Archive for the Tiny spaces Category

Coming out of the darkness…

Posted in Tiny spaces on March 14, 2012 by talesofanunfinishedmom

If I’m not mistaken, I started this blog in 2009. Or, was it 2008? I do know that I have not posted in almost exactly one year. A year that has had a bit more than its share of hardships. A dozen times I stopped to write a post – be it about something funny, sad, revealing – but then I couldn’t muster the energy for it. Or, fear stopped me in my tracks. Fear of who might read what was really there- behind the facade of the spunky girl at the office or about town.

After this past year’s events, I’ve learned that darkness can come without an invitation and it can stay longer than you’d like it to – many seasons, not just winter.  I’ve learned that you really can walk out the door one day and get hit by a bus, except in my case it was a bicycle. I’ve learned that people you think you know, can take their life without warning.  I’ve learned that the people you most rely on, can let you down. I’ve learned that in the end, you have to be your own best champion.

I’m a year older. I’ve taken stock. I’m working toward acceptance and renewal.

And, perhaps for the first time, I feel measurably wiser. This life thing is hard. And, yet, I find myself once again feeling hopeful, despite myself.

Missing you…

Posted in Tiny spaces on January 19, 2011 by talesofanunfinishedmom

Dear blog,

I am sorry that I’ve been so neglectful. It’s now been more than three months since I’ve posted. I haven’t forgotten about you. I promise. I think about you often and about how much I miss our time together.

I’m still trying to work some things out but hope to return to you soon.

Thanks for your continued patience…

Jennifer

On your 80th birthday…

Posted in Tiny spaces on August 28, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

Today is your 80th birthday. That officially makes you an octogenarian. And, yet,  that seems so totally impossible.  You seem so much younger than your years.

On our recent vacation together, where we celebrated your birthday early in the company of your most beloved family members, toasts abound. Your brothers and sisters, stepdaughter and stepson, and finally,  your dearest sons shared their feelings about you and the imprint you’ve made on them as people, husbands, and fathers and on the many others you’ve touched in your life — through your business as a successful jeweler on 47th street and by nurturing treasured friendships you’ve sustained for decades.

Although the floor was open to all, I found myself unable to speak. I’m not usually one at a loss for words but I just couldn’t imagine what I could share, being the person in the family who’s known you for the least amount of time. (Other than your granddaughter who is 3 1/2, but, she’s already known you for her whole life.) I also felt that what I would share,  wasn’t really meant for a group setting.

So, I waited until your official birthday to share those thoughts…

In thinking about a toast I might have given, I harkened back to the first time we met. I recall that your son (my now wonderful husband) was eager for me to meet you and so he took the opportunity to bring me to your  home in Woodstock while I was already in New York for a business trip. I remember the train ride to Woodstock, where I pondered what this meeting would be like. I felt nervous. I hadn’t had such great luck previously. Not that I ever had an official father-in-law, but, I had boyfriends with potential who came with fathers. Fathers who in retrospect – and perhaps even at the time – I could not imagine being a part of a fabric that I called family.

I recall arriving at the train stop, my mind curious about the father I was to meet. I don’t remember seeing you for the first time but I’m certain I remember you hugging your son affectionately and being very cordial to me. I recall the ride was not a long one – nor was it a short one. I remember feeling nervous in the backseat of the car and wondering if I’d regret committing to an overnight stay upon our first meeting.

We pulled up to your home and upon entering, I was greeted by your wife (my now wonderful mother-in-law) — a beautiful woman who was extremely pleasant and reserved. I knew I could only be myself but nonetheless, I hoped I didn’t say the wrong thing. I hoped we all liked one another.

An impressive lunch spread waited for us and I recall we all dove in voraciously. I can remember that initial feeling of awkwardness when you’re trying to figure people out. What I remember more, though,  is 10 minutes into our visit, the questioning and nerves,  those feelings went away — and they never returned. It seemed immediately that we all clicked into place, like placing the last two pieces in a complicated jigsaw puzzle.

 I recall we cruised around the town of Woodstock during our weekend stay and I clearly remember your generosity towards both your son and myself. I remember you insisted on buying me a pair of shoes. I had those shoes for years.

I recall feeling so welcomed that we returned to Woodstock a few months later for a “white Thanksgiving.”

And, of course the rest is history.

I ultimately married your wonderful son and we brought you your 6th grandchild. I wondered if perhaps you’d wished you had a grandson, having 5 granddaughters already, but, you were over the moon with the birth of your youngest son’s daughter and have remained enraptured ever since.

I remember when I was preparing to go back to work toward the end of my maternity leave and we didn’t know how we would arrange the childcare situation financially. I remember your asking me what I would do if money wasn’t a concern. When I suggested that it was, you pressed me again, “What would you do if money wasn’t a concern.”

Your generosity has never been lost on me. Your commitment to your family is incomparable.

On your 80th birthday I thank you for raising such an amazing son who has changed my life in so many ways.  I thank you for reaching out across the miles to check in regularly, for making me feel so welcome and loved, even though I’m not officially your blood, and finally, I thank you for being such an amazing Pop-pop to my treasured little girl.

Ellie and her Pop-pop

Happy Birthday with love,  Jennifer

Second chances…

Posted in Tiny spaces on July 26, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

Sometimes the universe tests you.  I had such a test this past week.

I was lucky. My medical scare turned out to be nothing. Nothing.

But, oh the places my mind went.

Repeatedly.

I feel so blessed.

Not all women walk out with the same peace of mind that I did today. In fact, far too many don’t. And, it’s just not fair.

It’s weird to feel grateful and sad at the same time. Grateful for my good news while sad for the other women in the same waiting room with anxious husbands and nervous faces who may not have received such positive results.

I don’t take it for granted. Second chances are gifts.

When it’s hard to be zen…

Posted in Tiny spaces on July 23, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

Yesterday I received some potentially alarming news.  Ok, so maybe not alarming, but, definitely concerning.

A routine medical test I’ve taken for years without issue has turned up a questionable result. The kind of result that stops you dead in your tracks as you try not to imagine the worst. The kind of result that sends you rushing to “Dr. Google” to search for answers to said questionable result.

I know these kinds of questionable results can often mean nothing. I’ve had ambiguous results on tests before.  But, this is different.  An unfavorable outcome on this particular test would change my immediate landscape and foward-moving path for an undetermined amount of time.

I don’t know how to factor my statistical outcome but simply looking at genetics and overall health, I have reason to not overworry. And, I’ve been trying to do that. Trying to put it out of my head until I can get further tests. Unfortunately, every second feels like a minute and every minute feels like an hour and let’s not even get into what the hours feel like. I have far too many of them between now and when I get my next round of tests.

I’ve often told my husband over the years that I’ve always had this sense that I wouldn’t live beyond 50 years old.  I’ve said it only a handful of times but far too many for him.  Even though I do have a bit of a flair for the dramatic,  I am not so sure what I’ve been basing such an outrageous statement on. And,  since I’ve become a Mom, I’ve really tried to steer my thinking away from such morbid places.

If anything, I’ve become more positive about my overall health and general statistical outcome for longevity as of late. That all came crashing down yesterday when even the slightest doubt was placed in my head.

This morning I popped into the drugstore to pick up some vitamins. Cuz, damnit, even if something were to be seriously wrong, I’m still taking my vitamins!  As I make my way to the back of the store to the pharmacy area, I pass through the aisle that contains all of the greeting cards. For a moment I pause to think about any forthcoming birthdays that I should consider but decide I’m in no frame of mind to stop and shop for birthday cards. As I’m whizzing by the cards, out of the corner of my eye I see this word – CANCER. It immediately catches my eye and I notice a small section of cancer support cards. I’ve been to this Walgreens a million times and NEVER remembering seeing that section.

Is it a sign? Or, am I just more sensitive and noticing this for the first time because it is so on my mind.  

All I know is that the next 76 hours are going to be long ones.  But, at least at the end of it all, I’ll have an answer. For better or worse, I’ll have answer. I sure hope it’s for the better because I can’t bear to think about my not being 100%  there for my child for any length of time – my little girl who needs me healthy and strong for many years to come!

Freezeframe…

Posted in Tiny spaces on July 11, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

At long last,  the hubby and I invested in a fancy schmancy camera. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and to his credit, the hubby found the best one for us.  I hemmed and hawed at first given the price tag but agreed to go take a look at it.  We had a suprisingly great experience at Best Buy. The sales guy (more like kid) was incredibly knowledgeable about the camera and in fact, owned one himself. I explained to him the kinds of things I wanted to do even though I’ve never taken a photography class and have only had basic point and shoots. He could not have been more helpful or gracious and we found ourselves buying the camera on the spot.

My other hesitation in making the purchase was that I was afraid that we’d get the camera and I’d NEVER do anything with it. I didn’t trust myself to really put the time and energy into it.  But, much to my surprise, I’ve been immersed in the camera manual (which is easily 100 pages) since we got home. I don’t have much free time so I’ve been stealing sleep at night and reading about apertures, ISO sensitivities, and various other camera lingo.  And, I have to say…

I am in love!!

Of course I have a long way to go learning all there is to learn about the camera and who knows how far I’ll ultimately take it, but, right now, I’m having SO much fun.  It helps when you have great subjects to shoot!

Mommy, you really need to get a zoom lens. I'm trying to watch Tigger and Pooh here.

We do need to invest in an additional zoom lens which is a bit of a pain but I LIKE my close ups and the only way I’m able to get one like the above is to get REAL close. That’s fine, but, trying to take a close up of a toddler is like trying to take a shot of a fly – they NEVER stop moving. I was lucky to get a few like the one above.

Next step, stop cutting off head in picture.

I did manage to get a beautiful shot of Ellie and her Daddy on the roof of our apartment building.  My favorite one yet.

Note wool coat on Ellie. "Coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." -- Mark Twain

We decided to take a little jaunt out to Petaluma today to visit my brother’s place. Even though he and my sister-in-law were out of town, Ellie had a great time visiting with her Nana and Papa and her cousins. She LOVES her cousins. She only has five first cousins in total and three of them live in Connecticut (and are much older) so it’s a real treat for her to see her Petaluma home boys!

Enjoying cookies and conversation by the backyard shed.

My youngest nephew spent most of the afternoon napping but when he finally arose, I couldn’t resist getting some shots of his deliciousness.

Pensive after a long summer's nap.

 So, as you can see, I’m having a lot of fun with my new toy. I’m so bummed that I have to go back to work tomorrow and won’t get a chance to play again until next weekend  (something tells me my fellow cubicle dwellers wouldn’t appreciate my practicing at the office.)

Signs, signs, everywhere signs…

Posted in Tiny spaces with tags on March 28, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

In my last post, I lamented the fact that I was feeling pretty friendless. It took a lot for me write that post – to put those feelings out there. I’d been feeling that way for quite some time and ultimately decided that it might help to put the words on paper (virtual paper, anyhow) and put the sentiment out there to the universe.

I suppose one could say that what followed next was a coincidence but I’ve had too many coincidences in my life to know better.

Shortly after my last post — almost immediately in fact, my husband got a text message from the aforementioned couple – the husband in  the duo, to be exact. The message was something to the effect that it had been too long and we should get together and threw out a bunch of possibilities. Without getting  into unneccesary details, I came to a conclusion that I’d been considering for quite some time. And, ultimately, the important take away for me was that it was quite likely that nothing that had transpired really had anything to do with us.

We ended up meeting up with said husband and his two children while the wife was out of town on business (that’s a hint). It was nice to see all of our kids get a chance to play together again as they do really enjoy each other. And, it was nice to  see our friend. But, ultimately, I left feeling kind of freed. I can’t explain it except to say that I had moved on to a certain extent. No remorse or sadness, really, just ready to embrace new situations and new potential friends.

And then there was a windfall of activity — a true windfall.  Two dinner engagements, a forthcoming invitation, and a talked about playdate all within the span of two weeks. And, perhaps best of all, one old good friend returning to the Bay Area. Yippee!!

I can’t explain this sudden turn of events but I’d like to think that the seeds that I’ve been planting for the last year are starting to blossom. Spring is here and budding friendships are cropping up in the most unexpected places. I’d also like to think that the universe is starting to give me signs of hope.

And, I’ve never been more ready.

Friends…

Posted in Tiny spaces with tags on March 10, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

Growing up, I never thought much about friendship. I never thought about what a gift it is to be or have a friend. I never spent much time being grateful for the fact that I was never without a friend. I always had someone to play with, someone to talk to at all hours on the phone, and someone to share my deep, dark secrets with.

Some of these friends I still have. Some.

I was never the type of person to have a TON of friends nor could I ever understood the tier designation for friends either. “These are my A friends or B friends.”  I preferred a small group of really good friends – more than one, less than five. That worked for me.

Fifteen years ago, I left my East Coast home where I’d spent most of my youth and relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a BIG adjustment. I was lucky enough to have immediate and extended family to connect with but when the first Friday night rolled around, I found myself longing for friends and realized no family member could take the place of a close buddy.

It took some time, and finding a job, but eventually I found myself once again linked to friends, including a best friend. All it took was for me to be in a position to be exposed to potential friends. It was that easy.

Over the years, I made several more wonderful friends and then sadly, one by one, I stood by and begrudgingly bid them each a farewell as they set off for  new destinations — Boston, Texas, New Jersey, Florida and Portland. It was devastating but I held out hope that with each door that closed, another would open. I also felt comfort in having these friends, even if there weren’t in my backyard any longer.

Like I said, I never had problems making friends in my life. Having said that, I have found myself in an unprecedented dry spell. Yes, of course I have friends. But, for the most part, my very best friends live far away. I’ve also found that I’ve lost touch with some friends. Sometimes, the business of life and raising children is too much for the long distance relationship to survive. Sometimes, you realize that someone you’ve called a friend for a few years, is really more an acquaintance. People change. People grow apart.

Last summer, my toddler started preschool. From everything I’ve heard, your kids are a great way to make friends.  The preschool is affiliated with a temple. I’ve been to numerous events, have run into some of the same Moms, and I’ve yet to make a friend. I wouldn’t say that I had high expectations but I figured there would be at least SOMEONE that I would want to be friends with. Why wouldn’t I expect this? It’s always been that easy. So far, that hasn’t been the case.

There was one family that we met through the school and for some time were getting together with regularly. It was a *seemingly* great relationship. The kids liked each other, the family lives on our block, we are all working parents; it was a match made in heaven.

Until it wasn’t.

I started noticing that my husband, PB, was more often the one reaching out to make plans and suggested that perhaps he let them make a move. I was starting to question their investment. He thought I was being ridiculous and admittedly, I questioned whether perhaps I was being overly dramatic. We agreed to disagree.

Several months later and, sadly, PB  has come around to my theory. I’m sorry that I was right. I’m sorry that this family who we had many seemingly wonderful times with, doesn’t appear to be in it for the long haul.

I’m baffled. It hurts my head to think about it; to try and figure it out. But, how can I not wonder? This is all so foreign to me.

I guess like everything else in life that runs in cycles, friendships can too. And, I suppose I’ll have to patiently stand by and trust that that the universe has a plan. I just wish it’d give me a hint.

It’s a progression…

Posted in Tiny spaces with tags , , on February 24, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

*Note: If you are NOT over 40 yet, turn back now. I want you to go on believing that people who say that it all goes downhill after 40 are just whiners. You’ve been warned.

I would be lying if I said that turning 40 wasn’t a big deal for me. To be perfectly frank, it was actually quite devastating. I guess we all have our “number.” The age that makes us freak out. I had a little freak out at 25 too. Puhlease. 25. Like I had problems. Although in retrospect, turning 40 should have been a walk in the park compared to turning 25 based on these fine points:

*I was no longer living at home (yah, so, I was living with my parents at 25 – want to make something of it?)

*I had my career on track

*I was newly married

In fact, my new-ish husband threw me an amazing surprise 40th birthday party that was pretty much one of the best days of my life. Everyone I loved in one room to celebrate ME. What could be better? Not much. I can certainly tell you what can be worse though — the Monday morning following aforementioned party when the realization of entering a new decade kicks in. Not pretty.

Fortunately, the depression only lasted a year or two. And, before I knew it, I was rockin’ my 40s. And, by “rockin’ my 40s” , I mean I suddenly came to the realization that I was freakin’ old and probably didn’t have a lot of time left on this earth and so I better stop being a whiny crab ass longing for my youth and start living my life before it all passed me by.

I FINALLY realized that life was pretty damn good. I was finally settled down, had a baby girl I adored, looked younger than my years (or so I was told), and generally felt pretty healthy. I could do this 40s thing.

And then it all started…

First, I noticed that I if I didn’t get eight hours of sleep, my eyes got puffy. Then it was 10 hours. Then it was no alcohol. No salt. Eventually, the puff became a permanent fixture on my otherwise youthful face. It didn’t matter if I slept 15 hours.  It didn’t matter how much I rolled on the “anti-puff” roller or dabbed on the “anti-puff” cream. The puff was there to stay.

Then came the aches and pains. At first I thought it was the flu or fibromyalgia or some other terrible auto-immune disease. But, taking every blood test under the sun ruled out several potentially serious conditions. No, I was just getting old. Simple as that. The inexplicable aches and pains were no more a mystery than the clunking sounds in my 11-year old Mitsubishi Eclipse. (May she rest in peace.)

And then of course, there were the inevitable changes in vision. It started about two years ago when I noticed that they started changing the size of the fonts on all of the over-the-counter pill bottles. I couldn’t read a damn thing unless I took my contacts out. What was THIS about? I was devastated to learn that the font had actually never changed but my vision had. At my eye doctor appointment, I received a new prescription for progressive glasses. In case you don’t know what progressives are, they’re basically a much more efficient and cosmetically sound version of a bifocal.

Of course being the prideful person I am, I never filled the prescription. I had been doing just fine with the drug store magnifying glasses for years. CertainlyI could continue using these for sometime longer. And then another year went by. And my vision continued to be a challenge. By now I could barely read a menu in a restaurant, look at my computer, or read a book on a vacation. I went for my annual eye check up and walked out once again with a prescription for progressive glasses.

But, this time, I was ready to embrace the idea of new glasses. I realized something that I should have learned a long time ago. SEEING is cool. Acting like you can see when you really can’t is NOT cool.  And wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time just to read a section of text on the computer or the Sunday New York Times is most certainly, not cool. 

I started noticing how many of my colleagues at the office had trendy eyewear and began to imagine myself among them. After all, I DO work in publishing. Could there be a better venue to sport a new pair of spectacles? I say not. So, off I went in search of the perfect glasses. I wandered into a high end eye boutique in San Francisco that came highly recommended and let the experts take over. One thousand dollars later, and I had found my new glasses! (Ok, the thousand dollars is before insurance, but still.) The frames were indeed pricey but the real hefty cost was from that prescription of mine. It’s also expensive getting old.

For that kind of money, I expected to fall in love with my glasses and want to wear them everywhere. Everywhere. But, let’s face it, I just don’t have the best face for glasses. Regardless of what the posters on the front of the Lens Crafters and Pearl Vision storefronts suggest, I am NEVER going to look like THIS in glasses.

No matter how nice my frames are or what I imagine they’ll look like on me, it’ll always be something more along the lines of this.

But, you know, now that I have finally embraced this aging process and my 40s, I think it’s high time I embraced my inner nerd too. Poor girl has been dormant for far too long.

Protected: Trying out Temple life…

Posted in Tiny spaces with tags , , on January 29, 2010 by talesofanunfinishedmom

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