Thursday, November 17, 2011

broccoli 2009 and sweatpants

The kid is 12 going on 32 and while I always have things that seem worthy of saying, writing, the time to do so wears thin.

So by the way of catching up, between now and then and in between we skidded clean through a victorious football season (undefeated, baby!) and now are on to the never-actually-ended but really in full-blast mode of basketball with a fair measure of homework (4.0 baby!), book reports, and science experiments, whereby creating the largest explosion becomes A-worthy, and then there's the catching and missing busses and such.

Yeah, here we are. He is still standing toes curled eerily around the edges of pre-teen angst: I am one moment embarrassing and the next the greatest thing since sliced bread. I know, this too shall pass and we will soon teeter to the full fledged embarrassing edge and as much as I like to think I am ready, is a mom ever ready for this day? I'm not.

I wrote 2009 on a check the other day and yet, it would appear we are staring 2012 straight down the throat. My child will foray straight into teenager-hood this 2012 which basically means as a parent, you turn in your poopy pant, snot nose blowin' duties for a car that gets great gas mileage and has a good hookup for your iPod because you're driving carpools for a living these days.

You've moving up. Out. Onward.

Ironically I have never been more lame, more reluctant to venture out into the world and swallow all its randomness and people whole, and yet, I have never been more alive and more full of love.

It's somehow now the nights I am in my cozy Simpson College baseball sweats by 6 p.m. I covet most; the time we spend all curled together on the couch, a snippet of conversation here, there, a little teasing amongst ourselves, or perhaps some trivia, recalling of geographic facts, or other baseline knowledge my kid finds it hilarious I can no longer recall.

Ever the culinary genius, the kid now even makes his own pop tarts, eggs, PB&J. Given that this and cereal accounts for 98% of his diet, he's pretty much got it going on in the kitchen these days. Never mind that I try as I may, each night to put something fresh, preferably local and hand made in front of him and require him to eat, at least try.

You do what you can. And as a happy aside, the other day he declared to no one in particular, his newfound love of broccoli (plain, with no salt or spices or butter or cheese or anything funny on it, JUST BROCCOLI, steamed): I shed a tear.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Single Mom Reflection of Sorts

I posted this in response to this, if you'd like to read in order:
YOUR ABILITY TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO THE AMOUNT YOU LOVE YOURSELF.
I had my child at 24 and am now 37 and time has assisted me in gaining some interesting perspectives on dating and relationships. 


A few things strike me from reading this string: men by their evolutionary nature are hunters (and I really mean this in the best way possible). Women are by their nature, nuturers.
A single mother caring for a young child, in particular, represents an interesting challenge to the uninitiated, childless guy, as fairly immediately his most visceral needs can be met. The single mom also gives a guy a pretty good glimpse into what kind of mom she might be if he were to choose her one day.
The single mom, on the other hand, walks on a tightrope: she’s balancing the kid, dating/relationship, job, -ex, etc. etc. with varying degrees of success and predictability and also trying to remember and/or figure out who the heck she is as an individual in the midst of all of this.
As an aside, from a sheer age perspective, I also believe women radically evolve in their thinking, independence, mindset, sexuality more from ages 25-35 than men do and a child certainly stands to greatly enhance that curve/divide. No matter what the past relationship that led to the birth of the child or children, you can pretty well guarantee, that the woman is grappling with who she is without the identity of partner as part of her paradigm shift.
When my son was very small, I ran from a couple very, very nice guys because (in retrospect) I was still trying to figure out how to balance everything I mention above. It was relatively easy to date the guy not interested in your kid, as you could put them in a certain spot and deal with them in the context of your life accordingly. That’s safe. It was the nice guys, those with potential that were harder to deal with…because they brought up all my issues and really (eventually) made me confront who I am as a woman. That’s scary!
Unfortunately, this is not wisdom that was immediately available to me: I sadly exhibited some of the same behaviors these amazingly patient guys describe above: going aloof, not answering texts, claiming to be too busy, suddenly not attracted, etc. because I really just had no idea what was happening inside my heart and mind, let alone who I was, and what I wanted from a partnership.
I had an exceptionally difficult time discerning which guys wanted my kid (or me to run down the aisle and fire out MORE kids), versus the ones that wanted me. For me, there was a VERY distinct difference between the two: I wanted you to fall for me, as an intellectual, thinking, woman before you’d get a chance with my kid, whether or not you’d met him. I had no idea if I even wanted more kids because I was so exhausted from the one I already had; although I’d quite often speak the contrary as it appalled me to think that a man might want MY kid but not their own. (Insert more emotional baggage/turmoil).
Again, of course in retrospect, I believe at least one of these nice guys DID fall for me/my mind..but at the time it sure seemed to me that there were plenty of suitors out there who were merely looking for a good women to father their future babies, and that TOTALLY FREAKED ME OUT. I ran every time. So sorry guys, but what a horrific thing to try and balance!
Years later when I realized what I was doing, went back and apologized, and then got over being disappointed in myself for running/hurting a couple really great men, I intrinsically understood that I just wasn’t ready. I could not possibly fall in love one of these amazing men, because I had not yet forgiven myself for my failed relationship, and I could not imagine that any man would love me for me exactly where I was.
It’s part of that awesome cliche: YOUR ABILITY TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONATE TO THE AMOUNT YOU LOVE YOURSELF.
It seems exceptionally immature as I look back at my behaviors ten or twelve years ago in hindsight, but I am always amazed when I jump on this site how this theme seems to repeat itself with women, and in particular, single moms. There are a lot of us figuring ourselves out, on the job, so to speak!
When we women/single moms don’t give ourselves time to figure US out before we go and try to serve the needs of another individual AND our kids, I believe it’s a recipe for long term disaster or at the very least, repeating the same mistakes in a relationship all over again.
Enter well meaning man, who is a “fixer” by nature and you have the contents of this whole board of posts.
After you figure out all of that…it becomes a matter of timing and finding one of these beautiful diamonds/men in the rough. Paul, I can unequivocally tell you, there is hope and it is absolutely positively worth the wait. Things will ultimately work out at they should…if you allow them to do so, but you have to LET GO INSTEAD OF HANG ON, and act/speak according to your gut.
In my case, pretty much the minute I let COMPLETELY go of the notion of ever finding someone, and got 110% happy by myself, my best pal from 17 years past appeared…and the rest is a story we plan to continue writing for a very long time: my kidless man, my kid and me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

"A computer is the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's a bicycle for our minds" - Steve Jobs

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hiding in Trees From Girls

I pick up T last night from a football game. It is my former high school's Homecoming, what will soon be his high school, but let's not get ahead of ourselves; he's 12.

When I arrive, he and his buddy C are hiding in a tree. Not in the top of the tree, but inconspicuously around a tree. They see my car and come running from the confines of that tree into the middle of the darkened street towards me.

This is unusual, I think.

And then I drive C and his sister home. Boys silent in the back, girls chatting up front, a forthcoming driver's permit, a license, with which parent she'll learn, which parent will freak out. Things in the back seat are uncharacteristically silent.

C and his sister now home, I ask the inevitable: how was the night?

A snort follows another inquiry and suddenly we have tears. It sucked, he says between sniffles and I try to decide if it's best to stop the car address my baby's sudden and surprising emotional outburst.  I never want to go to a game again, he sobs.

Sucked? Really? What happened?

The girls, he said. They were just cornering us, chasing us, all night long. C, he ran. He just ran and ran and ran from them. So I ran too.  But every time we stopped, they caught us. They want to "go with us," he blurts out, damn of tears and emotion bursting free. C said no and kept running and I said no and finally I got so annoyed that I just said yes, and then I regretted it and said no, I made a mistake. And I apologized, said I just wanted to be friends. And now, it's this BIG.HUGE.MESS.

So is this why the frantic text to come fetch you?
Yes.
And is this why the silence from the back seat?

Yes.
And this is why, mom, we were hiding in the tree.

We were hiding in trees from girls.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

spoken

“.. almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” - Steve Jobs

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Raccoon

Yesterday I rode hill repeats. As I was spinning my legs after on a flat stretch of road, I noticed something very strange standing in the middle of the road:

I pedaled closer, and it began hissing, chased after me, literally running down the middle of the road on two legs. Turns out, it was one of these guys, likely rabid as all get out:

I laughed like a hyena at the little sucker, hopping and growling after my bike as I sped past.  Then I noticed five deer on my right; taking a break from chomping on soybeans in the adjacent field, staring blankly at the dummy on the bike, tables turned.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monkeys Racing Bears On Bicycles


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Wednesday

I was missing my sidekick, but he was working and I was working and it was getting late and he was still working and I finally got out of work and so I just went and rode my bike without him.

There was this baseball game to get my kid to, there were missing socks and belts and cleaned baseball pants with a smattering of tan dirt still on one butt cheek, an opposite knee.  There was a fresh pile of dog shit in the kennel, phone calls to take during the kids' baseball game and yet, there was only a 10 mph wind, a stark contrast to the 45 mph wind from the weekend and today of all days, I needed to ride.

I headed north, we usually go south.
A quicker loop, shitty timing.  There were cars; lots of them and yet most are used to bikes on this road, and most went by allocating me the entire lane.  Most.

I put my head down and went.  Pedaled hard.

There is an epiphany that came to me about mile 12: never, ever trust that you are just finally, surely, getting in to shape when you can ride effortlessly on a false flat and hang on to 26 mph.  You always, most assuredly as the sun shall rise when this happens, will have a HEAD wind upon turning around.

And then you will slow down.  And if you've allowed yourself to stray too far away from home, you'll miss the warm ups for said baseball game, and the kid will get antsy, and the pre-teen angst will come out and you'll wonder approximately 32 seconds upon arriving home, why that ride was so important to squeeze in to begin with.

I put my head down and went. Pedaled hard.

The cars really started breezing by at mile 20 and the kid that buzzed me in the beat up Cavalier had no reason to do so, other than him being an ass.  I was proud of myself for hanging on and staying upright and not flipping him the bird and even keeping my yelling to myself for once and then he threw a lit cigarette out the window, and it hit me smack in the face.

I imagined myself with my sidekick, what he'd have done, and then laughed thinking he'd never have ridden this road to begin with, and him telling me this is precisely why.

And then a semi came by, gifting me less than a foot of road, despite no oncoming traffic and it went by so fast it sucked me right off the saddle and I held on to that too, but I also saw my life flash before my eyes and a flash of anger washed through me, fierce and intense, like the kind you get protecting your kid.

I turned east back into the cross wind.
I put my head down.
Pedaled home.

Friday, May 13, 2011

chaos

In the short span of 24 hours this week we bundled ourselves in 24 degrees, only to pop back to 80 the following day and then 101 the day after that.  

It seems my life has taken on a similar form of mass chaos; driving the kid to and fro; phone calls and meetings and newspaper articles and nary time in between to pedal my bike, hit a bag or engage in any other activity to keep me sane.

As if to confuse my exercise-deprived state further, this week I received my first email for the kid's football season, which seems especially odd since I have still been writing the year 2010 on the three checks I've scribed thus far this year...one of them being this morning to register my child for MIDDLE SCHOOL.

It was just, like, yesterday, wasn't it, that I handed him a handful of wipes and instructed him to clean himself up, in one of my less than stellar moments as a mother, after having exhausted every.single.potty.training.trick IN THE BOOK.

And now, according to my calendar, it's mid-May, 2011 and school is ending, and we are preparing for a new school beginning, we are playing baseball and more baseball and basketball and more basketball and preparing for football and Middle School.  

Would someone please tell me what happened to my baby?


Monday, May 9, 2011

RIP: Wouter Weylandt

Life is short and it seems more often than not the brightest stars are those extinguished first.

There is either a magnificent plan or grand chaos to explain it all; and the instances in between are merely reminders that our time here, regardless of years, moments or days, is tragically short.

RIP: Wouter Weylandt

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ritual

Sometimes, even when I am with my bestest friends riding my bike, I want to quit.

I am a convincing lot too, when I reach that point. Typically, I'll quietly put my bike back on top of the bus, pull on a cozy pair of sweats and declare, to no one in particular, "It's margarita day, I'm sagging!"

At which point, my dear friend Scott always seems to be lurking nearby. Even though I swear, every damned time I am very far away from him when I make said declaration. Every time, he's there, and every time, he'll say, "You know Ali, you can't ride every mile, if you don't ride every mile."

And I look at him and say...f&*# you.

Then I pull back on the spandex, retrieve my bike from the roof of the bus, and begin pedaling. And eventually laughing.

Blogging, it would appear, is sort of like this. One cannot make good on a promise to blog every day...without, well, blogging every day.

The thing is, there has not yet, in all these years, been a single time when after the wanting to quit and not quitting thing, when I've said, "You know what, I wish I would have quit."

Instead, every single time after the fact I say, "Thanks for making me ride."

One day, I hope, blogging will feel the same. Then I'll say, thanks self, for making me blog.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Living the Dream...

This morning...Starbucks Drive-thru

Me: Good morning! How are you doing today?

Starbucks guy: I'm amazing! I'm living the dream...

Me: Really?!?

Starbucks guy: I am totally serious. I have the most beautiful wife in the world, an amazing daughter, everything I could have ever wished for.

Perspective is everything.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

T Says....

Me: Sorry about that little hiccup you had to deal with today.

T: Actually Mom, that was more like a big belch.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hugs

You can really tell a lot about a person by the way they hug.

There are those people who hug half-assed, barely even wrapping their arms around you,sort of like they’re afraid you might give them the plague.

There are those who pull you in tight at first, but then they flap their arms and slap you in the back like a wild seal, as if it was some sort of mistake, and they really need freed, and that’s the secret handshake signal to let them go.

Then there are those wiener hugs, where you are kind of left wondering what the hell the point of hugging the person was to begin with.

I could go on and on, but my point is,when you find yourself a good hugger, you really need to try hard to keep them around because chances are you’re going to want to just keep hugging them, because their hugs actually count for something; you can really feel the genuine, sweet love.

They’re good, strong, safe hugs and yet not so tight that you cannot breathe or that you feel like suffocating.