Sunday, January 18, 2009


Hello, all. This morning, happily, I can see my floor. And there are only 5 boxes left to be unpacked in my office. Half a days work at best. And yes, I have been putting in 20 hour days here and at the old place for the past 3 weeks, which means I basically fell off the face of the earth.

Moving from a way-too-large house to a much smaller one has had many interesting discoveries attached. My kids and I love each other and laugh a lot about sharing one bathroom. We get cozy together in the evening and watch movies and play games. Life is amazingly good even with some bumps in the road to still bace for.

The coolest thing about this move is that it's giving us a chance to purge. Majorly. A garage sale like no other is in my future. But I think I may have to do something a little different....

How many of you have struggled and needed things in the past? I had one of those years last year but was very fortunate to have people step in repeatedly just when things looked bleak. We never went without (thanks in a large part to RK and Mr RK and their families) and I feel fortunate to walk into a new year with affordable rent and enough to eat. Aah, the little things in life.

So, now that our struggles are behind us, I think it's time to pay it forward, as they say. We have all this stuff. And a lot of people don't have enough. And I have all sorts of friends who have given things, little and big, over the years. Now, I have stuff and those people are going to get dibs on it.

My impending garage sale will start with an invitation only event. Where everyone I love and everyone I know will be invited to come select one or two or twenty items from our discard pile and take it home. We don't have any junk here, it's all good, usable stuff. And I want you to have something that comes from my home and that means something to me. With a little Rachel love attached.

Then, once the friends have had their shot at the goodies, we'll open the doors to the neighbors. No big signs - we will let word of mouth spread that there's free stuff. For anyone who needs something. And there'll be cookies and soda and popcorn and great conversation. And I will get to know my new neighbors in the best way - by welcoming them to my home and my life, by making them into my new friends.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Love, loss and DDR

It's a big day in my world. My little girl turns sweet 16. Oh, the expectations she has - of this birthday and of the world. We've been through the worst 2 years anyone could imagine and are closer than ever - she, her brother and I. We see light at the end of the tunnel on a lot of issues. She is finally off antidepressants and sleeping at night. We're close to taking her off other meds that have side effects she doesn't like. She's painting, singing and trying to laugh as often as possible. Her hair is still blue, the cat ears are still present daily. All good things considering the dark despair that overwhelms her at times. All of us suffer from it a bit, I know, but this little girl has more dark places than most people see in a lifetime.

We're in the middle of a move to a new house that has lots of potential and very few square feet. Oh, and one bathroom. I've never felt closer to the kids. We laugh a lot. We play on the merry-go-round across the street, chase ducks, look for stones to skip in the casting pond. I have wonderful neighbors, a kind family and amazing friends who have stuck by me through this horrendous and chaos filled time in my life. I wake up every morning grateful for what I have and thanking the universe for the positive things to come.

Birthdays mean everything in my family. All we want and expect is complete and utter devotion. Presents aren't quite as important as love. Kindness. Baked goods. So, for Sara's 16th birthday, I have some wishes I want to give her.
1. I wish she keeps her strong attitude and determination

2. I wish that as she gets older, her anxiety will quiet more often and be more easily managed

3. I wish she will have a chance to meet wonderful new people throughout her life

4. I wish her love from her family and friends

5. I wish her a really cool birthday party today that meets all her expectations

6. I wish that she finds hope where there is darkness and peace where there is chaos

7. I wish she'd clean her room more often ;-P

8. I wish she could see the beauty in everything

9. I wish that we'd have more happy days than sad ones

10. I wish that the new world that is beginning would be good for her and all the young people of the world

11. I wish that she would recover from heartbreak quickly and see the benefit of loving with your whole heart

12. I wish that her friends were closer and could come over more often

13. I wish that her room didn't glow in the dark

14. I wish that her brother will always be her best friend and confidant and protector and that she will be the same for him

15. I wish that she will always love to cook be adventuresome in the kitchen

16. I wish that she would know that I admire her for everything she has accomplished and that I will always be proud of her

Sixteen silly wishes for a girl who turns 16 today. I also wish I could beat her at Dance Dance Revolution but I don't see that happening, since she's a DDR shark!! The crew will have a blast at her party today - Sara is very generous to others. And, she should feel the love from every angle as we wander through this new adventure. Together.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Review Time

When I was a boss, I always did reviews of my employees. Not the kind you normally think of - when I tell them where their strengths and weaknesses are, try to encourage growth and ask them where they'd like to improve.

Nope - they had to review me. As their boss and as a person.

I have kept each and every one of these reviews. The language of them shines a beacon on the type of employer/employee relationship we had. For those who worked hard - imperfect as they were - I seemed to receive decent reviews about how I step in to help, offer the option of support (I always told them to raise a red flag if they needed an assist) and that I was good at team building.

But the one that stands out most in my mind is one written by someone who didn't like me very much. She had lots of reasons to resent me (as anyone would who has been replaced) and vented voraciously in her review....but she wrote one nice thing among the poison.

"Rachel has an interesting way of keeping friendships and work relationships in their proper place. I feel that she has my best interest at heart no matter the circumstances or my attitude and I appreciate her candor. She never surprises anyone but makes sure the entire team is aware of upcoming issues."

Hm. All this from the woman who made a Rachel voodoo doll. Which I still have, thank you very much.

Running across my file of reviews from the last 12 years reminded me of a birthday tradition I intend to keep this year. It's review time.... not of myself, but of what the world has offered. Here's my top ten off the top of my head...

10) I have the coolest, most supportive, never to leave me in the dark no matter what, group of friends. Vastly different and unbelievably complex, these guys are irreplaceable.
9) Amidst loss there is always light. I had to put my dog to sleep in May and was devastated. I swore I'd never get a dog again, that it hurts too much to lose one we love.... and discovered Ezmond not 2 months later. He warms my feet when I'm cold at night and he gives big, wet, sloppy, knock-you-down kisses. And he makes me feel whole.
8) Fear doesn't really have a place in my world. Being afraid of something wastes a lot of time and energy when, in all reality, the things we fear are rarely the things that hurt us. So why bother?
7) Nothing beats a day of the blues like a good hour roller staking with your best friend to organ music on a Sunday.
6) Photobooths rock
5) January 1, 2008 I had an email account and a web site. Now, I blog and am on facebook, myspace and twitter. And, I've reconnected with 4 very good friends, any number of former coworkers and acquaintances, and made many more. Actual friends from virtual contact. Who would have guessed.
4) I've always had this need for a sister, and I found her this year - in the form of a kindred spirit that warms my heart when I least expect it and need it most. And she's damn funny!
3) Purging stuff is cathartic. About to move, I'm making a major play to reduce what I have by 2/3. Really. Getting rid of a majority of the stuff I've collected, paring down to the basics. If I don't love it, I don't need it.
2) What goes around does truly come around. All those years of being super-cheerleader-supportive-loving-giving Rachel has returned things to me that I cannot even being to describe. I can't wait to be on the giving side again.
1) Love is not something to fear or hide from. In all its forms, it brings great joy and immense sorrow. And I wouldn't take back saying those words any of the hundred times I have.

I wish you new beginnings in this next year as I go exploring, looking for my own.