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    Thirty-Six





    When I was born, Gerald Ford was president. John Denver, James Taylor, Barry Manilow, and the Bee Gees were standards on the radio. A gallon of gas cost $.44. [Feel free to pick your jaw up off of the floor now. I can wait.] The Vietnam War officially ended. Jaws was the most popular film of the year. The VHS tape (now obsolete) was introduced and Bill Gates created Microsoft.

    Me. Today. On my 36th Birthday
    Turning thirty-six insists that I’ve officially moved into the “next age bracket”. This means that when I fill out forms, I’m no longer grouped in with the 20-somethings (see Wiki: US Census - Middle Age). I’m starting to be called Ma’am instead of Miss. The gray hairs which I’ve been sporting for the last 10 years are starting to accumulate (which, to be frank, I actually like, and am doing nothing about, so take that, Time). The “oldies” station on the radio plays 80’s music now. But I’m not complaining; I loved eighties music.
    This year was awesome. I started running. Back on April 12th, I got up off my bum, and got on the treadmill. (I only lasted about ¼ mile). I got up the next day and did it again (& the next day...). Next week, (almost exactly 6 months after starting running), I will be running a 10k event! I’m feeling healthier than I have in a long time. I’m reading much more often again. I travelled a lot this year with my family. I’m writing on my blog with greater frequency (and I think people might actually be reading it? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller…). Adam and I have gone to see real movies in the theatre recently. AND? I started back roller skating! So my 36th year was a darned good one.
    But, here’s the thing. I’ve noticed that my hollywood contemporaries are aging, and… I don’t recognize the new ones. The 20-somethings of the world look so young to me. The teenagers I see in are babies. Heck, my own children will BOTH be teenagers in less than 6 years. What…WHAT?! Jane’s Addiction is about to release a new album and I remember when their first one came out. My friend from college said about the new album, “I may have to get that for my Geriatric Lollapalooza mix”. Which… Exactly. (Sigh.) See, Kurt Cobain has been nearly 20 years gone, but when I listen to Nevermind, it sounds fresh to me! Time is passing, things are aging, but I’m still feeling young, and my memories of youth are still bright.
    I don’t have a problem with aging, really (really, really). Age really is just a number, blah-di-blah. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the passing of time weirds me out just a little. My kids (no longer babies) have never not known a cell phone (my youngest hasn’t ever not known a smart phone), and have no idea what it’s like to carry change around for a payphone. What’s a payphone, Mom? We sold the last of our VHS tapes at a garage sale this year, and we converted our CD collection to digital six years ago. My mother’s generation? They went to the moon. My generation? They’ve discontinued NASA and downgraded Pluto from planet status. Time passes, things change, time continues on, etc., etc....
    I’ve got a lot of time left. (89 years, actually, since I plan on seeing the next century.) So I guess I’d better get used the fact that my kids are currently better on computers than I was in high school. It’s just the way it is. I embrace the passing of time as each moment shows me something new. So, hello middle age (ha!)… what can you show me?
    Posted: Oct 07 2011, 15:22 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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    New Year Musings





    Every man regards his own life as the New Year's Eve of time.
    ~Jean Paul

    The end of the year is unusual, how it makes you think about time. Of course, we’re always thinking about time – how much we have of it, how much more we wish we had. But on December 31st, the way I think of time changes. Every other day of the year I think of in terms of 24 hours… actually, more like 18 hours – the time when I’m awake in a day (a day of when do I set my alarm to wake, when do my children wake, when do they go to school, and I to work, how many things can I check off my list in my day before picking my children up from school, what projects can we finish or how many games can we play in the time before I have to start preparing dinner, what activities can fill the time before bed, do I have enough time to write while Adam bathes the kids, I can’t believe it’s getting so late and the children aren’t asleep yet, should we work on finishing a project, or should we read or watch a movie and relax and would you look at the time, I’m only going to get 5 hours of sleep tonight… before waking up and doing it all over again. And again).

    But then comes New Year’s Eve. The one day in the year that carries a definitive end point – and not just the end of a day or a month, but the end of a year and, for this year – of a decade. Time on New Year’s Eve becomes less of a loop, and more of an explicit period. This year. Next year. What have you done all year? All decade? What will you do next? It’s a time for both reflection and renewal.


    (Source: Flikr  Artist: Robbert van der Steeg) 

     

    Today we spent cleaning, organizing, and finishing projects not completed. And, as the day draws to a close, we have come to the realization that we tend to do this every year – without really planning: we just fall naturally into completing things left undone, tackling jobs left “til tomorrow”, and at the same time, thinking about big things to come. New Year’s Eve is just another day, and yet, the promise of a new year – a new start is so tangible, it motivates us to tie up loose ends and look excitingly ahead to the future. It’s a time to make amends with things unsettled in your mind, reflect on the good events, dust old cobwebs – real and figurative, and muse about what lies ahead.

    I’ve made New Year’s Resolutions in the past. But this year, instead of a numbered list of things I resolve to achieve I’ve decided instead to think of things I’m most thankful for in this year, and what promising thoughts and hopes are on the horizon of my 2011:

     

    ~ I’m grateful for my children – their beauty and brilliance and their very being is my constant reminder to try harder and reach further.

    ~ I’m thankful for my husband – his steadfast commitment to happiness and peacefulness in our relationship and connection with our children along with his passion for his work and self-betterment is inspiring.

    ~ I’m grateful for my blog – it’s helped me rediscover my passion for writing  – which had been somewhat lost and shuffled to the bottom of the pile of things to do throughout my life, but is now making it’s way back forefront.

    ~ I’m thankful for my readers, twitter followers, and facebook friends – knowing people read what I write helps motivate me to keep writing.


    (Three of us watching the countdown to the new year. The 4th of us was sleeping.) 

    I strive this year to stay positive, be more peaceful and forgiving, and reach towards the me that my children already see – with their clear, unbiased, and unconditionally loving eyes.

    And, I hope for peace and satisfaction and health for everyone in the new year. Happy 2011!

    Posted: Dec 31 2010, 21:20 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
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    Rubber bands, mix tapes, and nostalgia





    Silly Bandz. Have you seen these? Rubber bands, in the shapes of animals & other objects. At a premium price. Kids collect them, trade them, choke on them, shoot them at other kids… oh wait, no. Well, probably yes. But it’s not a use officially listed on the packaging, anyway.
    Grandma brought each of my kiddos a pack of these rubber bracelets home from vacation last week. I don’t have a problem with silly bandz, really. I mean, except for the paying $5 for a pack of rubberbands part (the inventor of Silly Bandz? Laughing. All. The. Way. To. The. Bank.)
    Now, they’re a little too trendy for my taste, and the rebel in me wants to tell my kids to buck the trend. Yet, at the same time, they make me a bit nostalgic, if you want to know the truth. Before my own bucking-the-trend days, I was a passionate collector of rubber/jelly bracelets. Do you remember those?
    Only I think they were somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 – 25 cents a piece, back then. Ya know, back then being early 80’s. (Yeah, I’m old) I used to love those things. Love them like sleep with them, make them into necklaces, get them taken away by my fifth grade teacher, sneak into said teacher’s room during recess & steal them back…
    So it got me thinking about OTHER trendy or otherwise awesome things that make me reminisce on the good parts of my youth. Here’s what I came up with:
    Jellies. The shoes. Oh, I had this most awesomest pair of fluorescent orange jelly sandals when I was about 9. Those babies would GLOW in the twilight, man. I’d strap them on, and wait at the door, for just the right light, just as the sun set, when the sky is that weird grayish purplish color for about 10 minutes, and race out of the house down the driveway to dance in my day-glo orange jellies. Yesiree boss, I was cool. Um, by cool I mean, you know, uncool.
    And then there was Madonna. I’m not sure I can give words to just how much I worshipped Madonna as a pre-teen. She was amazing to me – the most beautiful voice, the most risqué lyrics (hey, I didn’t really KNOW what Papa Don’t Preach was about, but I sure as heck knew as a cruised along on my bike with my walkman on that it was SOMETHING my parents didn’t quite want me to listen to), and marvelous clothes. Speaking of clothes… the very first outfit that I purchased with my very own money – I’d say right around the ripe old age of 10, was (yes, I still remember it like it was yesterday, thank you very much) a white miniskirt that had a roll-down waist, and an orange (are you getting the picture here, orange was cool) slightly off the shoulder shirt with roll-up sleeves that, when rolled up, revealed orange MESH. Very Madonna-esque. Very cool (come on, it was the EIGHTIES). My mom wouldn’t let me get the studded belt. But, you know, you take what you can get. I probably wore that outfit every other day.
    (Okay, don’t have a photo of that outfit, so this will have to suffice. Me, circa 1989. Note asymmetrical haircut & beret. Really, the start of said bucking-the-trend days. Yet, note the Docksiders adorning my feet. Gah.)
    So back to the eighties & music: the mix tape. My first mix tapes were made using the radio. By this I mean that I used to hold my tape recorder up to my sister’s radio & wait with bated breath for the “good” songs (read: “Walking on Sunshine” and “Careless Whisper” and “People are People”) to come on the radio and rush to press play & record in precise unison, quickly press the microphone slot up against the speaker, then dash out of the room & make everyone promise not to go in until the song was done, to avoid any background noise. Of course, there always was background noise. Also, it was recorded in mono. But again, you take what you can get.
    When CDs came out, I was in heaven as far as mix tapes were concerned. No more tape player to tape player recording of tapes from my friends (and yes, I still have the Beastie’s License to Ill on a tape-to-tape dub. Yes I DO.). Now I could have my music in STEREO (and uninterrupted by a side-flip)! I still remember my first CDs. I used to save the long boxes the CDs came in (remember those?) and tape them up all over my walls. I shudder at the thought that I used to pay $17.99 for each CD. Highway robbery, I tell you.
    Eventually I burned all my disks into iTunes, and sold my CDs. And I swear I kept this one for posterity ONLY:
    But back to mix tapes. There was just something about them I’ve not quite managed to duplicate with an iTunes playlist. Maybe it’s the penciled-in song list on the tape label. Maybe it’s the song cutting off in the middle when you unexpectedly reach the end of the tape. There was something just very… tangible about mix tapes. I did keep a lot of my mix tapes, though I no longer have a way to play them. Relics. I just can’t part with them…
    So what else evokes memories of youth? I suppose there were the movies. There are a few movies that don’t ever get edged out of my top 20, no matter how many new movies I see. Classics, you know, like ET (I distinctly watching this from the FRONT ROW of the movie theatre and bawling my eyes out.), The Empire Strikes Back, Karate Kid, Yentl (I loved Barbara as a kid… not nearly as much as Madonna, but still. What ever happened to Barbara?), Neverending Story, The Princess Bride, Willow, Say Anything...
    And books! Nancy Drew, Watership Down, Charlotte's Web, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Bridge to Terabithia...
    Sigh. I really lived those movies & books as a kid, not just watched or read them, ya know?
    So, back to the present. When I see my kids with silly bands lined up on their arms, I sigh a bit. Knowing they might remember them in 30 years with as much fondness as I recall mix tapes. Or maybe they’ll forget them. But for now, I’m okay with them, trendy or not. I look at them like a little sign that my kids are breaking out on their own, away from me & my ideas of what is cool or not. Which is exactly what they are supposed to do; growing up. Growing into themselves. It means we’re doing our job right.
    Posted: Jul 14 2010, 17:21 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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    The Question of Time





    A stitch in time saves nine.

    Time flies when you’re having fun.

    Time & tide wait for no man.

    Time after time.

    It’s a question of time.

     

    How many songs, sayings, stories, idioms are about time? How often do we recognize the existence of, and lament the amount of, time in our lives? I will find myself nostalgic about times past, and hopeful at times to come.  I look at my ever-growing children and almost daily am faced with the reality (and fear) that time is fleeting.  And, there is the always-present weighty feeling of never having enough time to do what I want to do.   Like write. I just finished having a twitter conversation with a writer-mommy (@inkgypsy), about having such a strong desire to write, and this far-off feeling that I really want to be a writer, yet feeling that I didn't have the time to do it.  She suggested setting a goal for what I want, make the time for that goal, and the rest will follow.

     

    I like this idea. Certainly, taking some action, however small, towards my goals is better than mourning the lack of time, fretting over how overbooked I am, how many directions in which I am being pulled, complaining about how late I go to bed, how often my children wake, or how early I’m awakened, or how my to-do list keeps growing, and my would-like-to-do list as well, and how the latter never sees the light of day because I struggle to find the time to get everything done on the former. Pining over times past, when I felt I had so much more time (yet, did I really manage it any better back then?) and worrying over how will I ever be able to find the time to do the things I want to do, when I have all this stuff I have to do. And on an on.  In my fretting over trying to find time, I’m losing time. It is certainly better to take a step towards productivity, and a step away from self-pity.

     

    Oh, big self-perpetuating sigh. 

     

    It's really true, isn't it? Getting the things done that we want to; it’s not about finding the time.  It’s about deciding what it is that’s really important, and then choosing to rearrange your schedule to accommodate those things.  Making time for those things.

     

    So I have decided that  instead of mourning the passage of time, I will seize the day.  Or, more succinctly, when I feel that spark of something I want to do or get done, I’m going to do it. If I can’t do it that moment, I’m going to make a specific plan to get it done, and then… find a way to put that plan into action. and here I am, at 1:30am on my laptop. Writing because I needed to, and I’m so tired of listening to myself complain about not having enough time to do the things I want to do... so I made the time.

     

     

     

     

    You know, even if I keep the complaints only to myself. My inner monologue matters! What I think, I become. What I want to do, I will get done.

     

    So no more yearning for missing time.  What’s the point of yearning for time, when it’s right here? The act of troubling over losing time takes time itself.  I’m tired of it.  I’m going to take each moment as it comes, and make the best out of it.

     

     There’s no time like the present. Right?

    Posted: Jul 12 2010, 01:36 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
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    Three Years





    So it happened.  I’m no longer the mom of a baby.  My youngest is now three: not a baby, not even a toddler… a real big boy. 

     

    It's not like it happened overnight, but man, the last three years sure have flown by. I clearly remember the day he was born: we drove leisurely to the hospital for a non-stress test… and left two days afterward with a baby.  Now, three very short years later, we find ourselves putting our bed back up on its frame and clearing out the baby toys, to make room for the new big boy toys. 

     

    Sigh.

    That’s both a sigh of relief… for the years of night waking and diapers being over; and, a sigh of wistfulness… for the time when he was tiny enough to hold in the crook of my arm.

    My big boy: He’ll talk your ear off.  He loves building and singing. He’s always been a super cuddle hog. And he still thinks his big sister is the best thing on the planet.
    In the blink of an eye, twelve seasons have passed, and my little baby is a big kid.  Parents: hug your babies.  Time goes by so fast. 

    Posted: May 23 2010, 22:21 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Babies | Children | Nostalgia