Team Cheer Peppers Dumpster Fire

This November, I’m going to post once a day.

Why, you ask?

Because I am a blogger, and in November we wear pink we post for NaBloPoMo, or National Blogging Post Month, or more affectionately called NanoPolano, aka Team Cheer Peppers. Plus, it’s also the pandemic-social-distancing edition, and I have nothing better to do, my friends. I mean, this year is already a world-class shit show, and so why not add a little class and sass to this dumpster fire? Why not indeed.

If you’ve been on this ride with me before, bless you, because things tend to get hairy towards the end (or in the middle if I’m being honest) when I rapidly run out of writing ideas.

And, as the saying goes, it takes a village to write a blog, so this is where you come in, my dear Psychos.

  1. Please comment below with compelling, witty, and/or thoughtful ideas of what I should write about in the coming month. Winning ideas will be featured on the blog accompanied with virtual hugs and kisses and an imaginary cookie.
  2. If you have the time and would like to support other bloggers on Team Cheer Peppers, please check them out in all their glory: Team Cheer Peppers 2020!

Wish me luck, dear Psychos. Lord knows I’m going to need it.

what if

what if you just started writing

to see what came out?

like clawing up a big rock

that was slunk halfway down

into the damp soil

earthworms, rolly pollies wiggle underneath

not eager to be disturbed.

like excavating a dusty old box

you found in the attic

in the corner, under a pile of photo albums

musty papers, keepsakes, ticket stubs, diplomas

memories

seep out of pores

impossible to arrange back in

the way you found them.

The Last Day

You guys, this is the last day.

I did it!

I’m actually genuinely super impressed with myself, because almost every single day this month I was able to generate original content, and some of it was actually kind maybe good-ish.

And, the fact that I was actually able to write about my daily life without too much trouble, means – wait for it – that I actually have a life! Actually!

Before, when I had tiny babies and was largely housebound and unable to string words together to make coherent thoughts, let alone get pants on my ass, I didn’t feel like I had much to say. It was the same shit, different day. Literally. At least now, my kids are growing and changing rapidly and I’m running to catch up and I have some time to myself to collect my thoughts. We’re also able to go to better and more interesting places, have more lively conversations.

In short, life is getting more interesting. And I’m thankful.

I hope, for those of you who stopped to read this thing, that you enjoyed it. I hope it was amusing at the very least, and at the most I hope it made you laugh, made you think, and made you get to know me better and want to be my very best friend. I like warm hugs.

Also, THANK YOU. If I didn’t care about anyone reading my stuff, I’d write in a private diary. So thanks for stopping by; I really appreciate it.

Now I am off to decorate my house for Christmas and then redo everything my kids try to decorate. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. Stay warm. Stay sassy.

Stay psycho.

 


nanopoblano2019

The Walk

Rain started to fall.

Softly at first, in such a way that she didn’t notice until the ground was already damp and smelling like musty clothes, mothballs, and partially rotting leaves.

She quickened her pace, pumped her arms faster.

Halos appeared around streetlights, like perched angels guiding her way home.

Light reflected off the pavement, creating a warm glow.

Water soaked through her cotton sweatshirt and made contact with her skin.

She could see her breath now, every exhale snuffed out as quickly as it was born.

Her shoes squelched on the pavement, over grass, in and around puddles.

She realized her head had been bent over in an effort to shield her face.

She looked up and broke into a run.

Hands formed into fists.

Her hood flew back.

Droplets streamed down her face. Into her eyes. Over her cheeks.

She took the concrete steps two at a time.

In one fluid motion, she extended her hand, grasped the doorknob, turned, and shoved.

She was home.

 

nanopoblano2019

My favorite part of the day

Today’s my birthday, y’all. And you know what that means – I insist on some me time so I can wax poetic on my blog about another year gone.

Another year older, wiser, more tired. It’s also been a year a bit more hopeful than recent history. My kids are getting older and more independent (read: less dependent on mommy for every goddamn little thing), which is very much appreciated. We’re all creeping out of the baby stage, and while that makes a part of me kinda sad, it makes a larger part of me sigh with relief. We’ve got potty training on the horizon for the little one, and while that process will probably be a brisk walk through hell, I am giddy with excitement when I think about life on the other side. I simply won’t know what to do with myself.

Along those lines, in the fall my oldest will start kindergarten and my youngest will start preschool. That means I get some time to nap, clean the house, poop alone, and start the process of maybe eventually going back to work.

I think my brain just exploded.

And now I’m going to leave you with a little window into my day. It’s a story that’s been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks and I’ve been meaning to get it down in writing.

__________________________________________

One of my favorite parts of the day is when we read to the kids right before they go to bed.

My son has always settled down to be read to, but my daughter has only started sitting still for books in the past 6 months or so, and it’s glorious. Even so, she’s still demanding to help turn the pages, interjecting every 5 seconds with “waat hap-pen?!” but I’m not complaining.

Getting ready for bed is usually chaos. Screaming, streaking, wiggling. Diapers, pajamas, teeth brushing.

Each child gets to pick a book.

We sit perpendicular on my son’s twin bed, resting our backs against the wall. We use a body pillow for support that my husband first bought me when we were living in Boston, as a surrogate for his own body once he left to take a job in California. How time flies.

My son sits to the far left, then daddy, then my daughter, then me. Always the same.

We have a desk light on low. Daddy and I do all the voices. I specialize in Princess Sparkle, supersonic jets, and the Minosaur. Daddy’s really good at Old Bear and witches and farmers.

About halfway through the first book, without fail, the cat skulks into the room and jumps up on the bed, demanding my lap. Her furry body warms mine. My daughter reaches over to pet her back or poke her in the ear.

Snapshot: for about 10 minutes each day, or entire family is calm and snuggling and…together. All focused on the same thing for a brief moment before we say our goodnights and iloveyous, lay them in their beds, turn out the lights, and shut their doors.

Sometimes my son wordlessly reaches for my hand.

Sometimes my daughter rests her head against my torso.

Sometimes the cat purrs.

Sometimes my partner and I exchange a glance above our kids’ heads.

Always it’s my favorite time of day.

Always.

The Last Day

Where did November go?!

First of all, let me say that November is a horrible month in which to do National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo. It’s busy, there’s travel going on, there’s family obligations, food comas, etc. I nominate changing it to…January. The holidays are over, it’s a fresh start to a new year, and it’s not my birthday month. But I digress.

I did the best I could this month. I felt particularly stretched thin, blogwise and otherwise. I’ve found that whenever I try to raise the quantity of blog posts I do, the quality of each post goes down considerably, and this month reflected that. So, I stretched the rules and reblogged several oldies that I am proud of, and I think those rounded out the month’s work quite well.

I wanted this NaBloPoMo to reignite my love of writing and my ability to express myself more eloquently. It got me thinking about future blog topics that I can write when I have more time (meaning, posts that I can compose over the course of a week in 15 minute increments while hiding in the bathroom). It helped awaken my creative side as I continue to figure out who my post(during?)-mommyhood self is going to be.

I’d like to thank everyone who read this month. I know posting once a day can get old pretty quick, so thanks to anyone who stopped by. A special thank you to anyone who left comments, because it’s nice to know that my words aren’t just going out into the void.

I’d love some feedback. What posts from this month did you like? What topics would you like to see more of? Any new topics you’d like me to tackle?

In closing, my daughter just starting pulling herself to a standing position yesterday and I’m thrilled because she’s amazing. She plans to apply early admission to Cal next week.


NaBloPoMo Day 30, Last Day

 

Happy Blogiversary to Me

I don’t know what to write today.

Usually when that happens, I write a poem. I scrape together some stream of consciousness and parse it into lines of prose.

WordPress reminded me that today is my blogiversary. I’ve been blogging since 2011. Six whole years. That’s nuts.

I am a very different person now than I was then. That was before I became a licensed therapist. Before getting engaged, promoted to running the therapy department at my old job, married, quit job, moved, pregnant, house, baby, then one more baby. I wonder if all that is reflected in my writing? It’s hard for me to tell.

But I’m still here and I’m still me.

I’m proud that I’ve kept this up for so long, and through everything that’s happened. It’s sad that the vast majority of the little blogging community I was a part of when I first started has disappeared. I miss them. I miss reading other blogs and getting comments and feedback from them. I felt like I knew them. I wish them well, wherever they are and whatever they’re doing. I wonder how long the average blogger lasts?

Here’s a pic of yours truly from 2013, in California, post licensure, promotion, and engagement, but pre-wedding and everything else. I was reminded of this pic when I wrote my poem from yesterday (except it’s totally not raining, I know, but the way I felt was the same), but in my haste to post I forgot to search for the picture to accompany. Enjoy.

IMG_0780

aaaaand now it took me so long to find the picture on my computer that it’s after midnight so I technically missed posting for Day 11. FML.


NaBloPoMo Day 11 because I say so, dammit.

Rain

cheeks are red

ears are hot

the rain sizzles to mist

when it hits skin

 

lungs deflate

shoulders lower

water runs down my back

tributaries coming together

forming a river down my spine

 

arms fan out

fingertips float up to the heavy clouds

I spin

as if

inside a lazy tornado

 

hair whips around

drenched.

smacking the side of my face

sticking.

 

chin tips up

eyes flutter

dodging the drops

 

tears wed the rain

and they dance down my body

as one


I wrote this while listening to a friend of mine play the most divine improvisational piano music I have ever heard.  I also wrote this poem the last time I heard her play.


NaBloPoMo Day 10

 

Singing For Me

I used to sing more.

When I lived in Northern California, before marriage and kids, I worked one day a week at a counseling agency where my commute was about 35 minutes each way, give or take.

Each Wednesday, after a leisurely morning of sleeping in, exercising, showering, eating, and catching up on stuff, I’d drive to work to see several evening clients.  I plugged in my ipod and chose from one of my many playlists.

And I’d sing.  I’d sing very loudly and with passion.  I’d try to hold the long notes and I remember the first time I successfully held that one note in that one Sara Bareilles song as long as she did.  There were a few times I sang so loud that I remember thinking I should scale it back or I wouldn’t have working vocal chords during my upcoming therapy sessions.

I’m actually a decent singer.  A little better than average, I’d say.  I was one of those kids who idolized the musical theater geeks but never had the ladyballs to join up, even for the backstage stuff.  I was in a dinky choir in middle school once.  I couldn’t read music (and still can’t) and didn’t know how to sing the harmony unless I heard someone sing it first.

Lately, with sadness, I’ve realized that I don’t sing very much anymore.

I don’t have a commute anymore.  When I’m in the car I’m rarely alone.  And when I’m “alone” at home, one or both of the kids are sleeping, so I can’t let loose there either.

Don’t get me wrong – I sing to my kids (when they let me).  But it’s not the same as singing for me.  Singing the songs that I want to sing, in the way I want to sing them.

There’s been a few times when I’ve been folding laundry upstairs and everyone else was downstairs and I put some music on my phone to sing to.  It felt nice.  More than nice, even.  When I’m out running (a loose term for what I actually do) I often can’t help myself and start singing half the lyrics, between gasps of breath and probably loudly and off-key since I can’t hear myself through my earphones.  I’ve forgotten how stress-relieving singing is for me.  It works my lungs, my diaphragm.  It makes my eyes water and my sinuses plug up with emotion (read: snot).  It calms me, makes me feel alive.

I was reminded of this because I’m reading a book: Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection.  In it, she has a chapter that mentions the importance of music, dancing, and singing in what she calls wholehearted living.  I want to be wholehearted.  I want to feel more carefree.  I want to carve out times and places where I can express myself in this way, like I used to.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs to sing to.


NaBloPoMo Day 2

As She Ran

 

She ran.

She ran with elation, with fortitude.

The grasses licked her limbs as they parted, faster and faster as she ran.

She didn’t know quite what she was running from.  From everything.

Except everything was actually unfolding before her

As she ran.

The wind became her breath

As it traveled into her mouth, down her windpipe, filling her lungs.

Oxygenating her blood.

And whooshing back out.

Again and again and again.

Faster and faster.

As she ran.

Her dusty bare feet softly thudded the earth.

Heel first, then ball, toes last, pushing off.

Heel, ball, toes.  Heelballtoes.

Thud-thud-thud.

Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh.

Lick-lick-lick.

Her hair, blazing in the sunlight, trailed behind her, furiously trying to keep up.

Her dress did the same, only it tugged as it caught on the grasses.

Tears streamed across her face, blown back by indulgence.

A warm glow ignited deep in her belly and slowly radiated out

Down into her pumping thighs, calves, thudding feet

Up into her heaving lungs, biceps, hands, fingers

Spine, neck, brain

Sparkling eyes, flushed cheeks, parted lips.

A smile spread, automatically.

Laughter escaped, bubbling up and spilling out

Like a caged animal set free.

It could not be stopped

As she ran.

Where was she going?

She only knew where she’d been.

She just kept moving, afraid to succumb to inertia.

She was desperate to remember how it felt

As she ran.