Friday, February 27, 2009

::buy nothing::

Because this is the year of BIG commitments (see my new Road to the Marathon update on my left side-bar) I've also decided that 2009 is the year of Buy Nothing. (That sound you just heard? Was David choking on his lunch. Don't worry, he'll be fine.)

Ok, to be honest I have already purchased a couple of things in 2009 (What?! We went to Hawaii! I needed stuff.) BUT I purchased only ONE thing for myself while there. Now that is amazing, no?

Anyway, here's the thing: I have gotten myself into a mess by buying stuff....lots of stuff. And it makes me sick and it keeps me awake at night and I just need to STOP. Because how much stuff does a person need? I think most people, if they are honest with themselves, have some sort of dirty little secret, some sort of vice that makes them feel good (no matter how temporarily)...something that fills the "hole" that each of us seems to have. Some people smoke, some drink to much, some over eat, some shop too much....some have 14 babies! But at some point in one's life, we have to face our demons to get to the bottom of it, especially if our habit/vice is unhealthy. And, let's face it, most of them are.
Sure, there are many things worse than shopping, as mentioned above. But do I NEED another skirt or pair of clogs or cardigan or sundress? No. I may WANT them, but I certainly don't need them. Every day we hear on the news about people losing their jobs and not being able to feed their families, having to move in with relatives or worse, onto the streets....and it makes me feel literally sick that I have this compulsion, this sense of entitlement to buy things simply because they are "cute". When did I become this person??

And so, I have decided that I will not purchase anything for myself for the rest of this year. I have a large closet full of great shoes and clothes and I have the skills to make more. I am done feeding the "consumer-beast". Done.

The exceptions are underwear and running shoes. It's crucial to trade in your old running shoes when they are worn, so I will need another (possibly two) pair before the marathon in October. Because worn-out running shoes mean knee, hip and back problems.

So as soon as that new Boden or J.Crew or Anthropologie or Athleta catalogue comes into my house? It's going straight into the trash. Because if I even OPEN them to browse, I will find some adorable coat or skirt or dress or whatever that I simply can not live without. So I will not even look.

I've already started: yesterday I realized that I NEED a day-planner of sorts, some little calendar to keep in my purse to keep track of my life. The old Kate would have gotten on to find something cool and hand-crafted. And I did, out of habit. I even found an adorable one half-off for just $11. I was so ready to hit that "purchase" button...and then I stopped myself. I remembered that I had a perfectly fine, brand new little planner book sitting on my desk. It had been sent by one of our contractors and had their name on it....not cute at all BUT, hey, I am creative and if there's one thing I have plenty of, it's fabric. So I went home and got busy and viola:

Cute, practical and FREE. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

::pack your bags for a guilt trip::

One morning on Maui, David and I had early-morning plans for a boat trip out to the crater of Molokini to go snorkeling. We awoke, dressed, and quietly slipped out of the house by 6:00 so as not to wake anyone, including Anna.

I did, however, leave her a note:

Good mommy, right?


When we returned, every one had already left for the beach. We went to change clothes to go and meet them, and I found this on our bed:

In case you can't decipher her writing, it says:

"Hi. Never leave like that again ok, get it, got it, good. I woke up at 6:46 and was (sad) until 7:20 almost. I put my sunscreen on. Well, I will if we go to the beach. Next time you're not doing that again. Say GOOD BYE. "

I love how she apparently watched the clock to time her misery. Her drawings show the sun and a bottle of sun-screen squirting out on her arm.

And then there's me over there, snorkeling, blissfully having forgotten AAAALLLLL about my child.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

maybe that wasn't such a great idea

email from an 8 year old:

"alert alert alert the owner of this computer just farted please evackuate this area"


Thursday, February 19, 2009


I think I should be awarded some sort of Medal of Honor for staying calm in the face of extreme peril. One night while in Hawaii, I was getting ready for bed. Anna was in the room with me. I had the blankets on our bed thrown back as I gathered my book and got settled when suddenly something flew onto the bed. As soon as it landed, it began scurrying for cover, specifically MY covers:


As freaked out as I was, I knew that if I screamed like a girl and/or mentioned/yelled the word "cockroach", Anna would NEVER sleep in that house again, and we still had several days of vacation left.

So with as much calm as I could muster, I said "Anna, would you please go get me a paper towel?" Meanwhile I scrambled to keep it from burrowing it's way into the blankets bunched at the foot of the bed.

When Anna asked what it was, I told her it was "just a little beetle"....meanwhile I'm pretty sure I now suffer from Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder. I managed to capture the beast and ran for the toilet to dispose of it. I'm pretty sure even Buddha himself would kill a cockroach that dared land in his bed, right?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Here we go...

My eight year old daughter needs not only braces (which is no surprise to anyone who has seen photos like this):

but she also needs glasses.

She started complaining, a month or so ago, about her eyes "going blurry" when she read. She has always LOVED to read, but she stopped doing it because her eyes bothered her. We couldn't have that, so I made an appointment for her. Frankly, I suspected the doctor would tell us that her vision is perfect and then she'd have no more excuses. And the thing is, her long-distance and reading vision IS perfect...but her peripheral vision is not. After a whole bunch of tests, the doctor showed us, in simple terms, what he found. He had a small white bottle with a red cap on it; he started out parallel with her ear and brought it around slowly, instructing her to tell him when she could see the red cap. She couldn't see it until it was at about 11:00 o'clock in front of her! So what this means is that, as she is reading, her eyes are struggling to adjust to what is going on off to the side of her, and that's what is causing the blurriness. The great news is that it is NOT degenerative and in fact can be 99.9% treated with light therapy and these special glasses that don't correct her vision but allow more light to come in from the sides so that her eyes won't have to work so hard.
So today we pick out frames and she is oddly VERY excited! I know the novelty will wear off, but she was telling me last night how much better she could see with them on. I think really validated her to know that there really is something wrong and that it wasn't her imagination or "dry eyes" which is what her teacher said when she mentioned the blurriness.
So here we go: time to hock the jewelry and sell the good silver. It's going to be an expensive next several years....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Favorite moments from our trip:

* Our first day there, taking the kids to the beach and watching Anna discover the joy of tropical water. Once "home", she wrote "I love Hawaii" on her leg...and then fell asleep before her head even hit the pillow.

* The first night with the windows open, one of the neighbors brought her guitar outside and began singing. She had the most beautiful voice; it felt like I was being serenaded by a mermaid! I was the only one in our house to hear her. (I found out later that she is an accomplished musician (her name is Erin Smith) and song-writer and even has a cd. We went to go see her play on our last night there.)

* Sleeping with the windows open and the ceiling fan on and the temperature being juuuust right

* Waking up each morning to the exotic chorus of bird song

* Fresh papaya and pineapple each morning for breakfast

* Watching Anna's face as she caught her first waves boogie boarding

* The beautiful warm, clear water and incredible fish

* Taking Anna snorkeling and her holding David's hand the whole time

* Snorkeling with David and hearing the humpback whales sing

* Seeing a huge sea-turtle swimming in front of us as we snorkeled behind him

* Learning to boogie board and the thrill of riding a wave all the way in to the beach

* The kids endlessly enjoying the tide pools and finding "treasures"

* The kids' excitement at discovering an orange tree in our yard and their joy at eating an orange they picked

* Anna announcing "It's time to go Gecko-hunting!"

* Going to the beach every morning and then returning to the house for a cool shower and lunch

* Sitting on our lovely lanai, enjoying the warm breeze and a glass of cold wine

* Staying in a house in the hills rather than a condo in "town" was soooo relaxing and quiet

* Fresh-from-the-sea Ono with fresh-from-the-tree-Mango salsa

* Getting to spend some time with just Jennifer and Nichole, lunch and shopping

* Arriving at the dive-shop at 6:00 am to sign in for our snorkel trip and unexpectedly seeing Rod and Julie and Clarissa walk through the doors; they had signed up for the same trip we did. It was a lovely way to spend some quality time with them

* Seeing dolphins leaping and sea turtles surfacing during that boat trip

* Taking the kids on a whale-watching trip and seeing their excitement at having whales surface and blow within just a few yards of where they were sitting on the boat

* The amazing turquoise water at Makena Beach; it is the perfect Hawaiian beach you envision in your mind

I'm sure I'll think of more. It was SUCH a wonderful, relaxing vacation, one that we, especially Anna, will never forget. David and I are already plotting our next trip...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Maui day planner

Here is our agenda for next week:

1. Wake up whenever we feel the warm trade winds wafting in through the window.
2. Dress according to the weather. Therefore attire for the day is as follows:

a) shorts

b) tank top

c) flip flops

3. Find coffee.

4. Pack swimming suits, towels, sunscreen and books.

5. Gather friends and family and head to beach.

6. Find a spot and get comfortable in the warm sand.
7. Lift head occasionally to make sure child hasn't become victim of shark or rip tide.

8. Wander down to beautiful tropical water to cool down and view amazing aquatic life.

9. Go back and lay on towel. Alternate between reading and dozing.

10. Consume as much fresh pineapple, guava, mango, coconut, fish and beer as possible.


Monday, February 2, 2009

My little tree hugger

Yesterday we were out taking the dogs for a walk when Anna said "Oh! I haven't said hi to my favorite tree all winter!" I've known about her favorite tree for a while. A block from our house is a tree-lined boulevard; for some reason she has deemed one of the blue-spruce trees there her favorite. Whenever we walk by, she'll go up to this particular tree and wrap her arms around it, looking up into the branches above. I give her space but often see her talking to her tree.

Yesterday she said "Mom, did you know that this tree's name is Nancy? And that one is her son, Frederick. Some people call him Fred, but he prefers Frederick."

I love her imagination and the connection she feels with the natural world. I think her grandpa would have really enjoyed this kid. I wish they'd known each other.