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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
The last couple weeks have been a blur of snow days, snow delays, half days and holidays, and it feels like my children have not spent more than three consecutive hours at school in ages. Was this what preschool was like? It was, wasn't it. Except there was also a nap, if I recall correctly. Today there are no naps, but probably the same amount of shrieking. And eating. Dear God, the eating. They are a three-mouthed snack tornado, laying waste to this season's carbohydrate supply. (An aside: Do your children ever actually throw out empty boxes/packages of cereal/crackers/poptarts/etc. when they take the last one? If so, HOW DID YOU TEACH THEM TO DO THAT? I routinely check our pantry and the shelves are always nicely full, but it's an illusion, like fake food in an IKEA display kitchen. There is actually nothing! Everything is empty! No BÖNITTJOĞÜM for you!) Everything is actually fine right at this moment; Noah is quietly building Titanic v.3.0, this time with proper modeling glue instead of an Elmer's purple glue stick because he's always been too impatient and then the thing sheds pieces until it's no longer sufficiently Titanic-y. Ezra and Ike are...somewhere, I... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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Here's a thing I didn't know about depression recovery: Your to-do list is INSANE. (I suppose I should avoid using words like INSANE as a hyperbolic adjective as we all attempt to de-stigmatize mental health disorders, but that would mean I'd also have to avoid words like CRAZYPANTS or BONKERSVILLE or ZIPPITY HUMMINGBIRD BRAIN and I just don't think I can do that. I am just a girl, with GAD and a CAPS LOCK key, doing what she can.) Anyway. I've been busy. There's a lot of catching up to do and holes to fill and bridges to un-burn. You have to figure out how to prove yourself as an un-shit employee and friend, make a lot of appointments and phone calls that should've happened six months ago...or maybe just look at a piece of fuzz on the floor and think to yourself, "I am going to pick up that piece of fuzz on the floor today." And then you pick it up. And allow yourself a brief moment of pride over this perfectly mundane and tiny task, because congratulations! You're officially human-ing at a baseline level again. Tremble before me, o fearsome floor fuzz! Begone, both u and the... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at amalah . com
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Remember the orthopedic bed Jake needed? The bed y'all so nicely bought for him? He completely destroyed it, the ungrateful jerkwad. He also destroyed two doorframes and ripped the carpet off the basement stairs. (Someone please adopt this wonderful charming amazing creature I beg of you.) His heartworm treatment dictates that he MUST stay calm and not exert himself in any way (because otherwise the dead worms will break into pieces and you know what you can just Google why if you want), so we have to keep him isolated from all the other wild and crazy animals a lot of the time since they whip each other into a crazy pack frenzy.* But Jake haaaaaates being crated, so for a little while we let him just lounge around in the basement, and everything was fine. But at some point he lost interest in the plethora of toys and chews and Kongs we leave for him, and started going full destructor mode on stuff like, books! Pillows! Paper! Anything he can pull out of the trash can! THE VERY WALLS AND FLOORS AROUND HIM. So fine, back into the crate he went, along with designated toys and blankets he's welcome... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2019 at amalah . com
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When we first moved to Yellow House, everybody got their own room, and we made the room assignments by age and room size. Noah got the biggest room and Ike got the smallest, with Ezra taking the medium-ish one. But we REALLY assigned Ike to the smallest room because we wanted him to have as little space for rock-star-trashing-a-hotel-room shenanigans as possible. That room is big enough for a twin bed, a nightstand and one small toy box. Everything else is kept in the basement or on the hallway bookshelves. This would naturally limit the about of shit that he could dump all over the floor every night. (Right. "Naturally." My ass.) Sure enough, every morning I'd find the entire contents of his toy box on the floor, along with 20+ picture books he'd managed to drop riiiiiight into the small space between his bed and the wall. What I wouldn't find in that room, however, was Ike. Once his room was satisfactorily wrecked, he'd sneak into Ezra's room and crawl into bed with him. "Ezra keeps the bad dreams away," he told us adorably at the time, so we allowed it. We also, eventually, allowed Ike to just start... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2019 at amalah . com
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So this video came up in the On This Day feature of my cloud drive, and at first I was like, awwww, look at baby Noah from like, what, five years ago? Six? When we were all still so passionate and hopeful that this madness had to end? No. Two. Two years to the day. View this post on Instagram "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." A post shared by Amalah (@amalah) on Jan 29, 2017 at 4:26pm PST It's only been two years of this chaotic bumbling bullshit, but also: It only takes two years to fully turn a sweet little boy into a giant-ass man. Noah is almost as tall as I am. His shoes are gigantic. I ordered him a bunch of shirts in the largest size of the Old Navy kids' department and by the time they arrive his arms were already too long for them. He eats...so much. So very, very much. But apparently all of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2019 at amalah . com
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Now that we're up to five humans, three dogs and two cats (plus two hibernating patio toads and hopefully some patio babies), it seemed like a good time to add yet another new member to the household. This is bObi, which Ezra and Ike decided is a girl because "we need more girls for it to be fair around here." They enjoy chasing after her and feeding her various bits of trash. Noah simply calls it the Chore Robot (as in, "Chore Robot! Over here! I dropped the pencil sharpener again"), so between that and all the demands/verbal abuse our poor Alexa suffers, I am growing vaguely concerned about the patriarchal/anti-feminist future of our robot overlords. Maybe I should lend them my pussy hat. ANYWAY, you can probably imagine the pet hair situation around here, plus my children all constantly shed, but instead of hair it's just straight-up dirt. They bathe and shower nightly, we take our shoes off inside, and yet the path leading away from Backpack Mountain and Discarded Coat Canyon (aka our foyer) always looks like a goddamn dust bowl just blew through. And for the first time in a long time, it's something I 1) notice,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2019 at amalah . com
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Several New Things I Learned About Dogs This Month: 1) If you don't neuter a male dog, some very bad and unpleasant things can happen to him later in life! And to your house! 2) You know those monthly heartworm pills your vet is always up in your grill about? They are very super important! 3) Dogs can get their very own special form of the Zombie Pinkeye. Poor Foster Dog, man. After getting the break of a lifetime last month, he has not really caught another one since. So, to recap: Jake is about 10 years old and was never neutered. He still isn't, because he is currently heartworm positive and cannot go under anesthesia until he tests negative. He also cannot be listed as available for adoption until he's both negative AND neutered. We knew all of these things when we accepted the foster placement, and we specifically requested a senior dog with treatable medical needs who otherwise didn't have a shot in hell at adoption from a shelter. So this isn't a post complaining about us having to deal with any of this shit -- but I just need to point out that FAT HOT HAM THIS... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2019 at amalah . com
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Yesterday was a snow day, and now today is a sick day. Technically yesterday was a sick day too, and the day before that, but that didn't stop him from sneaking on his boots and snowpants and running outside to play when I wasn't paying attention.* He came back in not long after for some Motrin, hot chocolate, and regret. *Me? Actually pay attention to a sick feverish child? What kind of helicopter-y bullshit is that? To be fair, my children are all now top-level experts and getting away with stuff. Today I discovered an elaborate room-to-room communication system made of Snap Circuits that allows them to pass messages back and forth using MORSE CODE. I don't know what they're planning but frankly, this just looks like none of my business. Carry on, you weird little humans. Carry on until you rule the world. Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2019 at amalah . com
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AND NOW WE DRINK. I must say, Ike's final IEP was worth the wait. The thrills! The chills! The supports and services! Almost 50 pages of red-hot reading/writing/spelling goals! We've got small group and one-to-one pull-outs! We've got handwriting and speech therapy hours! We've got testing accommodations and human scribes (?) and preferential seating! We even got summer school and the promise of placement in a hand-picked immersion classroom next year with full-time special education support. And another meeting in 60 days just to make sure we don't need to add another 10 pages or so. And another meeting 90 days after that because...I forget why, exactly. Maybe they just think I'm fun. (I did leave the house and then realize I was wearing a t-shirt with a marijuana joke on it, so that's actually kind of possible.) Basically, if the district offers it, Ike's getting it, effective immediately. I'm so relieved I could go lie down for seven hours, and not even from the bourbon. A Portrait of the Reader as a Young Man Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2019 at amalah . com
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In an attempt to understand the Kids Today, what with their YooToobs and SnapToks and all that jazz, I did a podcast! Do you "do" a podcast, though? I didn't record a podcast, because I just talked and other people recorded it, and it wasn't my podcast, it was my dear dear friend Amy S. Bridges' podcast, We Are Still Hungry. Amy is better known here on ye olde blob as the person responsible for That Time I Shared Fried Calamari With The Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, back when my life was probably a lot more interesting and blob-worthy. Oh, and it was also Amy's friend Paula's podcast, who is now my friend because I spilled wine all over her kitchen table in an Essential Tremor-y fit and she didn't care at all, or at least was gracious enough to pretend she didn't. She also owns enviable kitchen towels and an adorable wee doggo. Anyway, we got very real about mental illness and suicidal ideations, and what it's like to live your life after attempting to end it. Also: feminism and boy children, because you know I can't go a full hour without being a radical liberal commie... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2019 at amalah . com
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Happy 2019! Do we have a new president yet? Well, all that garbage aside, lots of things have actually happened! I got a foster dog! I turned 41! I cut my hair off! I took my kids on a boat! I went to a New Year's Eve party and talked to people! Then I lost my phone and found it the next day out on my street! I slammed my ankle (yes, that ankle, it's always the same damn ankle) in a car door! The biggest development (besides my swollen-ass ankle) is definitely Jake the Foster Dog, better known (by me and only me) as Goobs. He was found as a stray in Georgia and then spent an excruciating SEVENTEEN MONTHS being overlooked in a shelter. This was him a week and a half ago, getting loaded up for transport. And this is him now! He's a sweetheart. He gets along very, very well with kids, dogs, cats and couches. We think he's about 10, but he's really perked up as he's settled in and can get downright playful and butt-wiggly. Vet said he's in excellent health. He's starting treatment for heartworms (which were caught early) in a couple weeks... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2019 at amalah . com
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Step One: You tell your kid's school that Hey, Something Ain't Right. Step Two: 30 days later, you attend an initial meeting to officially voice your concerns that Hey, Something Ain't Right.* A variety of tests and assessments by a variety of people are planned to confirm that Something Ain't Right. *Bonus points if you come prepared to this meeting with a pricey independent assessment that already confirms the Something, and by "bonus points" I mean hahahahahaha absolutely nothing you just played yourself, son. Step Three: 90 days after that, you attend ANOTHER meeting to go over the results of the tests and assessments, and SURPRISE: Something Ain't Right. Step Four: You wait ANOTHER 30 days for ANOTHER meeting, at which point a plan actually gets put in place to address the Something, and services and accommodations can officially begin for the Something. Step Five: Drink! So we had an IEP meeting yesterday for Ike, a meeting of the Step Three variety. The earliest he'll get help from the school is now mid-to-late January. I'm more frustrated than usual with this particular rodeo round because I've been sounding the Step One alarm since PRESCHOOL. Then all through Kindergarten. By first... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2018 at amalah . com
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The boys brought the first cold of the season home approximately five minutes after returning to school in September. I've been stuck with a nagging, persistent cough ever since, which this week decided to dig in even deeper and turn into bronchitis. (Although that was a relief to hear, as I'd totally WebMD'd myself into thinking I had pneumonia.) So I've spent a large part of this week in bed, and an even larger part of this week coughing my fool head off. (Although the largest part of this week was spent refreshing Google News because WHAT the SHIT is HaPpEnInG.) I am so tired of coughing. So is my cat, who still insists on sleeping on my chest and then bites my face a little bit every time I cough to let me know I've disturbed her. I'M SORRY YOUR DUMB MAJESTY. I did get out of bed last night for dinner, but I wasn't all that hungry sooooo. SPEAKING OF DOGS AND ALSO INSANITY, we have applied (and been approved) to be a foster home for Poppy's rescue!! We're going to foster a senior pittie, because seeing sad little old men and ladies in the kill shelter listings... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2018 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by the KODAK Digitizing Box. A few weeks ago, our friends texted in a panic: Did we have a ShopVac? They thought they remembered seeing a ShopVac. Please say you have a ShopVac. We do indeed own a ShopVac, as any parent of any toddler who WILL eventually stop up a drain and flood your house should. Our friends didn't have a toddler, but they did have a leak in their basement. And a whollllllllle lot of water. Despite house + leaks + water being one of his all-time greatest fears, Jason heroically rushed to their house, ShopVac in hand, to help bail out and rescue what they could. He came home and promptly surveyed our basement, which was fine, but the whole experience made him realize we had our storage room arranged 100% upside down. Top shelf items? Old suitcases, a beer homebrew kit, replacement air filters and some plastic bins with contents unknown. (Legos, probably.) On the very bottom, in prime Water Damage Position? Oh, just ALL OUR OLD PHOTOS AND HOME MOVIES. Our wedding album, Noah's baby book, ultrasound print-outs, and envelope after envelope of crappy pre-digital photos from when we dating and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2018 at amalah . com
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Okay, so I know we just did the whole Santa photo post, BUT BUT BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. There was a professional photographer at the party and I just got these, and I simply must inflict them upon you. 'Tis the law of the mommyblobs, and I do not dare disobey. This is just Santa photo PERFECTION, and it only took us 13 years. And well, a few extra tries this year too. Look at that human! And now look at this human for a mind-blowing compare/contrast. We old, kiddos. I realized this was Ezra and Ike's first and only time they've gotten solo time with Santa. They made the most of it and asked for a lot of pricey electronics and roughly half the stock of books at Barnes & Noble. Ezra recently found a Pokemon card set I'd bought for Ike and accidentally left in the car. This unfortunately shook his already-wobbly belief in Santa and he asked me to tell him the truth. I got about four words into it before he changed his mind and decided he'd rather not know after all. ("This is my surprise sweater." he explained. Okay then! One must always be prepared... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2018 at amalah . com
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I think this is my favorite one yet. The boys still aren't too old for our annual visit to Mall Santa, but when offered a Non-Mall Alternative Santa, you can bet your ass that Jason and I decided we were EXACTLY too old for Mall Santa, and went with a way less-stressful version. Our (amazing and saintly patient) real estate agent threw a holiday party this weekend and invited Mr. Claus and a photographer for the kids. No lines, no shopping madness, just an incredibly patient Santa who probably learned more information about Titanic than he'll ever know what to do with. (The Titanic even came with her own wish list. The Heart of the Ocean diamond and some lifeboats.) The sweaters were Jason's idea this year, and he even braved not one, but two Target Hellscapes in order to procure all three of them. I had to go yesterday to fill a prescription and was like, FUCK THIS SHIT UNTIL 2019 HAVE YOU PEOPLE NOT HEARD OF THE INTERNET GAAAAAHHHHH oh DAMN 10% off Christmas wreaths I am DOWN. Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2018 at amalah . com
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This week, Ike sat down and wrote out his Christmas wish list. AND I COULD READ IT. It wasn't perfect, but it was a far cry from past writing efforts that I couldn't make heads or tails of, and would even stump him when he tried to remember what he meant by words like LOUUOB or WOEABL. (Those were "LOVE" and "WORLD." Of course.) Ike loves loves LOVES his reading program. I'm pretty pleased with it as well, because...look at that! "Dimensions??" Are you kidding me? (He's asking for a Bumblebee, Pokemon cards, a new Lego Dimensions disc because ours got scratched and doesn't work anymore, and Minecraft Story Mode Season 2. Ezra's list asks for a computer, a diary WITH A LOCK, and "12 pairs of pants.") Meanwhile, his school STILL has not completed the assessments or made any changes to his IEP. His general education teacher is doing what she can, but it looks like official supports and services won't happen until next semester. So I'm very glad we're making progress on our own. We went with a newer program called SpellRead, which claims to be able to essentially rewire a dyslexic brain to process language and text... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2018 at amalah . com
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I cut this off the back of my head yesterday. Depression doesn't have a lot of visible symptoms, but that right there is one of mine. Day after day of unwashed, uncombed hair, convinced that no one will notice if I just pull it up and cover my greasy, knotty tracks with a head band and messy bun and the tried-and-true aesthetic of "I AM WEARING WORKOUT CLOTHES SO THEREFORE I MUST HAVE COME FROM THE GYM, CAN YOU NOT FEEL MY BURN?" Between the amount of time I spend piling on the dry shampoo and extra hair spray, getting the shower and actually washing my goddamn hair would probably be a timesaver, but then I'd have to fully confront all my other self-care failures: the weight gain, the muscle loss, the unshaven...everything, my neglected skin and nails. And I'd have to argue with the mean little voice berating me for spending money on nice shampoo. I could shave my legs if I changed out the razor blade, I think, and the voice immediately tells me "you don't even deserve a new razor blade." And so another day, another ponytail. I went to brush my hair yesterday because -- oh... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2018 at amalah . com
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So Titanic is totally the new George Washington. View this post on Instagram And we haven’t even BEGUN to discuss whether Jack could’ve fit on that door... A post shared by Amalah (@amalah) on Nov 14, 2018 at 4:39pm PST Noah is next-level obsessed with all things Titanic right now. Movies, books, documentaries, endless recreations in the bathtub, you name it. His twin life goals right now include a ride on Titanic 2 and making enough money to raise the original wreck before the ocean eats it. (How he'll achieve the second goal is a little fuzzy. It's either inventing time travel or "something with computers.") I, too, went through a pretty big Titanic phase around his age, so it's been fun tracking down all the books I read and still remember pretty vividly. One of my favorites was A Night To Remember, and I promised him I'd re-read it after he was done so we could talk about it. (That is a Very Big Deal for a Spectrum kid, as he's aware most conversations about his obsessions are more like endless, one-sided lectures.) He read it, he loved it, he's already watched the movie version four times. And as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2018 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 50 readers to sign up with this link will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron! My mom tried to teach me how to cook growing up. But for the most part, I was passionately disinterested. It was like I was downright determined to head off into adult life without the ability to scramble an egg or function without a microwave. I loved to help ("help") her bake cookies, of course, because cookies, and cookie dough, plus we stored all the Christmas cookie cutters in this weirdly inaccessible corner cabinet in our kitchen and I was the only one small enough to climb in and find them. I would toss them out and then pretend I was in Narnia for awhile while my mom did all the work. Anything else cooking related, I wanted nothing to do with. It was boring, I'd probably mess it up, why go through all that work when I'd rather just eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Do you know how easy it is to microwave a hot dog? Why can't we just always eat hot dogs? But still, she tried. Family dinner time... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2018 at amalah . com
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Who's done with this week? I am DONE with this week. What I am NOT done with, on the other hand, is the faces my cat makes into the front-facing camera. ME: when I turn on the front-facing camera by accident. ME: opening up Google News and just, like, the headlines alone these days ME: on a late-night Wikiwormhole about serial killers. ME: reading the comments when I know I shouldn't be reading the comments ME: when I feel cute, might delete later tho Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2018 at amalah . com
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Hi hi hi. I'm okay. I know I don't usually go that long without posting but it felt disingenuous to sit here writing about how Ike got an entire container of green Halloween slime stuck in his hair when everything else is going to hell in a reusable grocery bag and WHAT KIND OF WORLD ARE MY SLIME-COATED CHILDREN EVEN GOING TO INHERIT, PEOPLE? GET YOUR BUTTS TO THE POLLS. I voted, Jason voted, everyone we know has voted. Now there is nothing to do but wait and pray and stress-eat another package of Kraft singles. I got the slime out of Ike's hair, incidentally, with blue Dawn dish detergent, after several of the Internet's other suggestions for How To Get Slime Out Of Your Hair did not do the trick. Blue Dawn: The only thing you need to get slime out of hair and lipstick off cats. They should hire me for copywriting. We forgot to take any photos of Halloween, so you're spared that parade of awkwardness. Jason and I skipped dressing up, but Ezra and Ike made their own costumes: Ezra went as "Joey Reddabber," an original comic book character he created, and Ike dressed up as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at amalah . com
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UPDATE #1: I folded the laundry! All of the laundry! I guess I should've taken a photo to better communicate just how much laundry we were talking about, but it was too embarrassing. Even depressed people are entitled to some small slice of vanity, right? Anyway, it's all put away now, and I even tackled the spring/summer closet changeover to fall/winter. Then I took a nap. UPDATE #2: Speaking of the changing of the seasons, our patio toads have left us to hibernate for winter. I will miss them terribly and hope they'll be back next year. Maybe I'll register them as emotional support toads and let them loose on an airplane! UPDATE #3: Ike's IEP meeting...happened. Given the glacial pace of assessment testing (since the independent assessments we paid for didn't line up 100% with the district's standards, aaaaaaahhhhhhhdjvojfohfvoiwehfgpeh), Ike will be lucky to get formal supports and services in place by...Christmas. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhdjvojfohfvoiwehfgpeh times eleventy. So we are very, very relieved we jumped on the ONE OPEN SPOT his reading program offered us and didn't dick around any longer. He loves going, and while it's not an overnight fix or anything, I can already see some confidence creeping back... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2018 at amalah . com
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The first sign of trouble was that I stopped washing my face. Some days I'd go to bed with my makeup on, and just...smear away the raccoon streaks with my fingers the next morning. I knew this wasn't great self-care, so just I stopped wearing makeup most days. But I still didn't wash my face. Other bad habits crept in after that. The laundry went unfolded. My hair went unwashed. Texts went unanswered. Work deadlines were stretched to the absolute limit, and I started working from bed again. I gained more weight, so I rarely changed out of my pajamas because I couldn't face my actual clothes. I was tired -- so, so unbelievably tired all the time, and I would regularly sleep through most of the afternoon. I told myself it was just fatigue from my antidepressant. That there was nothing wrong with wanting to work while nice and cozy and curled up with the cats. That I'd get to the laundry that afternoon, that night, that weekend. And then one night, it was there again. That flash of inevitability, a hopeless swirly thought of no other way out. So...it's been a rough few weeks. I was fine, and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2018 at amalah . com
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One decade ago, I met a fascinating little human named Ezra. (He was, initially, a little less thrilled to be here.) Of the three of them, Ezra is the one whose personality seeming popped out fully formed from the womb. He's just a taller version of himself now. Not to say he's not always full of surprises. We didn't see the flute coming (loves it, obsessed with it), and last week he came home from school and announced -- after years of rejecting any and all team sports like soccer or basketball -- that he wanted to sign up for our county's cricket league. Cricket? Are you sure? 100%. Cricket. Yep, seems about right, actually. He's a dreamy romantic (currently living through his first predictable heartbreak, alas), a sensitive empath yet wonderfully self-assured and confident, and someone for whom farts and burps are the pinnacle of comedy. He is incredibly kind and quick to compliment others, and insists on holding the door for everybody, because manners. No, he won't take off his glasses, they're important, and he asked that instead of a closet full of Noah's t-shirt hand-me-downs if he could possibly get more button-down shirts. "I like looking fancy,"... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2018 at amalah . com
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