Thursday, February 23, 2012


Days one and two of no Internettes, done. Already my mind is clearer, my patience longer, my eye contact with my children better, my voice stronger. The only things I used it for today beyond email was to listen to Pandora, update Jason's company Facebook page, look up appropriate attire for the weekend dinner reservations, check Chicago weather, and peruse the spa menu at our hotel.

Both girls had Winter Break from school today, so we started the day cuddling on the couch in jammies and finished it, predictably, with Little Bear and sponge rollers. (I will never get tired of watching Little Bear; could anything be sweeter? When my kids are too old for it, which they will be in a year or so, I will console myself by thinking about watching Little Bear with my grandchildren. Is it creepy that I am thirty-four years old and thinking about my grandchildren? Probably.)

The girls played Sorry! and restaurant while I showered, and then we went to Wealthy Street Bakery mid-morning, just because. It was quieter there than usual, so we loitered at a table, our threesome with our scone, our danish, and our cookie, and we just talked while the sun streamed in the windows and the espresso maker steamed noisily.

We baked cookies later in the day (more sugar!) and packed bags for sleepovers before dance. It felt like the old days, back when nobody had school and every day stretched out long in front of us, but since there was only one of them and not 377 in a row, it was okay. It was good.

Now, Land's End totes are crammed with footie jammies and favorite stuffed animals, night lights and church clothes, for a winter weekend at the grandparents'. My suitcase is full-to-bursting, too; two nights in a big city, and I throw it all in: blazer, flats, boots, jewelry, running clothes, cozy lounge pants for the morning when we order room service and read magazines. I love a fancy hotel.

(One time Annie wrote me a note and ended it by saying, "I love you as much as anyone could love anything." It may be my favorite thing that anyone has ever written.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Giving Up The Internettes

For Lent this year, I am giving up The Internet.

I realize it's ironic that I am writing about giving up The Internet on the internet. (It's also ironic that I'm giving anything up for Lent, annoyed as I am with the Catholic Church right now, but that is a story for another day.) Here are the ground rules, set by myself, for myself:

1. I can log into this blog every day and write here. I have, however, deleted my blogroll, just so I won't be tempted to clickety-click around and see what other people have written. I realize I'm going to miss some great writing in the next six weeks. Such is life. (If you write something on your blog that you really, really want me to read, email me a link to that specific post, and I'll read that.)

2. I'll still check email every day. If I didn't, I'd miss things like quotes from our contractor, piano lesson reminders, messages from friends trying to make plans, and every single piece of news from Annie's school ever.

3. I'll use The Internet in a very limited fashion for things I can't do another way, like make a reservation for myself at a yoga class, find directions on my iPhone, check the bank balance, or check the weather forecast for a specific purpose. I'll also still probably keep track of the books I'm reading on Goodreads.

4. Things I won't do: Facebook, Pinterest, read news online, read blogs, waste an hour perusing real estate listings in my dream vacation spots, get sucked into the wormhole that happens when I open the laptop in bed at 8:00 p.m. and look up to realize it's 10:30 with nothing to show for it.

I've been feeling pretty blue lately, and I think part of the problem is that I don't feel like I'm working creatively towards something every day. I hope this might be a way to get me to waste less time doing things that don't really contribute to my happiness while also forcing me to write here more frequently. I'm thinking that, when Lent is over, I'll see which things I actually miss and want to consciously put back into my life and which things haven't been enriching my days after all. I'm thinking that this is going to be hard, but isn't anything worth doing usually hard?

"Deny yourself something. An important factor in happiness is adaptability. Because we adapt quickly to any improvement, we soon take it for granted, and a luxury ceases to be a luxury when we experience it often. One unenjoyable cure for this "hedonic treadmill" is deprivation. Deny yourself something for a while - your usual mid afternoon cookie, watching TV - and you'll enjoy it much more when you experience it again." - Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project calendar quote from Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Things That Help

1. Sunny Sunday afternoon walks in the cold.
2. Hot cocoa for breakfast with homemade marshmallows.
3. Girls in sponge rollers.
4. Blowing up the air mattress in the living room to watch Love Actually in front of the fire on a Saturday night.
5. Leaving the air mattress in the middle of the living room indefinitely.
6. First piano recitals.
7. Creating a pink restaurant with the girls ("The food is mostly pink.")
8. Family Yahtzee night.
9. After-lunch yoga with my littlest yogi.
10. Sisters with matching shirts on Valentine's Day morning.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Three Portraits in February

1. Saturday night wedding.
Happy because we got to sneak a visit to Bell's between the ceremony and the reception, because (for once) Lisa and I out-danced and out-lasted the boys at a family event, because the DJ played Footloose and Nate danced to it a la Kevin Bacon, because pizza was delivered to the reception and nothing is better than pizza after a long night of drinking and dancing, because Jason and Colin did a ridiculous Kid N Play breakdance routine, because my hair looked pretty cute if I do say so myself.

2. Monday morning.
It was the usual Monday morning chaos, Jason already gone when the rest of us woke up, me packing lunches and walking Annie to school and doing Jemma's pre-school drop-off. I caught a glimpse of myself as I went into the grocery store: no make-up, messy ponytail covered with an old hat, holes in my running capris from that time I fell, a too-big fleece I bought in Canada in 2001. This is a new low, I thought, then came home to take a picture.

3. Friday night.
Jason's in Chicago and it's just me and the girls. I spent the morning running errands with Jemma (her voice in the backseat: "Mommy, can you find this song on the radio? (Sings) 'I don't want to lose your love, toooo-niiiiiight'.") I pulled Jemma and her friend O. to school pick-up in the sled and watched the girls be gleeful at the new piles of snow. We came home and read books in my bed, then took early baths, ordered take-out for dinner, and watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - the old version, thankyouverymuch - while I put the girls' damp hair in sponge rollers. Then I tucked them in, and it was just me, a pint of cherry stout, and a fresh book in my bed while the snow kept falling outside.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Movie Selection on a Friday Night

Me: What about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?
Annie: I don't know. Is it good?
Me: I saw it when I was little and I really liked it.
Annie: Is it that old?
Me:  . . . yeah . .
Annie: Is it one of those black-and-white movies?
Me: Ha! NO.
Annie: Good. Those kinds of movies are boring.