“Taking crazy things seriously is a waste of time.” – Haruki Murakami¬†

  
This morning the fields were white with frost but the weather report said ‘thunderstorms likely’ this afternoon. In February! In Michigan! Next thing it will rain frogs. 

I had the worst day of my week as far as what I had to do- presentations- and all I wanted to do was pull off and get lost on a country road and take pictures of barns and desolate landscapes, all the color of Andrew Wyeth paintings.

But I went along to work and had the joy of irony when one of the managers that I was co-presenting with gravely advised the room that it is strictly prohibited to use social media during work hours….after, I noticed, she’d spent the majority of my presentation distractedly scrolling through Facebook. Sigh. 

I wore a scratchy wool skirt all day and I was insufficiently caffeinated because I didn’t want to be jittery or have to go to the bathroom during my 1+ hour first presentation of the day. As a result, I went out into the ominously cloudy evening, with the beginnings of wind and the promised cold rain, with an itchy tummy and a mild headache. I couldn’t wait to get home into comfy Mrs Roper clothes. No shame in my game. 

Sometimes it’s nice when you get your hard day over with early in the week and then later that night there can be wine and bacon avocado pasta with  a very special friend. 

  
Just kidding- Fred doesn’t drink. 

But I might sneak him some bacon. 

Thirty one Рa note about the January project 

  
Well, here it is the last day and last post for my January project. Thank you for riding this out with me and for displaying interest in the daily life of a divorced, employed, home owning, cat loving, sometimes running mom in Michigan. My posts were mostly written on my iPhone and posted pretty much immediately, without much editing or finessing, which I’m sure shows. And of course I didn’t hit the frequency I’d planned.

But I really enjoyed the exercise as it made me realize that even if I don’t think I have anything to write about, sometimes if I just start, I find that I actually do. I might do it again at some point- maybe in a warm weather month. 

Anyway I love you all and appreciate your presence here. It’s raining and unseasonably warm in Michigan today, so a good day for chili in the crockpot and playing a board game with Miss L (I dug Life out of the basement). I hope you and yours are well and I will talk to you (at you) soon. xo 

TGIF gratitude and twenty nine

Good news everyone! You only have a few more days to deal with my January ramblings and incessant cat pictures. For today, however, let’s get this ramble started. 

It’s Friday here in SE Michigan and the boys started their day with a friendly wrestling match. I’m so relieved that these interactions no longer include hissing, screaming, bleeding, or urination. 

  
  
Sarge’s head got a bit squashed but he seemed generally okay with it. 

Then it was off to work with my Audible book “The Lake House” to keep me occupied on my 30+ minute drive. Have I mentioned that I LOVE Audible? I love having a book on my phone to listen to while I’m driving, working out, or doing housework or yard work. 

I met with my old friend MC Granola yesterday. I don’t see him very often anymore as he works in a different office but he is still one of my faves, with his gentle and calm aura and patchouli aroma mixed with true hip hop slang. He brought me a pastry from Zingerman’s, an Ann Arbor classic, carefully wrapped and stowed and I ate it last night whilst watching Anthony Bourdain. I savored every crumb and felt glad to have friends. 

I know I complain about Widget Central and frequently feel sorry for myself that I have to work full time outside of the home. But I’ve always done it and now that I’m divorced, I likely always will, and truthfully, I have been blessed beyond measure to have landed in this crazy, odd, funny and perplexing organization. It’s allowed me to travel to countries like Japan and work in Australia. I’ve made amazing friends and been able to support myself and my daughter and our home and pets and our car. I walk in in the morning and am greeted with smiles and someone handing me the red lifesavers out of their candy dish because they know I dig through to find them. I work hard but get everything I put into it back out and I am really glad to have this faux family and this job. So there, that’s my daily gratitude. And I can say all that knowing that it’s Friday and it’s a girls’ weekend with Miss L and I don’t have to work again until Monday morning. :)  

And because it’s Friday, and because I had to go fetch my new glasses from my optometrist in Ypsilanti at lunch, and because I very rarely go out for lunch (I’m usually working out, then crouched in my office eating leftovers or a Lean Cuisine and being laughed at by my metrosexual colleague for stealing my daughter’s pear cups in organic 100% juice) I made a pit stop at Dom’s Bakery. 

  
It’s another classic, and my running buddy and I used to make regular pilgrimages there for their frosted cookies. I used to bring one home for Miss L on Friday evenings. Since he left Widget Central, I haven’t been back; but today I was. I think Miss L will be pleased. 

  
  

Back on track (twenty seven)

I had to hit the ground running this morning which meant I could only linger in bed with the furfaces for a few pleasant moments to wake up. They were upset because Sarge’s midnight rampage against a hanging cable TV cord got them both ejected from the bedroom with extreme prejudice. However, they forgave me when Emmett could crawl back up onto his beloved Sherpa blanket and Sarge could watch the days forecast on the Weather Channel (he really does seem to be watching TV at times.)

  

When I went downstairs to fetch something, I saw tangible evidence of their wrath.

  
I have to apologize as I would normally never post a photo of my toilet on my blog, but the little pathetic drowned catnip mouse in its depths cried out for recognition and justice. COME ON boys.

Then of course because I HAD to get to work on time, I ended up stuck in traffic. But at least I was behind a wine truck with a sense of humor. 

  
I mused that a morning spent sitting by the side of the road, munching cheese and crackers and swilling spilled wine might not be such a bad way to waste the morning. 

But widgets called, and I rose to answer that call, and that is 27.

Twenty-six

It never fails that I have a few very organized and upbeat and positive days and then I just have an off one for no real reason except that life, my friends, is a marathon and not a sprint. 

Every morning, I come into the office and fire up my computer and start making my To-Do list in my favorite daily planner. It has a page for every day and is big enough for my lists and any notes from meetings I attend. Mornings are my most productive time and I strive to get the thorny, difficult items crossed off in the AM and save mindless, administrative or easy tasks for the afternoon. 

  

Some days, though, I get nothing crossed off yet still feel enormously busy and I retire to the workout room at lunch feeling like the guy who spent his life rolling a rock uphill only to have it roll back down every night. And I weigh myself and see that I’ve actually GAINED weight and hey, Fuck You Bob Harper. And I haven’t had time for a hair appointment and my greys are clearly visible and I catch sight of someone I like’s ex-significant other and she is much cuter and happier than I feel and isn’t that just like being in high school all over again? Maybe I am not so spiritually developed after all if I can be made depressed by such shallow things about myself. And my former boss, whom I always admired for being so elegantly low-key and classy and understated pulls into the parking lot driving a gaudy luxury car and I feel so judgmental and disappointed that he might actually just be a Shirt after all. But if I judge him for his car, am I any different than someone who BUYS a gaudy car hoping to be judged by it? I don’t really think I should keep mining the depths of my emotional shortcomings.

The only way I know how to cope with such days is by thinking that the air smelled very mild and springlike this morning, and soon there will be muddy runs. I have a book waiting for me on the reserve shelf at the library. There are more new X-Files episodes, even if Mulder is more morose than usual and is he wearing a man girdle? It’s Taco Tuesday with Miss L. My friend at work sent me a book recommendation. And I’m not a Detroit Lion and I don’t live in Flint where they are paying for poisoned water. Life is annoying but it’s all about perspective and I got some of that. 

workout room buddy’s awesome shirt. Detroit sports fans will get it.

Monday again (twenty five)

 

the infrequently seen “upside superman” napping position as expertly demonstrated by john singer sargepants


The rest of the weekend passed without incident and was mostly spent in some sort of prone position catching up on lost sleep. The whiskerfaces helped a lot with this project.

  

I don’t know what I would do without their support.

I had a proper dinner – movie date night on Saturday and we saw “The Revenant”. Normally I really love movies of this type. The history is fascinating and the scenery…well, every shot was spectacular. I wanted to build a cabin on every view. 

Unfortunately we are old and the movie was almost THREE HOURS long. (I am not a big fan of the whole movement toward movies longer than 1.5 hours or so. I feel like they’re bloated and self-indulgent. And for God’s sake don’t divide a story into three or four movies when it can easily be told in two with some expert editing. I’m looking at you, Hobbit and Mockingjay.) So by the time we’d watched Leo crawl across half of the US, grunting and, as my date said, talking like Batman, we were both sodden with exhaustion. When the last shot faded to black, my date passionately said THANK GOD and drew shocked and angry glances from other affected moviegoers sobbing into their jumbo buckets.

And then, all too soon, it was Monday again. I got up early and put dinner in the crockpot with a feeling of enormous self satisfaction (BBQ chicken to shred for sandwiches for me & Miss L). There’s nothing better than coming home after a frantic Monday and having dinner already made. Then it was back to work with to-do lists and documents and a lunch hour spent here.

  
And probably more of the same tomorrow. Happy Monday all. 

Night in the museum- twenty-two and three

 

nearly full moon and telescope

 
I’m on my way to bed at 930 in the morning and I’m feeling like I had waaaay too much fun last night. I know, I’m too old for this, right? I’ve learned these lessons, right? The party lifestyle doesn’t pay. 

I know what you’re thinking and let me clue you in on something that I learned firsthand last night – which is that the aftereffect of spending a night on the floor of a museum with a bunch of Brownies and their mothers is very similar to a tequila hangover. 

  
The troop got to spend a night in the museum courtesy of the Cranbrook Institute of Science. It’s a lavish and privileged private school in the old automobile money part of Bloomfield Hills. Think curving roads through stands of pine woods, brick mansions tucked back behind long drives and wrought iron gates. Think sprawling campus with museums, art & science, glorious landscapes, stone dormitories and chapels. 

Cranbrook is kind of a big deal. However, with a troop of seven year olds, I figured, it’s essentially camping. I wore yoga pants and a sweatshirt, put our toothbrushes and a change of underwear in a backpack, and L & I were off. 

Upon arriving at the museum, the first thing I saw was one of my fellow moms toiling uphill from the parking lot carrying what looked like a twin size mattress on her back, and pulling wheeled luggage so large that I think her actual child could have fit in it. Either she overpacked or I underpacked.

The programs were pretty excellent- kitchen chemistry, electricity demonstrations with a Jacobs Ladder and a large scale conductor a la Tesla, fossils, and native people. I like scientists. They tend to be extremely intense and passionate about their work, and more than a little weird. For example, the woman educating the girls about native people was excessively fond of her pelts. She stroked them and stuck her fingers through their eye sockets and turned our troop leader green. “The fox pelt is missing a paw,” our leader said from behind her sweatshirt, which she had pulled up over her mouth and nose. “We call him Tripod,” the scientist responded seriously, and moments later the adults were severely told to please be quiet because we were disrupting the workshop. “The badger still has whiskers,” our leader moaned, and set us all off again, and the scientist wrapped “Tripod” around her neck like a jaunty scarf, and shot us a single malevolent glare.

you know its going to be fun when they bring out the taxidermied beaver…

It was a long night and by 9, while we were touring the bat exhibition, I could have rolled out my sleeping bag under the fruit bat cage and slept right there. The bats were intensely fascinating, with their tiny delicate ears swiveling constantly, cuddled into hanging clutches, every now and then spreading a wing to glow in translucent membrane under the lamps. 

  
However, they didn’t smell the best, so I was glad enough to retire to our allotted hallway outside the observatory. One of the moms had plugged in her air mattress, which grated to life and expanded to the size of an actual bed. She donned a headscarf and a set of matching pajamas and eyeshade a la Holly Golightly. On the floor, rolled onto a half-inch blowup pad and swathed in an ancient sleeping bag borrowed hastily from my ex, wearing the same clothes that smelled vaguely like bat, I felt a little bitter.  

Lights out and the girls took another two hours to settle. There were trips to the bathroom and much arranging and rearranging of bags. There were murmured conversations about why they didn’t shut the emergency light off, far down at the end of the hall. I ended up next to a girl who wasn’t my daughter and tried to avoid her flailing as she gradually encroached on my pad, the deeper into sleep she slipped. The floor was hard and cold. It seemed that they were piping some sort of new age whale song through the echoing and cavernous halls, or maybe it was the wind echoing in the elevator shaft. 

Then, like the rise of frog song all at once on a summer night, the deafening roar and gurgle of a herd of somnolent wildebeests as the Brownie Moms drifted into open-mouthed slumber. I lay awake for awhile. There are more than a few deviated septums in that group. When I finally drifted off, I dreamt of mastodons and the small flutter of bats and dead-eyed frogs blinking at me from behind the thick glass of laboratory jars.

one of my buddies kept me company via text and when i sent him this pic, he replied, “nother friday night for those guys. been there, done that.’

It was the worst night of sleep I’ve had in awhile but the girls will probably remember it for a long time, and as we drove home in the delicate morning sunrise, I had to admit that I probably will, too. Next time I spend a night in a museum, though, I’m bringing earplugs and getting one of those big air mattresses.