projects

last post for tonight

With the completion of this, I'm a LOT less stressed and looking forward to a more relaxed weekend :). I've been meaning to rebrand my coaching for awhile, and the big conference coming up spurred me to put it into place earlier than intended. I had to get the new logo to them for banner production by Monday, and sent it off earlier tonight. Whew!

i'm still here ... amended

... and considerably less sticky than before. it's been so beastly hot that i haven't felt like blogging, though i HAVE been glued to my sticky computer. the consolidation binge has hit the technology level, and i've been working steadily on combining our two main computers so that we can get rid of both (and the 2 ancient ones) and get a laptop. i'm so tired of networking and maintaining and fixing and doing things that i don't really know how to do, but call friends and google like mad and all that. they're loud machines, at least in the 'come play with me!' sense and energy use and space use and all that.

(sorry i just realized this is going to be techie, so beware. i won't do it often!)

one old machine (non-working 8 yr old laptop that i think has a bad hd sector) is getting picked up by a friend this morning so she can see if her computer guy can fix it for her. one down!
m's machine, a 2-or-so-yr-old e-machine, has had all it's email (a LOT!) and contacts ported over to my HP, and put into Thunderbird, along-with-but-separate-from all my email/contacts, which have been moved into Thunderbird also. NO MORE OUTLOOK! I've been having compatibility issues with my Office 2003 and Vista, and can't afford to upgrade really, or more importantly don't want to. I'm tired of MS bloat and don't have the same compatibility needs as before. i only have one design client left, and they're pretty flexible. so I also dropped Office and moved to the free OpenOffice.org, and so far love it! I've played around in their impress, calc, and write programs, which are virtually identical to ppt, word, and excel. A few glitches, and a few this missing (like pivot tables in .xls which i used once, for our wedding list, and hated) that i don't think i'll miss. it's come a LONG way from when i first tried it a couple years ago.

the porting of m's email, from outlook express on WinXP, to Thunderbird on Vista, involved a dos-based utility that i managed to eventually figure out, run, workaround it's issues, and conquer! thankfully my brief forays into all things .dos came back to me, at least enough to navigate thru my folders and find the one i needed to work in. so relieved :)

so the upshot? with fear and trembling and a large amount of glee, i ordered a new, green, inspiron 1525 last night! dell had some deals, and i loaded it technically with ram and hd and all that, and stripped out the extras like Office and upgrades. I added a docking station so that for the most part I can use a real keyboard, monitor, mouse, and printer. But I'll finally, finally, be mobile! whee! this means a bit of financial wiggling, but it's feasable and not pushing things too much (provided we do get a subletter ... if we don't that's a whole other story, so far a couple leads ...).

the plan is to sell all 3 of our desktops, one of which is only 6 months old. i'm kicking myself mightily for not getting a laptop 6 months ago, when i was so generously offered help from 2 sources, but it felt unnecessary. with the move this summer, the unknown after that, and the number of times i've wanted to work away from the house, it seems like the best thing after all. I think realistically I can get half the cost of the laptop covered by selling them, on craigslist, before we move. the new machine has vista, as does this one (so i'm not totally microsoft free. love the idea of linux but too intimidate to make that change at this point) so the transfer of everything should be pretty easy. i still have to port michael's other files and a few programs over, and figure out his gmail, and wipe the old old desktop clean, but the harder stuff is done (i think :).

this is all thanks to m's steady job, his willingness to get rid of his computer, and i'm thanking God for both. that, and the cool night last night! the mini-storm wreaked some havoc, which i'll post a pic of later because if i do it now the boys will get no breakfast.


Amended to add ...
That umbrella used to be in the middle of the round table, and the fence is almost as high as that brick shed to the left. mary poppins indeed ...

I love to make things


I love projects. Making them up, figuring out how to craft them, and then getting my hands dirty, desk messy, and mind lost in the process. I've been a part of OMSH's Color Me Happy Swaparooni group for a year now, and it's been a great way to get myself back in project mode. (Yes, back into, that means I've been out of it and I'm getting to that ...) You get partnered with a swap buddy, given a theme (like organizational stuff, blue/green summer stuff, tote bags, pink and brown, etc) and you have 3 weeks or so to find/make something(s) for your partner within that category. You trade likes/dislikes, blog urls, and whatever else will help the other person figure out what you might like.

The theme this month was organization, and my swap buddy and I realized quickly that we're a LOT alike, and so it was a piece of cake this time! We both made things we'd like ourselves, and gave them to the other. We both had rafts of unorganized recipes from the internet, and so went to town. And maybe overboard? I think I made her enough binders to house 5oo recipes so she should be good for awhile :). But I liked the binders, had (and took) lots of pictures to use, and love cutting things out, double stick tape, and spray glue. We're talking industrial double stick tape, I scored a roll of the kind used to stick fabric to metal cube walls back in my cubicled days, and am still using it up.

She made a recipe binder for me too, and included pre-made tabs, some of her favorite tried-and-true recipes, CHOCOLATE!, and a fun magnetic to-do-to-buy list for the fridge.


As I sat on the steps this morning, eating cheese nips with Fynn after grocery shopping, I realized something. I don't want to work anymore. Work as in ... find clients, feel stressed about clients, write notes for and schedule clients, and hunt for babysitters in order to talk to said clients. I wrote a bit ago about not being in love with coaching anymore (buried in this post) and that thought has been simmering. I thoroughly enjoy coaching when I actually DO it, and love it when the client accomplishes something new and exciting and big for them. I get bored if their goals aren't exciting to me in some way, and that gets hard. And the business end of things? For the birds. But there aren't enough 'finishes' involved to make me thrilled, especially when it comes to me personally.

I LOVE building things. Starting things. Finishing things that can be finished. But keeping them going? Not so much. Only in the fellowship and community sense. I loved doing the race last fall, as stressful as it was. I loved building the SaneMoms website. I love building other people's websites. I don't really like maintaining them. Tweaking them. Keeping them running, motivated, and humming along.

I loved living in and working on my own house for seven years. Building patios, painting, gardening, wiring and planning and sanding and cutting and all those dusty and satisfying things. I could have worked harder, and yes my enthusiasm flagged after awhile and Dad kept me going and held his tongue (he was the brains and most of the financing behind the project) but it was still incredibly fun. And during the process? I had a place where people could come, hang out, do whatever, talk, eat, socialize, sing, play games, swing in the hammock, learn to took, learn to drive, have snowball fights and water fights, throw a frisbee, wield a hammer or a paintbrush, and just plain BE. I had an open door, virtually 24/7, and it was a wonderful thing.

I miss that. The work, the open door, the project, and the fellowship. Building things, tangible and living both. I have a lot of fellowship built in now, with my family, but it's not the same kind, and something is missing. I need to have a place I can paint, dig, rebuild, change, mess up, rebuild again, and someday live in. My kids need it too, something besides a beautiful and expensive brownstone that isn't ours. My hobbit house might be a ways away, but I can start small. I have a mini library of house-building-sustainable-living books, and the knowledge that I need to work with my hands more. Making THINGS. Things people can love, use, eat, enjoy, handle, and find comfort in. I need to reassess my coaching and sanemoms both, and figure out how they fit it, and what's best. I'm tired of feeling the friction between working on them, and spending time with my kids. One fights the other, and they both need me still. Need my real attention, energy, and focus. D loves projects himself, we just need to find shared or compatible ones. F loves wrecking them, watching, imitating, and laughing. Making the music. Finding the pieces. Putting away.

It's time to build. God help me with the plans. Please.

moving right along ...

I've been getting more interest in my coaching as my interest in finding clients fades a bit, which is rather funny. Then my 2 most recent clients? (Well, one is a potential client ...) One has a mom who runs a biodynamic farm in Virginia, and she grew up there. The other is a 'green' architect. God certainly does seem to be bringing me people who know things related to what I'm interested in these days .... funny how that works :).

the countdown

M leaves on Monday morning for the beginning of the MA job ... and we have no idea how many months of it he's going to take (at least 2) maybe up to 5. I've been getting done what I can, am squeezing in a race Sunday morning, and registered for a half-marathon in early May, so I'll HAVE to find ways to get runs in by begging and swapping kid-care. I'll do it all on the treadmill if I have to but that's not good training at all really for an urban run.

The kids know, well, make that D knows and Fynn is clueless. He'll be the hardest hit in some ways, he (fynn) is SO attached to his dad. I'm knowing I'm going to miss him, but not thinking about it as much as I can help it because it won't help me deal. Trying to come up with fun things to mark the time with the boys, like treats and convincing friends to come visit. Anyone up for a trip and free place to stay in NYC?! Company will be heaven in the next few months.

The things that make me realize I'm dreading it? And perhaps resenting it tremendously? ok, not perhaps, I am resenting it. I've had 2 dreams, the 2nd one this morning, in which M has been deliberately/casually cheating on me. And not hiding it at all. In both cases I've woken up furious. I have not a shred of fear that he has or will do such a thing in terms of fidelity, but art is his other wife. There's no doubt about it. And in this case it feels like she won.

It's not just about the good pay and references and connections he'll get, it's about wanting to go, do something he really enjoys, and make a bit of a name for himself. A chance to paint every night and batch it for a few months. He'll miss us badly I know, but not in the same way. I know most of the resentment comes from how it was decided, not the decision itself. We'd talked it over and agreed it wasn't a feasible idea. Then the project leader called to get his answer, and he blurted out that he'd come for 2 months at least, until school got out. I sat there listening, stunned and hurt. I do see now that it's a very good thing, and support it wholly, but part of me is still angry I guess.

The other downer I found out last night ... every cell phone company has coverage up there except ours (t-mobile). So for now there will be no way to communicate unless he borrows a phone. Perhaps he can get a regular pots line put in, or get cable internet and use skype (there's cable tv already) ... or just get a cell phone w/a different company for the duration of the project and let his current one lie dormant. Seems the cutting off is going to be more complete than I realized, at least for the short term.

To keep myself motivated, I'm plotting what projects I can get done before he gets back ... paint/grout the bathroom, get the yard trimmed up/planted, boxes sorted, things donated or hauled away, etc ... some of them things that are much harder if there are more people in the house. I can shower at the gym for a couple days while grout dries :). And we won't talk about how often my boys are bathed. Nope, we won't. More often than my sheets are changed, but that's not saying anything at all!

Speaking of showers, I do need one.

Oh, and there's a new thing growing in my sidebar (not the ads that have been there awhile, click away, click away!) that's a list of books. I'm starting to plot and scheme on a bigger project than I've ever taken on, but this would be a whole family/whole life kind of project. The list will grow, and already has big clues in it.

Last thing, I'm going to fix the Flickr badge, I am ... I treated myself to a Pro account, finally!!, and went organizing-happy over there.

the roller coaster

yesterday was a great day ... started off at 6:30 with a run, and got my printer fixed (finally!) just in time to print off a proof of the postcards for michael's show, so he could take them along and show them to the gallery owner who was coming to check out his studio. they ran off and I did a whole bunch of little things that I can't even remember. but felt good about :).

they showed up at the house, unannounced, while i was just getting ready to finally get in the shower and rinse off my running stink. the house was a wreck from fynn's morning fun (buttons all over the floor, stale cereal, toys on every surface, clothes all over the bathroom floor, etc ...) and he stayed for an hour looking at more work and talking! nice guy, very realistic and honest, and left with the promise he'd think it over and get back to m. the deal being that he has lots of work, but not a lot that visually 'fits' together as a show. he had 8 pieces that he thought would work, but wanted to check with a curator he works with.

then i got another trial session request on my coaching site, the 2nd in two days after none for ages. very relieved! i think changing my landing page and reworking my prices/offerings have both made a huge difference in people 'getting it' at a glance, and being willing to give it a try knowing that the pricing is highly affordable. (well, for them, not me!)

i stayed up researching media contacts, m wrote out an artist's statement, and we crashed.

this morning i opened one of my travel-deal-newsletters and clicked on one of them as usual, looking for deals to go to chicago for s's wedding in 2 weeks. we've been given money from a couple people to help with costs, but it wasn't quite enough to cover the price of 3 tickets and we have not a penny to add to it. i found rates $40/lower per ticket than I'd seen in the last 2 months, ran to the bank and deposited/moved money, and ran home in time to complete the transaction before it timed out :). yay! tickets to chicago for all of us. m hasn't been for a year or more i think, and it's time. so glad i won't be flying solo w/the boys, fynn is so mobile and having him in a lap for 3.5 hours isn't a fun thing at all, no matter how many distractions!

then m and i traded cat-naps before he left for the studio. i got up from mine to find a very disappointed m with news that the show was off. he's still promised one, but not until he has a more cohesive body of work. he learned a lot about how to navigate, and it means that there's actually a chance to do proper PR and get the media potentially involved when it does happen, but it feels crappy none-the-less. Rather tantalizing to have it so very close, but not. it's hard to go back to the friends and coworkers you've told, and 'untell' them. it's hard to know what to say, if anything, when he feels down and is looking for ways to deal and move on. men process emotions so differently and at times i'm at a total loss.

I've stopped doing PR research, watched him off to the studio to paint, and am about to dive headlong in to tax info gathering in the hopes that we might get a return from an e-file in time to partially salvage the finances.

Whew ...

It's over, I'm elated, getting over being exhausted, and can't wait to do it again! The race, that is. I was an absolute nervous wreck the night before. Really. I mean the can't sleep, lying in bed shaking, tossing, muttering kind of wreck. I think I fell asleep around 5am, and had to get up at 6. We had a minivan coming at 6:30 to take all the stuff to the park. A LOT of stuff. Tables, boxes of goodie bags (they were heavy!!), carton of t-shirts, food, water, giant easel signs, traffic cones, orange barricade posts/weights, etc ... the list goes on. We got it all crammed into the van, except the cart full of cones/chalk/arrows, which was to mark out the course in the winding park. I pushed the cart to the park while M and the van took the load, dropping all the stuff at the edge of the park. I needed a few minutes to cool my head. Wet head actually, setting me up for freezing later on.

Lesson one in Not-to-do-ever-agains? Get the vehicle-permit for the park, no matter what! It's a separate permit, and one thing I didn't do because of time/money, but regret. Carrying everything in/over the wall and up into the park, both directions, was a HUGE pain. Of course I had no idea how much stuff there'd end up being. Pictures you ask? Ah, pictures. Hah. The camera battery died when I tried to take the first one, the backup battery no longer holds a charge apparently, and the friend with a camera that was to show up couldn't as her son woke up with pinkeye. So, NO pics whatsoever, though there is a bit of video. Maybe I can grab some stills from that.

So we (M and I) got it all into the park by 7:15 or so. Registration opened at 8, and we had to get it set up, as well as the course marked. One friend was arriving at 7:30 to help (thanks C!) and Steph was already at our place, up watching the boys until Opa arrived at 7, and she was off with the wagon to pick up the donated bagels from 2 places, apples and yoghurt drinks from the greenmarket, and coffee/hot water from the bagel shop. She ran herself ragged, getting it all to the park by 8:30 or so. Meanwhile M and I ran around marking the course. This involved chalk lines/arrows/cones to make sure people took the right course at each turn, and when the course stretched over 3/4 of a mile, it took a long time! I abandoned him to finish on his own close to 8, and went to take over registration setup.

By this time my aunt/uncle/friend S had arrived, and were helping get things going. Someone had already come to register while I was away, so I scrambled for the numbers/charts/pins/maps and so on, only to discover the bag with all that in it was missing!! M and I had been carrying it around while marking the course and no longer had it. It could have been anywhere in the park! A parks person had mentioned to C that she'd seen one up the hill, was it ours? My aunt went to find it, did thank God, and brought it back to my frantic hands. I fumbled in the freezing cold for all the stuff, raffle tickets, pens that didn't work in the cold, and so on, and finally managed to register the kid.

It was nonstop from there, getting the registration thing down (thanks to S showing up and handing out pins, numbers, maps, and t-shirts) and getting people ready to go. We had about as many walk-ups as no-shows, making it an even 30 people. It would have been 31, but Steph was too run ragged to actually run the course! Somewhere in there someone handed me a cup of tea and a cut-up apple, the first sustenance of any kind in my morning. I was sitting there shaking with cold, having worn nothing but a t-shirt under my jacket, and with wet hair pinned up on my head. Fynn/D/Opa arrived around 8:30 also, and were fine for the first bit, but then Fynn started screaming bloody murder. Bad mom failed to notice his freezing hands, tried to backpack him but his screaming was so loud it was almost impossible to think. Carrying in my arms didn't work either.

I managed to give the 10 minute warning at about 9am, after checking with Michael to make sure he'd be done marking by then, as it had turned out to be a hugely long job for one person, cart and all. Bless the man! "Managed to give" means I used the bullhorn for the first time in my life! Why I had such a hangup I do not know, but I did. I didn't want anyone but the ppl right around me to hear, and knew it would carry further than that. Has something to do with the fact that I mostly hate to be the center of attention, but part of me loves it. Go figure.

Got everyone up to the starting line, which just so happened to be 20 yards away from a PUPS event (read: many many people with many many dogs) that I didn't know would be there that day. Yay, more audience for the Bullhorn Malfunction! Harvey was holding it for me (heavy thing, and I was shaking a bit and standing up on a bench) and he pressed what he thought was the On button, only to discover it was the siren. Michael insisted you just had to 'let it run out' and so it went for several cycles. Turn it off. Michael insists. Repeat. Finally the two males figure it out, give me the microphone, Michael draws a starting line (the one line neglected to be drawn, though there was a sign) and I send them off!

Given the 3k route, I knew I'd have only about 11 minutes before the first person arrived. More scrambling for medals, shuffling a screaming Fynn, hunting high and low for the missing finish-line tape, and end up substituting a roll of raffle tickets instead. The tape was later discovered in Douglas' pocket, as he 'really liked it'. :) The first runner in was a HS student. I forgot to mention I'd invited the track team from the HS across the street to come, for free, and they'd be eligible for prizes but not t-shirts, etc. The first 4 or 5 finishers were the kids, and they all refused to take the awards! No medals, no dinner gift certificates, nada. Just said they were there to support the effort, and a couple even handed me a few dollars to put towards the charity. Nice kids!! and a dream to have there.

There weren't a lot of cheering fans, but we made the noise we could, and the stroller race ended in a deliberate tie :). Medals were handed out, awards announced, and the raffle items raffled. Thankfully one of the HS kids won the 6-month Crunch Fitness membership, which helped even things out a wee bit, and I dug out enough t-shirts for them all.

It was such a nice bunch of people, both runners and helpers, and I couldn't ask for more. Sunny (freezing!) weather. Enthusiastic and grateful runners, and no major issues. The Kiddie race ended up being just 3 kids (I had about 12 expected, but the cold probably kept them away) and one girl fell and skinned her knee. Douglas was super proud of his medal (they all got them) but wanted to know yesterday why the kids all got medals, but not the adults :)

I can't wait to do it again. We raised $760 for charity, had an angel cover the cost of the t-shirts and equipment rental, and spent enough of our own money to call it a good marketing effort.

Day 28 - Delight

The photo shoot went well today, at least as far as Fynn was concerned! I ran around tidying up of course, as it wasn't just toys everywhere but bags of stuff to give away, project supplies, etc strewn all over. I got it done in time, got a shower and a wee bit of makeup on, actually (gasp!) used a blow dryer on my hair for 2 minutes, and put on my favorite t-shirt/pants. Fynn woke up about half an hour before she came, and was just getting out of the sleepy/cuddly stage when she got here. He was ready to do his own thing, and not follow any sort of directions.

She'd been told to get a 'sane mom' shot, and their idea was to have Fynn run around and be crazy while I appeared cool and collected. I tried to oblige, but hate staged shots, and almost all shots of me to be honest. We ended up doing them all at my desk, the one spot I hadn't really cleaned up :). The one way that worked to get Fynn animated was to let him climb onto my desk from the bed, like I've been telling him NOT to do all week. He played with papers, threw them all over, played endlessly with the forbidden phone, and acted as any kid would when let into the candy jar for the first time. He was delighted, confused, and then of course angry after she left and the party on the desk was over.

I hope some of them turn out, of course I'll only see whatever one they choose and in mini-sized newsprint. Her website is mostly food photography, but she's starting to do kids portraits also. The wait will be over on Friday when the article comes out and I get to see how my babblings were interpreted, and how forgiving the camera was. A nice way to end NoBloPoMo I hope!

Day 18 - Connections

When I hired a coach 6 weeks ago, I did it because I was stuck in a coaching rut that was quickly turning into an I Can't Coach rut, and a coach friend of mine wanted a logo design. I bartered cash plus a bit of coaching for the logo, and think I've come out ahead of the game. I HATE promoting my coaching, as it means I have to promote ME, and that's incredibly hard for me to do. I can't show a logo and say "I'll make you one till you like it", nor can I churn out pretty word .docs and .ppt files in record time, making people wonder how I did it, and willing to pay nice bucks for it. I have to sell someone the idea that a conversation with me can change their life, and they should pay me handsomely for it. That terrifies me.

I think I've helped prove my own point in the last month ... that a coach can make a difference. I'm not full of connections, as my coach seems to be (I'll get to that) but I can help people see what's possible, and that it's certainly not as impossible or scary as it looks. You just have to break it down, at least most of the time. In the last month, I've started co-hosting a weekly radio show, been introduced to the editor of an online Family magazine with the thought that I might like to write for them, and talked to about 40 people and counting about donating money and/or stuff to the race in december. I've shifted my focus I guess from "where's my next client" to having fun, doing what I like to do, and seeing what comes of it. The knocking on doors part I hate, but it's getting me to what I DO like in that it's making the race possible. Nothing much happens when I sit home and hope that somebody somewhere will stumble across my website and want to hire me on the spot.

The radio show was a direct result of my coach telling me to contact this woman she knew, and the possible writing thing came out of joining yet another networking site and having someone see my biz name and get intruiged, introduce themselves, and offer to intro me to this editor. No idea if anything will come of it, but it's better than not having the chance.

Speaking of connections ... M's got a gallery owner who's agreed to look at his work this week, so he's off to the studio tonight to pull together some pieces to show. In typical Michael fashion, he was at a packed gallery opening in Soho, left and saw this gallery was open but empty, so went over to check it out. He got talking to the man who owned it, and as the guy needed to run out for something he offered Michael $20 to watch the door for a few minutes. He countered with "I'll do it for free if you'll look at my work" and hence the opportunity :)

Day 17 - Cheeks

I don't seem to have words tonight, so went looking for pictures. This one was taken almost exactly 5 years ago ... sir Cheeks in the leaves in our front yard in PA. I miss having a yard, but not that house, or living there. D and I went leaf collecting on the way home from school yesterday, and he made an arrangement in the middle of the table that was really nice.

D's cousin A is visiting, and so the 3 boys are sleeping in the same room, and quieted down remarkably quickly. I introduced them to sewing today, and silly me suggested that D could make a pouch of some sort ... they had felt squares and thread. A decided to do his own thing of course, and made a cave. D decided that was pretty cool, and ended up abandoning the pouch idea, wrapping the felt around his foot, and sewing a shoe. Amazing that neither one sewed themselves or their fingers, and they had a hoot.

I got out fabric to make curtains for the boys room today, and the sewing machine (both are considerably difficult operations, given the way things are tucked away/stored in this apartment) and then ran out of steam. Got lost thinking about the fabric I intended to use (a heavy dark green wool ... need to warm up their room) and that I bought it to make a cape for a friend and never did.

Day 15 - Plotting

With the day approaching rapidly whereupon I believe our tenant will exit his room, I'm getting antsy. I can't really get my mind around having the space back, as I was dying for it 6 months ago, in between tenants, and we couldn't keep it to ourselves that time. This time we're going to for awhile at least, and see what happens. I can't wait to have a place for guests again, that doesn't involve sleeping on our floor or tiptoeing past guests sleeping in our bed while on late-night runs to the bathroom. Our place is railroad-style, with the big frontroom (rented) to the left of the entryway door, and to the right it's the diningroom/bathroom/kitchen block, then our bedroom, then the boys' room. Our bedroom has been the living room and computer room also for the last 2.5 years, and I'm rather sick of it.

I'm not quite so irritated with the constant destruction of my desk by my youngest, as the end is in sight. He constantly pops the drive doors in/out, hits the Internet button the cable modem and turns it off, hits the power button on my cpu, opens my drawers (despite the bungee cord deterrent) and pinches his fingers and steals things, and lately ... the best part ... he's learned how to climb up on our bed, walk onto my desk which is next to it, and grab anything he wishes. I can't wait! To move it to the frontroom that is, and not be able to roll over and check email in the morning. Bad bad habit, which is hard to break. We've decided to make that room an office/guestroom/living room space, and put an easel and craft/paper stuff and the musical instruments in there for now, along with the bed that's already there and my desk.

The remaining dilemma is my computer ... can I live w/out it if we either have company (yes), or take in a short-term tenant for a week here and there ... probably not? I'm due for a new one, having lived with the current (refurbished) HP for 5.5 years, and it's showing every sign of being on it's last legs. I could, very painfully, do the wipe/reinstall game, which it needs, but not sure it's worth the pain as I don't think it's worth the hassle. I have too many programs not on disk, or loaned/lost, to even think of it as anything other than a several-day-nightmare.

So if I get a newer one ... laptop or desktop? Cheaper to get what I want in a desktop of course, and easier to repair/modify on my own, but I'd love to be portable ... as in work on my writing at the coffee shop, on the porch, etc. Then again, do I want to have that option? I'm already feeling too tied to it as it is. I use the computer as an escape, a way to turn my back on things and zone out. It has to drive M nuts how often I finish my meal, leave the dinner table, and get lost in blogland for 20 minutes while the boys finish up and he clears the table and starts dishes. I'm so wiped and babysat/homework-wrestled/run-around tired by then that all I want to do is escape. Which I do so gladly in blogland.

I'm on the fence, but will probably do the desktop thing again.

And as for plotting about the room ... I can't wait to rearrange, and pull out my boxes of pens/papers/supplies and at least have them at arm's reach rather than buried in a teetering pile in a closet, where I might be able to act on inspiration once in awhile. I'm sure the room will feel smaller w/all that stuff in it, but it really is huge.

Oh, and the tenant? I don't know what to assume other than that he has a super strong fear/dislike of confrontation of ANY sort, because in the 3.5 weeks since M left him a message saying we'd like the room back at the end of November ... he's been home exactly once, and that was 3 weeks ago. One voicemail 2 weeks later (days after rent was due) said he'd like to leave before the middle of the month. We responded with a "you can leave by the 21st, we'll apply your security deposit to the 3 weeks of rent and give you the difference, less damages" and it has so far been met with resounding silence. The 21st approaches, I assume we'll have the space back, and in my non-hamster-wheel moments I dare to plot.

Day 11 - Birthdays

M has a birthday tomorrow ... Happy Birthday Wikkid! Another M had a birthday yesterday, and I didn't even tell him Happy Happy ... hope it was. I miss both of you.

I heard that D's having a boy next, and saw a gorgeous pic of her happy belly, on the beach in Cuba :)

And then there's the baby I've been talking about, finally, officially, born today. SaneMoms.com is up and running, er, crawling maybe, and needing some cleanup, but alive nonetheless. I'm so glad! It's been a whirlwind month. Less than a month, actually, as I bought the domain on October 16th. The idea's been brewing for months in the back of my head, and was really a take-off on an idea that S and I had been discussing for ages. (Thanks for letting me run with it, solo for now.) I didn't really know what I wanted it to be, or how it should work, until a month ago ... and the words and thoughts didn't really come together till yesterday. Scribbling questions while kids hollered and interrupted and begged for help with cardboard castles ... I think my stapling was a bit impatient.

I'm off to celebrate by watching Raising Arizona with M ... my M that is. If the other Coen brothers movies I've seen are any indication, I'll be pleased.

Happy Birthday SaneMoms.

Day 10 - Looking for feedback

I know a reasonable number of my readers (which are known to me at least!) are moms. As I'm rather consumed with my latest project, and made some progress on it today, I'm going to throw this out there and ask for feedback.

The project is this ... a website for moms, talking about "What momhood does to womanhood ... the real stories". The site is up but very much under construction, and has 2 basic parts. The first is my "Sane Mom's Sanity Checklist" with the things that are key to my sanity, and I'm betting to the sanity of most moms I know. The part I've been stewing about is the discussion forums, which I hope will be the meat of the site. I wanted to pose a bunch of questions to start the discussion, and wrote a first draft of them today.

So, if you saw the following list of categories/questions, would you be at all intrigued? Inspired to respond? Want to yawn or growl or hurl? Please be as honest as you can ... any feedback appreciated. Many thanks :) (and of course this list isn't remotely complete, but is a reasonable start.)


Beginnings:
- How did you feel about getting pregnant?
- What were your fears about becoming a mom?
- When did you decide you wanted to be a mom? Or did you never want to?
- What kind of mom did you expect to be?
- What was your birth experience like?
- How did birth change you?

Learnings:
- How has motherhood changed you? (vague, I know)
- What did you give up to become a mom? Do you still miss it?
- What's "on hold" in your life, and how often do you think about it?
- What epiphanies have you had surrounding motherhood?
- What do you say to women on the brink of momhood?
- What do you wish you'd been told before you became a mom?

Copings:
- Do you take time alone? How?
- Do you take good care of yourself?
- How do you 'treat' yourself?
- What are you "just tolerating" until ...

Feelings:
- Do you guilt yourself? About what?
- What's happened to how you express your emotions?
- Has your personality changed?
- How good of a mom are you (by your own standards)?
- Do you compare yourself to a standard?
- Where do your ideas of how to parent come from?
- How do you feel about your body?
- Do you feel valued for your work as a mom?
- How has motherhood empowered you in other areas?

Relatings:
- What's happened to your friendships since you had kids?
- Who are your mom role models? Who do you admire?
- What does your partner think about your body post-baby?
- What's happened to your sex life?
- How are you treated differently since you became a mom?
- Who do you feel unjudged by when it comes to your parenting?
- Do you feel judged by other moms?

Ventings:
- What did you never expect to have to do?
- What did you never think you'd hear?
- How have you been humiliated?
- How have you been embarrassed?

Labelings:
- How do you label yourself?
- How do your friends label you?
- How do you feel when you're called a mom by someone other than your own kids?
- Do you feel you've lost a valued label since becoming a mom? Lost status?
- Do you feel devalued as a woman?
- Are you empowered as a woman?
- What's happened to your marketability as an employee?
- Do you struggle with your identity? Have you lost it somewhere in the shuffle?

Dreamings:
- What do you really want to do that you're not?
- What are you passionate about?
- What 'someday' projects are in your head?

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Thanks! And if this doesn't remotely relate to you, my apologies ... regular programming will return soon :)

Day 8 - I'm vibrating

.... with caffeine, excitement, adrenaline, and nerves, that is. (and what were you thinking?!) Why, you may ask? Because I finally got the permit approval today, giving me permission to get in over my head, work like a dog, and make a fool of myself ... or have a smashing success, however it works out.

It's a race. A 3k race. In my local park. Put on by me, and any sponsors I can drag in, to help launch my new website for moms. And to benefit a mom-kid-focused local charity. I have so much to do it's not funny, first in getting the site properly up and running (I'll be begging for help here in a week or so, in terms of posting to the boards, so be forewarned!). Not to mention planning a race, finding sponsors and prizes and vendors and marshalls and a timing company and and and ... my brain can't seem to slow down. I've been alternating between frantic activity and exhaustion, which is partly why I crashed so hard last night. I'd been getting depressed that the parks dept had promised me an answer, and then didn't come through with it for 10 days, while media deadlines were drifting by, and things like that.

As my sister pointed out today, despite my complaints, I love this kind of thing. Really. Lots to do, organizing galore, furious activity, and watching things slowly come together. The part I'm not good at, but will have to figure out, is how to ask for help. I've done better than normal at getting names and calling around for help, but in terms of asking literally for involvement ... that's where I falter. This thing, if it's to come off, is bigger than me. It's not as insane as my wedding (the craziest thing I ever planned, much more complicated than any trade show I organized back in the day, and they were bad ...) but it's still much larger than I can truly do myself.

If I had a hamster wheel illustration, I'd put it at the top, but I don't. How to keep moving, at a good pace, without driving everyone around me stark raving nuts? I've never been good at that. I always want people around me to just jump into my excited mode and work alongside, and it never works that way. Their excitement doesn't match mine, of course. Their passion.

I'm certainly glad to have found a piece of mine, though I live in fear of it petering out. What if this is just a whim that will fade? I don't know exactly what's driving it, although I've had suspicions. I do love putting people together, and finding fellowship. I love stories. I know I'm not the only mother who's struggled with her own identity since having kids. I'm tired of sites and blogs that talk endlessly and cheerily about how wonderful their kids/husbands/lives are. Don't get me wrong (or take offense if you happen to have one of those!) but it's not where I'm at I guess. I'm focused on the identity-ripping part of motherhood, and the issues it raises. Just another step from the identity-mucking-about that is marriage, and I didn't feel compelled to have a place for virtual strangers to talk about that. Somehow this is my thing.

I've felt passionately about mothers getting regular time alone since having my first. It's become my soapbox and I hardly ever find a mom who doesn't need it, or who doesn't struggle with guilt for wanting it. I'm sure they're out there, but I don't seem to run into them. I see moms in the park who have that look in their eyes. Not just the tired-exhausted-train-wreck look, along with the baggy sweats and black rims around their eyes. The I'm-barely-holding-in-my-terror-at-this-whole-thing and I-think-I've-lost-myself-in-the-shuffle look. I'm not imagining it. We somehow feel the need to hold it all together even for other moms, and that's just plain crazy. Sure we commiserate about baby blues and sleepless nights, saggy boobs and nigh-dead-romance, but we don't seem to talk about what's really going on in our heads during the crazy ride of motherhood.

That's a conversation I'm always interested in.