My newest venture

I am so, so excited to share that I have opened an editing business, Elucido: Make Your Written Work Shine. As you know, I love to write. Perhaps even more, I love to edit, and for years and years now, I have joyfully helped students and professionals polish application essays and cover letters, strengthen resumes, and tighten literary essays. Last year, I had the remarkable experience of helping edit the soon-to-be published memoir of a Civil Rights journalist.

As I look ahead, to the near future of sons who are going to sleepaway camp this summer for six weeks (gasp!) and to the longer-term future of boys continuing to grow up and out, I want more for me as Emily. I think it's wise, and I think it's time. This blog sustains me deeply, but Elucido is a thrilling venture beyond that, and there is something about a paycheck that feels awfully rewarding.

I had my first Elucido client over winter break, and friends, I was a new woman. I adore college-age students. Remembering what a crucial time my undergraduate years for me, in SO many ways, I love experiencing some of that excitement again. The electric jolt of opportunity that a good undergraduate or graduate fit can give young people. 

Likewise, the thrill of seeing people of all ages get to reinvent themselves professionally is such a gift. If I can help them make that leap with even an iota of greater confidence, well, wow. 

It would be impossible to adequately articulate the ways in which writing has changed and improved my life. I believe deeply that any sort of writing, especially if creative and/or personal, is a portal into parts of ourselves that might otherwise remain unknown. Whether telling a college more about who you are as a young adult or a potential boss about why you are the perfect candidate for the job or your readers about why you're worried or gleeful, you're coming to better understand and know yourself, and that is never a bad thing. To partner with others as they travel these roads is an honor.

So, thank you to everyone who has already expressed such generous support for me and my writing and Elucido. Please feel free to spread the word. 

The 2017 Burn Board and my beloved fat cat

So, come New Year's Eve, my foursome was pretty done. Well done. Put a fork in all of us; we'd spent enough vacation time together. However, stuck together for another 36 hours and in need of an activity, I recalled that at a party on NYE 2016, our delightful hosts had a Burn Board on offer. Guests were invited to add via sticky note all the shit from 2016 they might wish to see burned at the stroke of midnight. And then, at midnight, we burned it all. Fun.

I don't know that anyone actually thought 2017 would be better than 2016. I mean, crap, the Evil Yam hadn't even been inaugurated yet. Oh, the good old days. But despondency over November 8th had taken root, and so we tried to burn, burn it out.

This past Sunday, I suggested to the children and Tom, all pyromaniacs to varying degrees, that we make our own such burn pile. It was all too easy to create a dissertation-length text of 2017 horribleness. In fact, we stopped ourselves halfway through a ream of paper out of eco-guilt. But it was fun and a bit liberating and a nice bonding experience, and heck, the pictures are great for posterity and all.

Lest you pine for my beloved Nutmeg, my tubby kitty, here are a few recent pictures of his magnificent self.

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Nostalgia and New Years

We spent a quiet Christmas at home, the boys, Tom, me, and my parents. It was cold but snowless. Everyone seemed interested in staying in their pajamas and in the house for as long as possible each day, and for the most part we did.

Movies were huge this holiday season, both at home and in the theaters. We watched Roman Holiday, The Circus (Charlie Chaplin silent film from 1928- have you seen it? Priceless.), the original Star Wars trilogy, and the original Murder On the Orient Express, and went out to see The Last Jedi once again and also The Post (that one sans kids). I highly recommend all of them.

We took the kids to a local restaurant to hear the senior chamber chorus from their school sing carols and to eat big burgers and plates of fries at the bar. Dad made many lemon pies, and we ate all of them.

Yesterday it snowed, and yesterday Mom and Dad left, and yesterday I started taking down our Christmas decorations, and today I feel terribly blue. Even my stomach is in revolt. The physical push and pull of emotion and fatigue and goodbyes to all that, I suppose.

For many, the end of the year, the turn of a season, the closing of any given chapter can be fraught. I can never anticipate how I'll feel during times of change; no one is always happy or a trigger. Last New Year's I felt festive and bright. This evening I feel heavy and sludgy. I am trying to roll with it, but such is not my forte.

Even with all the good, this year has also been dreadful in ways. The devolution of so much of our country -norms, what unity remained, decency, our standing in the world, our "president"- weighs heavily on my shoulders and my heart. So many people died this year, so much of the natural world was harmed. Some of my closest friends have children with mighty challenges. My sister and her family are far away, my parents too, really, and I feel that disconnect so deeply at times. I am getting gray hair and wrinkles that concealer doesn't much hide. I don't look young anymore.

And while all of that can be managed most of the time, sometimes it feels none of it can. Sometimes the yoyo of acceptance and positivity suddenly speeds back with ferocity and force and wallops you in the face and soul. It's annoying really. It's like when your phone battery is doing fine and then suddenly plummets into the red zone, and you're like WTF because of course you don't have a charger handy and you need to be able to receive a call and also send a few emails before you pick up your kids because even though they're older, you still can't count on uninterrupted time until they're asleep that night and now that's so much later than it used to be and maybe you can't even stay up that long. 

I'm really peevish about my hair and skin right now. I know that sounds so shallow, and it bugs me because I want to feel zen about aging and fight the stupid Hollywood establishment that imposes ridiculously impossible standards on the acceptable ways women should look as they age. Which is to say that they look as if they are not aging. But it's hard to suddenly look on the outside a way that doesn't match, or at least present, the way I feel (wish to feel) on the inside. 

Which is why I bought an expensive facial peel and mask at Whole Foods last night after speaking briefly to the male employee who may or may not have known what he was saying to me during a trip there for hummus and mayo. Desperation will drive you to the inner aisles, people. 

The yoyo is also swinging back to the point of its arc at which the kids need to return to school, routine needs to become routine again, and at least one of Oliver's enormous box creations has got to make it to the recycling bin. I feel like we live in a boxopolis. I don't want to live in a boxopolis. I don't want to quash his creativity either, but he is the laziest, worst cleaner-upper ever which is to say he cries and doesn't do it unless I threaten to take dessert away, and I mean really, aren't we past that now? 

And yet, as I push it all away, I pull it back to me, just like that yoyo. I am thankful that I don't exercise excessively anymore, that I eat what I want when I want, that my children love me so much and I them, that they are so creative and cool and dear and fun, that they like to relax in pjs as much as Tom and I do.

I am furious and heartbroken about the state of our country, but I am proud to resist in all the ways I can and do. I am grateful to have realized my strengths and to continually improve at overcoming worries and doing it all anyway.

If you are feeling nostalgic tonight, or sad, or pissed, or tired, or worried, or old, I am sending you a hug and a cozy pair of socks. If you're feeling festive and youthful and happy and full, I am so happy for you. I'm going to let myself feel what I'm feeling, and I guess that's growth right there. We have a fire to light, and nachos to make, and boys to tuck in, and T said he'd do a puzzle with me tonight, so there's that. 

Force be with us as 2018 rolls in.