What Size Sanity?

 

I believe I’ve mentioned once or twice the tactical warfare sheer parental bliss how much I enjoy clothes shopping with Jane.

Last week, I was insane privileged enough to try it with both kids. At the same time.

Sunny finally outgrew her shorts this summer, which shouldn’t have been the surprise it was, considering the labels said “3 Toddler” and she’s seven now.

Jane, who outgrows things every Thursday and has apparently developed Ideas about style—without parental permission, mind you—as well as simply . . . developing . . . needed long shorts she could bike in, and better foundation undergarments.*

So after lunch, we headed to Kohl’s and Target, both of which were having sales.  They’re also right next to each other, so we parked in the row between them and sallied forth.

Sunny, as it turns out, is still a peanut, something we discovered when she stood up after pulling on the smallest pair of shorts we could find from the 7-16 Girls section and was suddenly wearing them around her ankles.  We backed up into the children’s section and, lucky for us,  her actual size–5 Toddler, as it turns out—was easy to find.  That she really doesn’t care if her wardrobe comes from the discount racks was a lovely bonus.

That took us roughly two trips to the changing rooms and twenty minutes.

The other two and a half hours of our trip was all about Jane and her size, shape, sense of fashion, and sensitivity about all three versus the limitations of my credit limit, my discomfort** over the undeniable fact that my eleven-year old has a cup size, and my Ideas about the amount of room there should be between an eleven-year old and the fabric of her clothes.

Add in one bored seven-year old who was feeling neglected and marginalized while I ran in and out of the dressing room, fetching different sizes for her increasingly frustrated and rude sister,*** and it was not a particularly fun time.

But we lived through it and—with the lack of common sense and short term memory usually found in horror movie victims or party guests in The Game of Thrones—decided to hit the next store.

Again, Sunny was easy—two pairs of leggings, two of biking shorts, and one watermelon-striped sunsuit, no dressing rooms, everything on sale.

Jane, however, had decided during our struggles at the first store that if I had  forced her^ to shop for adult sizes, then she would rather die—or put a hit out on me, from her expression—than touch any size other than extra-small or small, regardless of the difference in designs or designers.

Sometimes this worked.

Most of the time, it didn’t.

And while I understood the self-esteem issues that can come with wearing adult sizes at her age,^^ I wasn’t about to buy a twenty dollar tee-shirt that wouldn’t fit her in two weeks or a pair of pants that didn’t fit her now because of a number.

At that point, it wasn’t even the money; it was the horrible thought of having to do this again so soon.

But we survived and I drove the hard-earned spoils of two spoiled kids home,^^^ put up my feet, and kept ’em there until dinner.

And that was that, until yesterday, when my MIL said, “You need to buy Jane more long shorts.  Those don’t fit.”

I looked and they didn’t but it wasn’t my fault.  “Those are her old shorts. I bought her two pairs of new ones.  I’m done clothes shopping for a while.”

“But what about the wedding?  Sunny has her Easter dress, but does Janie have anything to wear?”

“I don’t think so.”  It dawned on me that I didn’t have anything to wear, because the last fancy-schmancy wedding I attended was in 1998. “It’s on the twenty-first,” I said, shuddering.  “We have time.”

“It’s on the twelfth.”

I ran to the calendar.  Oh, $#!%.

Guess who’s taking her overexcited pre-teen shopping this afternoon for wedding outfits?

Help . . .

____________________

*As in, undergarments with actual foundations built into them.

**Stemming from my memories of being that eleven-year old, at a time when the only bra options for me were of the 18-hour, industrial-grade, blade-seamed, torpedo-cupped, saw-banded kind, with loose-ended straps that would suddenly let go of the clips on one side in seventh grade math class—the class with the hard-of-hearing teacher whose loud questions about why exactly I needed to visit the bathroom ensured that everyone was staring at my lopsidedness.

***And, it might be noted, passing on all suggestions that I buy her costume jewelry, perfume, or a rhinestone-encrusted watch to heal her hurt feelings caused by my lack of parenting skills.

^Presumably through the combined powers of genetics and having credit cards in my name.

^^Boy, do I understand it, and have worked damn hard to keep the body acceptance to a maximum in our house.  This was a lot easier once my kids acquired peers.

^^^Yes, that remark was snide and unfair.  No, I’m not taking it back.

Weekend Writing Warriors: The Anti-Cupids (Autocorrect)

We WriWa bannerHave a WIP, an EIP, an MS, or a published work you want to share on your blog, eight sentences at a time?

Want to sample other people’s WIPs, EIPs, MSs, or published works, eight sentences at a time?

Be a Weekend Writing Warrior!

Rules are here!

List of participants is here!

_______________________

This is a direct continuation  from last week’s eight and the perfect excuse to use this image, which was sent to me by a friend who may have mistaken the kind of story this is . . .

I changed one word to make it clear that Jack is sending the first text.

Gnommes

“Busy?” Jack typed.

A few seconds later, his phone pinged: “Yes—Why?”

“I need your gnomes bad.”

He waited, but instead of a ping, his phone rang.  “Hey.”

“If you’re going to sext,” Viv  said, “turn off your autocorrect.”

“I wasn’t.  Can I borrow your caffeine gnomes?”

_________________________

Gnomes!

Random Thursday: Elder Bookshopping, Bullseye Bears, and Barking Phlemfrogs

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā): the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s been sent by friends or has otherwise stumbled upon this week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as sitting down and creating actual content.

 Sunny and my husband were both sick yesterday with a nasty gastrobug, and Sunny apparently adopted a giant, barking phlemfrog while I wasn’t looking and hid it in her esophagus. 

So I stayed home, too, and got  pages done between laundry, rubbing backs, forcing liquids on a disinterested barking frog kid,  and inadvertently marathoning kids’ morning television.

I also managed to throw together some random last night, while ignoring the warning rumbles of my own digestive system.

Here ’tis—the random, not the rumbles.  I’m planning on keeping those to myself as long as possible.

___________________________

Rocket Raccoon. August First. That is All.

What more do you really need?

Not that Chris Pratt’s abs aren’t a very nice touch.  Thank you, Movie Trailer!

ooooooooOOOOOoooooooo

Cthtomer Service Win

Waterstones FTWIf I ever go back to retail (Elder Gods forfend), I want to work for Waterstone.

The commute would be totally worth it.

(Thanks, Watson! And Mr. Lovecraft!)

ooooooooOOOOOoooooooo

(A Small) Bear With Us

My husband told me that there was a trailer I had to see right away.

As in, “please stop what you’re doing and look at this” right away.

He was right.

Paddington Bear is a Very Big Deal in my husband’s family.

They have all the stories, which they’ve read with varied success to the next generation, and a loved-into-scruffiness family heirloom bear that the next generation denuded and disappeared within two minutes of its bequeathment unto them.

My family’s Very Big Deals have a slightly different focus, so my foremost memory of the Paddington Bear is the bullseye candy he’s always eating, or the marmelade he goes to great trouble—not always his own—to eat.

But I still wouldn’t miss seeing this movie with the bio-Wessons.

Think I’ll sneak in some bullseyes and marmelade.

It’s what Paddington would do.

ooooooooOOOOOoooooooo

He’s Been Hurt Before

Coulson Feels

But he’s not bitter about it or anything.

(This is actually supposed to move, but I don’t gif a darn . . . Click it if you care.)

ooooooooOOOOOoooooooo

THIS ONE

When I first saw this trailer, I thought—I know that guy. I love that guy—who is that guy?

It’s Jon Favreau.

The director of Iron Man? Plays Happy?

Happy.  Tony Stark’s bodyguard/chauffeu—you know what?

Never mind.

But I know how I’m spending my next afternoon off,
gastrobugs and barking phlemfrogs willing.

 

Priority Pie, with Bonus Balloons

True confession time:

The past few months, I’ve become nearly immobilized by my own expectations.

It’s as if I’ve been standing in the center of a room that’s slowly filling up with small balloons: blue wishes, pink desires, purple promises, yellow fears, orange assumptions, red determination, green guilt.

The pressure isn’t heavy, but it’s there and I’m surrounded, and I can’t move.

Not forward, not back.

But when I realized that I was the one blowing up all these balloons, I also realized that I was the one holding the hatpin.

So, I took last week off to figure things out.

And make pie charts.  Just because.

Why pie chart

 

First, I wrote down a list of things I want to do and have to do and don’t want to do and can’t do and have to do before I can do and do be do be do be do.

And then I wadded it up and threw it away, because I already know that even if I can, somehow, have it all, I’ll never be able to have it all at the same time.

So what are the daily essentials that I need to function?

 

Timepie

There’s some necessary overlap, because my family and friends and writing* can keep me sane, if they so choose, and I can’t spend time with them or write or work if I’m not healthy, and I don’t have health insurance without work . . . so it’s more of a Venn Pie.**

All I have to do is figure out how to balance the slices on a daily basis.

Here’s the plan, so far:

Work:

Professional LibrarianI don’t have much leeway here, except for what I do on breaks, which usually involves a combination of the other parts of the Timepie.

But at least work is on a fixed, steady schedule:  I put in a solid eight hours a day, five days a week, work one night a month and every other Saturday.

So it’s easy to plan around—and three cheers for the aforementioned health insurance and timely mortgage payments.

Moving on.

 Health:

I like the idea of being healthy, I’m just not very good at following through.

I don’t sleep enough, I overwear my disposable contacts until my eyes hurt, all of my favorite activities are  sit-ivities, I’m a wee bit caffeine-addicted and consider the Comfort Food Diet a valid lifestyle choice. . . And while I’m not afraid of doctors, I don’t bother making appointments for myself unless I’m coughing up something disturbing or that nagging pain isn’t going away—or the stick tells me I’m up the duff without a GYN-OB.***

But it’s past time I make the time to make some changes, which includes consulting medical professionals who will help me figure out what changes to make.

Therefore, I’m declaring this the Year of Health, because the Year of Sarah Finally Accumulating Medical Charts in One Place After a Decade of ERs and Drop-In Clinics takes too long to say.

I’ve already started:  last week, I went to the dentist, who inspired me to hurry up and find a regular doctor by showing me a chart of my enamel-less teeth^ and asking me questions about acid reflux, sleep apnea, and tooth-grinding stress.

But scheduled doctor appointments, while occasionally problematic, aren’t as tough to fit in as the daily stuff.

The dietary improvements I’m trying out—I won’t bore us all explaining them—take no more time than my old habits, and neither does exercise, or what passes for it around here, which I’ve already been doing.  Mostly.

SleepHowever, there’s no question that I need more sleep. And to get more sleep . . . I have to sleep more.^^

And that takes time.  Which means I need to finish up the stuff I need/want/have to do in a timelier manner so I can go to bed earlier or get up later.

I mean, I could warp the space time continuum in order to add a few hours between 02:00 and 02:01. But since I’m trying to reduce the amount of caffeine in my system, I’m not going to challenge the Laws of Physics anytime soon.

At least, not without the okay from my doctor. When I get one.

So . . .where can I make room?

Family and Friends:

Nope.  Not budging.  Or if I am, it’ll be towards more, not less.

That I need family and friends time is a given.

But though I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with e-mails and texts and lunches (with friends) and driving and feeding and hugging (the kids), I’ve been shirking a lot of invitations to girls’ nights out (R movies and art shows and nice dinners) and girls’ nights in (G movies and fingerpainting and pizza) lately because there’s so many other things I think I should be doing, so even when I’m out (or in) with them, I’m not really present.

Green BalloonInstead, I’m off somewhere thinking about  all the other stuff I should/would/could have been doing, batting those balloons back and forth—supposing there’s room in my subconscious—and occasionally holding the rough twine tethering a floating ball of maroon resentment, which will turn the color of guilt about five minutes after I escape leave.

My family is the biggest source of those green balloons.^^^

Because as much as I complain, as much as I occasionally threaten to mail them all to my parents in a cardboard box (“Breathing holes are a privilege, kids, not a right.”), or secretly plan to run away from the circus, I kind of love these guys.  A lot.

I may kvetch (and blog) about interruptions and distractions, bad timing and my apparent ability to render all other adults in the house invisible, but at the end of the day—the end of all my days—I’ve do understand that I’ll never regret a single moment I’ve spent with them.°

And that pretty soon, the kids will stop asking for stories or attention or braids or even a Mom-shaped beanbag to lean against while they watch TV.°°  Better get in that quality time where and when I can.

I’ve already started working on this, too—and I found out that I’m not as resentful now that I’ve learned to ask for time back—three hours a week to run away from home.

Look!  That Sanity slice just got bigger!

As for my friends . . .  when I’m with them, I think I’ll let go of all the balloons and just be.

Balloon free

Sanity

This is gonna fluctuate with the ebb and flow and jostling of the other parts of the ‘pie.

But there’s a couple of solid changes I can make that may help—a few adjustments in, shall we say, medication.

We all have things we do, little rituals, little habits, that help us center ourselves.

One of mine is reading.  Always has been, always will be, not giving it up—though “existentially incapable of giving it up” is probably the correct way to put it.

Computer games are another habit of mine.  Specifically, Time Management games—probably because I can have as many do-overs as I want and there are cheats and walkthroughs, interesting storylines set to a snazzy soundtrack, and plentiful rewards and applause for a job well done.

Makes a fine change from reality.

But there’s centering, and there’s avoidance—and there’s ignoring all the other things I would/should/could be doing instead, in favor of yelling, “Five more minutes!  One more level!” ay myself, until my eyes burn, my mouse hand hurts, and I’m restocking grocery shelves or harvesting pumpkins or doling out playdough in my sleep, which began a lot later (or earlier, depending on your POV) than I’d intended.

It’s past time to put some parental controls on my inner child and try a little Real Life® Time Management.

I haven’t decided whether to limit myself to playing on the weekends, or try to earn screen time with wordcount/chapters/pages.

Or use the time to reacquaint myself with one of the hobbies I seem to have traded in for pixels and points.

But I set my alarm for an hour last night, tore myself away from The Beardless Wizard, and had an early bedtime.

Booyah.

Time Flies

So . . . what’s left?

Right.

Writing:

Writing Pie

I like writing fiction and I like blogging my version of reality.

Both of them are worthwhile, both are beneficial, both can be a blast.

But one of my goals is to be a published author. More to the point, I want to be a paid published author.

Which means I have to scale down the time I spend writing posts and boost the time I use on fiction, both the writing of and the querying of.

To this end, I’m going to be dropping one post a week, to start, and I won’t be working on posts until I produce pages.

That also means the timing of publication—which has been holding steady at Noon CST for a while—is going to be more random.

Like today, for example.

And none of them are going to be as crazy long as this one, believe me—you’re getting all of last week’s at once.

Talk about your time savers . . .

Toy Balloons

 

__________________________

*To be honest, I write interesting stuff when my sanity slips.  But I wouldn’t want to live in that headspace full-time, and my family also prefers that I’m here more than there. Maybe; I’m told I can be amusing while on bookbrain.

**Off-topic Inquiry:  Can a Venn Pie be a Real Thing?  Strawberry, Blueberry, and Cherry, for example? Would I need to invent a new pan or just make and freeze seven kinds of pie (yes, I drew a Three-Pie Venn and counted) and carefully reassemble?  Or have I just proven (proved? indy?) that the Sanity Slice is just wishful thinking?

***No, I’m not trying to tell you something. The equipment still works, but the factory is closed.

^No cavities, though.  Weird.

^^This would’ve probably dawned earlier on someone who isn’t as sleep deprived as I am.

^^^Any guilt my friends give me is the motivational kind and much appreciated.  Thank you.

°Even the two-kid-solo-parent clothes shopping trips. Stay tuned for that post; it’s a lulu.

°°But not money; we’ll always have my overdraft.

 

 

Monday State of (so-called) Mind

Mondays

I’m back!  Sort of!

I’d planned to discuss my week off and my re-prioritization efforts and the cool stuff I was given for my birthday and my dentist appointment, and also the shopping trip I took with both kids yesterday—solo.

But what with the chapter attack and shopping and laundry and three levels of The Beardless Warrior (ironically, a time management game), I only managed to get about half the post done by the time I had to wake up the kids this morning.

I figured I’d finish up the blogcation/prioritization/birthday present/dental/shopping/parental post at work before I clocked in, but I might save the dental/shopping/parental part for Tuesday.

But Jane couldn’t find her day camp field trip shirt and Sunny decided to  take twenty minute to eat a peanut butter tortilla and fell back asleep while putting on her shoes,  and when we finally all made it to the car and hit the road, we was halfway to the kids’ school (twenty miles away) before I suddenly recalled that it was summer and I was supposed to be taking them  to the YMCA Camp (two mileaway).  So I ended up making myself late for work—although I partially blame all the delivery trucks, construction equipment, and cautious drivers that I was forced to follow all the way to work.

I figured I’d finish the  blogcation/prioritization/birthday present/dental/shopping/parental post over lunch, though I thought I’d save the dental/shopping/parental parts for later . . . and also the birthday present part, because I hadn’t downloaded the photos, &#!% it.

And then I realized that while I’d remembered to pack a bag lunch for Jane and give her field trip money, I’d forgotten to pack my own lunch or save enough cash to go out.

I figured I’d grab a bag of chips to eat at my desk and at least take a stab at writing up the decisions I’d made during my blogcation concerning my priorities and the changes I needed to make to stay productive, sane, and healthy. Or best two out of three, ’cause I gotta be me.

And then I thought about those priorities, showing vs. telling, and the definition of insanity.  And about not slapping myself on the hairpinned side of my forehead.

Ow.

So.

So at the time this post goes live, I’ll be sitting in my favorite nearby restaurant and having a nice salad and about a gallon of iced tea, because Rome was not decaffeinated in a day—unless that’s why it fell—and planning out a series of posts featuring a single topic each in the efforts to boost coherency.

Hey, it could happen.

Stay tuned.  Please.

So . . . How’s your Monday treating YOU?

Boxing Glove