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I know music hipsters are over Adele (if they even admitted to listening to her), but I’m a sucker for all versions of this song.

Every once in a while I mungle on to my blog and think about writing something. But with each passing year I’ve noticed my thoughts becoming  truncated down from thoughtful post to clever Facebook status to clumsy tweet. Luckily I don’t have the patience for Twitter, or my brain would be reduced to a vacuum of white noise.

Part of the reason I haven’t blogged as much as I used to is that I don’t have the luxury of time like I did when I stayed home with the kids. When my days were mostly homebound with Jack, and my thoughts were mostly centered on new motherhood and the universe we lived in. It was a blissfully innocent time then, despite wading through the world of autism, and on my most mentally tired days now I sometimes find myself wistful for the simplicity I had then. Which, please don’t mistake for me saying I want to go back – I don’t.

Had there been any doubt in my choice to leave (and there wasn’t), it was brick and mortared this last year. And then soldered in adamantium and buried in the middle of the earth.

No, what I wish is that this wave would stop fucking moving, so that I could finally slow down and try to find that focus again; figure out what percentage of me can be devoted to what and whom, and then settle back down again. I miss the freedom I had then to feel passion about parenting. Or anything to be honest. I want to think about my family’s nutrition again. I’d like to maybe take a cooking class – I’m about a decade too old to cop-out on my inability to cook functionally. I want to read books and participate in my book club more than perfunctorily. I want to be able to invest time in being a doula again. Or find a writers group or volunteer program or anything that I know I once had the energy for, and would be something that makes me feel less like my days are spent just trying to focus on the next bright spot.

I know that part of the reason I don’t write more is that it’s harder to know where I stand with my audience. A good friend is going through a messy divorce, and I’m reminded again that everything involved in that – whether there’s drama tagged along or not – is like being turned inside out for all to see. (And evaluate and opine on.) A time when people will call you for coffee just so they can look you in the eye and tell you what a horrible person you are. AS IF the previous 10, 20, 30 years of being an acceptably good person suddenly carries no weight once you cross a line they draw in the sand. I still can’t get over the entitlement, and it’s been years since I separated. I had a blog for years before anyone gave much of a rats ass about my choices, and the self-centeredness that is inherent in blogging was fine then, because I obviously didn’t have as much to worry about. And aside from the ongoing legal shit

(because hey, let’s drag this out for another year! Let’s make attorney fees in the TWENTIES OF THOUSANDS, SHALL WE? Hooray!),

I don’t have anything to hide now. But I am tired and wary. And unsure if I even WANT to entertain anyone with my thoughts, if doing so leaves me open to the same criticism now that I apparently didn’t deserve then.

Except I need to, because when I do every once in a while mungle on the blog, I read old posts I had totally and utterly forgotten about. Things I simply would not have remembered had I not written it down out of SAHM boredom. So even though my life is infinitely busier and more stressful, I know I will regret it if I stop writing altogether just because it takes energy and time I may not have currently. If I were to create a timeline of my real life vs what you’re seeing on the blog, it’s ridiculous how much is missing. I think 11 posts in all of 2011 demonstrates that. Hell, I got married in July and am just now mentioning it. Why? Because I couldn’t decide whether to shit or get off the pot with this thing, as it limped along not being anything real.

Therefore I am officially, publicly committed to writing more. My family deserves it as an amazingly technological record-keeping tool, if nothing else. Plus my memory is beginning to suck, and though I may not have the luxury or innocence to while away my days like I once did, it doesn’t mean life isn’t going by just as quickly and without worthiness of preservation. So at least twice a week. To start. And that makes me excited, having an excuse to make myself do something that once brought catharsis if not happiness.

The gossip fodder is just an added benefit of course, but mostly it’s about the kids. Our family.

That’s what Jack would like the name of his biopic to be someday. I’m down with it.

We watched Temple Grandin last night, and there’s no real clever or undramatic way to say that I pretty much cried from beginning to end. Little rivulets of wet just slid down my cheeks, whether my eyes were wide as I calmly watched or I was doing my involuntary mouth-scrunched-to-the-side attempt to stop from launching into full-on ugly cry. I think it was a little disconcerting to Brandon, since he kept asking why I was crying now, and I just kept shaking my head and saying because. Which is the most helpful kind of answer, I know.

And it wasn’t necessarily that I was overcome with sadness, though I’d be lying if that didn’t have a component. I think it was simply the recognition I was seeing, over and over, that hit me so hard. It was really hard to see all of the mannerisms you stereotype for Asperger, being so subtly and incredibly acted as if the story was about my son and not someone else. The familiarity of Grandin/Danes’s stims and actions (reactions) were so familiar to me it was shocking, though I suppose in fairness I’m not sure why. Probably because Jack is Jack to me, and I (obviously) forget that some of his behavior is not personal or individual, but tied into his hard wiring. Which even if these behaviors are not always.. mmm.. awesome, it’s simply hard to accept that once again, my sweet monkey is at the mercy of something bigger than he.

More than that is the idea that if Jack views his world the way the movie suggests, he really is the most resilient little kid I’ve ever known. All kids are resilient, sure, but I don’t know if I could continue to truck along like he does with that much sensory overload and confusion. And I know he trucks along because he doesn’t know that this isn’t life for everyone, but that ignorance itself makes me sad because it simply hurts me to think that there’s no foolproof or guaranteed way to protect or even help him navigate this. And that’s so maudlin and dramatic, I know, but fuck if it isn’t actually true. He told me a few weeks ago that he knows his brain is different, and that he has ‘storms’ in his brain when he feels himself getting upset, and the thunder and the lightning get to be too much and that’s when he needs a break and he KNOWS THIS and he’s ONLY SEVEN and it simply hurts me that it hurts him.

And what if this is what his life will be like? Always being unable to read people or situations, cringing when he hears the hand dryers in a public bathroom or flinching at automatic doors? He does those things, and I hate it for him. He’s grown so much since he was little, but do I really think he’ll ever just ‘catch up’? I don’t know. I still think so. Maybe that’s denial.

And I don’t pity him as if I think he will never be successful or will live a life less fulfilling than mine; I have the wisdom to not presume other people’s happiness. But what makes me sad is knowing that he struggles far more than my other child, and his struggles don’t always make him wiser or stronger –  they’re just things he learns to adapt to because he wants to be accepted. I see him wanting to understand the game, but not knowing how to ever play, because the rules elude him. How tiring must that be? Kid sleeps like a rock; I would, too.

So yeah. I don’t feel this degree of sad very often, because it’s not helpful. I focus on the wonderful things about him because he deserves it and I agree with the movie’s motif of different, but not less. But regardless of why or how it’s there, the fact remains that my child functions in a way that makes it harder for him, and my inability to ease or protect him like any worthy supermom could, sucks. Period.

Dig it. Saw this as a blogmemeideawhatever, and I’m totally stealing it because I love having an excuse to write my posts as lists. Onward ho.

1. I, too, just got the new Buzz for gmail, and see now why my friend said it was becoming goobook. I love me some google, so I’m down. (I was also a wave behind some friends on the new FB layout, and I gotta say it feels a wee bit like being picked last for teams again in junior high.)

2. I’ve begun to edit a book in my spare time for a very nice gentleman who is in a writer’s circle with a friend. The money I make will be nice, but more than that it feels good to use my brain in a comfort zone; getting paid to (essentially) read books would be a cool profession to work toward.

3.  A dear friend from college is back in town for a few months, and is pregnant with her second child. Seeing her and being there for a prenatal visit has me more excited than I’ve been in a while about birth. I’ve been decidedly on hiatus with Bradley stuff, mostly b/c I feel like I shouldn’t be teaching impressionable first-time parents about what is often one of the most important days of their life, if I don’t have my shit (al)together personally. I have the knowledge and the passion to teach, but I don’t want to do it half-assed, and something just doesn’t feel right at the moment to try and pretend I can give them the focus and attention they deserve. Soon hopefully, but not yet. At least not for strangers. However attending births as a doula is a different thing, and I’m itching for another one. We’re coming up on a year since my last birth, and I’m getting baby crazy again. Either way, I’m hoping to take E with me to the next birth conference; the key speakers will be uhmaaaazing to see.

4. Divorce sucks. Even when you can pat yourself on the back for being amicable, it’s a messy, tiring and trust-eroding event that doesn’t simply end with the court date.

5. That said, we have Jack’s conferences tonight, and I am proud that we can have periods of pretty wicked fighting, but still remember what it was like to be friends – enough that we can put it aside and work together on things involving the kids. Co-parenting (aka My Not Having Full Control Over Every Aspect Of My Children’s Lives) has been the hardest part for me, hands-down.

6. I need to set up a new paypal account so I can renew my imbedding space so I can actually imbed songs instead of sending you to youtube to listen to the song “Sweet Disposition”. It was in the previews for 500 Days of Summer, so when it became popular recently I immediately remembered liking it. I’m sure I’ll tire of it pretty quickly, especially if it’s getting radio play, but until then I LOVE IT. Even with the U2 sounding beginning. I’m such a sucker for pop.

7. My boyfriend and I have the opportunity to piggyback on some friends’ vacation to San Francisco in May, and I’m trying to finagle finances to make it work. Mama needs a vacation, people.

8. Soon I will update the kids’ dictionary, but I’ll start (and publicly remind myself to do it) with Lorelei’s saying yets instead of lets, and Jack’s version of glubs instead of gloves. Heh.

9. My friend Liz and I are starting a business where we write or edit dating profiles for people. Not sure how it will go, but how awesome would that be to not only make enough money to work from home but ALSO bring couples together, one dating site at a time? Huzzah, right?! Win-win in my book, so head our direction for help, por favor.

10. And that’s it. I have the squiggly lines in my vision that prelude a migraine (possibly from navigating Buzz), so I’m going to say goodbye and happy Wednesday. Hope all is well in your worlds.

Until Where The Wild Things Are opens. Giggitygiggitygiggity I’m excited.

So, I got busted recently by a friend who accused me of falling off the earth, and I couldn’t really defend myself because I’m not sure if the writing’s not on the wall for ye olde Huzzah. It rolled through my brain yesterday while I was mentally writing a sarcastic letter to the makers of this product (the letter saying roughly that perhaps putting MENTHOL in a product made to be used around EYEBALLS might not have been the best idea) that I should possibly abandon this blog and start one where all I do is write letters to people. Shrug. We’ll see.

Until then, an update, more-or-less.

Work has been good. And crazy. And de-cluttering. Which is soothing. Which is odd to say about your job, but there you go. One of my latest projects is separating old files that go back before 1983 (!!). Holy batman but my relegated space to do this is filling up. The files are beginning to grow like moss onto other walls and furniture. And what you can’t see are the.. oh.. 15 other boxes out of the picture?

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The kids are doing pretty well. We’ve started the token/marble earning system for good behavior, and it works pretty dang well, except that Lorelei has no idea what she’s earning or that she could/should start using those tokens to get things she wants. Jack uses all of his up for DS/Xbox time, and is learning the hard lesson of saving versus immediate reward. We’ll see..

Lo’s been extra-clingy lately, but I’m trying to roll with it. She’s not doing it always or to all of her loved ones, but when she gets her genuine sad look and asks for a 50th hug? Your heart breaks in half.

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I also think what’s compounding my own sadness is that the best friend of some of my good friends died last week, and his service is this Saturday. Doug had a just-turned one year-old, and your mind can’t escape the what-ifs of that whole situation. He was a super, super cool guy, and my heart goes out to not only his wife and sweet babe, but also my friends who are hurting so deeply. I know that pain – and maybe not even as much – and it just.. friggen sucks. Blerg.

But my overall contentment is pretty even. I tentatively feel like maybe things are settling down and becoming less turbulent. Most of the wounds from all facets of the divorce have closed up, and I think most of the relationships that were going to be salvaged, were repaired. I love and feel loved again. That’s comforting.

So yeah.. I think that’s about it at the moment. I’m doing fairly well in my fantasy league, cool weather has set in, and RW/RR has begun a new season. Life isn’t too bad.

But now I gotta run and get the kids from school so I can give them a big hug and be thankful they’re safe and happy and healthy. Do the same with your loved ones.

1. Why is it that when I right-click the Mac mouse, I suddenly freeze the computer while a colorful wheel spins for an indeterminate amount of time?

2. What in the HELL is happening that such an innocuous button on a PC can cause such obvious distress to the Apple machine? Why such a friggen disparity in functionality if they utilize the same mice?! This truly chaps my hide. Every single day, when I do it multiple times.

3. Jack’s school district doesn’t have busing for elementary kids. This was learned recently and suddenly… like on the first day of school. It’s a crazy mess with IEPs and funding and in the end Jon and I are literally scrambling to figure out how to get him home from school every day. It totally blows.

4. Why is busing spelled busing and not bussing like I keep trying to spell it? I’ve had the opportunity to type/write out that word over 40 million times in the last week, and I’m still, thanks to the squiggly little red line underneath it, trying to write it incorrectly. I don’t think such a little word has trumped me this stubbornly.. ever.

5. When you see a construction sign that is specific (usually for detour directions) what happens to those signs after the project is over? Is the TURN LEFT ON SWITZER sign made of sticker-like letters? And is there someone who then has to peel that off afterward? Who makes those signs?

6. Why is it that people who answer phones for big companies are either super helpful or unabashedly rude? I realize it’s not a new rant to complain about people in customer service positions, but I got some asshat in trouble this week, because he literally transferred me mid-sentence, and the boss who ended up having to suss out my rambling when he picked up was LESS than pleased to have been put in that position. I was glad to know the guy got chewed out, but I wish he’d just been nice to begin with. Is it THAT HARD TO BE POLITE TO STRANGERS PEOPLE?

7. I legitimately, and without snobbery, don’t get why people on Facebook announce when they’re going to bed… unless it’s 4 in the morning. Or that they’re washing their car… unless it’s new. Or that they’re brushing their teeth… unless they recently got dentures. You get my drift.

8. I watched Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist the other night, and I can’t get it out of my head. It was SO DAMN CUTE. And everyone I’ve told that to is like, duh, you love Michael Cera, why didn’t you see it earlier? I don’t know. But I regret it, because I love that kid, and I now love pretty much everything he’s ever done. Plus I dig the soundtrack, so that helps.

9.  I need to get some insurance (catastrophic at least, but most likely health and dental. Not too worried about vision right now). But I don’t know where to begin. Any suggestions?

10. Saw BRITT4U today on a vanity plate. Sigh. What? WHAT?

I swear I had full intentions to post something coherent today; I even tried to set aside time this week to do it. But I think this will be if not an epic fail, at least a substantial one. I’m sorry. I’ve got myself a tidy little cold, and the only positive thing about it is that being this stuffed up, the acoustics in my head when I sing are uhhmaaazing. Other than that I’m drinking vitamin C-laced hot water like crazy, and walking around in a tired fog.

Let’s see.. Jack and Lorelei started swim lessons last week. The gal who is teaching them is an older Jewish (I’m guessing) ex-New Yawker (pretty sure about this one) who apparently used to run an autism program somewhere. Whatever, she’s hysterical and the best teacher for my particular knuckleheads. She’s very (on par with the above-mentioned stereotypes) no-nonsense, and you could tell she was smitten with Jack’s eagerness, which, if you remember from last year, is a tremendous 180. I’m pretty stoked.

I’m also stoked because I’m headed on over to Colorado next weekend with the kids and my mom and sister for a short trip and SWEET JEEBUS I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW MUCH I NEED THIS.

In exciting news, in a few weeks I’ll be moving into the little blue house that sits next door to the house I work out of! My boss’s brother owns the house (but lives in CA), and is giving me a pretty sweet deal on rent. I’m so excited to do this I am almost unable to verbalize it. Really. That big. So if you’re free any weekend in the next couple months, let me know. Best of all I get my beloved, cantankerous old-man cat, Lucky, back. That grumpy old goat has been with me for almost 12 years, and I miss him something fierce. I might bring that stupid Oscar too, but I think it’s funny hearing the stories Jon tells me about him knocking over the Britta pitcher at night. (Heh. I kid, I’ll see if I can bring them both.)

[So, in an ADD look-a-squirrel sidenote, I’ve been singing this song non-stop for a few weeks now. It’s Band of Horses – “The Funeral”, and I was convinced it was a side/new project from the lead singer of Sunny Day Real Estate, but it’s not. I’m curious if anyone else thinks they sound the same, though.]

Hmm… Took the kids to the movie Up this weekend and it was.. erm.. disjointed. Odd, mostly. Predictably sweet because it was Pixar, with one particularly sad part, but meh overall. Ironic since they opened with a montage of all the cool movies they’ve made <<scratches head>>. Moving on to television, I’m officially kind of embarrassed to admit that I’ve been watching the first and second seasons of Friday Night Lights. It’s so soap operaish, with every conceivable after-school special theme possible. First season alone they dealt with underage drinking, underage sex, parapalegics, steroids, rape, infidelity, deadbeat dads, deadbeat moms, Alzheimers and football in Texas, of course. But like a fool, I keep watching. Shrug.

(I’m also reading the book  The Stone Diaries for my book club, so that renews some brain cells, right?)

And, I think that just about sums up everything I could think to talk about at the moment, my brain now officially hurts. But as a last appeal, if you help me move I’ll give you some of my totally-stolen-from-Hippy-Chick spaghetti sauce, because it’s da bomb.

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Have a great week, everyone.

1. I learned today I’ve been writing the ampersand ( &) symbol facing the wrong direction.

2. I have the capacity for a lot of grace. Out of a hundred conversations, I’ve only had maybe a dozen people approach the subject of divorce objectively and/or non-judgmentally. I get that; I really do. It’s a painful thing all-around. But some of the things people have had the audacity to say to me are inexcusably out of line, and though I realize I’m sounding arrogant, I’m trying to say that I get why they said it. It hurts, but I understand the near-impossibility for impartiality.  People bring their own crap to the table when this subject comes up, whether they even realize it or not. This is definitely not something I would have known in any other avenue in my life – despite regularly making unpopular decisions –  so this really has been a pretty big insight into how people connect.

3. I apparently say the word “asterisk” without the second S consonant. I have zero idea why, since pronunciation is pretty important to me. I also can’t say ‘rear wheel drive’. My mouth sounds like I have palsy when I try to sound it out.

4. I am not so good, in fact, at the little details. I’m totally lying when I say that on my resume. I can spot editing mistakes because I’m a visual learner, but otherwise I’m a total cheddarhead.  Know what happens when you realize you’ve made a very stupid mistake after editing 6 images, making a preview sheet, printing aforementioned things off on expensive photo paper, making a .jpg release CD for the client AND burning back-ups of all your work? You feel like a total loser and start over, cussing that you numbered two of the images the same.  THANK GOD I’m working for a family that has six children. My boss is a father first, and must have realized he was taking another goober under his wing when he hired me.

5. I am actually capable of athletic competitiveness, even if it doesn’t actually include athletic ability. We played a team in kickball the other night that irritated me so much it was a toss-up between my desire to (as the catcher) sweep the leg of the girl trying to crowd me off the plate (seriously you asshat, it’s friggen KICKBALL) or just miraculously homer the ball and be carried over the plate by my teammates. Which means, of course, that I didn’t get on base for the first time ever in a game. Regardless, I reveled in this new feeling of aggression, and I’d like to learn how to harness it for rude people in customer service positions.

6. Most people probably are good at heart. The mechanic bought my car (sniff, goodbye sweet girl, you were great while you lasted) and is trusting that I’ll actually pay off the rest of my car loan  so I can get the title and give it to him. Kansas is wiggedywacked in this regard, and I don’t actually own my car until I pay it off. So I could take his money and run, and he’d never be able to sell the broken piece of crap in his lot, but he risked it anyway. And he gave me a fair price. Good guy.

6. I’m doing some on-line scoring for a company where schools send their standardized testing, and I actually was unable to qualify to score the writing samples of 4th graders in California. Apparently the rubric was just vague enough that despite hours of poring over examples, if they say Joey got a 4, I only gave him a 3. Or I thought Sally didn’t really understand her prompt and gave her a 1, but they say she got a 2. I had to match perfectly on 70% of my qualifying scores and 60% was the highest I was able to do. Holy batman I was pissed off.  So they put me on the next assignment, which is to score 5th grade math. If you know me, that’s pretty funny. But, as someone pointed out, I don’t have to actually DO this math. I’ll have the answers right in front of me! No ambiguity! Huzzah! And the best part is that I got a check for a whopping $46 dollars for that infuriating night I spent trying to qualify.

I got paid to fail people, and that kicks ass.

Surely there’s some philosophical lesson in that, no?

Here’s the truth. For weeks now I’ve been trying to think about how to discuss a topic that is ready to be announced, but in proportion to the complexity of the whole thing, I’ve come to realize there is no simple way to announce that Jon and I are divorcing.  Even typing and reading the word is hard, despite that this has been going on for over a year, and much of the pain of it has already been absorbed. (Well. As much as can be at this point, I think.) And I only mention it now because out of respect for Jon and the kids, I’ve only blogged about maybe a third of what’s really been happening in my life in the last several months, and I’m ready to have the freedom to talk about more.

That said, this won’t become an outlet where I bash Jon. I respect him now as much as I ever did, and this isn’t a nasty situation. Nor will I  discuss details beyond some vague philosophical opinions I have on society and marriage and expectations. I have become ridiculously cynical in regards to people feeling like they have inherent entitlement to the whys of my life (seriously, the latest abject condescension from my insurance guy has depleted the last of the grace I can give to that kind of discussion), and I’m just done feeling obligated to anyone outside of the family, really. More than that, we have many of the same friends, and I want to continue what Jon and I have managed to salvage from our foundational friendship. So from that side of the equation I’ll say that I’m proud of how we’re handling it, and that the kids are doing remarkably well. There is a very large, very loving village raising them. Things really are going to be fine.

So that’s it, I guess. I don’t really have anything else to talk about today, and since this is historically an incredibly uncomfortable conversation for everyone, I’ll just end this like I would an awkward phone call where I say my kids are squawking to go to the park, so let’s get together for coffee soon, because it’s been too long.

Seriously though, the people who support us are our buoys, and my gratefulness is immeasurable.

xoxo

So my friend Rachel hit the nail when she said that the more you know people are reading your blog, the more you begin to (subconsciously or not) edit yourself. As usual with that wise woman, I find this to be true with me. I have a whole lot to talk about… and nothing I can talk about. Because I’m smack in the middle of some life changes, I don’t have a lot I can share. Surely everyone understands that. But if you have any magical advice on when/if to get a full-time job, how to transition for child care, autism, marriage, money or friendships, please send it along posthaste. Kthanks.

So, that said.. Hi! Here’s some more filler! Keep coming back until I can share the worthwhile thoughts again!

Cool story in the sports world, and the props are still long overdue.

Interesting (and sort of seizure-inducing) splice of McCain’s awkward speech.

And finally, a song (Modern Leper) by a group (Frightened Rabbit) that I’ve come to love. They were in town last week, but I found out one day too late.

Sigh.

No matter, it’s still a great song. I hope your weekend is as fun-filled as ours will be, and I’ll be back later.

Smooches,

Jen

**ETA: Fixed the song finally.

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