Monday, April 27, 2009


yes, i'm still around. yes, i've been thinking about lots. no, there hasn't been time to blog about any of it. yes, i've already forgotten most of it. i'm just still so tired these days.

it feels funny talking about being pregnant. i mean, i am and stuff...i know this. but after not telling anyone for...six weeks?'s just kind of weird being out of the closet. i feel like i don't even remember how to do this. if my stomach's empty, i'm nauseous. if i eat too much, i'm nauseous. and i am not doing a very good job of finding the balance. and it doesn't help that food is just so appealing these days. a fried egg on a piece of toast this morning almost made me cry it was so good...but then lots of things almost make me cry. it is fun trying to hold my head up and maintain some dignity when i feel kind of silly that everything, for one reason or another, makes me want to cry. but i don't cry...much...

it was funny. last night, my spouse walked in the door...and it's just been such a busy semester (yada yada) and we'd had a busy weekend with friends visiting and the kids were grumpy and the teen was angsty and attitudinal and dh walked in at just the moment that i was thinking i'd really like to just cry about this to him. do you understand how rare that is? for him to actually walk in the door at the minute i'm thinking about talking to him? this almost never happens. so when i saw him, i started crying. (i'm cracking up at myself here) and he said, "oh, i'm sorry, i can leave if you want..." and that made me cry more. it was kind of sweet and pathetic and i'm just glad that moment's over.

yeah, so that's where i am. and the semester is really pretty much over. i don't have to spend six hours on the road picking my teen up from his dual enrollment class anymore. today was his last day. yes, this makes me so happy i want to cry. but tomorrow is also the last day of co-op for the semester. and the next day is the last piano lesson til the fall. and the last soccer practice of the season got rained out. and i cannot even begin to express in words how different this feels. like the lightening off my chest almost hurts, it's so huge... and the feeling of freedom truly is just about intoxicating. i am very proud of all we accomplished this school was an incredible ride. we worked damned hard and, yes, it makes me cry to think about how impressed i am with my kiddos...and myself, too. but i am so, so, SO looking forward to resetting a few priorities...getting back to center in the home...with the family...preparing for the new arrival, taking care of each other, and doing some reading and artsy stuff together, playing lots outside, seeing folks we love.

yeah, i'm wiping a tear or two. :)

ps--am i the only one who thinks it's weird that spell check flagged "angsty" but not "attitudinal"? just wondering...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

things i've learned

in the past week or so, i mean...

--robotics is a big deal in other countries. it is also a big deal in some places in the united states. it is hard to inspire a love of science and technology when you are focused on winning trophies. i think this may have been a problem for our team. when you let kids lead in their explorations of science and technology, their enthusiasm is authentic. fake enthusiasm does not carry you far. it may get you to internationals, but probably not too far into internationals.

--you do not have to win to learn a lot. we learned a lot. and i think we had a lot of fun, too. the kids worked a lot, though. which was a natural consequence. they were pretty tired of robotics by the end of the season and their work wasn't very focused at practices. so when they got to the festival and saw what the other teams had going, there was some mad scrambling to get their robot together. i am still not sure why the robot fell apart so badly at the end isn't my thing.

--a natural part of levels of competition is going out in your little pond and finding just how good a fish you are at something. and your pond may decide to send you to the next big pond to compete there. but you will find some fish who are pretty good in their ponds, too, and see how you do. should you actually make it to the ocean, be guaranteed you will find some really awesome fish. and even if you find out you are the biggest fish there, it will still be very inspiring to spend time with people who are passionate about and love what they do. don't be too sad if you aren't the best fish in the ocean at something...there are a lot of fish out there...the cool thing about being the best is that it's hard and rare and there are only a few. but when you do what you love and feel good about what you do, it's just fun hanging out.

--the haitian team was across the way from us. the singapore team was on one side of us. denmark was on the other. twenty-seven countries were present at the festival. it was amazing. i felt honored to be invited and able to take our guys there. it is awesome to share space and time with people from so far and wide.

--sometimes, if you are having a hard time processing something or feeling a little stuck, you can share it with those you love and who love you, and they will be so overwhelmingly supportive and positive that you can borrow a little of that and they don't even mind. we're expecting our fifth child in november.

--when you're trying to be great at something, or excellent if that's what the rubric calls it, you can't skip fair and end up missing things and the judges can tell. it's like trying to be sixteen without being ten or just doesn't work right and you look kind of goofy.

--everyone has their lessons. to try to tell someone else what they should learn is kind of arrogant. and robs you of learning your own. and for some reason, focusing on what others should learn leaves you feeling negative, while focusing on the things you've learned usually empowers you. i don't really know why this works this's just how it seems to be and i'm glad to learn it.

--kids should get to make their own stories. at least, if you expect them to tell their stories, it should be the one they chose. trying to tie them into a legacy they don't feel connected to just gives them something to memorize that doesn't mean much to them. this ties into that authenticity thing i was talking about earlier...and also the leading their own explorations. kids can do absolutely crazy things sometimes and this is why we are here to guide them. but they are also amazing and can lead us to places we'd never even be able to imagine. if we can respect them and be silent for long enough for them to find their voices.

i think i'll stop there. it was such a great, great, rich experience. i hope the guys found as much fodder for growth as i did. and if not, i hope they had as much freaking fun as i did.

Monday, April 20, 2009


it is so good to be home. the world festival was an awesome, awesome experience. i'm sure i'll be posting about it a little at a time for awhile. i learned so much...

but the road trip was gorgeous. this was the song playing in my head the whole time...

it was amazing.


Monday, April 13, 2009


on no impact man's blog...

can't wait til it's out...

fun times

what a great weekend...

got to see my niece. she's home from the hospital. she's gorgeous...and i don't think i feel that way because she's my niece. i mean, i think even if she was a stranger on the street, i'd be pretty smitten. she looks great. i'm really happy for her parents that all their kiddos are at home, together, where they more parts of their heart scattered....that comes much, much later.

i had so much fun hanging out with my in laws. they're such great, smart people. i especially appreciate when we have a little time alone with them and they can share their really subtle, but warm ways. i miss them more than i realize.

actually, i think we miss all of our family more than we realize. but it is awesome to go back and hang out. we got to see our grand niece. and our nieces and nephews...brothers, sisters...everyone else. it was good times....really good times.

hey, guess what? my oldest plays the guitar. ha! ok, ok...i knew he'd been messing around on it in his room. his dad had even checked out the complete idiot's handbook to guitars and the guitar hero song book for him at the library two weeks ago (or was it longer? crap...i hate late fees). but my spouse and i were pretty shocked when teenager sat down and started playing with his aunt as she was practicing the music for easter mass. so guess what? even though i felt a little concerned that i was letting him get too rock n roll...and even though he'd never expressed any interest in being a part of mass other than sitting and zoning out (oh, and eating a little jesus...he has taken his first communion)...he played the guitar with the family choir (in front of the whole church) for easter mass. wow...

ok...i now have to go empty my car from our weekend travels to get it ready for travel to the world festival. we also have robotics in three hours, so i should probably get my ass in gear. we still need to pack and do tons of other things i am forgetting, i'm sure. but when we get back, we will be that much closer to april, and this semester, being finished. i am so ready for the rest....


Friday, April 10, 2009


sometimes i feel like i am groping along, in the dark, trying to find my way...trying to be brave and willing to move forward a little, even though i probably spend a lot of time in one spot. and then, something happens, and the metaphorical hand comes out of nowhere, grabs mine, and all of a sudden, i'm not so heart steadies, my head stops hurting and trying to project itself forward, i can rest where i am, move forward a little more naturally, and not be so damned afraid.

there are many things that have been that hand in my life. certainly family, friends, people i've crossed paths with, shared space with...some for not too long, others much longer. my cyber-mama tribe, definitely. music. books.

last week, i picked up grace (eventually) by anne lamott. i have read every one of anne lamott's books, seen her in person, listened to her give lectures. i was not too far away from becoming an anne lamott stalker the first year i started reading her...she was one of my best friends, she just didn't know it yet. and i guess she still doesn't know it...but i do like her tremendously.

i harvested some quotes from her essay nudges. it's the first essay in the section forgivishness. the quote on the divider page for forgivishness is by sally kempton, "It's hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head." this whole section is like a salve to me....

"If my heart were a garden, it would be in bloom with roses and wrinkly Indian poppies and wild flowers. There would be two unmarked tracts of scorched earth, and scattered headstones covered with weeds and ivy and moss, a functioning compost pile, great tangles of blackberry bushes, and some piles of trash I've meant to haul away for years."

"My friend Father Tom says that when we appear before God, God will say, 'I love you very much. I forgive you all your crap. Now go clean up you mess, and then come into heaven, because lunch is waiting.'"

"They were spiritual in the same way I was and am, which is to say devout, with a sometimes bad attitude, a black sense of humor, and tendencies toward gossip and character assassination. We hit it off instantly."

"Jealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I've had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn't mean there's less for me. In fact, I know that there isn't even a pie, that there's plenty to go around, enough food and love and air.

But I don't believe it for a second.

I secretly believe there's a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing a fork."

"I did not explain or justify my triggers--the jealousy, especially, because trigger implies weapons, weapons imply aim, aim implies combat, combat implies engagement. All I wanted was to feel less engaged, less stuck: I wanted to let it go, which is so not my strong suit, any more than forgiveness is. I wanted to be a person of peace, who diminishes hurt in the world, instead of perpetrating it.

But I felt scared. Will they write back, and what will they write, and what if they don't? What if they're reading my letter out loud and snickering, or reading it to their friends from the picnic, and they're all comparing notes on how crazy I am? Maybe they forgive me, maybe they don't. But I finally, finally forgive me; sort of-ish. No curtain of light or soft angel voices, but the understanding that forgiving myself makes it possible to forgive them, too. Maybe this is grace, or simply the passage of time. Whatever you want to call this, I'll take it. I paid through the nose for this one."


powerful stuff

i tell you, you ask people to send some prayers for someone, and great things happen.

my aunt's doing really well. she's back, according to my mom. she knows who she is, where she is, who the folks around her are. good stuff. not sure if the meningitis was bacterial or viral. she's getting better and they are giving her antibiotics...but nothing grew out in her cultures. so...i'm inclined to believe it's viral and improving with antibiotics is just coincidental. my mom agrees. (she's a clinical nurse specialist in oncology...we love working out these little details in our heads together...doctors aren't too concerned with the specifics because she's improving...but we LOVE mindfucking, er, i mean going over the details...) so thank you for all those prayers...i know some awesome pray-ers, i'm pretty sure.

and my niece...she should be going home today, which is five days early, if you're counting. the nicu she stayed in (which is also the one my thirdborn stayed in when he made his appearance a bit early, you know, like five weeks early) has a policy that the parents must spend the last night there at the hospital with baby before baby is discharged. mostly it's so they can learn any equipment or dressing changes or whatever. but, as we learned with our son, even when none of that is an issue, they still want you to stay that night before discharge. so my bil and sil stayed the night last night and everyone should be heading home today. good stuff... hoping i can see her at easter, but thinking probably not. and because i remember how tender a mama is once she brings her little one home after that little one has spent the first week or weeks of life in a box and not in mama's arms...i'm okay with that.

so we will travel home for an evening to celebrate easter with my spouse's family. after he finishes his research project presentation today. and we go to the dinner for this thing tonight. ("you can't be overdressed for it, marci"...this does not instill confidence in me...ugh) then we come home from traveling, have two nights at home, and then we're off to the fll world festival til next sunday. as excited as i am to be able to do this, i am really looking forward to when this is done. i'm ready to be a little bored for awhile. i want to soak in boredom....bathe in it....roll around in it. then i want to pick things to do spontaneously...because i can....because there isn't already something on my calendar for that day, that moment.

almost there, my little smurfs.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

prayers on a busy day

today's been kind of...busy....eventful...something like that.

i woke up and got to chat with a friend online. that was good stuff. she's going camping, but i'm not so jealous i don't still like her lots. (i will camp this summer, i will camp this summer...)

once i picked up teen at his dual enrollment class, i decided that i was going to get some stuff accomplished. but my sister called first to tell me that my aunt is in the icu...with meningitis. my cousins are my kids ages...well, her older daughter is ten months older than my oldest and her younger daughter is a week older than my second born. and their mama's in the icu...and can barely remember who she is or where she is. so some prayers for her, aunt lori.

then we ran our errands. teen was not too happy once we finished because he's decided he doesn't need to eat breakfast. which i don't agree with...but i don't get to agree with everything he chooses and i'm alright with that. but when i decide to run an hour's worth of errands...ok, maybe an hour and a half...and he's starving and grouchy as hell by the end, well, then i feel his choice is inconvenient. much in the way he felt mine was inconvenient. it's so hard when you aren't the one driving the car. and i empathize with that. but i also know he'll have much time to be the one driving in his future, so i've let it go. plus, once he ate, he was back to normal.

but get this...i load everyone in the car, thinking we're running late to piano, so i've got that extra edge to my voice...we need to hurry kind of thing. we back down the driveway and something in the universe shifts and i ask teenager, "isn't piano at 2?" he says, "yeah, i think so." so i ask, "then why are you letting me run everyone out the door and load us up as though it's at 1?" he thought i'd gotten a call or something. children are so trusting. even when they know we're nutso. so i drove back up the driveway and my youngest shouts, "well, that was a short trip!"

oy...i'm going to skip the part about talking to my mother and the way things are going with her and my was a two hour conversation, but i just don't have the energy to even summarize it. we DID, however, pick up teenager's glasses. and the wonderful woman at the glasses place even fixed his spare pair that we didn't even buy there. i was and still am very, very grateful.

oh, and speaking of bil and sil sponsored my oldest for his robotics trip. once i let go of some of my fear, things work out amazingly well. once i know longer try to be the only one in control, it seems others find room to step in...and then it is so much better.

so prayers for aunt lori...and my little niece is still in the nicu...getting better, but still there. maybe the week after easter she'll get to come home.


Monday, April 6, 2009

riding the good

listening to the girls today, and the kids laughing in the house.

the fleet of hope IS so pretty...(see march 27th post for video).

and check out the poem on my friend jen's blog, --insert clever title here--...that's the exact poem that anne lamott has on an intro page to one of the sections in her book grace (eventually) and i was going to post it here. but jen did it for me. st. francis and the sow. beautiful, beautiful stuff.


Sunday, April 5, 2009


there's this scene from harry potter...the movie...which one?....uhm, the one with the baby thestrals in it. because it's when luna is telling harry that if she were voldemort, she would want to make harry feel alone to weaken him...because we draw strength in numbers. that's been playing through my mind a lot. not necessarily the scene, but the just so happens that when i am looking for an image to attach to the sentiment, this is the one that pops up for me.

i think i've mentioned before that eight years (med school + residency) just didn't sound that long six years ago... but all of a sudden, it feels like f.o.r.e.v.e.r. a family of six making it on a resident's salary is getting tough. or it was...yeah, there's a happy ending coming up here in a bit. but i have stretched dollars and cut costs when i wasn't sure i could do it anymore. i don't mean to sound like we're suffering...we're not. our kids still climb at one of the best rock gyms i've seen in texas (but i admit i'm not ALL that well traveled as far as rock gyms go), they still take music lessons, and now, i have not just ONE child traveling to the international level of his robotics competition, i have a SECOND one who just qualified for nationals in his competition. and he'll go. he is bursting in a way i rarely see my second born burst and, come hell or high water, he will go...this is our commitment to him as his parents.

but finding a way to make that has been getting daunting. when my spouse did pharmacy school, when we found out we were pregnant with our first child, i worked. that is what we did in the family i grew up in. but once that child was born, my mil told me she wanted to me to feel like i had the option to stay home with my child, if that was what i wanted. my spouse (who was my boyfriend at the time...i only mention this because it makes me feel young in a weird way) asked me to consider it. but i did not know where the money to eat, to pay rent, would come from. but it always came. sometimes his parents helped us...and this one was huge...having family that can and will do that is amazing. sometimes we charged things. sometimes we filed income taxes or sold things. mostly, we just enjoyed the simple and free pleasuers of life. and i have not one regret for the choices we made. oh, i did work sometimes. but i usually ended up coming back home. it was just how our little family rolled. and it's still how we roll... i learned a lot of faith in those times. i also learned a lot of responsibility. and while i have still been practicing the responsibility as of late, the faith was escaping me a bit. i mean, we were making it. a loan here helped. we still had income taxes to file, and that would help. but the stress of trying to make it all work was leaving us tired, and worn, and feeling a little alone...a little stretched...and a little like we didn't have much to give others, to be honest. but we got a deposit in our account a few days ago that will probably mean we can make it through the rest of the year without taking out any more loans. and while i don't think it's necessarily appropriate to post my financials here...this has made a lot of difference today. a lot.

i looked over our bills, and they have steadily dropped since moving out here almost two years ago. we still find ways to trim here, use less there. my spouse works extra hours when they are offered. but the recent success of our children in robotics (who the hell knew they'd be such robot whiz-kids?) has been challenging. and made me feel desperate in a way i was growing to hate. i thought maybe i'd just pull them from music lessons to make up the difference. but, after this deposit, i don't have to. at least not yet.

my spouse has a little over two years left of this residency. and then, things should lighten up a little...i think. i really don't know, and while it seems obvious they should, i hate setting myself up for disappointment, so we'll just leave it at they should. so we keep telling ourselves two more years of rough financial times, and then it'll get a little easier. we usually hold hands when we say this to each other. he doesn't know about this deposit yet. but it helps me remember to have faith. and to be a part of other people's lives in a way that keeps faith alive for all of us. and for this reminder that i am not alone, that there are people praying for me and supporting me, even when i am so wrapped up in my own stress i don't remember to do the same, i am so, so, so very grateful.


Friday, April 3, 2009


this is what i have today...not sick all the way, but not good all the way, either. one of the kiddos in co-op threw up when he got home tuesday. and my second born felt a little pukey yesterday. but now he's fine and i just ate some toast after a nice, long nap, so we'll see if i'm better tomorrow. i hope so. we have a soccer game at 8:30am (why does my kid get all the early morning coaches?...) and then robofest. second born's team is called "the robo reapers." i know. try not to be too scared. they have the cutest reaper tshirts...srsly. i'm really looking forward to it. if i can get over my sickishness, of course.

no, this "ishness" won't be a's just so damned convenient right now...


Thursday, April 2, 2009


i love this word. it's an anne lamott word. the title of a section of her book of essays called grace (eventually). i was thinking about forgiveness and how necessary it is, but how difficult it can be when you're still feeling pretty pissed off. and then this word jumped out at me from the page and i laughed and thought, "well, of course! there's the step between where i am now and forgiveness that i was leaving i can do this..." anne can really be there for me sometimes...

i was talking to my friend christian about it last night and telling him about that buddhist saying about how holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot only burns you. and one of the things i love most about this man are the moments like last night when he says, "yes, you want to let go of the coal and forgive the other person...but you'd really like to let go of the coal so that it lands on the other person's head, right?" he is so wise. he helps me find my way back to the me i want to be...but with lots of laughing along the way, which makes it pleasant and not seem like hard also leaves me feeling very loved, and not like it's me, alone, against the me i don't want to be. and then i listen to him go on about the $500 prada sneakers he wants, so i feel like i'm able to be there for him, too.

my husband and i planted our strawberry plants and three blueberry bushes yesterday. all that's coming up in our garden right now is some beans and a few tomato plants. it's gotten a little colder, so it's kind of slow going, but at least the sun's cooperating, so maybe not as slow as it could be.

and i also drove around yesterday singing this song at the top of my lungs with my sons, which is fun and amusing and liberating all at the same time...

forgiveness can be hard work, but with this extra forgivishness step in there and people to help out along the way, it can be quite rewarding.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

when all else fails, listen to good music

like this cover of an elton john song from the girls...

and this one of off their new cd...

that's all... :)

learn your lessons and move along

last night was kind of craptastic. matter of fact, it was pretty freaking craptastic. but i learned a lot. and now, i can move on....

i was playing the evening over in my mind as i fell asleep last night...because that's what i do...i don't know why. and i kept thinking about the dalai lama and how he says that suffering comes from our misperception of the true nature of things...that we should meditate on the true nature of things to free ourselves from that suffering. and i kept wondering what the true nature of what was pissing me off was. sometimes, people are hurt and act ugly. sometimes, they are hurt because they think you did or meant things that never even crossed your mind. and sometimes, even though you tell them that is not what you meant, they just don't care and they keep feeling hurt and being ugly, feeling justified in that choice even if you never, ever meant to hurt them. it's not too difficult, until they throw a zinger out there that kind of hurts your feelings and then chasing tail comes to mind. and, as much as i apologized last night (for things i never intended), i finally just said, "i am really sorry...but i am also finished apologizing." that was a new one. i wanted to look over my shoulder and see who said that, but since i was standing against a counter top, there wasn't anyone behind me. i know there is no right or wrong in this situation...just feelings that have to settle. but there is also wisdom to gain...if i don't think too much about it. so i'm just going to leave it there...

moving along...