Friday, December 6, 2013

My time now

As may of you know, I left my job in June. I haven't really said much about it here, on twitter or on Facebook. I have kept a pretty low profile about the whole thing - despite it being an unavoidable topic of conversation - largely because of the decadence of it all. It's announcing to the whole world that I walked away not only from years of training but also a doctor's salary. Surly's success has allowed this reality, but it still feels weird to display something that is usually considered private in such a public way. Friends here in Mpls ask me "How's retirement?" and it feels very odd if not downright embarrassing. Who retires when they are 41? I'm not retired.

But I am also not going to work.

I'm writing. I'm cooking. I'm spending time with my parents. I'm seeing friends more. I'm getting kids on and off the bus. I'm trying to take care of my body. I'm sleeping like a normal person. I'm taking trips with my family on weekends. I'm helping with homework. I'm present.

Decadent indeed.

There are the many colleagues who were deeply worried about my identity. How could I wake up each morning knowing I wasn't heading to the hospital? Well, I am here to let all of the worriers know that my identity is doing just fine! In fact, I'm surprised by how little I miss my doctor life. Sure, I miss the great saves and the mystery illnesses whose diagnosis unfurls themselves with a little work. That's why I went into the job in the first place. But let's be honest. That was a pretty small percentage of what I did day in and day out. I do miss the comradery of my many lovely partners, but I find dinner and lunch dates make up for that quite well.

Most importantly, the time I have with the boys (though maddening at times) is, without question, the best gift I have ever received. Max was chosen to perform in front of the whole 5th grade last month, and I was there. I didn't have to explain to him why mom couldn't see him. I am reading to Spencer's class today, and still have a chance to write, exercise and meet friends for dinner.

Were things different, I would still report to the hospital for every shift, smile on my face, ready to ride that horse into the real retirement sunset. That is the life I happily signed up for. But, I am the incredibly lucky gal who gets to see what else life has in store for me. And I'm pretty excited to see where that horse takes me.

Friday, November 8, 2013

First Born

My eldest might be the most earnest person I have ever met. His genuine concern for the well-being of others, specifically his brothers (when he isn't telling them to kindly go away), goes beyond his years. I am pretty sure I don't care that much about people... actually, I'm quite certain of it. This is a quality that is deeply IN him, not learned. He once told me I wasn't greeting the dog in a kind enough tone.

So, this morning, he asks if we can talk, "alone." This is also part of his earnestness. Someone, someday, will love having found a boy that actually likes the phrase "We need to talk." It turns out he is pretty worried about Leo. Apparently, in a story Max was reading to said 5-year-old yesterday, somehow someone asserted one of the silly characters was drunk. (No, I don't know what children's book they were reading, but I clearly should find out). Leo, always happy to jump into whatever his brothers are doing or saying, comprehending or not, then said "They are all drunk!" I am sure this was followed by him looking from brother to brother to see if he had made them chuckle.

Max is very worried about this. He feels it isn't appropriate that a 5-year-old is making jokes about such a serious matter. It should be said, with our family's unavoidable steeping in the beer culture, I have tried to be very straight forward about the goods and bads of alcohol - the moderation vs excess concept. In doing so, I have somehow mistakenly given Max the impression that drunk people are to be deeply feared and avoided. I think any mother would argue this isn't a terrible misunderstanding, one that could actually work in our favor, but it is a little over the top.

I tried to explain to Max that Leo really has no idea what he is talking about. He was saying a joke thinking it would make his brothers laugh. He wasn't buying it. He said he's concerned that Leo is going to grow up faster than he should, being the youngest, and that he and the twins are to blame.

I mean, really? What 11-year-old says such things? I assuaged him as best I could, but he went to school still concerned.

I guess I should cross "Buy Leo cigarettes" off of my To Do list...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Taking turns

It seems, of late, that the children have a well orchestrated schedule worked out. They fake not knowing the time, the date or the flow of a day because the clearly know how to tag-team pushing me to my limits these days with swiss-watch-like precision.

It goes from whining to not finishing homework, to starting eating without sitting down, to standing up during every meal, to leaving a needed book at school, to forgetting the math on the table, to interrupting every word that comes out of my mouth, to glad-handling your brother's body because he won't give you some worthless piece of plastic that you've had NO interest in for the past 4 years, to refusing to take the time to poop properly, to peppering me with the never ending Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom, to leaving the door open (again), to leaving your new game where the dog chomps it to bits, to not drinking your milk (again), to leaving clothes all over the damn place, to having no idea where your sports gear is, to leaving that sports gear all over the greater Minneapolis area, to intentionally bugging your brother, to leaving your dishes at the table (again), and for the curtain call, acting like a victim of child abuse when I get upset about ANY of the above.

It's been a bit of a rough week.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Much to my husbands frequent chagrin, there are very few questions posed by my kids that I will not answer. I figure it's better they get the straight dope from me that some awkward 8-11year old version elsewhere.

While single-parenting last night, the kids asked if I would read them from "The Book of Lists," their new favorite way to pass time. This book has a wide variety of lists, from Top Ten Unsolved Murders to Top Ten Unusual Uses for Beer, and everything in between. They chose Top Ten Frivolous Lawsuits as our first list last night.

One of the lawsuits involved a woman suing Victoria's Secret (explain what that is) for injury to her eye when the thong she was trying on snapped. This, of course, required explaining what a thong is. Now, if Omar was in this situation, he would simply say it's a pair of underwear. 'Nuf said. But, we all know, that's not really answering their question.

The looks on their faces when I described the construction and positioning of a thong was completely worth the effort I put into it. Horror and frank disbelief. "Why would anyone do that???" This inevitably led to a discussion of what a panty line is. Again, horror, embarrassment and copious giggling.

They are now pretty sure Victoria's Secret is a purveyor of disgusting, bizarre, undesirable items.

Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A 5 year history of Sept 9th!

One year old

2 years old

Learning the business at 3
4 years

Yesterday, rockin the hat
 It is hard to belief 5 years has passed since this little monkey joined our crew. Omar was pretty sure our family was complete with the 3 we had (all under the age of 4) when I convinced him otherwise. And now, we can't imagine our world without you, my little Leo man. You are the giggles, smiles, smirks and silliness that helps keep this ship afloat. We love you so much and are so glad you completed this family with a POW!

Happy Birthday, my small fry.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Down to One

It has been 8 years since I have been the mother to only one child. But as of this morning, I am again only caring for one for the entire week. Max has been gone already a week to Y camp, and Cal & Spence just got on the bus for their first one week camp experience this morning.

It feels super weird.

The quiet alone is disruptive. I am not being pulled in 4 different directions by 4 different pitches of "Mom, Mom, Mom..." Leo is at a play date right now, and Omar is out of town, which means I HAVE NOTHING TO DO. Now, of course, there is always something to do, but I have the freedom to browse through that list at a leisurely brunch-style-menu fashion. I think I will go for a run. This will be followed by a long hot shower.

I could then tend to the laundry, but you know what. I ain't gonna. Not gonna do it. I think I will, instead, either read or go to a coffeehouse and write.

And I'll miss by boys a little bit...

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Beauty of Sadness

When our friends, the Eklund's, let us all know they were moving, my first reaction was to turn my gaze away while silently saying "Why? Why? Why would they do that?" in my head. "Why would you ever want to leave us?" I kept a straight face, saying outwardly "Wow! That is really exciting for you guys!" and probed for further details as I tried to not let my own sadness overcome their news. It was like the "amicable" breakup in college where you are telling yourself "Yeah, you are right. This isn't working out. It's better this way. I'm totally cool with it" when you are TOTALLY NOT COOL WITH IT. The blow was softened by the qualifier that they were moving out of state, not just to a different neighborhood (which may sound odd, but the fact that it was for work and not just a new house felt better somehow). It was also softened significantly by the news that this move was (probably) temporary - New York City for 2 years.

There are so many different flavors of friendship. Acquaintances, casual drink friends, frequent dinner friends, work friends, tell-all friends, distance friends, used-to-have-a-lot-in-common friends, college buds, grad school pals. But then there are the friends who are a part of you. A part of your family. Friends that make you laugh to the point that you can't breath, and who are part of the daily fabric of your life, even if you don't see them every day. Friends with whom you can be completely, blatantly, unflatteringly yourself, and they love you all the more for it. Friends who you can cry with as comfortably as laugh with. These are the friends who are the family you choose, in addition to the family you are born into.

These are the Eklund's.

As with most precious things, rarity is one of the criteria. There are only so many friendships that can bore into you so deeply. It is also harder, I think, to make those friendships at this point in life. Everyone is busy - jobs, kids, family, exercise, making dinner, doing the homework. Where is the time to really give of yourself freely and honestly with the intention of knowing someone else as fully as you can?

So, we cry.

And then laugh. I thank my lucky stars that I cared so much about a friendship that it would hurt so much to say "see you later." And we will see you later. It won't be the same around here without you guys. But how completely fortunate our gang has been to find each other, love each other and grieve each other. It is a beautiful thing.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Gotta go

So, either this gang of ours is cursed, or we REALLY need a vacation.

6 months ago, the 5 couples of the 'hood decided we were going to kick the "We're all now in our 40's" off right with a grand trip to Mexico. 5 couples, no kids, 5 nights in Saluylita, endless margaritas. Only order of business? Learn how to surf.

One month ago, Roxie pulled her hamstrings clean off her pelvis and had to get them surgically reattached. The crutches were just jettisoned last weekend.

2 weeks ago, Mary got leg-swept by her dog on her stairway and broke off a chunk of her sacrum. She is still getting used to sitting.

Yesterday, I broke my pinky toe on a coffee table leg. Turns out walking is painful on this little bruised nub that looks like a plump, purple little smokey.

So far Erika and Pam are uninjured, but I have advised them to stay in bubble wrap for the next 17 hours until our plane takes off. The men clearly have better ju-ju than the women. They are all still standing.

Wish us luck...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tahoe Baby!

For the New Year, we were fortunate enough to have Matt and Megan include us, yet again, on a wonderful adventure to Northstar ski mountain. Their family has an amazing home in the area and the ski conditions were great. We had absolutely no fun whatsoever...
Last day on the mountain

Massive hot tub for all

Dinner with my honey

This one pretty much sums it up.