Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Mischief managed

I’ve been sitting here for the better part of a half hour trying to decide how to start this last post. It’s very hard to say goodbye to something you’ve cared for and nurtured for years, especially something that has brought such wonderful people into my life I never would have known had I not started this site in the first place.

Before you start hyperventilating and fanning yourselves, I want to reassure you I’m not retiring from blogging altogether. I am simply boarding the place up and moving on. I started this site six and a half years ago when I was pregnant and that little girl who was yet to be born is now reading books and getting her own food from the Chinese buffet, thank you very much. How the hell did THAT happen, I ask you?

That being said, since I decided to stop writing about Autumn, there’s been very little to bring me back to the blog I named after her. I also got so very busy at work doing, um, the job they pay me to do that I found very little time to sneak in the occasional blog post. Also, the business of blogging has changed so much since I first started writing online and a random lady in Michigan with nothing to offer but her wit and charm has to fight very hard to be heard amongst the brand ambassadors and social media gurus populating the web these days.

It seems “regular gal” is not what some consider a marketable attribute. Oh well.

So here’s what’s going to happen: I can’t deny this blog has been on life support for many months, unfortunately I did not sign the DNR until after the domain had been renewed for another year. So Autumn At Oak Hollow will live on for at least another 51 weeks.  Those of you who self-host a blog know what a pain in the ass it is to keep it secure and updated (“Wordpress update? Are you effing kidding me? I just updated last week!”), so at some point within the next few weeks I will be moving the entire site over to a WordPress-hosted site and point my domain there.

The move is completely self-serving because a) I’m lazy and don’t want to maintain the site anymore b) I’m a pack rat who can’t get rid of anything and c) I can’t remember anything and the blog is a fantastic point of reference for the past six years of my life. Some things I’ll never forget, but if I ever want to recall the exact month Molly buried the bagels in the couch, I only need to search for it on my blog.

Speaking of which, we had to put Molly down a couple of weeks ago. I know! I thought that dog would outlive us all, but she unfortunately developed a bad case of pancreatitis that she was unable to come back from. Nathan and I were in the room with her until the end. I was surprised at how much I cried over that dog considering the amount of grief she’d caused us over the years, but cry I did and mourned her over a very large pancake breakfast at Cracker Barrel afterwards.

Now I did mention I wasn’t quitting blogging altogether, but I have yet to hang my shingle anywhere else. I have two blogs in the works, one that will sit where this one used to at heathernoah.com (don’t look-there’s nothing there yet) and another unnamed site I hope to develop with a friend of mine.

Your guess is as good as mine as to when these sites will actually be rolled out. I’ve been talking about developing a new blog for well over a year now.  My guess is they will happen sometime after we paint the kitchen and sometime before we get new carpet for Autumn’s room. Everything in my life seems to revolve around home improvement projects these days.

Anyway, if you are at all interested in following me on to the next chapter, I will be posting the links to the new sites on my Facebook page when they’re ready to go.

Thank you all so much for reading my personal, passionate, sarcastic and silly posts throughout the years. I enjoyed writing them for you.


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Today after my workout I stopped at the grocery store to pick up one thing only to leave having spent about $40.

While I was at the grocery store spending my $40, I spotted a woman with a tiny cart and a scanner strapped to her wrist. It really was a slick device, reminiscent of a futuristic accessory one might see on Dr. Who or Torchwood. She was scanning a bag of potato chips with the wrist scanner and and jotting notes in her notebook.

I imagine she was some sort of independent representative or supplier taking inventory of stock because the next time I saw her she was scanning a 2-liter bottle of soda.

I found myself envying her a little.

Sometimes I wish I had a job in which I was a little more independent. I’d love to shuffle around the store scanning crap with a futuristic Captain Jack Harkness doodad strapped to my wrist.  I’d love being able to set my own pace and essentially have a list of crap to scan and make notes in my little notebook.

I’m sure there’s more to her job and I’m sure she has to deal with administrative and bureaucratic bullshit just as much as anyone else.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she would hear about the job I have and wish for the great pay, security and benefits it offers.  Maybe being on her feet is starting to wear on her and she’d love a job in which she gets to sit all day.

Then there’s my hairdresser, the lovely Nancy who thankfully has not retired. Nancy now works solely out of her cute little home salon and when she clocks out for the day she just has to walk the ten or twenty feet from the salon to her house proper. I was there until 10 pm last Wednesday trying to make myself not look almost 40 and Nancy told me she sometimes will work up to 11:00 because it’s just so convenient to do so.

I envied Nancy, too, especially since I know she loves what she does.

Even though these two ladies have completely different professions, there’s something about each of them that spoke to me and made me wish I wasn’t parked in front of a desk all day. When thoughts like that start creeping into my head, I have to remind myself that I’ve thus far not been completely happy in any one of the jobs I’ve held and would probably not be happy in theirs.

And so…at nearly 40 years old, I’m still searching for what I want to be when I grow up.

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Hello, November

A couple of weeks ago I emailed my friend Julie through Facebook and was all, “Hey, did you know November is National Novel Writing Month? Let’s jump into the crazy and write ourselves some novels!”

Or something like that.

I’ve been on this planet for, oh, nearly 40 years now and it seems every year I forget how much of a shit storm of stress November is. It seems most of the adults in my family and Nathan’s family thought February and March were excellent months to get down and do the nasty, the end result being that 88% of our family has birthdays between November 16 and December 17. And of course there are a couple of other high-stress holidays packed in there as well.

Let’s also add that Autumn has been talking of nothing but a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party for months. I didn’t want to do a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. Nathan didn’t want to do a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. We’ve had something far classier planned as a birthday surprise ever since we heard The Wizard of Oz would be opening at The Civic Theater the weekend after Autumn’s birthday.

But the girl just would not shut up about Chuck E. Cheese, so Nathan and I decided that we’d invite our friends to join us there to celebrate Autumn’s birthday, opting to buy everyone pizza rather than book a formal party.

However…there was a miscommunication between husband and wife and the husband went all rouge and attempted to alter the social calendar without first checking with the wife, which made the wife lose her shit and stress the hell out even more.

Translation: we are now booking a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party.

And that brings us to the cake dilemma. As you may know, or not since I seemed to have forgotten this year actually had an October in it, I just concluded eight weeks of cake decorating classes. For eight weeks my life was all about cake and frosting because I wanted to make Autumn an excellent cake that would not cripple my hand from piping hundreds of little stars (see exhibit E from 2007).

But now we’re doing this Chuck E. Cheese birthday party after Autumn’s birthday, which has me stressing about whether she’s going to want a cake on her actual birthday. First world problem, I know, and if I had more than one child I’d probably drop a Twinkie on a plate, cover it with Reddi Whip and call it good. However, both of my grandmothers are still alive and hoping to celebrate with their great-granddaughter. Having warned them away from Chuck E. Cheese, I sort of implied there would be a celebration at my house on Autumn’s birthday.

Thankfully I do not have to work that day, but my GOD I have a kid in kindergarten who’s also expecting treats for 26 classmates minus the one kid with food issues.

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw November 1st approacheth on the calendar and decided to completely shut down. Halloween night, while Nathan was out trick-or-treating with Autumn, I logged onto Hulu, watched back-to-back episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and ate back-to-back bars of Peanut Butter Snickers, which I discovered I may love more than Reeses peanut butter cups. I actually love them too much and had to ignore the last few groups of trick-or-treaters because I ran out of candy.

That being said, with the exception of a five page office orientation document I drafted for work last week, these words are the most I’ve written since my last blog post in September.

Julie has dutifully emailed me progress reports on her writing and I have dutifully replied with flaky responses about how busy I am (who’s not, right?). She has kicked out over seven thousand words to my zero words and I’m so very proud of her because this whole writing thing is very hard when you’re not whining about how life has you by the balls.

So here’s what I decided about the whole birthday thing. As 88% of my family knows, a birthday in the vicinity of either Thanksgiving or Christmas means your birthday celebration can be readily postponed until Thanksgiving or Christmas. The great-grandmas can wait until Thanksgiving, pumpkin and/or apple pie can stand in as a birthday confection and I’m only going to worry about busting out one fabulous cake and 26 treats minus the one I don’t have to make for the kid with food issues.

Happy November, everyone!

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A couple of things…

First of all, tomorrow I celebrate my 10th anniversary with the university. Since tomorrow is Saturday, I will be celebrating by not working.

I honestly never thought I’d get to the point where I could boast about being in any job for ten years let alone the one I have, but I’ve achieved the peaceful sort of contentedness that comes with thinking I know it all.  It’s also pretty cool to finally have secured the promise of whatever modest pension the university will provide when I decide to become a complete freeloader.

It’s not easy being a working mom, and today I was reminded of how much I do miss by not being able to help out regularly at Autumn’s school. I got to read a story to the class today and afterwards we had a brief Q & A session during which nearly every child asked me a question. They were of the “what’s your favorite…” variety and I blew them away with my knowledge of the Transformers universe (FYI, Bumblebee seems to be a favorite with kindergarteners).

My football knowledge, however, was an epic fail. Sorry, kids, Autumn’s mom does not know the names of any football players who have not appeared in a TV commercial, sitcom or romantic comedy.

And second of all, a few weeks ago I had the brilliant idea of taking a Wilton cake decorating class at my local Michael’s store. The thing with cake decorating classes is that there’s cake involved. And frosting. Like LOTS of frosting.  And you can imagine a woman who has spent the last two years on Weight Watchers may have issues with cake and frosting.

Still, I did have fun with the class and had the pleasure of giving my final cake to a friend who will be celebrating her birthday on the same day I will be celebrating my 10th anniversary at work by not working.

As the cake says, Happy Birthday, Julie! Can’t wait to celebrate with you tonight!

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I am not Meryl Streep

Today I received a call on my cell from Nancy, the lady who cuts my hair and Autumn’s hair. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you may recall Nancy as the person who cut Autum’s hair for the very first time three years ago. If not, you can re-live the experience over here.

At the end of my last appointment I scheduled a cut for both Autumn and myself for tonight. However, it’s kindergarten parent night tonight and we couldn’t possibly fit in two haircuts and kindergarten parent night, so I dutifully canceled my appointment, pushed Autumn’s appointment back a half hour later and rescheduled mine for next week.

But get this…Nancy is RETIRING.

That’s why she called today. She saw me in the book for next Wednesday and wanted to see if we could come in a little earlier because tonight is her last night ever at the salon.

Damn you, kindergarten parent night!

I swear I almost cried. Nancy’s been cutting my hair forever. She styled it the day I married Nathan and was my regular stylist well before that. She’s been limiting her availability since having kids, so I knew this day would eventually come.  Still, I was so not prepared for that day to be today.

Being a selfless mom-type person, I let Autumn have the appointment. The very last appointment with the woman who has cut my hair for over 15 years.

Then I thought about it. This isn’t Sophie’s Choice, after all. I’m not standing before a Nazi guard and being forced to choose which of my children to send to the gas chamber. It’s a haircut for crying out loud and my fifteen-plus years trumps my daughter’s three by a long shot.

I called the salon back and asked if another stylist might have time open while we’ll be there tonight. It turns out someone does have a slot open and I’m hoping Autumn will be just as enthralled with her as she was with Nancy during that first cut three years ago.

If not, I guess I’ll be getting acquainted with a new stylist sooner rather than later.

Crappity crap crap CRAP!

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There’s a pregnant woman in my SPIN class. She’s obviously in her last trimester and if I had to guess I would say she’s about 7-8 months along.

I can’t tell you how much I admire women who are not only able stay active throughout their pregnancies but are more than willing to do so. Six years ago I took the news I was pregnant as license to give Weight Watchers the ol’ heave ho.  I sustained my life and Autumn’s on a diet of pizza and ice cream and was very happy to have a valid reason to stop going to meetings. After all, Weight Watchers would not have let me continue anyway once it became apparent I was expecting.  My separation from them (once again) was blissfully guilt-free this time.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d had enough foresight to take better care of myself throughout my pregnancy. When I got pregnant I weighed right around 270. The day I gave birth I clocked in around 325. During my first prenatal appointment my OB cautioned me to not gain much weight but said little as the numbers on the scale crept higher and higher.

At the time I didn’t want a preachy OB getting on my case about being fat and I did ultimately have a stress-free pregnancy in spite of my size, but looking back I now realize I maintained an unhealthy, apathetic attitude about my weight right up to the end. Of course I hated seeing the scale go back up over 300 again, but I kept telling myself there was nothing I could do about it. I was having a baybeee, so of course I had to gain some weight.

I was really nervous about getting pregnant again after having Autumn. The thought of having another child and putting on even more weight finally gave me that healthy dose of fear that had been absent during all those months when it would have made a difference. I can’t get pregnant right now, I thought. I just can’t.

Then Autumn, Nathan and I fell into a pleasant rhythm and I started asking questions like, “Do you think maybe we could do this again?” Nathan said maybe but that I’d have to lose some weight first. I didn’t want to hear it and did nothing about it, but he was right and we finally decided to put the issue to bed once and for all just before Autumn turned a year old. Nathan had a vasectomy.

For the most part I’ve been happy to have tied that knot in the works. Another pregnancy has occasionally popped up in my dreams, sometimes manifesting as a warm feeling of rightness, as though all the cogs in the machinery of my life have gotten themselves back into working order. Other times the pregnancy is a setback, an interruption, a dark cloud of wrongness robbing me of any hard-won equilibrium.

The truth is, since Nathan’s vasectomy, I hadn’t felt the slightest bit emotionally or physically capable of handling another pregnancy until now.

Of course the kicker is I turn 40 in three months. And then there’s still the whole vasectomy thing.

I’m not saying I want another child.  That ship has sailed, but when I look at that pregnant woman in my SPIN class I know there’d be nothing short of bed rest or severe gestational issues keeping me from staying active and eating well this time around.

It is unfortunate that it took five years after a vasectomy and three months before my 40th birthday to get here, but I guess I’d rather be here and know I could handle it than stay where I was with a fear that creating another life would physically and emotionally ruin me.

That is progress, even it means we’ll always be a family of three.


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“Mommy, you shouldn’t wear shorts.”

I looked at my child, so sweet and lovely with her skinny little legs peppered with bruises and said, “Why the hell not?”

I didn’t exactly put it that way, but I did ask why she thought I shouldn’t be wearing shorts.

“You look silly,” she said.

“Silly? How do I look silly?” I asked.

“You just do.”

I pressed her. “What about me wearing shorts is silly?”

She pointed to the four-inch scar running from just above my left kneecap to just below.

Oh that.  “Honey, I’m not ashamed of my scar,” I said.

And I’m not. I do remember how I worried about that scar and what my knee would look like after the doctor cut into it. I was going to take a picture of the knee the morning of my surgery just to remember what it looked like but wound up getting so ill that morning that the last thing I wanted to do was pose for a photo.

It turns out I can remember what it looked like by looking down at the right knee. They were remarkably similar once upon a time.

Then there was the other day when Autumn and I were in the car playing the game “Who is…”

“Who is the tallest?” asked Autumn.

“Daddy,” I replied then asked, “Who is the shortest?”

“I am!” she replied.  But I corrected her and said technically Molly is shorter than she is.

“Well then I’m the mediumest,” she said.

We pondered these facts for a few moments.

“So Daddy’s the biggest and I am the littlest…who’s the WIDEST?”

I did not hesitate.

“ME!” I raised my hand and we both laughed.

I’m not ashamed of my scar or that I am the WIDEST in the family. These are the things that make me who I am and I want my child to know that I’m very much okay with being flawed.


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