Saturday, October 24, 2009


I recently said to a friend, "I had HFG so young I sort of boxed up my entire teenage experience and put it away." In order for me to be the best mom I could be and let go of the life I wasn't living, that of a normal 22 yr. old, I put away childish things and fully embraced being an adult.

In some ways I was detached from her childhood as I literally went about the business of being a good parent. When she was young I left a lot of the fun and play, magic and imagination to others in our community of family and friends. Now that she is the teenager I'm finding myself to be fully engaged in giving her the best teen years I could have ever wanted. It isn't about living vicariously through her and her life, trust me I have absolutely no desire to suffer those years again... and also I love being an adult (all the power and responsibility that comes with that). For me it is about reflecting upon that box I spoke of previously and realizing that as a mother I can help HFG to have a completely different experience. Sure there will be difficult days with yelling, door slamming and general teenage malaise, but I hope in the end she will take flight out of the nest with self confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and maybe even satisfaction with her teen years. I hope someday when she is older she says to me, "I have such fond memories of my teenage years in Pittsburgh."

It is fantastically terrific that our current home lends it's self to getting off on the right foot... We've hosted two small parties and I am pretty sure both events were fairly successful. Her and her friends had the run of the main floor, plenty of food and drink, and loud music (everyone has an iPod) and while my presence was made known, I mostly stayed out of their way and kept to myself. I love hearing the noise that is them like movie style cafe background chatter. I am beyond thrilled knowing that these kids who are in the throes of becoming young adults are for the moment safe, happy, and carefree in the home that Michael and I have created for our family. I hope that over the next few years our relationship is such that she continues to invite her friends over and feel like where she wants to be is right where she is.

(the result of 8 teens and 8 pumpkins and a carving party, her's would be the XX)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get 'r done!

We arrived in pBurgh mid-summer, and here it is already fall and nearly winter... the thought of what we have accomplished in less then four months astounds me... to say we were resourcefully industrious is putting it mildly!
I finally feel like I have more down time to reflect on what we've done and even enjoy it a little. All things considered we have managed to create a cozy little corner in the hills of Western Pennsylvania where we have each other and I think we might even make this all worthwhile...

Our first priority being a place to live: at the very least a roof over us, the kid, the dog , and our sch-TUFF, instead we lucked out and found a home, a happy, fun, safe home. A space with plenty of room for everyone to do their own thing, Poppy even got her fenced-in yard. Nature (including wild turkeys and deer) surrounds us, HFG has a friend just around the corner and over the hill. I would dare say I feel more at home here in this house then I ever did in the unit we inhabited previously for five years! It required one major room(s) rearrangement, and there are still unpacked boxes, but I feel very settled in this place…

Employment also being high on the list… Michael won that race, wasting no time finding one in the first week (he did the same thing when he had first moved to Seattle with us). I languished in unemployment for two months, and then proceeded to have, not one, but two jobs in the next month and ½. Thankfully the one I have currently being the permanent one with benies and PTO; I would have loved for the temp job to have not been so temporary, but as soon as I saw the writing on the wall I made swift work of finding something else. I applied for this one thing on Monday, exchanged correspondence with HR on Tuesday, arrived on-site for an interview on Wednesday and started my first day on Thursday! I have to believe that there was something else at work in that situation, because honestly it was a miracle. All my work history in some way or another has prepared me for this job; I was “one out of 564 resumes”, or so they told me (a few times). Amazing.

The other major thing was getting HFG registered for school… things didn’t go the way we had envisioned them going, but in the end I think they worked out the best they could, maybe even better. I hadn’t known that when I was getting all worked up over the situation. I don’t know if I’ve said it before, but we have really lucked out when it has come to an uprooted teenager “ripped from her friends and the only place she ever remembers living”, and OMG what is going to happen….well… she has managed to make some friends and do some fun things. She’s even survived her first Homecoming Dance, and managed to do well in school. Really, couldn’t have asked for any more, but you know I do… pick up your room, wash your hands, let the dog out, help rake some leaves...

In some ways we have come, and we have conquered. I will admit to having been very focused on some basic needs and not doing nearly as much site seeing as I would have liked, but there is time for that. We aren't going anywhere, we have worked too hard to get here. For now I am looking forward to spending the holidays with family and all the hustle/bustle that will be....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

in case you thought to ask, "How are you?"

I would have to say, "While I can't say my life is magnificent I definitely feel more present in it and there is something fulfilling in that."

This past week was fraught with some challenges, but instead of wallowing in self pity, I took action. I recognized what I could control and I focused on that. Those things that were beyond my reach were exactly that and not worth my fretting over. And at the end of the day Friday, I knew I had done the best I could do and everything happened for a reason and it was all good; even when at first glance it seemed like it didn't and wasn't.

I will admit to being one of those people who has harboured jealousy of what others have, but I see how what I have is priceless. Above all I have LOVE in my life: in the form of an understanding and supportive life partner, a compassionate daughter, and other family and friends that are unrelenting in their encouragement. In the dark there is the light in my mother's eyes; in the cold there is warmth in my husband's arms; when my stomach is empty there is a chair at my friend's table... what more could I ask for? I think nothing, except maybe to be reminded each day of this truth.

How am I? I am BLESSED.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

of all the places in all the world....

After weeks of government preparation, various causes organizing, general populous anticipation, and a lot of local media build-up the G20 made its Pittsburgh debut. Approximately two months shy of the 10 yr. anniversary of the WTO Riots in Seattle, WA (NOV1999); where I was residing at the time. My experience with both events being somewhat removed (not actively participating), although I was reminded I do know someone who participated in a peaceful protest during the WTO extravaganza and someone who wore a suit to work and was accosted (despite his having nothing to do with the World Trade Organization, just wearing similar attire)…

In Seattle my commute involved passing by the general vicinity of the marches and riots in the downtown area, but it was easily avoidable, and avoid I did. Here in pBurgh I didn’t even have to try and avoid the action, it seemed to be avoiding me despite my best attempts at getting out to photograph it. I did see some smoke bombs and police activity from the bus on Thursday, but I was on the wrong side of a crowded bus. On Friday the People’s March which started in Oakland (the neighborhood where I spend my work hours) was blocks away from where I was and by the time I was able to leave for lunch it was long gone. All I got were some pictures of sidewalk missives left the night before and a band of ragamuffins who must have eaten a pan of special brownies prior to heading out to join the march… they didn’t really know where they were going, they became distracted by the same sidewalk missives which had caught my eye… and half of their group wandered off ahead while the others stayed behind to photograph this and that.

Most of the staff in my area took vacation days, worked from home, or worked a compressed week; which meant it was uber quiet around the office. The handful of us here went out to lunch; although I am trying not to become too personally involved with anyone in the work place it was nice to be invited along and feel l
ike part of the gang (I am pretty sure they are all mostly trying to avoid being personally involved with coworkers as well). We were let out of work early both days… which was great, except that the first day my bus didn’t come for 40 minutes… which meant I could have stayed at work and caught the same bus I normally do, and continued to dick around on-line. Ah well… luckily that was not the case on Friday and I did arrive home before anyone else and took the opportunity to crack open a beer, a bag of peanuts and listen contentedly to the local NPR coverage of Obama’s G20 Closing Remarks.