Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Hi! Um, there's nothing new to say. Still packing.

We needed more boxes. Can you believe that? After two trips to the carton store to buy used boxes, four rolls of bubble wrap, a bag of packing paper, we had to go to Fred Meyer's last night to beg for free boxes. I just can't believe we needed MORE. I clearly have too much stuff.

Actually, it's the kid who has too much stuff. I think the stuff in her room alone filled 15 boxes!

Anyway, I'll be here for one more day, then no internet access until January 8th. That is a magical day, however, because the internet connection fairies will be coming to my new house to install a satellite dish which will allow me to use the internet wirelessly from anywhere in the house. I can hardly wait.

Have a happy new year, and enjoy some old pictures:


Giving auntie a shot.





Cousins don't shake hands, cousins hug!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Up To My Ears in Bubble Wrap

......and boxes and tape. Did you know bubble wrap comes on big rolls? I had no idea. I have found some really weird things in our house, like a coffee urn. Honey? Do we really need this? And, why did you have one in the first place? Oh, it was given to you. Again, WHY?

I have been to the Goodwill donation station more times in the last two weeks than my cat has visited the litter box in the last two days. I found out today that Sears needs to special order the kit to stabilize our washer before we move it - which consists of four bolts - and will take 5 to 10 days. We are moving in four days, including weekend and holidays. It doesn't look like the washer is going to make the moving truck.

These details are boring. How about some pictures? December was a busy month. There was a the certain birthday of a certain child turning six years old.



The Birthday Girl





Birthday party with 18 kids. EIGHT. TEEN.





Opening a present with her cousin, the cutie pie with the adorable pigtails.





The traditional birthday seafood. She ate one coconut shrimp this year, and didn't want any more.





Santa brought a bike!





She's a good rider already.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

In Which I Advise Strangers in a Wine Purchase

I don't know what it is about me, but I seem to invite trust from strangers. On any number of occasions while out for a lunchtime stroll I have been stopped in downtown Portland for directions; to the zoo, the Hilton hotel, or Pioneer Square among others. Helping another person this way is not entirely an altruistic act. There is the feeling of satisfaction from helping a fellow human find his way and expecting nothing in return, but there is also the unique satisfaction of being considered inviting enough to draw inquiry from a stranger and then being given the chance to demonstrate one's skillful navigational prowess.

Earlier today I was doing some shopping at a store which carries groceries and clothes, furniture and toys. I'll call it Fred Meyer's. I'll call it that because that is its name. Not 30 seconds after walking into the store, a woman pushing a cart looked me in the face and asked me did I know where the toy department was. Coincidence?

Later on I was in the wine section of the groceries when I overheard the two people next to me discussing wine. "Theoretically, this bottle..." said one, and he pointed to a $25 bottle of mass-produced California wine product, "...should be better than this bottle" and he pointed to some cheaper bottle. The other man said they should just look for the best-looking label and go with that. I was standing right next to them, twitching with expectation. Here is when all that drinking I've done will come in handy, I thought.

They're going to ask me for a recommendation, I'm standing right next to them. If they don't then I will just tell them what I think because that's the kind of pushy woman I am. Pushy, maybe, but then again I'm the one that knows where to find the toys AND the good wine.

"What type of wine are you looking for?" I asked, admittedly a little disappointed not to be asked when, couldn't they tell I just gave out primo directions to the toy department? The first guy answered they were looking for a good Merlot, and then confessed to not knowing a thing about wine. I suppressed a loud chortle because gee, I don't know what gave it away, ha ha! (Here's the really funny part: I don't know much about wine, either. I drink an awful lot of it and so can tell you from experience, but I hear that a particular label isn't the same from year to year, because of something to do with vintage blah blah this year's harvest blah blah weather. I don't let those kind of details stop me from giving advice, however.)

I said I'd be glad to help them find a good bottle, and pointed them to a $12.50 bottle of Genesis by Hogue Cellars. I myself selected a Cabernet.

It was fun, they were nice about it and glad to have some direction after staring at five shelves of bottles and not having a clue as to how to select one.

Tonight, I am enjoying that Cabernet in front of the fire. There's so much to do, but not tonight. OH is out with a friend who is in from out of town. OC is at her bio dad's. I've cleaned the living room floor, done some organizing, and packed a box full of breakables.

Ahhhhhhhh.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Furry Beings of Pee

I'm sitting here checking email when I find myself engaged in a battle of wills...with my cat.

Dakota wants to pee on the floor, and I don't want him to. Every time he wanders over to his Favorite Pee Spot, I throw something his direction to land of the floor near him and scare him - but not enough to scare the piss out of him, hopefully.

He just did it again! This time I threw a half-filled water bottle, which landed with a loud *SMACK!* and he ran away. He is sitting in the middle of the room. Waiting for me to stop looking.

He sauntered over to Potential Pee Spot #2 until I start whistling. He whirls around to see me looking him in the eye, then kind of walks back like, "What? I'm just walking. I didn't do anything."

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

I've taken him to the litter box, scooped it, shown him it's been scooped, and still he walks back into the living room. I don't think there is anything physically wrong with him, just mentally. He is an attention-pee-er, has been all his life. He was orphaned at a young age and never learned the proper way to cover up his leavings. Instead of sticking his paw in the litter to cover it, he rubs the side of the box and covers up nothing. This is nothing new. Believe me, I wouldn't let him be sick and not take him to the vet. I really don't think he's sick.

He is likely stressed out because of all the boxes stacked up around him. He's moved enough times with me to know that this means we're doing it again, oh my holy heck. (Who am I with the 'holy heck', Ned Flanders???) He's a sensitive kitty, he knows something is up, and he wants to let me know he knows in case I think of leaving him behind while I go away and leave him for 16 days or something.

The Battle of Wills continues. I think I've worn him down, because he just settled down to rest in his fuzzy kitty bed. I won't take my eye off of him until he's used the litter box. How long can he hold it, anyway?



Mr. Innocent

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Simple Math, Massive Debt

We signed today for the house in Redmond. Now that we own two houses, I think the only questions left are, where should we celebrate Christmas? Shall we summer at the old house for two weeks or three?

The truth is, we're up to our ears in debt now. Until the old house sells it's beans and rice for dinner. And breakfast, too.

Want to take a guess at what the Christmas stockings will be filled with?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Electricity

Last night saw several odd things happen, although one of them I didn't find out until this morning.

OH spent all day Sunday finishing up the tree that fell. He said he was feeling sick and so took a shower and went to bed at 6:30 without dinner.

Later that night, I had several appliances running: dishwasher, dryer and furnace. The lights flickered in the house. OH was awake and getting a drink in the kitchen and happened to look out into the backyard at that moment where he said he saw sparks and fire at the shed in the yard, as though it were coming out the electrical outlets. We had had some electrical work done earlier in the day to fix our bathroom switches that weren't done right when they were installed, so it was strange that it happened the same day. I don't know if the two are related, but he turned off that breaker to the shed which, luckily, doesn't affect the house.

I got ready to go to bed at 11:30, and not five minutes after that OH was up puking.

Ew.

He didn't make it to the toilet, and instead stood heaving onto the bedroom floor. He had begun running to the bathroom, but stopped when he started throwing up, which, who does that? I urged him to go to the bathroom, uh, you know, quickly! Why he stopped to lose it on the bedroom floor, I have no idea. Luckily, we have hardwood floors and so it was easy to clean.

But still, ew.

This morning I got out to the car to take OC to school, when she told me that something was wrong with the car's gas tank. "What is it?" I asked. "The door is open, the little door," she said. "Oh, well would you shut it please?" "No," she said, "I can't because the thing is out, too."

The gas cap was off and lying against the car, as if someone had tried to siphon gas. I had filled the car up just yesterday, and with only 7 miles on that tank of gas it was still full. There were no marks on the car as if it had been forced open, but then again the doors were unlocked to access the switch that opens the lid. No one is around on our deadend street two miles from the center of town.

It was all just really, really weird.

Annoying things have been happening too, like finding out secret cat-peeing areas that are not Officially Designated Cat-Peeing Areas. ARGH!

Note to my cats: I know you guys are stressed out with all these boxes piling up around you, and you don't know what's going on. Why for the love of peanut butter and honey can't you express yourselves in other ways? Like by offering to field a few phone calls for me, or taking the kid to school for me? WHY MUST IT ALWAYS BE BY PEEING WHERE YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO????

P.S. YOU ARE BASTARDS.


The credit union is calling this morning with another two loose ends to our loan. Will we close in time to move this year? Who knows.

Our tree is up. Guess where we got it? If you said "from a branch of the tree that fell in your yard"....YOU WOULD BE RIGHT!

And yes, it is a little ugly and a weird looking Christmas tree, but I'll be go to hell if I'm going to go out in the cold and mud to cut down a tree and pay $35 for it to stand ten days in the house and have to move the damn thing out so we can move our crap 126 miles to the new house. NO. WAY.

Ugly, free, branch-like tree it is!



It's.....I know. But the thing is there are presents under the tree, the kitties are happy to have it, OC is having fun decorating it, and it makes it smell really nice in here. And hey, the picture includes a cute little girl to distract you from that horrible tree!

Just don't look too closely at it (the tree). It might burn your eyes.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Stormy

We had a storm here last week. The wind blew, rain came down at an angle, and a tree came down in our front yard. The only casualty was the fence, and that was hit by our neighbor's tree so he's dealing with the insurance.

Friday night, my husband drove to Redmond along with two friends to move our tiller, garden tools, and gas and things the movers won't move, and his two old cars. It took all night. Then he stayed up all day and cut up both of the trees and cleaned up our yard.

I packed, cooked, cleaned, did laundry, and took care of OC. We're both totally exhausted. But guess what?!? There's more to do!

So. Much. More.

I still can't believe I'm moving, even with all the packing.

Friday was OC's birthday party. 18 kids - that's right, 18! - in an acoustically-challenged room where they ran around and screamed for two hours. In between the screaming they slowed down for pizza, presents, cake, and an attempt at organizing them into groups for fun, organized playtime.

I have come to accept that I'm better at one-on-one time with kids that I am with large groups. It's my voice. It isn't loud and doesn't carry and I don't have the presence that some people have that gives kids the sense that they should listen to me. My sister, another mom at the party, and my husband were great, however. They got the kids playing with balls, a parachute, a bean bag toss game, and hula hoops and jump ropes. They had a blast, but it looked like complete chaos to me. I was so grateful for the help, because those kids would've eaten me alive. Kids can smell fear, you know, and 18 kids scared the hell out of me simply by their numbers.

Whatever. OC said it was great and she had a great time, and that's all that matters.

Next week holds all the loose ends we need to tie up before Christmas. The mover kinda wants to know what day he should send the big trucks to pick up our stuff. No pressure.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Business of Moving

Today sucked the mother of all lemons.

First, there is packing. We worked like crazy this weekend, got a lot done, but there is so much left to do. The sorting. The prioritizing. The throwing out.

It's all happening, it's fine.

Then, there is the scheduling. Yesterday, we're getting temporary storage; today, we're not. This is actually a good thing, because it gives us time to pack our things and give the house a good cleaning, then paint and fix the random things there are to fix. Like patch drywall, which I've never done in my life but will soon become proficient since I have to fix holes left by our previous contractor. Yes, he put holes in the wall.

Lastly, there is the need to hire a contractor to fix the other random things we don't have time to do, like put stairs at the back door to complete the remodel permit we have open, STILL.

Fun!

All of this stresses my husband out, which makes him testy, which stresses me out, and makes me testy.

OC is blissfully unaware, as it should be. She feels free to whine and cry when she is bored or tired in the afternoons and either I spend time redirecting her or I get frustrated and try to explain to her that this is what we're doing and soon life will be happy again but right now I have to get these things done and be on the phone but someday I will be a mother who us fun and not be Crazy-Stressed Out Mommy maybe for once in your damn life but for now I want to run away! Far, far away!

But I can't because I have to move this household to Central Oregon within a fluctuating time frame and complete school paperwork and realtor paperwork and credit union paperwork not to mention plan and give a FANTASTIC BIRHTDAY PARTY ON FRIDAY.

FRIDAY!!!

I'll get back to you when I've found my damn mind. I just don't have time to look for it right now.

Friday, December 08, 2006

NaNo-a-Go-Go

Okay, so I've been tagged (FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, OMG!!!) to do a meme.

The story was started by Mrs. Chicken of Chicken and Cheese. On the heels of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, I know you're all exhausted by all the fiction already, but it is compelling if I do say so myself. Can't wait to see how it ends!

(by Mrs. Chicken @ Chicken and Cheese)
I thought I saw him at the grocery store. It was raining that afternoon, and he had an umbrella. The red and white triangles that made up his portable shelter partly obscured his face, but I caught a glimpse of his eyes. Those eyes. Huge, blue and empty.

When he left me I remember searching their vast cerulean expanse for some sign, some flicker of love. It rained that day, too. Why does it rain when you lose someone you love? My tears left him unmoved. I don’t know why that surprised me.

The baby kicked in my cart and I let my gaze fall on her face. Her father’s eyes stared back at me. Green eyes, warm and full of life.“Mamma?” she said. “Mamma!”

(by Binky @ 24/7)
The question-turned-exclamation jarred me out of my reverie. There was pressure in my temples and behind the hazel tint of my colored contact lenses. "Mamma's here," I cooed. My voice was a manufactured kind of soothing. I leaned in and brushed a kiss over Bethany's forehead, where a drop of rainwater hung like the tiniest Swarovski pendant. Its chain was made of fine blond locks.

"What do you think, baby girl?" I asked as I pulled her into my arms. "Is it time to go home?" Her searching legs and center of gravity found all the right contours as she settled atop the jut of my hip. I tugged at her coat until the hood framed her face, then I stepped into the rain. A small deluge of water streamed off the curve of the lowercase "o" on the Save-A-Lot sign and landed at the back of my neck. I could feel the tag from my shirt sticking sharp and soggy to my skin.

I sighed against Bethany's face and tried to avoid the bigger puddles on our way to my twenty year old Civic, which was miraculously close. One row over and three cars ahead, I saw a familiar red and white umbrella spanning the gap between an open door and the driver's seat of a rusty 4Runner that had to be as old as my own piece of junk. They guy I'd mistaken for Paul sat sideways and watched the rain as he talked into a cell phone.

(by Tony @ Creative-Type Dad)
Hastily reaching into my purse holding Bethany firmly, I could faintly hear the sound of his voice. His mumbled words were almost too reminiscent of Paul’s. The way he laughed as he said “Gouda” into his plastic phone brought back imagery of the two of us, sitting together last winter on the living room floor, sipping Merlot watching “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. Occasionally Paul would jokingly burst out vocabulary in his comedic English accent – expressions like “Don Perignon!” and “Caviar Dreams!” oh, how I loved Caviar and that faux bear skin rug.

With keys finally in hand, stumbling to open the rusty car door, I could sense this stranger's stare against my cheek. His phone chatter abruptly ended and I could hear the sounds of squeaking cowboy boots crushing the wet pavement.

(by Occidental Girl @ The Occidental Tourist)
My mind was suddenly full of so many thoughts vying for my attention at the same time that I couldn't think straight.

It can't be him, I thought, no way. What would I say? What do I look like? What am I wearing???

The answers came in rapid succession: It could be him, it's okay if it's him because I'm not angry anymore; I could talk about my fulfilling life that I've enjoyed since knowing him, like this beautiful child I created with someone else, without him; I look like shit but since I'm too hard on myself in general, I probably look just fine; men - especially Paul - don't notice what women are wearing unless it's nothing at all. Then, they notice.

When you coincidentally encounter someone you loved once, a long time ago, the traitorous mind tends to retrieve only the good memories and leave the battles and frustrations out of it. This leaves us to wonder what in the world we ever thought was wrong and maybe it was a mistake to end the relationship. After all, doesn't every relationship have ups and downs? Ours certainly did. It was passionate, without a doubt, but in every area: the loving AND the fighting. It was when the fighting overtook the loving that we fell apart. I wonder if he ever thought about all of that, even now. Paul didn't seem to notice many thing unless they were stark - naked or otherwise.

And yet, here he was - maybe - coming over to talk after all this time.

I took a deep breath, then turned around.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now, it's your turn:

Meg

You guys are next.
Bethany
Christy
Heather
Michelle
Mrs. Maladjusted
Kristi
Desitin's Child
Tater And Tot
Word Girl

Monday, December 04, 2006

Captain's Log

Stardate: 2006

Location: Volkswagen car dealership


A woman and her child arrive at the appointed time to have scheduled maintenance performed.

"No," says the man, "we cannot fit you in today. So sorry. Come back next week."

"But, I have an appointment! You suck!"

"Yes, indeed madame, but that doesn't change the fact that we won't be servicing your vehicle today."

"Make it better or I'll cry."

"Allright, you've talked me into it. I'll reschedule you for next Monday, and in order to keep the car 24 hours to make sure we can get the work finished I'll provide you with a rental car free of charge. We are inept, but then again we overcharge for our services, so it all works out in the end."

"You are the weakest link. GOOD BYE!"

Cut to dealership waiting room, 15 minutes later

"Enterprise, who is waiting for a rental car?"

"That's us!" I look at my bag, purse, car seat, and cat litter box. Carting around a 28 pound box of cat litter seems to scream 'This woman does her errands in the wrong order'. I felt an explanation was in order, but I was not in the mood.

The nice Enterprise lady helps me by carrying the cat litter. Ha! Little does she know that when we return the car, I will have a bag of cat food!

We are driven to rental car agency along with another nice couple from Washington who's brand new car crapped out on them on their way back from the beach. It was not a Volkswagen. They have a dog, which OC likes to pet.

We wait 10 minutes or so before the man says, "Okay! Let's head out to the minivan!"

"Um," I say, hesitantly, while looking at the seven passenger minivan he is about to give me for my temporary use for myself and my child. "Do you have anything smaller?"

"Why no! Well, not that is ready right now, and I didn't think you'd want to wait."

Damn, he's good.

"Okay. We're getting the minivan!"

"Hooray!" Says OC.

fin

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

A minivan. A seven passenger minivan. And me without my five children! Of course, OC wanted to sit in the waaaaaay back. She was so far back that I couldn't hand her things, like a bottle of water. I had to throw it to her. I swear there was an echo in that thing.

I liked the automatic doors. I can see why people buy them, it's so convenient to get the kids in and out. You're up higher and can see all around. I really felt like I was in a captain's chair, and where was Scotty?

Damn it, Jim! I'm a doctor on a tv show, not your personal puppet!

Oh, brother.

The entire 24 hours we had the minivan, it was just OC and I. I thought about calling people I knew to see if their kids needed a ride somewhere, but they didn't. What a waste of all that passenger space.

Captain Out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

After the Holiday

This month is flying by. I hope you all had great Thanksgiving weekends and dinners with family and loved ones. (I didn't mean to separate those two but then realized that it's probably appropriate since they may not necessarily be one in the same for all of us. Gasp!)

We had a quiet weekend with family that included a lot of driving. OH's parents hosted us for two nights, and his two brothers were there. His dad was doing well, his throat becoming annoyingly sore but he's not nauseous from the radiation yet.

I made sure to call my family and wish them a happy day. My mom and two sisters were all spending time with friends and family as well, so no one was alone and that was good to know.

I went to see my grandma, aunt and bio-dad. It was not as weird as it could have been. Bio-dad was actually talkative. Of course, everything he talked about was in the past, but what else is new? I sat there like a lump and couldn't think of a darn thing to say most of the visit, because I couldn't think what with all the screaming inside my head. It was a short visit, gracefully.

Saturday, we drove to Bend to scout a high school football game. That turned out to be moot since the team my husband coached for lost in their round of the playoff games and won't be playing that team next week. Oh well. The pass was crappy but there were no incidents, and I did console myself by picking up a lovely pair of shoes for $13.50 (regularly $45, thank you very much) and a nice lunch complete with beer at the Deschutes Brewery. It's my first pair of clogs, and they are embellished with beads and sparkly things and are enough of a heel that I can tromp around in my new town in a little bit of snow and still be warm and dry.

We will be living in Redmond, which is pretty close to Bend, and so I count that I have a new cool shoe store in The King of Sole. It's cute, independent (I think) and carries good brands as well as having an awesome selection on the clearance table. OC liked the store, showing me every purse they had and admiring them herself. She especially liked the one with the butterfly on it. Of course.

Today, it is snowing. Sort of. It's snow mixed with rain. I have to go out in it too; OC has gymnastics and after that I have to drop off my car for regular service. The check engine light came on while in Bend. I almost got freaked out by it until I remembered that the check engine light coming on is like getting a postscript error: it could be anything. I knew I had this appointment so I figured, why worry about it when it's Saturday and there's nothing I can do? It'll get fixed today. Voila.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Small World

It really is a small world. Every time I mention to someone that I am moving to Central Oregon, the person more often than not tells me that they know someone who moved there and oh my god they totally love it, it's so sunny and warm! It's all about the climate. Has scaly, dry skin become something desirable? Because I wasn't told. I hate the desert. No, I don't hate it. The desert is actually quite beautiful and I'm glad we have it in the world as a unique ecosystem. I just don't want to live there.

Have I mentioned that I'm a contemplater? A ponderer? Do you know what is perfect accompaniment for that? A good, heavy rain beating against the window, making pretty streaks, dots and patterns with a complementary strumming noise as it falls on the roof. I have always liked the rain and found it to be immeasurably soothing.

Moving on. What we need is a change of subject, unless the crazy girl decides to keep talking about climates and ecosystems, or mentions anything else weather-related...

I am not buying the whole Lorelei/Chris marriage on Gilmore Girls. What is that? I can't get down with that. After all those years of ignoring her and Rory, his child, Lorelei marries him without so much fanfare as an episode or three? Oh sorry, he did take her to see Funny Face. An old movie in an old car, THAT'S enough of a foundation to get married after everything else. Bleh. Not buying it, new CW.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

OH: OC, are you old school?

OC: No, I'm a Kindergartener!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I attended a princess-themed birthday party today with 11 5-and 6-year olds. They were pretty well-behaved and adorable in their princess garb. Every major Disney princess was represented, from Mulan to Jasmine. It's sad to think we're leaving these nice people.

*Quick! Think of something positive to say!*

Um, but, I'm sure there will probably be nice people in Central Oregon. At least I sure as hell hope so. *smile*

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's Not What I Had Planned, But What the Hell

Thank you for all of your supportive comments.

It is with great pleasure (and to all of your great relief because, enough with the complaining already, Complaining Girl!) that I announce that I have entered the phase which I I like to call Getting The Hell On With Things, Already.

I want you to know that I would not be at this stage if it weren't for you and your comments. Knowing that I am not alone is immeasurably consoling.

I think this is normal, going through a kind of grieving stage when it comes to major change. It is a kind of loss. Like any kind of loss, life goes on and you have to figure out how you're going to go about that now that what you didn't want to happen has happened. I've been reading a lot about concepts such as moving on and letting go. Laugh if you will; I understand the propensity to scoff if you're not in the dark night of the soul for yourself, but I am in the dark. Night of the soul, that is. Deeply. Or maybe I'm just going through some major inner changes. That's what the Dark Night is, I think.

There was a comment from someone who said what I wrote (what I should say is not 'what I wrote' but 'what I plagiarized', really; but I outed myself in that post so there's no scandal) seemed to apply to their own life right now, and they thanked me for it.

Isn't that what this is all about? Expressing ourselves, becoming better writers, and connecting? I feel so satisfied to be a part of that. I cannot tell you how many times someone's blog post has affected me personally, made me feel uplifted by the simple knowledge that at some X, Y coordinate there is a soul out there who knows what it feels like to go through what I am going through.

I think now that I might not die from this change.

I might be okay.

Dare I say, I might even like it?

What I have to do now is to find the good, and go from there. There's plenty to be thankful for.

It's really kind of funny how you can plan and plan your life, but Life will not be deterred from steering you where you need to be. Even when you don't think you need to be there. Even when you're pretty damn sure you don't want to be there, much less need to be, thank you very much. Still, the persistence of Life reaches even the most thick-skulled, resistant to change human being there is. Like me.

I have the opportunity to live in a new town, to meet new people and make friends. We have found an older house in an established neighborhood that is in walking distance to most everything one could need: school, library, grocery store, shops. At least, that's about everything that I need. This will be the first house my husband and I have chosen and purchased together. We never would have picked to live closer to town where we are now, and the house we live now is the house my husband chose on his own back when he was single.

The process to get us here has been pretty horrible. The fighting, the stress, the anger. I wish that had never happened. I don't feel good about that.

Looking forward, this is my opportunity to experience living in town and I'm looking forward to that. The neighborhood has big trees, quiet streets, and the houses lots of character.

I don't know how to end this post. That's it for now.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Ending Chapters in Order to Begin New Ones

I was sorting through some papers last night and doing some serious recycling when I found a paper containing some wisdom appropriate for right now. It was computer generated so I either copied and pasted it before printing it out or retyped it. It's been long enough that I don't remember where it came from and I neglected to cite the source so I can't credit the author.

I did not write this; however, I am not getting paid for this blog so I feel okay to share it uncredited. I abridged it slightly, and added one phrase at the end.

Whoever did write it was one smart cookie.

* * * * * * * * * *

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end.

If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.

Such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved; friends, family; Everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things hat happend to us. What has passed will not return; we cannot forever be children, late adolescents, children who feel guilt or rancor toward our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is important to destroy souvenirs, move, give things away. Everything in this visible world is a manisfestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and is getting rid of certain memeories also means making some room for other memories to thake their place.

Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss. To do so is only to poison yourself.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting what Is. Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished. Tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable; a habit is not a need.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity, or arrogance; but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Stop being who you were and change into who you are (and who you were meant to be).

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An Unwelcome Move

I don't know what to say.

I've been dealing with the reality that we are moving, that I haven't been happy about it and therefore haven't been positive about the changes it will involve. Needless to say my husband is unhappy, I am unhappy, and the unknown lies ahead of us.

I am happy here. I moved here only one year ago, and before that, dealt with much turmoil in my existence. I imagine that the things that are good here (OC's school, our home, nice town, friends & family nearby) can only get worse if we change anything.

We fought for weeks and weeks in the late summer before we called a truce because we didn't have any concrete information about his job offer. We got the offer earlier this month; he negotiated it to be what he wanted, so he took it.

Now we are fighting about concrete things, like where to move and when: to the town he will work or a nearby, bigger town? Will he move before us - in January - and then my daughter and I moving at the end of the school year? Or is it better to move together? Should we rent or buy? Buy a dividable lot and live there temporarily while we do the partition and sell it for a profit? What about schools? What about security? What about finding a nice house and settling in? What about moving twice? Is there value in the things I want? What about value in choosing something because it makes life easier?

It's true that Life has made changes for me and I haven't liked them at first, then they turned out to be good. Like when I got laid off. I was at my very first professional graphic design job for two years before budget cuts forced me out and to decide (within a 48 hour deadline, mind you): bump someone with less seniority in another office and take their job, or be out of work myself. I chose to keep working because I had to. The transition was terrible.

My daughter was two at the time and in a daycare in my office building. She had been there since she was four months old, and I had access to visit her all day long, so I was able to nurse her and feel somewhat secure in being near her. Since it meant moving to another building, it meant being away from her physically like I never had before. My brother had been diagnosed with Leukemia the previous summer and had been in and out of remission. At the point of my layoff, his aggressive form of Leukemia had returned and he was a month away from dying, although I didn't know it at the time.

I felt pulled in more directions than I thought were possible. I needed to take care of my daughter; spend time with my family; stop at the hospital after work to visit my brother and then later my parent's house when he decided to move there to live out his final few weeks; drive the ridiculous 1.5 hours to my ridiculously far-away house; and learn and fit into a new job.

The new coworkers didn't want me there, as I was bumping someone out of their job completely and someone else down a level. I hated to do that, and I totally understood their feelings.

I nearly died from stress, guilt, grief, and self-loathing.

Anyway, it turned out that after a long transition time when they couldn't help but succumb to my charms, we formed a pretty tight work group. Not that it didn't take a while. We were Tech_Services, made up of two graphic designers and three GIS persons. All smart (-er than me), interesting, funny people. We started going to lunch together once a month. We talked a lot about travel, our families, funny stories, whatever. Three of us got married in that time. One of us had his kids leave for college. Several took amazing, unusual vacations. There was a lot to talk about, and it was fun, interesting, technical, and often challenging work.

It was a great job that I thought long and hard about leaving before I finally did this summer to stay at home with my daughter. I miss it very much. I never thought I would say that about that job the first year I was there. I am glad now to have time with my daughter now, and it was good that I stuck with it and let it grow to the point where it was good.

I sense a Life Lesson in there.



Stupid Universe with your stupid Life Lessons!



I am having such a hard time with this.

My husband will be a partial owner in his company's new satellite office, the base branch of which is growing rapidly. He will be a boss and manage projects and people rather than simply be an employee. He hopes to get to the point soon where he can delegate a lot of work so that he can work reasonable hours in order to spend more time with his family. He sees it as an investment in the future not only financially, but also in gaining more time to be with us. He is willing to put in a lot of hours up front to make the new office successful so we can all enjoy the fruits of that in all its forms. He is a hard working person, and his company is lucky to have him. He's trustworthy and ambitious, and he'll do a great job for them.

We're lucky to have him, too.

He's lucky, you're lucky, we're all LUCKY...HAA HAAA HAAA!!!! (That's a "Rocky Horror" reference for all of you non-cinephiles/weirdos.)

We're moving. That is what is happening. I am slowly accepting that and seeing the value in being more positive about it. There could be many good things.

Now if we could learn to treat each other more gently, to handle one another's insecurities carefully and not create so much distance, (Myself included. What? You thought I was faultless?) we might actually get through this (and maybe then I wouldn't cry so much).....

Monday, November 06, 2006

Recap

I bought an extra large package of english muffins and then kept them frozen, getting them out one at a time when needed. They're very hard to split when they're frozen, so instead of using a fork I took a very sharp serrated knife then stupidly held it with my fingers positioned underneath the knife.

The satin in the photo? My daughter's Jasmine pants.

This weekend OC and I went to see "Flushed Away". It was very cute. Sunday, the three of us went out for a nice lunch, then headed over to the Schnitz to hear the Oregon Symphony play Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition."

OC made me laugh during the symphony when she put her fingers up as though she were conducting. My dad used to do that. We'd be in the car listening to music and if things were quiet he would pretend to conduct. His eyes twinkling and a smile on his face, then a glance at us to see if we were watching. It was his way of connecting with us, and it was sweet.

To see OC do that made me feel dad's presence, and a continuity. She didn't know that what she was doing meant so much.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Princess Jasmine Bringing Home the Candy

We escorted Princess Jasmine trick or treating this year. She endured a cold wind in order to fill up her purple pumpkin to the brim and then share with her mommy and daddy like the good girl I raised her to be.



It's all about quality control.

I made her costume, as well as an Ariel costume for my niece, because I am nuts and also because I obviously love them too much to buy a costume at the store like regular, normal, healthy, non-crazy people.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Life Keeps Rolling Along

Another family member has cancer. It's someone in OH's family, so I won't talk about it too much except to say it's a common form of skin cancer and it's located in their throat. It's not easily operable so they're going to undergo radiation just in time to feel crappy for Thanksgiving. The prognosis looks good for recovery because it was caught early, so that is some good news. We're all feeling unsettled because we don't know what to expect. That is the worst feeling, especially when there is so much at stake such as the life of someone you love.

It was my bio-dad's birthday this month, and I didn't call. I don't know what to say. I would like to talk to my grandma and my aunt, but then they would hand the phone to him and I don't know what I'd say. I feel like I should want to talk to him but he's never said he's sorry, so what's the point? What is there to say?

"Gee, it sucks you had a stroke, and now live with your 83-year old mother and your sister and they take care of you. I see we're still denying that thing you did to me. How's the weather?"

Whatever.

It was our first anniversary on the 15th, and we received cards from my grandma, bio-dad, and aunt and now I feel bad for not calling. I found out this week that grandma's sister just died. I couldn't make the funeral because OC is in school and the funeral was held in a town two hours away.

I should call.

I cut my thumb this week while trying to cut through a frozen English muffin for OC's breakfast. Another stupid household accident. Poor OC, she was worried about me. Luckily, another mom from OC's school came and took her to school so I could drive myself to the hospital. That was fun, holding my Stupid Household Accident Afflicted thumb above my head while driving and crying and trying not to think about the wound that I had the bad sense to look at so I could imagine that ugly, fleshy, gaping thing.

I still have sensation, so that was lucky. It took three stitches. OC is scared of the stitches. Every time she catches sight of them she covers her eyes and backs away. That is one way to ensure a househould accident: walk backwards with your eyes closed. (She gets her smarts from me. Poor thing!)

My mom got married this month. I forgot to send a card. What kind of person doesn't send a card when their mom gets married? I should say, I wanted to attend the ceremony but they planned it to be a small ceremony with no family and on a weekday, so if invited I would have brought the card with me. As it stands, I can blame the post office....except for just giving myself away. She reads my blog. Oops! Card's in the mail, mom!

It's a beautiful, sunny day today. The leaves are turning the most amazing colors with the sunny days and cold nights. It's gorgeous. OH is at a college football game. OC is in the bath. The neighbor's cat, Skippyjon, is on mole patrol in the front yard. I'm sitting here with a fresh bandage on my thumb in front of the woodstove with the heat on my back while I listen to OC sing and play in the tub. I have to sew some more on the halloween costumes. My niece's Ariel costume is nearly done, and I have to make the pants for OC's Jasmine outfit. That should go more quickly than the Ariel skirt which had ruffles and gathers.

Another day. I don't know what else to say.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Guests

Good morning. Damn, it's early.

Do you know what pairs well with a cup of freshly brewed coffee? Last night's brownies. Yum.

I've got this problem. Well, more like a dilemma. OC occasionally has friends over to play. Sometimes they are here for lunch. Here's what I want to know: how do you enforce the rules of your house to your children's friends? Does it change when they are five, versus when they are a bit older?

I'll give you an example. OC has a terrible time sitting still at the table to eat. It drives me batty, but also I want to instill good manners so I ask her to sit at the table and not get up until she's done unless she has to go to the bathroom. I'm all about instilling these things now, so that when she's older this is all normal, involuntary behavior. She had a friend over the other week who would not sit still. She kept popping up to go look at things, touching things with her sticky hands, and talkingtalkingtalkingtalkingtalking.

The talking part, not a big deal. The sticky hands and getting up? Drove me NUTS, but it's not a big deal, it can be cleaned up easily. I asked her to please sit down, which she did - for all of three seconds before she was up exploring again while OC sat in her chair. After lunch, I asked them to pick up the pieces of food that they dropped while I cleaned up their plates and the rest of the table.

The rest of the visit went like this: the friend had a million ideas for fun things to do, and asked me if they could do this thing, or no! This thing! And then can we do this? And this and this and this? And could I help? Could I do this for them? And then this and that and this? I was getting bossed around by a five year old. What the hell? I was frustrated by the barrage of questions and requests. At first I was coming up with good responses and redirections, but I quickly ran out of those and began saying "no" to the demands, and watched the clock for it to be time to send the girl home. I don't want it to be this way.

It's not that the rules are the important thing, what I'm trying to get at is that when kids come over there should be a modicum of politeness. I am glad to play with them, to set things up for them, but getting bossed around is not going to happen. It's not fair for OC sit still and then not say anything to the other child. Should I let it go for both of them when the other child is here? I don't want to be inconsistent. What message does that send OC? Should I just not worry about it for the short time the friend is here?

I am concerned about consistency, mainly, but also propriety. When you go to someone else's house to play, it's not an invitation to destroy their house or to take over. You have to figure out what is expected and then follow it, reasonably. This is what was expected of me as a child and I think it was reasonable. Everything I read and know about kids is that they thrive on consistency. Plus, at five years old, they are more likely to agreeably comply with my polite requests to sit still or whatever. I have no recourse if they don't listen, but it's for a short time out of one day.

Anyway, I was just wondering because I don't feel like being the Rule Lady all the time, I want to be fun, too. But I don't want it to be a madhouse in here or be told what to do by little kids. It's not like there are a lot of rules, just things like sit at the table until you are done, don't chase the cats, and wash your hands after you go to the bathroom. Oh, and keep your voice down in the house, please! *sigh*

I think it's a question of balance; I just need to figure out the right formula, and more responses to all the requests.

How do you handle it when your kids' friends come over to your house? I really do want to know.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Noticing

It began to rain this morning after I dropped OC at school. I drove the few blocks from her school to the old neighborhood on the north side of town near the college so I could go for a walk. My leg has been hurting, so I walk instead of run for now.

Before I could grab my umbrella and head out, a woman came by to tell me that the tree under which I was parked has a tendency to drop limbs randomly, so I might want to move my car up the block just enough to be out from under it. She called me "honey". Or maybe it was "sweetie". She wore a sweatshirt with an orange plaid pumpkin appliqued onto the front, with a button and ribbon for embellishment.

I headed out for my walk after moving the car. It was raining the kind of light rain that is enough to drench you in a few minutes. How can it rain like that? So lightly that it weighs as much as a teaspoon full of feathers, but with enough water to soak your clothes?

I love the rain. I don't mind getting a little wet in order that I be outside, smelling the fresh air that the rain brings. I love how it washes everything clean, enhances the colors of the trees, sidewalks and houses to their dark and sharp perfection.

The neighborhood near the college is old. It's full of houses in the style of Victorians, Saltboxes, or Craftsmen. I'm not an architecture expert, so I am guessing that is what they are, but I don't really know. I like them for their use of materials like wood and stone, and for the style and detail that went into them so one family could enjoy the house but the entire neighborhood could enjoy their beauty.

In this neighborhood, which is my favorite part of town, there is a bed and breakfast that has a sign proclaming "Acadamia, Vinifera, Camaraderie". I would like to stay in that bed and breakfast, for those three things appeal to me greatly.

As I walked I thought of my house. Specifically, the dining room and what color I'd like to paint the walls. We have a bay window in the dining room, and it needs to be framed properly by color and with new trim in order to be as beautiful as it can be.

I thought about what curtains should go in the bay window, and at first I wanted Roman shades but then decided that no, sumptuous fabric that drops to the floor would be the thing for a dining room. I still don't know what color, but I know it should be something warm.

Fall is full of color and change. The air carries a hint of preparation for things to come that has a different kind of energy than the kind of preparation that happens in the spring. Fall feels like a winding down, of time that should be spent getting comfortable and making your house cozy in order to ride out the coming cold, the starkness of winter.

I think I'll build a fire today.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

That One Little Missing Piece of the Meaning of Life That I Forgot To Write About Yesterday

I need to expand on what I wrote yesterday just a little. This is a polite way to admit I totally left out and important part of the idea - whoopsie!

The idea of Not Taking More Than You Need relates to answering the question: What purpose does this serve?

When you ask yourself how much you really need of whatever it is at the time, it's useful to question why you need it. Think about that and ask, Does it serve my life? Or does it serve some other purpose that is not honorable, like ego or jealousy or having for the sake of having, or something else? Above all, how can I act with integrity?

The idea of purpose, always keeping in mind intention, is the guide for answering the question, How Much Is Enough.

Yesterday was library day. We ran into one of OC's schoolmates there, so I talked to her mom while she looked at books with her friend.

Interesting side note: later in the bathroom an older Spanish-speaking woman asked for help with her pants zipper, which was stuck in the up position and she needed to go. She did not speak English, but I understood her because (confession time) I am learning Spanish. Or, my husband and I are.

It's times like that when I am reminded of that childhood question, When am I ever going to use this??? I'll tell you when: at a public restroom where a woman for whom English is not her first (or any) language and she can't get her zipper undone. In other words, you never know.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for Geometry to be useful. End of sidenote.

To give you some idea of how deeply contemplative I am, these are the books I left the library with:

An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life, by the Dalai Lama

Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy, by Mortimer J. Adler

Plan B: Thoughts on Faith, by Ann LaMott

This is in addition to the stack of books by my bedside, including Becoming Fearless, by Ariana Huffington and When the Heart Waits, by Sue Monk Kidd.

Cannot get enough, I'm telling you. When I read an author I know and like, I learn about new authors and it leads to new books to read. It's kind of like blogs that way, the interconnectedness of it all.

There is not enough time to read all the books I want to read right now.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Meaning of Life

The type of yoga that my instructor is teaching is called Raja yoga, which means royal or kingly. The focus of this practice is to bring the mind and body into harmony to allow your energy to flow freely and so that you may meditate. An extension of this practice allows for meditation with G-d (or deity or prophet).

This class doesn't focus on the meditative/spiritual part so much as yoga poses and thinking about how to bring the teachings of yoga into your life for better harmony overall. The spiritual side is left for the student to pursue individually. Today after class the instructor was talking to a couple of the students about what this means for the universe, and I found myself drawn to the conversation as though I were a moth to someone's porch light. I've been in a contemplative state of mind for a while now. I can't get enough of this.

Today's yama lesson was that of Not Taking More Than What You Need. The other lessons (non-violence, truthfulness, not stealing, appropriate sexuality) all teach that if you perform the lesson fully then you will receive its gifts. For example, if you achieve completely the lesson of not stealing, then you will be provided with riches.

It would follow, then, that if you don't take more than you need you will be provided with all that you need. Well, maybe, but that is not the point of this yama. The point is that if you take only what you need, then you will be shown your past and future lives. That may sound a little mystical to some of you; a little too "out there", or irrelevant. What it means, though, is that you will be shown your true purpose in life. You don't have to believe in reincarnation for you to understand that it is there to show you something.

Hello! Thank you, that's what I've been searching for: the meaning of life. More specifically, the meaning of MY life.

There are obvious benefits to taking only what you need: using less food means your body doesn't have to work so hard to digest it nor do you gain excess weight; buying fewer things means you have less stuff in your house to cause clutter and you have spent less money; creating less waste means there isn't as much garbage in the landfill, etc. When you drink some alcohol, you feel good. When you drink too much, you get sick. Moderation. (I haven't learned THAT particular lesson fully, yet, it seems.)

This yama raises the question, How much is enough? This pertains to more than just material goods, but also to the effort we put forth in our lives toward tasks, relationships, and just about anything you can think of. The answer is not the same for everyone. Nor is it the same for every situation.

At this point it's good to point out that in yoga, no one thing is more important than another thing. The way you get into a pose is just as important as the way you hold it, as the way you get out of it, as the way you breathe. It's more about the way you do things, than what you do. This is the essence of the spirituality behind yoga as well.

It's a hard concept to grasp, at least some of the more esoteric concepts are. When you think about it though it makes sense that it's our minds which place hierarchical importance to things. Not Life. Not G-d. Not the Universe. To the Universe, working is just as important as doing a crossword puzzle. To us, working is obviously more important. Both have value. It's a question of balance, and of intention. I so get that.

How much is enough? Good question.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Letting Go of the Bad Thing

Finally Blogger has finally decided to allow me to post a new entry this morning. I feel so special. The message "waiting for blogger.com" has become almost as irritating to experience as "waiting for adfarm.mediaplex.com".

Last night, OH and I had another talk. We decided to quit fighting and letting this whole question about moving ruin times between us. I especially think this is a good idea since we haven't even been presented with an offer yet. Yes, we've been fighting for two months over an idea.

It's hard to let go because the question of where you will live in the near future is hard to ignore, but letting go feels good. I have let the weight of the decision slide off my shoulders and fall into a puddle on the floor. Then I walked away from it, I have other things to do. I don't want to be so upset all the time. It's making my skin break out and my stomach churn, it makes me short tempered and unable to enjoy the things I normally do. So, enough! We'll fight later. Hee hee.

It was our first anniversary this weekend. We went to dinner on Saturday night. It was good, not great. This was before the talk where we decided to relax, so, it was tense. Last year at this time, we were in Mexico eating really good food, lying by the pool, and going out for more awesome food and drinks. I want to go back to Mexico.

In the past few months, there have been so many sad events. There was the September 11th anniversary, the Amish and other school shootings. Today I have some good news for you. I heard a story on the local news where a woman noticed a suspicious van in her neighborhood one day. It was back again the next day and she paid attention to it. When she noticed a little boy near the van, she rushed out and grabbed the little 4-year old child, rescuing him from the two 40-ish men inside the van who were trying to lure him away. Thank goodness for that woman who was paying attention! At least one child was saved today from torture, cruelty, sexual or physical assualt, and maybe even death. What is wrong with a person that they seek out children to perpetrate such horrible acts? What? There is no good answer to that.

Back to the good.

Recently, OC has been overheard commenting, "Look Mom! I can eat with chapsticks!"

I wonder if the waxy texture bothered her or not?

One day, she was drawing a picture of me and as I posed for her she said, "Smile...bigger....bigger...no, not that big. I can't draw teeth yet."

Last night I painted her toenails with what she calls "toenolish". One foot pink, the other green, in polish that glows in the dark. I don't know where my sister found glow in the dark nail polish, but she did and she sent some to me and it's the coolest.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hair Color as Personality

Your Hair Should Be White

Classy, stylish, and eloquent.
You've got a way about you that floors everyone you meet.

It Has Been Four Days Since My Last Confession

And I'm pretty sure I've sinned since then. Moving on...

Yoga was great again today, what with the life lessons and the stretching. Today the instructor talked about the fourth yama: chastity.

Sexuality is a part of human existence and the idea of chastity is that of moderating the impulse. It is not about ignoring our sexual proclivity, but rather controlling the appetite. It also relates to other appetites, such as food.

The idea is to be aware of the natural compulsion for sex and then to control how we act on it by making specific choices about behavior in order to fulfill that appetite. It is desirable to reach the state where you can be very deliberate about your actions, so that rather than denying yourself pleasure at every turn or feeling guilty about it, you instead act appropriately. In order to decide what is appropriate, you must have clarity about what is inappropriate and about what will hurt you (or others). THAT is the part that is key: clarity. If you don't have clarity, you can feel rudderless. Oh, I don't like that word. You can feel adrift. It isn't good, is what I'm saying.

P.S. What is this, sailing reference day?

Yoga is a very deliberate practice. You must think about which way you're holding your body in order to achieve the correct position and not hurt yourself. What I love about it is that it's not just exercise, but a practice which includes thought for better ways of Being.

Namaste.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Moment in Time

Next year, my family and I will move to Central Oregon in order for my husband to become an owner in a new satellite office his company will open.

This is a great opportunity for him to expand his skills, to organize and manage projects and personnel, and much more. He deserves it. He works hard, and he has earned his place at his company. I am happy for him, and I want him to enjoy the success he has worked so hard for. I just wish it could happen here, so we wouldn't have to move.

Here's the thing: moving is not so much what either of us want to do, but I more than he am having a really hard time with it. It's caused stress and arguments between us, which totally sucks.

We had a good talk about it last night, where tempers were calm and we got through a discussion of difficult thoughts and feelings. I feel great now because I was able to tell him how I really felt, and he said he understood and told me why he understood. You know what an amazing feeling it is to be able to do that? To express some deeper thoughts that you have to someone you care about, and have that person listen and respond kindly? Amazing! Very satisfying.

So, the reason for this post to go where it's going to go is because I believe it's important for my growth to record where I'm at in the moment. This is something I want to do for many reasons. I want to read this again in a month, a year, a few years, and remember where I was in order to compare it to where I am. To where I have gone. You see? I hope that this post forces me to eat some major crow in the future, after Life has taken me where it will, to prove to me that I was being short-sighted, impatient, cautious, unadventurous. I have to tell you that right now this whole moving thing really pisses me off.

I'm mad that I'm finally in a place where I feel comfortable and that life can start again for me. I was settling in to our new marriage, new town, new house, new stay-at-home mommydom (just three months ago), and OC starting in Kindergarten at a GREAT school. That was enjoyed for nine months before the possibility of moving came up. We were going to try for a baby. I had gotten off my sleeping medication a few months ago and enjoyed unmedicated sleep for the first time in Y-E-A-R-S. I have every reason to believe this came about due to happiness, contentment, a feeling of stability.

Contentment and stability are to be found in the town we now live. It is just the right size so there are plenty of things here, but if it's not here, there are towns and cities nearby where you can get what you need. It's safe, it's got little traffic, it's beautiful; a quiet college town. I LOVE IT. Portland is 40 minutes away, which is one of my favorite cities in the world and I say that in a totally biased way because I was born there. I love Portland. It's relatively safe, clean, easy to get around in, with plenty of entertainment and cultural events, Broadway series shows, symphony, waterfront, nature, and more. I can get my Ipnosi and Ether shopping fix, go see friends, eat at various amazing restaurants, and all of it is affordable.

Previously, I lived somewhere I didn't like that was far, far away from work, friends, and family. That was totally my fault and I accept that. I set about to change that circumstance once I finally admitted my mistake. I learned something about myself: that I never want to live where I am isolated like that again. OC and I lived with a friend in Portland for one month before I found an apartment in Portland for us. OC and I lived in our own apartment for two years, then I got married and we moved here.

All that in three years.

When I think of it this way, it makes me want to ask, "What is so wrong with LIKING where I am and STAYING here, Universe? Why do you have to go and mess that up for me???"

I know that Life is not in our control, ever. I know that things that hurt us are not designed to hurt us, but are designed to teach us a valuable lesson and/or force us to make the move we should be making in life in order to move forward. I am a tough cookie (okay, stubborn) who doesn't like change (I think that's called being "normal"), especially when I find a comfortable place, so I can see why Life would have to get pushy with me in order to make its point.

There is a place inside of me that knows inherently that this could be a good move, a good experience. This place knows that the important things go with me no matter where I live on the Earth: my child, my husband, my family, my kitties, memories of loved ones, photos, my Netflix subscription (hee hee.....). So what's the big deal with changing my address?

The big deal is that life is hard and I've been through some damn hard things lately. The big deal is that I'm ready for some damn peace. Heck, I deserve some peace! Don't I? It means packing and moving all my stuff, again, making new friends, feeling unsettled, finding my place, again, blah blah blah. It also means new experiences, new friends, new good things I can't even imagine right now. Change is unknown and could bring bad things, too. I quit my job and stay at home now, spending time in a town that I want to be, in a house that feels safe and comfortable.

My husband is frustrated with me because he thinks that since I have said yes to this, I should move on and be positive. Steeped in thoughts of how much I will be losing, it's no wonder why I'm angry. I don't know how to manage all of the feelings, but I know that it is all a process. The first stage is anger. (It always is, isn't it?) There will be other stages.

I am looking for the lesson in this, and I have some questions: What is trying to be taught to me? What should be doing? What about the way I feel about the whole thing? What about the say I have in my own life? How do you know when your feelings of Not Wanting are normal, and that you should do it anyway versus when it's a real warning not to do it?

These questions are mine, to be answered in time although I could use some answers now, thank you. For now I take comfort in the internet (connections to people - email and blogging), books full of wisdome, being involved in my child's school, spending time with my sister and neice who, FOR NOW, lives 20 minutes away, among other things.

*sigh*

Letting go. It's all about letting go, going with the flow. I'm not used to that and so it feels scary and strange and different and NOT comfortable at all. (I think this is called "normal" as well.)

I just realized this post is not nearly as angry and full of "Life isn't fair! You suck, Life!" as I thought it would be. It's sort of a little more contemplative and open. Hm.

I just want to be okay. Tell me it will be okay. Go on, LIE TO ME if you have to, tell me a platitude or two. I need something to fill the time before those answers arrive.

That's where I'm at. It ain't pretty, is it? No. But it's honest.

Here's to looking forward to new stages.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Skippyjon Jones and the Mole in the Yard of the Coffee Stained Coffee Table People

My coffee table is so clean right now. There's a reason for this, and it's not because I eat organic vegetables which, with their relative lack of pesticides leaves me more energy to clean. No, it was not that.

I brewed a pot of coffee this morning and poured a wonderfully fresh cup which I brought to the coffee table (Ahh, the symbioticness of drinking coffee at the coffee table...) along with a toasted and buttered bagel. First, I took a bit of my buttery bagel and then reached for my warm, perfectly sweetened coffee. The buttery bagel transfered some buttery goodness onto my fingers which slipped as I tried to grip the coffee mug, and so instead of enjoying the brewed elixir, it spilled all over the coffee table and the contents of the coffee table and the floor. Dakota, not wanting to miss out on any important happening, immediately walked over and sniffed, then walked through it.

There was coffee-soaked mail, catalogs, coupons, coasters, a beaded table decoration, and a skein of camel colored silk and alpaca yarn. I immediately grabbed the yarn and took it to the kitchen to rinse it, because coffee-stained alpaca silk is less "Do It Yourself Dyed Yarn" and more "Crap-Colored Junk".

In other news, we have a mole in the front yard. The little guy is really going to town digging up holes in the lawn and flowerbed to the endless annoyance of my husband and myself but to the endless fascination of the neighbor cat. The neighbor cat is a beautiful Siamese who we have dubbed Skippyjon Jones in reference to the children's books my daughter loves about a Siamese cat who thinks he's a Chihuahua. That, and we don't know his real name.

I watched Skippy this morning after I got home from dropping OC at school. He was crouched down in front of the hole where dirt was being flung to the surface. His beautifully colored body was tense but still, his gaze intent upon the hole. Then the mole surfaced. I could see him from the car. It threw up some dirt, then stuck his head out for a few seconds before disappearing again. More dirt. Skippy watched.

And watched. And watched. And.............watched.

I kept waiting for him to pounce, looking for the telltale signs of impending pounce: the rear end shimmy, the twitching tail, but he kept hesitating. It was driving me nuts! I was cheering him on from inside the car, where I was because I did not want to get out and disturb him or scare the mole away. I could see his pretty kitty body tense, then hesitate, then tense again, as though he were internally struggling with the moral implications of killing a rodent. Either that, or he was considering what those ginormous rodent teeth might do to his beautiful coat. Hard to say. I kept watching him, hoping.

The mole disappeared for longer and longer periods of time, and that's when Skippy decided to pounce. Finally! He stuck his front arm down the molehole all the way up to his shoulder. Great! Scare the thing farther down the hole, you little silly little pretty boy!

I wanted to say 'grow some balls', but being as though he is a neutered male I thought that was just rude. He was trying, the poor, ball-less little guy.

I finally got out of the car and went around back to find our badass hunter kitty, Rum. That girl has killed moles in the garden before, all six pounds of spayed female. I wanted to bring this mole to her attention. She was, unfortunately, too itchy or tired or whatever to pay much attention to the rodent in front of her which she is genetically programmed to want to hunt. What is it with cats these days, fighting their biology?

For now, the mole is alive and well. I have no impetus to kill it, even though he's destroying parts of the lawn and flowers. I'm kind of hoping he'll go away on his own, especially if he is continually molested by cats who, although don't seem to pose a mortal threat, could tire him of having their arms stuck into his house. Can you see that? An exasperated mole, packing up and moving his things elsewhere?

Maybe it's me, or maybe I've read too much Beatrix Potter, but I think it could happen.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Comment Dilemma

Folks, I am in the midst of a dilemma.

First of all, there's the fact that I use the word, 'folks', as if I am a 104-year old person from the generation that uses that word. Not that using that word is a bad thing, it's not. What I mean to say is, where did that come from? Am I channeling my inner great-grandmother?

Anyway. Back to the dilemma. What I am trying to figure out is the best way to respond to comments left on this site. Should I respond via email or in comments left in the comments section of the same posts? Leaving comments in my own posts feels funny to me, because who reads this stuff after a few days?

Does anyone come back to read the comments left in a post after a few days have gone by to see if their comments have been, well, commented upon? I'd much rather email the individual, but not everyone leaves email info. That's okay, but then the only way for me to respond is by commenting on my own site, which, I don't know, doesn't feel as thorough as it should be. I want you to feel responded to, cared for, because you are. What do you think?

The other morning, OC asked me, "Mommy, how do eyes make sesame seeds?"

Excellent question, darling. I'll be glad to answer that for you honey, but if your eyes are making sesame seeds, then would you please see if you can spin this hay into gold for mama? Thanks, pumpkin.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Very Important Followup

With regard to last post, I might add, actions are nothing without the intentions that brought you to act in the first place. In conclusion, intentions are important, as is their nature (i.e. if they are altruistic or if they are maybe self-serving or malicious).

I am in a very First Thought kind of writing mood. Maybe that's because it is so early in the morning and I'm not a morning person and so First Thoughts are more like Only Thoughts. I have no choice in the matter.

What am I doing up? I got up to see my husband while he ate breakfast, "see" being the operative word. He likes it when I get up with him, I like to make him happy, so there you go. I'm not very thinkative in the morning. It's morning, and my mind is a blank slate, fresh for the day. Consequently, I have very little to say. We did a lot of meaningful looking at one another.

After he went to work, I thought I'd use the quiet time to respond to week-old email, read some blogs, and then write a little. Reading always stimulates writing. Speaking of writing, I really like this from Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg:

Anything we fully do is an alone journey.....you can't expect anyone to match the intensity of your emotions or to completely understand what you went through."

She's talking about the emotions that come when you finish writing a book, and how it can leave you angry or sad when the act of completion is usually imagined as such a successful, triumphant time. I know nothing of what it feels like to finish a book, but I do know a thing or two about life, and I think this distilled quote is true for many things in life. Relationships, for instance; friendships; marriage. Take from it what you will.

Keep in mind that it's early, and I'm not at my best. I'm not inhibited by thinky thoughts like I am at other times of the day, and maybe that's a good thing.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Intentions: Heartfelt Thoughts Requiring Action, or Pavingstones on the Road to Hell? Discuss!

Yesterday I talked about The Schedule. It sounds like an anal thing to have, and also like a burden. I wrote that I liked The Schedule, and I do, but I didn't know why. After going to yoga class this week, I know why I like The Schedule.

The instructor talked about intentions and actions. With regard to yoga practice, she was referring to how we move our bodies. Bodies naturally move in the easiest way possible which is not necessarily the correct way. The easiest way to move could mean that the lower back is overcompensating for a lack of flexibility in the legs because the back is more flexible and giving than the hips. For me, it is my shoulders that want to come forward. She has to come over to me and push them where they should go. To force ourselves to do a pose the correct way when our bodies aren't doing it naturally could cause injury. Whatever the reason why the body isn't moving the way it's intended to, the answer is to carefully correct the movement; feel it and practice it until it becomes natural.

This means you have to be aware; aware of what your body is doing and feeling. In yoga, you have to move consciously in order to move correctly.

That's when my jaw dropped open because I had the thought, and so it is in life!

I started thinking about it more and I noticed that when I do not pay attention to make sure my intentions match my actions, it caused disappointment and sometimes aggravation for my family and friends. Following through with action feels a lot better than saying, "Oh, I meant to do that." Those are empty words whereas actions are tangible and harder to miss.

I realized that when I matched my action with my intention I have found balance and satisfaction. I like feeling that way, and I like bringing those emotions forth in other people. It's very satisfying to know that I am having a positive effect on people that I care about.

I learned something new: this is the time to seek the truth. Remembering that truth is a muddy, murky place, yet it is vitally important. I learned to look at the situations in my life again and question them. Intentions might be present but that is not enough when the action is not. Is my intention unrealistic? Why put it out there if I don't have the energy to follow through? If my intention is reasonable, what immediate action can I take? It makes sense to me to ask these kinds of questions. I can see where there is imbalance in my life.

I have intentions galore; very, very good intentions that are heartfelt and evident when I write long To Do lists or when I tell a friend I want to do one thing or another. The intentions are feelings and they go unexpressed unless action is taken. This disconnect frustrates me and those around me when after listening to me they don't see me follow through. In this way they don't understand my feelings because I am not making the effort to convey them in a meaningful way. I get it now; I know that thinking about something is not good enough.

BIG realization.

What I understand now is that action is just as valuable as intention. I have to look at my intentions and see if they are unrealistic. Maybe there are too many. I am limited in my capacity to follow through with every intention I have, as I am human and there are 24 hours in a day. I realize I need to shift my focus and set clear goals, prioritize, and then set about to accomplish them thoroughly and deliberately. This is a new to me. I hadn't thought of modifying the intentions, which to me meant modifying my feelings. That seemed counterintuitive and more than a little impossible. When I initially thought about taking more actions, I felt overwhelmed and defeated from the start because I have so many intentions. It doesn't have to be this way, I see that now. This new way of thinking places more emphasis on the entire equation which serves the valuable goal of expressing myself to others, and can only forge closeness in my relationships. (Or, annoy people to the point of severing all ties with me. Either way, at least it's honest.)

How does this fit in with The Schedule? I know now that my attempt to schedule myself down to what time I wash the dishes was a way to match action with intention, albeit in a very basic way. It sounds ridiculous to write down simple tasks to do at certain times, but it actually does make sense for me. It makes sense, because it works for me. Some people can do this naturally. I cannot. That is my limitation. I will learn because it is important to me, and because I am paying attention. I hope that is enough.

By making this small change, I hope to learn a practice for the larger areas in my life, like with the people in my life. This feels like a very important shift in thinking.

This yoga instructor is pretty awesome. I'm getting my money's worth, thinking more deeply about life and the lessons therein. Not to mention stretching my shoulders to get them to be where they should be.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Schedule Doth Rule My Life...and I Love It

I'm supposed to be exercising right now according to The Schedule. Today however, The Calendar overrides The Schedule and so here I am waiting for the Sears repair man to come and look at my dryer which stopped working last week.

We bought it in April of this year, and so it's probably something dire like the computer inside has eaten itself alive and it will only cost $5,000 for a new one. Plus labor. Warranty, anyone?

Why is nothing built to last anymore? Don't worry, this isn't a rant on shoddy workmanship and a throwaway culture. I'll probably talk about that sometime - like right after I rehash the whole organic vs. non organic debate - but not today.

No, I was looking forward to a run this morning but was thwarted by The Calendar. Luckily, The Schedule has built-in flexibility for times like these. I will put in a yoga tape so me and Rodney Yee can get stretchy; I only hope the Sears repair guy won't catch me in Downward Facing Dog.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Organization is Next to Cleanliness. Or Something Else Not Redundant.

It has been said more than once that I am organized. However, it's also true that I've shown up for ice skating wihtout a jacket and extra socks.

Let's examine that dichotomy for a minute, shall we?

While it is true that I do enjoy organizing my house, my house is messy. For example, when I have dirty dishes, I rinse them and stack them according to what goes into the dishwasher and what will be handwashed. And then I leave them. It might be because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes and the towel on the counter is full of clean dishes as well, and I have to do something else to do at the moment. I usually get to them within a day. In the meantime, I like them rinsed off so they're not all nasty. It's weird, but I like doing it this way. I mean, I like them to at least be somewhat cleanish if they're going to sit there a little while. My comfort level dictates that less than one day is okay to leave them. Especially when something crusty needs to soak.

The same is true for clean clothes in my room. I organize it into stacks in my bedroom, where it sits. And sits and sits and sits. Organized piles, mostly all folded, wait patiently to be put away. I just have other things to do. If it looks relatively neat, I don't worry about it. But, I know it isn't the way it should be. It isn't the way I WANT it to be because the room doesn't look neat, it looks messy. I am determined to organize my house better.

One of the biggest challenges against organization we face right now is not having a proper closet. We remodeled the bedroom and bathroom last year, and we still haven't installed shelves, racks, or drawers in the new walk-in closet. Things are just.....piled in there. On the dressers we have stuck in there for now, and piled up on whatever else there is. Ick.

I was inspired by a recent episode of "Wife Swap" which featured uber-organized suburban housewife Lisa Fine. The woman had plastic boxes for E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Each was labeled. It wasn't enough that you could see through the boxes to what was inside. While I don't want plastic boxes everywhere, I do admire her thoroughness. That's what is lacking with me: thoroughness.

I prefer boxes that have a more natural look, made of materials like wood or wicker. It's just my preference. I like plastic for some things, especially items that will go in the attic to keep dust and water off. But for the house, give me natural materials. All of which costs money. After remodeling part of the house, there just aren't piles of cash lying about to go buy pretty baskets and nice shelves. There comes a time where the budget needs to be combed in order to get this place into shape. I don't need shelves made out of silver and gold, I just want some shelves.

This week I visited Storables, where I salivated over their custom closet design section. I went home and immediately measured my closet. Now I need to compare their prices with others. Let's see what Home Depot can do for me.

And yesterday, after inspiration delivered up by the Supernanny, I made a schedule for my daughter. It's great. Not only does it give her peace that comes from the knowledge of what will happen and when, I have an answer ready when she asks, "Can I watch a movie?" I don't have think about it or bargain with her while frantically trying to recall what is happening on another day I can tell her she can watch a movie and then have to further remember not to break my promise when that day arrives. I can simply turn to the trusty schedule say, "Yep! Today is Friday. It's movie day!"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lightness and Darkness, Red and White

Today in yoga class the instructor talked about yin and yang, and how the light parts and dark parts are in a constant cycle of change into one another. She was talking about how there is no way to not be a part of the violence in life. Let's say you stop eating meat as a way to not be a part of violence toward animals. Okay, you're a vegetarian. Then you decide to stop eating vegetables as a way to avoid taking part in ending ANY life. Okay, you're a nuts-and-berries-ian. After a while, you may get sick, and the doctor advises you to eat citrus for vitamin c and meat for protein, which goes against your beliefs. At the point you become sick, you're then hurting YOUR life, in an attempt to not harm other life. There is no way to not harm something in life. That's the way life is.

Whoa.

It was a way heavy thought that she kicked out there before moving on to something else less interesting. I wanted her to stay with it and talk about it more, but we were moving on to rotate our shoulders.

Then she talked about how, if we care about not partaking in or perpetuating violence, we cannot avoid it altogether but instead can choose the least violent approach, while being mindful of the balance. We each choose what works for us, with our belief systems and what goal we're working toward at this point in our lives.

It struck me then about how life is all about change. Experiencing both lightness and darkness, and having both in order to appreciate the other. Change is constant rather than sporadic. I remember hearing a sermon once that talked about death not as the end, but as change. To the womb, when a baby is born it is a death from the womb's perspective. That baby no longer exists inside of it. To that baby and the parents, it is the beginning of new life. When a person dies, everyone around sees it as an end. To the person who dies, it is a simply a change from existing in the physical world to existing in the metaphysical of heaven or hell, or the like, depending upon your beliefs.

I have a terrible time with change, especially when I arrive someplace and am happy. It is particularly hard to understand WHY THERE MUST BE MORE CHANGE. (No seriously, WHY???) Good grief! When are things going to be the way I want them to be? Why can't they stay that way? What's wrong with that???

I remember reading in Eat, Pray, Love that the author gets advice from a friend who says something like, "You know Liz, you're allowed to say what you want, too. You don't have to just be passive and be grateful for whatever comes your way."

Yes! That's true! I like that. Right now I am offering up my opinions to G-d and the Universe, while also trying my hardest to be open and accepting of change EVEN IF I DON'T LIKE HOW IT FEELS. Because G-d cares about me, what I think is important, too. It's a balance between what I know, what I think I know, and what is planned for me. That's what I believe, anyway.

Some days, I can be more accepting than other days. On the Other Days, a good bottle of wine helps me forget my shortcomings.

I've hit my peak with philosophical thinking for today, and it's too early to start drinking so here's a meme. I got if from Lady M, and it goes like this: reach for the nearest book to you and find page 123. Then write the 5th through 8th sentences:

"I want to walk."

The moon was just past full, bright in the indigo sky. Leaving through a side door, I made my way to a bench in a little paved V where two wings of the building came together. I'd left Mike compsed but so exhausted I knew sleep would come fast.


- from The Dive From Clausen's Pier, by Ann Packer. I am still reading Jane Eyre, but I got this out today and intend to reread it. It's fabulous. I remember reading it a couple of years ago and it really resonated with me, about life and choices and all that crazy good/bad stuff.

In other news, I did a slightly inverted pose at yoga today, and now my tummy hurts. You're not supposed to do those during you're period. Now I know why. There was a guy in the class and I was too embarrassed to call the teacher over and ask for a modification while the room was as silent as I imagine a tomb to be. I mean, what if somebody heard me? Then I might die! OMG!

Oh, brother. Next time, I'm asking. I know it was ridiculous to act that way, because guess what? Women have periods! Big deal.

Now the only question left for today is, will tonight's wine be red or white? This is one of my favorite questions, because there is no right or wrong answer. I'll be a part of the violence that ends the life of a bottle of wine. That's violence I can really get behind.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dial Up Rage

One of the first things I learned since becoming a stay at home mom is that, much like small children, I need a daily routine I can count on.

Without a list of tasks which have been deliberately prioritized and written down in a schedule format, I can easily find other, more interesting but less important things to put my efforts toward so that by the end of the day I have to scramble to get the normal things accomplished.

One of my many distractions at home is the computer with its delicious internet access and tasty blogroll list. I have to limit the time I spend emailing, blogging, reading, and photo processing in order that I will, I don't know, can the tomatoes before the fruit flies eat them up or they rot into a gooey mess on my kitchen counter. Hypothetically speaking.

Since I am responsibly limiting my internet time, I think it's highly unfair that I continually receive the message "waiting for adfarm.mediaplex.com" which takes many, many minutes of waiting while I wait to access my email account. Or wait to view the next message. Or wait in order to compose a new message. Or wait to delete a message.

Just because Yahoo must have advertisments that pop up every time you do click within their site in order to keep it free, and because we (or, OH, but I'm not pointing fingers....point! point!) are too cheap to spring for broadband is no reason to punish ME, the responsible one! Is it? I. Don't. Have. Time. To. Wait. ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!

This is all to say that if one day you come over and find me cold, slumped over my laptop, know that it was another message saying "waiting for adfarm.mediaplex.com" that made me have the pulmonary embolism.