Thursday, November 14, 2019

Power of Persuasion

Hannah's feeling a little stressed out this evening. I can't blame her at all; she gets it from me. But I have to try to do better for her than I do for myself. So we took the dog for a walk, we ate comforting food, and now, we're going to subscribe to Disney+. Because if 10 million other people can do it, we can do it too.

First up: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. I can feel us relaxing already.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Older Questions

My back and assorted other body parts have been rebelling against me today after a particularly bad night of sleep. I was wide awake from 2-3 am, and I've found that as I'm getting older, my body really needs the time to rest. Of course, I've also found on nights when I do sleep more soundly that I awake in pain then too, because I spent too much time in one position. So I'm always questioning what I'm doing in an effort to make things better.

I finally bothered to buy some new pillows this morning. I'll keep you posted on whether or not it helps anything at all, but I know it's been way too long since I've had new ones.

I was telling Hannah about this purchase, and realized that the kids probably have pillows that are way too old too. But they don't complain about aches and pains on a regular basis. "Maybe it's time to buy yourself a new pillow?" isn't a question they've ever asked, nor do I remember asking myself that until recently. I don't think the last time I bought new pillows was a quest to solve my sleep dilemmas.

I guess it's good to always be asking yourself new questions.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


It's supposed to be the first day that we see snow on the ground this season, but so far, nothing much has happened here in Boston. I tried to capture the pretty sky outside my office now that it's cleared up for a moment, but the photo mostly reflects the items in my office, and, well, me. Now you all know I didn't bother to blow dry my hair today.

Snow and ice make me anxious, and the more delayed of a start we see to winter, the more I start dreading the whole enterprise. I can't really see myself living somewhere where it doesn't snow more though. I think I'd have a harder time living in the places that tend to shut down over a couple of inches because no one is prepared. I'd rather know how to deal with it and have to cope sometimes than feel completely stuck.

Anyway, I'm sure the energy I put into worrying about snowstorms helps make the whole thing less of a big deal for everyone else. Except in 2015. I guess I wasn't preoccupied enough that year.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Opposite of Yesterday’s Post

So it’s day 12 of NaBloPoMo and I’m struggling tonight to think of something to say from outside Max’s guitar lesson. He spent the few minutes in the waiting room with me just running his mouth, which isn’t that unusual, but after a three day weekend, I’m at the end of my listening capabilities. I work hard at tolerating and even encouraging these conversations, and I know with the teenage years approaching, they may soon be gone. But I’m feeling that Sunday night stress on a Monday evening and my eyelid is twitching and so yea, enough.

Perhaps something more riveting tomorrow.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

An Updated Better Conversations

It remains one of my favorite posts here at Busy Since Birth: Better Conversations from 2012, the first of I think four times now that my Brandeis roommates and I have met up when Julia comes to town for a conference. Every time I hear the train song "Bruises," about how these bruises in our lives, well, make for better conversations, I think of these people and how I'm so lucky to still have them in my life. Our 20 year reunion is coming up this spring, and even though Hannah's been taking driving lessons this weekend, I don't really believe it's actually been that long.

And the conversations? Oy. We've all been through some things. But as I said to Marc, there is almost no one I feel more myself with than this crew.

So very lucky.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Show Day!

Tonight the four of us are going to see “Come From Away,” which I’ve been wanting to see for years. It’s the story of an island in Newfoundland that took in 38 planes of people on 9/11. And I will likely cry. 9/11 still feels like yesterday, not almost 20 years ago now. What the people on that island did is a truly remarkable story from that time, and I’m glad the show exists to share their story.

Friday, November 8, 2019


Recently as I left the train station downtown, I heard a street performer playing the saxophone. It wasn't a song I recognized, and may have been just a snippet of something, but I was suddenly reminded of my first apartment in Boston. Someone in the building, or maybe the building next door, played sax, and while I never found out who they were, when I left my windows open, I could often hear them play. Practicing more than playing all the way through something, never something I recognized. Hearing the saxophone now, the image of the three large windows ("so much natural light!") set into the white, unadorned walls of my apartment flashed before my eyes.

I miss the simplicity of my life then. Marc and I were dating, but long distance, so I was usually just responsible for myself. I worked, and I worked hard, but I wasn't disappointing anyone if I got home late and ordered take-out. I could spend my money in any way I chose, and while I had to watch it, I was only just learning to be more careful at that point. I had goals and dreams, but nothing terribly concrete. I was just so proud to have a real Boston address, even though it was to a studio apartment without much of a kitchen that faced into an alley (but those windows!).

I truly believe my life is better now - so much richer than it was then - but I wish I'd valued that simplicity more.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Circling the Drain

It's been a really long, emotionally draining day. The video went as well as it could have, despite a drum-playing panhandler showing up outside and adding some hip hop beats to my bank loan material. I was so incredibly nervous though, the most nervous I've been since giving birth to Hannah, I think. So I'll just end with a photo from Hannah's concert tonight of her singing her heart out to a solo.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Nailed It

I have a complicated relationship with getting my nails done.

On the one hand, it feels completely frivolous and unnecessary to spend money on such a small thing.

On the other hand, it makes me feel pretty and more put together.

I got my nails done in advance of this video taping tomorrow, because I'm supposed to appear conversational and try to gesture a lot. I don't think I gesture a lot naturally, but I'm going to try to tomorrow.

Yay self care I guess?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Speak Slowly

Half way in to the office this morning, I got an email that my building had a water main break, and that we should work from home! So I hopped off the train and took the next one back towards Newton, voted in our town elections, bought some muffins from the local cafe, and then came home to change into comfier clothes. I've done two conference calls from home this morning, and now I get to spend the afternoon talking to myself.

I'd have talked to myself in the office today too, but it's definitely better to get to do this from the comfort of my couch. I'm filming a video later this week, and while I'm supposed to appear easy-breezy conversational, well, that takes some practice from me. It's like four one-minute monologues. Over the past few years, I've gotten used to helping my kids with monologues for various auditions, but it's not something I myself have to do all that often. I talk fast, and it's not easy for me to moderate that. I've managed with a teleprompter before, but I won't have one this time around.

I hope Shira (our dog) is in the mood for lots of talk about bank loans. She's the only audience I've got.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Who Wins?

Max started middle school this fall, and it was a highly anticipated event for me, because for the first time in, well, basically forever, I wasn't going to have to wait until the school bus picked him up at 8:15 and then start my commute into Boston. I'd almost never get a train before 8:30, and often get into my office just a hair before 9:30. Our official start time, according to my offer letter fourteen years ago, is 8:45 am. There were occasions when Marc waited with Max, but generally, it was me, and generally, I was late to work. Gratefully, my bosses always understood, but it made me anxious.

I hate being late. Really, really hate it. In my mind, early is on time and on time is basically late. I routinely dial in to conference calls two minutes early, just in case. I actually don't mind if *you're* late - I really don't - but I can't do it. Send out a search party if I'm more than five minutes behind on anything.

I also felt like I was losing my best time of the day to waiting around. I didn't really get any extra sleep, since I wanted to connect with Hannah before she would leave for the day. While I often logged in to work in recent years, I typically wouldn't get much done. Sometimes there were 8 or 9 am meetings I would miss, and my email would really build up between 8 and 9 each day. I hated that feeling of always starting the day behind.

So now Marc, Hannah and Max all drive off together every morning, significantly earlier than the elementary school bus. Some mornings I linger a bit, playing with the dog or throwing dishes in the dishwasher, but a lot of times, I'm ready to go right alongside them. I get to work before the "start time" and I almost always get a seat on the train now, or have the flexibility to wait for the next one if I want. I don't feel constantly behind.

But I am working more. And spending a few less minutes with Max each day. Sooo...toss up?

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Before 1:30 pm

A list of things I’ve done today, a fairly typical Sunday:

Got up to the sound of the dog barking
Let the dog out, fed and watered
Took laundry out of the dryer and left it out of reach of the dog
Woke Hannah
Showered and got dressed - yay jeans!
Put two loads of laundry away
Brought down and started another load of laundry after picking up clothes from the bedroom floor
Had Max take out the recycling
Made sure the kids had what they needed for religious school/Hannah’s outing with friends this afternoon
Meal planned for the first half of the week with Hannah’s assistance, made the shopping list
Stopped for coffee on the way to religious school
Dropped the kids off
Did the grocery shopping at Wegman’s - thankful for all the products they have that simplify our lives
Unpacked the groceries at home
Flipped the laundry
Did some dishes - not much but had emptied leftovers from the refrigerator
Took the compost outside
Bagged up clothes from the closet floor for Vietnam Vets pick up on Tuesday, brought them downstairs, plus an old lamp we’re donating
Ordered lunch online for three of us from Panera
Picked up lunch
Picked up Hannah early from religious school, drove her to a friend’s house while she ate
Chatted with my friend at the drop off
Drove home and attacked our laundry closet to pull out boots and other winter gear, sorted more stuff to donate
Took the laundry out of the dryer, started washing the dog’s blanket
Sent an email to South Stage Parents, plus another to the South Stage Board
Drank juice since my blood sugar was plummeting
Picked up Max from religious school (started writing this list while I waited in the parking lot)
Flipped laundry again, started another load
Ate lunch with Max, flipped through the Globe Sunday magazine
Cleaned up from lunch
Had Max assess his portion of the winter gear, reminded him to finish his homework

...And umpteen times letting the dog out and coercing her back in with treats.All before 1:30 in the afternoon. Later, I still need to work on a graphic for South Stage, take Max to and from choir practice, pick up Hannah from her outing,  cook dinner and clean up from that. I'll get some time to rest this afternoon, probably watching Saturday Night Live as Sunday Afternoon Pre-Recorded. But no wonder it's less tiring to go back to my office on Monday, right?

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Mind the Gap

Speaking of trains, it's nothing short of miraculous that I have never fallen or been pushed into the train track gap at South Station for the Red Line. It's something I'm acutely aware of each and every day, as the work day finally ends and I'm up for the last hurdle of just getting myself home safely. Every single afternoon, I come down to the tracks and position myself in such a way that I can get to the train doors quickly, but not too close so that an overcrowded platform, or someone just misjudging the space and plowing into me, doesn't send me careening onto the tracks. I also make sure that if I were to faint or something, I'd have enough space around me in any direction in order to not fall head first into the ditch before an oncoming train.

Am I crazy to think about this every day? Probably. Nothing has ever happened to me, even though I did once know someone who assisted in pulling a stranger up off from the tracks as a train approached, but I'd been watching my surroundings long before that incident. And I have seen many people faint on the train in my almost two decades of commuting. But I feel like I'm always one of those people who is very conscious of the space I take up, and where I am in the world, when so many people are just...not. That's just what I do.

And I guess I don't take that safety I try to inoculate myself with for granted.

Friday, November 1, 2019

But Someday, I Might

For the last fourteen years, I’ve worked across the street from Boston’s main train station. In addition to the local commuter rail and subway trains, there are many Amtrak trains that leave throughout the day, and they’re often stacked up patiently waiting when I pass through in the mornings. I hear the announcements, destinations I have never been, and the ATM is right there, and I could easily buy a ticket and go. Maybe somewhere close even, so I can get back home in the same day, would anyone even notice?

I consider it an amazing bit of discipline that I've never done it.