Slice of Life #5

                                                          

Don’t worry, I’m not copping out on SOL with a bunch of photos. I just thought it’d be helpful to provide a visual for my slice as of late. See, snow. A lot of it. More coming. It’s hard to pick one moment in the day as a slice because the whole day feels like one big slice…themes are recurring and are woven throughout the day, like subplots in a TV episode.  I have days where it all blurs together and time falls into this weird vortex where I open my eyes at 6am, then all of a sudden it’s 12:30, and then it’s 3pm and then it’s 6:30 and then it’s 10 (if I’m lucky) and I’m closing my eyes again, not really sure where the day went or what exactly I did. My cousin’s wife told me once that we have this thing called motor memory, where we do things without thinking about it. This was after I told her that sometimes I get home and I have no memory of driving home. That’s what my life is like sometimes–I have no memory of how I got through the day. I just get through it, even when it’s not the same old stuff I always do, it feels like it.

I think I’m tired.

Slice of Life #4

I call my sister’s house the abyss. Lovingly, of course! Alternatively, it’s a time warp. I don’t know why or how but I seem to lose all sense of time when I’m at Kate’s house. I walk in the door at 9:30 and before I know it, it’s past dinner time and I’m hollering at my kids to find their shoes and to please pee, for god’s sake, before we get in the car and I’m joining a long line of cars in rush hour traffic, which in theory, I should be able to avoid, by a long shot.
It happened again today! I got sucked into a project that I’m working on with Kate. I picked her up before ten so we could do a Community Plates run together. We came back to her house to work on the project, and she ended making me lunch. And there I was, leaving Micah with her so I could run and pick up Stella from school. And of course, Stella wanted to play with her cousin, Laila and I was still working on this thing with Kate. Then, I finally became determined to leave when it was time to go meet Alice’s bus. I got the kids all ready to go. Shoes, coats, everything. About to walk out the door. Nope. Not happening. Somehow, I ended up leaving both kids to go meet Alice’s bus and bring her back to Kate’s house. Before I knew it, Kate was making all the kids dinner while I bounced a drooly baby gnawing on my thumb and tried to figure out how to lift a text off a background (tear-my-hair-out-frustrating, okay, seriously!). And I still haven’t figured it out. (I don’t want to talk about it anymore, okay?)
I always like to be home before Henry so I can do a little housekeeping and get dinner ready, so I can at least PRETEND I got something done during all those hours he’s been gone… because, I admit it, I don’t want Henry coming home to a messy, chaotic scene though he often does and I totally blame Kate. I do.  I’m easily plied with coffee and lunch. I’m a total sucker. That’s totally on me. But it’s still Kate’s fault.

(Do you hear me, Kate? Are you reading this?!…. Coffee tomorrow?)

But on a more serious note, I’m doing kind of a sucky job with my word of the year, FOCUS. I’ve been collecting inspirational quotes and things to a board on Pinterest but I clearly need to pin it to my brain because it ain’t sticking…

Follow Nancy Cavillones’s board Focus (Word of the Year) on Pinterest.

Slice of Life #3


{Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a free copy of The Good Mother Myth! See that post here: http://realnani.blogspot.com/2014/01/GoodMotherMyth.html}


This weekend, Micah and I snuck away to Northampton for the express purpose of attending the book release party for The Good Mother Myth but I admit, the prospect of flying solo with only one, extremely portable, baby in tow was pretty exciting. Micah came along because he’s good company and well, we’re literally attached at the hip and boob. Together, we wound our way up 84 and 91, battling the cluster-eff that is Hartford traffic on a Friday, and of course, it didn’t dawn on me until it was too late that I should’ve left Redding MUCH earlier because of the long weekend. But my road weariness was combatted by a warm welcome at Sovina and Mike’s, and aromatic chicken from Great Wall. (You’d think good Chinese would be hard to come by in a small town like Northampton but you’d be so wrong.) 
After dinner, Sovina and I headed out, with Micah in tow, to the book release party at Hinge on Main Street. The place was packed to the rafters with supporters of and contributors to this wonderful collection of writing featuring an impressive roster of feminist names, and how awesome that my friend Tara is among them, and that my friend Tamara was the official photographer for the event. I was pleased as punch to run into some NoHo and Greenfield friends, including my IRL friend and fellow blogger, NJ
I don’t know how I never noticed this before but before apparently, in crowded NoHo bars, thirsty people line up, all civilized-like, at the bar, to order instead of wedging themselves between two barflies to flag down a bartender. (By the way, did you catch that scene in Girls when Shoshana’s new man friend takes two beers from behind the bar? Never happen in real life without a beat down, never.) 
After the readings were said and done, and Micah clearly had enough of the loud scene, we headed back to Sovina’s for pajamas and one last beer before bed. My plan was to leave in the morning after breakfast. 
Sovina fed me breakfast (egg and tomato on toast, so simple, so perfect) and plied me with hot coffee before I headed out to pack up the car. The light flurries coming down morphed into heavy, wet flakes by the time I went back inside. At Henry’s behest, and with Sovina’s blessing, I abandoned my plan to leave. Two bonuses came with this plan: I got to have lunch with my friend Rachel, and I got to go to a birthday gathering at our friend Mike and Tom’s. Rachel and I had a deep conversation about living with disabilities that sparked an idea that I’ll share with you soon enough. 
At Mike and Tom’s, there was a baby convention happening–Micah got to chill with a cool dude and a pretty lady all around the same age as him. I had a brief and awkward fangirl moment when I discovered that the editor-in-chief of a major online magazine was in attendance. 
The next morning, I really did have to leave. The two hour drive is not long, no but just long enough to make me wish I were already home. I resisted the urge to stop at Ikea and instead, pushed southward, the refrain from Homeward Bound playing in my mind as I wound down the country roads that lead back to the cottage on Deer Lane. 
There’s nothing like coming home to two excited little girls, one of whom tells you she slept on your side of the bed so she could smell you. Oh, I remember that feeling so well from my own childhood, I do.
A weekend away does a mother good and a sweet homecoming does her even better. 

Slice of Life #2

Do you know the term, “tikkun olam”? It’s Hebrew for “heal the world”, and it is a central tenet of Jewish values. From the time I was very small, I learned that giving is an important part of being a member of society. I also learned that giving doesn’t have to mean donating a lot of money. Time is just as valuable, and sometimes even more so! My father has always been involved in philanthropic work in the Jewish community in Albany, where I grew up and his model of giving time inspired me to do the same for causes that I believe in, like Pathways Togo.

There is another concept, tzedakah, meaning charity, in the form of collecting money and donating it. There are different levels of tzedakah, the lowest being when both giver and recipient known to each other and the highest being when both giver and recipient are anonymous to each other.  My 5 year old, Alice, brings change for the tzedakah jar at Sunday school every week and expressed interest in having her own jar at home, so I sacrificed a canning jar to the cause, cut out a slot in the lid for change and labeled it. Alice and Stella come across money in various ways–they find change, they are given gifts,  they earn it by doing chores, they lose teeth (!), and so on. Always, there is a choice– the money can go into their personal piggy banks or the money can go into the tzedakah jar. Sometimes, it’s the piggy bank, sometimes it’s the tzedakah jar and sometimes they choose to split it between the two. Whenever I find change around the house, I put it in the tzedakah jar. Alice grasps the basic purpose of the jar–the money will go to someone who needs it more.

In this way, I hope to model the spirit of tikkun olam in our home. I don’t think they understand that I give time as well as money but they will some day. They know that going to visit a sick person is a mitzvah, as they learned last month when we went to visit my good friend’s dying mother in the hospital, and my father took them to visit a family friend recuperating from a broken leg. They see that their presence has put a smile on someone’s face which is the most tangible evidence that a three year old and a five year old can understand.

I’ve upped my personal commitment to tikkun olam this year by signing up with Community Plates, an organization matches up supermarkets that have excess food with non-profit groups that can use that excess. Community Plates relies on volunteers to run food from one place to the other. And that is what I did today, on this rainy, rainy Tuesday. It is probably the most convenient way for busy people to give of their time since it can be done when you’re already out and about in your car, running errands.  It’s really such a small thing and yet, such a big thing. By giving my time in this way, the recipients of the food can spend their time on more pressing issues, and the supermarkets can avoid wasting perfectly good food. It’s a win-win, isn’t it?

I would love to hear about the ways that you give, in the spirit of tikkun olam, so tell me in the comments below!