Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Funniest things I noticed

The funniest things I noticed today.

I have a chin hair.
So I can say, 'not by the hair on my chinny chin chin' and mean it.

We had a torrential downpour that lasted twenty minutes, and made me miss day-long rainfalls.

It's really important to get out of the work environment for the day, for at least a little bit if possible, even if it's just outside, to maintain a greater perspective.

I am a fickle writer. I enjoy it, but I have yet to settle as one.

I miss working with words all day.

My son genuinely enjoys drinking Peppermint tea at night, and loves wearing his plaid robe and pajama pants, making him look like a quirky character in a young novel.

Commercials ruin the television watching experience, to the point that I am perfectly content watching old seasons on Netflix. Commercials are like an assault on your enjoyment. I am happy that my children are not used to commercials.

I can not WAIT until the boys are in bed so I can sneak some ice cream with crushed peanut m and ms and hershey syrup, because I don't have any Hoodsie cups to mix m and ms in. Yes, I actually noticed that.

I just caught above-mentioned son smiling at a boy-girl kiss on a show we're watching. But I can't tell him I caught him.

I'm probably going to not eat the ice cream and just go to bed early, because the time to eat ice cream has passed.

The things I noticed aren't really funny.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday thoughts

Here's what's hard about making space for the work you want to do. All the other things. The work you have to do for a paycheck. The dinners you have to cook for family. The things you're needed for in the moment, things that must be done.

Sometimes, the work I want to do, that must be done at the end of the work day, the things I love, the writing, the editing, the playing with words, the pulling out the camera and taking pictures, (so many pictures!) has to fall to the side. In favor of a bicycle ride to the creek. A trip to the movies. A conversation about superheroes. Finding laundry. Good night kisses. Tea.

I think, I'll never get to write. I'll never get to sit down. It never ends.

But that's a lie, because I will. One day, the boys won't be ten. They'll be teenagers passing through the doors. One day, my girl will be gone, off somewhere living her own life. The nights of little boys stealing time will fade away, and how sad to think of it.

So the space I have now, in between the other things, the working, the family, the living of the life, well, I carve it out, here and there, between the rest.

One day, I will be glad for the extra time, when the boys are no longer ten, and the girl has graduated high school, found her way to a path, moved past the need for this home.  Sometimes, though, I think I'll stop, and sigh, and wish for ten, again, and think it'd be nice, to watch a show (maybe Doctor Who...) with the three of them, and then I'll sigh, and remember bicycle rides by the creeks and peppermint tea at night, and write.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Apple Butter Jam Kind of Life

I’m home sick, eating the toast I want, without the jam I want. I’m craving the apple butter jam I had that day at breakfast earlier this summer with my friends.  That was the only day I ever liked apple butter jam, and that day, I believed, it was strawberry jam I ended up putting on the toast. It’s just that the apple butter jam had a lovely color to it, and a wonderful name, and we talked about it for a while, because there wasn’t much of any other jam left, and the whole time I wanted to be the person that appreciated something as subtle and pale and delicate as apple butter jam. I could be the friend that would say, on a breezy Saturday morning sitting outside a breakfast cafe, that could I please have the toast, and then to my friends, “Oh, I just love the apple butter jam.”

I’d like to live an apple butter jam kind of life. It’s awful confusing the life I’m living, it’s not at all the one I’d imagined, or sought. There seems to be so much going on it that there’s no time for subtleness or delicacy or loveliness. It’s all rigid and ordered and bright primary colors and bold statements and noises.

Take the first day of school, for instance. It’s soon, in case anyone hasn’t been paying attention. The ads on the television and the radio and the internet are screaming at me, shouting at me, and have been since the end of July, warning me about the busy bustle of school, of all the things I’ll need to get done, and barely have time for, coaching me on how to be organized and still be working/carpooling/homework-helping/sports-chauffeuring/dinner-making family mom who still has a sense of humor and hair, and who, for some bizarre reason, loves not having a minute to herself. The martyred uber-woman. She does it all, is frazzled, but look at her family, so worth it, we are taught to think. So since summer, it’s all been shouting, Shouting, SHOUTING  at me, and I turned away, covered my ears, closed my eyes. I don’t want it. I don’t want to be shouted at anymore, I don’t want the world to yell at me. It’s really enough. It’s why, this year, I’m both barely prepared and more prepared for school to start than any other year. I have just the right amount of deafness to the world. I think at one time, I tried to be that woman, that mom, but it didn’t last long. It turns out, I’m singularly incapable of martyring myself on the altar of the uber-family-woman. It’s probably for the best, that I failed so utterly at it, because if I had been able to pull it off, I fear I’d still be there. 

I believe there are more women out there like me, blocking their ears and cringing in the aisles of Targets and Walmart’s, not signing up for the extra duties that our children might one day need. It’s just none of us are shouting back. Instead, we're just quietly dropping out. The little girl that chases all the older kids playing soccer or football or whatever, and then, not being able to catch up, realizing she doesn’t even like the game, just the running bit,  goes off and plays on the sidelines with dirt and flowers and other little kids.

Of course I bought the school supplies, I am a mother, after all, and have responsibilities, but I am not lying when I say that a part of me recoiled in terror, and my fight or flight reflex kicked in, urging me to run for cover, when, in the Target aisle, turning the corner, I heard the voices of raised mothers and daughters and mothers and sons as they analyzed school supply lists and matched them to the proper product. Oh so carefully! So precisely! Then, let the negotiations for color, brand and style commence! Big red carts filled with too many things, paper things, plastic things, boxes of things, things, and more things. Things we, for some reason, did not need as children going back to school. What happened to one big binder with a few notebooks and pens and pencils? Now, we must buy dry erase markers, elite Ticonderoga pencils, pre-sharpened preferred, crayons, sharpie markers, notebooks for every thought, binders and index cards and labels and folders, so many folders. It was overwhelming, the noise of it all! 

I want to walk away from it, and go back to a place where things were not the thing, where education was not dependent on the things, where it was libraries and books and dog-eared text-book pages from reading and reading and reading to understand, and confounding problems solved with chalk at a board as students followed another student trying to figure out where they goofed on the fourth long division problem of the day, and heads on desks because the Velveteen Rabbit was too sad to watch where others could see you cry, and there was so much more of the mind and less of the thing. Where after school was for playing and after dinner was for family, no one used snow days for homework and parents said ‘do your homework’ without sitting down to help unless it was Algebra and you were failing, and even then, it was up to you. You know, to live an apple butter jam kind of life.

A quiet, perfect, glass world

This is a terrarium I created sometime last winter. The plants are still alive, the bicycle still parked in its lovely spot by  sheep and rock and ferns.  It's the thing I look at when I'm writing, when I'm working, and sometimes, just when I'm in the room, and feeling out of sorts and away from where I want to be.  It reminds me of the things that make me happy. If it's a day like today, when I am stuck home sniveling with a swimming head groggy and grumpy that a cold has had the audacity to affect me, and annoyed with myself for somehow letting this cold affect me, well, I can look at this terrarium, this little glass world,  and remember the cold will be gone in a few days, and soon, I can go back out there, to the trees, to ride my bike, to run, to hike, to play. This is not a permanent state. I look at it some more and the stirrings begin.  They turn and toss vaguely inside and become a thing, a thought, a want. I start to desire. That is when I remember the point of it, the reason why I created it, why I tolerate the sight of so much dirt in a jar. It has a mission, this silly little oversized vase with its miniature plants. The most important thing about the terrarium, the thing I can never forget, is its role as a predictor, a marker, a promise of the future, a goal, a harbinger.  I look through the dusty glass into a moment of thought in stasis, a moment I captured with  rich, moist soil and green ferns that when looked upon becomes a hint of fields and forests and quiet country. Then, I remember, I captured this world from a loved and almost lost memory of a different yesterday, and a dream of a desired tomorrow filled with wet, dark, spring soils and flowering fields; of forests and country with  quiet bicycle rides and roaming meadows where shady trees and busy creeks mark long-shadowed days of summers as they fall joyfully into crisp, sunny, golden falls. All that in this little, quiet, perfect, glass world.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Living fearlessly in the every day

Bear on the Ropes course.
This is Bear. We waited an hour so he could play on the Ropes Course. He loved it, up there, climbing and swinging and leaping. He was fearless, his hair swinging in the wind, his laughter high and loud. This is how our lives are meant to be lived. Fearlessly. I spent a lot of time not writing on this blog to finish a book I was writing. I had it in my head that I could not write and blog, which is silly in hindsight. I love this blog. I love posting little vignettes of my life and my thoughts. Returning back to work after a month off, we participated in some professional development which focused on living authentically. So much of the session was about how to live your life past your fears, the little fears that stop you in your every day life. After four hours, I realized that I wasn't living without fear at all, and that it had been holding me back. I suppose many of us feel that way! It is not how it is meant to be, though, we are meant to be only ourselves, no one else, nothing else. I did finish my book, and only time will tell if it's the one that will get published. In the meantime, you can find me here, in between the times I'm writing my next story and getting through the daily living of life with cats and kids.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Breathing through the days

So much of what we do is reactive. Have a rough encounter with a grumpy sales person, react. Be surrounded by yelly, upset people, react. Be in a group of people who just are negative, react. Be in a group of people deep in worry about their own days and problems, and we react.

I'm over reacting.(ha ha ha) My whole intent going back to work is to not react, because my purpose, my intent in life, does not reside in that job, in that work. I will never get to where I want to be, however, if all of my energy is used reacting.

I have words pouring through my mind that need to find blank pages to fall onto. I have characters living lives less than the ones they should be, wanting to be on those same pages. I have beautiful people, beautiful thoughts, and I want to release them.

That separation from the tasks of making money to the task of creating must be solid so that one day, the art of creating is the income, or, or even, the art of creating is simply accomplished. I would like to earn income from it, but for the time being, I'm focused on the creating.

Do not over react, do not react with too much energy, do not offer it too much thought. That is my charge going into work next week. I plan to do a lot of nice, relaxing breathing. Maybe I'll do tai chi in my head. Heck, maybe I'll do tai chi in the office!

Welcome back to work! For some, it is their life's passion, for others, it's a job while they conduct their life's passion in their off time!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Live in the space of each moment

Last night I stayed up forever because it was Sunday, because I drank too much caffeine (again) and because I kept thinking I needed to get ready for work. (One day, I will have a job where I don't get as much time off, but I'm hoping to put that off for a year or two longer). Husbear has time off, too, and it's awesome because he's been home long enough that now he's beginning to do dishes and be generally around. I wonder when the balance between work and home got so, imbalanced?

I remember Christmas break as a child. The holiday would come, then we'd have a full week of this lingering feeling of celebration and Christmas. This is that in-between time, the week between the day after Christmas and New Year's Eve. Many people are just working, but there's still that lingering 'holiday-ish' feel out there.
This year, I'm using that time to get some things in order around the house. Deep clean the kitchen, because it was driving me crazy, check, declutter the dining area and living room, check. Toss out ugly lamp because Bear through a meditation pillow at it and broke it, check.

It's more than an effort to match the standards of organizational magazine perfection, but more of a way to create more space. I know I've mentioned it before - rather than finding time, find space, because after looking at my day, I have the time. We all do. We just struggle to find space, and call it time.

I have the space to write, which is the most important, but it took longer than I thought. It was a work in progress, but over the past few months, I managed it. Husbear had to help, because he's really good with physical spaces. I worked on the emotional space, the letting go of things that I don't want to hold on to but sort of just linger anyhow, like the taste of orange juice right after brushing your teeth. There's just no way to get rid of that easily. Mostly it's annoying things like, so and so (who you don't even really care about) did this annoying thing, or said something to someone, and it's all at work and so and so is sooo just very sooo...,and you just... can't... stop....thinking about it...and then you're like, 'but I don't even caaarreee...' and well, many of us do it. I'm proactively not doing it.

Walk with Bear down the Lefthand Creek path -
We were checking out the flood damage from September - the month
whenmoments we weren't expecting interrupted
the moments we had planned.
I have the space for my crafts now, too. I don't have many, writing takes up the brunt of my free time now, but I'm determined this year to finish my quilt, and, yet again, to manage to finish my daughter's cross stitch that I started when she was 3. Don't tell her though, in case I don't.

One weird thing I noticed is that I am better in everything when I meditate or do Tai Chi. Tai Chi is the easier way to meditate. You can get lost in the movements. It's also really really good for your health overall, though I'm not 100 percent sure why.  I'm less stressed, less aggravated, more calm, I have more energy and it's easier to just be present.

I love being present, and being mindful. It really does make every moment, well, just... more, because you're in the moment. The truth is, we can predict based on the patterns of the past, for the most part, what our lives will be like, but the other truth is that we also can't, because while we can be fairly certain that we'll wake up, drop off kids, go to work, pick up groceries, come home, shop for sales on line, etc etc on any given day, we can't be certain that on any given day that cycle won't be utterly changed by something, for good or bad. You suddenly run into someone and it leads to an opportunity for a great job in another state. Whoa. (See, it doesn't have to be bad, we just always thing, yeah, at ANY given moment, a meteor could land on your head, instead of, at any given moment, an act of serendipity, good fate or good fortune will surprise us!) The point is, we worry about, dwell about, think about and plan an unchanging future, when the truth is, our future will change. Nothing to stress about, it's just life, but we should just... be okay with it, and live in the space that the moment we are occupying is in, and fully explore the space of that moment, so as to truly live it. When I do that, when I truly occupy that space, I find that the moment seems infinite. Time slows. It's beautiful. (Unless the moment involves having just stubbed your toe or something painful, but it's still worth being there. It really is, it makes the stubbed toe feel less stubbed, trust me on this one.)

It's time now for everyone to ask about New Year's Resolutions, and most of us at some point just stop bothering, because we realize the New Year is really just an extension of the old. It is a good time though, to reflect, and think about whether or not you're headed the right way in life, whether or not you're doing the work you want to do, exploring the hobby you want to pick up, etc etc. My New Year's Resolution is to continue the same resolutions I've had in the past. Write. Run. Be healthier. I'll add one though, I'll add, 'Live in the Space of Each Moment.'

Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's cleaning time - but not, or kinda... I don't want to.

I stayed up a little too late reading all these ways to truly clean your house. There are magazines and television shows devoted to a clean house. I get how people can lose entire days in the pursuit of the perfectly coiffed home. Everything is always pretty, perfect and coordinated. I find a degree of cleanliness and neatness also occurs in households with no children, or a small child to adult ratio - like two parents, one kid, three parents, two kids etc etc... I have three kids and a husband that works forever, so my ratio is 1:4. I'd surrender, I would, but there's no one to surrender to. I  even tried once. I spent a week once waving a white pillowcase to the OverLords of Organization, Order and Coordinated Rooms, bought just for the occasion, but they refused to accept it.

I can say that most of my house is pretty and coordinated when it's clean, we've painted most of the downstairs, and two of the bedrooms upstairs, but, alas.... the perfect part eludes me.

I do have pockets of clean areas that move around the house, sometimes it's my desk area, sometimes it's the living room, sometimes it's the kitchen, but it's never all of those areas at once. My house isn't big enough to trick guests. I can't just invite them into the pocket of clean, because we have a small town home and an open floor plan. Poor planning on not-my-part.  I suspect the real problem lies in the children, and there isn't a place I can store them neatly, though I have tried.

Their stuff gets everywhere. It creeps out of their room into the hall, down the stairs and onto every surface - there's a sock, shoes, a leftover shirt that randomly got taken off, stuffed animals, a small lego creation... just now, I see a long green stuffed snake, some hero factory dude, headphones, night vision goggles (toy)... all scattered randomly around. They pick them up when I say, then somehow, new things come back.

That, and crafts.  I'm looking at a corner filled with fabric, plastic bags of pieces of fabric cut for a quilt I'd like to work on and somehow, a rock tumbler, a white board and a few other non-mine things have slipped in the open boxes.

I could leave it all today. I could. But I can't stand the sight of it. What I mostly want to do is get to my writing, but it's hard to write when all around you is disorder and chaos. I must take care of the house now when I have the vacation time if I want to write at home.

So that's why today I'll probably go to a coffee shop to write...