Just a little Quneacation, enjoy!
What’s up? It’s Cinco de Mayo, a time for reflection and writing down life goals… What’s that you say? That’s New Years?! Well maybe in your world but around this Villa we don’t get motivated till May, possibly June. I was just sitting here enjoying some family fish tacos reminiscing about how much my life has changed in a year. Last year in the week of Cinco de Mayo I was a regular on the happy hour circuit, in fact I celebrated Cinco with an old friend, a new friend, and a new-ish beau.
What. A. Mindfu*k. A. Year. Makes.
It would take around 80 posts to go all the way down that rabbit hole and let’s be real I’m typing this on my phone as the taco coma hits but I would never have guessed that the only person on that list that I would still be in regular contact with would be the new friend. In fact I think about it oddly often in moments of pure delight. Will I even know these people next year? Will our friendships still be strong? Should I finally get a lob? Do I have cilantro in my teeth? Will they end up becoming best friends with a dude who sold me a fake bill of goods and destroyed the illusion on my birthday? You know, run of the mill questions like that.
This year I celebrate at home, with the tinys and tacos and lots of laughing. I feel quite certain that the answers to the above questions with this group are yes, yes, no, yes, uh illegal. What can I say, they really like my hair long.
So on this the eve of a new year in the Villa I resolve to let go (as much as I can) of what ifs and worries, I choose to embrace the mental funeral and know that no matter where I’m sitting next Cinco I will definitely have cilantro in my teeth.
Have you ever had one of those days weeks years? Where you just feel like sleeping and eating and basically embracing your inner Garfield but more sarcastic?
It’s spring which means my tiny humans are over school and routine and getting up. I swear Claire all but said f*ck you to me today, she’s a lady and wouldn’t speak that way but she managed to say it with her eyes and sloth like movements. Her ability to flip on sloth mode is impressive and she does it to make her older sister mad and late or late and mad. It’s a vicious cycle and usually ends with me completely spent trying not to think about how many more of these arduous mornings I’ll have to grind through.
Then something magical happened this afternoon. I was volunteering in Sasha’s classroom and needed to use the loo, I walked into the bathroom and bumped straight into Claire. It was such a surprise and like seeing your long lost best friend or a really good sandwich. We both giggled and it was just weird, weird in that we have separate-ish lives now that they are both in school full days and those lives collided today. It made me realize that I could do a thousand more and it would all be ok. At the end of this hardcore parenting gig we will morph into friends – that’s decades away but for a split second today we felt what that would be like.
Do you remember when I used to babble here sporadically? Yeah me either.
Have you ever had writers block? Idea block, word block, cock block. They pretty much all feel the same.
I was laid off last week. Oy. Too much free time has lead me to start a bullet journal, go to the dentist, raise a plant named Stan, make beet hummus, take 6 barre classes and somehow still avoid 9 loads of my own laundry. It’s been a really exciting 10 days, 12 hours aannnnd 18 minutes.
So back to the cock block that is my “writing”. I have mentioned to a handful of people, in a very dramatic way, that I’m at a precipice in this giant life of mine. Do I continue down the path of living in jcrew clothes while eating takeout at my desk and wondering if someday I will crack and finally rob a taco truck? Or do I get real, dig in and become a writer, perhaps a teacher, definitely a certified badass who doesn’t have to steal tacos. One friend casually and by casually I mean quite pointedly observed that writers write and he hadn’t seen me write anything in a looooonnnngggg time.
He may have a point. (Insert hard side eye here)
There have been things to say big and small but by the time I stopped to write them down I had talked myself out of them being important enough. Instead I instagrammed them or texted them to a select few or worse started the first sentence and then contemplated who may or may not see what I had written and they may or may not like it and that may or may not land me in hot water.
Today somewhere between making an inappropriate swallowing joke at the dentist and buying my second bullet journal I decided to say fu*k it. If you don’t like what I have to say don’t read it, if you don’t like what I have to say and it’s about you, well perhaps you should have been nicer. If you love what I have to say and think I should have free tacos for life raise your hand or leave a comment below. I’m back family, rusty as fu*k but back.
I burned the tacos tonight.
I didn’t mean to, really who ever means to ruin dinner.
He would ask me if there was more food and I would surely reply that yes there was.
“Then what’s the big fucking deal, you’re human”
We had this interaction a million times, never about tacos but about all of life. The day I walked into his office I was at my wits end, lost beyond belief, overwhelmed to my core. “You pick the counselor or get a goddamn lawyer” I screamed at my husband. I was 28 weeks pregnant with my second child, I had a 12 month old at home and for the second time in as many weeks he had pulled an all night party situation, no communication, just off the grid. Me sitting in our dinning room until the sun came up, rubbing my stomach staring out the window, alternating between tears and fury. Absolutely unable to grasp how I had come to be there.
He picked a counselor and we went and when we were walking in I was unprepared for all the ways my life would change over the next five years let alone the next 45 minutes.
His office was in a little house, converted. There was a couch, his chair, tables, lamps and him: a short, solid, gray haired hippie, barefoot and with the warmest eyes I had ever seen. I mostly listened that night, tears sliding silently down my cheeks as I heard all of the ways I wasn’t living up to being a wife, how I was stifling my husband and wasn’t any fun. Al stopped him there and said with all due respect, Jenn is clearly fun.
Through the tears, and shame and fear and doubt he saw me. Who I was, who I could be, who I wanted to be, he saw the good, the scared, ugly, joyous. He celebrated next to me and picked me up when I couldn’t. There would be no bridge shopping on his watch. He saw me weekly for years, through the birth of claire and the fog that enveloped me, through major surgeries and the end of my marriage. As long as I promised to show up he would be there… I never received a bill
I can say with 100% certainty that he loved me unconditionally. Wholehearted. He and I are a rare breed, arms so open, minds so understanding, hearts so full of joy and love. Giving all of our space to others and often forgetting to reserve anything for us. It wasn’t all shits and giggles but man could we laugh, foul jokes and silly limericks.
The message came in today, “happy belated birthday… on a more upsetting note Al has taken a very bad turn”
The words slammed into me. I knew this could happen. I didn’t want to believe it. The last time we saw each other he didn’t want to burden me, always giving the most space, “you’ve been through this too many times” he said. We talked, we said our things. On a level I knew this would be the last time.
He has given me every tool he had, every hug I needed, every word I needed know. I’m a better woman because of him. I’m a better mother and someday I will be a better partner because of his patience and refusal to give up until I knew I was worthy.
My thoughts are with Jan, his amazing wife and partner in crime. The way his eyes would light up when he talked about her… His kids who he adored and his beautiful granddaughters.
I’m writing this because he would have told me to, if it’s too big to hold in then let it out any way you can.
“There is always a door, Jennifer.”
I love you, Al.
written on 01/08/2015
In July of 2013 I found myself staying in an upscale private hotel/social club, I had run away from Medford for the weekend, using the excuse that I was visiting a friend who had just had a baby. I wasn’t running to anything I was running away from a disastrous month that had seen my ninth wedding anniversary come and go only to be marked with a fight and him walking out for the night and me calling a girl friend who showed up with plastic cups and a bottle of wine, no dishes necessary. It became a month in which I knew to my very core that this couldn’t go on and that more than once the phrase “I’m only staying for the kids” had been tossed my way with a slur and a glare, as casual as “take out your own trash” and “hmmm salad or fries? I just can’t decide”. It felt awful and hard and like neither of us would call uncle so I left for the weekend.
I was sitting in this hotel room, drinking coffee and listening to the city and thinking about how I ended up here. where did we go wrong or for that matter right? The girls. It always comes back to them, no one for a second would call us less than devoted, I may not be the most conventional but I’m unwavering in my devotion and love. I knew we were on the brink of irrevocably changing their lives forever and ever. Some parts for the better some for the worse. I have said it before but I will say it again, the worst part of motherhood for me is that I have no control over the memories they keep, I can do my best to try and provide more good than bad but even then who knows what other bits sneak through. Below is a letter I wrote that morning, through my tears, sealed and stuck it in my safe deposit box, I just recently came across it, one year, five months and seventeen days later. My oh my….
I am in a swanky hotel room on Salmon + Park. I can hear the city coming to life below me this morning and yet I feel myself shrinking inside, an inner storm I have fought too long. Things are changing in our lives. It is going to feel scary and unsettled but I promise it will be exciting and eventually peaceful.
Things you can count on from me:
Unconditional love – You are forever my always, nothing and no one can ever change this.
Trust – I will do my VERY best to care for and anticipate your needs, I just need you to trust in me enough to use your words when you have them, you won’t always have the right words and sometimes you won’t have any, it’s okay to be inconsolable, just don’t get stuck in that feeling. You both shine so bright, remember that and create it for yourselves.
Firmness – You’re going to test me, I know this but know that no matter what words or actions you throw at me I’m not going anywhere. I may be sad sometimes and you may feel I’m at a distance and sometimes when we have to be apart it will be hard and hurt, but we will always come back to each other.
I don’t claim to have any answers on the big things in life but I do know that it is ever changing, as people you have to keep growing, you will one day make your ways into this world, you will keep some of the values I teach you, some will fade and you will find you have strong feelings in the opposite direction of how I feel. Never be afraid to be who you are, I will love you without judgement forever. Failure and fear are two things I loathe, they tend to go hand in hand, one of my greatest wishes would be for you to see your failed attempts at things as a stepping stone rather than a step backward. At the very least striking out means you stepped up. Vulnerability will be at once the hardest and most exhilarating experience of your lives, my assvice? FALL INTO IT no matter how it turns out you will be grateful you didn’t hold back. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it is indifference, remember it takes more energy to hate than to let go and go forward.
Je ne regrette rien
You are my greatest joys,
Picture, if you will, me finding this unmarked envelope not remembering what was inside and being met with that. So many tears, so many fears and yet one year, five months and seventeen days later we are still standing.
Morning scooter session for Claire, coffee for me. Feels post coming tomorrow.
Shhhhh Do you hear that? That’s the sound of a thick manila envelope landing with a thud in my mailbox, it’s contents will announce that I am legally single.
The last time I was single social media didn’t exist…let that sink in for a minute, I’ll wait.
This is a good thing, I mean I have my own hashtag now and I hear those are hard to get. All told we made it through the process with only a mild sense of absolute failure. The kids seem to be doing okay (Sasha is having an impossibly hard time adjusting to kindergarten but that is a whole other post). I took a tongue-in-cheek approach for the most part with a sprinkle of Xanax and a large vat of Jameson.
This hike came with many new titles: single mom, co-parent, ex-wife, respondent. Let’s just say I’m glad I never purchased one of those sweatsuits with the word “wifey” or “Mrs.” on the ass, saved me sometime when I was cleaning out my closet. Speaking of closets we have relocated to beautiful overcast Portland!
To be fair when I first began meeting with attorneys they warned me that divorcing would be financial suicide and I totes believed them, as with most things the perceived reality and the actual happenings were two different beasts, I feel like there is an animal kingdom joke somewhere in there. The postwar abode is about 2000 square feet smaller than the prewar McMansion, it feels decadent in a whole different way.
I have many more rambling thoughts about this last year, there was so much I wanted to write but common sense (Hi Stefanie!!) told me to wait until matters were settled. I’m trying to find a balance between sharing these things and respecting everyone involved, including my tiny humans who will someday find this site…this is a start and it’s all up from here.
On a final note, I have been asked about my awesome hashtag, we were married on Canada Day in Banff (and no we are not Canadian) in 2004. It’s just Canada day now but feel free to still send me cards and buy me gifts.
So on my lunch last week I decided to swing into my favorite store on earth. FOR REALS. I went in just to browse and ended up coming out with a new lip color, damn you Windy (also I adore you and wish I was 1/8 as fashionable as you). this lipstick just happened to match my nails and is creamy and smooth and perfect for a summer tan….ahhh summer tans
Get it at PAPAYA! Kevin Aucoin Lip Color
Ugh. I have been awful about writing here, I have so many things in my head that I want to share but when I sit down to do so nothing comes out. For real. I sit there mouth agape and think about the bakillion things I should be doing, failed doing or will be asked to do. It ain’t pretty.
So you, dear readers (Hi Mom and two other people) get this. What I wore to work, Tuesday edition. I’m constantly striving to look semi-cool, semi professional and feel like I’m semi-wearing pajamas. It’s a major semi.
So, here it is, today features:
Warby Parker glasses, because I still can’t get the damn contacts in my eyes, but that’s a whole other post. Please note the furrowed brow, that’s not an attempt at anything other than being lazy.
White silk blouse from Nordstrom (this version has sleeves…who knew), okay it’s probably polyester but I like to pretend. it was BP cheap style and I bought it in multiple colors. I would normally wear a sweater or a jacket but since my office is located inside a kiln, I rolled sans.
The shoes are beat and I should probably retire them but I love them. I.LOVE.THEM.SO.MUCH. They are by Seychelles via GILT and are one of the best impulse purchases I have ever made. I had finally made peace with the fact that they need to go and was set to buy another pair when I realized Seychelles went “granny style” this season. This is about as risky as they got… and I may still give them a whirl, le sigh.
So there you have it, I’m just hangin in my pj style skirt, mouth agape. Happy Tuesday Qune-a-Readers!