Friday, April 10, 2009

Linger on the Sidewalk

Last Friday, I had coffee with a lady who became a friend through motherhood. You know, someone who is an acquaintance becomes a first time mom, and all of the sudden you have loads more in common. Motherhood, the great equalizer.

We met at The Morning Times in downtown Raleigh. I circled around Moore Square (twice) trying to find some street parking. There was some, but I was on the opposite side of the street from it. Both times. Parking in downtown Raleigh isn't impossible, but it also isn't easy.

After giving in and entering the parking deck off Wilmington Street, I found a spot on the seventh level and loaded Little Bird up in the Babyhawk. I called out for the woman in the elevator to please hold it, and jogged over to jump in with her. She was on her way to the courthouse, but didn't know where it was. I showed her how level three was actually street level and walked her down to where she could see how to get to Fayetteville Street Mall.

I am at home downtown. Having worked next door to the courthouse for six years, I know my way around well, and actually miss being there. I miss lunch at The Mecca, takeout from The Square Rabbit. I miss the man who lived at Sir Walter Raleigh and would walk his tiny terrier up and down the mall. I miss sitting outside on a day like today to have lunch in the sunshine and watch the people go by.

It's different now, and yet totally the same. The RBC tower is huge and intimidating, but just a block down is Stitch where you can hand pick a Holly Aiken bag of your very own. She left the lettering on the windows that says "Ladies Shop" from when it used to be a clothing boutique full of your Sunday best with hats included. A true Deep South downtown, the juxtoposition of the local art on one square and the huge commerce on the next square is still there.

It is what makes me feel at home.

As I weaved my way through the streets to the coffeeshop, with my baby strapped to me, it was all so close to me. I could have just as easily have been wearing a suit and heels as I could be wearing that toddler. It wasn't that long ago, and yet it was another lifetime. Or more honestly, it was another phase.

Downtown for me right now is a place to eat, to play, to shop, and to dream. A stay at home mom's point of view of the big city that I still love, even if I don't work there anymore.

An original Triangle Mamas post. Marty can also be found at Don't Take the Repeats, and for those of you with shorter attention spans, follow her on Twitter.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Home Team

I have never cheered for a team where I went to school. College, that
is. There wasn't a big competitive sports scene at the woman's college
where I spent the first part of my higher education, and the second
part - well - I was into my own scene, let's just say.

My family are die hard bleeding maroon Mississippi State fans, myself
included. Great greats and grands, my father, uncle, brother, everyone
- except moi - went up north to Starkpatch to get their higher
education. There is even a dorm which bares my maiden name.

Momma and Daddy always had season tickets to the basketball games, and
when my dad couldn't go, my mom would often give me the chance to ride
up with her and see the game. Or see who I could see, was usually my

One trip up was a race against the clock to get me back in time for the
SubDeb Formal. I think I got home with about 15 minutes to get ready.
The pictures show it too. The Bulldogs were playing LSU, and my mom
said it was going to be worth the drive to see the game. Not because it
was going to be a good game, but because a little dude named Shaquille
O'Neal was playing for LSU. Momma said that we shouldn't miss seeing
him playing college ball. She was right.

Anyway, my NCAA bracket this year had my Bulldogs going up against the
Tarheels for the Championship game. I tend to make my bracket out by
who I like best. It usually doesn't go well, for I never ever advance
any team from Florida and I definitely never advance UCLA no matter how
good they are supposed to be.

Of course the Dawgs were knocked right out in the first round. We knew
they would be, but I had to root for them anyway. They were my home


I sit here tonight, rooting for the Tarheels and feeling at home doing
so. It's not my alma mater. It's not Kevin's either, but they do ever
so graciously employ him. More and more Carolina blue has been making
its way into our home. A sweatshirt here, a t-shirt there. We are
becoming a Tarheel family through and through.

And it feels good. It feels good to be able to let go a little bit more
of the things that keep me from being completely rooted here in North

It feels good to be home.

Crossposted at Don't Take the Repeats, Marty's personal blog. If you want less words more often, follow Marty on Twitter. Come on now, it's fun.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

 Easter is fast approaching. That means cute (matching, natch) outfits
for Bird and Deal. This was an easy task when the boys were gurgling,
swaddled infants with rolls galore and delectable chubby cheeks. At 45
and 35 pounds and approaching the limits of the height charts, they no
longer look cute in smocked john johns with bunnies and posies embroidered.
The whole one piece outfit is no longer an option with the torsos on my
kids. Despite their extraordinarily long torsos, there is no way in
hell you'd catch me dressing my boys in frou frou garb. They are boys afterall, not babies. And certainly not sissies. ..not that there's anything wrong with that.

There has been a permanent ban on Little Lord Fauntleroy clothing at Chez
Dirt & Noise. There comes a time for every mother (I'm not
excluding fathers, but let's face it, they would throw the kids in a
paper sack with holes cut out for head and arms and call it a day), to
come to grips with the fact their boy babies turn into big boys.
Rambunctious, rough and tumble, BOYS. Moms need to stop shopping at
stores like Mommas Boy Clothing
once the kid can feed himself solid food with an utensil of any kind,
fingers included. Let's be real, it is highly unlikely that I would
ever shop at a store called Mommas Boy Clothing at all. Folks need to
quit making this stuff larger than a size 2T, lest those boys get the
snot kicked out of them when Momma's watchful eye strays.

Bird and Deal in traditional Easter attire would just make them look
ridiculous, akin to the mother of a high school classmate I recall who
wore mini skirts and anklets with spiky heels in 1985 because it was
all the rage among teenage girls. She wore such a getup thinking she
looked young and hip. In reality, she looked old and dreadful.
Costumed, even. I am now as old as she was then, and you wouldn't catch
me in any of the crap teenage girls are wearing these days. Another
reason I'm glad to have sons! Those of you with daughters have uber fabulous options for Easter attire now, but wait until those girls want bling on their too tight shirts and cutesy words across their bottoms. Will someone please quash this trend?

the quandary is how to dress the boys appropriately for Easter photos
without knee socks, saddle shoes, and a peter pan collar? Last year was
freezing so we made do with madras pants
and sweaters...I couldn't wrangle them into the white bucks I bought so
those still sit anew in the closet. I'm going to cram their little (or
not so little) feet into those shoes for a photo opp this year. At this
rate, it might be the only Easter garb they wear.