Sunday, November 6, 2011

Feeling Alone

There's no reason for me to feel alone. Husband, daughters. Usually it's all I need. Then somedays. It's just not enough. I remember having friends. I think maybe I can do it again. I try. Try it on little by little. A little bit doesn't feel too bad. Then add a little bit more. Then I feel it. The pretense. The dishonesty. Then the emotional roller coaster starts up again. I physically feel it. Emotionally feel it. It doesn't work. Sad, so conflicted, verging on depression.

So I leave it behind. Yet again. Then starts the recovery process. Digging myself out of this dark hole I intentionally put myself in again. I think. Why do I do this? I know how it turns out. Where is my spot? I want to find my personal, intimate spot. I know where it isn't. That must be half the search, right?

That was just for me.

Onwards. The weather is cold. The air has that biting, stinging cold feel in it. Little ice specks touch your face. It's warm inside. A lazy Sunday morning. Listening to John Anderson, Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Horton. Music the entire family agrees on. Biscuits in the oven. Hashbrowns on the stove. Sausage in the skillet. Soon there will be gravy. It makes me feel warm, content. A cozy kitchen full of homey smells. I ask my mom, "enough flour", "more milk", "think it's ready yet". I listen very intently for her voice. I can still hear it. I hope to never forget it. I will bury myself in my home and forget all else. For today.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Harvest Time

Harvest time.  Tim warned me the other night that it was getting to be that time.  Pears, plums, tomatoes, peppers, then a little later grapes and apples.  Do I know what I'm going to with the produce, where should he put it, and when should he start picking?

Secretly, I wish it would all go away.  I'm tired.  Worn out.  Burned out.  I've been at this for years.  Every summer.  In the hot kitchen, made all the hotter because usually two burners on the stove are going, peeling, cutting, filling, cooking, cleaning, back feeling like it's breaking.  I've done my share.  I've lived simply, worked with our earth, grown and produced much of our food.  I'm ready for my little cottage by the ocean with fireplace and bookcase and comfy over-stuffed chair.

But....  then I remember how it feels to look in my cupboard and see it full of food we have produced.  From little, tiny seeds to jars full of healthy, life-giving food.  How it feels to grab a jar from the shelf, pop open the lid and smell the smell of our hard work and reward.  And how I enjoy secretly laughing at the people running to the store in that God awful traffic just to pick up something.  I've already got it.  All natural.  Nothing toxic.  Didn't get shipped thousands of miles.  Didn't cause any pollution.  And how I was blessed with the opportunity of getting my hands dirty, seeing dirt under my nails, smelling that sensual, earthy smell on my hands.  How I had that time in the morning while weeding to talk out loud to God with no-one listening.  Except the neighbor having his early morning cigarette who probably already thinks I'm a total whack job.  It's is absolutely amazing how many problems you can solve while getting your hands dirty.

So.  I will find some energy that's been hiding away and tackle the harvest.  My kitchen will be the heart beat of my home.  The floor will be dirty and sticky.  I will be hot and sweaty and achy and tired (I'm that anyway).  I will stir prayers into my preserved food.  I will watch my cupboards fill up with food. It will mark the end of the old year.  And I will look forward to my time of rest.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Love My Husband

On June 1st we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. We went to a favorite sandwich shop, walked by the river holding hands, stopped at the store to pick up some ice cream for the family, and watched Lost in Translation. Quiet, simple. Just the way we are. Dining in one of the most expensive restaurants could not compare to holding his hand, feeling his arm brush against mine, leaning my head on his shoulder. It has been a wonderful journey together with its ups and downs, good times and bad. It hasn't always been a bed of roses. But even when it was one of those down times, I knew, without a doubt, that he loved me, and I hope that he has always known without doubt how much I love him.

Certainly death doesn't end this love. When I create my own religion, I will borrow from the LDS their belief in eternal marriage. It will be a most interesting religion indeed.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

As I Lay Dying

It was uncomfortable. Distressing. Disturbing. At times nauseating. An emotional roller coaster. Yet with each page, I felt more and more addicted. Compulsively re-reading sentences and paragraphs - each time resulting in a different emotional reaction. I just shut the book. Finished. Before the day is over I will again pick it up and see what new feelings it can elicit.
When was the last time I felt this way after finishing a book?
The last time I read Faulkner.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Sharing favorite books with your daughters.

Abra and I are reading The Lord of the Rings together. Would you think me silly if I told you I would fantasize about reading this book aloud to my children? Why did the first two get away from me without this happening.

I did read all the Harry Potter books (except The Deathly Hallows) aloud to Abra when she was younger. She couldn't wait for me to read the last one, so before I knew it, she was already half way through it. Well, B.G. has been wanting to read the first one, which happens to be the only one I don't own. Well, I did own it. But then I loaned it to my sister. Which means I no longer own it. Finally, I received the call from the library that my copy was waiting for me to pick up. That I promptly did. As I held the book in my hands I found myself remembering back to the adventures Abra and I shared with Harry, and I realized I didn't want to be left out even though I've been through all of them once before. So I called the twins and asked if they wanted me to read. I honestly can't ever remember getting a 'no' for an answer to that question. Then I pulled out Harry and started reading. Abby crawled up next to me snuggling as close as she could; a few minutes later B.G. was on the other side. Usually they're on the floor while I read; last night they were right next to me for the entire reading. A few minutes after starting, I saw Abra come in and grab a chair. So what if you've read them before.

Maybe someday they will share these books and memories with their own children, and it will be a real Tradition. Just makes me all warm and fuzzy feeling to think about it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Friendship and Death

It has been a very long, very sad, very difficult week. I've been wanting to write but there are no words to express these feelings. How I wish I could find words when I need them, and how I envy people who can weave words together to express their feelings. What a relief that could be.

My friend's 15 year old son took his life last week. The funeral was this Tuesday.

Disbelief. I just dreamed this. It isn't true. It can't be.

Horror. Horror that this could really happen.

Despair. This can't really happen. Nothing is right.

Helplessness. Couldn't something have been done? What went wrong? This needs to be fixed. But it's too late.

Anger. If he had waited 24 hours, he might have felt differently. A day, a few words, some comfort can make such a difference.

Incredible sadness and heartache.

One thing, among many - besides the fact that this was a young man taking his own life, that makes this so sad for me is the friendship I had with his mother mad fallen apart. And this reminds me of a friend who died last summer. Just a few years older than me. Another friendship that had fallen apart.

Am I a bad friend? I don't really think so. But I admit I have fragile outer shell. I'm weak. There are friendships that take so much energy and such a strong personality that I don't feel up to the task. I have, also, fought tooth and nail to keep a friendship together only to feel deeply betrayed so my defenses go up and I'm very hesitant. My family is my world, my religion, and I cannot tolerate them be dissected and criticized no matter what the other person's needs might be. I need peace, calm, stability. Fighting, discontent, upheavals, anger, harsh words destroy my peace and calm. And so... I ended the friendship. No words; I just disappeared from her life. I'm good at disappearing.

But the flip side of ending a friendship is the feeling helplessness at a time like this. At the funeral I hugged her, told her I was so very, very sorry for their loss, that I was holding her in my heart, that I loved her. It is all very true. My heart has ached every day for their loss. There has been no other death - not even my parents - that has affected me this deeply. I want to offer something, but I don't know how. Mentally I have drawn a circle of love around them - from a distance; mentally I hug them; mentally I send them my feelings.

But it doesn't feel enough. I know it's inadequate. I just feel guilty. My punishment for ending a friendship, and my punishment for not wanting to resurrect that friendship in a real life way. Maybe I just make a better spiritual friend than I do a real life one.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

At This Moment

I am eating a salad with romaine, spinach, feta cheese, blueberries, walnuts, and homemade vinaigrette - all from Costco! While I sit here eating my salad, I dream of the day that the lettuce and spinach at least will come straight from my garden along with a cuke and tomatoes. Still, it tasted good and filled my need for fresh.

Spring seems so distant right now: the sky is dark and ominous looking, it's been raining off and on. Yesterday felt like spring; today feels like winter exerting her power before she is forced into hibernation.

They are tearing up the road in front of our house to install sewer lines. Actually, not directly in front of our house yet; they are working down the street a ways but soon it will be in front of my home. Huge trailers, back hoes, tractors, and NOISE. Along with the fact that I'm not sure if we'll be able to get out of driveway.

My oldest is asleep on the couch - after spending the afternoon braiding her little sister's hair. Little teeny, tiny braids. And she has a head full of hair. She has to work tonight so she's trying to catch a nap before leaving.

My other daughter is having car trouble among other troubles. The stressful life of an adult. I wish it weren't.

My darling husband was so cranky yesterday. Today he apologized. Right now he is napping.

I'm trying to find something uplifting about today... I'm still thinking... Oh, I read from The Willows in Winter for about 45 minutes and drank tea. In fact, I think I will go read my latest No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency book. That is always uplifting.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

More Sunday Thoughts

Another Sunday. I have many, many thoughts but can't quite find the words right now so they will remain unsaid.

It has been a very special Sunday. It started with my oldest daughter calling to ask if her father and I would like to join her and her sister for breakfast. Of course. We had a delightful time. Not something we get to do very often - spend time alone with our oldest two without our youngest three around.

On another note, my kitchen smells wonderfully homey with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; two loaves of pumpkin bread is baking. I shall have a couple slices with some Constant Comment tea. A very nice way to end a very nice Sunday.

And now I leave you with this.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Small Pleasures

We woke this morning to find the ground covered in white. More than a skiff, enough to make some tracks and throw a few snowballs. Certainly not enough to make a really decent snowperson, but enough to have some awesome fun.

So when presented with a choice between starting school on time or playing in what will most likely be the last snow of the season, what do you think we chose?

I am thankful that we can grab these opportunities when they appear. Grab the moment and live.

Monday, February 14, 2011

More Illnesses

The illness that came to visit hubby over Super Bowl weekend decided to linger. It had found a house full of willing hosts. My children. Abra first, Abby second, and last, but not least B.G. From oldest to youngest. Please note, the mother was excluded, again, as usual. All of them ran fevers, ached, and developed a nasty, nasty cough. I hate to see my children sick and miserable. I brought them blankets and pillows, snuggled them up on the couch or lazy boy, brought them tea, took their temps often so they could keep track, and watched movies.

Of all of them, it is hardest for me to see Abby sick. It's heartbreaking. To understand this, one must know the child. She is ALIVE. She is DRAMA. Life exudes from her every pore. And most especially from her eyes. From the moment her feet hit the floor in the morning until her little motor finally, finally runs down at night, this child is LIVING HUGELY. And when she is sick, the LIFE is gone. The pure spirit and life that comes out of her eyes is totally missing. Dull, listless, glazed. The only thing that keeps my heart from totally breaking is the fact that she will snuggle with me when she is sick. She does not snuggle. Very primp and proper hugs and few purrs, and that's it. But when she is sick, she actually snuggles her whole body up next to mine. That is a gift to be forever treasure.

This morning I was asking what they all wanted for breakfast. I heard Abby's voice answering: pancakes, an omelet, waffles with extra whipped cream and strawberries, a smoothie with a swirly straw, and candy. Before I even turned around I knew what I would see. LIFE! BIG HUGE LIFE. She's on the mend. Except for that damned cough. She's is back with the living, keeping us in smiles.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

The Groundhog predicted an early spring, and the last few days were proving that fortune teller correct. I spent some extra time cuddled up in my favorite chair, daydreaming, and I could feel the warm dirt in my fingers and smell that wonderful warm, earthy, musty garden smell. The weight on my shoulders felt infinitely lighter, and my family was rewarded with more smiles and laughs.

Then today dawned grey, overcast, and dreary, and with that the weight is back. My morning smile was replaced with morning grouchiness, and instead of laughing, I found everything coming out of my mouth rather snitful. I am going to put on shoes and jacket, and go outside to face this dreary day head on. I will find something beautiful and hopeful in it, and I will bring that hope back inside.

Tim seems to have come down with the flu. His body aches, he feels congested and tired and is napping. The girls have been having a Get Smart marathon. I had to ask them to go upstairs and try to tone down the laughter since their dad was sleeping. You should have seen the look they gave me. Obviously watching Get Smart without riotous and very loud laughter isn't possible. They are giving it their best shot, though.

Nachos and beer is a tradition for Super Bowl Sunday although it appears Tim might not be joining in. Might just be the girls and me. Hmmmm..... no. If there's anything that will get that man out of bed (other than work) it's football. We'll just quarantine him to one side of the room.

Now I'm off to face my enemy, the dreary sky.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Time to Reminisce Before Looking Ahead

Christmas is over. I guess most people would be thinking, "Well, duh, January is almost over." For me, Christmas goes on for about six weeks. See, I love Christmas. I love the holidays.

It starts the weekend after Thanksgiving. I tried the whole thing about not celebrating Christmas until Christmas really comes, celebrating Advent. I tried not putting any Christmas decorations up until at least Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent), but I just didn't like it. So, all the decorations come out right after Thanksgiving. However, it's a process. Over the next couple of weeks I put out all my Christmas ornaments and decorations.

I cover every surface I can find with lights. Lots and lots of lights. Of many colors. Tree, windows, mantel, top of the piano and entertainment center, doorways, stair railing, over the kitchen cabinets. The more lights that go up, the more my energy increases, the more my spirit soars. Then every little ornament I've collected plus all the ones I inherited from my mom find a special place. Some are from her childhood, quite old, with an odd arm or wing missing, paint chipping off which makes them all the more special. Every surface holds a memory for me.

Then there's the reading. All of our favorite Christmas stories. Read every year. After all these years of reading The Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco, I'm still in tears by the end. The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden, A Cajun Night Before Christmas, The Donkey's Dream, A Cobweb Christmas, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, and on and on. Oh, and A Christmas Carol cannot be missed.

Christmas movies. Every single version of A Christmas Carol although the one with George C. Scott is my favorite. White Christmas, Christmas in Connecticut, Holiday Inn, It's a Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story (several times). Truthfully, I never tire of A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated), Frosty, and Rudolf. I remember before children thinking how exciting it would be to watch those shows with my children. And I have. Every year.

Baking. Cookies, candy, snacks. Abra and I made a list of all the cookies we wanted to try, went to the store to collect ingredients, and then cooked something almost every day. Extra pounds. Oh, so what. They come off - mostly. And gingerbread houses. This year Rachael came over to make gingerbread houses with her little sisters.

And while all this is going on, there is Christmas music playing in the background. I love Christmas music. Any and all Christmas music. While not classical, Bing and Nat King Cole are still my favorites.

Christmas Day. Early Mass on Christmas Eve, pick up a pizza on the way home, and the traditional early gift. Always new PJ's which is the signal that it's time to go to bed. Then Santa and his helper go to work. Santa is very particular about the way he arranges gifts. They must be perfect. The girls take my phone upstairs so they can call when they wake up - usually around 6:00 AM. Santa's helper gets up, turns on every light and the music, gets Santa out of bed, turns on the video camera and calls upstairs to let the girls know everything is ready. There is an order to how they come downstairs. Youngest first. I'm sitting here with a goofy smile remembering. They play with the Santa gifts while mom puts on coffee. We wait for the bigger girls and their husband/boyfriend to show up before we open the wrapped gifts. It must be done slowly. One at a time. Everyone watches and oohs and aahs at the appropriate moment.

Since there has been so much cooking going on all month, mom takes Christmas Day off. Egg and hashbrown casseroles for breakfast, take out Chinese food for dinner. PJ's all day, if you want. Lay around reading, watching A Christmas Story over and over, playing a new game or putting together the new puzzle.

Nothing comes down until after Ephiphany, usually the weekend after. And then it again is a process. No hurry. In the evening, when everyone is quiet and the littler girls are in bed, I turn on the Christmas lights and sit on the couch with a cup of tea, or maybe a glass of wine, and watch the flames in the woodstove and the multi colored lights and am as contented as can be. I savor that time. It feeds me.

So what is it about Christmas? The religious aspect. Truthfully, no. I wish I could say it was all about Jesus, but it's not. Jesus is not ignored, but he is not the reason I love Christmas so much. Is it the gifts? No. I love giving, but that's not it. This year gifts were quite sparse as money is very tight, still the entire season was no less. My mom loved Christmas. She was like a little kid about Christmas. The entire house would glow with Christmas. Mom wasn't particularly religious; she wasn't anti-religious, just not overly religious. For her, in fact, her whole life, was about family. That was her religion, her spirituality. Family.

And I'm her daughter.