on bonbons and half marathons

Thursday, May 26, 2016

I am a super Type A perfectionist. (Newsflash, right?)

When I stopped working as an attorney, a friend supportively cautioned me that it might take about a year to adjust.

I scoffed.  (I am also an occasional scoffer.)  

"I'm sure I'll be fine," I thought.  "I think it will take me about three weeks to adjust.  Yup, three weeks."

That was a year ago.  
*     *     *     *     *

I've learned a lot this year.  Here are some of my discoveries:

1.  It is not good for one's soul to do laundry every day.  

Nothing makes you feel like you're in a hamster wheel faster.

2.  Not having a commute is &*(##@ awesome.  

When Durel and I moved back to Austin from DC, I swore that I wouldn't complain about the traffic.  "Nothing will EVER be worse than 5 PM on the Beltway," I thought.  Nothing.  

Oh man,  I hadn't seen 620 at 8 AM, had I?  

3.  Moms need more yoga pants.

One of the best perks of my new job is walking Jack to school every day.  Those first few days of kindergarten, I had an existential wardrobe crisis.  It's 7 AM.  Am I supposed to get dressed?  Have on makeup?  I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

So, I got dressed and brushed my teeth and hair and put on some mascara and lip gloss.  And so did several other moms, I noticed.

You know what?  By Thursday of the first week of school we were all bare-faced in yoga pants.  We haven't looked back.

4.  Labels are dangerous.

I'm going to get sociological for a minute.  Labels are an intrinsic part of human society.  We need to define ourselves, and we do so in large part by comparing and contrasting ourselves with others.  I had (and still have, truth be told) a lot invested in my label of "attorney."  It's a prestigious one and it wears well, like an expensive suit.  

Beware, though.  The label of "stay at home mom" is a patriarchal booby trap.  It should be called CEO, because that's what it is.  Our society systematically undervalues the labor of the home, and that's some bullshit.  I have not started wearing retro dresses (any more than I ever did), and wearing an apron all the time, standing at the ready with freshly-baked, organic, gluten-free cookies.  I do not loll about on the couch eating bonbons.  Let me repeat:  I do not loll.

I also don't grow all my own food or work out for six hours a day.  We don't have a goat or chickens (though not for lack of asking by both Durel and Jack).  I don't stare at Pinterest all day.  I don't make my own cleaning supplies out of all natural ingredients.  

I work.  I do the work that is required to run a household smoothly.  And if you want to get tricky with details, I also do work to contribute to the smooth operation of my parents' household.  

Is there a job title for "double CEO"?

5.  It doesn't matter what people think.

This is the part that takes a year.  This is why I'm writing this post now, not after three weeks.

I lost a few friends when I stopped lawyering.  I saw their eyes glaze over when I told them about my decision to care for my family and take a break from the practice of law.  In large part, I ceased being relevant to them at that moment.  (Lawyers are big on relevance.)

I also made some new friends when I stopped lawyering.  Jack's amazing kindergarten teacher will become a happy hour buddy as soon as we decide it's appropriate.  Some of the moms I've met while volunteering at school are new, good, real friends.  

Apparently, I've inspired some friends, too, which I find surprisingly delightful!  One friend is moving with her family back to Michigan and changing up their work-life balance.  She told me I gave her the courage to think outside the box.  I think that's SO RAD.  

I got reacquainted with myself, too.  I've wrestled with my lifelong ambition of running at least a half marathon, if not a full one.  I pretended that I don't want to do that anymore, what with my 40 year old physique and creaky feet.  I then called my own bluff, because I do.  I remembered that I take a lot of joy in writing and reading and realized that I need to do them more.  I rediscovered cooking for nourishment and relaxation.

To Seussify it, I thought some thinks that needed to be thunk.  

And look!  How happy I am!



Hope your day is refreshingly free of patriarchal booby traps.

Talk soon,
Heather

The Right Time to Say Yay

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Last weekend, Cristy and Dagwood drove to Austin from Albuquerque to become Sawyer's godparents.  That was really cool.

We Davies are not overtly religious.  So, I'll leave it at that.

But I will say this:  No less than 5 times, during (intentionally) quiet moments in the service, which was candlelit and rich with significance, Sawyer shouted:

"YAY!"

Indeed.





Hope you have something legit to cheer about today.

Talk soon,
Heather

on firm kisses and unlikely comparisons

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Durel and I were talking the other evening about how, even at our ripe old ages, our parents still kiss us firmly on the heads.  

My family has always been pretty affectionate, so I never thought about it.  Durel's family is less demonstrative, so he did.

Here is my operating theory:  No matter how old you get, you are still your parents' baby.  And they will kiss your head firmly, forever.  Because it's in their parental DNA.  They've been kissing you like that since you were born and there simply is no good reason to stop.

*     *     *     *     *  

So, Jack is huge now.  He has seen the first Harry Potter movie and asks me repeatedly when he can go to wizarding school.  (I see Harry Potter themed parties in our future.)  He will play Quidditch, of course.  He anticipates being in Gryffendor, but Durel and I are quick to posit the virtues of Slytherin.  (Seriously.  Slytherin is cool.  It's how you use your power that makes the difference, n'est pas?)

He's big on cocoa, also.  So, imagine the kismet that occurred when one of the items on his monthly homework calendar was to "drink a cup of hot chocolate and use your five senses to describe it."

We got to work, and here's what we learned.  

Me:      OK, Jack.  Let's use your eyes.  What does your cocoa look like?

Jack:    Clear vomit.

Me:      ...Oh!  Uh...OK.

Jack:     You know what I mean. It's all bubbly.

Me:       Rrrrright.  How about your nose?  How does your cocoa smell?

Jack:     (sniffs)  Chocolate!

Me:       Great.  What about touch?  How does it feel?

Jack:     (unceremoniously sticks finger into hot cocoa)  Oh!  LIKE FIRE!

Me:      Wow.  OK.  How does it sound?

Jack:     (looks at me as if I'm a bit daft)  Like bubbles popping.

Me:      OK, most important one!  Let's taste it!

Anyway, that was a successful (and enlightening) exercise.  Here are a few shots of Jack at his best lately. I took them in between stealing every opportunity to kiss him firmly on the head.

As we do.

Holding a baby kangaroo at his friend Addie's amazeballs birthday party.

We big puffy heart love Menchies. 
He stole my sandwich at Panera.

He also ate about half of my pho.  I swear, I feed him.

Hope kisses are firm and vomit is only theoretical in your world today.

Talk soon,
Heather


the one about pie. and wine.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Christmas is an Olympic event to me.

I train for it.  I plan for it.  I make multiple lists.  I mutter over cookbooks weeks in advance.  I dance in my car to Christmas music in November.  Early November.

I'm into it.

Normally, December 23rd (or Christmas Eve EVE, as I call it in my head), is Baking Day.  If I have the great (biannual) luck of being with my sister, Jenny, we listen to the Pogues and the Waitresses and bake cookies and spike our coffee with Kahlua.  

If not, I bake pies all day.  I usually end up with a 1:1 person to pie ratio.  Not because everyone eats a whole pie, but because I want to make several kinds of pie, and why make just one?  Everyone has to taste it, you know.  And of course, my family requires at least three pumpkin pies.  So. I make a lot of pies.

This year, Durel had a great (yet revolutionary) idea.  He suggested that we go to Fredericksburg with PapaDu, Uncle Dustin, Aunt Geri to breathe Hill Country air and drink wine.  (Frederickburg is a Texas German town a little more than an hour away.  It has cuteness and vineyards in abundance.)

I told him that was a great idea.

My brain was freaking out about OHMAGERD THE PIEZZZZZZZZZZZ.  But I told that inner voice to shut up.  And off we went.

I'm also not good at admitting I'm wrong.  But you can guess where this is going.

Durel was right.  It was a perfect (balmy) day and an amazing way to spend it.

Exploring.




I love these people.  So much.

Getting artsy.

My beautiful sister in law.

Moving.

Maxing and relaxing.

Guess what?  I still made pie.  

Hope your Christmas involved the magic of new ideas.

Talk soon,
Heather

the bearded man cometh

Sunday, December 13, 2015



We are getting our holiday on over here.  

I would like to say that I'm more prepared this year than I normally am.  I would like to say I can make a perfect cheese souffle.  I would like to say I've run a marathon.  I would like to say a lot of things.

None of these things are true.

But.  But!  Here's what I can say:  I am not stressed out about it.  This is a new and different take on "Heather Less Than Two Weeks Before Christmas."  I can also say that I  learned to make totally bad ass Pad Thai recently.  I can also say that my (brave and supportive) friend Elizabeth has agreed to run a half marathon with me this spring.  

These things are true, and they're lovely.

Jack needed to make a banner for school, depicting our family's holiday traditions.  He promptly demanded to pose for pictures with the dogs.  (And his Santa hat.)

He looks 12 here and it's freaking me out.


As far as I could tell, his sense of our traditions involves: Christmas pajamas, Christmas tree decorating, Advent calendar doing, and dog loving.  

These things are true, and they're lovely.

Hope you're doing your best Bedford Falls, too.

Talk soon,
Heather

Thursday, May 26, 2016

on bonbons and half marathons

I am a super Type A perfectionist. (Newsflash, right?)

When I stopped working as an attorney, a friend supportively cautioned me that it might take about a year to adjust.

I scoffed.  (I am also an occasional scoffer.)  

"I'm sure I'll be fine," I thought.  "I think it will take me about three weeks to adjust.  Yup, three weeks."

That was a year ago.  
*     *     *     *     *

I've learned a lot this year.  Here are some of my discoveries:

1.  It is not good for one's soul to do laundry every day.  

Nothing makes you feel like you're in a hamster wheel faster.

2.  Not having a commute is &*(##@ awesome.  

When Durel and I moved back to Austin from DC, I swore that I wouldn't complain about the traffic.  "Nothing will EVER be worse than 5 PM on the Beltway," I thought.  Nothing.  

Oh man,  I hadn't seen 620 at 8 AM, had I?  

3.  Moms need more yoga pants.

One of the best perks of my new job is walking Jack to school every day.  Those first few days of kindergarten, I had an existential wardrobe crisis.  It's 7 AM.  Am I supposed to get dressed?  Have on makeup?  I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

So, I got dressed and brushed my teeth and hair and put on some mascara and lip gloss.  And so did several other moms, I noticed.

You know what?  By Thursday of the first week of school we were all bare-faced in yoga pants.  We haven't looked back.

4.  Labels are dangerous.

I'm going to get sociological for a minute.  Labels are an intrinsic part of human society.  We need to define ourselves, and we do so in large part by comparing and contrasting ourselves with others.  I had (and still have, truth be told) a lot invested in my label of "attorney."  It's a prestigious one and it wears well, like an expensive suit.  

Beware, though.  The label of "stay at home mom" is a patriarchal booby trap.  It should be called CEO, because that's what it is.  Our society systematically undervalues the labor of the home, and that's some bullshit.  I have not started wearing retro dresses (any more than I ever did), and wearing an apron all the time, standing at the ready with freshly-baked, organic, gluten-free cookies.  I do not loll about on the couch eating bonbons.  Let me repeat:  I do not loll.

I also don't grow all my own food or work out for six hours a day.  We don't have a goat or chickens (though not for lack of asking by both Durel and Jack).  I don't stare at Pinterest all day.  I don't make my own cleaning supplies out of all natural ingredients.  

I work.  I do the work that is required to run a household smoothly.  And if you want to get tricky with details, I also do work to contribute to the smooth operation of my parents' household.  

Is there a job title for "double CEO"?

5.  It doesn't matter what people think.

This is the part that takes a year.  This is why I'm writing this post now, not after three weeks.

I lost a few friends when I stopped lawyering.  I saw their eyes glaze over when I told them about my decision to care for my family and take a break from the practice of law.  In large part, I ceased being relevant to them at that moment.  (Lawyers are big on relevance.)

I also made some new friends when I stopped lawyering.  Jack's amazing kindergarten teacher will become a happy hour buddy as soon as we decide it's appropriate.  Some of the moms I've met while volunteering at school are new, good, real friends.  

Apparently, I've inspired some friends, too, which I find surprisingly delightful!  One friend is moving with her family back to Michigan and changing up their work-life balance.  She told me I gave her the courage to think outside the box.  I think that's SO RAD.  

I got reacquainted with myself, too.  I've wrestled with my lifelong ambition of running at least a half marathon, if not a full one.  I pretended that I don't want to do that anymore, what with my 40 year old physique and creaky feet.  I then called my own bluff, because I do.  I remembered that I take a lot of joy in writing and reading and realized that I need to do them more.  I rediscovered cooking for nourishment and relaxation.

To Seussify it, I thought some thinks that needed to be thunk.  

And look!  How happy I am!



Hope your day is refreshingly free of patriarchal booby traps.

Talk soon,
Heather

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Right Time to Say Yay

Last weekend, Cristy and Dagwood drove to Austin from Albuquerque to become Sawyer's godparents.  That was really cool.

We Davies are not overtly religious.  So, I'll leave it at that.

But I will say this:  No less than 5 times, during (intentionally) quiet moments in the service, which was candlelit and rich with significance, Sawyer shouted:

"YAY!"

Indeed.





Hope you have something legit to cheer about today.

Talk soon,
Heather

Saturday, January 16, 2016

on firm kisses and unlikely comparisons

Durel and I were talking the other evening about how, even at our ripe old ages, our parents still kiss us firmly on the heads.  

My family has always been pretty affectionate, so I never thought about it.  Durel's family is less demonstrative, so he did.

Here is my operating theory:  No matter how old you get, you are still your parents' baby.  And they will kiss your head firmly, forever.  Because it's in their parental DNA.  They've been kissing you like that since you were born and there simply is no good reason to stop.

*     *     *     *     *  

So, Jack is huge now.  He has seen the first Harry Potter movie and asks me repeatedly when he can go to wizarding school.  (I see Harry Potter themed parties in our future.)  He will play Quidditch, of course.  He anticipates being in Gryffendor, but Durel and I are quick to posit the virtues of Slytherin.  (Seriously.  Slytherin is cool.  It's how you use your power that makes the difference, n'est pas?)

He's big on cocoa, also.  So, imagine the kismet that occurred when one of the items on his monthly homework calendar was to "drink a cup of hot chocolate and use your five senses to describe it."

We got to work, and here's what we learned.  

Me:      OK, Jack.  Let's use your eyes.  What does your cocoa look like?

Jack:    Clear vomit.

Me:      ...Oh!  Uh...OK.

Jack:     You know what I mean. It's all bubbly.

Me:       Rrrrright.  How about your nose?  How does your cocoa smell?

Jack:     (sniffs)  Chocolate!

Me:       Great.  What about touch?  How does it feel?

Jack:     (unceremoniously sticks finger into hot cocoa)  Oh!  LIKE FIRE!

Me:      Wow.  OK.  How does it sound?

Jack:     (looks at me as if I'm a bit daft)  Like bubbles popping.

Me:      OK, most important one!  Let's taste it!

Anyway, that was a successful (and enlightening) exercise.  Here are a few shots of Jack at his best lately. I took them in between stealing every opportunity to kiss him firmly on the head.

As we do.

Holding a baby kangaroo at his friend Addie's amazeballs birthday party.

We big puffy heart love Menchies. 
He stole my sandwich at Panera.

He also ate about half of my pho.  I swear, I feed him.

Hope kisses are firm and vomit is only theoretical in your world today.

Talk soon,
Heather


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

the one about pie. and wine.

Christmas is an Olympic event to me.

I train for it.  I plan for it.  I make multiple lists.  I mutter over cookbooks weeks in advance.  I dance in my car to Christmas music in November.  Early November.

I'm into it.

Normally, December 23rd (or Christmas Eve EVE, as I call it in my head), is Baking Day.  If I have the great (biannual) luck of being with my sister, Jenny, we listen to the Pogues and the Waitresses and bake cookies and spike our coffee with Kahlua.  

If not, I bake pies all day.  I usually end up with a 1:1 person to pie ratio.  Not because everyone eats a whole pie, but because I want to make several kinds of pie, and why make just one?  Everyone has to taste it, you know.  And of course, my family requires at least three pumpkin pies.  So. I make a lot of pies.

This year, Durel had a great (yet revolutionary) idea.  He suggested that we go to Fredericksburg with PapaDu, Uncle Dustin, Aunt Geri to breathe Hill Country air and drink wine.  (Frederickburg is a Texas German town a little more than an hour away.  It has cuteness and vineyards in abundance.)

I told him that was a great idea.

My brain was freaking out about OHMAGERD THE PIEZZZZZZZZZZZ.  But I told that inner voice to shut up.  And off we went.

I'm also not good at admitting I'm wrong.  But you can guess where this is going.

Durel was right.  It was a perfect (balmy) day and an amazing way to spend it.

Exploring.




I love these people.  So much.

Getting artsy.

My beautiful sister in law.

Moving.

Maxing and relaxing.

Guess what?  I still made pie.  

Hope your Christmas involved the magic of new ideas.

Talk soon,
Heather

Sunday, December 13, 2015

the bearded man cometh



We are getting our holiday on over here.  

I would like to say that I'm more prepared this year than I normally am.  I would like to say I can make a perfect cheese souffle.  I would like to say I've run a marathon.  I would like to say a lot of things.

None of these things are true.

But.  But!  Here's what I can say:  I am not stressed out about it.  This is a new and different take on "Heather Less Than Two Weeks Before Christmas."  I can also say that I  learned to make totally bad ass Pad Thai recently.  I can also say that my (brave and supportive) friend Elizabeth has agreed to run a half marathon with me this spring.  

These things are true, and they're lovely.

Jack needed to make a banner for school, depicting our family's holiday traditions.  He promptly demanded to pose for pictures with the dogs.  (And his Santa hat.)

He looks 12 here and it's freaking me out.


As far as I could tell, his sense of our traditions involves: Christmas pajamas, Christmas tree decorating, Advent calendar doing, and dog loving.  

These things are true, and they're lovely.

Hope you're doing your best Bedford Falls, too.

Talk soon,
Heather
 
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