Apr 25, 2010

Serendipity and my sweet Master J

You will all laugh, I'm sure, but I never realized that Master was with equivalent of Miss in terms of addressing something to a young boy until my son, Master J (aka JEH, bugaboo, kiddo, and J Man) was born. I guess I never thought about it. I was never a boy and he was my first son, so it just never came up. While I'm on the subject, I was about 21 when I realized why a U-Haul is so named. LOL. It's sort of surprising, given my affininty for word play, that I didn't pick up on that sooner.

Getting back to Master J. He's the light of my life. He's the cause of my gray hairs. He makes me laugh like you wouldn't believe. He's brought a few wrinkles to my forehead. But, most of all, being around him,warms me from the inside out.

This morning, on the one mile car ride from our house to school, he said "Friday is the best day because there isn't any homework." After a brief pause, he added "And, Saturday is the best day for a kid, because there's no work to do." Amen, kiddo. Amen.

Every morning the past week or so, he's run into my room asking for me to look up the basketball scores (currently the NBA playoffs). His reactions of excitement "Yessss!!!!" (said while pumping his fist in the air) surprise when the underdog wins (What, really?)or disappointment (Oh, man)bring a smile to my face from the sheer enthusiasm he brings to his newfound interest.

Apr 23, 2010

Serendipity and my cousin Karin

OK...so this is either serendipity or signs that my memory is seriously failing me. I saw my cousin, Karin, online last night on Facebook and IM'd her and let her know that "I was thinking about bloggining about you tomorrow." She said "Really?" I said "Yes!!!" Anyway, I ended up writing most of this blog last night and am just putting the finishing touches on it now. Yes, it's 5:28am.

NOTE: For those that know about my insomnia, I did sleep last night. I woke up at 5:06am, which spells victory because I didn't wake up during the night.

Karin's dad and my mom are brother and sister. And, our shared grandparents were Lillian and Al(exander). When he became a great grand-father when my sister's oldest was born, the family gave him the moniker Pop Pop Al. And then, if self-monikered is a word, he self-monikered himself Pop Pop Alexander the Great-Grandfather. He was about 90 at the time and had just stopped writing and lecturing in Dermatology, so he had most definitely earned the moniker of his choosing.

I could also write about how both Karin's dad and my dad are named Stephen, are psychiatrists, and are pretty fanatical about photography, but that's perhaps a story for another time....just don't tell my mom, I'm telling you. OY!

I should add for context that Karin grew up in Berkeley and I (if you don't know) grew up in NY. We saw eachother at least once or twice a year, until life started to get crazy and we were all coming and going in different directions. Sadly, I haven't seen Karin in over 5 years. Her adorable son, just turned 5 and I've never met him (boo hoo, boo hoo...see more about our song further down in the blog). I actually think the last time I saw her was at grandpa's funeral in 2004, just weeks shy of his 99th birthday.

Apr 22, 2010

Serendipity and Dr. Emily

Ok, so this was my blog-idea for yesterday that I didn't remember until I was almost done writing yesteday's blog.

This blog isn't about Dr. Emily, well, sort of, but not really. It's about a great group of women that I know...that I have known for about 9 years now.

When I was about 6 or 7 weeks pregnant, a friend told me about due-date bulletin boards. I searched around and found one for women due in November 2001. I think it started as a board through MSN. At one time, we probably had about 100 members, some more active than others. Now, there are probably about 40 of us who still post to the board. Though, with the popularity of facebook, the activity on the board has dwindled. But, each and every one of us knows that we can rely on eachother. And, we know how to get our mommy friends over to the board if we need a virtual hug or high-five.


Anyway, we went through our pregnancies together. Some of has had morning sickness (see Laurie wildly waving her hand). Some of us found out the gender of the baby (I didn't). Some of us were having our first (obviously, I was). Some of us were teenagers when we got pregnant. Some were in their 20s. Some were in their 30s. Some were married. Some were not. We covered the gamut of religious and political beliefs. We came from all walks of life.

During those in-utero months, we talked about first kicks, how big our "beans" were, swollen hands and feet, and our excitment and fears of bringing a new life into the world. That was a discussion that came up a number of times, but it was never more meaningful than on and around September 11, 2001 as we were all nearing the end of our pregnancies. Since, as a group, we were scattered around the country, and at that time around the world (though most of the women who weren't from the US or Canada dropped off over time, though some of the moms are still in touch through email), we shared a spectrum of emotions and reactions.

We talked a lot over the days that followed about bringing a child into a world where something as horrific as 9/11 could occur. I remember writing about it on the message board and thinking about how all these babies about to be born could be part of the making the world a better place. I don't want to dwell on 9/11 in this blog, but that was an especially meaningful time during my pregnancy and I'm glad that I had this fabulous group of women to talk to about it.

After the babies were born, we shared our birth stories. How long labor lasted. C-section or not? Epidural or not? (Heck yeah for me on that one). We shared the length and weight of our babies. And, we posted pictures...lots and lots of pictures. We talked about sleepless nights. Colicky babies. We had some, um, heated debates...nursing vs bottles. Co-sleeping or not. Cloth diapers vs disposable. Stay at home mom (SAHM) vs working mom. We shared all the typical milestones...first smiles, first roll-overs, first sleeping through the night, first teeth, first steps, first words and more....

It's crazy to believe that all these babies will be 9 this year. It's been so great to see the kids grow over the years. Some, I've met in person, some I've only seen in pictures. Some, I've talked to on the phone, but never met. And, with some, I've just shared posts. One lucky Canadian once got a whole lot of Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts because, for whatever reason, they don't sell that flavor in Canada.

This group of women was so incredibly supportive of me when my marriage started to fall apart. It's funny when I think about this. Some of the women just "lent an ear". Others just told it like it is...tough love. But, at the end of the day, each one cared.

When the kids were really little, we would often muse whether we'd still be together when the kids were however old. I guess none of us thought a message board could have such sustainability. I don't know if the whole concept sounds strange or hoaky to people who haven't been part of such a forum, but it's really been a very natural and wonderful experience.

We even joked at one point about trying to get on Oprah. I think someone may have tasked me with writing a letter to her (which i never did). Sorry ladies. At times, we might have been better suited for Jerry Springer as various moms have had their share of differences with other moms.

We've shared joy and loss. Happiness and pain. But, above all we've shared friendship, love, and the joy of watching a bunch of babies grow up into wonderful kids. We've each claimed needing to have the Bad Mommy Award sent her way. We've each shared moment of triumph over a stressful mommy moment.

We've paired up for birthday buddy swaps so each kiddo would get a present from one other kiddo. We had one cookie swap. Oh, and the best is our holiday gift card exchange (which I admit to be a better recipient of than a sharer of cards). I'll put that on my list of things to do this year.

It's funny, when I lived in Los Angeles, I felt like I got to meet so many people. I guess Southern California is a popular place to visit. It was also great coming back to NY to visit my family and getting to see my mommy friends. When the kids were about 16 or so months old, we had a big get together in Central Park. We must have had about 20 moms there. I'm pretty sure the kids were 15-16 months old because Jeremy wasn't walking yet (he started at 17 months). I remember when Jeremy was just a few weeks old meeting one of the SoCal Moms at Jerry's Deli and the waitress asked if they were twins because they were perched in the same plaid Graco carrier. Dang, what was the name of that blue and yellow pattern. Grrr...that's gonna bug me.

Ok...anyway, I'm sure I could have said this much more eloquently and certainly in a much more organized way, but c'est la vie.

Anyway, to all my fellow (ironic choice of word) November 2001, I love you ladies and appreciate all that you have done for me over the past 9 years. Can't wait to see the Prom pictures!!!!!!

For everyone else, Dr. Emily was part of the board for a period of time...until blew her cover....perhaps a blog for another time.

Apr 21, 2010

This turkey is SOOOO good!!!!!!

I couldn't think of a title for the post and as my hands were perched over the keyboard, the kiddo said, "This turkey is SOOO good." After Pizza for dinner and a pop-tart, he wanted some turkey. Mom is a fanatical baker with an insane sweet tooth, and the kid opts for turkey. Go figure.

I like quotes. Not quotation marks. Not stock quotes. Not Hall and Quotes, I mean Oates, but quotes. I receive a "Quotes of the Day" email and have several quote applications on my Droid. And, while I haven't done it in long time, I've spent hours reading through Bartlett's Book of Quotations. For those that know me, it's probably not surprising that I like quotes. What is so nice about words is that there's always something new to say and/or a new way to say it. 


When I was in college, I worked in a bookstore. One of my co-workers wanted to invent something simple, but practical. He didn't have anything in mind and said, "Everything I can think of, like a paper clip, for instance, has already been invented." That is very true. I would say the same thing of thumb tacks and Magic 8 balls. The great thing about words is that they are infinite combinations of words than can create new thoughts or just a new way to say something that's been said before.

My favorite quote from today's batch is by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi:

"A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind."

In thinking about it, it's kind of why, I think, there are themes to poems or music lyrics. Even though each person has his/her own experiences, there are certain basic human truths that we experience and express in our own way. I know. I know. That sounds horribly trite and boring, and perhaps even obvious. But, this is my blog, right?

Sometimes, eye like too play around with words and right words that are synonyms four the word and knot the word itself. Yeah, yeah. Dork alert. Eye can deal with it if ewe want two role you're Is at me.

OK, enough of that. Well, this has certainly been a whole lot about nothing tonight, huh? I actually had a really good idea while I was driving to work this morning, but now it escapes me. Perhaps, it will come back to me when I'm on 355 tomorrow morning in front of NIH.

Before I sign off, I was reminded today of the beginning of the end of my marriage. Actually, it's more like it was the end of the beginning of the end of my marriage. Even though that was a really rough and horrible time in my life, I look back now and say "Who was that person?". And, it wasn't even like who I was then was different from who I had been up until that time. It has more to do with who I am now. I've changed more in the past four years than I have at any other time in my life (early development years not inlcuded). I finally was able to move past who I was because I wasn't looking to others to define me or perhaps more accurately, I wasn't letting other people's perceptions of me define me. I had spent so many years trying to make other people happy that I didn't focus on just being happy. And, I know this has been said many times, in many ways (no, I'm not wishing you all a Merry Christmas), but sometimes you have to lose it all or hit "rock bottom" before you find the wherewithall to just get your butt in gear.

And, of course, just as I'm ending this blog about nothing, I remembered what I wanted to write about. So, stay tuned for tomorrow's entry about my wonderful serendipitous 9 year journey with a bunch of amazing women.....

Apr 20, 2010

Hmmm.....

Well, I made a little deal with myself that I'd try to write something every night before going to bed. A silly little idea that I had, thinking that maybe it would help me sleep. So, we'll see. I figure, I gave up diet coke over four weeks ago, I should at least be able to keep the blog going on day two.

I thought a lot today about this blog and what I was looking to get out of writing it. I certainly like the idea of entertaining others with my words. But, I also think it's theraputic for me to get all these ideas out of my head.

About entertaining others with my words.... My grandfather was a master of puns and word play. Pop Pop Al, as his 4 great grandchildren called him, was a very well known dermatologist that practiced well into his late 80s. He charmed peopled his whole life. He was a master story teller and just loved telling the same jokes over and over. I think I inherited my love of words from him. Ever since I was younger, I loved writing new lyrics for songs. Now, I know that they are called parodies, but for years at camp talent shows I would create my own lyrics for my camp group to sing. A couple of years ago, I found a website where people post their parodies, so I posted a bunch there...I used the name Laurie Alexander in homage to my grandfather whose first name was Al(exander).

Insomnia

I haven't quite figured out how my bouts with insomnia are serendipitous. But, I do struggle with insomnia. It's never just one or two sleepless nights. It generally lasts anyhere from a week to a couple of months at a time. I used to drink a lot of diet coke. I have it up 4 weeks and two days ago (heck yeah, I'm counting the days) and the lack of caffeine hasn't made a difference.

I fully admit that my insomnia results from my mind not shutting off. Actually, in some ways, it's my ever-churning mind that leads to serendipity. Thinking, huh? I guess I should explain...

The quote I use in the "headline" of the blog by Lawrence Block says “Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.” I don't think that serendipity is having something you didn't expect be better than what you expected. I think serendipity can also be when you want something to happen and it does, but in a way that you didn't think would happen. And, perhaps in a way that is better than I could have hoped for.

Apr 19, 2010

My First Blog

I've always liked to write. Actually, that's not quite true. I don't think I ever really liked to write until college when I got a C on a Philosophy 101 paper. My first-ever C. Thankfully, the professor let us re-write the paper and I got an A (phew). In the process of re-writing that paper, something clicked and from then on, I just enjoyed the process of writing. In retrospect, I learned to write in Mrs. Bennett's 10th grade English class. Mrs. Bennett was a grammar hound and gave us vocabulary tests that were cumulative, so by the end of the year we probably had 700 possible words on a given vocabulary test since the test could include a word from any previous exam. I must admit that I didn't like her much back then. But, with the hind-sight of 25 (or so) years, I am so glad that she was my teacher.