Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I've traveled quite a bit in countries where people drive on the other side of the road (i.e., the left), including renting cars and going on road trips in Australia.

People here frequently ask me, "was it hard driving on the other side of the road?"  And my answer is always, "the hard part isn't being on the other side of the road. The hard part is being on the other side of the car."

Because so much of driving is having a sense of where your body is and where the car is relative to the road and the other cars on the road. If you're used to being on the left side of the car, then you're used to having the bulk of the car on your right.  It affects how you instinctively position yourself relative to lane lines and road shoulders.

Plus inside the car, everything is in the wrong place.  My mom and I took a trip to Australia 11 years ago when she was stationed in Papua New Guinea, and we drove from Sydney to the Blue Mountains to look at waterfalls and beautiful scenery (it is one of the most gorgeous places on earth -- if you have a chance, go there).  And every single time I went to put on my turn signal by flicking the lever to the left of the steering wheel, I turned on the windshield wipers.  Mom laughed her ass off every time.  Until she did the exact same thing and I laughed my ass off at her.  Good times.

I was reminded of this watching Hurricane Sandy bear down on the East Coast.  I am an East Coaster at heart -- when I orient myself in my mind, I do so from the vantage point of Washington, DC and the surrounding environs.  Which is weird, because I haven't lived in the DC area itself for almost 30 years.  But I went to college in central Virginia, then North Carolina for law school, and then I lived in Atlanta for 13 years.  And it's where most of my friends and family are.  So when I think of storms hitting the East Coast, I think of them coming at me or hitting "above" me, to the north.

But this week, while my friends and family are dealing with the storm in Virginia and  Maryland and New York and coastal New Hampshire, I'm out west in the mountains.  It's sunny and in the high 60s/low 70s in Denver all week.  It feels very strange, not just to not be there, but also to remind myself that the devastation in New Jersey and New York isn't north of me, it's well east.

Stay safe, all of you.  I don't wish I were in harm's way, but if feels weird to be so removed from what you're going through.  Like I'm on the wrong side of the car.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

High Five

My little boy, my baby, my Zekey-beans, is five years old today.  It's been a hectic week and J and I have been shitty about doing anything special on this particular day -- we're doing a party at the Botanic Gardens on Saturday, so we felt like we had it covered.

Newborn Zeke
 But of course, we don't.  Because kids don't think that way.  Today is his birthday.  Today should be special.  So J will be bringing home a scooter to present to him after school.  We will make chocolate chip cookies together, and I won't fuss at him about the fact that he eats half of the sugar before I've had a chance to mix it with the other ingredients.

We dropped Josie off at school early (after Josie and I serenaded Zeke in the car) and went to the Safeway to get treats to bring to his class at school (we were going to make chocolate chip cookies until I remembered that the school only allows store-bought treats, not homemade ones - yeah, I have no idea, either).  We picked out some yummy mini-brownies, and because birthdays are special, Zeke was allowed to grab a chocolate-coated doughnut to have for breakfast.

1 year old Zeke
 We got to school early enough for Zeke to have first dibs on the swings. And on the rock-climbing wall, at which he is amazingly adept.

Watching him play, he looked so big to me. He doesn't have the baby chub in his face or his fingers or elbows anymore.  He's all ripped abs and muscle-y legs, like his dad.  He bounces on a trampoline and can do flips.
2-year-old Zeke

And then I start thinking about how fast these five years have gone (even though sometimes it feels like forever ago that I was childless, all carefree with nothing but time and money to spend on whatever I wanted).  Luckily, I've been writing this blog longer than he's been alive, so I have a written record of so many details that would otherwise be lost.  Posts like this one, which never ceases to crack me up.

Now I look at him and think, "what does life have in store for you?"

Certainly there will be ups and downs.  He will suffer disappointment and heart-break and have to learn difficult lessons.  I get a lump in my throat thinking about that.

3-year-old Zeke
 But then I think about how smart and kind and curious and bold he is.  He will experience and accomplish great things, and have wonderful adventures.  He will be loved, and will love in return.

In the meantime, I get to be with him as he grows and learns and becomes the person he will be (and so does his dad, but this is my blog and I get to be proprietary if I want to).  I get to be the one he turns to when he has questions about the world, about people, about life.  I get to read him books, and work puzzles with him, and build trains with him, and dry his tears when he's hurt, and be the one he leans on when he's tired.  The one he wraps his arms and legs around every morning when I give him his good morning hug, before he's really awake.

4-year-old Zeke
 He is at such a great point right now in his life.  He adores school.  He's learning how to read.  He has tons of friends.  He's healthy and strong and coordinated.  He loves his sister, and she loves him.  They have an amazing time together.  He has so much fun, every day.  He is so much fun to be with.

5-year-old Zeke
 I know it's all so fleeting.  Before I know it, he'll be big, and he won't want me to snuggle him.  He'll be off with his friends and be embarrassed by his parents.  He'll be independent and able to take care of himself, which is as it should be.

But I get him right now.  And for that, I feel so lucky.