My Convertible Life

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Convertible Life in Review

When my sweet husband asked the other day about my "hopes and dreams" for the coming year (yes, he's that awesome -- not only did he ask, he even listened to the answers), among the items on my list was to get back to blogging.

I want to write more in 2013. I've got scores of posts in my head that went unwritten this year -- our successful camping trip in July, books I've enjoyed, kid stories I'm afraid I'll forget, random observations about the world. Who knows if anyone would have read them, but at least I would like to have written them down.

I also want to read more of what other bloggers are writing in 2013. There's an amazing network of talented writers who let me lurk in their online lives, but I've been even worse about blog-reading than I have about blog-writing lately. In the coming year, I hope to do a better job of returning the happiness of leaving comments on posts (thanks, Brenna!).

So I've been skimming back through my 2012 posts to get a kickstart for the new year. Thanks for indulging me as a I share a personal favorite from each month of the past year...

January: Watching Him Go
Where I get sentimental about how my son doesn't need me anymore.

February: Best Friends Forever
Where my friend's loss reminds me how lucky I am to have great friends.

March: My Lenten Sacrifice
Where I gave up Catholicism for Lent.

April: Redshirting for Kindergarten
Where I get on my soapbox about holding back boys.

May: Why You Should Vote Against Amendment One
Where I campaign (unsuccessfully) for a step in the right direction.

June: Pippi Wants You to Call Her, Maybe?
Where get a lesson in pop music from my daughter.

July: Every Age He Ever Was
Where Anne Lamott says it better than I can.

August: Rules of the Name Game
Where I discuss some very serious (ahem) parenting questions.

September: Things I Learned on Vacation
Where I share random knowledge and photos from the beach.

October: Why We Need Books
Where I borrow from the WSJ because I can't find time to blog myself.

November: Where I Attempt to Write a Post about Politics That Doesn't Offend (Too Many) People
Where I do just what the title says, on the eve of the election.

December: A Prayer for the Living
Where I try to put words to the ache left after Newtown.

Do you have a favorite post from your own blog in 2012 -- or from another blog you love to read? Share it below in the comments so we can all enjoy.

And happy new year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Friday's 5: Signs of the End of the World

Yes, I know it's Thursday. But I'm posting today just in case the world actually ends tomorrow. Which it won't.

But just in case it does (which it won't), here are the when-pigs-fly signs that proved the end was near (even though it isn't, but if it does, then I totally called it so there):
  1. I've finished my Christmas shopping. It's only Dec. 20 and I'm done -- still waiting for a couple of gifts to arrive in the post, but everything is purchased and on the way. I've even wrapped most everything already. This is highly unusual.
  2. I've been exercising. That fact alone isn't crazy, but I've been exercising regularly since this summer. Not only that, but I've been regularly working out with friends at the school track three times a week, including a 5:45 a.m. boot camp on Wednesdays. In case you missed it, that was ante meridiem. Even when it's dark and cold outside. This has never happened before. Ever.
  3. I read 12 books this year (not counting children's books), plus one that I listened to. And only four of them are considered young adult literature (and none of them involved 50 shades of anything). That's a more than 200 percent increase over last year, and I've still got time to read more over the holidays. This is a positive trend. (Next on my list, coincidentally, is The Last Myth: What the Rise of Apocalyptic Thinking Tells Us About America by my long-time friend, Mel Gilles, and her husband Mathew Gross). 
  4. I bought skinny pants. I know the rest of you have been wearing them for ages, but I just bought my first pair in November. They feel a little ridiculous and I can barely get them over my calves, but at least I'm attempting to be on trend. If nothing else, my husband seems to enjoy the view.
  5. I just let my son ride off on his own. Granted, I watched him and his little bike almost the whole way, until he disappeared around the corner to the friend's house that's all of two blocks from our house. And yes, I did call to be sure he arrived safely. But he went on his own. Someone hold me, please.
So maybe tomorrow won't really be the end of the world. But at this pace, it's sort of the end of the world as I knew it. Thankfully, I'm on vacation until 2013 -- so I feel fine.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Prayer for the Living

When seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold stormed into Columbine High School and murdered 12 classmates and one teacher before committing suicide on an April morning in 1999, I was an 11th grade English teacher in Charlotte, NC. That afternoon, I sat on a desk in front of the television in my empty classroom, paralyzed by the story playing out on the news.

That could have happened at my school, I thought. Could have happened at any school. And I was terrified, trying to imagine what I would have done if I'd been the teacher facing the end of a loaded shotgun.

This past Friday, when the news alert landed in my inbox with the headline "'Several' Students, Adults Dead After Elementary School Shooting In Conn.," I was frozen again. But this time the fear was different. This time I wasn't in a North Carolina classroom -- this time, my son was.

The rational part of my brain knew he was fine, knew the situation was unspeakably horrible but also hundreds of miles away. Still, the rest of me -- all the mom parts of me -- needed to get to my son as quickly as possible and hold him close.

Since Friday afternoon, I've read pieces of articles, heard bits of stories, all of which stop me in my tracks and reduce me to tears so that I'm forced to look away. After Columbine, I was scared. But Sandy Hook has pierced down under my skin, broken into my heart in ways that I cannot really explain except to say that I am a mom now. When I think of those in the school who were both teachers and parents, I cannot even comprehend what they experienced.

I hear the story of the police officer who slipped his badge under the door so the kids in hiding would know it was safe to come out, listen to the rabbi talk about trying to help a grieving mother breathe, read about one father who found his child alive and another father who didn't, imagine the terror everyone must have felt -- and my brain simply starts to shut down. My heart constricts, my stomach drops, I can't breathe. If my child were among the missing, I am certain that I would simply cease to exist.

And yet these parents are still breathing, in spite of it all.

So that is all I can think to pray for today. Please, God, help the survivors to breathe. Find air for them to fill their lungs so they can find a way back to living. Make space for them -- the parents and students and teachers -- to catch a breath now and then that will be deep enough to force the pain out and lift them up to the light for just a moment.

Monday, December 10, 2012


There's a scene in When Harry Met Sally (which I watched at least 847 times in high school and college) where Sally is sobbing on her bed with Harry about how her ex-boyfriend is getting married and he never really loved her. In the course of her tissue-laden despair, she chokes out the following exchange:

"And I'm going to be 40," Sally sobs.

"When?" Harry asks, puzzled.

"[Sniff, sniff] Some day," she wails.

I used to quote that line all the time with my friends (who also watched the movie 847 times) and laugh because 40 just seemed so impossibly old and far away. Until it wasn't.

Because "some day" turned out to be yesterday.

Just like that I'm 40. And I'm here to tell you that it is SO not at all old.

Everyone keeps asking me how I'm doing. But between the surprise tickets for a date night to see Shawn Colvin (my husband is amazing), sleeping in both days of the weekend (ibid), a pile of cards and well-wishes from my family and friends, and the birthday cake ambushes at our neighborhood Christmas party (complete with a rockstar 80s soundtrack) and my office (I'm very gullible), 40 is turning out to be a lot of fun.

Looking back to my teens and early 20s, I'm not sure where I thought I'd be at 40, so I have no way of knowing if I've arrived. What I do know is that I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful (albeit obnoxious) children, parents and family who love me, a fairly healthy body (thanks in no small part to a kick-ass neighborhood boot camp), really wonderful friends, a good part-time job, a lovely (if messy) house, and too many other blessings to count.

So take that, 40. You don't scare me at all.