June 1, 2013

  • Arriving at the End

    So when you set up a blog with a username that suggests a process, there comes a time when that username becomes outdated. I mean, really, how long does it take to turn green? For us, it happened quite some time ago. But the blog name was the blog name, so what could I do?

    Perhaps the behind-the-scenes Xanga wizards were perturbed by the outmodedness of my username. Maybe it got their wizard britches in a little bit of a tangle. Maybe it started to make them a little irritable. I don’t know….I guess it’s possible.

    But then, I went and did it. I changed my entire life – the one that had been the basis of my irrelevant-username-having blog.

    I got a job. (A paying, outside the house job. To clarify.)

    I know, I know. It’s not right to just begin employment without overhauling the blog that got you through the sometimes isolating, frustrating, hair pulling years of full-time staying home with kids. To just go out and become less isolated and spend less time around kids who say quotable things and become less involved in the school and Bubble community that has so generously made an ass of itself on the pages of this here blog. I mean, I know I was at fault. I know the Xanga wizards were angry.

    But did they have to go and pull the plug?!? shocked

    For all of my real life people who read the blog and are not among my inner circle of Xanga-made friends, let me explain. We Xanga-folk got word yesterday that in all likelihood, Xanga will cease to exist in 6 weeks time. Our blogs will be history. Although, there is talk of raising money to create some Xanga-like corner of another blogging platform….yadda yadda technical talk. All I know is that it seems like the right time to make a change, since it’s less of a commitment to change your blog than your entire life….and I’ve already done that, you know.

    This blog was the Mr.’s idea. He thought it would be nice for me to document our journey to becoming a greener family. At first, it seemed pointless to me, but I finally started to get on board with the idea and googled blogging platforms. I found some article online with the author’s picture next to it. He was old, bald, and grey. He said that he blogged on some particular site I don’t remember, but that his kids blogged on Xanga. I hadn’t heard of it, but I figured I belonged with his kids’ generation, since they were surely hipper than <==== that dude.

    And so it began. I didn’t know if anyone would read it. (They did!) And I surely never expected to make online friends. (I did….I really did.) And I didn’t realize what good therapy it would be for me to be able to share my thoughts and my dreams and my stories about the absurdity and joy of raising two kids in the middle of a suburban bubble.

    The Xanga wizards say we can archive our files and save them. I’m a little verklempt because it’s not working right now, and I need to have access to the old stuff. It’s not an option to not have it. This blog is like the story of my early mom years.

    I will give it a day or so, and then I will sit here and copy/paste or print every single word and comment if I have to. Don’t let me down, Xanga wizards. I know you’re in freakout mode, and I get it. But please protect my online memories, ok?

    If you’ve been asking yourself, “Why do I read this silly ol’ blog, anyway?” — this would be a good time to gracefully exit. No hard feelings. But if you want to continue on the journey with me, the Mr., and our boy and girl (and neurotic dog) — please do so here.

    And if you’re one of my many Xanga friends, please be sure to leave a link to your blog’s new digs if you haven’t already.

    I’ll see you on the other side.

    Turningreen, over and out.



May 29, 2013

  • Brain Drain

    I have written a funny (at least to me) post, but it requires editing and formatting that cannot be done on a mobile device. I don’t think I should blog from the desk of my new place of employment, and I have yet to muster the quiet alone time to fire up the old laptop at home. And so you must wait for that one.

    I missed an appointment at work yesterday. Found myself at my desk right on time, which seemed good until I realized my appointment was about 3 miles from home – the place I had driven away from 30 minutes prior. Ugh. Home and work calendar sync has now been activated.

    During my commute, I’ve been listening to audiobooks borrowed digitally from the library. The first one was delightful, and was a YA book recommended by an NPR writer I follow. The experience was so pleasant that it made me think YA audiobooks would be a good genre in general. The current listen is quickly shooting down that theory. I feel like I’m driving a bunch of whiney teens to work with me every day. And who needs that?

    “Special” things needed for school in the next week: 2 bags of tootsie rolls for a children’s engineering project, giant tub of Greek yogurt for a cultural food tasting, mismatched socks, necktie, completed mobile for book report, costume to dress up like a vocabulary word, toga for class play, pajamas, extra snacks for testing, and a “special” drink. Do you think they mean a margarita for mom?

    Good thing the electronic calendars are working together to save my brain space for all these important tasks, eh?

May 16, 2013

  • All Good

    I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to see how I am doing with the new job and the continuing demands of the Turningreen household. Breathe easy, gentle readers – all is well. 

    The co-workers could not possibly be nicer. I felt very welcomed and at ease right from the first minute in the office. They gave me a plant for my office! I haven’t killed it yet! They bought pastries in my honor and convened an all hands on deck meeting for the sole purpose of hearing about me and sharing about themselves. Not our roles in the company, just about who we all are as people. Nice, huh?

    I have successfully commuted to downtown (what my nephew calls “the big city”), without getting lost, hitting traffic, or hitting another vehicle. I have managed to park in a fairly sketchy looking parking garage with gigantic support poles that are not in the least bit minivan friendly, and I haven’t even dinged my van! 

    My first “assignment” on the job involved coming up with a creative tag line for an event. Right up my alley, and the boss was gaga over my idea. Sweet! All in all, I love it. I love the schedule, I love the people, I love having an office where no children are sharing my office supplies! And I love the job.

    This was a good week on the home front, thanks to the end of one sport season and a little help from grandma and the Mr. Next week, summer swim team starts (in the sure-to-be-frigid pool), so things will be a little more hectic from here on out. But we’re cool. We’re chill. We got this.

    It has been interesting to see and hear the reaction of various women in my life as I transition back to the workplace. One woman who does not work outside the home seems to be literally foaming at the mouth with excitement in waiting for the day when she expects me to say, “Why did I do this? I had it so good before. I can’t handle this!” I do not anticipate saying any of these things, but I’m not going to ruin her anticipation by telling her.

    Many, many friends have offered to help with my kids at anytime, if I need it. In all my years as a full-time SAHM, I was never so gracious to working moms. They put me to shame. But, you know – I’m just not that fond of other people’s kids. And my kids are really good. I’m not just saying that because I’m their mom – they are just no trouble at all, and sometimes even a good enough influence on other people’s kids that having them in the mix is helpful. (Does that sound unbearably braggy and obnoxious? Sorry, but it’s kind of true. winky)

    In general, though, I wish that women could just be happier for each other’s successes and choices when it comes to home/work/life balance. There’s far too much judgement and even more competition. “It’s nice that you read books. I am sooooooooooo busy. I don’t even have time to read!” You know how it goes. I recently complimented a good friend of mine who works a full-time job and also manages to be a very present parent to her two kids (both older than mine). She has a very flexible job, but she really just doesn’t mention it. I mean, she talks about work and she obviously talks about home, but she never complains or competes in the “I’m busier than you” contest. She loves her job, she loves her kids, and she takes what comes with it with grace. You know, my sister does this, too, and she reads this blog – so I need to give her props, as well. Both of these women are my role models for how I want to handle the increasing demands on my time. But, I do, of course, reserve the right to complain on the blog, because what’s a blog without bitching???

May 10, 2013

  • Ready, Set, Go

    Well, if I haven’t succeeded in perfectly organizing my life, our home, and our family’s schedule in the past 10 years as a full-time stay-at-home mom, I guess I won’t be doing it this week. I have run around like a chicken with my head cut off, making lists and checking things off, but clearly there will just be another list tomorrow and I will get used to getting things done differently.

    So I decided to just enjoy my day and fill it with all the best things I have been able to do over the years by not working outside the home. Took a great workout class this morning, got a pedicure, having lunch with friends, and stopping at the mall before leisurely meeting the bus. Sounds like happy hour with the neighbors is in the works for this evening, too. And having Mother’s Day fall the very last day before I start the job is pretty much as appropriate as can be.

    Yesterday, I went to school to read to our son’s class for the last time. Next year, he’ll be in 4th grade and they don’t have parents read weekly at that point. That has always been one of my favorite ways to volunteer at school, and he is always so happy to see me walk through the door with a stack of books. So it was a bittersweet time for me, made sweet by my own boy and honestly a little bitter by some of the other kids’ behavior! I think there is a reason why not every 3rd grade class still does the Mystery Reader thing. The kids are kind of over it, I think. I even had one kid come up to me and say, “Next time, don’t bring books from that series. I don’t like those.” Uh, yeah – thanks for letting me know, dude.

    This week, we also experienced one of the dangers of getting farm food delivered all year long. During our winter share, we kind of got overwhelmed with pumpkins. (Just as we will soon be buried by watermelons.) I used the extra pumpkins to “decorate” around the house, until that became out of season and moved one to a wire shelf in the garage. When I went to get an umbrella from under that shelf on Wednesday — EEEEWWW. The pumpkin had imploded and was oozing down into the umbrella stand, which conveniently had a small hole in the bottom, making the nastiness creep out onto the concrete floor below. I started by opening all the umbrellas in the driveway and spraying them with a natural cleaner that the rain could rinse away. I’m sure all the neighbors were thinking, “Wow. That lady needs to get a JOB or something.” But, they weren’t close enough to smell the rotten pumpkin stench or they would have totally been on board with my plan.

    Thankfully, the Mr. helped with the later stages of cleaning the floor, but getting the pumpkin goo to slide through the wire shelf onto a plastic bag below was all me. I had nasty pumpkin guts on my shoes, ankles, capri pants, rain jacket. Gross! Next year, pumpkins go from the mantel straight into the oven or the compost pile.

    So although I am enjoying a sunny, warm, delightful day today, I am leaving you with a story of smelly pumpkin mess. Sorry about that. Maybe this will help get it out of your mind.



May 7, 2013

  • Context

    When I posted about what I overheard on the soccer field, I did it in the moment without giving you context. The coaches weren’t being harsh – they were just being really serious and earnest about their desire for these girls to learn the game and maybe enjoy a win. It was just so funny, because they went on and on as if they might whip out a Powerpoint presentation at any moment, and the girls had neither the attention span nor the vocabulary to follow along! The Mr. said that he can totally relate, after his many years of coaching kids soccer and lacrosse. It can be hard for an adult to put themselves in the shoes of a child standing out on a grassy field with a ball flying at her and a gaggle of grown ups screaming cheers and often conflicting instructions.

    It is also hard to put oneself in 10 year old dress shoes and work clothes. That’s right, I’ve been excavating the old work wardrobe from the dustiest corners of the walk in closet. You don’t realize how much something as bland as business attire changes in a decade until you enter the lady suit time capsule that I explored today. Shoulder pads! Pleats! High waistlines! Nero collars! Hideous prints! Too long short sleeves and too short long sleeves! I mean, talk about context.

    Thankfully, I do have enough stuff to get me started, and I will not need to wear suits very often. But I do think a brief shopping spree might be in order, too. Don’t you?

May 4, 2013

  • Overheard on the Soccer Field

    A dad to his daughter, 7 yrs old: “If you don’t start being aggressive and kicking the ball when it is near you, I’m not going to drive you to soccer ever again.”

    Coach, to all girl team of 7-8 year olds: “When you are on defense, your job is to HARASS the other team. Just get in there and HARASS them like nobody’s business.”
    (The whole time he’s speaking, a girl is raising her hand urgently and being shushed by the assistant coach. The head coach keeps going on and on with his harassment speech, and then finally lets the little girl speak.)

    Girl: “What does harass mean?”

  • It’s Happening

    I’m going back to work! Part-time, but still a big adjustment for me and the family. I’m equal parts psyched and freaked. And over thinking every detail like only a mom can. ;)

April 30, 2013

  • (tap tap) Is this thing on?

    Long time no blog.

    I find myself possibly perched on the edge of returning to work. I am heading into a third interview for a promising part-time position — one that is in my field of expertise and will surely open the door to future opportunities. This is a good thing, since the earlier part of my career took place elsewhere, and my local network is pretty light. I am known for my confidence in myself, so in my mind it’s a done deal — I will get an offer and will just need to decide if it’s mine to take. But the reality is that I still have to wait and see. And therefore, so do you.

    This weekend, I was out of town with some local lady friends. It was a beach trip away from the ‘hood, and the kids, and the husbands, and the sports games, and the cooking, and all that. It’s interesting to hear how each couple handles things when the mom is out of town. You have the women who prepare meals in advance for the family and direct all activities and responsibilities from afar via text messaging. Then you have the women who never check in at home because they don’t want to hear about what a mess things are at home without them. And of course you have every imaginable situation in between. I was in touch with the family socially, but the Mr. was firmly in charge. Not only did he cook gourmet meals that put me to shame, but he coached like 100 lacrosse games, replaced the lightbulbs in an outdoor light fixture to keep the HOA at bay, served me dinner when I got home late (traffic), unpacked my cooler (extra food from the beach house), made the kids’ lunches for the next day, and pretty much handled everything without breaking a sweat. When he told me at 10pm that the kids’ lunches were already packed, I was speechless. He said, “What’s the point of a nice, relaxing weekend away if you have to pay for it when you get back?”

    Yeah, I think he’s a good egg. And I think I can trust that he will be helping me out more than I can imagine if the work thing becomes a reality.

    You know, the thought of having an office with a computer that is not 3 feet away from the homework table is sounding pretty darn cushy right now. Since starting this blog entry, I’ve been interrupted to get the glue gun down from a high shelf, help choose an acrylic paint color for a pencil that is supposed to be a “child” for a math project (????), negotiate attendance at a friend’s lacrosse game (NO), decide if someone can “watch a show” (NO, because you have to practice guitar), let the dog in from the yard, and determine if someone had properly packed up school stuff and could go outside (YES!!!). I should probably figure out dinner, too.

    Whew. And the pay would be better for that office job, too……

March 20, 2013

  • My Boy

    This morning, I got an early call looking for a last minute chaperone for our son’s field trip. It was going to be a beautiful day for a park outing, so I decided to drop everything and go.

    The bus was noisy, and some of the kids were hard to keep tabs on. I was constantly counting and re-counting. 3 girls behind me, 2 boys in front of me, and one boy somewhere in the far distance hopefully near the teacher!

    I’m glad I went. His grade has such nice kids in it, and I know them much better than our daughter’s year, for some reason.

    When I showed up at school unexpectedly, our son gave me a big hug. When we were walking through the park, he picked up two flowers and gave them to me. At lunch, he saved me half of his dessert. And then when it was time to leave, he asked if he could sit with me on the bus.

    Third grade, and he still likes having me around.

    Aw, shucks. I love that kid.

March 14, 2013

  • Brothers and Sisters

    The Mr. and I have a girl and a boy. The girl is older, and often (or maybe always) seems to take her brother for granted. The younger brother is always eager for his sister’s attention, and usually so giddy with excitement when he gets it that he becomes overly wound up to the point where she no longer wants to be around all that boy-ness.

    He is a hugger and a cuddler. She is less so.

    Yesterday, I was alone in the car with our daughter when she asked me this about her brother, “When we are older, will we talk?”

    I let out a little laugh and said, “I hope so!”

    And then she said, “No, I mean on the phone. Like you have a sister and you talk to her all the time, and Daddy has brothers that he talks to all the time. But I think it’s different, isn’t it? When you are a boy and a girl?”

    This broke my heart a little.

    I don’t really know of any shining examples on either side of our family, where a brother and a sister have remained close and in touch as adults. I wish I had some relationship to direct her to that would ease her worry. And mine.

    Instead, I focused on her brother. “If you have to have a brother, yours is an awfully good brother to have. He is sweet and caring and he loves you very much.”

    All of this is true, but she was doubtful. I also told her how much her brother is like one of his uncles – the uncle who can talk, and talk, and talk, and sweetly calls all members of the family regularly just to check in.

    “You may have to be the one to make the phone call, but I bet once he starts talking, you won’t be able to get him to stop.”

    She laughed, and we moved on.

    Do you have a sibling of the opposite sex? Do you have a close relationship as adults?