Category Archives: This Book Will Change Your Life

No jokes about whether or not I am of “sound mind”

And to my oldest daughter I leave my shoe collection.

Day 92 suggests you go ahead and write a will right there on the pages of the book.  It is silly, listing your prized possessions, your CD collection, your tupperware, your debt, your secrets…

Once again this ridiculous book is synced up with my “real life” in a way that I was not prepared to think about.  Sometimes I move through a day and I consciously choose not to think about it, not to write about it, not to process it.  This is still a step ahead from the Ignore This Necessary Part of Life Altogether method of my youth.

A few weeks ago we sat down at the kitchen table and we filled in the blanks. What will happen to our kids if something happens to us?  Our life insurance policy would cover our house, right? None of this is fun.  None of it is “best case scenario.” None of it is “happily ever after.”

I still don’t want to write about it.  It took me two weeks to open the legal envelope from the lawyer’s office and review the final draft.  I did it this morning.  With a princess pencil.  It didn’t make it any easier.


Keep it simple, stupid.

I have a knack for making things more difficult than they need to be.  I imagine conversations that will probably never take place.  When I drive I am thinking about what I will say when I arrive if I am late (even though I will be toting along the finest excuse for running late there ever was, a 20 pound machine that ejects bodily fluids at random intervals.) When I nurse my baby in public I prepare clever responses to judgey looks, even though I am one of few women that has actually never been on the receiving end of one.

Lately, as I keep putting one foot in front of the other aimlessly, I am mentally preparing some kind of justification.  Lucy is 13 months old.  Emily would rather be with her pals than with me after school.  But what I am doing here, at home, is important.  It is maybe even more special to me to be home with the girls now as they get older than it was in the early days.  And I like being available to volunteer at school.  I have the time to shop sales for the things we need.  And we save a lot of money on groceries with me being home, cooking every day. And and and … I could go on. But no one ever asks me “So, when are you going back to work? Why are you still home?’

Probably more important than the nameless, faceless strangers that I imagine asking me that question is that my husband, the one person who has an opinion that counts, he isn’t pushing me.  I shot him a line the other day “Don’t forget I have that committee meeting tonight.”  It was his second day at his brand new job.  And I was nagging him about when he would be home.  His reply was short and sweet.  But it has eclipsed all of the imaginary nay-sayers in my mind.  “No problem.  I am glad you’re doing these things.”

I don’t know what I am going to do in the next few years.  I am still running in place.  Two miles today.  And a 1600 yard swim.  I’m not even all that anxious about the fact that I don’t know where I am going.  Because when I get to the finish line MQD will be there.

I can’t see the path but the finish line is crystal clear.   With tears in my eyes I’ll say “I did it!” and with his signature smirk, that one that drives me nuts in every sense of the word he’ll say “Of course, you did.”


20130228-134803.jpgToday’s challenge – Invent a new way to peel a potato.  I am a red bliss potato, leave the skins on kind of girl.  But when I have to peel them I have a gadget, of course.  I am a lover of the kitchen gadget.  This obsession is fed  by my mother-in-law, another lover of the kitchen gadget.  A peeler that slips over your finger.  And like all great deals in the kitchen store, you can’t just have one, you need two.  One of them is serrated, for my serrated peeling needs.


Last night I peeled potatoes.  (And then I spent quite some time trying to take a picture of mashed potatoes that looked appetizing.) I didn’t invent a new way.  But I didn’t use my kitchen gadget, either.  I just grabbed a paring knife and peeled those bad boys.  You know, it was really simple.  Making things more complicated than necessary might be one of those things I used to do when I was young if I keep this up.  I could get used to it.

So, day 91 – I am not going to reinvent potato peeling, motherhood or marriage.  I am just going to keep doing what I am doing.  Because it’s working.

Because I said I would…

The act of making a plan is sometimes all it takes to get shit done.  Put it on the calendar.  Say it out loud.  Commit.  It makes following through that much easier.

I said I’d keep on keeping on with This Book Will Change Your Life.  Dammit all, only three days in and it is the kind of challenge that makes me roll my eyes and wanna skip it altogether.    Day 90: Help Collapse a Currency…. The Bangladeshi Taka.  The book suggests that everyone reading the book invest in the taka and then sell them on December 31 for a fraction of what they are worth (which is only one penny according to Google.) For every clever challenge – discretely giving people the finger all day, or be on the lookout for the paranormal, or my all time favorite How symmetrical is your face? – there is a challenge that shits the bed.  Collapse a currency?  Pffft.  Not happening.

I am left feeling like I need to do all the other things I told myself I would do today instead.  So, I ate breakfast.  But only because I prepared it last night.  Overnight oatmeal with homemade almond milk and chia seeds. And two Hershey’s kisses, but who is counting?


And I am heading to the gym. Because my calendar says I need to ride the stationary bike for 40 minutes.  And because I can take a shower all alone while I am there.  Well, not totally alone. I will be in the company of a dozen senior citizens fresh out of water aerobics class but none of those women will cry if I don’t hold them.  If I don’t screw around and spend too much time washing my face I could even blow my hair dry in the hand dryer.

It’s a glamorous life, y’all.  A glamorous life.

This post was brought to you by Guilt.  I said I was gonna write every day for a while just to keep the quiet at bay.  Here’s hoping tomorrow will be more interesting than oatmeal.

Day 88: Measure your biceps

Sometimes the only way to break the silence it to just start jabbering.

I am back to the book. I started the working my way through This Book Will Change Your Life as a way to force myself to write. Write a paragraph. Take a picture. Put myself out there. Nobody was reading, anyway, what difference does it make, right?

But now you’re here and you’re reading and I feel like a twelve year old girl that might get her braces off any minute. I am excited but I am nervous. What if I go back to school after my orthodontist appointment and no one even notices? What if I am the only one that can tell that something is different?

So, back to the book. To break the silence. To put a little bit of me out there even if what I have to say today is contradictory to what I might say tomorrow.

Today my biceps are 12 inches around. Well, my left one. My right is 12 1/4 inches. But who’s counting?

I registered for a sprint triathlon. I have swum 2600 yards in the last week. And I have ridden a stationary bike for more than 120 minutes. And I have run a little over eleven miles. I haven’t been writing. But I haven’t just been sitting around on my ass all day.


The Square Root of 49 is a PRIZE!!

Gee whiz!!  You spill your guts on the internet and you get a prize, guys!!  My birth story and my postpartum post had a zillion more page views than my ordinary posts (although perhaps it was the pictures that did it, I am fairly certain there is a stray nipple in there somewhere!) and I thought that was prize enough.  While I certainly do not write with the intent of generating traffic it is a pleasant surprise when something that I questioned posting at all is a hit.

Last week I received the 7×7 link award from The Waiting.  She is an Emily, but a pregnant one!!  She is also in the Cackalackey so we have that in common as well.  I enjoy her pregnancy related tales, but suspect I’d have enjoyed her tales prior to this shared  experience as well.    Go.  Read her.  She is smart and funny.  That’s Win Win.

The rules are simple – list seven of my own my favorite posts and then nominate seven other bloggers for the award .

My favorite seven posts

Security – This is an all time favorite because it is the beginning of what has become a valued friendship with my friend Karen.  And the first time I realized that barfing my feelings on the internet really makes me feel better about my Universe.

When I Grow Up  – another post that was prompted by a question from an old friend.  The answer to the question of why I didn’t grow up to be an actress.

A Test of Patience – Sometimes I need to remember that I have come a long, long way.  And I have been patient.  Occasionally it would serve me to be a little less so.

How Symmetrical is Your Face – I miss This Book Will Change Your Life.  I need to get back on the horse.

Express Your Views – Alternately titled “I Told The Internet About my Abortion” – a tough one to write.  But impossible not to.

The Post Where I Coined One of my All Time F avorite PhrasesAnd in what I declare a moment of genius told her that “our hearts are like earthworms. We have endless regenerative powers.”  Hillary is a tough cookie.  And when I didn’t hear from her I assumed that she was toughing it out.  Her earthworm heart mending itself in time to be torn in two for perhaps the gazillionth time, but all in all, no worse for the wear.

And a couple bonus entries to make you laugh….

Magic 8 Ball of Crazy – Pregnant and Bat Shit Crazy –

How My Monday Was Like a Primus Song – Why  I love the DMV

Have You Met My Wife – another reason I love MQD

And now 7 blogs I enjoy!!

Toulouse & Tonic: –  Read her.  Comment.  Be engaging and witty.    This delightful gal is on bedrest and needs you to entertain her.

Xanax or Running Shoes – Jeanna has an amazing gift for  telling a story.  She is engaging and funny even in trying times.

Squatch Makes Three – A DADDDY to be blog!  He is clever and a fine representation of a real dad to be.

I’ll Sleep When They’re Grown – She is newly pregnant again and a good time.  Another good sense of humor.  Are you detecting a trend?

Great Big Question Mark – Kim.  Kim is a real life person.  She was an internet person and made the leap.  Kim held my hand through some of my darkest days and it was her sarcasm, her kindness, her smarts… that more than once saved my ass.  Kim is smart.  And the only really short person I have ever truly loved.

Real Life Homes – Karen had a genius of an idea.  Send her pictures of your real life home so we can all stop feeling like rotten homemakers when we look through catalogues.  I ruined the curve when I sent her pics of my pregnancy induced nesting home.  

The Adventures of the Family Pants – Collen and I have never met but we will.  She is a delight, she makes me cry and laugh and makes me want to squeeze her kids and make up songs and pay and wear a lot of glitter.  She is good people.

And a bonus nominee because I can’t say enough how you should really read Karen’s blog.  She is a hundred times smarter than me.  And her kids are way cute.  And even her husband has won me over.  Uncomfortably Honest & Honestly Uncomfortable.  


Muchas gracias, my blog friends.  I promise I will get my shit together and get back to more regular posting.  I am trying to give the Facebook page a little love, bonus pictures and the like in the meantime.  So, come on,  Like me!  Heh.

Toys R Us Kid

I had been waiting for the morning that was not so easy.  Em has been a champ about a new school, a new schedule, the school bus.  Knowing all the while she will be changing schools again in a few short weeks when we move.

This morning the tears came streaming down her face when we left for the bus stop.  She was trying to articulate just exactly what had her so upset.  I know she is tired.  She has asked to go to bed early for the past week.  I told her I’d give her a ride to school today, just to buy us a few minutes so she could wipe her tears from her face.

She was pretty quiet on the ride to school.  She stopped crying long enough to tell me that I was going the “wrong way, Mom… are you sure you know how to get there?” But mostly she rode in silence.

We were early when we pulled in the parking lot.   “I just don’t WANT to be a big girl.”  She was climbing out of her car seat and opening the door.  I rounded the car to meet her as she put on her back pack, making my very tall girl suddenly seem so very tiny.  “It seems like I am just gonna be a grown up just like THAT.”

Sometimes as a parent I am at a loss.  My heart was saying “Go home, fuck school! Eat candy!  Watch cartoons!!”  But I dug deep and all I came up with was a simple answer.  “I know, Em.  It IS crazy.  I wake up every day and I have no idea how I became I grown up.  I still feel pretty much the same as I always did on the inside.  Nothing really ever changed for me.”

She hugged me.  And she didn’t see me get teary.  But she knew.  She always knows.   “Really?”  She pulled back from my neck and looked at me like she just might roll her eyes.

“Really.  I still feel like a kid.  And THAT is why I am AWESOME.”  And then she smiled.  And shook her head.  I think she thinks I was kidding.

Day 87: Morse Code

Tonight, send a message in Morse code from your window.  See if anyone responds.

This was a fairly simple task. I wake up anywhere from four to nine billion times in a night so a couple of days ago I looked up a Morse Code translator  and saved a quick message to my phone.  Saturday night was a tough night for me what with the freaky dream and impending hormonal meltdown so when I woke up Saturday night it didn’t seem like the right time to bang out a This Book Will Change Your Life challenge.  And for some reason I had made up my mind that this would be a late night missive.  I think everything that happens in the middle of the night is open to greater interpretation.  No one plays Bloody Mary or Light as  Feather Stiff as a Board (with any success anyway) in the middle of the day.   Where is the fun in that?

Sunday night I woke up several times.  My neighbors across the parking lot  had decided that Sunday, the night before the first full day of school, would be a most excellent night to sit on the porch and drink cognac and listen to their car stereos.  And since I hadn’t saved the Morse Code message “For fuck’s sake, can you turn down the bass!” or “Remy Martin from a brandy snifter beats the shit out of Hennessy from an orange juice glass!!” I didn’t really have an appropriate message planned out.  On the off chance they even heard my message, tapped out on my bedroom window.  But really…. if you were ever inclined to think someone was sending you a Morse code message –  half lit on cheap cognac and three blunts deep is the time.

(And lest you think I am being presumptuous with regards to their choice of beverage, our walk to the bus stop takes us right past my neighbor’s recycling bin.  They make keep late hours and have little regard for potential noise violations, but they seem to take their recycling quite seriously.)

So, Monday night.  It was on.  I hopped in bed with MQD at a reasonable hour. Fish snuggled between us both, his head in MQD’s armpit.  I read for a short while, the snoring from their side of the bed a kind of lullaby, I quickly decided to hit the hay.  It usually takes me in the neighborhood of 45 minutes to fall asleep but last night I was out by about 9:30.

Pregnancy Wake Up Round One was not until almost 1 am.  Almost a full four hour sleep cycle, who is the luckiest girl!!??

Standard routine:  Wake up, assess need to pee.  Need to pee is urgent.  Wiggle feet around until I am free from the shackles of dogs and cats sleeping on the blankets between my legs and stumble in to the bathroom.   Pee.  Flush. (This is a change to the routine.  (We were formerly an “If it’s yellow let it mellow household”  but the cat pee frenzy of 2011 has put a temporary ban on that plan.)  Throw the animals out of the bed.  Reclaim some bedding and my Snoopy if MQD was sneaky enough to snag it.  Assess level of sleepiness.    Check email or read RSS feeds.  Listen to a chapter of current audio book if that doesn’t do the trick.

Last night’s routine:  Wake up, assess need to pee.  Need to pee is urgent.  Note that Fisher is still in the middle of the bed.  Quick trip to the bathroom, throw the animals out of the bed.  Wide awake.  Remember I am not listening to any kind of a book right now and wonder what I am going to do to kill time for the next half an hour.    Remember the Morse Code message.

(600+ words later and I got to the point of my story!  Record time, Kelly.)

..  .-.. — …- .  -.– — ..- I tap out on the window.  Morse Code for “I love you.”  A good positive message to send out to the Universe.

I waited, let my mind wander.  Mentally wrote an outline for this scintillating post in my head.  And just before I fell back to sleep.  BOOM!  That incredibly loud one note blast of a sound that I generally associate with a big power generator blowing or a single clap of thunder.  As I wondered to myself if that was Universe Morse Code shorthand for “Go Fuck Yourself” I got distracted.

……………  Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap, parental Morse Code for tiny kid woken from sound sleep by loud ass noise hauling ass down the stairs to your bedroom.  “Mom?”

I pulled my covers back.  She climbed in.  The Universe did not respond to my message exactly as I had hoped.  But I got a late night snuggle with a little lady that is growing up way too fast for my liking.  So, I am calling Day 87 a success.

Emily June, six weeks old. You know the sappy hormonal woman is going through old pictures lately, right? That was predictable.

Day 86: Go to the wrong side of the tracks

I have not abandoned This Book Will Change Your Life contrary to the way it might appear.  But I have had my heart set on Day 85 playing out in a certain way.  Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to properly execute Day 85’s challenge… so I have made a heretofore unprecedented choice.  I am gonna skip it and come back to it.  A wild life, I lead, I tell you.

Day 86 is a simple challenge.  Simple by design and in execution.  “Go to the wrong side of the tracks.”

I quite literally cross a set of train tracks almost daily on my ride to work if I go through Carrboro.  And lately I have been driving through town whenever I have the chance. But I don’t know that there is a “wrong side” of the tracks in Carrboro.

The wrong side of the tracks…. One could say when I moved to Chapel Hill and in to the apartment with Em we lived on the wrong side of the tracks.  I tried to tell myself that I should feel safer because the cops drove by all the time, right?  This plan didn’t always work.  And after our place was broken in to one terrible afternoon I never really felt safe there, again.

It was home.  Em slept with me more often than not, because that was how I preferred it.  And I kicked a charlie bar under my front door handle and made do.

So, in the spirit of this challenge I drove by our old place today.  And while there were still quite a few ne’er-do-wells hanging around… it didn’t look so bad to me.  My life started anew right there.

But even there wasn’t really the wrong side of the tracks.  It was just a neighborhood full of hard working people.  Some of whom happened to be hard at work within… alternative  industries.

My favorite “side of the tracks” in Chapel Hill… the side of the tracks that was so wrong so many nights but always felt so right?       The Station, of course.  As a single mother I didn’t get out too awful much.  And then MQD and I started dating hot and heavy so going out seemed superfluous.   But when we went “out” there was only place we were headed.  Across the train tracks and to The Station.  Where you can laugh at the hipster kids and dance and drink PBR and shots of jaeger and bum a smoke on the deck until you are blue in the face and no one will mind.  MQD and I had plenty of sloppy nights at The Station.  And a few afternoons. My day drinkathon bachelorette party stopped at The Station.  MQD and I spent New Year’s there one year. We had our rehearsal dinner next door at The Southern Rail.

So, I think I have spent plenty of time on both “sides of the tracks” while here in Chapel Hill.   And in a few short weeks we’ll go clear across town to a new place.  Here’s hoping we end up on the right side over there in Hillsborough.  Because right or wrong, I am ready to stay put for a good long while.

Never Say Never

“Is there anything else you are concerned about?” the midwife asked me.

“Only that it seems like I am 20 weeks pregnant, so I am worried sick that  I have 14 babies in my stomach.”  I laughed.  And joked offhandedly that Dr. Google assures me that muscles have memory and that my stomach is just not fighting the pregnancy.  I leaned back on the table and she measured my uterus.  “measuring at just about twelve weeks, so I wouldn’t say that you are likely carrying multiples.  But never say never, right?”  She smiled.  And in an effort to include Emily she asked her “Do you listen to Justin Bieber?  My kids do, you know that is a Justin Bieber song, Never Say Never.”  She is chatting away as she folds the paper towel in to the top of my underwear and presses the “microphone” part of the fetal doppler monitor against the top of my pubic bone.

And I started to cry.  Thump thump thump thump at 150 beats per minute.  Neither Em nor MQD knew what they were hearing and they both looked at me with the “Is that… what I think it is …” face and my midwife stopped dead in her tracks.  “Oh no!!  You haven’t heard your babies heartbeat yet and here I am chatting about Justin Bieber!! I am so sorry! Let’s start over, get your phones out!”

And that is how I came to have a video of my filthy feet. Em had my phone and expertly started shooting video. MQD fumbled with his phone and eventually did find the audio note.   I had stopped nervously laughing by then.  But this moment… this is one I will never forget.

The Stick

I spoke not long ago of the day I stopped being afraid.    But not until now do I feel comfortable mentioning exactly why that is.

We had an amazing time on our honeymoon.  We enjoyed each other’s company and did all the things that two adults that rarely get much time alone with one another do.  We drank too much.  We stayed up too late.  We ate dessert before we had lunch and  then we ate some more.

And we napped.  I never nap.  I can kill some time reclining in a beach chair with the best of them.  I might even close my eyes.  But not since Em was teeny have I napped.  And nap I did.

And we came home from our honeymoon and there was much to do (not AS much as I’d anticipated, thank you very much Cleaning & Organizing Fairy, cough*Nick*cough) Gifts to be put away.  Laundry to be done.  And still, I napped.  The time between getting home from work and putting Emily to bed seemed to last forever.

I knew why.  It had to be.  My period was days late.  And the first stick said yes.  And so did the second.  And so did the third.  And suddenly I was not afraid that I’d never get pregnant.  Just like that. It was still too soon to get too excited… but in my heart of hearts I already knew.   Looks like my  luck had turned  around.