One Man's Trash Can

I never wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be the person behind the curtains, moving the set of the play around and altering your reality. I never wanted to be the diner, I wanted to the waiter in the back of the kitchen, watching sauces and meats and vegetables come together to create plated art. I didn't want to own the fancy car; I wanted to work in the garage where they tune the cars up. 

I like knowing how. I like understanding why. I am motivated by motivation. I want to know the story behind the thing, whatever the thing is. I want to know the painter, the foreman, the COO, the scientist. I'm fascinated by the psychology behind creation, the small spark of thought that turns into a movie, a meal, a trash can. 

When I was in my 20's, I lived in an apartment building with a guy who ended up being my kids' godfather, but at the time was just a cute twenty four year old boy in a band who really liked playing XBox with my kids. One day I go to pick the boys' up from Grand Theft Auto Hour and he's got this giant shiny trashcan in his tiny little apartment. He told me how much he paid for it and I was all Trash Can, You are Drunk and he was all Shut Up and I was all WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU PAY THAT MUCH FOR A TRASH CAN and he was all BECAUSE I NEVER WANT TO BUY ANOTHER TRASH CAN AND THIS IS THE BEST ONE. 

So last summer I'm staying with thirty four year old him and his wife in San Francisco for the summer and sure enough, there's his trash can, looking and working exactly like new. EXACTLY. Like, not a fingerprint, not a dent, not a scratch. 

So I bought a simplehuman trash can, duh. Or two. And a plastic grocery bag holder, too. Because. #accessories

And then simplehuman invited me to come to their offices to learn about why and how they make them and we've already established that I am all sorts of into that so I went and now i'm going to be working with them for like the whole next year which is awesome because they're really interesting people AND I might be giving away some products over the next year and that's called a run-on disclosure statement.

I will buy a trash can because I saw one didn't age a second in over 10 years, but I will love that trash can and write about it and tell my friends about it because I know this guy is walking around California looking at the stuff the rest of us ignore and trying to figure out why we ignore it, and how to get us to stop that, because he loves doing little things better. 

I will love a trash can bag because these guys spend their Thursday afternoon swinging bricks around over their heads in trash bags they engineered, just double dog daring them to break. #osha

I love people who love the crap out of what they do. These people love the crap out of what they do. They don't just make trash cans, they make the little things we all have to use every single day of our lives pretty, elegant, easy, and badass. They are scientists and engineers and font-enthusiasts who are making trash sexy. They are also making drinking wine easier, which wasn't even humanly possible. #superpowers

And that dishrack holds more than my entire dishwasher, not kidding. Which is kind of good, because my children are barred from ever so much as looking at my dishwasher again. 

Which was probably his plan all along. Dammit.

In the three minutes this quarter I am actually not holed up like Theordore J. Kaczynski...

I remember being a little girl watching Star Trek with my dad and just laughing and laughing at the idea that oh yeah, one day people would just be walking around the streets talking on telephones and stuff, hahahahaha. 

So. Well. That happened. 

My birthday is in 57 days aside: This

After a series of tragic cell phone mishaps that make my days of hamster-killing keeping look like a children's book, I broke down and got an iPhone. I loved Blackberry because I wanted a phone I could actually make calls on, and maybe get the occasional email. (Also, BBM. #hearts) I loved the Droid because it did a lot of *stuff*, but in the end, it wasn't always so great for making phone calls. See: 3 1/2 hour battery life. Not kidding. I went back to Blackberry and then my Blackberries started leaping to their own untimely deaths like little RIM lemmings (I think I shattered five in the course of like two months. It was pretty much awesome) and so I finally threw in the towel and got the damn iPhone. 

And it was good. It's easy. It makes sense. It works. 

Sometimes, though, I really miss that damn Blackberry. It was GOOD for work. It sucked for fun, mind you, but for work it was unbeatable. And it had a clit, so I felt like, you know, it really GOT me.  But now I have this Windows phone because HTC sent me a Windows phone and my middle child is the only one in the family with a not-iPhone and did you know that they pick on each other in middle school for what iOS your iProduct is now? So I gave him my iPhone and upped his muay thai classes and kept the Windows phone and that is called disclosure and good parenting. 

So I'm trying to learn a new phone, which is no easy task when you are A) old and tired and B) 100% a Mac and haven't willingly looked at a Windows product since your communist butt moved to Canuckistan in 2007 C) about to leave for a very big, important work trip.  

But I did it. I figured it out. It's got all these fancy calendar features and syncs gorgeously to Outlook (which is what my work email runs off of) and opens all my work email attachments for me like *that* and does all this other stuff that I really don't care about yet because selfies! Now with more Melisa Wells!

For the record and also my dignity aside: I morally, ethically, and spiritually object to adult women calling anything at all an ie! and that includes appies! besties! and mommies! but "selfs" just sounds sad and lonely and then I thought I would just call it 'navel gazing' so I gazed into my navel and found this. 

AGAIN. At least we know it isn't a demon. It might be Voledmort, though. 

I have almost no photographs with any of my collegues because my entire professional career has been spent on the wrong side of a computer monitor. This trip has been amazing because I'm just over a year into my job now, and so I kind of have a slight grasp on what the actual fuck I am doing, and so I've been able to stop on occasion and just take pictures with them. 

Or, more accurately, of them. 

You know what makes Kristin lovlier? NOTHING. She is the most lovely thing of all time. But purple city skies don't hurt. 

Those people up there? My co-workers? They are the music makers, and they are the dreamers of the dreams. They are also possibly all working black magic. 


Of course I didn't tell them I was taking pictures of them, because where is the fun in that? NOWHERE is where. My challenge for you (because POP QUIZ, MOTHERFUCKER) is to photobomb your co-workers. And yes, Dog can totally be your co-worker. He'll be mine this time tomorrow.

My Dog, My Virginity, and My Job Walk Into a Blog Post

Yesterday was my puppy Jack/Jack-Jack/Jack-Jack-Attack/Jacques Cousteau's third birthday.

*Pesky facts aside: Yesterday was (most likely not) my puppy Jack's 3rd birthday. We found him behind a trash can. However, yesterday was day (20 years ago) that I lost my (first*) you-know-what, and I thought it would be kind of nice to have a reason to eat cake and have a party on that day every single year for the next 12-15, the dog-gods willing. Because I'm glad I lost my you-know-what, and I'm glad I found a puppy behind a trash can. So.

Funny thing, giving your dog a piece of birthday cake that's shaped a lot like a slice of pizza. It's not that they don't totally get the concept of fire, it's just that they don't totally get the concept of fire. Or waiting to eat their birthday cake that's shaped a lot like a slice of pizza until you've all sung off key and blown their candles out for them. They also don't get the concept of birthdays. Bygones. 

And if you give a dog a piece of birthday cake that's shaped a lot like a slice of pizza and it also happens to smell a lot like pizza, your dog will give you the above look. Which totally makes is all worth it. 

Today is my one-year anniversary at BlogHer. I celebrated by having a baby with my boss.  This is what it looks like

*In case you're in the market aside: Jenna Hatfield make an excellent midwife/80's rap earworm-implanter.

I kind of can't believe it's been a year since I started working for the same company who has done so much for me over these past eight years I've been blogging. I always used to tell anyone who asked that I could only credit any measure of success I've ever been blessed with to Lisa Stone, who believed in me and my writing before I even knew what I was doing was worth being called writing, and WAY before I had any idea that *I* was worth much of anything at all.  And now I get to get up every morning and try very hard to do that which was done for me? And I get to do it with a team of some of the most amazingly smart, talented, sharp, and well-shod women I've ever had the honor of working with?

That's a cyclic relationship that I am totally happy to perpetuate. 

*You never get a second chance at a first impression, but for $65,000, you can get a second chance at losing your you-know-what. I don't really suggest it. 

The Circle of Life

My very first baby went to preschool at the completely amazing, life-changing-for-me public school in our neighborhood. It was a totally normal preschool in that we had to walk our kids into the classroom, sign them in every morning, then sign them out and walk them out every afternoon. This is a horrible, cruel expectation to set for mew mothers, because as sure as hell is hot, come the first day of kindergarten my son wouldn't even let me on the play area where the 'big boys' lined up. We made it all the way to the flag pole out front of the school and then he turned, kissed me, and said "I got it from here, momma."

The distance between those two points was exactly 1,392 miles. (That's 2240.407 km for all you Canadians.)

By first grade, I was allowed to walk him to the end of the street. Our street, not the school's street. 

If miles were measured in heartbeats, he rode his little bike to the moon and back every school morning. 

My second one entered school and was a little bit more forgiving of my need to, you know, parent him. He'd occasionally let me in the general vicinity of the drop-off area, but only if I remembered who was in charge.

Ain't nobody got time for dat, Jesus.

By the time we moved to Canada, they were getting themselves on and off of the city bus every day all by themselves. (*I* can hardly manage the city bus without a Xanax.) These boys forced me to let them go, let them be, let them become. I was helpless against their cute noses and dashing hairdos and squeaky voices asking please mom, please let us push these boundaries and find out what's waiting for us in the world beyond your arms.

I hated every minute of it, and loved every minutes of it. They made me so anxious, so worried, and so. freaking. proud. 

Turns out, boys and girls are different. Huh. 

My daughter is seven and-almost-a-whole-half-mawm, and every morning I walk hand in hand with her to her bus stop. Together we talk to her friends, sometimes she'll leave to play with them...but she leaves me with her toy or backpack so I don't have to miss her too badly. She kisses me goodbye and waves back to me with every third step towards her bus.

I'm not too proud to admit that I love it.  Sometimes we purposely run late so that I can drive her to school, giving us a whole lot of extra seconds together in the mornings.

So today when I told her she was going to have to walk her little self all the way to the bus stop by her own self because I had a conference call that I simply could not miss, she panicked. She panicked almost as much as I did.

She told ne she couldn't do it, because she would end up getting burglarized. I told her she could do it, that all her friends would be walking at the same time, and that as soon as she turned the corner where she wouldn't be able to see me anymore, she'd see them. She told me she didn't care, that she wasn't ready, that she simply could. not. do. this. 

And I was fairly uncertain whether I could, either. I mean, it's like a 63-second walk

Part of me feels totally justified in my overprotection. Jessica Rdigeway was just walking to school like everyone else, too (doesn't help that I used to live in that very neighborhood, no it doesn't.)

But it had to be done, we had to do it, and dammit, we did it. She said she understood why she had to do this, and I said I understood why she didn't want to. I bundled her up, stole all the kisses I'd miss at the bus stop (while on a conference call, i'll have you know, who says mother's can't do it all?) and sent her on her way. I stood on the sidewalk in bare feet and watched her every step until I couldn't see her anymore. She watched me the whole time, too. 

It'll all I have to not call the school and just make sure she's there, but she's there, everything is fine. I hate every minute of this again, and love every minute of it again. She makes me so anxious, so worried, and so. freaking. proud. 

Twenty One

It is with great shame that I confess to you that I am not a Colorado native. 

I always wanted to be one of the few, the proud, the natives, who drove around town with their awesome bumper stickers and spoke with their weird non-accents and considered being born with an Apgar score of 6 a freaking medal of honor. 

But alas, I am not...I only play one on the internet. Someone told me a few weeks back that they found my blog by googling "Denver Mom Blog" and I smiled so hard my face broke. I wish I was from Colorado; I wish answering the "where are you from?" question was as easy as "Oh, the box in the middle of the country. You know, the one full of piles of win?" which is exactly how I'd answer if I was actually from there. 

But I'm not. I wasn't born there, I was simply born-again there. Twenty one years ago today I made Colorado my home. Twenty five years ago I started toying with the idea of starting my whole life over in Colorado, but I'm slow on the uptake sometimes. Evidence

This is my birth certificate.

Totally counts as a birth certificate if you squint real hard when you're drunk, shut up.

But it really doesn't matter that I have a deep and abiding love of all things Crocs (and I make them look gooood), or that my pantry is armed to the latches with Celestial Seasonings tea, or that I know what Fat Tire really tastes like - and would take a 1554 over it any old day. No one cares that I own a 1997 Lesbaru manual transmission station wagon, that I know what a Rocky Mountain Oyster is, and how to avoid one at all costs. People just roll their eyes when I proclaim that I actually saw Opie (RIP) play at Herman's, and have forgotten how I've gotten home from Lincoln's more times than I can count. I remember when the furthest south any self-respecting Denverite would go before hitting The Outer Regions was Arapahoe Road, and when only thing between Arvada and Boulder on 36 was Storage Tech. STC. 

I even remember when it was STC, gentle readers. 

But I wasn't born there, so none of that counts. *kids* were.

I think it was Confucius who said,  "If you can't beat'm, breed for'm." This has earned me the equivalent of an Ivy-league degree (working on my Master's as we speak), and ipso-facto gets me a lifetime membership to the Colorado Native Club. Pass the hummus and the oxygen masks. 

And while I may never, ever be able to answer "Where are you from?" without needing a globe, an abacus, and a shot of whiskey, my kids, who may have been dragged across this freaking continent by their horrible parents, they know that their home is Colorado. They know they always have a place to go back to, that it will always be there waiting for them, and that it's probably the best place in the world to be from.

Especially if you're into drinking contests #unbeatable

I know all too many of us are gypsies, wanderers, homeless homies, and I think a lot of that is why we gravitate to each other here, online, where there arent' boundaries or bumper stickers, where we get to decide where home is for us. Colorado was home for me, and someday I hope soon California will be, too.

But really, sometimes it's just easier for me to say that this, you, are my home, and I'm totally okay with that, too. 

Here's to 21 years of wandering, of searching, of living a different life. Here's to each of us that was born again, by force or fire. Here's to the beginning of my next adult life, and you all are a part of that. Here's to us. Let's go get wasted on Goldschlager or something. 

(My friend Ryan make those t-shirts, by the way. They're called The Home T and he does a whole bunch of states. They make really great presents for us lost souls and a portion of each sale goes to MS research. (Oh, Ashley, don't read this post, or go look at your next birthday present. DON'T.) I kind of want one from each of the places I am occasionally from, or maybe just one of, like, North America or something. Check him out, he's a cool dude and fellow social media traveler making super fun things.)