Life

Embracing Awkward

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I am not socially fluid. I don’t know what to say in many situations. I also find it very hard to start small talk with strangers, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. Sometimes I’ll be in a situation giving myself a pep talk to just say something. Make a comment about their dog. Their cute bag. Their baby. I will give you a full blown example of a situation.

A couple months ago I decided to stop into a Starbucks to do some writing. People just keep to themselves, right? I was sitting in an area with four comfy leather chairs and observed a couple come in with a newborn baby. You could tell it was a major outing for them. Maybe they had to go out for a doctor’s appointment and decided to stop for a quick coffee on the way home. The dad got the mom and baby situated before heading to the counter for their drinks. The mom looked tired and a bit overwhelmed so I decided I would reach out.

I was that new mother once and it was nice when people talked to me about my baby. I asked how old she was. What her name was (it was a very unusual and lovely name). If this was her first (yes) and how being a new mom was going. She admitted she was overwhelmed and I offered what I hope were comforting words. I did not say this time passes too fast and to hang onto every moment (this is one thing that was said to me over and over, hundreds of times, especially when I was complaining about some facet of motherhood). I told her to take care. It wasn’t a flowing conversation by any means and I kept my voice quiet and mellow.

Then another woman came over cooing and awing away in such a joyful and interested way. She was full of questions and thoughts that made me think, so that’s how it is to not be socially awkward with strangers. It made me think about my own stilted interaction with the new mom. I should have shown more excitement. But that’s just not me. I love babies and puppies as much as the next person but if I don’t have a personal connection to you already, I can’t overact the situation – high voice, joyful tone, natural, sunny attitude. I am a reserved person, especially with strangers.

A couple weeks ago we were at a social function for our son’s school. I do not enjoy these situations very much because I am not home reading a book or a million other things I’d rather be doing. I don’t drink and cannot hear well in noisy environments which also is a strain in social situations. I keep to one on one interactions as much as possible but I’m just as happy to sit and people watch. I’d rather observe than participate, I guess. I think this makes me awkward to others but I have learned to just embrace it. I have been told I can come off snobbish because I don’t always engage. I feel like we live in a society that values outgoing people over the quiet ones but I’ve learned to be OK with that.

MC

 

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travel

Hola from Costa Rica

We are on day two of our Costa Rican adventure and while everyone is resting in the rooms, I decided to run downstairs and hop on the computer for a bit. I absolutely love our hotel, Hotel Presidente. It has a great vibe, is very eclectic and there are a bunch of little sitting areas in the lobby to just sit and enjoy the atmosphere. The computers were in use so I’m sitting on the coziest of leather sofas while I type this on my phone.

After a busy day, this is the kind of relaxing I like to do. There’s great jazzy music in the background but when I tried to find out what it was through Shazam, nothing came up. Today we visited the Irazu Volcano a couple hours outside San Jose. The weather was perfection. The forecast called for rain but we saw only clouds and blue sky. The roads here are bumpy and sometimes circuitous but our driver, Eduardo, handled them beautifully. As you can imagine, the ground around the volcano was ashy. We were at 13,000 feet elevation and the air took a little getting used to. The walk wasn’t long but by the time we headed back to the bus, my lungs were desparate for a break. After all the running I’ve been doing to get into shape, this felt a bit like a betrayal to me. Once back in the van, I was able to easily recover.

From there we wandered through a couple of towns. Easter week is a major holiday here and we saw a couple parades celebrating The Passion and it was very moving. We went into the Bascillica of Our Lady of Los Angeles to say a prayer since we are missing mass this week due to heading to the jungle tomorrow. Then we were on our way to a hot spring for the afternoon. It was beautiful and relaxing and they fed us a wonderful traditional Costa Rican meal. Not sure if I’ll be able to eat again today.

Better go check on the troops! Adios until we meet again.

MC

Life

Weekend Busyness

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Here we are at Monday again. How does this keep happening? Here’s a brief longish synopsis of things I did.

Friday. I consider this part of the weekend now since I no longer work on Friday. I put on my parent hat, though, because it was parent/teacher conference day. The school year is winding down and so is my patience with a couple of his teachers. In fifth grade, they start rotating to various teachers for their subjects and there are about a dozen different classes to catch up on. The appointments run 15 minutes apiece and after looking at how he’s doing overall, I decided to catch up with four of them. Three he’s had past behavior issues with and one I missed last time. Two I deliberately chose not to meet with due to their behavior issues. And the rest I see often enough that if anything was going on they needed to talk about, we could address at any time. The meetings went pretty much as expected and the behavior issues are less intense than they were at the beginning of the year.

From there, Liam and I went shopping to pick up some last minute items for the trip. I took him to Kohl’s and let him pick out some activewear since he doesn’t have much he hasn’t outgrown from last summer. This turned out to be the best idea of the day because I usually pick out what I want for him (based on my style) and the kid definitely has a style of his own and gravitated towards things I wouldn’t have picked out. He loved one outfit so much he wore it the entire weekend even though the weather is not yet conducive to shorts and t-shirts. We collected just about everything we need and it was nearly noon by the time I got him home. I headed to a meeting (AA).

The afternoon was spent packing Liam’s bag and then organizing my own things and it was pretty interesting that everything was going to fit into my Vera Bradley weekend bag. I will also have a backpack for the misc items like electronics, guidebooks, and miscellaneous supplies. We didn’t do much else but one of my e-book holds came through from the library and it’s really good. I was halfway through a physical book from the library that was due back that day and I was unable to renew it because someone was waiting for it. It was called Mrs. by Caitlin Macy and while I liked it, it wasn’t enough for me to keep to pay the library fines. The e-book I started and am 60% through is called The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances and it’s the story of a mother whose son becomes entangled in a less-than-desirable relationship (from the mom’s point of view). There are twists and turns galore. It’s also set in London and I love books set in London.

That evening, Liam had lacrosse practice and then we went to a fish fry place for dinner. This is the most delicious place for a fish fry and it’s a good reason to look forward to Lent because we rarely go outside of that time of year. Needless to say, I stayed up late reading!

Saturday morning I go to a meeting first thing. It’s a great way to start the day and this is my favorite meeting of the week. I love getting there early (by 7:30) because there is an older lady who I can talk to about things I’m dealing with as a parent that are hard (she’s like a surrogate mother) and she helps me talk out whatever issue and I always feel better. There was something that came up during one of the parent/teacher meetings I was very concerned about and she allayed my fears and that I was doing a good job as a mom.

I haven’t updated you on my running lately but it’s going pretty good. Since I’ve been back from Florida, my ability to get to the gym regularly has suffered but when I get there I’m doing it. I’ve managed to get to 20 minutes of running and 10 walking for my workout and I got a good workout in both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Liam also tested for his next level of black belt and did a great job. This kid really amazes me with his dedication to Taekwondo. Testing lasts about 3 hours so that’s a good chunk of the day. We went to church that evening in anticipation of skiing Sunday but decided not to go after learning the conditions were “mashed potato”. Not my favorite.

Saturday night we made pizza at home and then at 7:00 I was tucked into bed with my book! This is how I love to spend a Saturday night. Maybe not every Saturday night but this was the perfect weekend for it.

Sunday morning is another meeting I love but I rarely make due to getting to church or skiing. It was a very good meeting and I saw a couple of friends to catch up with. I don’t know a lot of people at this meeting but I uncharacteristically engaged someone new in conversation before it began and I will now have someone new I know next time I go.

When I got home, Liam and I went out on some errands. I have been trying out Stitch Fix and had to return the items I didn’t want (which is to say most of them). I ended up returning the library book that was due Friday, returning one of my Target purchases from Friday and had to go back to Kohl’s because they forgot to remove one of the security tags from a top I bought. I was fairly annoyed by this because it was an inefficient use of my time but then I ended up finding a great spring basket for the front door. I have officially obliterated my Lenten sacrifice of giving up shopping!

I was also in search of a pair of white leggings for an outfit I wanted to wear on the plane. I visited White House Black Market, Chico’s, Loft, Talbots, Target to no avail. I gave up and we went to the gym. When we got home, Jim showed me a new purchase he made – an Apple watch – and he was pretty thrilled about it. He offered to buy me one too (this was something we talked about for our anniversary last fall but never did it) and I said why not! So off we went to the Apple Store and I picked out a similar watch. I love it already but I have very little knowledge of its capabilities yet! But in the mall, there was an entire store devoted to leggings! How’s that for synchronicity? Yup, they had the white leggings.

Once home, we both set up our watches and then I made dinner. After which Jim and Liam watched basketball until 60 Minutes. If you haven’t heard who was on last night, I might think you are living under a rock. I half listened while I read my book and wish I hadn’t.  And now we are here on Monday morning.

MC

 

 

 

 

 

 

books

Forgetting the books you loved

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With so much noise on the internet, I wish Twitter would track the links I click on and read. Interestingly, the link I’m trying to find is about not retaining what you read. It was a great explanation of why we don’t remember things long term, but the more I write about it, the more the article comes into focus and I may have a chance of tracking it down in case you want to read it.  Pamela Paul, the editor of the NYTBR is quoted in it. There was also a bit about Plato not wanting to ruin his memory by writing his ideas down because he felt writing things would be the death of memory. The article (aha, I found it!) asserts that the more we read, the less we retain and it’s all down to the internet because we really have no reason to keep things in our memory because we have new ways to retrieve them.

I remembered Pamela Paul was quoted because I specifically recall the things she remembers when she reads. The physical book itself, where she bought it or who gave it to her, the setting she read it in. The trouble was, that was about all she remembered. We are fortunate to have the internet and the place I go to remember what I read and to get a brief synopsis of it is Goodreads. There were times in the past where I would read a book and then at a later date, purchase the book again or check it out from the library only to remember halfway through I had already read it. It rarely happens anymore.

Continue reading “Forgetting the books you loved”

travel

Packing for Costa Rica

 

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I consider myself a seasoned traveler with a few stamps on my passport(s), but whenever I’m going to a new location, I get all sorts of anxiety about what to pack. This will be my first foray into South America and while I want to be prepared, I also want to pack light because we are going to be moving around a lot. We’re leaving in a couple of weeks so it’s about time to start thinking seriously about this.

I feel so fortunate to be going on this trip since I floated the idea last February after seeing a gorgeous brochure for Costa Rica while visiting with friends at a hotel. It was completely random but while we were waiting for them to come down from their room, I meandered over to the brochure table, curious about what sights they were recommending to their visitors. I was captivated by the beautiful photos and description of the sights of South America.

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Life

Passing time at the library

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I used to be a magazine junkie. I was reminded of this when I stopped by my local library Friday afternoon to pick up some books I had on hold. Fresh off my nostalgic trip down memory lane of my childhood library and with time to spare, I decided to wander past the front desk and new fiction area to places I hadn’t visited in a few years.

First, I checked out the expanded DVD section which I always forget about. I love old movies and they are hard to find at Red Box and Netflix so I found a couple videos for myself and to share with Liam (I recently introduced him to Hitchcock via Rear Window). He likes mysteries and it’s not easy to find appropriate films for an eleven-year-old that aren’t rated R. We have seen Clue, The Movie more times than I can count. Next up, thanks to the library, is North by Northwest.

Continue reading “Passing time at the library”