Thursday, March 5, 2015

Day 5.64

Field Report - Third Day

5:30 a.m. -- Phone call from school district, school on 2 hour delay.  Could have told them that last night and not at, oh, I don't know, FIVE EFFING THIRTY IN THE MORNING.

7:00 a.m. -- Phone call from school district, school canceled.

7:10 a.m. -- Children up.  Hunger Games begin.

8:30 a.m. -- Children playing well together.



8:45 a.m. -- Children not playing well together.

A literal dogpile.


9:00 a.m. -- Give up and start movie marathon.  Escape to shower.

9:15 a.m. -- Get out of shower to this.  3-year-old apparently managed to go on a bender?  (No actual vomit content, thank ALL the gods.)


 

 Throughout morning until approximately 10:30 a.m. -- In negotiations with family friend to send reinforcements.  Request denied.  Attempt to bribe with promise of luxury boat.  Request denied.  Burned boat.  Literally.


10:45 a.m. - 12:30 a.m. -- Exercise regime consisted of doing chores with a 55-pound dead weight on one leg and a 30-pound dead weight on the other.  Weights kindly alternated so as not to build up muscle mass disproportionately.

12:45 a.m. -- Begin "nap" time.  If by "nap" one means putting a child who isn't going to actually sleep into a bed from which they cannot escape and leaving them there until one has completed the things one needed to get done.

2:00 p.m. -- Snow stopped briefly.  Went outside to shovel steps and driveway.  Cleared driveway just in time for snow plow to drive by (for the first time all day) and push snow from road into my cleared area.  F%@# him anyway.

3:00 p.m. -- Give up and order yarn.

4:00 p.m. -- The Witching Hour starts early.

6:00 p.m. -- Since asphalt now visible on roadway, strap children into vehicle and proceed to town to order dinner, because hell if there will be cooking tonight.

Sucks to live with, but doesn't suck to look at.

6:30 p.m. -- The Witching Hour Part II.  (Considering renaming this the Witching Half Day.)

8:00 p.m. -- Children in bed, proceed to work on assignment (FINALLY).  Receive phone call from school district.  2 hour delay tomorrow.  Develop eye twitch.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Day 5.63

Field Report - Second Day

6:30 a.m. -- Woken by 5-year-old climbing in bed for a snuggle.  Good start.  (Mainly because alarm was set for 6:40 anyway.)

7:00 a.m. -- Successfully dressed entirely in black and white with a red and white hat for Cat In The Hat day.

Why is he so big?  I don't understand what's happening here.

8:15 a.m. -- Not as successful getting 3-year-old to wear mismatched socks and shoes for Fox in Socks day at his school.  Two things.  (1)  Why are two facilities in the same district participating in Dr. Seuss week simultaneously, but NOT USING THE SAME THEMES EACH DAY?!  (2)  Why has no one realized that 3-year-olds will be thrilled to mismatch everything they ever come in contact with...but only so long as it is their choice?  When mismatched things are suggested to them, there's more of a "how dare you" response. 

8:45 a.m. -- 3-year-old begged to be taken back to the doctor's office the entire drive to daycare.  Suspect this will continue for days, if not weeks.

9:15 a.m. -- Hear weather report for snow tomorrow.  KNOW, not that deep down, this means there will be school closure.  Will not be able to complete work assignment in projected time.  Panic.

9:30 a.m. -- For reasons will never be able to explain, ever, continue to wholesale store 45 minutes away for supply run that's been put off for weeks.  Toilet paper extremely low, total emergency.  Yeah.  That's it.  Nothing to do with wanting to drive vehicle around for sheer pleasure of listening to absolutely nothing in the backseat as long as possible.

11:00 a.m. -- Return home to work without break until 5-year-old gets off bus.  Discover about 20 minutes in that work assignment is approximately twice the length requested and will, thus, take twice as long to complete.  Will be working all night.  Scour pantry for hard liquor.

4:00 p.m. -- Back in full possession of both children.  Both children immediately want dinner.  At 4 o'clock in the afternoon.  Rookie mistake caving to demands of tiny terrorists previous day.  ROOKIE.

5:00 p.m. -- 5-year-old sent to time out for various 5-year-old drama reasons.  Argued going up the stairs, so got extra time.  His response?  "Okay, I'll go up, mom...  FOREVER! (sob)"  Googled 'barrels 5-year-olds might potentially fit into for next 10 to 15 years'.

5:10 - 5:30 p.m. -- ALL THE FIGHTS.  Second time out for 5-year-old.  Scolded by 3-year-old for making big brother sad.  Hid in bathroom with entire tin of cookies.

5:40 p.m. -- Dinner served for no other reason than to put food in their mouths so they could not be used to argue.

6:00 p.m. -- Read this effing article by The Ugly Volvo.  Ate more cookies of guilt and woe.  Wept.  Hugged bewildered children.

6:30 p.m. -- This.



8:00 p.m. -- Teeth all brushed, pajamas all on, books all read, songs all sung, snuggles all snuggled.  Good end.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Day 5.62

Field Report - First Day

7:20 a.m. -- After generally uneventful morning, managed to get 5-year-old onto the bus fully clothed and with a reasonably healthy lunch packed.

8:30 a.m. -- Received call from school informing that 5-year-old would be returning at 11:15 a.m. because ice would be shooting from the sky.

8:31 a.m. -- Did frantic math to figure out whether needed to reschedule 3-year-old's well child doctor visit in town 45 minutes away.  Decided to chance it.  Prepared alibi in case of failure.

9:30 a.m. -- Entered 3-year-old's doctor's office with said child in full Batman regalia.  Was clearly relegated to role of Alfred.  Story previously disclosed. 

11:00 a.m. -- 3-year-old deposited to daycare facility JUST UNDER THE WIRE.

11:15 a.m. -- Resumed custody of 5-year-old.  No ice.  Many chores and missed schoolwork duties completed.   

11:16 a.m. through 4:40 p.m. -- NO.  FRIGGING.  ICE.

4:00 p.m. -- Resumed custody of 3-year-old.  Returned to vehicle from daycare facility to find 5-year-old reading a dinosaur book with his gentleman's bits having a walkabout.  Was informed there wasn't enough room in his pants for them.  Drummed forehead repeatedly against vehicle.

4:20 p.m. -- After world's fastest grocery run, attempted to check out.  Card refused.  After consultation with bank and much confusion on both parts, came to light there was banking error on the part of husband.  The one who is out of town.  And not standing at a busy grocery store register with the world's loudest Batman and his annoying older brother who has a single minded determination to defy physics and flip over any grocery buggy he comes in contact with.  OUT. OF. TOWN.  (Banking error corrected, access to money fully restored.)

4:45 p.m. -- World's earliest dinner because everyone was oh god dying of starvation.  Did not care.  Denied request for cheese on 5-year-old's happy dog bun, because he was having mac-and-cheese as a side already.  Went to change clothes in dryer.  Returned to find this loophole created by the tiny lawyer.


He's going to make his frat brothers so proud someday.
 
5:15 p.m. -- Engaged in discussion with 5-year-old regarding the nature of T-shirts (they look like the letter T).  Held arms out to demonstrate.  Was informed the shirt did not make a T because my stomach was "too fat" and made a bump, and the letter T has no bump.  After much discussion about why one should never say that to a person ever, much less to one's own mother, came to discover he meant my boobs.

6:20 p.m. -- Received makeover.


Calm down cartoon and bedtime engaged early.  Several cookies consumed.  Forgot to hit the wine store after bank card debacle.  Trying to console self with Cherry 7-Up and pretending it's some sort of exotic cocktail. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Day 5.61 (Alternatively, Day 1095)

Dear Henry,

Every February, we do battle.  It has been this way since your conception.  You definitely won the first round, being born precisely as you wanted and I had zero say in the matter.  All the rest have been a draw, with survival being the only requirement on both our parts. 

The magic part comes in March.  That's when we come together, still fighting, but back to back now.  I'm okay with the Februarys (well...mostly) if I know March is coming.  With you.


Today, you are 3.  You're about 3 feet tall.  You weigh about 30 pounds.  You like superheros and robots and playing hide-and-seek with your brother.  Your favorite things to eat are cheese and happy dogs (shocking, I know).  Your favorite things to do are read bedtime stories, talk in silly voices, and run in crazy circles.  You're still wearing diapers, because you don't give two damns about not wearing them.  If you're serious about something, if you really want to fight about it and we won't give in, you will. not. cry. no matter how badly you want to.  And my favorite part of every morning is snuggling with you, because you hold nothing back. 

You are my last baby, and you are not a baby anymore.  I hope you aren't upset if I'm slow to move into big kid-hood with you.  And if I hold you back, maybe a little, just for a tiny bit longer.  Don't worry, nothing will ever truly hold you back.  Not you.  Not ever you.

Happy Birthday, Short Round.

I love you,
Mama


~*~*~*~*~*~


Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 5.23

Everything You Need To Know About Being A Parent In Three Vignettes

~*~*~*~*~*~

By the end of dinner tonight, both children were sobbing in their respective rooms.  The 5-year-old was distraught because we wouldn't allow him to have dessert after he ate too fast and threw up his meal.  The 2-year-old was inconsolable that he was being punished after throwing fork (he was overcome by righteous fury because he wanted the dinner back that we took away...because he refused to eat it).

~*~*~*~*~*~

Bedtime snuggles with the 5-year-old often means playing make believe quietly in the dark.  Tonight he was cooking for me.

C:  Here's some chocolate pie.  Would you like it wrapped in silver sparkle paper or pink confetti?

Me:  Err, silver sparkle.  Definitely. 

C:  Here you go.  Would you like to know what else we have at this restaurant?

Me:  Sure.

C:  Fireflies!  [pointing to his ceiling, where there is a plethora of glow-in-the-dark stars and planets]

Me:  This is a really lovely restaurant.

C:  Also?  Back scratching!  [shoves me over to scratch my back]

Me:  This is the best restaurant ever!

C:  I know, right?!  It's amazing.  And here's a bedroom, so you can take a nap.

Me:  Well, thank you, because I am tired and it's bedtime.  So that's a good idea.

C:  Shhh.  Just sleep.

Me:  [pretends to snore]

C:  [leans over and pretends to start putting things in my mouth]  We also feed you while you sleep.  Eat, eat, Mommy, eat. 

~*~*~*~*~*~

 After being, err, force fed while unconscious, I gave Charlie his hugs and kisses so I could leave him to sleep.

Me:  I love you more than all the stars.

C:  I love you more than all the cars.

Me:  Oh.  Well, then.

C:  There are more cars than stars, you know.

Me:  ...I kind of don't think so.  There are so many stars we can't count them all, and then more than that farther than we can see. 

C:  Huh.  Well, I love you more than all the stars and all the cars.  And all the lamps in all the houses.

Me:  That's a good amount of love.

C:  It's the best amount.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Every single day it really sucks.  And every single day it's just a little scary.  And every single day it's beyond beautiful.  And some days, it's all three of those at one time.

~*~*~*~*~*~



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 5.11

So I have crazy in spades.  I accept this the way I accept that I have brown hair and am 5'4".  Sometimes, though, it swells up in a giant, nutty wave that even makes me give myself a side-eye. 

Last night when I was giving Charlie his bedtime snuggle, I had the thought, "What if I die tonight and never get to snuggle him again?"  IN MY DEFENSE, I'd been having a ridiculous headache all evening and was kind of convinced I had incurable brain ebola cancer.  Shut up.  ANYWAY.  I really got to feeling pretty strongly that, obviously, this was a sign and I really was going to die and then I was tearing up and didn't want to stop snuggling him.  But.  I had work that's due on a deadline, and also I had to pee.  So I had to get up eventually.

When I did get up, I followed my crazy train of thought.  I was not living like I was dying.  If I was, I would just pee the bed (I suppose?  I'm not really sure; I think even in my actual last moments, I'd try to make it to the toilet) and I'd sleep there all night and I would FEEL ALL THE FEELS.  Trying to do that, though, would not only be counterproductive to the point of legal and financial penalty on my part, but it would also be so incredibly emotionally overwhelming that I realized if I did try to live like I was dying all the time I'd hate myself and everyone around me would probably hate me, too, (this besides being broke and starving) and it would all be kind of counterproductive to the whole point.

I tell you all that to tell you this.  My takeaway (besides that it's always okay to not wet your child's bed, no need to feel guilt there) is that my "live like I'm dying" is just to be present in the moment.  No thinking about what I didn't do, no thinking about what I have to do next.  Just enjoying the way the shampoo smells in my kids' hair and the way Henry fits just so on my lap so that I can put my chin on his head and the way Charlie likes to twirl my hair while I sing him his night-night song. 

I want to try this with the bad stuff, too, though.  With discipline stuff, half the time I'm all, "If we don't get this right right now, he's going to steal from old people when he's a dickhead teenager."  (Crazy.  Spades.)  It makes me super tense and it isn't exactly fair to them.  I'd like to try to make a more conscious effort to leave whatever crap they did that morning and whatever nefarious future I see for them all out of it and deal with just the behavior that's right in front of me.  I've been doing a lot better with anger management the last couple months (I'm a holder-onner, y'all, blech), but I could do more.

So there you go.  That's my most recent giving.  The gift of presence.  (GET IT.  PRESENCE/PRESENTS.  I CAN HAS CLEVER.)  (Is the Cheezburger reference already dated?  Damn it.) 

~*~*~*~*~*~

Because I didn't take any other pictures today, y'all get to be present with me.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day 5.7

We got a call this evening that there's a delay tomorrow because the temperatures will be so cold (3 degrees, THREE DEGREES, with a wind child in the negative double digits) that they don't want people standing out at the bus stop getting hypothermia by the dozen.  My love for the two-hour delay is the polar opposite of my feelings for snow days.  Two-hour delay means sleeping in, yet still getting my work done.  It means having a lazy, cozy morning with the kids and still getting rid of them.*  Snow day means being locked in the house with them, at a complete loss as far as efficiency and function, yet still holding onto a flickering hope that maybe they'll be so engrossed in Follow That Bird that you can get this one little thing done justrealquick.** 

Whatever, nature.  Bring it.  IT'S NOT LIKE I HAVE A LIFE TO LIVE, NO WORRIES.  I have crappy wine (still -- I really should have poured it down the drain, but maybe a small part of my brain was all, "Now, let's not be so hasty, missy," just in case of emergencies) and potato chips and three kinds of dip and two pounds of cookies and Netflix at my beck and call.  I'll just work at night.  I don't need sleep.  SLEEP IS FOR BABIES.***

I might, however, need a Tahitian vacation by the end of this stupid winter.  Maybe even of the Agent Coulson variety.

* I love my kids.  I promise.  Loads.  I just also love my sanity.

** The flickering hope is a LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE.  Perhaps why it is flickering.
 
*** "Sleeping babies" is a euphemism.  For what, I'm not sure.  It's just not an actual thing.

~*~*~*~*~*~

So I am not a lover of the winter.  But.  I will concede it sure can make for pretty pictures.





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Day 5.6

In which many observations of Childhood Thermodynamics were made.  And new laws were written.  And very little actual work got done.

Zeroth Law of Childhood Thermodynamics:  I call this the "HAHAHAHA, no" law.  Whatever, stupid first and second and third systems in equilibrium.  There is NO equilibrium of energy when a child system is present with an adult system.  NONE.  ALL of the energy is on their end of the scale, so FAIL.  In fact, they remove energy from the adult system.  They're like little Daleks with their toilet plunger arms sucking your soul directly out of your face just so they can have a cookie after lunch because you have no will to live, let alone tell them "no".

First Law of Childhood Thermodynamics:  If you increase the internal energy of the child (which really means you just wait for 5:00 p.m. to roll around), the energy explodes out in every direction and affects everything in the surrounding 500 yard radial environment, AND YET it remains constant within the child as well.  It never. Ever. Runs out.  Ever.

Second Law of Childhood Thermodynamics:  Supposedly no reaction is 100% efficient, right?  There's always loss just from the effort of working that doesn't get converted into energy.  Well, let me introduce you to the Tantrum Law.  What energy is lost in the reaction of the face-on-the-floor tantrum (i.e., the loss of effect when the parent walks away facepalming) is TOTALLY MADE BACK UP in pretending to get over the tantrum, asking the parent for a snuggle, and then headbutting said parent directly in the face. 

In other news, Snow Days are bad news bears for my mental health.

~*~*~*~*~*~

THIS IS NOT THAT MUCH SNOW. 



I mean, yes, it is that slick, powdery crap that isn't awesome to drive on.  But you know what fixes that?  PLOWING.  WITH A SNOW PLOW.  ON THE ROAD.  Rassnfrassn...

I am beginning to accept we are in entering those Dark Days of winter, in which the temperatures are completely intolerable and snow days are going to pile up and I'm going to wrap myself in all my hand knits and glare balefully out at anyone who so much as hints that they like this crap.  The fairy lights (I have also embraced my Madonna-esque faux British side) around the windows in our downstairs living areas are one of the few things that keep me hanging on to anything even resembling positivity.  I think I'll keep them up until spring.




Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 5.5

I love my children like whoa.  (...it's still cool to say that, right?  I don't know.  I always feel like Joey when I break that one out, and then I have to explain that Joey is Blossom's brother and then I have to explain who Blossom is and then I realize it's potentitally way not cool.  Moving on.)  I love their bizarre, rambling stories about the crap that goes on in their brains.  I love the way Henry asks, "Can I kiss you?" even though the answer has never been no.  I love the way Charlie sings "Sweet Home Chicago" at the top of his lungs.

You know what I also love?  When break is over and they go back to school and daycare and I can sit in my house and listen to absolutely nothing.  I spent much of the holiday break on high alert, because I fully admit my kids are Not Perfect (with capitals, even) and while it's not cool when they do their crap at our house and potentially break, stain or lose stuff, when it's at other people's houses (family, friends, strangers, I don't care) it's so not cool it will never get a date and will live in its parents' basement for the rest of time.  So, yes, I fully admit I am TOTALLY OKAY with shipping them back off to their classes so that I can appreciate the time I do have with them rather than spend it with one twitching eye on the clock wondering why the hell bed time is taking so long to roll around.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~

Forms of giving in which I have participated over the past few days:

-- encouragement
-- thanks
-- extra change in the jar
-- a little something just because

Way in which I failed to give: 

-- The weather was doing this wintry mix crap and there was a guy walking along the side of the road wearing a trash bag and a wool cap.  Charlie and I were driving to the store and, while sitting at the stoplight, I thought long and hard about getting the dude's attention and seeing if he needed a ride.  But Inner Me, who has clearly seen too many episodes of Castle, balked.  I had my kid with me.  What if the dude wasn't on the up and up?  What if the trash bag was cover for his Tommy gun?  (Maybe Castle isn't the problem, maybe The Untouchables is.)  In the end, I sat there so long going back and forth that he crossed the road and wandered off on the other side of the median where the traffic was one way in the other direction, effectively making my decision for me.  I'm still torn about that one.
~*~*~*~*~*~

Other ways in which I spent my last couple days:

-- Putting diapers on dinosaurs.  Ironically, Henry also wanted to put pajamas on T-Rex and the only item of baby clothing I could find was long sleeved.  You can pretty well tell how TR felt about this entire ordeal by the expression on his face.


-- Driving.  And driving some more.  And then a little more after that.  You'd think after 2,000 miles round trip I'd be done (AND I WOULD THINK THAT, TOO), but then comes the minutiae of getting back to daily living:  grocery shopping, running errands, taking care of the things that didn't get done before we left.  I love my truck, but Sweet Baby James, I'm ready for us to have a break.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day 5.2

Two things:

1)  The "5.2" in the title is indicative of this being the second day of the fifth year of my 365 Project blog.  It does not mean this is day 5 and 2/10ths.  Or that it's the second iteration of the fifth day.  It merely means I wanted to distinguish this Day 2 from all the previous Day 2s and I'm trying to be as confusing as humanly possible in doing so.

1a)  I note that as I go to publish this, it's actually rolled over past midnight.  So I should retitle it 5.3.  BUT I WON'T.  You don't own me, Universe!

2)  This isn't actually the fifth year of this blog.  It's, like, the fourth year and a couple days, but technically I posted my first entry in 2010 SO I AM COUNTING IT, DAMN IT.  A little because I enjoy the neatness of it being the 5th year in 2015 (look at all those beautiful 5s!), but mostly because that's going to make it so much easier for me to remember down the road.  If I could get away with posting it as Day 15.2, I totally would.

3)  Okay, three things.  I KNOW.  It is not January 1.  I missed the stupid New Year's post by a day.  Think of it as me asserting my individuality.  Or my "don't give a @&!#"-itude.  Or we can all just accept the reality that, y'all, my entire family was packed into a car for 500+ miles on New Year's Eve, this following another 500 mile car ride together a couple days before that, and after 10 days on the road New Year's Day went something like "MUST FIND A WAY TO GET AWAY FROM THESE PEOPLE FOR FIVE MINUTES SWEET BABY JAMES" and then I fell asleep watching Guardians of the Galaxy, which, seriously, is NOT a fall-asleep-able movie.  If I wrote anything yesterday, it would have been, "Happy Nwehafduihacjkbvakljhn..."

~*~*~*~*~*~

Last year my resolutions all fell under the header of organization (well, all but one):

Simplify/Minimize
Schedule/Routine
Budget
Daily To-Do List
Enjoy Myself

 I...sort of did well with them?  I did keep a budget spreadsheet all year that I updated daily and rocked it.  As much as one can rock a spreadsheet and a bank account.  But, honestly.  TOTALLY ROCKED IT.  

I did not keep a schedule.  I mean, I keep a dinner schedule (I plan a menu for the month on the first day of each month so I don't have to agonize over what to make for dinner every. single. night.), but nothing else.  Well, not during the summer.  The summer, frankly, mostly sucked as far as that went.  By the time school started, my eye had a permanent twitch and I was calculating how many organs I could sell just to get Henry in daycare, too.  (As it turns out, all organs are still in tact -- and inside me -- and we found an awesome center 10 minutes from the house that isn't wildly out of our budget with me working days.)  School and daycare schedules dictated by others?  MADE MY LIFE.

Simplifying and minimizing...I guess?  We got rid of some furniture (out of necessity -- it was a black hole masquerading as a love seat) and rearranged the living room to be less cluttered.  The play room is nothing BUT clutter.  More on that later.  Cleared out the mud room like my life depended on it and it's stayed decluttered since then.  But no real major overhaul.

Daily To-Do List.  HAHAHAHAHAHA, no.  I cannot tell you how many times I stutter-started this.  I mean, I for realsies tried.  But then I'd hit a day where I didn't have much to put on the list (which seems like bull crap, because there's always SOMETHING, but nothing pressing to put on it) and so I wouldn't make one and apparently one day off ate my to-do list's will to live and I just wouldn't take it back up for two weeks.  For the record, those were the weeks when I'd forget really important things and/or screw up the rotation of the earth.  So I probably should continue to have this as a goal.

Enjoy myself.  I did some.  I didn't some more.  Which kind of leads me to this year.

~*~*~*~*~*~

I pretty much have one goal for 2015:  to make it the year of giving.  I have taken so much from those around me, especially since I had kids, switched to survival mode, and retreated into the Fortress of Solitude.  Now that Henry's closing in on 3 years and both kids are operating fairly independently in school and daycare, I feel like I can finally step outside and breathe again.


I have found that the people I look up to most in life are those dedicated to giving of themselves to uplift others.  I've always kind of thought of them as magical and special and the best kind of people there are.  It struck me recently that a lot of what I don't like about myself is the taking -- or at the very least, the lack of giving.  I have withheld, especially these past few years, because I needed everything I had to give for myself.  And that's made me feel low and ugly and like I am not enough.  So maybe wanting to be more giving is still selfish, because I like me when I do for others but it's not technically supposed to be about me.  Whatever.  If I can't win, may as well be happy losing.

So by "giving", I mean lots of things.  Giving time, giving love, giving charitably, giving kindness, giving attention.  We are by NO means rich, but if I believe one vote counts then I can believe that so does one dollar or five minutes or whatever.  I want to try to find something to do daily, but it's not about that.  Quality over quantity and blah blah blah.

Two (more) things:

1)  Giving to me also means less taking.  So less bringing in of the crap I do not need that clearly does not fulfill us (and hopefully more of the giving away of the crap that already is in).  This means -- GULP -- I'm going cold sheep for 2015.  No more new yarn.  I mean it.  I have five bins shoved full of the stuff; if I can't find a use for it, I obviously have no business bringing more in.

2)  I am, and will continue to be, aware of my limits.  I cannot give what is not there.  This isn't meant to create pressure to put on myself.  It's meant to help me feel less isolated, even if that isolation was self-inflicted in the first place, and more like I'm filling my place in the world in a positive way.  Which sounds all boojie-boojie woo woo (this is a technical term only to be used by professionals), but mostly it probably just means I'm having a mid-life crisis a couple years early and y'all should all just be happy I'm going the uplifting route and not buying a Maclaren and driving it off a cliff screaming, "YOU SHOULD HAVE LET ME EAT THE PIE!"  Or whatever.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Pictures.  Just because.  Have a cape (or three).  Happy New Year, y'all.