Thursday, October 29, 2009


I adore my daughter. She is the light of my life. I couldn’t be happier to be her mom.
She’s driving me out of my mind with one thing since we moved into this townhouse at the end of July. She won’t stop trying to have a conversation from upstairs when I’m downstairs. Ignoring her does nothing; she just keeps yelling. We are not yellers. I do not yell. I keep repeating to her that if she wants to talk to me, then come downstairs where I am and then attempt to carry on a discussion. But no.
I may be in the kitchen with water running. I may be standing next to the washing machine. The furnace may have just kicked in, and so while I hear her urgently vocalizing something, the content of the message is lost. Besides, it is fucking annoying. And it is usually something of tremendous import: “Mom, how do you spell –“ “Mom, do you want to see the string on this toy?” “Mom, where is my sock?”
M, I say, if you have something to say to me, come downstairs. I can not hear you when I am not in the room. Stop yelling at me.

In one ear and out the other.

And with the snow we have had for two days straight, she is bouncing off the walls a little bit, although she’s been out in it playing. I wanted to go walking in the greenbelt in all this snow, but the wind has been constant. I hate wind.

Ack! There she goes again! “Mom?”

Monday, October 26, 2009

Well, that was fun

The month isn’t over quite yet, but it seems as if the fun is. I’d say I’ve been rejected, but I have a feeling that I don’t have a whole lot to do with it. The man I was seeing had a lot going for him, but the one thing I didn’t count on was the turmoil going on in his own mind. He’s been divorced for two years now, and I hoped that meant he was open to new things, but it seems that he is not. At least that is his story: he is still hung up on his ex wife. I do know from mutual friends that she has led him to believe on more than one occasion that they might get back together. With the holidays coming up, I suspect that issue might rear its ugly head again, actually. He’s got two young kids and he’s a devoted dad.

Whatever the truth may be, I was the recipient of what I call a Pre-emptive Dumping. When someone says they are afraid you are going to get hurt, so they’re going to end it now rather than later. Good times.

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. To paraphrase Fleetwood Mac, I know how to pick up the pieces and go home.
What I wasn’t ready for was the big birthday event that we were both committed to attending right after that. The Jungle Quest birthday party was something that our kids were all excited about and had been talking about, and there was no graceful way to not go. I can’t think of a whole lot of other things I hate more than having to spend a day in close proximity to someone who has just dumped me. But M was really looking forward to the party, and so I made sure I looked really good, put on my game face, and we went to the party.
It was a great time for the kids. The main activity was zip lines: the kids were fitted in harnesses, then they climbed stairs up to high platforms, attached their carabiners to the zip line, and then jumped off into space. Some of the kids were clipping on in twos, and M and his daughter went together, clinging to each other like little monkeys. I was proud of M for being so brave and trying everything. She had so much fun. I enjoyed watching her and wished I could have done it, too. I was able to suck it up and smile, laugh, and talk to all the other parents and not let on that I wished I was back home under the down comforter.

Being a rip-the-bandaid kind of girl, I guess it’s just as well that I had to make that appearance right away. We do have several friends in common and our kids love to play together, and in the long run, he’s just the guy who broke my long dry spell.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Yesterday, in a fit of culinary enthusiasm, I made a big pot of White Chicken Chili. I’d been invited to a potluck Broncos party, Authentic Mexican Food theme, and I wanted to bring something truly tasty.

Fortunately, I allowed for enough time, because this was a very labor intensive recipe. I stewed a whole chicken and then tore all the meat off of it, chopped onions, and oven roasted the corn. The recipe called for a tablespoon of ground cumin, and my house still smells heavenly. But it also included peppers; bell, Serrano, and Anaheim peppers. Typically, these are not “hot” peppers – the Bells are sweet, and the Serrano and Anaheim are generally considered pretty mild. I busily sliced, stemmed, and seeded these peppers and put them under the broiler to blacken, then peeled and chopped them up, and added them to the bubbling pot. Yum!
An hour later, my hands were red and painful. Washing did nothing to alleviate it, and all night, my hands burned. I woke up to burning hands. This morning, barely awake, I rubbed my eyes, and my eyes started to burn, although not for very long, thank goodness! So, this morning, I googled my affliction, and found this:

“The perception that peppers are "hot" is not an accident. The capsaicin key opens a door in the cell membrane that allows calcium ions to flood into the cell. That ultimately triggers a pain signal that is transmitted to the next cell. When the cells are exposed to heat, the same events occur. Chile burns and heat burns are similar at the molecular, cellular, and sensory levels.”

Nice. The chili turned out wonderfully, by the way.

Friday, October 16, 2009

State of the Union Address

Wow – mention my job search, ur, um, sex life and I get more comments than ever! Sort of like in real life. I’m gratified that you are all so happy that I’m satisfied (ahem) but I thought I’d throw in a teensy bit of clarification.

As a single mom, I am now out in territory that can be pretty tricky. I have a fairly huge amount of concern about how what I do affects my daughter. As I’ve said before, I’ve learned primarily from watching others make mistakes, and then trying hard not to do the same. One kind of behavior that I’ve witnessed over the years is women who parade a stream of men through their lives, introducing each one as their boyfriend, and having their kid(s) meet and get used to each one, only to have that relationship end and the next one begin. It leaves the kids with a lot of confusion and abandonment issues. It can leave kids feeling like no one is worth getting attached to and there is no point in feeling invested in a relationship.
Since M’s dad is essentially out of the picture, and certainly out of the state, I don’t have any child-free nights to call my own. I traded sanity for a convenient babysitter, and don’t have any family nearby that I would leave my daughter with. We haven’t been here long enough for me to have established a babysitter in the neighborhood.
What’s a single mom to do? In my case, it means having “company” only after M is asleep in bed, and not having anyone be here when she wakes up. That is hard to do and not have it be a rather one-dimensional relationship, to say the least. Not many decent guys are willing to go along with that for very long. I got really lucky; I experienced the perfect storm of knowing someone that I am already friends with, that has his own kids that are the same age, and who likes me enough to be a fun, genuine person in the little time we have.

My daughter knows this guy, and plays with his kids when we all get together with our other friends, but she doesn’t have a clue that he and I have been seeing each other. To her, this guy is just one of the other Dads at the Bronco games. I like it that way.

I don’t have any idea whether this delightful interlude will go on for a while. I hope so, but I am realistic. My imagination might be all over the place, but my feet are on the ground. If this ends tomorrow, I will miss him, but life as we know it here at Casa Mountain Home will go on as usual.
It’s the way it is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The week ahead

This is going to be a challenging week. Tomorrow, I have my first Parent-Teacher conference with my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher. I did them at my daughter’s preschool, but now she has homework! And for some reason my kid is totally spazzing out about an issue that I never would have imagined would be a big deal to her: she doesn’t want to call out her name in response to roll call. She says she’s afraid people will laugh at her. This is weird, because she is a pretty outgoing and socially confident little girl. Sometimes her willingness and enthusiasm to approach strangers – like other little kids at the playplace at McDonalds – blows me away. So this sudden eruption of pseudo-shyness is aggravating. Especially because it’s becoming an issue and they’ve had to talk to me about it. I’ve talked to M and so far she is not budging. I’m at a loss.

Also, a position has opened up at the company I worked for when I used to live here. It is a spot that I had always thought I could do well, and I am going to apply for it tomorrow. They were closed today for Columbus Day. I hate it when I really want something, because I tend to obsess and worry and then feel really bad if it doesn’t pan out.

I have a job fair to attend on Friday, in Downtown Denver. I hope the weather cooperates. This will be a new experience for me. I hope my good pants fit. I haven’t tried on my business clothes for a while. Yeah, that’s what I think about. That, and the parking.

Thank goodness I’ve had a little excitement in my life for the past couple weeks! There is really not a lot to compare to the boost to one’s confidence that seeing someone new gives to your outlook, is there? I’ve been noticing a certain spring in my step (ahem) that definitely has been missing for QUITE a while! Having worked among mostly guys, and rather “unpolished” ones at that, for a long time, I’ve had many occasions to hear the trite opinion that what someone really needs is a good and thorough fucking. I was always the one to roll my eyes and respond with varying degrees of distain. That kind of crass remark seems so simplistic and sexist. But, of late, I gotta say... I see some truth to it. *grin*

I think it is doing marvelous things for my skin...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's reflected in the mirror

Since I finished the unpacking and setting up process, and began job hunting, it has been a little awkward trying to establish a routine. Having been, in the past, a very physically active person, I thought that I couldn’t wait to get back into working out, but strangely enough I’ve avoided getting that started. I’ve been watching movies and tv and reading – things I didn’t have time for while I was finishing my degree and working. I understand the desire to enjoy my free time, but I also want to feel more energetic, and I know that getting into better shape will help that.

This morning, finally, it was cold outside. My little indoor/outdoor thermometer said 35F when I came downstairs. After I took M to school, I decided to go for a long walk. There are leaves on the ground and a wonderful freshness in the air. I felt the muscles in my legs and hips responding to my stride, and it felt good. I’ve always been a strong walker. It was a beautiful morning. The sky was cloudless and blue, and as I walked through the greenbelt and watched the fat, round bellied Prairie dogs standing alert in the sunshine, and listened to the rustle of the Cottonwood trees in the gentle breeze, I wondered why I wasn’t doing this every day. When I crested the hill on my way back home, I stopped to inhale the scent of the river basin rising on the air. I felt such a wave of peace and gratitude to be here in this place that is so beautiful to me.

Tonight, after my daughter’s bedtime, I sat down to watch an Oprah show that I’d DVR’d, and it was about a young woman who had survived a plane crash that had left her burned on 80% of her body. She has four little children, and demonstrated remarkable spirit letting everyone see how she now lives.

I thought about how I’ve been kvetching about getting older and the signs of aging I’ve noticed in my skin and my hair, and I felt the tears roll down my cheeks. How easy it is to be shallow. How easy to really think that it matters how smooth and flawless the skin around my mouth is or is not. To feel distress over the fact of the curiously curlier white hair that is becoming more noticeable near my ears. To turn in front of a full length mirror and regard my upper arms, my stomach, and my thighs, and to feel anything but joy.

I am strong, and whole, and my body has done everything I’ve ever asked of it. I am in perfect health, and I had a successful and unremarkable pregnancy at 42. I can lift and carry, bend over and touch my toes, and make it to the top of any mountain. Why do I disrespect my body by lamenting its changes? How do we lose sight of the incredible gift that is just being ordinary?

I am not beating myself up; I am feeling curious about how we women, especially, view our bodies and are so skewed about what we are capable of. I feel less inclined to have a bad body image because I was athletic, and I want my daughter to have that same advantage, but I still succumb to the unrealistic and meaningless images that are all around us, telling us what we are supposed to expect our bodies to be for us. If no one ever looked at me – if I was always alone and didn’t ever wonder what someone else thought when they saw my body – would it ever occur to me to scrutinize my crows-feet? Or would I only be aware of how my legs can stretch to eat up the miles?

I have always thought that I would enjoy being an old woman, but I see that the in between stage might be a little challenging to my ego. I saw an elderly woman on the trail this morning, and as we exchanged a friendly hello, I thought about losing my powerful gait. I thought it was high time I got myself back into the weight room. Not to cling in vain to a youthful image, but to try to retain my independence as long as I can. I’d really miss my walks.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Out on the end of the branch, swaying

I’m not one of the cool kids. At best, I have cool friends. I lack the emotional equilibrium, I think. I over think a lot of things. When I seek counsel from my friends, it is usually because I want to “check” my perceptions.

While I am fine with being thought of as goofy and funny, I have a dread of being thought of as laughable. I don’t want to be the middle aged woman shopping in the Junior department.

I want my friends to respect me. I want to be a smart, funny, kind person. I don’t want to be a joke. But I guess I am more willing to risk it than I thought, because I have perhaps started something with a man that is quite a bit younger than I am.

It has not only “been awhile,” but my goals and priorities have radically changed since the last time I was dating. My ideas about what kind of man I am suited for has undergone a major transformation, for one thing. I am far more likely to spend time with other “smart, funny, kind persons” than I was in the past. You know what is different? The “kind” part. Maybe before, I didn’t think I deserved that? Maybe I needed to do more work on being kind to myself?

Aside from things I can’t change, like the fact that I respond to certain physical characteristics, I am pleased to find myself “choosing” someone whom I respect a great deal.

But it is too soon to know whether this is the beginning of something or just an interesting stop on the way. I’m somewhat uncomfortable right now, and writing helps me settle myself.

I have also begun job hunting. (Because I like my anxiety to be full throttle, I guess) I have already received a call from a recruiter, and that made me feel good.