Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Me_cc Every now and then I come across blog posts or articles written by mothers who miss who they used to be. They long for their old freedoms and careers. They talk about what they used to look like and the trips they used to take. How they used to be someone else.

I have to admit, I never really related.

I was never so happy than to have my husband suggest that I leave my job when I got pregnant. It's not that I didn't enjoy working. I loved my job, but I was tired and ready to shed that skin.

I was ready to be needed by my family, not 100 different families. I didn't have the ability to distance myself while working in the non-profit sector and ended up self-extending my job description far beyond just providing music lessons for children from low-income families.

That part of my life was rewarding, and while Kevin admits he misses seeing me in a business suit and heels (he says with a "rawr)", we are both happy with me staying at home.

There is another part of my life, however, that didn't end with such a definitive line. It simply has faded away and before I realized what was happening, it was completely gone.

I will never be a rock star.

When I moved to the Triangle 11 years ago, the first thing I did after finding a job was to look for a band. Within six months, I had joined up with three amazing guys who actually wanted to play my songs. I was in heaven. Add that to the weekly open mics at the Berkeley Cafe, and I was honing my chops like never possible in Mississippi.

Over the next several years, I was in and out of different groups, hauling my Fender Rhodes mostly by myself, using a handtruck and a rather ingenious system my ex-husband designed for getting it in and out of our hatchback.

I liked walking into a club or a music store and being treated like a musician and not a groupie girl. I liked the spotlight. I even liked being behind the spotlight, trading my lead singer days for back up vocals and keys in the last group.

Last week, Kevin, Little Bird, and I went into Sam Ash just to see what they still had in stock during this dismal economy. As we walked through, it felt completely foreign to me. Even though I had worked there a decade ago when it was still Mars Music, nothing felt familiar. I realized as we were leaving that it was me who had changed, not the store.

I presented as a pregnant woman with her toddler in tow, following her musician husband through the racks of guitars. There was no reason for them to perceive me as anything but a mother.

I have a confession. Sometimes when I meet new people, either in real life or online, I wish they knew me when I was "cooler." You know, you might have caught me at The Pour House or The Cave, do you remember? Maybe we met at The Berkley? I'm sure we know some of the same people . . .

But that's not who I am. Not anymore. Granted, I still get to perform and record with a musician who holds my utmost respect. We get gigs in theaters where someone else lugs my gear, or better yet, I have a beautiful grand piano to use. We get to play with the North Carolina Symphony. We are home before 3:00 AM and don't smell like stale cigarette smoke. Oh, and we get paid well. There is that very distinctive difference.

Of course the whole rock star thing is tongue in cheek, but the realization that even though I love my new skin, I'm not entirely comfortable in it? That's pretty on the mark, and I guess I relate a little more than I originally thought.

Photo by Gail Anne Photography.

Marty blogs about mothering and music at Don't Take the Repeats and sings only phrases on Twitter.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Confession: I Do Love a Jon Jon

We all have our varying opinions on the jon jon. Before Little Bird was born, I imagined him wearing nothing but jon jons, romping across the playground in his little smocked coveralls. I'm not sure what I was drinking at the time, but his entrance into real life complete with poop, pee, drool, dirt, and general stickiness soon changed my mind on the jon jon.

Now, I reserve the jon jon for church on Sunday morning and other occasions where he needs to be a little more dressed up. We don't wear them to Marbles, and he won't be wearing them to Mother's Morning Out, no matter how many other little boys will.

For some reason though, Bird still has way more jon jons hanging in his closet than I have pride to admit. I blame Kelly for this. Kelly runs Divine Consign in Raleigh. Divine Consign hosts trunk shows of overstocks and consignment sales a few times a year. It's not your average consignment sale. You don't have to dig through to find things that aren't stained or that you could buy just as cheaply if you caught them on clearance. Kelly takes only high end, gently worn children's clothes, saving moms like me who only like to shop in front of a computer screen a lot of time and hassle.

If she hadn't made it easy enough for us, now she has also started a blog. This post on how to shop a consignment sale was incredibly helpful, and I thought worth passing along.The next show is August 31 through September 4 at Stonehenge Shopping Center in Raleigh.

What about you? Do you hit consignment sales for your kids' clothing? What other ones are worth a look? Do you sell at consignment sales? Do you have any additional shopping or selling tips?

Let's help each other continue to dress our children way way better than we dress ourselves. That is until What Not to Wear shows up on my doorstep and rescues me from myself.

An original Triangle Mamas post. This post was not sponsored by Divine Consign in any way. We just happen to like moms in business for themselves, especially when they do it so well. In fact, if you have a mom in business here in the Triangle who you think we should feature, please contact us. We don't do reviews, but we share our positive and negative experiences freely here.

When Marty isn't busy ironing jon jons, she writes about everyday things at Don't Take the Repeats and Deep South Moms. When she has less to say, she hangs out on Twitter.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On the Right Path

IMGP0523 I don't want to sleep there, I'm not particularly interested in peeing there, and I certainly don't want to cook there, but I do love the woods. I love the Black Mountains specifically, and I love streams.

I'm not sure why we don't do more hiking. We have the dogs for it. We have the kid for it. We have the love for it. We just don't get around to it.

My husband, Kevin is a doer. There is always a project either in full swing or in planning mode. It is one thing I love about him. He finishes what he starts, and he starts big things. His plans are not lightly made nor are they easy to finish. Right now, he is adding onto the house. Just he and the contractor. When he comes home from work , he works some more. On the weekends, he's building. I'm excited for the new spaces, but I think I am more excited for him to finish so that I have some of his time and attention back.

All this to say, I think this is why we don't hike. We do things together as much as possible, but this is a stage in our life where Kevin is determined to get things in order. I love him for that. I miss him, but I love him.

IMGP0527 While we were in the mountains recently, staying in Catawba Falls Preserve, I had him back to myself one day. He wanted to know what I wanted to do, and I chose this hike. We packed a backpack full of snacks, water, and diapers. The dogs got to tag along and tap into their inner hunters. Gibson, our chocolate lab, ran out about 10 feet ahead with his tail pointed straight up. He even helped corral Little Bird when he got too far ahead of us. Our English Setter, Aja, stayed on leash and ignored her bird dogs instincts in favor of reading the mail on the ground.

We missed a turn along the way - rather, I missed a turn, and we ended up about 40 minutes off track. Luckily, we had also packed our Babyhawk, so tired Bird could ride on his daddy's back when he got tired. And after playing nekkid in the creek for awhile?

IMGP0538 Bird was really really tired.

It was a great day with my boys, my dogs, and a trail in the mountains.

When she isn't dreaming of her own mountain getaway, Marty blogs at Don't Take the Repeats. When she has less to say, she resorts to quipping on Twitter.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Leave the Road for Cars

I am a big proponent of walking. I have written about it before.  I find it ever so unfortunate to live in a city that is one of the least walkable areas I have ever lived in. Creating a lively, safe, walkable city is not even on the list of criteria for developers and urban planners around these parts. No sirree. We're all about the four-wheeled guzzling monster.  A subdivision north of town welcomes you with a fountain oddly resembling something from an ill-placed resort and signs that boast "26 miles of walking." Um, walking to where exactly? I prefer an organic community with its own pulse, hotspots, and places where you happen upon fellow dwellers in an unstaged, unscheduled manner. And by community, I mean neighborhood, not subdivision, development, planned community. But my beef with the lack of such neighborhoods in Raleigh is for another day.

It seems that others enjoy walking too, whether for exercise, errands, or the whole two birds one stone bit. There are walkers aplenty in a lovely area neighboring my old school neighborhood. I see them everyday, and I know they see me too. I can tell by the glares.

Read on from a letter of complaint I posted to Dirt & Noise.

Dear Walkers of White Oak Road,

Please do not glare at me as I
drive along at the posted speed limit. Did I mention that I have never
had a speeding ticket, much less a parking ticket, in 25 years of
driving? I drive a small SUV, not a Hummer that hogs the road. The
lanes are plenty wide for me. The yard services' trucks that regularly
line the street consume all the space on the tiny shoulder that is
smaller than Tinkerbell's haunches. I don't speed. I don't honk. I
don't swerve. I drive to the right of the line and obey the speed
limit. Always.

Yet you walk two, three, and even up to five in
a row as if you are Queen Bees ruling the high school halls shoulder to
shoulder. Plus, you push strollers (double joggers) and have a dog or
two on a leash. Your posse literally takes up more space than my
Highlander. I might curse you under my breath and keep my middle finger
firmly in place on the steering wheel but I never honk or jeer. I do
utter in disbelief that you'd be idiotic enough to take up all the room
on a road as narrow as a neocon's mind.

But I see you, in your
matching tennis skirts and visors, all turn in unison to glare at me as
I drive by. Me, the one who's obeying the law of the road. Here's a tip
to tuck in your tanned decolletage, don't walk two by two with a
stroller and a dog on a road that has no sidewalks.
I am all for pedestrian rights and respecting walkers, bikers, and the
like. But generally there's mutual respect and a healthy fear of, oh,
3000 pounds of steel coming around a blind curve.

I happen to be
a big fan of sidewalks and live in a neighborhood that has them. I walk
with my sons in my neighborhood. I pushed their strollers and walked
neighbor's dogs on those sidewalks. We decorate those sidewalks with
chalk drawings and hopscotch boxes. We never stray from the sidewalks;
that is a general tenet of city living. Roads are for cars. Sidewalks
are for people. There is no gray area here. One of the earliest lessons
we taught our sons was to stay off the road and on the sidewalk.
Danger! Danger! Danger!

From the myriad skateboarders, bikers,
scooters, and ripsticks I see on White Oak Road (sans helmets!), I
guess you are handing down road ownership to the next generation. Is
this a symptom of the general sense of entitlement plaguing America
these days or are you really that clueless? Let me reiterate, if the
road doesn't have a sidewalk, is narrow, and is peppered with blind
curves, don't walk on it. If
you must walk there, walk against traffic so you can see what's coming
and by all means, move to the freaking side when a car passes. That
means walk single file, gather your troops, and squeeze in tightly.

You might own one of those big fancy houses but you're a fool if you think you own the road.


An Irritated Driver Who Doesn't Want to Play Frogger

Ilina walks, but refuses to run. You can find her walking to her favorite coffee shop, where she writes at Dirt & Noise and Foodie Mama when she's not busy being the voice of the consumer for clients of her marketing consulting business.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

An Open Letter to a Tree

Pinetree Dear New Pine Tree at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary,

Congratulations on growing up in North Carolina, where you will be revered as an official state symbol. Nice work!

However, while I fully respect your right to live and grow and enhance the environment of the old North State, I question your specific location for putting down roots. Although it may not have been your personal choice, I hope you can understand my frustration.

Earlier this summer, my husband and I brought our almost-4-year-old son with us to see Cirque de la Symphonie. It was a fantastic show for the whole family, combining beautiful symphony music with spectacular acrobatics and circus performers -- but then, you already knew that since you had a much better view of the show than we did, as we were seated behind you and could barely see through or around your lovely fringed branches.

Yes, I know, we didn't get there the exact second the gates opened, as it seemed everyone else must have done. And I know we could still hear our wonderful state symphony no matter the view. But we arrived more than an hour and a half before the show was scheduled to begin, so it didn't seem like too much to ask that we be able to see the acrobats, dancers and jugglers as well. Sadly, the only spaces available were those with obstructed views (see photo -- note that we cannot see the stage at all).

Perhaps you may want to talk with your arbor crew about why they would intentionally plant a young, short and very full pine tree in the middle of the seating area? Seems like it's going to be a decade or more before you are tall enough to provide any noticeable shade without boxing out scores of people behind you. Not to mention that they planted you right between two other (much taller) pines, so I expect you're going to feel a bit crowded as you get older. Really, I'm only thinking of you.

I promise I am not opposed to trees, in fact I think they're quite lovely. And I'm not even opposed to trees at an amphitheater, provided they are tall enough that the branches don't block the view.

But seriously. It's an amphitheater. Why go out of your way to prevent guests from seeing the very stage they paid money to see?


P.S. Very sorry about your 14 friends that were recently removed from my yard. It's nothing personal, I promise. I just really like an open view.

An original Triangle Mamas post. When Cyndi isn't complaining about nature or hiring lumberjacks, she can be found blogging about all sorts of non-tree-related things at Junius & Pippi Take the Cake.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

You mean I'm supposed to chew food?

I don't know how many times I've spent a morning dreaming of a day when Starbucks will add a train table if not an entire play area to their coffee shops. I mean, it could just be open for the mid-morning and late afternoon hours when caffeine-addicted moms need a place to get a hit while still entertaining and socializing their kids. Wouldn't it be great?

I know, I know, McDonald's now has McCafe's and Barnes & Noble even has Starbucks and train tables, but I hate McDonald's and Barnes & Nobles has shelves and shelves of books just taunting my toddler to destroy. I'm talking a gated play area where a coffee bar is within sight distance. Wouldn't it be loverly?

What I don't understand is why more places don't follow the lead of one of my favorite local restaurants, Blue Corn Cafe. This place has a separate rooms for patrons with kids and patrons without. It's so nice to not have to worry about your toddler throwing a tantrum because he wants his own bowl of guacamole to dip in because there's another one loudly demanding his quesadilla at the next table.

As if separate but equal dining spaces weren't enough, the with-kids dining room has a play area stocked with toys, a chalkboard covered wall, a play mat, and a full library of VHS kids tapes. While you are getting sat down and offered a menu, your preschooler is digging out a fire truck from the toy basket. I can't even remember another restaurant where I've been able to actually read the menu rather than just randomly selecting an entree.

Now I understand the importance of teaching your child to sit politely at the table, but there are just some nights I would like to sit and sip a really yummy Mojito without slurping it down between reiterations of "Sit down. Be patient." We work on manners at home and at other restaurants, but at Blue Corn, I prefer to sit back, munch on tasty fried plantain chips, and watch as my son lies on someone else's floor rolling cars back and forth.

If you're like me and could sometimes use the "dining out" option that really is a bit of a break, or if you just like really good Latin-American food, then Blue Corn Cafe on Durham's Ninth Street is the place for you.

Who knows? We might just see you there.

Crossposted at Abby's personal blog My Sweet Babboo where she doesn't just write about food. Although come to think of it, she does write about food a lot there too.

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