Monday, May 25, 2009

Lucky, Happy Mom

That would be me. This is a photo from Mothers' Day. We went rock climbing and then out for beer and chicken wings. Flowers are for other moms. This is what I wanted. I am lucky and blessed. (And aren't they just the most gorgeous kids ever???)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Return to Sender

A while back I posted about returning Dave's mail and trying to stop acting like his wife. So, I returned some mail. I marked the letter "not at this address" and tossed it back in my mailbox.

You know the old kid's song "the cat came back"? Yeah. The next day, the mail was back, marked with a question mark by the letter carrier. So, on the same letter, I wrote "Really. He's not here." And I put it back into the mail box. You guessed it. It came back. So today, I wrote "Honest. I've looked everywhere. I'm pretty sure he's not here."

We'll see what happens next.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wanna See?

Progress. I'm making progress.

I didn't get the chairs or the rug. They're just not right for my dining room. And no way my dining room is that airy and light; I wish it were. But that's my table. It'll be delivered in a few days.

Friday, May 15, 2009

If you're not scared, you're not paying attention

Is that even true? It's something I'm thinking about lately.

The last semester -particularly the last month- has been difficult. It's not Math-Fink's doing this time. No, this time, it was all me. This semester was pretty close to grace-less. I stumbled and bumbled and dropped balls I was trying to juggle, and generally made a mess.

Yes, I can come up with rational explanations as to WHY that happened. Yes, I know I can get better at all the things I screwed up. Yes, I know I'm being impatient with myself and expecting quite a lot.

The thing is.... other people expect quite a lot of me, too. And they have no reason or inclination to cut me any slack. In fact, for them to do so would be inappropriate. Employers, children, people whose job it is to enforce standards.... those people. They have very right to expect me to step up and get it done. Whatever "it" is, in their particular case.

So, I face again -anew- more things that scare me. Resentment builds up that I have to do this alone. And then I think, no... I GET to do this alone. What do I want? How will I organize this? And I cycle back and forth -like a person with a particularly rapid-cycling bipolar disorder- between panic and courage. So, is everybody afraid, and some people just figure out a path through the fear? Maybe some people are too naive or too young to be afraid. Maybe it's only smart adults who are afraid. Great.

Or maybe those people who seem to be serene AND high-achieving really are both. How do they do that? I have learned that I can't muscle my way through this. Rock climbing should have told me that. Muscle power never gets me anywhere; I have to rely on flexibility and coordination.

So, I tried will power, and I didn't have enough. I tried brute force, and I guess I'm insufficiently brutish because that didn't work either. But I have a life to get organized here. What is going to work? Is there a way to lead with MY strengths -flexibility and coordination and maybe a smidge of creativity? Would that work? Would that keep the fear at bay?

Or is fear just part of the human condition?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' Day Declaration

I know I post this every year, but I'll just keep doing it until people start paying attention.... Oh wait, that's a different "momily". Read this one instead.

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870

Friday, May 08, 2009

Does this just say it all???

For well over a week now, my glasses have been lost. I knew they had to be in the house because I got home;I wouldn't drive without them. But darn if I could find them. What's worse is that I remembered that tragic thought of "You're putting your glasses somewhere weird. This is gonna come back to bite you in the patootie." Did I actually act on that thought? Don't be silly.

And, being me, I had paid-for contacts. At the eye doctor's office. For six months, because he's never open when I'm available. Literally, they've been there for six months. No exaggerating, for once. It's time for my next appointment, and I haven't picked up the contacts from the last appointment.

So I had no glasses or contacts at all for a few days. Then I snuck out of work for a "lunch hour" at about 10:00 one morning (because the eye doctor is closed over the noon hour) and got my contacts. I was about ready to figure that I'd find my glasses one day a year from now when I rearrange the furniture, or clean out the freezer, or who knows what.

Today, I stumbled into my little workout area, thinking I'd blow off a little steam by doing some cardio, and .... there they are. If I'd been exercising the way I should, I would have found them 10 days ago. So I'm blind AND fat AND disorganized.

Forcryingoutloud. Pull yourself together, woman.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Meet Elite Mature Singles

I love facebook. I think it's not much shy of world-changing, this social networking stuff. I'll probably write about that at some point. But for now, I'm just frustrated at what happens every time I sign on to facebook.

I'm greeted by this handsome man, about my age, under the caption "meet elite mature singles." Doubtless this is because I've indicated that I'm single. I've ALSO indicated that I am interested in friendship and networking, rather than -I suppose- trolling for a new partner. Yet that seems not to matter quite so much.

First of all, who are the guys who sign up to have their picture splashed around on facebook? It's either narcissistic or desperate, I can't decide which. And WHAT is an elite single? It's probably meant to imply wealth. Or maybe it's code for "we know there are loser single guys our age out there, but we are not those guys." And I should believe this why? You're the one who paid to have your picture on facebook, after all. And "mature" is surely code for "old", in this case, and that kind of stinks. I certainly don't want an immature partner. Been there; done that. But jsut ick, that I'm in that category where it's considered impolite -or unmarketable- to use the accurate word. And how do we REALLY know that they are single at all? Math-Fink was playing around on matchmaking sites long before he was single. I've had women he was "dating" contact me through this blog, for heaven's sake.

I know plenty of people who've found partners -life-long (apparently) as well as just-for-now- - on social networking sites. To me, it feels soul-stealing. How can it be true that I feel this way, when I increasingly make no distinction between cyberspace and "real" space? My cyber-friends ARE my friends. I've "met" them in that loopy, roundabout way that we meet anyone. Someone knows someone who invites them into a group and we click -or not. We take care of each other. We challenge each other. We worry. We celebrate. It's real friendship.

And yet, I don't want to find a partner that way. More to the point, I don't want a life partner at all right now. Among other things, it's a time management problem. There are no minutes in my day into which to put a partner -which tells me I'm not ready to work very hard at it. There's no particular sadness in considering the possibility that I might always feel this way. It's not that a partner is not coming to me; it's that I'm not interested.

So, stop offering me "elite mature singles" for heaven's sake.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Safe Haven? Shipwreck Cove??

I'm not sure what the right metaphor is. But here's my thinking....

My 27 year old daughter lives with me. Neither of us ever thought this would happen, but it is so very working -for both of us, I think.

My thinking goes like this. When I was in college, many of my friends were told by their parents that from this point forward they were visitors in their parents' home. This wasn't seen as harsh, at all. It was more of a statement that they were fully launched now. Then, a few years later, kids were coming home after college to re-group and think. Parents -those parents who themselves had been told that to come home was only for emergencies- didn't know quite what to make of this. They certainly didn't want to define their children to be failing, but this situation wasn't good. The economy was hard. Suddenly a Master's degree was essential where before a Bachelor's degree had been sufficient.... A rationale for this situation was created.

But now, I think we're in a different place yet again. I really do. I'm not rationalizing here, at all. I think we're redefining family and adulthood to be less about independence and more about inter-dependence. This house, this big old falling-down barn, was a place of respite when I needed one. It's weird to think that a place -nothing more than boards and nails when you get right down to it- could be a sanctuary. Don't people, after all, consecrate a people to make it a sanctuary?? But... whatever the reason, I needed to be here while I healed and regrouped.

So, what's the problem if I share that space? Isn't there something wonderful happening if I can share that space with someone else, and have it offer that same sanctuary? Or the sanctuary they need? Family can look different at different times. I am so grateful to have another person in the house -another person whose life occasionally intersects with mine. In a real way, she's babysitting me. But it's not only that. I have space and resources and mom-stuff that she needs right now, too. And together, we can do things that we can't do alone.

I don't think this is a forever-type situation. I think she ought to live independently before (or whether or not) she lives with a family of her own making. For that matter, I think I ought to have done that. But, I also think we're re-conceiving family. On so many levels, we've defined it too narrowly for too long. It's so much more than a mommy and a daddy and a baby and a puppy. That can be a wonderful family. But it's also a middle-aged mom and an adult daughter and maybe a friend who needs a little more care and structure. Or a mom and several children and no daddy. Or two mommies and a baby. Those might all be wonderful families too.

We all need a safe haven.