Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rule Breaker

I am, in general, a rule follower. I respect authority and fear retribution. I have probably mentioned these attributes of my personality before, but they bear repeating.

Once - when Lea was much younger - I didn't feed her exactly what she wanted for dinner and she refused to eat what I'd prepared. She stomped off to her room screaming, "You DO know it's against the law to starve your children, right?" I reminded her that not serving her whatever she wanted whenever she wanted it did not constitute starvation. Her retort? A very loud, "How does it feel to be a LAW BREAKER"?

A few months ago, I was given an iPad for work. I signed a waiver saying that I would only use it for work purposes. I didn't find many reasons to use it in that capacity and it sat dormant in my tote bag.

A few days ago, Tom and I started flirting with the idea of an e-reader of some sort. I've been a hold out for all of the reasons you hear from anyone who is a hold out - which basically boil down to: I like books. I like albums, too, but that doesn't mean I don't have an mp3 player, y'know? The future - no - the present - is there. I need to catch up. Tut has a Kindle, for Pete's sake! The man isn't allowed to have a cell phone, but he has a Kindle! My father is more technologically advanced than I am! I should be ashamed of myself.

So we decided - I have the iPad in my possession for two more months - I should give it a test run. A few months ago someone in the organization in a position of some authority over me told me to go ahead and use the iPad - download some apps, read some books - we all do - that waiver is just a CYA sort of thing.

Well, fear-er of retribution that I am, covering my ass is a process I am fond of and have great respect for.

But I also thought it would be silly to not see what the whole fuss was about while I had an opportunity to do so at no expense to myself.

So I set off to find a book to download.

I was feeling quite the rebel.

I didn't want to invest in my experiment, so I looked through the pages and pages and pages of free downloads that are available. I settled on one about serial killers. I sure do like that Dexter.

I started reading and was surprised (as every book lover seems to be when they make the switch) at how easy and pleasant it was to read this way. I still like books - and will continue to buy them, I'm sure - but I do see an e-reader of some sort in my future.

But you don't want to hear about that.

The first chapter of my first e-book on my work iPad - work which, by the way, involves working with young children - contained one of the most graphic rape-murder-rape (oh yeah, it went there...) scenes I've ever read. Maybe not, I don't know - but certainly the most graphic rape-murder-rape scene I've ever read on a device I was going to have to turn over to my supervisors in 2 months. I couldn't help seeing it through their eyes. Seeing ME through their eyes. And I looked like QUITE the sicko.


I couldn't have just downloaded an innocent romance. Something historical. Something educational, maybe. Something normal. Nope. I had to go straight for the sick shit. Brilliant.

Tom assures me we'll be able to erase every trace of it before I have to turn it in. He better be right.

This is what happens when habitual rule-followers attempt to break the rules. We break them GOOD.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


We went to a young musician's showcase yesterday and were really impressed by a local band called Chasing Euphoria. This isn't really going to be a squealy fangirl post, though. (Although with a little more exposure, it probably could turn into one. I have a major soft spot for KICK ASS female bassists. And ass she did kick. Another day, perhaps...)

No, not a squealy fangirl post, per se, although extreme fandom can lead to a state of euphoria. Beatlemania, anyone? Such intense fangirl love that it can't be contained and your body just doesn't know what to do with it - that sounds a bit euphoric to me. A rather manic side of euphoria, sure, but euphoria just the same.

Isn't that a great word? I tried to edit the last paragraph - 'euphoria' or forms of it were used too many times - 4 times in 4 sentences. Too much, by any reasonable editors standards. Yet - I didn't want to change it. Such a lovely word. Euphoria. There, I gave it a sentence all it's own. It's one of those words that could become a mantra - I could just repeat it over and over and never tire of hearing it. It's a soft, round, lovely, peaceful, enveloping word.


Most of us only get fleeting glimpses of it. Once experienced, many lives have been wasted in pursuit of just one more glimpse. I saw it - felt it - once. I was under the influence of drugs, of course. Doctor drugs - hospital drugs - don't get excited. I felt completely pure and unencumbered by pain or worry or fear - I felt light and free and peaceful. It was a time (a moment? an hour? a day? I don't know - time lost meaning) of complete and utter clarity. I understood it all. My only desire was to be able to share this. I remember thinking - I must find a way to bring everyone to this place. Not everyone I love; EVERYone. Or maybe - in that time - I DID love everyone. Who knows? Drugs can be fun (when they're administered by trained professionals, of course. Don't try this at home. Un-prescribed drugs are bad, m'kay?).

The drugs, as they do, wore off.

Pain and worry and fear crept back in and set up camp. But it was different. Because I'd seen - felt - experienced - something different - something light and whole and true. I couldn't find it again, but I knew it was there. I believe it is there.

Billy Joel gorgeously speaks of sadness or euphoria in Summer, Highland Falls.

That audience is very subdued - the squealy fangirls and boys - like Mr. Joel himself - are all grown-up and respectable. But let me tell you - the first time I saw him - around 1977, I think - I was a veritable puddle of squealy fangirl goo. But that's beside the point. Although I think this may just be one of the loveliest songs ever written, I must respectfully disagree with the premise that it's either sadness or euphoria. Most of the time it's just somewhere in the mundane middle. Another singer/songwriter from the 70's, Barry Manilow, says, "my life goes along as it should. It's all very nice, but not very good." I like the Billy Joel song more, but think Barry Manilow nailed the sentiment better. Usually it's neither sadness nor euphoria. It just is.

Doesn't mean we can't, like the band whose name inspired this post, chase euphoria from time to time, though. It's a worthwhile pursuit.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Love Songs

"Why are there so many love songs?"

Thus queried my eldest. Her parental units responded, as I am sure you can guess, by singing a few spontaneous verses of "Silly Love Songs" - off key, sure, but at least we were loud. We even harmonized a little. "Your father shall be henceforth known as Sir Paul Daddy!" I proclaimed. "I don't want to be Linda in her current state, though", I added, much less ceremoniously and perhaps a bit unnecessarily.

There are so many love songs, of course, because artists are inspired by love. Looking for love, finding love, making love, losing love, mourning love - I don't have any facts in front of me to back it up, but I imagine that those topics comprise a pretty darn disproportionate number of all of the songs ever written. Throw in love of friends/family/pets, love of God, love of country, love of cheeseburgers/alcohol/drugs and love of motor vehicles and - well - I think you would be hard pressed to come up with a song that ISN'T about love in one way or another under those parameters.

Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. And what's wrong with that?

Now I couldn't write a song to save my life (although I make a damn fine collaborator, if I say so m'self). My attempts at poetry would best be compared to the attempts of an average fourth grader (no offense intended towards any fourth graders who may be reading).

Sometimes I wish I could, though.

Wouldn't if be wonderful to have a song written just about you? (I have. It is.)

A couple years ago I wrote a blog post for my eldest, my Lea, on her birthday. When she told her friends this, some of them didn't know what a blog post was and her response was, "It's kind of like when normal people write you a song." Ok, I don't know what 'normal people' she'd been hanging out with (Sir Paul Daddy and I generally discourage too much association with the 'norms')- writing each other songs all willy nilly - but there you go.

If I COULD write her a song, though - oh, Lordy - it couldn't be confined to a song - it would have to be a rock opera in three acts. The first act would open with a gentle song about the sweet mother-love I felt for her before she was even born. This would lead into a rather interesting medley of silly play songs and sweet lullabies interspersed with regular segments of discordant collicky cries. There would be songs about pride and songs about disappointment. Mostly pride, though. Very heavy on the pride. There would be an emotionally heavy song about how fast she is growing up right before the end of the first act. The second act would open with a punk-rebellion anthem. The second act, come to think of it, would contain a lot of punk. And a little emo. But mostly punk. There will be dueling banshees. More pride. More disappointment. Mostly pride, though. Very heavy on the pride. Act three? The curtain hasn't risen on that act yet. Who knows what it will hold? I'd be willing to bet, though, that there will be a silly love song or two. There almost always is.

Sorry it's not really a song, Sweet Child O' Mine, but it's what I've got.

Happy birthday, Lea. I love you like music.

(Back to back birthday posts! I think I have that out of my system for a couple months... Oh! And I hope you click through on the links - and on some of the links within them - and let me know what you think. Lea's 13 y/o birthday post was much more poignant... and the 'damn fine collaboration' deserves a listen...)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Worth It

I have mentioned more than once in this space that I don't particularly love living in a.) the suburbs and b.) Ohio. This is the story of how we got here:

In late 1998, we were living in the southern part of New Jersey. The commute to the beach was as far as my current commute to Columbus - that is to say - it was a darn easy commute. I was an hour from Philadelphia (my favorite city in the world) and about 2 hours from New York in one direction and the Poconos in the other. Yep, the location was pretty ideal for me. Lea was an adorable toddler at two and Liv was still my sweet baby - just short of her first birthday. We had both friends and acquaintances nearby - although the age of our children precluded us from having much of a social life.

Hmmmm, you might be saying, that particular situation doesn't appear to be broken. Why did you feel the need to fix it?

Well, I'll tell you. Be patient. Sheesh.

That summer my sister announced her first (and only, as it played out) pregnancy. She is my only sister and, as such, my only shot at the coveted title of Aunt. I could not wait to be an aunt. Also - as I said, Liv was approaching her first birthday and we knew she was to be our last child. That was a good decision, and the right one, but I wasn't quite through with my need to be around babies. My sister was bringing me a new baby to adore, and I couldn't have been happier.


Except this new baby would be in Ohio and I would be in New Jersey. There wasn't money for me to fly out to see her with any degree of regularity and the mere thought of a 10+ hour drive with two toddlers in tow was enough to send me into a tizzy. THAT wasn't going to happen with any degree of regularity. I would - realistically - only see that baby when my sister and I both visited our parents - conveniently located at the halfway point between Ohio and New Jersey. So that would only be likely to happen a couple times a year, and then I'd have to share the baby with my parents. It's pretty common knowledge that grandmas trump aunts!

I needed to know that baby.

The more I thought about it, the sadder I became.

Now Tom, if I haven't mentioned it before, is a helluva guy. He wanted to fix this for me. "We will move", he said. "We will put you where you need to be." He asked if I wanted to move closer to my parents or closer to my sister. That was a no-brainer. That powerful high that one gets from deeply sniffing babies heads was in Ohio. That was where I needed to be. My sister's baby wasn't born yet - and mine weren't yet out of diapers - but I was jonesing hard for that next fix.

Because it was late 1998 and Tom was a computer programmer, relocating was as easy as falling off of a log. Everyone was afraid of the Y2K bug and a good programmer could pretty much name his price. As a teacher, I had always worked hard to find jobs. As a programmer, employers seemed to work hard to find him. Within a couple weeks of making our decision, Tom had a couple solid offers on the table. Selling the house was a little harder, but that's another story for another day.

We moved into our house here in Ohio in February of 1999 and my niece made her grand entrance shortly thereafter. I was hosting a baby shower for her mom - my sister - which was no small feat since I didn't know anybody here yet and I didn't really know my way around town, but - it wasn't to be a surprise, so my sister helped. Invitations were sent, food was prepared/ordered, favors were in place - we were good to go.


A couple days before the shower was scheduled, we got the call that Tom's uncle had passed away. The funeral was to be the same day as the shower. We had to be there. So - plans shifted - as they do. My parents, who were supposed to be guests at the shower ended up taking on weekend long babysitting for my little ones as well as all of my hostess duties. I left a note - where to pick up what and when. The party was well-planned, it should run itself. No worries. Off to the funeral - about 8 hours away - Tom and I went.

Meanwhile, back in Ohio, my sister was not having any fun at her shower. She felt crummy and went upstairs to ride it out. Must've been something she ate. Party food, don'tcha know? Except it kept getting worse and worse and - somehow between caring for my munchkins and monitoring the flow of the party, my mom realized that my sister was missing. She found her in her bedroom and in a lot of pain. "We need to get you to the hospital", my RN mom determined after talking to her for only a few moments.

Long story short, we always say that party must have been so fun that my niece didn't want to miss it. Gotta love a baby shower where the hostess is a no show, the guest of honor leaves in an ambulance and the party guests clean up the house.

Tom and I rushed home the next morning, anxious to meet my niece.

She had come early - she was so tiny - she was hooked up to so many machines - "may I hold her?" I asked - tentatively - almost afraid of her - so frail and small. "Of course", was my sister's quick answer. I picked her up - so carefully - and I brought her little head to my face. I breathed her air and all was well. I was madly in love. She owned me.

She still does.

Happy birthday, sweetness. I might not love Ohio, but I sure do love you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Anatomy of an Update

So Tom and I just watched Fat Head - an answer to (and parody of) Super-Size Me - which attempted to put a little perspective on the whole issue of fast food. After watching Super-Size Me, we gave up fast food completely (completely!) for a year (a WHOLE year!). We felt very good about this and may or may not have engaged in a little 'superior dance' once or twice over the course of that year. The point is - Super-Size Me worked. It threw a serious scare into us. I clearly remember the day we found ourselves in a position where there just really didn't seem to be any other choice - too many back to back errands/traffic/appointments - I don't remember the particulars, but what I do remember is that first bite into a McDonald's double cheeseburger after a year of deprivation. I have no words in my meager arsenal to begin to describe the sinful lusciousness that that first bite imparted.

Picture the traditional depiction of Eve in the garden of Eden with the apple - except instead of Eve, it's me and instead of the garden of Eden, it's the drive-thru and instead of an apple, it's a double cheeseburger.

Anyway, we all agreed that the few opportunities we'd had to do the 'superior dance' didn't in any way make up for the convenience and deliciousness of fast food. We didn't go nuts. We used it as an occasional thing - once or twice a month on the average. Sure, every now and then I'd look at a french fry dropped by one of the kids in the back seat and think (with no small pang of guilt) "that is never going to decompose". But then I'd remind myself that it's not like I'm feeding them this stuff 3 times a day, or every day, or even every week. It's fine.

Fat Head confirmed this, and I tend to like things that confirm what I already believe.

It also reminded us that carbs are evil.

Not all carbs and everything in moderation and all of that, but, you know.

So we decided it might be time to try to watch. (We don't say diet around here. Diets don't work. And also they suck and I hate their ugly faces. But, you know, how bad can it be to 'watch'?) We agreed to start tracking our food intake. There's an app for that! It'll be fun!

After about 2 days of 'watching' our carb intake (as well as calories and fat and - hey! Is this starting to sound like a die-die-diet to anyone?) Tom said "screw this action", bought some new pants, and ate a sandwich. I am still recording every morsel that passes my lips because I need to have something with which to be obsessed - besides - I was starting to feel a little less miserable and we can't have that. Nothing like a little obsessive deprivation to return things to the status quo.

So last night I was feeling so carb-deprived I couldn't think of anything else. I wanted pancakes and cupcakes and birthday cakes and wedding cakes and snack cakes and cake wrecks and cakecakecakecakecake. I did not, for any inquiring minds that may want to know, indulge in any. The desire for it did not override the fear of what it would look like in my food diary. Being the sort of person who has no trouble changing from one obsession to another, I decided to unwind and get my mind off things (things like buttercream frosting and rich devil's food and raspberry filling and.......) by spending a little time on Facebook.

I typed in my status update:

God did not design us to exist on this few carbohydrates.


If I hit enter on this one, I'll bring on a rash of shit from my friends who don't believe that any god designed us one way or another. The "G" word tends to send them into conniptions. I don't want to deal with that. Let's try:

We have evolved into a species that should not be expected to exist on this few carbohydrates.


If I hit enter on this one, I'll bring on a rash of shit from my friends who believe that people rode dinosaurs. The "E" word tends to send them into conniptions. I don't want to deal with that. Let's try:

I want cake.


If I hit enter on this one, no one will say anything right to me (although they might - there are a lot of assholes at this punchbowl known as the internet) but I could just hear, "Fat chicks. Always with the cake."

I ended up avoiding the issue and shutting the laptop for the night.

Screw this action, I'm gonna have a sandwich. (No, not an ice cream sandwich. But a girl can dream.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Leave a Message at the Tone

Remember answering machines?

I loved them.

Sure, they came into my life at a time when I was living by myself and working and dating and - well - let's just say it was easier to run out for milk or pop in on the neighbors or - you know - bathe - when I knew that none of those things would actually cause me to miss a call. But it was more than that. There was an art to filling that time between "You have reached...." and "beeeeeeep". It was a very specific amount of seconds and the timing needed to be just right.

Some people got it right once and left it that way forever. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I was not one of those people.

sidenote: My parents were - and for the longest time, their message ended with my dad making a looooooong snorting sound. It sounded like he was doing a huge line of blow, which - in case you do not know my dad - he most assuredly was not. I didn't tell him for a long time, though, because I'm simple and it amused the hell out of me. When I did tell him, I refrained from eluding to illicit drug use and just told them there was a long snort. "Oh, Tut! How could you do that? You sound ridiculous! Here! Let me..."


I wasn't one to come up with clever things to actually say - although I was acquainted with a few people who did and I loved listening to their messages. No, to the surprise of - I'm sure - no one, mine all used music. I had a girlfriend who said she'd decide if she'd leave a message for me or not based on the music on my answering machine. J. Geils Band, Love Stinks? No message. Katrina and the Waves, Walking on Sunshine? Message and a callback number if she wasn't home. I changed my messages as my moods changed (which was - if you haven't caught on yet, or if you're new here - a lot).

I lived in an attic efficiency apartment at the time. (Go ahead and process that. Attic. Efficiency. I remember swearing that if one more person told me my place was 'cute'.....) In the summer, it was hot. Like - ridiculously hot. I had a room air conditioner in my only window, but - although it was very small as far as apartments go, it was pretty large as far as rooms go. Plus, I believe I may have mentioned that it was in the attic. I tried really hard not to be home much that summer. Folks who left messages on my answering machine were treated to Spinal Tap, Living in a Hell Hole. Every message my mom left for me that summer - without fail - began with, "Tammy, I don't like that." Surprisingly, this was not a huge deterrent.

Once - same apartment, different season - I spent more time than I want to admit getting the timing just right so that Aerosmith's F.I.N.E. would end exactly with "Joe Perry says I'm alright..." just before the tone.

Yes, I led a full, rich life.

The first time I called Tom and he wasn't home, I heard, "I can't answer the phone right now, because I'm busy watching G.I. Joe" followed by a perfectly timed, "GO JOE!" from the TV right before the beep. Was there a chance in hell I wasn't going to marry this man? Conversely, the potential beau whose answering machine message was backed by the smooth stylings of a Kenny G. soundtrack never stood a chance. And the one whose answering machine message had the music from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure - you know - when they briefly went into the future? - I was all ready to like him until I found out that his sister had actually made the message for him and then I felt sort of deceived and like I could never really trust him.

I was thinking (no! come back!) - the Facebook profile picture has become a lot like the answering machine message. Some people hide their faces with logos or cartoons or - whatever. I liken them to the folks who would buy canned answering machine messages. Then there are the folks who haven't changed their profile picture in three years. They're the, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" lot. There are the people who use pictures of their kids or their pets. Oh boy, the answering machine world had that, too. People thought it would be cute to have their toddlers voices on their answering machines, but usually it was just unintelligible and frustrating (speaking as someone who did not yet have kids in the hey days of the answering machine).

side note: I've never written out 'hey day' before and was unsure as to whether it was actually hey day or hay day. A quick (and in no way inclusive) Google search informs me that either is acceptable and that there is etymology to support both. Now you've learned something new today. Go back to bed.

And then there are the people like me - who change their pictures often - usually in direct correlation with a mood shift.

My current picture is smiling - no, laughing. That is not exactly an accurate depiction of my current state. But I think I'm gonna keep it up. Fake it till you make it. I'm walking on sunshine - hey-yeah - and don't it feel good?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You Didn't Count on Me When You Were Counting on Your Rosary

I became aware of Lent when I was in elementary school. My friends were loudly lamenting the things they had given up and I wanted in on it. Not a lot I like better than a good lament.

That evening, my mother served chocolate custard for dessert. Now pudding in general and custard in particular are my very favorite go-to comfort foods. It was true then, and it's true now. She put a bowl of chocolaty goodness in front of me and I pushed it away. I purposefully turned my head away from the treat while holding it at bay with my hand and trying to muster up a few tears of piety.

"Is something wrong with the pudding?"

"I'm sure it's fine. Delicious even. But, you see", I paused to emphasize the gravity of what I was about to disclose, "I've given up chocolate for Lent."

"We are not Catholic, Tammy Lu."

The issues I had over not being Catholic had been ongoing. I was very jealous of my Catholic classmates who were going to catechism classes to prepare for their first holy communions and getting dresses that made them look like brides, for Pete's sake. I would've broken quite a few rules for the opportunity to wear one of those beautiful dresses with the sweet little white patent leather shoes and the to-die-for headpieces.

"I'm not doing it for Catholic. I'm doing it for Jesus." Jesus was successfully pronounced in two syllables, but they were really long syllables. Mom rolled her eyes and offered my share of dessert to my father and my sister. I felt very righteous. Hungry. Deprived. Righteous.

I may or may not have maintained my resolve through Easter.

In high school and college I continued to engage in Lenten sacrifice, even though it was not required in the faith of my family. But I didn't want to go the childish, cliche route of candy or treats anymore. I wanted to think of things that would truly be a sacrifice. I'm sure my college roommates remember the six weeks I gave up (the award winning) Guiding Light. Hey, this was before the days of VCRs, much less DVRs. Even though they faithfully relayed all of the storylines to me daily, it wasn't the same. That was a sacrifice.

So I knew about Lent. I knew about the giving up part. I knew about Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday and the last supper and all of that. All of those things were acknowledged by my family's faith (or, in the case of Ash Wednesday, once again illustrated by those lucky, lucky Catholic kids who came to school with smudges on their foreheads. I really really wanted one of those smudges.) But it wasn't until years later that I learned about Fat Tuesday.

I had actually gotten over my obsession with Catholicism by that point, after having taken some classes with the purpose of conversion in mind. When the practice of the faith was presented to me instead of the accoutrements associated with it, my (at that point) lifelong fervor disseminated. It was not for me.

Enter Mardi Gras.

Really? All those years I engaged in the sacrificing part of this season without ever knowing about the day of the most justifiably decadent celebration of debauchery and hedonism of the whole year? I am a fan of decadence, debauchery and hedonism, for Pete's sake. Big fan, actually. My Catholic friends knew this. How could they have been so - withholding?

Once discovered, I celebrated more in theory than in practice. Tuesday is a school/work/school night, after all. And when one is not actually following through with Lenten sacrifice it sort of loses some of its steam.

But it's a good theory. Mardi Gras beads followed by repentant sessions with the rosary beads.


I DID have a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast this morning, mad hedonist that I am. I'll repent under the oral surgeon's scalpel this afternoon.

Somehow Mardi Gras, just like communion dresses and ash smudges, looks like a lot more fun when other people are doing it.

Nobody was throwing beads in the carpool lane this morning.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Clouds in My Coffee

I had some dreams...

I was never a big dreamer - and yet I dream all the time. It isn't the quantity of my dreams that is modest, it is the dreams themselves. I have always longed for very average things. I never wanted to be rich or famous - and am often actually quite glad I'm not! - but I did fantasize about what it would be like to have more money and recognition than I have. Not a lot. Not the most. Not the 'est', though a little 'er' would be nice.

But that's how it starts, isn't it?

I never wanted to be the head-turner who breaks hearts just by walking into a room - what a great lot of pressure that must be! - but I did fantasize a lot about being thinner. Prettier. Not the thinnest. Not the prettiest. Not the 'est', though a little 'er' would be nice.

But that's how it starts, isn't it?

... that would be all that I needed... ~ Take, Take, Take, The White Stripes

My most prominent dream, in my twenties and thirties, was to find someone to love, who would love me in return, and to build a family with them. This dream did not exactly make me unique. As it goes with dreams, when one comes true, we develop more.

Can anybody find me somebody to love? ~ Somebody to Love, Queen

I fell in love. We started a family. We were, if you'll pardon the cliche, living the dream. We bought our first home and became - typical. If you read that with a tone of disdain, go back and read it again. Typical was not intended as a slur. Typical had been my goal. I was a very happy typical stay at home mom. I adored my husband and my children were my world. Weekends were devoted to home improvement projects which we approached with the confidence reserved for people who haven't experienced failure yet. Allow me to elaborate. We had both experienced failure by that point in our lives, but never in this particular arena. We changed things - made that house our own - worked towards making it something in which we could place our pride.

A constantly improving house. A beautiful, loving family. The dreams of my twenties and thirties had come true.

Of course, it's human nature to dream, and having one dream come to fruition didn't mean it was over - it just meant it was time for a new dream.

Dream on, dream on, dream on, dream until your dreams come true. ~ Dream On, Aerosmith

Again, in a move that didn't make me particularly unique, I built those new dreams around my children. And again, in a move that was very much in character for me, those dreams were modest. I didn't want the pressure of 'est' for them, but I sincerely hoped they'd be 'er'.

Mostly, I told myself, I wanted them to be happy and healthy.

As they grew, so did my dreams for them. We provided them with every opportunity that we could afford to provide. As their personalities and interests began emerging, we nurtured them accordingly. Again - I realize that this makes us in no way unique. It's what parents do. It's typical.

Mostly, I told myself, I wanted them to be happy and healthy and successful in their chosen endeavors.

My dreams for them were simple and typical. Go to school, get a job that doesn't make you dread Monday morning too much, find a mate, be happy, and maybe, maybe, someday in the distant distant future, bring me a grandbaby or two to play with.

Sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I to disagree? ~ Sweet Dreams, The Eurythmics

This is pretty standard issue stuff.

It was the very typicality and simplicity of it that allowed me to assume that my dreams would mesh nicely with their goals.

I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee. ~ You're so Vain, Carly Simon

Recent events in the world, the nation, my state and my home have forced me to reevaluate my dreams. I've had to abandon a few. That's a lie. I've had to abandon almost all of them.

Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse? ~ The River, Bruce Springsteen

It's sad when dreams die. I think it's appropriate to mourn them. So many people in the past month have told me, essentially, to crawl out of myself. Some of them have expressed that sentiment with more eloquence and some with less, but the message is the same. Dreams die. Life goes on. Get with the program.

Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true. ~ Vienna, Billy Joel

That is exactly what I am trying to do. But to get with the new program, I first need to formulate some new dreams that are in keeping with the 'new normal'. I am fueled by dreams - again - I strongly doubt that this makes me in any way unique. And right now, I just don't know what the new dreams need to be. Bear with me. I'll figure it out. But until I do, I am in a transitional time - a time without dreams. For a dreamer like me, that is indeed a very uncomfortable - even unnerving - place to be.

Who said that every wish would be heard, and answered when wished on the morning star?... Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me. ~ The Rainbow Connection, Kermit the Frog