September 21: Feeling free


Happy end of the week!   I was a stay-at-home mom today, well, sortof.   Despite my flex-time work schedule, I actually worked quite a bit – last preparations before the first conference next week…
Highlights of the Day:

  • The kids helped to get each other ready this AM.  Big Bro also helped pack up the breakfast, and got the vitamins ready for all kids.  It was ridiculous, and I will NEVER do this again, but I left all of me until the end and I wound up brewing my coffee in the french-press in the car on the drive.  Stupid.  Silly.  Ridiculous.  The coffee pot thing was rolling all over the place and I have coffee everywhere.  Oh well.  It can get cleaned up.
  • The ride was fine; we talked about Twin Crazy’s buildings in the city that look like castles, Twin Husky was busy singing into a traffic cone (I recently purchased for the kids bike riding in the street)… that’s all that I can remember.  Big Bro got there on time.
  • Drop off for Red was fine.   I took a phone call with a Consultant who is helping me with the conference.  I need changes made to a survey that we are sending out.   I need him to make the changes so I can send everything off this afternoon.
  • I took Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to Petco to buy Cocoa some hay.  I took advantage of the time there and we went to see ALL of the available animals there were to see.  Hamsters, rats, turtles, snakes, tarantulas, lizards, fish…  it was really fun.
  • We went back home since yesterday’s gypsy-living was too exhausting.   I picked up a chair to complete the outdoor patio set.  I am so psyched.
  • We watered the garden, played “castle” with the couch cushions, had some pee-pee accidents, cleaned up the floor appropriately, etc.  I made a quick lunch and we ate outside (loved it).  I again had to take some work phone calls.
  • I tried to get Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to take naps.   They were having too much fun.  I separated them but still they would not give in to sleep.  I worked, sent out emails, had phone calls.  More changes to the survey.  Then off everything went to all conference participants.   We had to boogie to get packed up and get Big Bro on time.
  • Big Bro pick up was fine; Red pick up was fine.  She pulled me to see her old teachers who are much more nurturing than her current teachers.  I think it makes a difference to the teachers to get so much love from these kids.
  • I took the kids to a playground until the transition with co-parent.  Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were scaling rock-climbing walls.  All were having fun.  Big Bro was watching an older kid on the swing, twisting the swing and spinning around and he tried to do the same.  I can’t believe my little boy is a bigger boy than I would like to admit.   Red was a total monkey, climbing all over the place.
  • We went to get gas and I cleaned down the windows at the gas station.  The kids love that.
  • We waited at co-parent’s driveway until transition.  Once he got there the kids got their bikes.  Red wanted to show me how she could ride her bike without the training wheels.  I am so proud of her.  She is so determined.  She just keeps on trying and trying.  And she went far.  The look on her face was stunning.   I wish I could bottle it up.  She made me so happy today.
  • I gave the kids kisses and went on my way.  I will see them tomorrow night.

At home, I immediately started some physical work in my backyard.  I attacked the dead pile of blackberry vines with a hedge-clipper.  I did this until it was dark.  In between I was able to catch a beautiful pink in the sky above.  It was gorgeous – a flaming sky behind the decay of blackberry vines.   I felt hopeful.

I just now finished up cleaning up inside the house while blasting music.   I ate red chard and green chard – I never had this before.  A new taste; different.  I’m not sure I love it but it is different.   I think I will do a bit more work tonight so I can feel free over the weekend.  I don’t want to spend the weekend thinking about this conference.   There is no need to since we are prepared for it and I know it will be just fine; and even if there is a glitch, it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

Have a great weekend all –

– Mama K

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Staying Sane: Rock out in the pit!!!


I’ve missed several daily journals.  I apologize.    But something extraordinary happened last week.  I went to a concert.  A live concert.  With awesome, kick-ass bands.  And I made it down to the pit.  Real close.  At first, several rows away from the stage.  And then, I weasled my way into FIRST ROW.

I RAGED!   It was wonderful.   I was all by myself, but I think that made it even more fun.  I don’t think I would have been able to get as close if I were with others.

MOTLEY CRUE:

They played cool stuff; Tommy Lee was great.  Lead singer was a bit tired, raspy, sounded like he was in pain.  The one guitarist looked like he was dead.

 

 

KISS:

Way out cool.  Check out how close I am.  You can see the photographers and also the security guard (he does not look terribly imposing I must say).   I was pointing to Gene Simmons and he pointed back.  The Ace Frehely replacement guy threw me a pick (I still have it).    I was so close that I was getting hot from the fire on stage.  These guys are professional, professional, performers.   Hands down.   AWESOME TIME!!!!

So, I’ve decided that I must go to more concerts.  With great bands playing really loud music.   There is something about a live show.  There is something about the rush of being so close.   And being surrounded by people as jazzed up as you are.   I felt alive.  So worth the money!!!

Have a great week everybody –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Ride like the wind


This weekend was a big weekend for Big Bro and Red. They are turning 6 and 4 soon, and co-parent decided to go out this weekend and get them suited up for their birthday presents…. new bicycles! So we grabbed the last bike that was big enough for Big Bro – a stretch actually – with gears and front/back handle breaks and all. We also suited up little Red in a fancy pink REAL bike with training wheels – and tassels to boot.

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Because of these purchases, we were hanging out quite a bit in the cul-de-sac courtyard behind our house this weekend. It is safer there and there are two houses of young kids. At first I was just camping out with the rest watching the kites, balls, bicycles, scooters, and running of the kids. And then Big Bro asked about his gears. And I started to teach him about them. But he had some problems turning the gears. So I got on his bike to learn how to do it myself. I spun around the courtyard and felt the wind in my face and then realized I needed to focus on learning the gears or else Big Bro would be disappointed. So I got that down, but then continued to ride. Around the cul-de-sac again and going faster and riding riskier and pedaling faster. My heart beating and hearing the wind now.

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This has been the most exercise I’ve gotten in too long of a time.

So I had to give the bike up. But then thought to myself – I’m going to grab MY bike — funny though. It is a mountain bike. And I have not rode on it in literally 7 or 8 years. So when I went to check it out, both tires were flat beyond repair and the cobwebs likely choked up the chains. So I grabbed co-parent’s bike.

I came blasting around the bend into the courtyard at warp speed (or at least I felt that way). My leg muscles felt good to be awake. My heart was pounding, my hair was shoved into my helmet but still flying around, the sun was on my skin and I was having FUN. I grabbed Big Bro and we took two loops around our neighborhood. I was talking to him as we went about the gears and the uphills and the downhills; he took to it so quickly and I had so much fun riding around with him.

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So now I have another thing to add to my “to-do” list: Get my own bike tuned up and fixed.

The exercise felt good. Being outside in the fresh air felt good. The sun felt good. Being with my son and the kids felt good. But the speed and the freedom and yes the tiny bit of recklessness was AMAZING. I’m looking forward to more of it and maybe shedding some pounds.

What do you Mamas do for exercise? What activities do you find liberating?

Have a great week to all –
– Mama K

Retrospectives: Feeling free and acting bad-ass with my first car, a used ’78 SWEET Camaro


When I was in high-school, I anxiously awaited the day when I could drive and better yet, have my very own car. My high school was probably pretty big by some standards — over 2,000+ students.  My high school at that time, like many, was very much like the “Breakfast Club” movie.   There were the different groups and sets of people.   I was part of the “bad hair metal crowd” — tight jeans, high permed two-toned hair, lots of make up, high heels. I actually looked like Jon Bon Jovi.
Anyway, at the end of each day, a spectacular event occurred….. essentially all the people who drove to school, along with their friends, swarmed to the student parking lot and looked cool and blasted music.  I think I took the bus for a year but after that I usually found a friend or someone who would drive… so I was one of those people in the student parking lot in a friend’s car, ready to go.   It was such a scene.

Then, it was time for the exiting procession.  The first vehicles to exit were the busses.   There were two lines that formed… one exiting left, the other exiting right.   It was really very dramatic seeing all of those busses peal out of the parking lot and get into formation.   There was a winding road along the back of the school which led to the exit.  There were probably 15 busses snaking their way along the back road of the school towards the exit.  When we saw the busses starting to leave, that’s when our cars started their engines anxiously — the student car line ups were READY. Engines on, cigarettes lit, music echoing across the lot.  This exiting routine was always so dramatic for me. I loved it. I felt like an adult. I felt anxious for the motion. I felt pent-up but ready to be set free.   So through the years, leading up to my sixteenth birthday, I dreamt of owning MY OWN car and heading down that procession.

Parade of cars leaving high-school, we were SO COOL

I worked for this first car since I was fourteen – a job at a pizza joint that essentially paid me in cash but still took out “taxes” so the guy was obviously ripping me off. I then started working at a 24 hour diner which was when I hit the jackpot. Cold-hard cash — averaging ~$60 EACH night worked. It was awesome. I quickly saved up the cash to buy my first clunker.   I paid cash for the car and made sure I had enough for the insurance.  I did it all on my own.   The year was 1986 but I think my car was a 1978. It was blue. It was beautiful. It was a Chevy Camaro — and the best part was a spoiler on the back. It was so unbelievably bad-ass.

1978 Bad Ass Camaro with Spoiler.... so cool

I felt so free driving it. I also felt accomplished working for it myself.  I worked hard for my beauty and I appreciated it.   I remember clearly the feeling of leaving that high-school in the line up.    Hoping that I didn’t stray to far into the other lane.   Hoping that making a “left” would be easy and traffic-free.   Or if I felt too nervous, I would take the right hand lane out for an easier exit.   I had people in my car.   We were laughing and having a blast.   I remember sometimes driving nowhere just for the sake of driving.  I’d always volunteer to get pizza pick-up vs. delivery.   I remember warm summer nights, me and my car, driving the winding roads and listening to music.   Sometimes there would be friends with me and sometimes there would not.   I learned all the back roads very quickly.   I discovered parts of the town I never knew existed…. small bridges over streams… run down homes that looked haunted… and of course I did drive-bys of the homes of the boys I had crushes on.

The only downfall of this beautiful machine that I could see was that it didn’t have a tape deck (remember those things?).   Well of course I bought a tape deck and had a friend rip out the existing car stereo that was securely installed in the dashboard of the car.   He maneuvered underneath, pulled out wires, pulled back plastic, and somehow got the thing hooked up — however, during the installation process he completed fouled up the entire electrical make up of the car. I tried to overlook this the best I could – but it was difficult.

  • First, the radio would work fine — but only when driving UNDER 35 miles per hour. This was pretty annoying since sometimes it’s hard to look cool going only 35 miles per hour.  I eventually found a trick where I could accelerate above 35 and just tap on the brake and that was enough to get the radio going again.   But regardless, it was pretty annoying and was something I constantly had to pay attention to – it was a tradeoff.   Either drive under 35 miles per hour, or go faster but look like I didn’t know how to drive since I was always tapping on my break.
  • Second, the gas gauge never worked from that point out. This wasn’t such a huge problem since that just gave me more excuses to fill up my car more often.   It gave me a reason to spend more time with my beauty.   However there was a dark, dark time when I headed on a road trip (without my parents’ knowledge) to the Baltimore aquarium (4 hours away).  You guessed it, we ran out of gas on the way home and I had to pull over to the left on a major highway (I-95). At sixteen, and in the 80’s, none of us had much cash or credit/debit cards. To make a long story short, we had a lot of walking to/from the next exit and had to pool our cash, with fingers crossed that we would have enough gas to make it home. I think that was the last long trip I took with that car.

Anyway, I loved it. I loved the way it smelled in the hot summer. I loved filling the tires with air. I loved washing the windshield. I loved the featherclip hanging from the rear-view (and later the tassel from my graduation cap). I loved driving around with my friends aimlessly…. essentially driving just to drive. Exploring.   Being free.  Being on the move. Going places. And knowing that I worked for all of it. It was mine. So what I couldn’t go above 35 mph without touching on the breaks every now and then. Usually me and my friends were laughing so hard when cruising that we didn’t need the music anyway, or at least the breaking became funny after a while.

I remember this so clearly despite it being more than 20 years ago, because this is really the essence of who I am.   I have had to work for everything that I have – no one has ever had to come to my rescue to support me as an adult. I like to drive.   I like road-trips.  I like going places.   I love the feeling of freedom. I love the feeling of going somewhere – the motion. I like the windows down and music blasting.   I like the wind in my hair and the smell of sunshine.  I like the feel of the wheel in my hands.

Obviously things have changed a bit with four little ones.   Now, it’s a mini-van with four car seats in the back.    They know that sometimes certain songs come on and I suddenly crank up the radio, roll down the windows, and sing at the top of my lungs.   They do wonder why mommy is so excited over loud guitars and killer bass and drums. “Back in Black? What is that Mommy?”   But they laugh.   And the wind goes through their hair.  And the toddlers kick their legs and act silly.   And Big Bro and Red look at each other smiling, and then look back and me trying to hold back their smiles.  At least now I’m not smoking cigarettes, don’t have a featherclip hanging from the rear-view, and oh… the electrical system works just fine.   So I guess things have changed a bit but I’m still loving the motion and the music – and I’m happy to share these feelings now with my little ones.   I wonder though…. do mini-vans have spoilers?

Cruising with my babies

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