kellianne: (Default)
Hi! We went on a real vacation! Kathy's collection of inlaws have a collection of houses in Folly Beach, SC - which is right outside of Charleston. Since Charleston history, food, and beaches are legendary - I figured we should check it out. I've been intending to visit for the last 2 years or so, actually, but this was the first time we were able. It was a vacation that was promised to me when Buster announced 5 seconds before Bikini Kill took the stage last May or so that we had to skip our LA vacation after my ALC ride because he was starting work right after I finished the ride.

So. Yeah! Charleston! We landed on Monday evening (the 28th), had some nice dinner. We drank some wine which was amazing - since I had been dry for most of the month. We went to sleep and slept in the next morning, which was glorious. We were three hours behind in the times, anyhow - and Buster desperately needed to catch up on some sleep.

Eventually we woke up and had a full-on beach day. It was awesome. I spent a ton of time in the water, which is my happy place. A warm ocean is my everything. I would do anything to swim in a warm ocean, every day. I got peachy tan and the kids got along like gang busters. I rode Patrick's surfboard very unsuccessfully, but very happily. It was just rad. It was what I wanted the whole vacation to be!

The next morning we slept in again before heading to the city for a carriage ride. The ride was lovely. I learned so much about the history and architecture of Charleston - which is truly a weird, beautiful, spooky place. I love it there. And then we came home, maybe napped? Ate some delicious food. Went to the beach for some night hangs. It was a nice day.

The day after, we woke a little early to go to the beach and get whatever kind of awesome we could get in before the rain came. The waves were like a washing machine so Kathy and I took boogie boards out there and had so many amazing rides! It was ridiculous fun! I've never gotten out there like that before. We laughed our faces off for a few hours while we watched the storm slowly progress towards the beach. When the torrential rains started, we laughed and laughed - driving the golf cart through every puddle, everyone soaked to the bone. We dropped the kids off at home and went grocery shopping for a day or so's worth of groceries - necessary because we knew that the rain wasn't going to stop for, what? 24 hours? NO PROBLEM. The grumpy woman at the surf mart wasn't impressed with our glee or our soaked money - so we laughed at her, too. Good times.

Annnnd it rained. And it rained. And it rained. And it rained. And BOY did it rain. Folly Beach Hugo survivors said it was the most rain any of them had ever seen! I said it was the most rain I had ever seen. Everyone basically agreed that it was the most rain that ever could have rained. The tree frogs came out and made a huge noise of it, talking about how it was the most rain ever. The yard became a swamp and we were warned to stay away from that swamp because all the snakes were displaced. And it continued to rain. People kayaked down the streets. Then it rained some more.

In the middle of the rain, Chris Finley and his family arrived from Florida in their Jeep like "ain't no thang" and spent the night hanging out on our porch (thank goodness for houses on stilts) while the kids sank toys that they will never see again in the yard.

And it continued to rain. Access to our island became restricted, but we had big trucks and not a care in the world. Then it rained some more. We went to delicious places to eat anyway. Then it rained some more. Papers said it was a thousand year flood! So it kept raining. Sometimes, we made it to the beach anyway. I always got into the water, no matter what. I mean, everything was wet, anyway!

We went out for a fancy night in Charleston, which was super fun. We did Husk. We did McCrady's. We went to a super awesome cocktail bar. And it rained some more. Did I mention the rain? It rained. Did I mention, also, that it was still fun? Because it was. It was not what I expected, but it was still great.

I'll go back to Charleston someday. I hope I get more sun time at the beach. I won't mind if it rains a little, but doubt I'll ever see rain like that again, anywhere.

Now I am back in California, where rain never happens. It's also pretty great. I work, I bike, I go to yoga, and I hang out with my family and my best friend. My regular life is kind of vacationy, too. But there's no warm ocean. Maybe I need a wetsuit.

The end!
kellianne: (Default)
I wish I had stopped long enough to write something every day, but the whole experience was just overwhelming on every level. The schedule was insane. I woke up at 4 o'clock every morning to break down my camp, dress, repack my bags, and load them on the gear truck. Then I went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, stood in breakfast line, generally took my breakfast to eat in line at the Butt Clinic (yes) OR did 15 minutes of yoga with this hilarious instructor that was all "Namaste, bitches!", geared up, and got on the road by 7. I generally returned in the evening, set up camp, signed my name up in Sports Medicine or Chiro, grabbed my dinner, returned my dinner to line where I ate while waiting, got an adjustment or whatever, showered, rolled out my muscles, and went to bed BY 10. The nights where I didn't need or didn't get to the line in time for an adjustment I spent in the food tents watching the "Nightly News" - which consisted of reports on accidents that had happened that day, a general run down of the route to be biked tomorrow, and very heartening stories of the people the AIDS foundations serve or families who are working/riding the ride and why.

Here is the td:lr brain dump of my week... )

I have lots and lots of other thoughts that have come up as a result of this experience, but just wanted to get the details down. Hopefully I'll be able to write a much shorter, boiled down summary of my feels and what's come out of the meditation from doing a super positive, 545 mile charity bike ride. In the meantime, I'm just so impressed with my body. I worked really hard for this, for 6 months. Probably harder than I've ever worked on anything. The training was all-in. I don't think it will be quite as intense to do it all again. My body knows what it can do now, and I've built lots of muscle memory up in this process. Plus, I've already spent the money on biking gear (though, if I do it all again, I'm totally getting a different saddle so I can stay out of the butt clinic). In the meantime, I'll be signing up for lots of century rides and just really embracing being a cyclist. What began as a happy-go-lucky roll around Berkeley has become an all-encompassing community hobby and I am so much happier as a result of this development.
kellianne: (2009)
You know what? I would be a weak, weak, sorry excuse for a human on a bicycle if I lived anywhere but Northern California. I needed to go on a training ride today, but it's cloudy, misty, and windy. It's 55. I forced myself on the ride anyway but only got through like 15 miles of it, complaining in my head the whole way. Then I had to ride to Niko's preschool to pick him up in the chariot. I gritted my teeth through the cold with all that extra dead weight and was convinced I would make it without breaking my will to be nice UNTIL I hit a huge screw - in the middle of a huge hill - and popped the tire.

I grumbled and moaned my way to the top of the hill to try and change the tire. I got half way through changing it when I'm like GODDAMNIT I don't have a bike pump! And Niko!!! Niko my precious son! Says very affably, "Aw, that fucking screw, right?" I look up, shocked, and he says, "What, mama?" I say, "Niko! That is a really impolite word. Don't let anyone hear you say it outside of our home." And then laugh, a little, before locking poor Handsome - with a half hanging off tire and tube - up to a post and walking the chariot the mile or so up hill to home. Niko was a huge help with that, which is a good sign. I might have a potty mouth that he's picked up but at least I know he's helpful when flat tires happen and you need to grit yourself to a task you don't wanna do. That's a good quality to have.

It was so, so cold, you guys. I am so grumpy about it. It was like 56 degrees.

Nope. I wouldn't be a cyclist if I didn't live in Northern California.
kellianne: (2009)
I started training for the AidsLifecycle ride at the beginning of the month. It's a 545 mile ride to LA from SF that raises a heap of money for Aids foundations in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

I've been awash in all sorts of emotions about what this cause means to me since I signed up in December. We are the first generation who grew up with the threat of Aids. I remember the passionate arguments about it on Oprah. I remember arguments about it in school, which led to a massive movement towards education. I think of a whole generation of beautiful men who suffered as a result of the mystery and systemic shame that surrounded this horrible disease in the early days. Now? I think of all the folks who don't have any of the privilege necessary to deal with all the crazy red tape and paperwork it must take to even have access to medication if you are uninsured. I think of the people who feel as if they don't have access to testing, much less education.

It's a cause I believe in, and I hope my friends will help me in my goal.

If you'd like to help (in ANY way), the link to my page is here.

xoxoxoxoxooo
kellianne: (2009)
Guys, I LOVE our new house! Fully and totally LOVE. I am so choc filled with plans. I am in no hurry to fully unpack because there is work to do on the walls and it doesn't matter because we are going to live here forever, which gives us lots and lots of time to do all the things. I can feel the love that the former owners had for the property, and that means so much to me. This house is so so solid! We are going to make so many memories here!

I've seen a 6 pointed deer walking down our street. I've had neighbors stop by left and right to welcome us to the neighborhood. I've gone to the awesome and massive local street fair. I've been invited to block parties. I've had a few meals out on Solano Ave (the closest business street to us, about 4 blocks away), and I haven't had a single meh meal. Which is good good good because it means that Buster and I can have hyper local dates and save $$ on babysitting, because lord knows we can't afford to go out like we did before... gotta get our Airbnb started and making $$$ first to help us with the mortgage.

Mostly I'm writing this here because, woah, it can feel overwhelming to live in boxes. My kitchen is a wreck - It's been challenging to tetrisize the space because it's a little bit less cabinet space than I had at the old house. I can't find the fucking silverware OR the pricy pro-biotics I bought the day of the move (maybe the cultures are dead now- $30 down the tubes). And the landlords at the old place are, bless their worried about nothing hearts, TOTALLY getting on my nerves. But none of it matters because I LOVE THIS HOUSE and, yep, dreams are coming true!
kellianne: (2009)
We are back in Berkeley after a lovely trip out east.

I was totally seduced by Richmond. That place gets me, every time. A front porch for everyone! Great friends! Great food! Proximity to my family (close, but not too close). Only 100 easy miles away from Katie! AND I could have what is essentially my dream house for somewhere in the 400k neighborhood.

But, friends, it is hot there. And while it would be a great career move for ME (I could essentially make the same amount of money there as I would here, while living on about 60% of the income), it would not be a career move in the least for my husband. Plus, everyone smokes actual cigarettes, which kills the air all around you.

But still, all the benefits are food for thought. I am submerged for at least 15 minutes a day in the swells of East Bay house porn. Here, my dream home costs about 850k, which firmly requires both of us to work as hard as possible so that we can afford the life we have and hopefully retire someday. But the food is delicious and super affordable. And the air smells like flowers, 90% of the year. And, of course, there are about a million other reasons to be in love with this place over a place like RVA. Walking Niko to his school this morning reminded me of all the lovliness... a beautiful day with zero humidity, like most every day here, year round.

Anyhow. House porn. I have a problem. I guess I just feel as if, when we buy a house, wherever it is (probably in the east bay), I'm pretty much not leaving. I want to build out a garden and work on it for years. I want to know a house's very bones. I want to know (and fix) every creaky floor board. I want to watch trees grow and grow. I want to know every neighbor's drama and dog. I want to set up house and never, ever leave. I want this moving around to just plain stop.

***

In sad news, I found out while we were away that Sopor has cancer, and that it's in her lymph system. I take her today to get her stitches out (I had a bunch of the cancer removed before I knew what it was). I'm excited to let her hang around outside again, for her last days. She seems to be feeling fine after what was a rough recovery. I've never taken a pet in for surgery before, and it was ugly. I'll be happy to throw the cone away and be done with it. I just want to enjoy her and make her happy for the time she has left. She's been the best cat for me, and I'm super sad to think that she won't be with us for much longer. In fact, I don't want to write about it any more.

***

In happier news, Niko's birthday is the day after tomorrow and I am starting to feel super excited about planning it. He has requested pancakes for breakfast, an extended school day (I guess he wants to bask in the glow of his friends knowing it's his birthday), and strawberry rhubarb crisp for dinner. We are buying him binoculars. And maybe a kid's bird watching book?

I don't know what I'm doing for the party yet. I need ideas. I'm so travel weary and just want to do something small, which I'm sure will feel large enough to him, anyhow. He has requested chocolate balls instead of cake, based on a gluten free mostly dates and nuts recipe that a friend made in RVA. Berkeley kid wants gluten free, vegan, chocolate balls instead of cake! And he told me this morning that we sure need to eat extra vegetables this week because we didn't eat that many while on vacation. Sure, kid, no problem. I love it!
kellianne: (2009)
Of course I thought I did this survey every year, but absolutely can not find a copy of it since 2011. That’s crazy! It's gotta be in here somewhere but I've run out of digging time. I guess last year was pretty hectic because we were about to move and I was spending three weeks in Delaware, but still! I can’t believe that I might've forgotten two years in a row!

Year in Review )
kellianne: (2009)
This kid, you guys. He's so deep, but so silly. The other day he pointed at my frown lines and asked why I had them. I told him that they were wrinkles from squinting a lot in the sun. He got suddenly upset and said, "DON'T SAY THAT! DON'T say they are wrinkles!" I asked him what was so wrong with wrinkles and he said - "Wrinkles mean that you are old, and when you are old you will die. Then we won't be together."

I shit you not. This is our kid. He told us just yesterday, "I am lonely in my life." Apparently he wants another kid in the yard, but does not want a brother or sister because then he would have to share his room and, besides, babies pull hair and he wouldn't want to share toys with someone who pulls hair because that is not nice. I told him that his friend Alycah (full name: Alycah Zam, which her parents thought was hilarious until the first loud playground reprimand of ALYCAHZAM!! made all the parents stare- so funny) lived close by, but he says she's too far. 3 blocks is apparently too far! In any case, they are our new family to loooove and we have been spending lots of quality time together. I am getting happier and happier here as I build my Berkeley community.

I felt like there was an outside chance I was pregnant this month, and was so bummed when I got my period. What does that mean? I don't know. I waffle on this second kid business like no one I know. But then, I waffle about everything. And thus the frown lines. Seriously. I want a second kid! But I'm so wary of actually doing it because, geez, the first kid almost killed me and I have such an unease about the indentured servitude of motherhood (yes, there, I said it). With Niko being 3.5, it's so much easier, and so fun. Do I really want to go down the rabbit hole again? The thing is that if I don't go down that rabbit hole, I feel like I'll have a lot of regrets at the end of my life. It's such an conundrum. And I know it'll be easier with the second because I'm not a beginner parent any more. I understand so much more now the impermanence of it all. But I know that it'll also have many moments I feel like I won't make it through. And I feel so very protective of my sleep. There is still one hormonal week a month that I don't get much sleep, and I'm not a great person on little sleep.

Anyhow, I've talked about all that boring stuff before.

I could tell you about Thanksgiving. It was amazing! I cooked with a mama friend of mine in preparation the day before and it really saved my ass, plus it was so joyful. The night before the holiday, I got a bit high and decked out the table. As a result of these solid preparations, I hosted the prettiest and best tasting Thanksgiving I've hosted yet (third time is the charm, I guess). It was honestly perfect and super fun. There were 6 adults and 3 kids, and another mom came by with her son for desert, which is really the perfect amount of people to have over. I had everyone come with their list of things to be thankful for (one for every year of life), and there was such a solid representation of goodwill and thanks in this house. I will always thank the Goldbergs for sharing that tradition with us last year. We will keep to it for every Thanksgiving meal! It was grand!

In the days that followed, we had a ton of visitors over. Katie was here for the 2 weekends after. And even between those weekends, it's just been this wonderful wash of spirt making in the house. So much wine. So much food. I was definitely burning the candle at both ends though, and ultimately getting pretty grumpy until I told Buster last weekend that we were NOT hosting and definitely relaxing. That was a solid idea. This weekend we will also take it easy and prepare for the crazy of Christmas.

And after Christmas? I'm getting foot surgery. Fucking terrifying, you guys.

I was expecting a client an hour ago and she never showed, so let's thank her for giving me time to write this entry! Now I have to go and puck a dude up from preschool, which is one of my favorite times of the day.

The twitter holiday party is tonight. Whatever will I wear? Oh geez. I usually have this stuff planned out far ahead of time. Oh well.
kellianne: (2009)
I wondered several times over the past couple of weeks if I was pushing Niko too hard with this bike riding thing. We had a rough 4 mile ride a few days back, when I put it upon us both to ride up to the bike shop to have my bike looked at. We fought for an hour going there there because it's ever so slightly uphill. The ride home was fun, of course, with it being ever so slightly downhill. We both remembered the ride as being "really hard", though, when recounting our days at dinner. I had to be his best cheerleader (yay), coach (you got this!), and employer (if you do not finish these last two blocks you won't be able to ride to the bike shop again until you are faster and on two wheels) the whole way there.

We have a newish family tradition. We talk about the favorite parts of our day during dinner. It's a lovely practice; it makes me think of favorite parts even when remembering the day fondly is difficult. It also teaches Niko a bit more about how days work, because he has been convinced through most of his life that there are two days within one day- he has Day Nap and Night Nap (they often do feel like two days, I guess). Anyhow, in our conversation the dinner night of the big ride, we didn't remember those two slightly uphill miles fondly at all.

He has also been having nightmares a lot at night, with one night having me run into his room at least 4 times. So I knew that something big was happening in his brain. He has nightmares before all his big brain breakthroughs, which is common. I was wondering what kind of craziness he was going to come up with after the bad nights.

He woke up Sunday (yesterday) morning very chipper and asked at breakfast if we could take the training wheels off of his bike. We told him that we were going to raise them more, make them a bit more crooked. He insisted we take them off completely. B and I were doubting and giving giving each other knowing looks, but who were we to tell him he couldn't try? We took them off and Buster took him outside.

Within 15 minutes he's shakily riding on two wheels. By the end of a few hours, he can start pedaling himself from a dead stop. I am seriously amazed. Now we can't get him off the bike. It's so ridiculously adorable, I don't even know what more to say. I am humbled by his awesomeness. I was worried I was riding him too hard, but now I think he's leaping past my best biking expectations.

It's funny to raise this kid while I have foot problems. We spend most of our time together, and most of our recreation time involves bikes. I've stopped walking because of all my foot issues. Berkeley is spread out enough that I would have a mile's walk to the grocery store, and that's just too much for me to handle daily right now (there and back). I was worried that, since Niko isn't really a runner, he wasn't going to be a biker. Turns out, he's just imitating my own habits. I'm not at all a runner, either.
kellianne: (2009)
My son. I have so very much to say right now but really just feel like talking about my lovely son.

Waiting for a monorail. Being handsome in the east coast heat.

I'll put it behind a cut. It is long and meandering!

Read more... )
kellianne: (Default)

I am sitting by a marina somewhere up north after an easy 8 mile ride. And, you guys, it has been almost 5 years since I quit doing cardio because of my stupid arthritic foot. I have even taken walking easy during that time. Couldn't do any cardio at all and never really thought to bike much in seattle because I am just not tough enough for those hills in that weather.

The East Bay may not be hip. It may not have street fashion or inspirational haircuts. I will probably not ever again get to walk into a local bar again and have everybody pretty and fun know my name. I don't have too many friends. I wear the same yoga pants every day.

But biking? In this weather? By this water? In these dirty yoga pants? Everything. I feel fucking great! My foot isn't bothered in the least. My lungs feel so happy to be pushed a little. My legs look, for the first time in ages, like they are starting to balance out in muscularity (my left leg is incredibly dominant no matter how much I stuck with my asana practice).

I feel so incredibly grateful to my husband for moving us here. It is truly the biggest boon to my health and longevity, and it happened right at a time when I was starting to feel really awfully old before my time. I feel as if he has saved me from certain death. Or at the very least, he has helped to keep me from the very depths of chronic pain. Which is, not in a small way, saving our little family.

Hopelessness is contagious. I don't want my chronic pain to become a big part of Niko's story. I'd rather create a story about managing pain and finding joy, which doesn't come easy to everyone.

When Buster and I talked about the possibility of moving to Berkeley, I had fantasies about becoming a bike riding family. It was pretty outside my reality. It just seemed like riding a bike was the only exercise option I had left (outside of yoga, which is my forever practice). On Sunday, we are heading out on a 30 mile morning ride with some friends. My plan is to get to a 60 mile trek before the end of the summer. I'm just so excited and so thankful to have found a new healthy practice that makes me so joyful, especially one that I can share with my family and friends.



Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

kellianne: (2009)
I've just dropped Mr. Crane off for his second official day at preschool (the first was a week and a half ago, right before spring break happened). As I left, he was helping one of his teachers put caterpillars in new chrysalis into the butterfly station. He was so stoked!!! I am so relieved to have him there. Trips to Little Farm, the Children's Museum, the Farmers Market, and parks I do. Lots of bike trips I do. Planting stuff in the garden I do. Caterpillars? Turtles? Kids yoga? Music class? I don't do that! He is going to have so much fun!

And now I'm sitting here, sipping tea and gearing up for a few hours of work on 750words.com. I am so stoked to have time to work on the site without having it dig into my time with Buster in the evenings. We have been working too much on week nights and some weeks barely know each other, adult conversation wise. I need this preschool time for my day job.

I also need to:
Make this week's meal plan
Go grocery shopping
Supervise a furniture delivery and Craigslist pickup
Clean the kitchen
Make dinner (for the most part)
Do an hour of yoga (that can wait until nap time, which happens after I pick the guy up)

In the space of 4 hours. Which means that I shouldn't be tic tapping away personal matters, but my head feels a little cloudy. I feel as if I never get much of anything personal down.

So where to start? Work is going well. The site is having pretty good times, and I think it can continue to grow slowly and that I can keep up. Plus I've opened my kitchen salon, which is fun and awesome. People come over, I cut their hair and get adult time, and then I make money. Best job, ever! The house is really well situated for it - super big kitchen with a door, so Buster and Niko can be in the living room and no one feels intruded upon. Plus having people over all the time means that I make an extra effort to make everything clean and pleasant, which pays off well during family times.

I have lately been feeling a lot of feels for Seattle. Missing it pretty hardcore, even while still missing NYC and the east coast in general. I am stoked to be flying east for Alice and Harry's wedding in a few weeks! Seeing my family will be a wonderful thing, too.

But Seattle!! Can we talk about Seattle? I miss hipsters, you guys. I miss being surrounded by poorish, mostly white people who have ridiculous style, wear your granddad's clothes, and look incredible. They have style that always inspired me, professionally and otherwise. And the bay area has maybe 4 hipsters that actually look fantastic. Seriously. And don't tell me to go to the mission. I've been there. Those kids are... not very hip. I HAVE seen a few kids with incredible hair in Oakland at Art Murmer, all black kids who have more hip hop in their little finger than I have in my whole body. Love them. But where are the tattooed bartenders with the big glasses? Where are the girls who are rocking ridiculous vintage that is a way early prediction of what the biggest fashions will be, 2 years down the line?

At first I thought it was the money. The bay area is expensive, right? But NYC is hella expensive, too, and that place has ridiculous kids everywhere you turn. Then, I met a woman who works in the restaurant industry and hails from Portland and Seattle. She asked me how I was digging things as we sat in an idyllic park while our kiddos displayed perfect behavior and had a ball. I said, "Man, this weather is incredible. I don't think I'll ever be able to leave the birds, bikes and breeze. And everyone is so flipping nice!! BUT! My PNW sister!? WHERE ARE THE HIPSTERS?" She was cracking up, "I know, right?! I miss it! They don't work in kitchens here. It's all Mexicans who work work for less, or rich kids who will work for FREE for a year (!!!!) at places like Chez Panisse just to have alumni status on their resume." Then, Buster brought up that NYC has a pretty wide breadth of employment while the bay mostly attracts folks in tech, who are a completely different kid of hip. Anyhow, I find it very fun to think about how a work culture, money, and market creates or suppresses a sub-culture.

Now I'm thinking of slipping out to art murmer more, and maybe hitting a car show? Because I have seen a few Mexican kids around (dudes, mostly) who have KILLER barbered haircuts. And that might be where I will be needing to pull inspiration when I'm not traveling to visit NYC and Seattle. I need my inspiration!

I am feeling self conscious writing all of this down, I realize these are all disjointed thoughts and I have so many friends in social sciences who could talk about this with eloquence (please comment!) but it's my job to look at the kids and be inspired!! Love the kids. Forever and always. Especially Millennials, it seems. Though I'm sure that whatever generation is behind them will also be awesome because kids are always awesome.

That is all. I really need to get plugging!

Good Morning!
kellianne: (2009)
It's taken me nearly three years, but I can finally feel myself easing into the waxing and waning of phases in a young lad's life.

The most recent weeks here at the Benson house have been a new special version of incredibly annoying. Niko is exploring all sorts of ownership concepts. Which means that there have been LOTS of arguments because when ever I say one thing, he naturally wants the opposite. Sometimes I can be patient with all his dilly dallying (shoot, that's one reason I'm happy to be staying at home right now. I got no friends and no where to go, so whatever!), but other times we actually do have things to do. A house still needs to be run and all that. Food needs to happen. Naps need to happen. Hell, going to the park to run him down needs to happen, too. FUN needs to happen! So it's hard to always be patient when the dilly dallying is strictly because he is going through some crazy brain development that is making him a total jerk.

During this most recent pain in the neck phase, I finally managed to keep my temper in check (this is not easy for a kellianne). Every day that ended, I took special pride. Another day when I didn't submit to assholery and become an asshole myself! But it was exhausting, let me tell you, to negotiate my way through 1538584378 conflicts a day. I just kept telling myself IT'S A PHASE IT'S A PHASE IT'S A PHASE HE WILL BE SO MUCH SMARTER WHEN THE TRANSFORMATION IS FINISHED!!

AND FINALLY!! Yesterday he woke up literally dancing and demanding a party. So we danced and partied, all day, and it was awesome. Suddenly he is speaking more clearly and acting so much more polite and empathic. We had a sitter over last night (the same sitter that he HATED 3 weeks ago) and he was pleased to see her. When she asked if he needed a bath, I said, "Well Niko, you haven't had any accidents today and you have had a bath for the past several nights, so I guess you can skip it!" and dude responded, "OH! Thank you for saying that mama! Thank you for saying I don't need a bath tonight!" and kissed me! What? So polite and sweet.

And this morning? More of the same. A perfect 2 hours long play date with no sharing issues AFTER a 45 minute bike ride that included 2 errands while he sat, perfectly chill, in his chariot. The other mom and I sat at the park and talked like adults the whole time while our sons played perfectly. Bliss. If every day were like this I would have a whole pack of kids!

I just want to put thanks out to the universe that that last phase (whatever it was) is over. I also want to enjoy this moment, because the tide will change again one day and I will again have to rein in my temper and tell myself it's just temporary.

Phew. You guys! Parenting is a weird and hard test on everything good I ever thought of myself before having a baby. Patience! Temper! Who knew the practice could be so consuming?
kellianne: (2009)
It's finally happening. I am surrounded by boxes and am strangely not stressed. At all.

I imagine this is because the stress will come later, as I try to cajole my way into a tight renters mareket in a city where I know next to no one. As I try to wrap my head around why I would ever want to leave the stability and sense of community that Seattle has provided for us. As I start over, again.

I start over all the time, you guys. On a dime, usually. I mean, there might be a few days of waffling, but mostly I'm game for anything, all the time. My therapist recently told me that if something happens 3 times or more, the problem is me. We were, of course, talking about something entirely more personal, but I've been thinking a lot since about how life keeps leading me to live in all these different cities and about how that is obviously something I have obviously chosen to do, time and again. If I ever complain about how life has led me on a meandering path that has left me feeling uprooted, please refer me to myself as the 'problem'.

And the fact is that I get bored when things I expect to happen are happening. So here we Bensons go!

Niko is taking it all remarkably in stride. It's kind of amazing. Even Sopor is being a sport about residing in the basement bathroom of some kind neighbors until we take her on the road. Though I did just get a phone call about how her head got stuck between the wall and the washing machine. Poor Sopor. I hope they both continue to roll with it during the crazy drive down to San Francisco. Because that's how I roll into new cities. On wheels. We could have easily had the car shipped down there and followed in a plane... But I like to roll into a new city after being on the road in contemplation.

And, anyway, it's not like we will never be back in Seattle again. It's a pretty short plane ride and Niko needs to come back from time to time to hang out with his toddler friends. He has become so close with his little drooly pants crew. Lord knows how I'll be able to replicate the camaraderie that I have those families, but change always seems impossible when you're looking at it head on. When I was 20, I was absolutely determined that being a wife and a mother was slavery. And while that's not entirely untrue (!), it's also something I entirely welcomed 10 years later. When I was a new mom, I never thought I'd be comfortable hanging out on the playground and chatting up other moms and now I'm making playground friends all the time... Or, well, I would be if it weren't so damn cold and foggy right now. So point is that I'm having a hard time imagining how I will morph into a Bay Area Mom with Bay Area Mom Buds, but I know I will. Because I must, and because I am lucky in areas like this, anyhow.

We have had the most glorious week of goodbyes, you guys. I have felt so much love and support from our friends here. It has been overwhelming and beautiful. Our Bon Voyage party was the best party of 2013 thus far, I am sure. I almost made it through without crying but, of course, the Vain crew got me. Truly, I do not know how I will ever possibly replicate the awesomeness of the Vain crue and clients. And so I cried, which I don't do because heaven forbid anyone see me as less than powerful. But then I did. So the gig was up for 5 minutes until I ran to the bathroom to save my eye makeup.

I will close with a funny Niko moving story:

Two days ago, I went over my own personal moving schedule with Niko while he had dinner. I wanted him to understand what I was doing every day, and why he was in daycare all week. When I got to friday on the schedule, I said, "Friday, you are going to go to Jenny's and the people are going to come and pack up our Choo House (Niko's name for our place, of course). He screamed NO I DON'T WANT THEM TO PACK UP MY CHOO HOUSE. I explained that the house needed to be packed up so that our stuff could be shipped to San Francisco. So he says Oh in a totally nonchalant manner (related: the fact that toddlers can go from SCREAMING to nonchalant in a split second is ZOMG). Then he asks me to read the schedule again.

I read the schedule 4 more times. Every time I get to Friday, he screams NO I DON'T WANT THEM TO PACK UP MY CHOO HOUSE!! And I repeat my explanation. Then he asks me to read it again. Finally, the last time I read the schedule, I ask him - And what happens on Friday? - and he wails - THEY ARE TAKING AWAY MY TRAINS!!!!! I said, dude? is that what this is about? and he weeps into my shoulder - uh huh mama they are packing my trains. And so I say - hey how about I put your trains in the car with us? So they can be with us always? - and he lights up like a little firecracker and is all - oh! yes!

And now he checks the care all the time to make sure they are in there. In April it will be a full year of TRAINSTRAINSTRAINS and it shows no sign of stopping. I love it.
kellianne: (Default)

I guess I am the type of parent who has no problems using the television as a distraction while she gets to have morning sex with her long lost husband.

So be it!!

I'm back in Seattle for one week! Hi!!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

kellianne: (Default)

I keep wanting to post my yearly survey and resolutions, but getting out a computer seems too daunting. It would mean getting out of this warm bed next to Niko. So I guess I'll just peck away at my iPhone for now...

We have now been at my parents' place for almost 2 weeks, with one week left to go. Buster left yesterday for the wilds of San Francisco. I had to fight off a meltdown yesterday because a week without my husband is a world of awful. The 15 year old in me really comes out in this place - at least having buster here keeps me on some better behavior.

I was worried that I would just lose it the moment he left town. Worst case scenario, I would be sitting in front of the tv all day with my kid, flinging handfuls of processed foods into our mouths whole making unintelligible mumbles in my Delaware accent.

As it turns out, that's not really who I am. And it wasn't really who I was, ever. So today I got up, made my banana buckwheat pancakes, and took Niko on an epic journey in a wagon to the small town I grew up in, which is just under a mile away.

We stopped in all the antique stores on the main drag, spent a dollar on some vintage hot wheels, saw an AMAZING mobile that my high school BFF made in the local gallery (I want to buy it!!), and went to the local cafe for a tasty lunch.

I was stopped by a few cars in my old town. People know me here! It's so wild because every one of us suddenly looking a bit middle aged and...wow. Sometimes I think that life is too short. But then being here floods me with memories from lives I lived so long ago that I can't even believe they are my own memories. And that's the long and short of it, quite literally, I guess.

By the time we got home, it was late and we were COLD and exhausted. We slept in a cuddle for 2 hours and then I hustled Niko out to our ridiculous rental car (a mustang) to take a trip to Longwood Gardens, where the Christmas lights were stunning.

There was a really cool train set there. Unfortunately, we went to the train first... Which meant that I didn't get to see much else. I have to remember to take Niko to the trains LAST, because he never wants to leave a train.

After, we went out to dinner with Sean (my college boyfriend and soul brother) way out in the country. I didn't make it home until 10:30. Poor Niko was beyond exhaustion.

Tomorrow I need to spend the afternoon cooking for my little sister's birthday dinner. Saturday we are headed down to Baltimore for a reunion with some friends. I'm still considering a trip to NYC on Monday or Tuesday.

Mostly I am incredibly happy and excited. I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude that I get to spend this time here with Niko before going on our newest adventure. I am feeling pretty charged up for 2013!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

kellianne: (2009)
Do y'all ever get a feeling of utter disconnection when something VERY BIG is about to change in your life, or is it just me?

It's like when you're engaged to be married, or in your 3rd trimester of pregnancy and everyone you see, even co-workers that you see several times a week, asks "OMG ARE YOU GETTING EXCITED????" every time they see you. And, if you're me, you're like, "Ummm...? Sure." Because it doesn't feel real that your life is about to change like crazy. Because you can't KNOW the UNKNOWN and wrap your little brain around all that change... so what is there to be excited about? When you are baffled?

I said to Buster the other day (in THERAPY), "I can't wait to move to San Francisco so you can stop telling me that I don't know anything about San Francisco!" Because, really, he is there once a week for days AND grew up in the (baffling) OC. He knows so much more of what we are about to get into than I do. All I can ascertain about this area of California (which I have never been able to spell without spell check) is the following:

++++ IT IS SUNNIER THAN SEATTLE
- People REALLY like their cars there
- It is wicked expensive
+ Their food scene is the basis upon which all good, modern American cuisine sits
+ Big ass succulents
+ They sure do love their disco bleeps and bloops
+ Houses are mad colorful
+ Wine is mad good
- They like Green Day in Oakland
- Hippies
- Dirty bums who shit in the street
+ Produce is cheap and amazing
+ AVOCADOS
- Everybody talks tech 24/7 (groan)
++++++ DID I MENTION THAT IT IS SUNNIER THAN SEATTLE?
+/- Most of the girls have long hair (which makes bread and butter cuts hella easy for me)
+/- According to recent reports from the street scene, hairdressers there are not hip in veggie dye applications. This means $$ for me. Even though I kind of hate veggie dye applications.


And that's really it. Did you notice emphasis I put on the sun? You guys, it is so fucking extra dark in Seattle right now, and so rainy. I am stoked to go east on Saturday. I don't care if it's cold as balls (which, hi global warming, it is not) so long as it is bright. I hate hate hate HATE this weather. It makes me stupidly grumpy. I'm tired of my feet always being cold and I am becoming convinced that those swollen lymph nodes on the back of Niko's head will become magically un-swollen in a drier climate. Speaking of Niko- I think he has his first little cold sore. Bully to me for giving him the herp.

Anyhow. Today I am making the house amazing and clean for our house sitter because we will be gone for about 3 weeks to holiday back East. And Rick is bothering me to come to NYC. Which is so weird to talk about because for some reason going to NYC makes me feel tense. I think it's because I envision an urbanite visit where lots of money I don't have (as of Friday I am FUNemployed) is spent on lots of fancy food and drinks. All I want to do is hang out in kitchens and socialize with people in yoga pants while little cherubs drool on my ankles. NYC. You have been lost on me these days. I will definitely be in DC though, because people hang out in houses there. And Baltimore. And Philly. And Richmond. NYC!!!? My beloved? Am I giving you the shaft? Why is the thought of you stressing me out? Am I afraid you will lure me into spending my last $60 on socks?

What else? I feel like there is so much. I should really write about how Niko is saying all sorts of magical things these days. Like how when I lose my temper and scold him, he asks me when my flare subsides, "Are you happy now, mama? I want you be happy." Or, when he is hyper (which isn't often because he is way more in his mind than in his body), he says, "I FEEL RUNNY!!" About how his new best friend at preschool is a kid he has known since birth (the kids mama and I became friends in birth class). This kid was the bully for the first year they were in school together, and is totally in his body with hyper activity. But now they are in dude love! and teachers tell me that they are ones to watch like a comedy team. Niko is the brains of the operation and comes up with the wicked ideas, and Ellis carries them all out. Hilarious!

Also, it has been so difficult to say goodbye to all my clients at VAIN. All these amazing, intelligent people who have helped shape my understanding of life experiences over the past 5 years. All these clients who trust me, who I don't need to filter myself or audition for any longer. That is extremely hard to leave, you guys. Double booked work weeks and a full time paycheck for only 3 days of work is also hard to leave. WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MY CAREER FOR MY MARRIAGE????? So much restarting in a business that does not take kindly to restarting. Oi.
kellianne: (Default)
A thought:

The working class girl in me believes that people have the best conversations while they are in motion. This explains the ease of a client in a good hairdresser's chair. This also explains why so many folks prefer to congregate in kitchens.

Also:

I am not feeling well lately. I feel a sense of physical malaise that makes me think that something is wrong. But my skin is clear, I have no fever, shakes, chills, etc. I haven't been drinking at all, to try and combat it, and I am making sure to have a diet full of all the right things (plus coffee). But still my muscles ache and feel like bricks. The last time I felt something like this was when I developed mastitis... but I don't have any chance of that happening right now, and my whole feeling is a little bit different from that, anyhow.

What does one do when one feels unwell, but has no signs of being unwell other than muscle ache and malaise? This has been going on up and down for almost a week.
kellianne: (Default)
At first, to start my emotional preparation - I suppose, I was unfairly letting myself bitter towards this weird Seattle. I got busy remembering everything passive aggressively rude that ever happened (so many many many times). I was feeling a whole bunch fear about the winter that's to come. Thinking, "I never belonged here, anyway."

And while all of those things above are parts of my story, the bigger part of my story is about how this place has been very very good to me. I met my husband here. I have an terrific job here, with tons of wonderful clients, who help me to reflect on my own life with parts of the wisdom they share from their own. We have, hands down, the best fucking radio station I have ever had the honor of tuning in to. Seattle remains, in my mind, the most beautiful city in this country, BY FAR, and has clean, refreshing air. Perhaps more importantly than any of this, it is culturally a FANTASTIC place to raise my child. I share core values with this city's politics and feeling of compassion, and I appreciate that tremendously.

Thinking about all of that today overwhelmed me a little bit. I am really happy to be here for the next 5 months. I am looking forward to exploring a new, world class, city. And I am also looking forward to being here for a while longer. Let's hang out and do things all the time, ok?

Hugs

Aug. 20th, 2012 10:41 pm
kellianne: (Default)
I have this problem with stress when things don't go my way. I really need to work on it, but am not quite sure how to let go. If something is on my schedule, I want it to happen on time. I guess it's a modern times conundrum and a common one at that.

Anyhow, today Niko and I got into a sort of argument. I was super amped to take him out on a sushi date at the mall and before having him pick out a brand new pair of shoes. We talked about it several times and he seemed stoked, too. (Backstory! I bought him shoes online and he refuses to wear them, but needs new shoes- so I thought that maybe if I got him to choose the shoes himself it would be all good.)

He was kind of a grumpy pants at sushi, which can be par for the course after he spends the day in daycare. I think he just gets tuckered out from being the best kid on the block at daycare! Anyone who watches my kid talks endlessly about how good and how chill he is and this is not quite the dude we see at home so I know that he's just saving his tears for the people he feels comfortable around. But he still seemed stoked to look at new shoes - so we went.

But once we were at the store he was a NO NEW DON'T LIKE IT monster. So we went for a walk and he was a NO WALK DON'T LIKE IT monster. I asked him if he wanted to go home and he was a NO GO HOME DON'T LIKE IT monster and he plopped himself down on the ground. I walked a few paces away from him and we had a staring standoff for 5 minutes while I took some deep breaths.

When I felt my NONE OF THIS IS PART OF MY PLAN rage subside, I walked over to him and sat down. I said - Niko. I'm feeling really frustrated. I was excited to try on new shoes and go for a walk. You are using your mean words and it makes me feel frustrated.

He touched my cheek and said very seriously - Happy, mama. Happy.

I said - You want mama to be happy?

He nodded yes and asked - Hug?

And really, who needs to spend money on new shoes when you can instead have a huge hug on the floor of the stupid yuppie mall?

Keep on hugging, y'all. It helps with scheduling conflicts and more.

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