Sunday, October 31, 2010

Maybe just a little more sane...

Back in 2005, when George W. Bush was in office, with all of his "heck of a job, Brownies" and his "Mission Accomplished" signs, I was disgruntled by our government. Overwhelmingly, paralizingly disgruntled. I wasn't sure what our future as a country held.

Back then, before Barack Obama showed up in the spotlight, I turned to two TV personalities on whom to pin my hope. The sticker on my car literally read, "Stewart/Colbert '08."

Life has changed a lot in the last five years...or has it?

President Obama is as disliked by some as GW was by me. The ugly ads leading up to Tuesday's elections are as ridiculous and hate-mongering as ever. Congress is gridlocked, with very little legislation getting passed without angry rhetoric and even filibuster.

And so to whom am I turning? Again?

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, of course.

Yesterday, they hosted the amazingly well-attended (estimates run as high as 200,000) Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear on the historic Washington Mall. They hosted a slew of fabulous musicians (if you caught the Mavis Staples/Jeff Tweedy duet, you know what I'm saying) and they emceed a massive comedy show.

And while much of it felt thrown-together, with Colbert frequently heard calling instructions into his microphone to let harried stage-hands know which way to go, and with Stewart's distressingly, endearingly tone-deafness showcased at one point, it really was a rally.

Stewart took the stage at the end to deliver what I'd love to call one of the most important speeches of our time. Sure, he's *just* a comedian, right? But he's also super-sharp, and super-well-respected in many circles.

He said:

"This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear--they are, and we do.

But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus, and not be enemies."


"...the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us, through a funhouse mirror--and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist, and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead, and an ass shaped like a month-old pumpkin, and one eyeball."

His arguments (read a transcript and see a video here) are so poignant, so verdant, that I want to shout from rooftops, "Guess what! It's going to be ok!"

So thank you to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for all you did yesterday to restore my sanity even one little iota. Your work is appreciated.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bye Bye Baby

I took Max to a Gymboree Play and Learn class this morning. We had attended a class a few months back but Max wasn't crawling yet, so he spent most of the time sitting in one spot watching the crawlers do circles around him. But now, Max is a walker, and he's getting his hands into everything. I thought it would be good for him to attend a regular class to play with other kids his age. Most of my friends have children who are two years old and up, and they are all girls. Max needs some boys to play with. He needs to make some friends his own age. And so, we joined Gymboree.

There were balls, lots of balls, for Max to throw and carry around as he walked every square inch of the place. There were tunnels, ramps, building blocks, slides, and logs to push. Max touched everything in sight and climbed on everything he could get his arms and legs around. He squealed at the other kids, chased bubbles, and tried to pull a bow out of a girl's hair. Typical boy, I suppose.

I watched his reaction, more specifically, the range of emotions he displayed across his little face with each new thing he discovered. I saw his face light up when the teacher came around and sang to him. I watched his face scrunch up in confusion as an inner tube was placed in front of him. When he wandered across the room and turned to see I wasn't right behind him, I watched as his eyes widened in a panic until he spotted me. But he was okay and turned to continue what he was doing. I think I even saw a look of embarrassment on his face when he climbed on the back of a lady squatted down only to realize the lady he was grabbing was not his mommy.

Max has become a little person, no longer a baby that clings to me or needs me to hold him. My little boy is growing up. I think I need a tissue.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just one year

It's incredible, the difference a year makes.

When you first have a baby, you expect big changes fast, and you get it. The difference between a newborn and a three-month-old is vast, and then a six-month-old is even more incredible. Then, by the time a baby is one, they are walking and almost talking, and it's hard to imagine that this whole little person once lived inside you.

But I kind of expected the changes to slow down by now. Zoe's almost two-and-a-half. She's walking, talking and potty trained. She was already a person so long ago, it doesn't seem like she's going to change too much more.

And then, a day like today happens, when you get a direct comparison between today and a year prior, and you're so blown away by the changes that it's hard to recognize the child in front of you.

A year ago, we took Zoe to a pumpkin patch here in Charleston. She was almost one-and-a-half, and she was still pretty wobbly on her feet. She toddled among the pumpkins, drummed on them with some sticks she found, and studiously ignored all the other children. There was a gigantic "jump-pillow" that dwarfed Zoe when she stood next to it. She tried so hard to get up on that jump-pillow, but couldn't even begin to climb up its steep edges. We resorted to having Charles toss her as far up as he could, and she'd slide helplessly down, laughing hysterically as she tumbled.

Today, we went back to the same pumpkin patch.

Today, we were with her pre-school friends on a field trip. Today, Zoe ran among the pumpkins and interacted with other children. Without hesitation and on her own, she slid down a slide that was at least two stories high. And when she got up to that gigantic jump-pillow today, she climbed right up to the top and bounced with the kids who were at least twice her size.

Today I realized she's not a baby, by any stretch of the imagination. One year has taken my baby away, but has left me with a pretty awesome little kid.

Of course, then the over-exhausted meltdowns on the car ride home began and ripped me out of my reverie...

Monday, October 25, 2010

'twas a dark and stormy night

I've started about three posts tonight, and none of them felt right. The tone wasn't right, or it wasn't important enough, or whatever. You know I like to be political, and when I'm angst-ridden, I think I write better.

But sometimes I'm just apolitical and content, which is alright too.

So I thought I'd share some stories from the past few days, just to write some more about my family and me. In case you wanted to know us better.

In the first place, an update: we started potty training Zoe in early September. She's done fabulously overall, but the past few days, she's started having accidents...daily...which is just so odd. I'm wondering if it's just a phase or something like that, but I guess a phase should be longer than three days. Tomorrow I'll try the bribery technique for the first time in weeks - if she goes all day sans accident, she can have a treat when she gets home. It's amazing what that kid will do for some candy corn!

Here's an update on some of my writing projects. I have three short story rough drafts that are so rough they hurt to read. The same can be said for an essay I'd like to submit for publication to an online parenting mag. But my plan is to print them all out and start red-penning...which, to me, is the fun part of writing. I'm going to take what David Sedaris taught me and pay attention to word selection and placement, and they're all going to wind up awesome. Clearly.

Also, today felt like a good mom-day for me. Zoe did not nap at school, and I've been up since she woke me up to pee at 3:30 this morning, which is typically a recipe for disaster. But she was actually (mostly) sweet all evening, and I found a second (or third) wind. We ate tacos for dinner, a favorite for all three of us. Zoe and I sang silly songs during her bath, and we laughed a lot. It was a good night.

And finally, an update on our poor's still broken. So sad. Charles and our friend Antonio tried to fix it Friday night, and it was sort of crazy seeing the TV all spread out across our living room. They think they narrowed down the issue to the power board (I learned about capacitors that night...but not flux capacitors because they don't exist), so Charles is going to order a new one and see what happens. We've mostly adapted to life without TV - our shows and Zoe's can all be watched online. But sports are kind of a killer. Right now, my Giants are playing their arch nemesis, the Dallas Cowboys, and I am NOT WATCHING IT! AT ALL!! It's sort of painful.

But the other night, Charles and I played Trivial Pursuit instead of watching a show, and it was really fun.

So there's the silver lining. Tonight, on this dark and stormy night, I'm all about silver linings.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Politics

It's been a busy day for me today, and my computer battery is about to die since I let Zoe watch two shows on my laptop this morning. Our TV is broken, but she needed her morning fix of Dora and Diego.

Have I mentioned that I'm having a MUCH harder time having a broken TV than I am a broken dishwasher? Have I ever even mentioned the broken dishwasher before? No, because I really don't mind washing dishes. But take away my Project Runway and you see a whole new side of me emerge.

Anyway, I have two links/thoughts I wanted to share with you, so enjoy.

  • First, I have to say bravo to Maureen Dowd. Her op-ed piece in the New York Times this week was brilliant, and was a scathing reminder that maybe, just maybe, it's NOT cool to be ignorant, and maybe our politicians SHOULD be held to a higher intellectual standard than the average Joe. I like my President with a side of smarts, thank you very much.
  • Which leads me to...President Obama has come out with his own PSA in support of the It Gets Better campaign to combat bullying. Watching it made me tear up a bit, I'll admit - he's candid and friendly, someone with whom I can see myself enjoying a conversation. But his support of the issue at hand is touching, and it's great to see such support coming from the leader of this country. Thank you, Mr. President.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On David Sedaris, dirty jokes and the craft of writing

Last night was a good night.

Charles and I had tickets to a David Sedaris reading (if you don't know him, he's a humorist/satirist who writes essays for his own books, The New Yorker and NPR). We were excited - our seats were in the front-front row (AA). We'd be so close, we could see up his nose!

One of Zoe's ex-teachers came over to babysit since my mom is out of town and it went...surprisingly well! I expected tears, I got kisses. I expected drama, I got a rousing game of Ring Around the Rosie. It was fabulous.

So Charles and I managed to sneak away early - we arrived at the Performing Arts Center at 6:30 for a 7:30 show. We sat, drank wine, ate popcorn and people-watched, and had a nice, quiet 45 minutes.

When we stood up to head into the auditorium, we saw Sedaris himself walk by, which was so exciting. I love getting to see people I admire, up close and personal. We decided to hover around the book-signing table, in case he did a pre-reading signing, and HE DID! And we were first in line! HOORAY!

He was absolutely lovely, and laughed when we told him we wanted him to sign the book to Zoe, our two-year-old. "One day she'll love you as much as we do," I promised, sounding absolutely like a fan-girl.

Sedaris predicted a second child for us (a girl in 2012 - I politely laughed and shook my head) and then signed the book: To Zoe, You're such a baby. David Sedaris.

Dude's even funny off-the-cuff - totally impressive.

The reading began, and he was excellent, as always. I love how he reads his essays - something about the tone and cadence of his voice feels very soothing to me. He took a break from essays to delve into dirty jokes, to much applause and laughter. It always sounds so funny to hear his sweet little voice being so raunchy.

He talked about a book he's recommending while on tour - Wells Tower's Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. Charles bought it when it first came out but I haven't read it...yet.

But it was when he talked about WHY he was recommending it that I really got interested. He read a few passages, calling out why he liked bits and pieces, why he found it so surprising and engaging. One was as simple as having the words "mouse" and "coupon" in the same sentence - a surprising and apparently pleasing combination to his ears. To think that people pay so much attention to your choice and placement of words - it was something to think about.

He also referenced, with regards to his own writing, reading pieces out loud during the editing process, and it was like a light bulb flashed on over my head.

DUH. I know this. I used to do it all the time, but I've gotten away from it in recent years, due either to laziness or self-consciousness. But really, how else can you find the perfect words that flow into your sentences, than to read it out loud? It kills me now, that I sent an essay off to a writing contest without ever. Once. Reading it out loud.


But still, I was so appreciative of seeing Sedaris (and no, we could not actually see up his nose). I love his attitude and his politics (his two references to Prop 8 almost had me on my feet, laughing and clapping enthusiastically), and mostly, I love his writing. His craft.

He's brilliant.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beautiful things

If I could paint, I would paint a picture of Zoe's growing imagination. It would be Dali-like, with beautiful images melting into one another, with some Van Gough starry nights thrown in.

It's fun to see a person's imagination develop, so fun that I thought I'd share it.

One night, when Zoe asked why it was getting dark outside, Charles said, "Because the monkeys are eating the sun."

It was silliness at first, but the two of them have developed the idea over time. Now we know that the monkeys eat the sun at night because they've played all day and they're tired, so they want to put the light out. In the morning, when they wake up and are ready to play again, the monkeys poop out the sun, and that's why you see the sun rise. There are networks of monkeys living around the world; it just happens that one group lives in a house on our block, and another in a house by Zoe's school.

As for the moon, it's the mice that eat it every morning - the moon is made out of cheese, you know.

Zoe is so young that she believes that Mickey Mouse and his clubhouse are real, and every morning she marvels when the magic words make the clubhouse appear on his show. Tinkerbell lives in a Lego "house" which Zoe built. Dora and Diego are her friends.

When my dog Quentin plays chase with Zoe, running behind her around the backyard, he is playing Follow the Leader; Molly (a Dalmatian) and Quentin (a hound dog) are sister and brother.

Two chairs next to each other are a truck or an airplane; Zoe frequently travels to Oklahoma, New Jersey and North Carolina, to the homes of many people she loves.

If Zoe doesn't want to climb up a chair, it's because she doesn't "have strong legs," and a bar on the floor is there "for children to jump over." If we've lost something outside, we use "tubes" (typically a piece of grass) that help us find it. "Here's your tube, Mommy, so you can find Quen's ball."

It's a beautiful world in which Zoe lives, and I hope that her vivid imaginings are indications of a creative life ahead of her. In the meantime, I'll keep enjoying the things she says and believes, and maybe I'll believe some for myself.

Friday, October 15, 2010

When a children's book makes you think

I love when I come across something that makes me think. It could be a great article, movie, book, or a comment I overhear. This morning it was PUT ME IN THE ZOO by Robert Lopshire. If you haven't read it, you should. The message applies to adults, and I can't believe I never got it until now. I've read it a dozen times to my son but for some reason this morning, it just clicked.

For those who haven't read it, it's about an animal, although I'm not sure what kind of animal he is, who wants to live in the zoo. When two kids ask him why, why should he be in the zoo, the animal comes up with reasons as to why he thinks it would be great. But then the kids introduce him to the circus, and suddenly, he realizes that he shouldn't be in the zoo, he should be in the circus. The circus is the place for him.

If you don't quite get how big this message is, I'll explain. We could be spending our entire lives chasing a dream we constructed based on the few experiences we've had. Maybe we are hitting ourselves over the head wondering why our dreams aren't coming true, when actually, we are just chasing the wrong dreams.

If we don't try new things or expose ourselves to new people, ideas, concepts, and other ways of thinking, we could be chasing a dream that might not be the right dream for us. If we open ourselves up to new experiences, maybe our dreams will change for the better, and maybe we will find a dream that does come true.

See what I mean! This book is huge! If all I ever know is x, then I'll never discover y, and y could be the greatest thing ever.

Ok, maybe I'm laying the inspiration on thick, but I'm very enthusiastic this afternoon. So - this weekend, in honor of PUT ME IN THE ZOO, I will put myself in a new experience and see where it takes me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More sincerely happy thoughts (read that as you will...)

I am digging this week. I really am. It started out really rough, and has had a couple of bumps in the road, but overall, I'd say it's been great!

I mean, think about it. Like Marissa pointed out, what a miracle for all 33 of those miners to be out from underground down there in Chile! I kept expecting SOMETHING bad to happen, so it's nice to know that sometimes things do work out. (Unless, of course, you're the guy whose wife got to meet his mistress while they waited for his rescue. I hear the wife was not there when he finally came out. I anticipate a couple rough months ahead for that guy.)

But still...amazing, right?

And while my week hasn't been amazing like that of the miners and their families, a couple nice things have gone down.

First, I've been reminded in a big way that my husband is a great guy who is somehow, weirdly, creepily perfect for me. It's eerie, how well he knows me - the other night, I was washing dishes and asked him to put on some music. Peppy music, actually. And I gave him a challenge - pick one of the two records that I had in my head as the only music I wanted to listen to at that time. My only clue was that the album was on vinyl, which in most houses would narrow things down significantly, but not in mine!

Literally, within 30 seconds, I heard the opening chords of "Mansford Road" by Vampire Weekend, the first song on the EXACT ALBUM I wanted to hear (the only other acceptable one would have been Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, in case you wondered)! And this was an album we haven't listened to in months, I promise you. It was very creepy and weird and fantastic.

Then, the following day, I was having kind of a yucky morning at work, and Charles knew it. I was sitting at my desk, not wanting to ask to go out to lunch, but really wanting to go out to lunch, when an email popped up. Bam! It was a meeting request. From Charles. For lunch. Crazy, man...

And finally, back in my babysitting days, I frequently saw the moms for whom I worked talking to fellow-moms about who was coordinating what event for their kids, who would pick up what equipment or food, who would offer whom a ride. Since Zoe's birth, I've wondered how to get that network going for myself, always knowing how much easier it is being a busy mom when you have other busy moms to lean on when you need to. But short of stalking fellow-moms at the day care Zoe attended, I had no idea how to find my network.

Well, sometimes things just work themselves out. This year, Zoe is in a class with two little girls whose moms work at the same company as me. This weekend, all of us need to get the girls white t-shirts and a pumpkin for some classroom art projects, which is kind of a pain for any one person to do. So, since I live near Wal-Mart (ick, I know), I will grab some t-shirts for all three, and another mom is getting the pumpkins. The third mom is out of town and was stressing over finding the time to pick up the supplies. So it's all working out really nicely. And it's great to feel like I'm finally (I say finally like Zoe is already 16 or reality, she's two, and I'm just impatient) getting that network started. It's nice to know if I need a favor, I have some mom-friends who totally get it and are happy to help.

Sometimes, life is just....nice.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wake up call

I was having a bad day yesterday, feeling sorry for myself, and not wanting to do much of anything. I have these days every so often and I know if I can ride it out, it will only last a day or two.

Well, this morning when I woke up and poured myself a cup of coffee, I turned on the news. On my screen were the cheers, tears, and hugs as the tenth miner was lifted to safety in Chile. To those miners and their families, I'm sure nothing else in the world matters right now other than their safe return. They have endured so much these last two months and I can only imagine what it must feel like to be lifted to safety and see the sun (or moon) for the first time in two months when it must have crossed their minds they may never see it again. I'm sure they're not thinking about the house that needs to be cleaned, the bills on the counter, their jeans that are too tight, or the fact that they are feeling uninspired.

I decided right at that moment that today is going to be a good day. Every once in a while, you have to force yourself to reset and put things back in perspective. Today, I am feeling inspired.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy thoughts

I was a bit of a Debbie-Downer last week, all caught up in causes without offering solutions. And Zoe's been sick, and Charles has been sick, and now I'm I could continue down the road of negativity.

But fear not! I decided this morning that I would post only happy things tonight - sort of like Peter Pan, maybe if I think lovely thoughts, I can fly?

Or at least I can make you smile.

  1. Family Guy made Charles snort three times this week and featured a slowed-down reprise of "Surfin' Bird," which is my all-time favorite Family Guy song. Fabulous.
  2. 30 Rock had some choice comments about Wilco and The New Yorker, so I think the writers pretty much took a shot at my husband. Much as I love both Wilco and The New Yorker (and my husband...), it made me laugh. Hard.
  3. The other night, when I was putting Zoe down for bed, I asked if she wanted her music on or off. Her response? "On, because I had a long day."
  4. This video of a woman using makeup to turn herself into Jared Leto is so stinkin' cool - you will love it!
  5. I made Zoe's cow costume for Halloween on Friday - she loved it!
  6. We're going to see Phish on Friday night! We're going to see David Sedaris and Grace Potter next week!
  7. The Giants are kicking ass all of a sudden, and I might almost possibly win my first fantasy football match of the season! Hooray!
Seven seems like an auspicious number for an auspicious post. Have a good week, ok?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Still on my soapbox

My brother came out to me when I was fifteen. We were in a room with two of his friends and the boys were all home from their first semester of college. My reaction was...not the best. At all.

Outwardly, I was quiet, processing. Inwardly, I was an immediate disaster. Holy shit! What were my friends going to think? Was everyone at school going to think, gulp, I was GAY TOO? Ohmigosh, my already-meager social life was going to get anchored in some cement and dumped in the swamps by Giant's Stadium.

I was self-centered, selfish. Fifteen.

It never entered my realm of thoughts that Daniel was quite possibly going through turmoil of his own at that point. Didn't even cross my mind.

I think I've spent a chunk of the rest of my life trying to compensate for that initial reaction, the initial lack of support. I could've done better.

Which is why I get so angry sometimes, so fired up about civil rights, same sex marriage, hate crimes, and all the causes that I care about.

And which is why I am so sad about the rash of suicides by gay teens that is being reported all over the news right now. I know that the media tends to blow things out of proportion, but I guess I really feel like any suicide by anyone who has been driven to the limit by hateful people is one too many.

I consider myself so lucky that my brother came out in a safe environment - his college was an amazing haven for young people. He had good friends. And he had a family who loved him and (initial reactions by snotty teenagers notwithstanding) supported him through all the rest of the choices he had to make to really figure out who he was.

I can't imagine if we hadn't all been so damn lucky.

So when I saw today that Glee (my new favorite show - I can't help it!!) is planning an episode that tackles these tough issues, I was so grateful. They reach such a wide audience of teens (and those of us slightly older than that)...anyone they can educate is maybe one less person who will commit a hateful act. Please take a look at this video by Chris Colfer, who plays Kurt on the show. His message, that it will get better, is one I hope anyone in trouble will take to heart.

And now I will get back off my soapbox - my next post will be fun. I almost promise.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday night politics

It's another Tuesday night,and I'm writing and watching Glee and it's a sad one, kids. Seriously, it's about to break my heart.

So I thought I would distract myself with some political discussion.

I live in South Carolina, and in the past bunch of years, I've been horrified by a slew of political events. Between Mark Sanford's Incredible Disappearing Act (for which he received no noticeable punishment, and has been allowed to finish out his term of governance - go figure!) and Joe Wilson's famous "You lie" at a President I highly respect, I've shaken my head in disgust more than once.

To be fair, New Jersey, my original home state, isn't much better - between Snooki and the recent smackdowns on corrupt politics, it's not like I have much to brag about there, either.

But oh, South Carolina, seriously, what were you thinking when you elected Jim DeMint to the Senate (I can say you - I did NOT vote for him). He's horrible!

If you have read much of this blog, you may already know that I get fired up about civil rights, and DeMint's record of opposing openly gay men and unwed mothers who teach...well, it really makes me physically ill. Who is he to say what makes a fit and able teacher?

How can someone's sexual orientation affect their teaching skills? It seems to fall under the same assumption that people use to oppose the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't tell - clearly, all gay people hit on EVERY SINGLE PERSON of the same gender who happens to come their way. Right? Isn't that what everyone's afraid of? Well, that's the same to me as saying I should not be allowed to work with straight men because they might one day hit on me. Utterly ridiculous.

And, ok, I like family values as much as the next person. We have dinner in my house at 6:00 every night, even though Zoe is only two and mealtimes are as much about arguing with her to stay in her seat as they are about meaningful, loving conversation. But women have babies out of wedlock - it happens all the time. Sometimes it's an accident, other times it's on purpose, and who the hell am I to say that I'm a better person than they are simply because I am married. I'm not. Utterly ridiculous.

No one in the government should ever judge another person based on their lifestyle choices; it makes for the creation of bad laws that infringe upon all of our civil rights.

And it's really rude, too. To say the least.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall is all around us

Oh October, October, you will be a busy month but I am excited you are here. The weather is beautiful, the pumpkins are out, and life feels good right now.

The next three weekends are going to be a whirlwind of activities for us. We have something going on every day of every weekend, and a bunch of stuff in between. First up, we have the wedding of an old high school friend which I anticipate will be like the high school reunion I never attended. Next up, my husband is traveling to New York for his nephew's christening and I'll be traveling to see my parents for a long weekend. And following that trip, I will be heading to Myrtle Beach for the South Carolina Writer's Workshop conference.

And in between it all, we plan to find time to go to Boone Hall plantation for a hayride and a walk through the pumpkin patch, take the ferry over to Fort Fisher aquarium, attend a fall BBQ, and last but not least, find the perfect Halloween costumes.

Fall really is my favorite time of the year. And so, I am sharing my list of favorite fall things...

Crisp, cool air - which makes for good hair days
Open windows
Fall sweaters
Fires outback in the fire pit - teaching Max to make s'mores
Pumpkins and gourds
Anticipation over the holiday season
And last but not least - snuggling under a blanket with the ones I love the most

Happy Fall everyone!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sometimes it's a little hard to write

I have big plans.

I've mentioned before that I am interested in working on a couple stories for upcoming Writer's Digest contests. I've been having fun doing some editing for Marissa. I've enjoyed blogging thus far.

I also decided that I'd like to try some more essay writing (my strength) to submit pieces to a few online magazines I like. I want to get published.

Last week was a little hectic; ok, most weeks around here are hectic. I'm used to it. But since I was worn out from our crazy weekend in New Jersey, I planned to give myself a break by sending Zoe to school on Friday, giving myself a free day at home.

I had big plans.

I wanted to go for a long run in the early hours of the day, then clean my house (focusing on one unruly closet) so it was sparkly. Then, I planned to write.

I planned hours of writing, in fact! I had three pieces on which I wanted to work, all of them clearly defined in my head. By Thursday night, I was practically giddy with excitement.

Until about 11:00 p.m., that is. That's when Zoe first woke up and started crying. I could tell from her gasping breaths that her nose was completely congested, making sucking on her pacifier (her one vice, and only at night) impossible.

About an hour later, she was asleep again, and I knew she had a cold. Not a bad one, really, but it was enough - no way could I send even a semi-sick little girl to school when I was already staying home.

So I had to put my writing plans on hold; Zoe is a notoriously bad sleeper/napper when sick, and she has held true to that all weekend long. So we've spent a lot of time in and around the house since Friday - luckily, we've had the best weather EVER, so all our windows have been open, keeping my normal stir-craziness slightly at bay.

I finally sat down this afternoon and got a rough draft done on one essay; the others have gone the way of so many ideas - far, far away.

The good news is that, crazy as life is, it provides lots of writing material. We are certainly never dull.

Now I'm going to go blow my own stuffy nose and pretend that my throat doesn't actually hurt.

I still have big plans.