, I mean channel 2 is bad local news.  The good news comes on at 10.

6. Why do I get so motivated in the middle of the night?  It’s almost midnight and I know if I don’t go to bed now, I’ll need more coffee than I currently own, but all I can think is of all the things I could be doing.  I could clean the kitchen – Claire’s asleep and JR’s in the garage and I could totally get it done.  I should watch Dirty Sexy Money and Grey’s Anatomy and Gilmore Girls.  How will I sleep until I know what crazy hijinks those interns at Seattle Grace got into this week?  Blog.  I really should be blogging and I need to start leaving more comments on the blogs I read everyday.  I could be missing out on meeting my new Internet BFF because I’m not commenting.  I think I’ll just go watch Conan.

7. I went grocery shopping and among other things I bought a ten pound log? tube? of ground beef.  I’ve never seen ten pounds of beef in one place before, and Claire LOVED it. Damn thing was bigger than her.

photo9

This has been “Cori’s Deep Thoughts.”  I’m totally rethinking my idea to leave a notebook by my bed.

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I wrote this yesterday, but it was Wordless Wednesday…so…

I’m wearing a dress today because I couldn’t be bothered to put on pants.

[Side note: I’m of the camp that just can’t bear the thought of  ending a sentence with a preposition.  Hence “put on pants” not “put pants on.”]

No pants = no pockets, in this case.  So, nowhere to hide my lighter and doorkey.

Except my bra.

Note to self: don’t put lighter back in aforementioned bra immediately after use.

[Side note again: I really like the word “aforementioned.”]

 

Got it.

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