“Do you think they’ll fire you?????”

That was the response my 6 year-old had to me talking about feeling nervous about something at work.

See, I’m a believer that the Facebook problem of Their Highlight Reel v. Your B Reel starts long before Facebook. I think that it starts in all of the ways that a child’s emotions aren’t seen/named in the adults that they admire. The hair fidgets, trips to the bathroom, strange times of being short-tempered without the accompanying “I’m nervous about a presentation at work” just leaves a gap.

The gap, I believe, fills in with the idea that what runs through my mind isn’t even sort of similar to those around me. My nervousness is abnormal. If nobody else feels this, then I should not either, and I certainly should not talk about it.

Sunday I was nervous. I felt behind in getting ready for a big visible thing at work. I didn’t want to leave my guys to go to work on a beautiful day. I didn’t want to leave my sort-of-sickly with my working-super-hard so I could do something that felt like it could have been handled within my 8-5 but it hadn’t been.

If I’m going to be honest, there was something else too. It was one of the first times I had gone into work on a weekend since I toyed around with anxiety at my last job. I am glad for the degree to which that event was situational, but also that it opened my eyes to an emotion that I do have on occasion and had never really named.

Anyway. Kiddo asked if I was going to be fired. The look I gave him sent him straight to “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it” land, which felt a little yucky but also … DUDE??!! Really??

Monday I asked if I could borrow his walkie-talkies for the event, and after we agreed on a replacement plan if I broke them he agreed.

Monday my husband went to the make-a-shirt place and ordered just the right thing for me. Wednesday he picked it up.

The good news, it went really well. I definitely did not get fired. The better news was seeing kiddo’s face when I said it went well because he knew that it was something different, that I had been nervous and now I was celebrating the successful completion.

The best news? After a week where I was mentally and physically absent more than I am used to – we are returned.

and ah-I would walk 8,000 more just to be the girl who walked 8,000 steps in grown up shoes …

So while everyone was figuring out how to synch their Jawbone / Fitbit to their phone I went and got a digital pedometer because I like to rock it like 1996 (I’m thinking about getting a pager too).

For a week now I pretty consistently hit about 8,000 steps a day which roughly translates to 3 miles-ish.  I got 10,000 steps on Tuesday and went to bed early with a smug sense of accomplishment.

So far I have learned that I need to level up my professional shoes.  I’ve been aiming for comfort over sexy for awhile but as I look around in my workplace I notice that (for now) almost none of the women are wearing heels.

I have also learned that I walk about half of my steps before 11am, the nature of my work right now is that I am doing a lot of tours for people and those happen in the morning most of the time – but it is also when the prep for my day happens and I spend a lot of time zooming around.

Finally, the last 2,000 are not enticing enough to really go after for me.  I know about how long it would take, but I don’t care nearly as much as I thought I would.

So, I’m going to head out tomorrow in the hopes of finding a flat shoe with good support and decent heel padding that I can clip my pedometer to.  Because that is how I roll.

“… after he beat the ultimate bad guy with his bey they started FIRE EXTINGUISHER”

“I know we talked about getting pizza for dinner but what if we FIRE EXTINGUISHER”

It started at Ruby Falls in May of 2012, it turns out that being nearly four and walking through cave looking at rocks that almost look like things you’ve never seen isn’t as fascinating as your mom thought it would be. But it was a break out of the car and walking around at the start of long long vacation. But he knew fire extinguishers and there was one about every 20 yards so it became what we looked at instead of stones that sort of looked like things.

That was almost three years ago now and the one time it is universally ok to interrupt each other. Sometimes we keep score but most of the time it is just a race to see who finds it first. I’ve learned that most work trucks have one visible, most gas stations have one by the front door, and it doesn’t hurt to check around public bathrooms because you’ll go about 50/50 there.

As he has learned to read we have agreed that seeing the signage counts because if you see the sign you know where it is.

I have learned that when he is nervous, or bored, or feels unseen by me that he’ll ramp the game up again. When he needs an anchor he doesn’t want to hold my hand, but instead chooses to know that part of my mind is always engaged in a game that we made together. It is the most tangible proof that I am always thinking about him.

When I am away, I send pictures of fire extinguishers.

I wonder sometimes what he’ll remember, and what he’ll only “remember” through stories. I wonder if I’ll ever walk past one and not think “FIRE EXTINGUISHER”

Step One:  Assessment:

Self:  Aware of a lot of responsibility, slightly ill, feeling a bit uncertain in a vague way.

Son: Middling sick for a couple of weeks, ailments of un-understood origin, tired, a bit lonely looking.

Pop Tarts: Cinnamon sugar, Special Edition Chocolate Strawberry, Cherry, Special Edition Wild Berry.

Step Two:  Preparation:

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Cube the yummy parts of three pop tarts and warm in pan with 2 Tbs of melted butter.  Place in ramekin (thanks Catie – best garage sale purchase ever).

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Cover with two triangles of dough from the Pillsbury Tube of Terror for Crescent  Rolls.  Alas, I know this only because I tried to do a top and bottom and that didn’t work … so maybe just one will.  Bake according to package instructions, except it didn’t quite work so I cooked it longer and it isn’t like this is about to become a holiday tradition or anything so … cook it.

Finish:

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Spread with cream cheese and sprinkle with holiday sugar of undeterminable age.  The pop tart chunks finish about the way barely cooked cookie or brownie dough taste / feel.  So that part was kind of awesome for how stale the pop tarts were.

The best part?  Trying to entertain the kiddo by making pop tart casserole, then sitting down to a 7 hour mythbusters marathon.

Pop Tart Casserole.  I have one idea, but I’m open to ideas about how to construct one because kiddo needs a family breakfast and he thinks that sounds hysterical.

Cake Day.  When my mom tried retirement a decade ago the “Reception honoring Heather’s Mom, the Librarian Here” got renamed CAKE DAY!  Because, you know, cake.  More fun than a reception any day.

Cool Kids.  My band of lady friends who used to be physically close to each other all the time, but we are less so now.  We are however, a not-so-secret-club and that binds us together.

Mythbusters Marathon Day.  Tomorrow.  Cuz I need a day on the couch watching TV and we all groove on Mythbusters.  I’m going to work hard today so that all I need to do tomorrow is watch TV until I’m good and done with it.

Do you remember Golden Birthdays? The idea that when you reach the year equivalent of your birthday….blah blah unicorns and super special wishes. Great if your birthday was the 7th or the 12th but mine is August 22 and my 22nd birthday I wasn’t about to pout about not getting a super special wish.

So, I don’t think Golden Death Days is a thing, but if it was today would be super special wish day for those who knew my first husband John.

Thirteen years today.

My super special wish… If I could I would hug each and every person who walked with us shoulder to shoulder that day. Strangers and best friends alike.

I am who I am because you kept me afloat that day. Thank you.

Like the step with a rise the wrong size, I jolt in these days. Still.

He called and said, “get in the car”
I said, “don’t fuck with me”
He said, “get in the car”

So I did. Thirteen years ago in about four hours.

Drove for three hours.

Hurry up and waited for two hours.

Kissed him and smiled about the wait being over.

Never had another conversation or heard another word from him again.

Asked to use the shower before they turned the room.

Slept under the sofa table in the waiting room.

Every one of us did the best we could.

From Welcome to Nightvale’s Twitter account: death is only the end if you think the story is about you.

The start of August sent my family on an all out sprint. There were a lot of great things and a lot of tough things but the most ccertain thing is that we all met the moments head on and with good intent in our heaerts

The truth is that I’ve been bone tired for awhile now.

December 26th was the start of binging on some self-care. We woke up the morning after Christmas and piled into the car. The three of us headed east to the water, barely warmer temperatures, and no plan. We walked along the beach, the guys tried out their Christmas headlamps, and we watched a LOT of American Ninja Warrior. Chores were put on hold, obligations set aside for aspirational work, normal concepts of nutrition set aside for the golden rules of Cheesy, Fried, and Overpriced.

It was glorious and I love my guys.

Next up – the week between Christmas and New Years. We have built in some fun for Jeff and work time for Dave & I but the mornings are a glut of self-care. I’m going to binge on the gym because I miss it but can’t figure out how to go right now. I’m also (shhhh) binging at the local spa because I would love to turn my head to the left some day.

January 1 is going to come on fast and this semester is dense with new things for everyone. I’m going to do what I can to be ready. I’m going to rest, eat well, get help where I need it, and laugh every chance I can.

I say, “I love you, good night”

Jeff says, “ok”

He sometimes will say “I love you” but mainly he doesn’t. His dad used to do that too but in the last few years has come to understand how much I enjoy the words too.

It took me a long time to notice that when Dave built something he was talking about how much he loved me, or us, or Jeff.

Sitting at dinner the other night I posed the question of what each of our imaginary restaurants might be like.

Jeff shows his love most of all in imaginary future states…

He has promised me a Dunkin Donut franchise on the corner of my street with a direct bridge from our house.

He has promised that his imaginary restaurant menu would have choices for Dave to eat from.

He banks on the future when he is bigger and has more power and he fills that future with things that he knows we love. He knows we love it because he listens to us, and he builds a world full of of it because he loves us.

I can record him saying “I love you” someday (if he’ll let me) but I would never trade the sound of those words for the desire to fill a future with the beautiful, shiny, trinkets of the things he knows about his parents.

Dunkin Donuts and making U-Turns can be a joke forever because they become the stories of who his mom is and all the ways she stuck love in every corner of her life that she could fit it in.

With a caffeine buzz about a month ago, I sat down to write an email….

Dixie,

I came to your party in September and had a wonderful time. That meant a lot to me because I was at a lung cancer conference while my dad was fighting lung cancer so the laughter was so very important to me that night.

I’ve kept my catalog and I keep thinking about those bowls that flatten so they don’t use up all my dishwasher space but now I can’t find them.

I’m trapped between a highly entertaining show and actually wanting those bowls for me and loved ones. Can you help?

I hit send and the email went off to … an actor? a drag queen? a tupperware woman?  I honestly wasn’t sure.  I was sure I wasn’t the first person to write to Dixie an email in a state of complete confusion about my deep and lingering attraction to her wares.

Dixie is all of those things, and along with being hysterically funny is just a nice person.  The email volley took awhile, tours and memorials took up November for both of us.  Never too long between emails and logistics, addresses and paypal.  Today the bowls arrived.  They are just as Dixie told me they would be.

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That Saturday evening I wandered the surprisingly pretty Pittsburgh all on my own.  I saw the sign for the show about 30 minutes before curtain.  I had a cabaret table to myself, until I didn’t and was sharing it with three friends who were having a girlfriends night and thought I made a strange but pleasant enough addition.   I roared with laughter.  It was a great show.  I walked back to the hotel and hung out with people learning everything they could about lung cancer – together.

It was so good.

I spent a lot of time on the phone with my mom the next morning.  I shut down with exhaustion for a couple of days after that. Two weeks later I was doing a sprint trip to see dad.  One of the people from the conference is back in treatment.  One is rocking a cute pixie cut.  Many have worked all through November (which is Lung Cancer Month – not that it gets any traction) working on educating and raising money.  I just made it through November, I traveled safely and gathered hugs where I could.  I said good-bye to dad.

The bowls are here.  They are my crystal candy bowl.  Thank you, Dixie.

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