Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Vignettes From My Edge

I started this post in mid-March, and I wandered off without publishing it, because it seemed like such a Debbie Downer. But it is a realistic snapshot of that time, so I'm going to let it stand. And I am going to move forward with a new post as well... let's see if I ever get around to publishing it...


So, what exactly does it say about my life when I break one of my toes yet don't notice for at least a day (possibly longer)? Also, what is the universe trying to tell me when I whack that same poor toe really REALLY hard with a rake the day after I notice that it is broken?


Alec D is has officially entered the Terrible Twos. I don't like to label things so off-handedly, but in his case, it is totally true. He woke up one morning with a burning desire to Do It Myself, shriek "NOOOOOOOOO!" at me all day, and ramp up the drama of any given situation to an 11. He is also in search of a larger vocabulary. He will jump up and down shouting "Ma-MEE-ah" (why the extra syllable all of a sudden?!) at me until I name every object / subject / event in our immediate area. When I hit upon the thing he wants to talk about, I then have to give him more words to describe it. It's exhausting - for both of us.

This is Alec just after he whispered "nooooooooooooo" at me. Notice the stubborn set to both his jaw and his eyes...


I am so tired of food. This makes me incredibly sad, because I love food, but right now, I am sick of it. I have a husband who has finally actively joined me in a desire to erase processed foods... but he doesn't have to be in charge of the meal planning, shopping and preparation of said 'clean' meals. He just enjoys them, and feels good about the changes that we are making for our health and longevity. Then I have 2 kiddos who are so picky that their diets currently consist of somewhere between 6 and 10 foods... oh, and the 11-year-old nephew who joins us for dinner most nights is crazy-picky too, but about different things than my guys. So I spend intense amounts of time and effort each day worrying about how to feed my family healthy food that they will eat, yet Don and I are the only ones who eat a full meal on any given night. The rest of them pick and poke and frown and ask to be excused. Just thinking about it makes me tired. And I have lost my love of dinner. By the end of the meal, I just want everyone to go to bed. I don't care if it's only 6:30 - do not speak to me again until I have calmed down... and that may take a while.


Lily Ruth is really coming into her own. She is blossoming from a shy little bud of a kindergartener who only ever wanted to play School and could only play with her friends if they let her be in charge into a much more willing participant who can almost read, speaks up in groups and has learned how to let her friends have choices and control when they play together. She is sillier and funnier than ever. She is bold with color and has a beautifully open fashion sense. I cannot WAIT to see what's next!


We went on vacation last week. When you have small children, vacations aren't really a break for Mama. Vacations just mean that all of your regular routine still needs to happen, but without the benefit of your own things, familiar surroundings, or playdates to take the edge off. We still managed to have a wonderful time. The kids were fantastic, the scenery was incredible, and I now have a new fitness goal - to be strong enough to attempt skiing in a year. I haven't wanted to ski since the first and only time that I attempted it 20 years ago, but after learning how to dress for cold weather, and realizing that there is a lot to see up there that I can't get to without riding up that lift, I want to try again.

I also want to spend more time alone with my husband. He's wonderful, and even though we are together every night, we are so tired and stressed right now that I feel like I miss him.


There is so much going on that my head spins 24/7. Much of it is just not my story to tell, so I end up writing nothing. *sigh* Well, there are a lot of fun things coming up - including VBS (and I am in charge of crafts!!!!), so perhaps I will find a comfortable groove and a story to tell soon.

Love you anyway!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Still Me, Still Here

Ya'll, I have been struggling, and struggling mightily. I don't really know how to explain said struggle except to say that I am struggling with where we ARE now. I am worn down, frazzled and short-tempered. But because all of us are healthy, we have enough money to pay our bills, and good things keep happening, I haven't felt entitled to my struggle. Instead, I have bottled it up and pushed it down. I have forced myself to keep taking steps forward. Until today.

Today started off hard. I was awakened before my alarm, and it all sort of snowballed from there. By 1:00 I was sitting at the kitchen table paying bills and working to fix several mistakes  / oversights / messes caused by my recent inability to focus and/or complete tasks / thoughts / sentences. I stopped to stare at my facebook feed for a while, and there was a post from Anne Lamot:

"I have been having a hard time, full of struggle, awful things happening to people I adore, even me. But I knew the plates of the earth were shifting when I dreamed this morning that a friend and I shot and killed her evil husband. We thought it was a perfect crime, except it turned out I'd left my purse there.
Because the small brown paper bag miracle is that I got my sense of humor back, about the truth of who I am: hilariously screwed-up. I seem to be, and strive to be, an incredibly kind, generous lovebug. But I am--and i bet you are--the tiniest bit more complex.
I know I have a murderous streak in me. We are a violent species. Cain is still killing Abel. I get mine from DNA, the culture, and my mother. She was a short, plump Englishwoman with huge brown eyes, which could turn pinpointed and black when she went into self-righteous trance. I got my brains from her, but also my black belt co-dependence, and tiny, tiny control issues. These always lead to suppressed fury.
Once my beloved Jesuit travel companion Tom Weston was crunching ice so loudly that it got on my nerves. i asked this man of Christ's love, "Why do you do that?" He replied, "Rage."
So that is a part of the mix, our dark scary shadow. But so is this:
A recent day had been horrible in every possible way, beginning with nightmarish weather, very sick friends family feuds; ending with my doctor's nurse forcing me onto the scale, although I was puffed up like a grampus after a run in with full-sodium soy sauce. Then my '59 VW broke down on our main boulevard.
I was able to glide halfway out of the lane, so now there were one and a half functioning lanes during high traffic. Everyone honked. What a great feeling. It was such a final straw that I got a small miracle. Instead of it breaking the camel's back, I started to laugh.
Then I said the fourth great prayer: "Please, God, fix my car."
I turned the key. Click click silence. But they say when all else fails, follow instructions. Or, as my pastor said when I was fearfully headed on a plane 10,000 miles away, "When you step onto a plane, it's a little late for beggy prayers. It's time for trust and surrender." So I sat there mostly believing that she was right. Cars honked. I remembered a sober woman with oral cancer, who'd lost part of her tongue, and was on chemo, nonchalantly telling some sober friends, "I'm not worried. God's got it."
So I sat there fingering a medallion I wear around my neck, that says, "God's got it."
Then, Knock knock knock, a man was knocking on my car window, in the pouring rain, making the universal sign of "Roll down your window." I did. He asked if I needed a push. I asked him if he worked for God. He said that he didn't know about that, but he tried to. I took off my handbrake, and he rolled me to the side of the road. He asked if I was out of gas. I said there was no way. There is no gas gauge in my old car, so I keep excellent records. I could prove I had gas, I announced, getting out my gas log. He waved off my effort. Then he set about fixing my car.
Well, if you have one more minute, I will tell you the excruciating truth: he tried to jumpstart me, although the clicking indicated the battery was fine. He pushed my car really fast, so I could throw it into 2nd gear, and get it started. It started, and died.
He opened the back where the engine is, blew on the spark plugs, tugged on other things in a mysterious manly way, asked again if I might possibly be out of gas. I got my gas log out of the glovebox, and showed him self-righteously that I had bought ten gallons, but had only used 5. (My mom was a lawyer.)
He went and got his iPhone, and turned its flashlight beam into my gas tank. "I don't see any," he said, rather apologetically. "We could go to my house and get a gas can. I live nearby." Hah! Like I was born yesterday! Like I don't know that this is a classic modis operandi of serial killers. But I was exhausted, and exhaustion is usually the beginning of wisdom and change. So I decided to practice trust and surrender. I got in his truck and we drove to his house, where got his gas can from his too-neat, Dexter garage, and he treated me to two gallons of gas at the local gas station. He poured it in my tank. The VW started right up. We hugged and kissed and I did a crazy Wavy Gravy dance of gratitude, right there on the road, for everyone to see. Then I filled up my tank, which had been bone dry, Ezekiel and the valley of the dry bones dry; despite my excellent records.
Beauty and mess go hand in hand. The Good can look like a sunrise, or like the winner in an Ugliest Dog contest, all Dr. Seuss spots of hair, and buck teeth. This goodness is the only thing that can ever save us. It is what grace looks like, this unmerited, freely given spiritual WD-40. Grace means that love is bigger than any dark weird shit life can throw at you, or even that we can throw at our nutty, tender, worried, exuberant, baby selves. All truth is paradox. For instance, I miss my mom; and she is also right here."

Just reading this particular post caused the tears that have floated just behind my eyes 24 hours a day for the past several weeks to come gushing forward. They brought their best friend Uncontrollable Sobbing with them. Heeding my mother's recent advice that 'sometimes you just have to cry until you can stop', I just went with it. I cried while I removed my eye makeup and pinned my hair back. Then I cried while I filled the bathtub, added some bath oil, gathered my kindle, towel and robe and got in. By the time I settled in, I was pretty much done crying, so I just read until I could coax myself out of the tub. 

I just keep hearing "When you step onto a plane, it's a little late for beggy prayers. It's time for trust and surrender." I know that it's time. I know that. What I don't know is how to do either. I am a control freak at the end of her leash - barking at everything that moves past me. Completely unable to influence any of it. So, what do I do? Cry some more? Poke at my demons with a stick? Shout my (unasked-for) opinions until somebody does what I say? I dunno.

What I DO know is that I now have 20 minutes until my daughter steps off the bus and the merry-go-round starts turning at full speed again. Just enough time to fold laundry and wash dishes. Yay.

Here, hold this for me, will ya?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Oh, HI!

Oh my. So, I have refused to look at my blog stats to even see how long it has been since I last posted. Perhaps I'll look once this post is done... but I've MISSED YOU! I've missed writing. I've missed taking the time to chronicle the minutiae of our lives. I especially miss the hours that I have wasted staring at social media instead of feeding any sort of creative urges that I might have had.

That brings me to the NOW. The new year. A time for good intentions and clearing out and moving forward in a purposeful manner. And so I shall - but first, let me catch you up.

Lily Ruth is FIVE. She is a kindergartener, a ballet dancer, a budding thespian, a singer of silly songs, a tiny fashionista, and an all-around wonderful girl. She is bolder and braver every day. She is wild and funny, stormy and petulant, kind and thoughtful all in every day.

Alec D is 20 months old. Almost old enough to stop counting by months ;-) He is talking up a storm, running, climbing and changing so fast that it's hard to keep up! He loves water, swings, and work of any kind (For Christmas, he got a broom / mop set and a toy vacuum cleaner. He spent the next 3 hours "cleaning" the house). He stopped nursing January 1st. This week, we will dismantle the crib. Next week, I expect him to learn to solve for "X" :-P

Dottie Dog just passed her first anniversary of being a dog with a permanent home. She is funny and kind and full of crazy dog energy. I am thankful for her every day.

Last year was hard and wonderful and full of change. But most of it was just hard. I used almost all of my energy every day just trying to keep us afloat and not act like a total jerk. And we are. Afloat, that is - I may or may not have been a jerk... It took all of us working together, but our family is happy, healthy and whole. I know that I managed to make a few things along the way, and a few story-worthy things happened. If I end up remembering any of it in sufficient detail, I will tell you all about it.

For now, it just feels good to be typing instead of scrolling on my phone. Let's just call this progress, and hope to build from here, shall we?