Rocks in my Head

Sometimes there are days when I feel like I have rocks in my head.

Shake, shake, shake.

And sitting at my desk, feels futile because the ideas are difficult to come. Every word feels forced.

Rattle, rattle, rattle.

Unfortunately, these days seem to always come when I am on deadline, when I need to feel and be ON. So I type…

Tap, tap, tap.

Each labored word that comes chips away at the internal rocks turning them into pebbles. I can maneuver around pebbles.

Rocks in my Head

Curiosity

tea bag_always learn

Yesterday this was my tea bag. And it seems apt for today’s writing. It is back to school for Baby A—who should now be called Kid A (cue the Radiohead)—after holiday break. He wasn’t happy; he isn’t a fan of school. He doesn’t think he is learning anything.

I loved school as a kid. I even played school. And even today, it is my job to learn. As I told A., if I don’t learn something new everyday then I am not doing my job. Meaning I’m not asking enough questions, talking to enough people, or reading enough. It’s important for me to be curious. Luckily, he is too, so I can sometimes play teacher again.

Curiosity is one of the things I enjoy about him and as he gets older I hope that it doesn’t wane. The challenge now is to show him that school can help him unlock and solve the questions he is asking. And whether he realizes it or not, that’s when he’s learning.

 

Curiosity

The Jealousy List: What I Wish I Wrote

As a writer there are always stories that you wish you wrote and topics that you uncovered. There are too many characters, events, and viewpoints to discuss, and never enough time in the day to give them all the attention that they deserve — at least for one person.

Luckily, the world is full of many talented (and brave) journalists and writers so those stories can be told. Below is a list, honestly just a sample, of some of the articles that I came across in 2015 that I wish I had written. If you have stories that you wish you penned, please let me know in the comments section.

Go Ahead, Let Yourself Go — Details 

Even though this article was written in 2007 for the now-defunct Details magazine, I just discovered it this year. It’s a wonderful commentary about what happens to men when they don’t care about their appearance any longer. Considering that I write A LOT of fitness, nutrition and weight loss articles, I love the idea about talking about being sedentary, gaining weight, and just not giving a damn.

The Stories of the Six Men Who Caught the Cubs’ Historic Home Run Balls — Yahoo Sports

Wrigley Field is the first place that I saw a baseball game and I have been a lifelong Cubs fan ever since. From the lede paragraph to the each man’s tale, this article is crafted so well to interlace the bleachers, the moment, and the man. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, this story is an entertaining read.

Unexpected Honey Study Shows Woes of Nutrition Research — New York Times 

Nutrition is such a hot-bed topic and it is a tricky one to report on. This article explains why that is: nutrition research is flawed. This no-nonsense approach explaining the why we shouldn’t believe all the nutrition headlines we read.

Read Before You Speak — Los Angeles Times

When two college students refused to read the assigned curriculum, David Ulin took to his keyboard to explain why it is important to read (and be exposed to) different viewpoints, characters, and situations that may not make you comfortable. I remember reading Black Boy by Richard Wright and The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren while in school. They were sometimes difficult to read because of their depictions of violence (Black Boy) and homosexuality (The Front Runner), but over 20 years later they are memorable. They helped me understand viewpoints that are very different than my own.

The Fight Over Plastic Bags is About a Lot More Then How You Get Your Groceries Home — New York 

Consider this: a plastic bag is manufactured to be used for 12 minutes. Millions of dollars are spent to dispose of them. These are just two of the staggering numbers reported in this article. This article is a bit New York centric but it is interesting and written with humor.

Thank you for reading and please share your Jealousy List.

The Jealousy List: What I Wish I Wrote

An Office Everywhere

It was too quiet in my friend ML’s house. After spending two days in Manhattan, the silence of her neighborhood was almost unsettling. I needed to hear conversations, music…many things at one time. I needed to find a Starbucks.

Luckily, there is one close to her house even though I took the long way to get there. Any coffee house would have done, but when I go into Starbucks it is familiar with electrical outlets, music, and food. Just like going to an office…anywhere you are.

An Office Everywhere

Today Begins Five Days of…

No Baby A. No M. No Kitties. No diapers. No tugging.

It’s just me on the East Coast. For five days I get to step out of my mommy role and back into my professional one. Today is day one and I already I feel like the pre-baby me.

It isn’t that I have changed (too much), but my circumstances have. Because my days are filled with child-caring and working, I’m in survival mode. The business-minded, go-getter in me gets muted, which has made me feel lost. Strange.

It only took me one day of talking with editors and walking through New York to make the business brain reemerge. Everyone needs some time alone to put things in perspective, whether it is a vacation, a business trip or a mixture of both.

So today begins five days of girl time. Sure, I’ll miss sharing my adventures; I know that when I return, I’ll be a better wife, mother…me.

Today Begins Five Days of…

Periods of Stress

I’m always amazed how periods of great stress can help me see things with such clarity. It isn’t the life altering events such as a death or a divorce that I am talking about, but the everyday grind to seem to crescendo like a great piece of music. The times in our lives when everyone, everything needs to be done. Right. Now.

2010 so far has been one of those periods. (I’m happy it hasn’t included those life altering ones since I’ve been there, done both and lived through them.) Lots of work, lots of baby growing and lots of juggling. I’m not a Master Juggler— one ball always seems to not get the lift it needs.

That ball is usually an important one. And lately, it’s either me, or M., or both. That’s unfortunate because if I can’t give attention to myself and my husband then I’m really not being a good mom and role model to Baby A. So, it’s during these times that I always seem to realize how off my life-work balance is and how it always seems to be off. I seem to be an all-or-nothing type of girl, even though I never used to be. At least, I don’t think I was.

Despite my frazzled disposition, I’m grateful for these times because they make me step back, take a breath, and make long-term changes that hopefully will ease the stress during the next busy period.

Periods of Stress

The Check Fairy

Recently, I got paid. For most people this is a regular occurrence. Every two weeks or on the 1st and 15th of each month, they get paid for the work that they do. And here’s the kicker, it comes whether they do their jobs or not.

That is not the case for me. As a freelance writer, I do the work and then, depending on the contract, I get paid once the work is accepted or published. The reality of it is that I might see a check 30 days after a submission, or 120 days after a submission, or as in one case, a year and counting after a submission. I know this, I plan for it, I have accepted it. So when the postman does deliver a check, I deem him or her the check fairy.

You see, the check fairy is a lot like the tooth fairy. Both are imaginary but have real people doing their work. Both leave monetary surprises for work done. [Making teeth is a harder than we might think, just ask my son.] And, finally, their visits are happy occurrences. In the case of the check fairy, bills can be paid, money can be saved and presents—whether for yourself or others—can be purchased.

Getting paid the old-fashioned way, while nice, wouldn’t nearly be as interesting. Thank you check fairy. I hope you visit more in the coming months.

The Check Fairy