Tag Archives: portland

Becoming human again

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a married woman in possession of a few children must be in want of a life.

It took me 23 minutes to come up with that line, even though technically Jane Austen wrote it first and all I did was butcher it. (Sorry, Jane).

My amazing literary pun skills aside, I’m not kidding about that truth. Because we do. Oh, how we do. We want (and need) a full life.

Not that we moms don’t live for our kids. Because do. Oh, how we do. When my kids were first born, my whole world shrunk down to their exact height and weight. It’s a monumental change you go through when you have a child, physically, mentally and emotionally, and for the longest time, I couldn’t see anything past them. Everything took a backseat to them. Part of this is because you just created AN ENTIRE HUMAN BEING and as such are completely mesmerized by everything they do. Even farts took on a whole new meaning. Coming from their tiny butts, it was the most adorable sound in the world.

But another part of this tunnel vision stemmed from the fact that I was terrified I couldn’t do it. That I would fail. That if I took my eyes off them for a second they would get hurt. Or sick. Or kidnapped. Or, my biggest nightmare, roughly thrown into a car trunk by a kidnapper with the flu. Suddenly, I realized that THE WHOLE WORLD IS ONE GIANT, FESTERING CAULDRON OF DISEASE POPULATED BY SERIAL KILLERS AND PERVERTS AND EVIL BABY BLANKETS THAT COULDN’T WAIT TO SMOTHER MY CHILDREN.

Eventually this passed. Mostly (I still don’t trust that baby blanket). I learned that kids are tough and resilient. That they start to gain a bit of independence. Life keeps moving on. And it was around this time that I finally looked up and, to my surprise, had trouble recognizing who I was.

I felt I was losing myself. Or at least some very vital parts of myself. Motherhood is demanding and it seemed like I no longer had time to maintain the complex person full of contradictions and passions and interests that I used to be. There was only time for diaper changes and fixing fairly large household structural problems with duct tape.

I didn’t laugh as much. I was always tired. I was always distracted. Always thinking about what had to be done. Or done next. Or done next week.

Parenting can sometimes feel like a zero-sum game. You give everything you have (and happily so) to these tiny creatures so that they can have everything. You give and give and give and you love and you love and you love. There’s also some yelling and vague threatening and an army of curse words muttered under your breath, but mostly it’s the giving and the loving.

Without a chance to replenish, without a break, however, it can soon feel like you have nothing left to give. You start to forget who you are, just slowly turning into a zombie mom robot. (Although Zombie Mom Robot would make a great title for a parenting book).

Luckily I had someone to remind me. Which is how I ended up alone in Portland a few weeks ago. With an entire hotel room to myself. Just me and a bottle of wine and an extra large pizza, which I ate on a king-sized bed while sitting in my underwear and watching “Big Bang” reruns.

And it’s how I ended up attending my wonderful friend’s beautiful wedding. Which is how I ended up doing an unhealthy amount of tequila shots, which is how I ended up doing a mortifying karaoke performance, which led to more tequila shots, which led to long conversations stuffed with every curse word known to man (or woman), which led to eating late night fried chicken; all with my long lost group of best friends, relationships that were neglected but now renewed and stronger than ever.

And it’s how I ended up running a 5K last week with another good friend. Like, an actual race, where you purposefully run fast even though nothing is chasing you. My first one ever. And I ran the whole damn thing. And a week later I still feel like Wonder Woman.

It’s how I ended up dusting off my beloved camera and taking photos again. And reading more. And writing more. And drawing my god awful stick figure art again.

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And it’s how I finally started remembering who I was.

All because my husband refused to let me forget. He kept throwing me on planes so I could travel and kept kicking me out of the house so I could pursue my own things, my own passions. Because he knows that being a complex person with a full life makes you a better parent.

He understood, even more than I did, what I needed.

And so here’s to hoping you have someone in your life who reminds you who you are when you forget. That you have someone who understands that sometimes you just need a hotel room of one’s own.

(I’m butchering all the classics today. This one only took me 12 minutes though. My apologies to Virginia Woolf).

 

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Brunchers in the Mist

(Alternative title: “Don’t get your panties in a brunch”)

Boston. The urban jungle. A wilderness teeming with exotic species and, at times, dangerous terrain (the Pedestrian/Vehicular Civil War has been raging in the region since 1934).

For the past two years, I have lived among the wildlife naturally found in this part of the world, in an effort to study and document their behavior and way of life. After several months of careful observation, I have come to discover that the creatures found here are much more varied than first thought.

Among the numerous species found in Boston (such as Manic-Depressive Sports Fan, Drunk Sorority Girl and Angry Hobo), is a most curious mammal known as the Native Bruncher.

The Native Bruncher is a result of centuries of evolution and combines the urban dwellers’ natural instinct to flock together on the weekends and their natural aversion to any type of exertion. From what I have gathered in my research, the habits of the Native Bruncher serve on both a medicinal and social level.

While for most of their week, the Native Bruncher forages for food among the alleyways and corners of their habitat, the main caloric staple of their diet is morning-appropriate cocktails and ironically named omelets featuring a fascinating combination of cheeses. The Native Bruncher will drink and eat these items on the weekend until they have amassed enough calories to tide them over for the next five or six days, where they lapse into a hibernation-like state known as “The Work Week.”

Although the history of Brunchers has never fully been documented, it is believed that the very first brunch was held in 1753 in England when a hungover Lord Hamish Cottington Hammingford the IV woke up late one Sunday morning and found that he was too late for breakfast and too early for lunch at the local pub.

hamish

Flabbergasted, the proprietor asked him what he would like to eat: breakfast or lunch?

His response changed the course of weekends as we know it.

“Hmm…well, eggs sound good, but so does steak. Or perhaps pancakes. But then again, a big sandwich might be nice. You know what, how about you just bring me a crap load of all of that. And some ale mixed with something fruity and topped with no less than three fruit garnishes.”

This unique mixture of food caught on immediately among the hungover-impaired peasantry, prompting Lord Hammingford to declare “I shall call it ‘Lubreakfanch!'”

Luckily, his wife, who was slightly less inebriated (having only had four fruity ale cocktails, as opposed to seven) suggested changing it “brunch.”

Eventually the ritual spread throughout Europe and by 1829 was brought to America by a traveler named Chet Avery, who in some academic circles is also believed to have been the first hipster on record and the inventor of what we now call “the soul patch.” Avery was also an avid proponent of the healing effects of alcohol to combat the negative effects of alcohol and making it a staple of the brunch ritual.

soul patch

While Brunchers can now be found in urban jungles all over the world, they seem to be most populous in Boston (although Native Brunchers from Portland and Brooklyn would probably categorically disagree with that statement in a pompous voice while barely looking up from their iPhones).

The Boston breed of the Native Bruncher is also unique in its penchant for “theme” brunch, such as Disco Brunch and for being the first successful species to have brunch on the water (the 1974 sinking of a ship in the early days of this tradition, dubbed “The Bacon-Flavored Tea Party,” notwithstanding).

What separates the Boston Native Bruncher from other species who practice brunch-ery is the way it has honed its skill and timing in arriving to brunch before the phenomenon known as “the rush” begins. For example, if the species known as “Newbie” arrives to brunch promptly at 11 a.m., they will find that particular watering hole already teeming with Native Brunchers. The “Newbie” is then likely to give up, bowing down to the alpha herd, and will then head to a much less trendy watering hole where the eggs are much less fancy.

A close cousin of the Native Bruncher, known as the Permanent Resident Yet Non-Native Bruncher, can also be found in large quantities in Boston. They are easily spotted on the outskirts of the herd, waiting until the Natives have finished and then getting whatever scraps are left over. At times, the Permanent Resident Yet Non-Native Bruncher can wait up to four hours, tiding itself over with screwdrivers and Bloody Mary’s until they are finally allowed to feast. This is also where the Fanny Pack Tourist species can be spotted as well.

Typically, brunch lasts for two to three hours for all of the species, although on certain occassions it can last until 2 a.m. depending on the individual Bruncher’s capacity to ingest large amounts of alcohol for many, many hours straight.

As for what the future holds for the Native Brunchers and their ilk, no one can be certain, especially considering the encroachment of chain restaurants on their native land. But the most current scientific research suggests that mimosas will be involved no matter what.