janradder: (Default)
No, I don't have sled dogs, but that would certainly make it easier to get around Minneapolis today. So would snow shoes, which I also don't have. Right now we're in the midst of what is, if not an actual blizzard, pretty close to it. And about half an hour ago I decided to venture out into it on foot in order to pick up a package of ours that was delivered to the wrong house about three blocks away.

Now, I knew driving there would be foolish (I'd already gotten the care stuck about twelve times just moving it from one side of the street to the other so the plows could get through), but I thought walking three blocks would be a cinch. And it kind of was, at least until I hit the snow drifts that came up over my knees. And when I walked back with the snow and wind in my face that truly was close to blinding. But, man, was it fun!

Yes, there were the five cars I passed that were stuck in the street (one of which I helped push. Three of the others already had helpers and the fourth was just left abandoned -- still is, as a matter of fact, just in front of our house), and the snow was cold and it took a while to get to where I was going, but at the same time it felt like I was an arctic explorer or some prospector in the Yukon, tramping through the snow piles and making sure I didn't lose my way. The snow is falling fast, and the wind is whipping it everywhere in huge clouds of white fury. The sidewalks were nearly unnavigable -- even the ones that had been shoveled earlier in the day -- so I had to walk down the car tracks in the street, leaving them only to walk around the cars that were stuck. Those of us who were out all had huge stupid grins on our faces as we braved the elements, thrilled at the sheer joy of being alive and out in the world.

Back home, in the warmth, I looking at our backyard and at the snow still falling and the piles and mounds and drifts growing steadily throughout the day. Here and there little eddies of snowflakes swirl viciously through the air like whirling dervishes and occasionally sheets of white nearly obscure my view out the window entirely. The storm is beautiful out there, in all its chaotic fury. Watching it, at times it feels like it's picking up my very soul and lifting it to the sky and heavens, twirling it through the firmament like a bird dancing through thermals in the air.
janradder: (Default)
I stepped outside into a warm fall morning, noticing how the sun lit the canopy of trees above and captured each leaf as it gently tumbled to the ground. Into the park I ran, my feet gliding over leaves on the sidewalk and in the grass. I listened to the crunch and rustle beneath my feet and breathed in autumn: earth and humus and fading foliage. As I ran beneath a maple tree I was picked up and set down, wrapped within a glorious blaze of orange and red. Through the park and around, feeling the warmth of my muscles and the pulse of blood through my veins, my heart pumping and pounding, I raced onward, basking in the spectacle of life and this day.

Ahh.

Mar. 14th, 2010 01:58 pm
janradder: (Default)
The sun is shining, the windows are open, and the last bits of snow are nearly gone from the back yard. A Red Sox spring training game plays on the computer as I fold laundry and boys play quietly yet enthusiastically nearby. In a few minutes, we'll be heading out to the library, and then we'll return home to ride bikes and enjoy the afternoon outdoors. It's not spring yet, but damn if it doesn't feel like it's already here.
janradder: (psychos in love)
Watching my seven year old carve his first pumpkin all by himself while my five year old does a spastic punk dance to the Misfits song that's playing in the other room.
janradder: (Default)
Last week while towing the boys, I was passed by nearly everyone on the Greenway. Today as I was towing Éiden, I pulled away from a couple of twenty-something, hardcore cycling-dudes while heading up a steep hill. Then on the down-slope and a straightaway, I left them even further behind until they finally disappeared from my view.
janradder: (Default)
I had spent the morning and a good part of the afternoon cooking, repairing steps and setting up tables and chairs in my soon-to-be in-laws back yard on Long Island. I was wearing a pair of old filthy shorts and a similarly filthy T-shirt. Both of them were covered in equal amounts of dirt, sweat and food splatters. The guests had begun to arrive half an hour earlier and I'd greeted them brightly in my decidedly non-formal attire.

"Aren't you the one getting married?" nearly all of them had asked, looking at my outfit.

"Yes," I'd said brightly and with a smile. "I am!"

About twenty minutes before the ceremony was to start, I was still wearing my grimy work clothes when my mom grabbed me by the arm, led me to a room where my rented tux was hanging, and told me to get changed.

"If you don't, the wedding's going to start and you're still going to be wearing those ratty things," she said.

I stood at the doorway, staring at the tuxedo, took a deep breath, and changed. Though I hadn't felt the least bit nervous before, when I changed clothes I was suddenly overcome with horrible, gut-wrenching fear.

I pulled on the jacket, tied my shoes, and adjusted my tie in the mirror. Then I stepped out into the hallway where my mother was waiting to pin a boutoniére to my collar. There is a picture of me, taken as she did so, where I look sort of like Elvis Presley. I'm standing with my arms hanging back a little at my sides while my legs are spread slightly apart, stiffly. My head is turned to the right a little and looking down, sort of like I've grabbed the microphone and pulled it in close, ready to croon while the girls scream and faint. I didn't feel like Elvis when that picture was taken, though. Instead, I was absolutely terrified.

In spite of the terror, however, I walked out of the house into the backyard filled with gardens of flowers just about to bloom and joined [livejournal.com profile] haddayr at the top of the stairs we'd spent a week repairing. Then the music started and walked down them to a gazebo where we were married.

Though stepping into those clothes and out into the backyard was one of the most terrifying things I'd ever done in my life to that point, it's still one of the best decisions I've ever made.
janradder: (Default)
Today Arie was given the choice between staying at his brother's preschool (which is always his choice when he doesn't have school but Éiden does) or spending the morning with me. I was prepared for the inevitable, "I'll stay with my brother," but instead he said he wanted to go with me! So the two of us went to the Minnesota Historical Society (his choice) and spent our time looking at old vehicles and trying to assemble artillery shells (as part of an exhibit called "Minnesota's Greatest Generation"), and had a great time together.
janradder: (Default)
I know I've often complained about the coffee shop I go to, but I really do like it, and there is definitely a lot to be said for a coffee shop where, even before you get to the counter, there's already a cup of coffee waiting for you because the guy behind the counter saw you walk in and he knows that's what you always get.

Yay!!!

May. 13th, 2009 03:47 pm
janradder: (Default)
I haven't been posting lately because I really haven't had a whole lot to say, but I do now:

For the first time, a friend from school invited Arie to her birthday party!

It is most definitely the best news I've had today.
janradder: (Default)
There are many times that I wish I had a different relationship with my older son. Both of us are very similar in our personalities, and this often leads to strife. Like me, he is as stubborn as a Dutchman's dike, unwilling to yield even a fraction of space to the sea that pounds continuously against us, whether that sea be literal or imaginary. It can be a good character trait at times, but not when you're trying to build a relationship with someone. As a result, I've worked very hard at being more pliant and mutable, but I'm not always that way, and the two of us frequently butt heads as our opposing views and wishes clash.

Tonight, though, was different.

Yesterday was Arie's birthday and my mother gave him a working model robot kit to assemble. He's only assembled simple models before and never from instructions, and even if he had, this model is a little too hard for him to do completely on his own, without any guidance. So, as we ate dinner, he asked me if I would help him put it together when we were done eating.

"Sure," I said.

When we'd cleaned off the table, we collected all our tools, and then set down with the instructions. I showed Arie how to find the right parts and taught him how to use the diagonal cutters to snip the parts off the plastic tree they came attached to. I helped him figure out the diagrams. And, more importantly, the two of us sat together, calmly, as we worked on his robot, enjoying each other's companionship. This, I thought, is what I imagined parenting would be like, and I drank it up as if it were the most delicious nectar in the world. Which it was.
janradder: (Default)
Because on the first day she got them, I stepped into the kitchen to see her grinning from ear to ear as she leapt from the sink all the way to the other wall in a single bound, even though she was sick with a death-bringing cold.

Because even on her very worst days, she is able to walk from one end of the house to the other without once falling, stumbling or having to stop and regain her balance.

Because she snuck up to me and whispered, almost as if it were a secret, that she could dance with them.

Because after I heard her say that, I put on a Sam and Dave LP and she ran to the living room to bump and groove to the sounds of "Hold On, I'm Comin'."

Because after all that, she beamed with joy and delight, flashing a smile that I don't see often enough and that I haven't seen in some time, thrilled to be alive and able to dance again like nobody's business.

That's why I love [livejournal.com profile] haddayr's new crutches.
janradder: (Default)
Why it was crappy:

1. I was sick with a cold I'd gotten from Éiden.

2. I paid $7.75 to park downtown, then found out that the Delta Spirit show I'd been waiting to see for the past two months had sold out a couple minutes earlier (and I'd arrived just fifteen minutes after the doors opened).

3. After the woman checking ID's told me to try back in an hour and a half to see if there were any unclaimed tickets, I was heckled for two and a half blocks by a carload of suburban teenage girls driving their parents' Prius who kept calling me, alternately, Justin Timberlake and Brittany Spears.

4. Deciding to waste time by riding the light rail, I lucked out when I was joined by another horde of suburban teens who'd come from some high school sporting event and spent most of their time shrieking, screaming and holding the doors open at stops except for when a black couple got on the train at Lake Street and one of the kids started talking loudly about "the black guys."

5. After riding the train for an hour and a half, I went back to the Entry and found that there were still plenty of people trying to get in and there were no unclaimed tickets to be had.

How it suddenly became awesome:

1. Perhaps seeing my disappointed face peering in through the doors, a woman in line asked me if I needed tickets. When I said yes, thinking she'd say, "Yeah, it's sold out -- bummer," the guy she was with instead said, "We've got an extra one."

2. Delta Spirit was, seriously, fucking awesome -- those boys know how to put on a show. In the twenty-two years I've been going to see bands, last night's show was among the best I've ever seen. There was screaming, rolling on the floor, bodies flailing and jerking on stage, raucous rave-ups, beer-toasting sing-a-longs, and gut-wrenching singing, followed by the singer leaping from the stage after the band's last set, into the audience, where he started dancing to the music on the PA and grabbing people from the audience so that everyone was dancing. Plus, the band seemed to genuinely appreciate their reception, especially since this was their first headlining tour. Really, it was a great show (and if you have the chance to see them, by all means, do).


Thank you, again, to the people with the extra ticket -- I meant it when I said you made my night!

janradder: (Default)
Being 38, I, like the rest of my generation, am a child of Watergate and what I mean by that, is that I've never known a time when I didn't distrust our presidents or our government. I've heard countless members of my parents' generation talk about how, before Nixon, that wasn't the case. It seems hard to believe.

I can be horribly optimistic at times, but, even in those times, there is still this sneaking cynicism that colors my view of the world. And the changing of presidents does nothing to diminish that. Today is different, though.

I have no idea how Barack Obama will do as our president. I have no idea if he will ever come even close to fulfilling the hopes, dreams and expectations of the people who, like me, voted for him. But all the same, there really is something different about today's inauguration. Watching the people in the audience, listening to the news commentators and seeing the our new president sworn in, there is this overriding feeling of change and hope and optimism that I really can't ever remember seeing before.

Like I said, Barack Obama may never be the president so many of us hope for but I just don't find myself thinking about that right now. It's hard to stay cynical when 147 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, 55 years after Brown v. Board of Education, and 44 years after the Voting Rights Act, you've seen a Black man finally sworn in as President of the United States.
janradder: (aquaman)
His friend from school, who is also taking swimming lessons at the same time, saw him sitting in the hot tub.  Arie is six now, so he is allowed to sit in the tub for five minutes, rather than just sit with his feet in the water.  Arie's friend got a huge smile on his face and came over to sit next to him.  They sat there talking like two old men rehashing their day.  I have no idea what they said to each other other but whatever it was, they were thoroughly enjoying one another's company.  It made me feel so good to see my son, who just a year ago would look past kids saying hello to him as if they were inanimate objects, sitting and conversing with his friend.
janradder: (watt)
Holding it in my hand makes it seem so much more  real than seeing it on a screen or holding in a memory stick.

 Back in April I started writing this thing.  Before that I'd started it a few times only ever writing a few pages and then abandoning it.  Before that, years before, in fact, I'd been writing it in my head while showering, walking the dog, riding my bike, washing the dishes, watching the kids.  I kept seeing scenes and memories of my past and feeling like I should write about them but I was always too scared.  What if I started and it turned out I had absolutely nothing to say?  In April I kind of had this break through (well, actually it was more of a break down) where I realized that if I didn't start writing it (or start writing something) I probably never would and I'd always regret it.

At first the writing was a little difficult.  I could sit and write for maybe an hour or two, at the most.  If I tried to write the next day I just couldn't so I'd give myself a couple days off and then write again.  I slowly moved along like that until I could write more  in one sitting than before and eventually I could write in consecutive days.  It felt like getting back into shape after not having exercised for fourteen years.

I'm really amazed at how quickly the writing finally came.  I really enjoyed writing this first draft.  There were days when all I could do was smile because I was actually writing again and I looked forward to getting the kids in bed so that I could sit down and get to it again.

I have never written anything even remotely this long before.  At times I'm just kind of flabbergasted that I even did it at all.  When the kid behind the counter handed my my two boxes filled with paper and words I couldn't help smiling as I took them and walked out to my car where I opened a box  and pulled out a ream of paper filled with my words.  I have a lot of work in front of me in terms of revisions but for right now I'm just so incredibly happy.  A little over three months ago I sat on my bed crying because I thought I'd never write or paint or make music again.  Now I'm sitting with the first draft of my book.
janradder: (Default)
I really am a very private person, as [livejournal.com profile] haddayr can easily attest to.  However, today is our sixteenth anniversary and I feel I should say something about that.  I really have no idea how I found her or why she ever took an interest in me (if it hadn't been for Haddayr almost literally throwing herself at my feet, I'd probably still be sitting somewhere, eighteen years later, wondering, "Gee, I wonder if she likes me?"  I really am very good at missing obvious clues, hints, and out and out statements, like being bribed with chocolate and lemonade, being asked to lunch, going to a planned group outing to Coney Island that mysteriously turned into just the two of us, and being told, "You know, Jan, I really like you," or something similar that Haddayr can probably give you the exact words for since even then I somehow completely missed it).  My only explanation is that it seems to be dumb glorious luck that either of those two things happened (and even more fortuitous that it was both).  I really couldn't have hoped, even in my wildest dreams, to have found someone so perfect for me.  Despite her gruff, flippant exterior (which I do love), Haddayr is one of the most loving, caring people I know (though she'll probably be pissed now that I said it).  She has never hesitated to support me in whatever I do, no matter how crazy she thought it was.  She really is wonderful and I truly feel blessed to be in her life.
janradder: (watt)
Earlier in the week I'd told [livejournal.com profile] haddayr that I needed a break from the kids this weekend.  She had been gone for five days as WisCon and then when she returned, she had the stomach flu so I really wasn't able to get a breather after.  This Thursday we'll be driving down, first to drop her off at Sycamore Hill in North Carolina, and then the boys and i will continue on for about an hour and a half to Aiken, SC to visit my dad and half-sister for a week, which means that I'll again be on my own for childcare.  So I really needed a breather which I got today.

I headed out from home with the intention of writing for a while and then seeing a movie and then maybe visiting a record store or something.  When Arie heard that I was leaving for the day, his face fell and he came up to me and said he'd miss me today, which is unusual for him as, normally, he is quite the Mama's boy (Éiden, on the other hand, I know misses me when I leave).  So, when Arie gave me the hug and told me that it sort of took me aback.  I gave him a hug, delighting in the display of affection he was showing, then said goodbye and left for my day alone.

I wound up at a coffee house and got to work, looking in the paper first to see what time my movie started.  I wrote for a couple hours and saw I still had another hour before I had to leave and kept going.  An hour later, I was still working on a scene so I decided to skip the movie and maybe check out a record store later.  Several hours later, approaching dinnertime, I saw I was not going anywhere else so I finished up what I was working on and packed up .  Final writing tally, six hours, 9,500 words, 29 pages (which has brought me up past the 100K mark in words and past the 300 page mark).  Heading home I felt great about my work.

As good as I felt about my writing, though, it really wasn't the best part of the day.  The best part?  Pulling up in front of the house to see two boys still dressed in their Superman pajamas from the morning, racing from the door to greet me with big bouncy smiles, hugs, and excited stories about their day.
janradder: (aquaman)
I just got a phone call from his teacher telling me that he has only had one day in which he reached a three (at the beginning of the month and it was at the very end of what had otherwise been a good day) and, coming on the heels  of such a hard April, she wanted to give him some recognition.  I am so proud of him!

ETA:  Months back, in October, Arie told Haddayr and I over dinner that his plan was to be Citizen of the Month for October.  That was then pushed ahead to November, and December, and so on.  Neither of us said anything to him but our feeling was that there was no way our son could ever control his behavior at school for a whole month.  As much as it pained us to admit, neither of us believed he would ever be Citizen of the Month.  I'm so happy he proved us wrong.
janradder: (Default)
At the Y before swimming lessons, he runs into the building, his curls bouncing with each step and proudly hands over his brand new Y membership card that we'd gotten the week before.  In the picture his smile says, "Damn right, I'm cute."  The lady behind the desk scans the card then hands it back to him and Éiden races to the locker room and yanks the door open.

In the pool, he can't help but laugh as he jumps in the pool, practices his strokes, and floats along with the other two kids in his class on his "rocket."  From all the way on the other side of the pool, I can hear his infectious laugh.

After the lesson is over while he is undressing in the boys locker room, he yells out at the top of his lungs, "I HAVE BREASTS!!!!!" then, placing each finger on a either side of his chest, he tells me, "See, I have NIPPLES!"

From the locker room he flies out across the lobby, arms outstretched as he makes sound effects for his flight across the Y.  "This . . . looks . . . like a job . . . for SUPER-GRILLA!" he shouts, utterly charming the two women behind the desk.

As we pull into the Aldi parking lot he tells me, "when Arie and I were babies we were in Mommy's tummy."  "Yes, you were," I respond.  "Yeah," he laughs.  "But then we broke out!"

Inside Aldi he sees the apples. "Oh, let's get . . . GOLDENDELICIOUSAPPLES!!!!!"  He then picks one up and begins turning it in his hands as he pretends to eat the apple, making chomping noises while he does this.  He races through the rest of the store pretending to do the same to the rest of the food.

When he's at his worst, this kid can be a serious three year old pain in mine and everyone else's asses.  At his best, I wonder how I possibly had any part in producing him and marvel at his ability to brighten even my crappiest days.

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