Category Archives: Family

I missed you

Wow. Somehow, it’s February, 2013. Somehow, I forgot to write. There is a reason, it’s just kind of a boring one. I spent most of 2012 deeply depressed which is something  I’ve struggled and lived with for the better part of a decade, and also, something I don’t love to write about for a variety of reasons. The biggest being watching paint dry is more entertaining than reading about another person’s struggle with depression. (Evidence.)

I stayed away from here because I wasn’t baking, running, or accomplishing anything interesting. My life for most of the year was like a dial-tone.

Luckily, I think things are getting better. I went for a run this week and on the way home from the gym (yeah, I run inside in the winter. I hate being cold SO MUCH) I noticed I was happy. Yay for me. And yay for this blog, where I should be a little more active this year.

To celebrate, here’s a picture of me crossing an item off the ol’ 30-before-30 list:

horseride

This horse, Beau, was really grumpy and about 1,000 years old. But it still counts.

And just for your entertainment, here’s a holiday photo of my brother and I at our family Christmas party. Which was also the best night of the holiday break. And was also the night I taught my Grammy how to Tootsie-Roll.

IMG-20121221-00229

 

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Filed under 30 Before 30, Family, Growing Pains, Life

30 Before 30: In which I do not get eaten by a shark

When I was a little girl I was absolutely terrified of the fish tank aisle of any pet store or Wal Mart. (There were frequent trips to Wal Mart.) I would dare myself to walk down them and then just feel abject terror. So easy to picture the tanks simultaneously shattering and all those nasty little fish getting on me. At Sea World the shark encounter would give me nightmares. It was just so easy to envision the glass breaking, the hammerhead shark bursting forward and biting me in half as its last ask before suffocating.

So, I’m basically the last person you’d expect to go swimming around in the shark infested, fish-filled, coral reefs of Nassau, Bahamas.

But guess what, ya’ll? I DID IT.

And I loved it. Well, there was one huge, mean looking fish, that swam up to me and stared into my soul with his ugly fish eyes…

Besides that though, snorkeling is the best thing in the world. I could have stayed out there for hours. The experience was even cooler because I got to share it with my mom, in her first big one-armed snorkeling extravaganza.

Also, it’s extremely attractive:

All my photos from the trip are Polaroids because I’m THAT girl.

 

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Filed under 30 Before 30, Family, Life, travel

I have awesome co-workers (and an awesome dad)

I’m not really into asking for birthday presents — it feels weird after a certain age, right? — but apparently my team mates at work definitely know what I like:

Coffee! SO MUCH coffee.

Tiny pie!

 

Fancy new pie dishes from my pops!

And my favorite thing of all — my birthday card from Oliver:

Came with two days at the Oregon coast...

But seriously, I really don’t like to think of a birthday in terms of things. I don’t know why but I have the best feeling about this year (and no, I don’t always say that.)

Every year I set birthday goals. Like, I write them down and track my progress toward them monthly. I realize this is incredibly nerdy, but it does bring a sense of satisfaction once they’re accomplished. And somehow, despite being constantly convinced I didn’t have time to do anything but work last year, I actually managed to cross everything off my list.

This year’s goals:

  • Run two marathons
  • Run one ultra marathon
  • Visit one foreign country not contiguous to the United States.
  • Read two books a month.

Bonus goal: Maybe learn to swim?

 

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Filed under Family, Life, pie, Running

Home

I did some good work today but nothing, nothing feels as good as coming home from the road. Oliver is listening to old-timey songs and cooking dinner. Everyone should have an Oliver to do that for them.

My office at home.

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Filed under Family, Life, travel

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about defining moments. Both within the small context of my life and the larger context of my country. The thought I keep coming back to is that they are always moments, not Moments — and they’re never what you think they might be.

When I was younger, I had this idea that one day I would wake up one day and discover meaning. That something would happen and define me.

I always assumed this would be a huge tragedy during which I would rise to the occasion (whatever that occasion might be), or, some other sort of demonstration of greatness. Ego? Yeah. Mine was out of control.

As I watched the final episodes of Paris Hilton BFF (my new favorite television show) it occured to me that I’m not the only one who believes that she is too special to be normal. In fact, I think this is something that every reasonably attractive, moderately intelligent/funny person in my generation believes.

It was amazing to me how clear it was that each of the girls on this show had spent their entire lives practicing talking to a camera in a confessional booth. I have to admit, I actually used to practice this in the mirror myself. I also used to devote a lot of time to giving a good angle to the imaginary cameras following me around.  I still have ongoing conversations in my head where I am saying devastatingly brilliant things to Oprah, or Rosie, or whoever will give me a captive audience.

I blame three things: late 90s “cinema” that exaggerated and romanticized every dull teenage experience (thinking specifically of the movie “Can’t Hardly Wait”  here), the Real World and Coldplay.

We expect our lives to be full of Grand Gestures, Great Loves and Defining Moments.

And I’ve learned that by internalizing these subtle messages, I’ve often really missed the point.

Continue reading

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Filed under Family, Growing Pains, overshare

Dutiful daughter? Please.

At 25, 23 and 18 respectively, my younger brother, younger sister and I have taken on a situation most people don’t deal with until much later in life. Our mom was almost killed in a car accident, was on life support and is now in a situation where she needs 24 hour a day support.

It’s been terrible and traumatic and our hearts break every day. But thank God my siblings are wonderful, supportive people and we’re weathering this together. When my brother wanted to go see the wrecked car and get my mom’s stuff out of it, the three of us did it together, the thought being no one person should have to bear the weight of that task alone.

When my mom, who couldn’t drink water until yesterday, needed her mouth swabbed or the gunk scraped off her teeth, we all did it. We all wanted to. She’s our mom and, in fact, it is an honor to scrape the gunk off her teeth.

Apparently this is not the norm. According to this ridiculous blog post on the New York Times’ ageing blog, most sisters wind up fulfilling traditional “female” roles when their mothers are ailing, while brothers skate by performing “male” roles and getting all the credit.

According to the author, Jane Gross:

“..this arduous interval is a dumb time for a feminist hissy fit. Far wiser to bow to the stereotypes and delegate every male-suitable task you can think of to your brother(s).”

Because bitching about it to the Internet instead of having, you know, a face to face conversation, is so much more productive?

First of all, I hardly think asking a sibling to help with a task, qualifies as throwing a “hissy fit.” Second, in our situation, I guess you could say I’ve taken on the “male” role: I arranged Mom’s finances, hired her lawyers, make insurance decisions and so on. I also comb her hair and swab her mouth when I can, which isn’t often since I live 1,300 miles away.

When my mom gets out of the hospital and can’t use the bathroom herself, both my brother and sister will be there and they will both want to. Maybe the problem is the idea of giving “credit” to anyone for doing what you should do — and want to do — for someone you love.

In my family, there hasn’t been a discussion about who should get credit for what. It’s more like, what needs to get done and who is available to do it now? The idea of assigning gender roles in a time of crisis is ridiculous.

There’s another blog, Dutiful Daughters (Sainted Sons,) that the NYT writer pulls her idea from. The blogs author, Marsha Foley is quoted:

“The experience is bad enough in its own right without all that resentment,” she said. “You really must give up expecting people to feel and behave as you do. Expectations are what create stress.

Ms. Foley added that “part of why women get so mad” at their brothers “is because they’re not suffering enough.”

I certianly agree that expecting anything from anyone during a time of stress is a bad idea. So why are the authors of these blogs encouraging women to expect their brothers not to help? Even worse, why are they advocating bottling up your frustration so that it can turn into seething resentment?

(Oh and BTW, “not suffering enough?” Gross! How do you decide if someone is suffering enough? By how much they cry? By how much they sacrifice? Wake up call for Gross and Foley: there’s no premium on suffering — you can’t quantify it.)

There’s no “right” way to cope with a family tragedy, but it seems to me that open, honest communication about reasonable expectations makes a lot more sense than saying, “Oh, I’ll wipe butts and change bed pans because I’m a woman, and Josh will find a lawyer because he’s a man.”

Absurd.

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Filed under Family, Womynly Issues

Blowing kisses through a tube

My mom

My mom

As you’ve gathered by now, my mom was in a car accident.

Tomorrow it’s been one week. Tomorrow is the funeral for her partner who was killed in the crash. Tomorrow her breathing tube might come out.

Yesterday she smiled at me. Today she blew me a kiss. It just breaks my heart to watch her try and make it ok for me from behind the mess of tubes that are currently keeping her alive.

Last Friday at 6:30 p.m. my life was normal. A few minutes later my sister called me, but I ignored it so life was still normal. Until 6:38 when I got the text: “Meg, mom’s been in an accident. please call me.”

Three days ago I went and looked at the wreckage. I have no idea why my mom is still here. I can note figure out how she survived. The car was a Ford Explorer. It is squashed down to the size of my Honda Civic.

By the way: do you drive one of these death traps? Sell it. This crash happens all the time. Somehow Ford is allowed to keep making these cars. I suppose it’s easier to write checks to grieving family members than to put in the financial effort to build safer cars. By the way, last year Ford grossed over $200 billion dollars.

I’m not sure how many people have to die before they get the point. At least two hundred people have died, and 700 have been injured as a result of their faulty manufacturing. It makes me sick.

I just had to take pictures of my mom’s injuries. Which also made me sick.

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Filed under Family, Growing Pains, Life