Saturday, December 01, 2012

It's what I can do...

It's been an interesting week - with some real high spots and some very difficult spots as well.  I have two friends going through two very difficult and painful experiences.  It's hard to love people and know they're hurting.  I want to help and it turns out that something I can do to help is...knit for them.

I've been so disconnected from my knitting.  I'm working on leg warmers for DS2 (the 7 year old) - he dances ballet and tap, and is actually dancing in a regional touring company of the Nutcracker and wants leg warmers.  I have one done (green, of course) and one about 1/3 done.  It's been fun, I haven't knit in SO long, and it's lovely to reconnect with it.

I had an interesting short coaching session with this woman (obviously in part a marketing thing, which was fine as I may end up buying what she's selling) and she made a point that's REALLY been making me think about my choices - the difference between "self" time and "off" time.  What I seem to go to for "self" time - the computer - is really "off" time, zone-out time.  I realized that I'm not entirely sure what IS self-time for me, and it occurred to me - clearly photography is, both the process of taking pictures but also the editing, but knitting is too.

So, back to my friends - I'm knitting one friend a hat, and another will get a scarf, and both will probably get more of these items as we're looking at...well, not a marathon I think, but way more than a sprint to health for both of them.  I can't heal them, I can't fix things for them, I can't make it better, but I can, with my own two hands, create something for them that is not only beautiful, but also tangibly helpful.  And, in the process, I can start to regenerate my own self a bit.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Northeast Mayhem

We were very lucky in Massachusetts.  We're far enough inland, and high enough that we had no flooding.  I think in our neighborhood, pretty much all the trees and limbs that were at risk had already come down in the last few years (the ice storm of 2008, Irene, The Halloween Blizzard).  We were only out of power for 20 hours (which shows you how much my perspective has changed, that that's really not bad), we had lots of wind and rain but other than that, it was okay.  My heart breaks for the communities in NJ and NY and other places that were so devastated.  Is this the new normal?  We're going to get through the winter and in the Spring we're getting a generator, probably a stand-by.  We need something that can power the fridge and freezers, the septic pump up and possibly the furnace.

In other news...well, looks like my son is going to be dancing in the touring company of the local Nutcracker.  We hadn't planned to have him do so, but they emailed us today that they need him.  :)  I'm a bit freaked out, it may change our plans for Thanksgiving, and it's a big commitment but I think we can make it work.

I cannot believe it's already November!  I'm not getting any crafting done at the moment.  I've stalled on all the purging right now. I'm trying to get motivated for tomorrow - my oldest will be home sick and my youngest doesn't have school, so we can't go anywhere, so I want to really get the playroom worked on, so I can set up my new desk and then buy my new computer!!  I'll let you all (all 3 of you, haha!) know how it goes!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wind out of my sails...

I was going to call this derailed, but it's not that, not really.  It's been a really hard week.  I've continued to go to work, take care of kids, etc., but I've been really down this week.  In part, it's that time of year for me.  I tend to get very depressed in October, and the fact that it didn't hit me until now this year is actually progress.  There been a few things that have knocked me off my center, and I'm taking things way, way too hard right now.  At least I have enough insight to know that, and I'm working hard on just sitting lightly in my feelings, not hooking in too deep, not giving too much power to them.  I'm reminding myself - depression lies, all the time.  My sister was supposed to visit me next week to have a fun halloween, but due to STORMAGGEDON 2012, she most likely won't make it.  So.  I'm a bit nervous, I'm going to head to the store tomorrow to make sure we have milk, lemonade and wine, because what else really do you need to weather a storm?

One very cool thing - I've met a really neat person who's helping with me with my website for the photography.  I'm not quite ready to unveil it, but we'll get there.   I did do a bunch of picking up today, and mopped the downstairs, so I'm not just sitting on my butt being sad...that's good, I guess.

These are the times where I just get so frustrated with my brain and feel like it's just...broken.  There is no reason at all for me to feel this way, my life is wonderful and I am truly blessed.  Stupid brain.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Night Round Up

So, in the last week and a half, I've gotten a lot done, though there's TONS more to do.  The house is in that state of purging/decluttering where there is crap EVERYWHERE and it's crazy-making, to be sure.

So, the book folks came and took 12 boxes of books and a bag of clothes.  My parents came to visit and amidst the chaos that is our weekend, we got stuff done. I got DH's dresser set up, and the costume bin/bench put together.  On Saturday morning, DH and my mom got the Expedit put together.  Saturday afternoon, I got going.  Over the rest of the day, I went through most of my yarn, and got 2 big kitchen garbage bags ready to donate.  I also got 2 big bags of fabric to go.  I had *6 bags* of trash and a ton of recycling.  I also worked myself up into a righteous asthma attack.  At this point, all yarn and cloth is consolidated, and fits (barely) into the allotted bins.  I have 2 plastic tubs, 1 drawer and a ratty old cardboard box left to go through, consolidate, purge, etc.  And then the craft stuff is DONE!  I swear, I'm so excited!  I have a small desk next to the storage with my sewing machines on it, so I can actually have them out and usable!  ALL THE TIME.  I have a bin of WIP that I'm going to ruthlessly purge - there's stuff that's never going to get done, so it needs to get frogged.  It feels so good to know it's in progress.

In terms of "the business," I took some steps there too.  I bought my website, though there's nothing there yet, and *deep breath* I did my first shoot!  My big fear has been, what's it going to be like shooting people I don't know, and the answer is...I had a blast!  I think they did too.  We literally did the shoot in 6 minutes - the weather was gorgeous on Saturday, but they were wiped out from travel and weren't up for it.  The weather was terrible all day Sunday until I came out of the local ballet production I'd taken 2 of my kids to, and  IT WAS SUNNY!  I called them up, ran home, grabbed my camera, and brought them into the sun and we ended up getting a bunch of good shots!  It was a huge confidence boost and again made me think...This is what I want.

And, as I keep reminding myself - what's the worst that can happen?  I'll try, and it'll fail as a business.  :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Making Progress

Room is painted and I am SO thrilled with it!  I love the color, it looks so clean and crisp and nice, AND it makes the room feel so much more like me!  I'm surrounded by brown in this house, and it's just not my color.  It was such fun!  And we have our Ikea trip on Friday, which should also be a blast! It's a crazy weekend, so hopefully I will get my organizing done.

I got the book pick-up scheduled, and I'm sending off a bunch of clothes too.

I'm also moving forward on other things.  I got my EIN from the IRS, and I got my business permit from the town, and opened a business bank account today.  Next step is to get the office space set up, which involves MORE CLEANING, purging, sorting and organizing.  I'm also thinking of getting a screen to set up to divide the office space from the play space.

I've been taking a photography class, and I'm signed up for the next one as well, and I'm very excited about that!  I've gotten some positive feedback (though in general the teacher is very very enthusiastic about the shots the students take), and this week's assignment is portraits, so obviously I'm thrilled!  I'm actually doing a portrait session for my friend's parents on Saturday, which should be really fun (yikes and is also terrifying, what if I completely screw it up?!?).  I think the biggest thing this class has done is gotten back into shooting manually, and it's taught me SO much about my camera!  The teacher is very funny, and definitely A Personality.

I have a friend who's going to do my website and logo for me, and I set up a FB page (though I've been too chicken to invite anyone to it).

So, I've been processing a lot about all this, and had some good insights yesterday. I think I realized that I am, in fact, a Myers-Briggs introvert. People who know me may be going "Whaaa?" but really, it's true.  Yes, I'm very social and outgoing, and I do really like people, but the older I get, the more I find social interactions tiring and the more I crave alone time.  Now, maybe I'm really just an X, balanced between the two, but I think that understanding my need for down-time is important.  I had a hard time this weekend with DH away for 4 days, and being non-stop parent was not easy.  In addition, we have, well, not the most mellow of kids (I know! So weird!  Where DO they get it?!?).  But yeah, intensity abounds in our family.  That's a good thing, in many ways, but it has made me really start questioning the fit for me on my chosen profession.  Finding work that allows me a balance between interacting with people and being alone sounds really lovely.  Now, I'm not doing anything rash, quitting my job or anything, but I'm realizing just how vigilant I really need to be to protect my energy level, and that eventually, I think not doing this work is the right thing for me.

So yeah, it's all good and feels like things are really in motion right now.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Moving On and Letting Go

I won't even apologize for my silence this time!  I want to be blogging more, but words have been fewer for me, which is weird.  Until recently.

So, I've made a decision - I am going to try my hand at the photography business thing.  I realized - what is the absolute worst thing that can happen?  It's not just failing - God knows, I've failed in my life, but it's people knowing that I reached for a dream and didn't succeed.  And really?  That's the worst thing??  That's not only not bad, it's very livable for me.  And the funny thing, once I made the decision to DO this, I've gotten momentum on a whole bunch of other projects.

The big one is really trying to make our home *work* for me.  I go crazy sometimes because I feel like there's no space here that's JUST mine.  I share my bed, my bathroom, my room, my whole house.  So, in deciding to actually try and build a business, I need a dedicated space in which to conduct that business.  So, it turns out, the first step on that path my room. :)  No, really!

Our house is contemporary cape, meaning we have our master BR on the 1st floor, off the big open living space, and there are two ginormous rooms upstairs.  One has all the kids in it, the other is a combination office-play-room-dumping ground.  I had clutter all over my room, so this week, I really worked hard and got it cleaned up.  DH did his dressers too.  There's still STUFF of course, I have a bunch of stuff to donate, but it's all organized.  Next step - PAINT THE ROOM!  It's an antique linen right now, and I want it sage green.  I have an awesome friend who's going to help me do that. Next step - IKEA!  I'm getting an Expedit to organize and contain all my craft stuff.  It will have the desk, so I'll have somewhere to set up my sewing machines!  Part of consolidation is PURGING.  If it doesn't fit in the space I have allocated, it has to go.   I will finally have a place for all of MY stuff!

So, today, DH and I dealt with the books...we had 11 bankers boxes of books in storage plus way way too many out.  So we purged!  I have 3 boxes to go back to my sister, 13 to be donated, a big bag of recycling and a big box of trash.  This is something I've been "meaning" to do for...about 5 years now.  It feels, actually, like a really big deal.  I got rid of pretty much all of my eating disorder books. I got rid of almost all of my text books, pretty much all of my never-used self-help books, lots of junk.  

Getting rid of books is a really big deal for me.  Now, I have many, many books that are like old friends for me, they're comfort.  I kept some books that I may likely never read again, but that changed my life. We still have PLENTY of books, don't get me wrong, it's just the old and outdated that I'm finally letting go!  As I was sorting, I said to DH, "it feels sort of like I'm letting go of my identity as a psychologist."  It feels like I am shedding so much weight from the past, in order to make room for the new!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

More ponderings...

So, yesterday was my last Saturday of work (until I change careers, ha ha), and it left me feeling meloncholy.  I said good-bye to two clients - one is a lovely young lady I've been seeing for a year, and it's simply logistics that prevent us from continuing.  The other is a woman I've been working with for about 6 months, but twice a week, which is a much more intense therapy.  She reminds me a lot of myself, though far more beautiful and cool than I ever was, and someone who's in intense pain.  She decided very last minute to relocate to the western side of the US, and I worry, a lot, about how this move will be for her.  It's hard, letting go.  I really don't like not knowing how the story will end!

Yesterday was also my husband's birthday, which we celebrated by giving him a mohawk.   And a lot of Lego.  :)  He's tough to buy for, that guy.

Today somehow turned out to be incredibly productive.  I went to church (amazing as always, I'm feeling so, so good about how this has worked out, our new guy is just incredible) and came home and DH and I have been CLEANING all day!  We're having 4 families over tomorrow for a cook out and party, and we got a LOT done.  We ended up actually doing some deep cleaning (SO not my forte), and it feels good.  I think I've mentioned before, domestic tasks are really not my strength, but I am working on doing better.  Today's sermon really focused on taking full responisbility for your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and it's a constant process for me.

It was also, interestingly, a day of letting go.  We got rid of all of our old straw cups from when the kids were really little, all of the scrungy water bottles, I went though all the plastic Ziploc stuff and got it all organized, etc.  That kind of stuff.  Normally I have a very hard time letting go of anything, but when I get into the zone, I just Get It Done, man.  I wish I could harness that energy and call on it all the time!  I also made a commitment to go through my diaper bag collection (which is embarrasingly large) and sell everything that I don't use, which honestly is most of them.  I'm going to do that with the strollers as well.  I think it's acknowledging the shift that's occurring for us with parenting - we don't have babies anymore.  No one's in diapers, no one rides in strollers, everyone is potty trained!  While I do love babies, honestly, I'm not totally sad to let it go.  I feel like we're hitting this sweet spot - DS1 is going to 3rd grade, DS2 is going to 1st, and DD is headed for her last year of preschool.  Everyone sleeps through the night!  They still like us!  They're funny and interesting little folks to have around.  I feel like both DH and I are really getting back more of US.  DH wants to take fiddle lessons.  I've got my photography class starting in 10 days (!!!!).  Life is changing and evolving in a way that feels really positive and exciting.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Own Your Life

Well helloooooo, blog!  It's been...yeah, a while.  A *long* while.  I'm not sure what happened, I sort of fell of the map in a lot of ways this summer.  In a good way, I'm getting all shaken up and I'm rethinking a lot of things in my life right now.  It's good, but scary.

I feel like I keep getting the message from the universe that not only is it not selfish to want to follow my dreams, it is, in fact, the way to peace, joy and happiness.  I see people around me changing their lives, taking big risks, daring to fail.  I've been in a rut, and going back to work a year ago really shook me out of that rut, and showed me some really big things, like how important work is to me.

It's also showed me that I'm not sure the work I do is the work that brings me joy.

*whew*  That is really hard to say.

It's not that I don't love doing therapy, I actually really do.  But it's hard.  I've had a client in serious trouble for a while now, and I don't think I realized how hard and stressful it's been.  To admit that I'm not sure this is the right path for me, after all the years, money, and work to get here...well, I feel a bit foolish.  Hmm, totally idiotic might be the better phrase.  I've really got the dream job in many ways - I have a tiny bit of collegial interaction (you don't get much in my field), I have someone else doing all the grunt work: phone calls, scheduling, billing, insurance, after-hours crisis coverage...and yet...and yet...

In part, some of it is that I have a very demanding child.  Yes, I know, all kids are demanding, and while I won't claim that he's the most difficult kid out there, he's highly intense and requires a LOT of emotional work, and it's tiring.

DH and I got an amazing opportunity to go away together for a week, just the two of us, back to the place we honeymooned.  Not only is it completely gorgeous and a place just to relax and let others take care of you, we also got a chance to really talk.  It gave me some time and space to explore a bit how I'm feeling about work, and all this stuff.  And I realized that while I love, and maybe more important, value the work I do, there's not a lot of joy involved.  It's draining.  When DH asked me what I would do if I could do anything I wanted, I had an immediate answer: I'd be a part-time photographer (a natural light family portrait artist), a part-time yoga instructor and a part-time massage therapist.  It will take a while to reach these dreams, and I may learn along the way that these are not actually the paths I want to walk (remember the Childbirth Educator thing?), but I have decided to explore it.  So, I'll keep you all posted!

It's not, perhaps, a coincidence that I got out my camera again.  My main lens is broken, but my 50 mm 1.4 prime still works!!

P.S. I'm also knitting something.  :)

Sunday, May 06, 2012


Whoa, that was a crazy dream!  So, last night we had my almost 7-year-old's birthday party!  He wanted tacos and Star Wars, so we had a crazy afternoon of 8 kids running around, eating and watching a movie. So Fun.  He had a great time!  After the madness calmed down, I went back to my LiveJournal to reread the entries from around his birth.  SEVEN YEARS.  I can't believe it.  It was really interesting, but also painful, to reconnect with that time.  I had these two friends that I met when DS1 was tiny - like 3 weeks? 4 weeks old. We were together *all the time*.  After DS2 was born, it all fell apart.   I really don't know why, though I have my speculations.  Of the two women, one went out of her way to make sure I knew I was the one being excluded.  The other, who was really the one I had thought would be a friend forever, (B) tried a bit, but for her personal reasons, couldn't stay my friend.  This was one of the most painful experiences of my adult life - it truly broke my heart. Being dumped by the women who were practically family messed me up in really big ways for a long, long time.  So anyway, reading about Walter's first 6 months brought a lot of that up, because that's when it happened.

So I went to bed and had a really interesting dream.  I dreamed I was at a store in the town where B lives now (which is not the place where we had all been so close) and I ran into her.  She came over to me, and gave me a big hug and told me she missed me, wanted to talk, and tell me what had happened.  She apologized (note, I don't think anyone needs to apologize for a friendship having run its course, and B was never cruel to me). In the dream, I was so happy to have...resolution? I guess?  Understanding what had happened?  That's what was so hard for me, never having an understanding of *why* they didn't want to be my friend anymore.  It hit me very deep on that core insecurity of being not good enough and unlovable.  I don't believe that *now*.  In a way, the experience helped me grow and be more independant - I have made a wonderful community with amazing friends here where we live now, but I don't let myself depend on *anyone* the way I did with those women.  And, my belief now is that the birth of DS2 changed the dynamic so profoundly for all of us.  We also were coming to a place where we parented quite differently, and how I parented just didn't work with them.  How you parent with two kids 20 months apart is different an only child! But instead of letting the friendship naturally drift away as we went on to preschool and life, I was cut off. So ANYWAY - that part of the dream was really powerful for me, and made me realize that this is not as finished business as I thought it was (JUST WHAT I NEED RIGHT NOW, HA HA!).  

What was interesting was where the dream went from there.  The store we were in was a mama and baby goods store, and I was looking at diaper bags.  Note: at that point in my life, I had a HUGE diaper bag and stroller obsession.  I still have a large collection of expensive bags, which is amusing because I am SO not a designer-type of person, really, I'm Target and Kohl's (another big difference between me and B & S).  So, I found this amazing bag which apparently retailed for $199.99 but was on sale for $19.99, so OF COURSE I was going to get.  From there the dream went to a classic anxiety dream - my car had been towed, all my stuff was strewn about the streets and I couldn't even remember what I'd lost, and I realized that it wasn't 1:00, it was 2:00, which meant I had missed picking DD up from preschool by an hour so I had no idea where she was (funny, in my dream, I knew she was with one of my friends, either D or J, so I knew she was fine), and I couldn't make my phone dial to confirm it.  That's when I woke up.

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this.  Like I said, there are ways in which that experience was actually really valuable for me and pushed me to grow in an uncomfortable, but necessary, way. I learned that I can get through what felt like one of the worst things I could go through (and I've lived through rape and violence, so that's saying a lot!) and be really okay. And, it's not like I've spent every minute since then mourning those friends. I grieved, hard, for a long time, but it felt resolved to me.  I'm not sure that it is truly UNresolved, or if it's that so much of my past pain has been mucked up recently that it's just part of the parcel, or maybe I just stirred the pot by reconnecting with those memories.  It really makes me sad that so much of Walter's first year was so painful.  And, it's very interesting to me that the thing that would be the biggest terror of my life, not knowing where one of my kids was, was actually ok in my mind because I knew she was with one of my friends here - people I can truly count on.

I don't think there's anything to DO at this point.  I found a therapist that I liked and connected with (the woman who on the phone I didn't think was going to be a good fit turned out to be great)!  So, I'll definitely bring this up to her. I don't think I would reach out to B mainly because she made it clear she didn't want to be my friend, but in the dream I was so happy to think we could have a connection again.  If somehow magically she reached out to me, I'd be receptive.  Mainly, I just hope she's happy - she was going through a very hard time herself at that point, and I guess is that that was why she couldn't be my friend.   I do understand that.  As I'm thinking about this, I want to consider the possibility that it was something I had done, but honestly, I can't think of anything other than having a second child.

I continue to focus on gratitude and thankfulness in my head.  I feel like it's really easy for me to get derailed by anxiety and fear, and that if I let my head go to that place, it gets very dark.  Can I have gratitude for the awful experiences too?  That's hard.  I feel like if I have gratitude for those, it's somehow saying that what other people have done to me is okay, and it's not (this is more about the violence and abuse I lived through, not friendships ending, because that is part of life).  Is the gratitude for getting through and being okay now?  I don't know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Following the right path...

Now, I'm not someone who believes "everything happens for a reason."  I really do believe that random shit just occurs, and part of life is figuring out how to get through it with at least a modicum of grace.  I dislike the notion of a God that would have people suffer the agonies that they do suffer ON PURPOSE.  What would be the point of that? I believe in free will and that people sometimes make terrible mistakes, or do terrible things to others simply because they can.  Where's God in all of that?  I don't know.

However, that being said, I do also believe in...hmm, I don't know quite the right word for it.  I believe that life shouldn't be TOO hard, and that if I'm on the right path, doing the right thing, things tend to fall into place.  Like, for example, my wedding.  We basically looked at one place (it happened the be the chapel on the college campus where I grew up), talked to one DJ, had the college caterers, talked to one florist, one photographer, one baker, etc.  It all fell into place, and I firmly believe that that is because this was the right thing.  Well, that and I'm not tremendously detail-oriented, so I honestly didn't care all that much.

So, I decided I need to find a therapist, what with going BATSHIT CRAZY a few weeks ago.  I'm better now, but really, it was a bit scary and showed me that things are far closer to the surface than I'd realized. I don't think I'm always the best judged though.  I was verbalizing some of my interior monologue to my husband the other day, and he just stared at me and then said "YOU ARE SO ANXIOUS!"  I told him later, "No, I wasn't any more anxious than usual...I just don't usually tell you about it." I've been very, very blessed in my life to have had some amazing therapists.  They kept me together and really helped me not only stay alive, but learn how to live. I've had a lot of therapy though, and there's also the small matter of a Masters in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology.  And, you know, being a therapist.  So, I need someone with skill and experience.  Of course, they need to take my insurance.  And perhaps the biggest hurdle of all, I need to be able to fit into their schedule, and them into mine.  So far I've called three people, and it's not going to work out with any of them.  One recommended a group in town, so I've got a call in there.  It's a bit nerve-wracking.  I guess I'm questioning myself - is this not the right path, since it's not falling into place?  I know I can go talk to my new priest, which Dorothy assures me Is Done, but he can't be a therapist to me, and I'm not quite sure what it is I need right now.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The excitement never ends around here!

So, on New Year's Eve, my delightful daughter was eating a snack.  The snack was peanuts.  About 10 minutes after she ate, her face and lips got all puffy.  When you call your pediatrician's office saying "My kid ate peanuts and now her lips are swollen" they, well, they freak out.  We went in for the bloodwork.  All negative.  We had a first round of skin testing: peanuts, tree nuts, environmental stuff, other food stuff...all negative.  We had a second round of skin testing, all negative.  We came on Friday for her peanut challenge.  She had another peanut scratch test, with fresh peanut.  It was so negative it was smaller than the negative control!  We all figured this would be a no-brainer, and started the challenge.  They started with 1/2 a peanut.  And within 2 minutes, her cheeks were BRIGHT red, the left more than the right, but both of them.  I called in the nurses, and they said "Oh" and we stopped the challenge.  They gave her Zyrtec and monitored her for a 1/2 hour or so, but that's all that happened.  Because it's weird, we go back in a few weeks for another peanut challenge.  I just don't quite know what to think, but it's weird.  I hate the non-knowing place.  I want to be sure, one way or the other!!  I can't quite wrap my head around it, to be sure.

In other news...let's see.  It's school vacation week here!   I had really hoped to go away but DH's company was bought out by The Man recently, and he has no vacation time yet.  And we have other things planned for the summer, so we need to hoard it anyway.  So, we'll both be working.  I need to figure something out for Thursday, as we have about a 20 minute gap between when he has to leave for work and I get home from work.  I am sure we can find a babysitter in the neighborhood, I just need to get off my behind and do it!

I am so unmotivated to be doing any craft work these days.  I'm not taking pictures either.  After the emotional 10 days I just wrote about, we had some excitement with a friend having some complications with a C-section.  I took care of her kids during this, and it was pretty scary for a bit, so that took up the week.  Mama and baby are fine, and baby girl is ADORABLE.  I do need to get knitting!!  Both my sons are obsessed with ninjas right now, and I believe McCall patterns are on sale this week, so I may try and do some sewing.

I am feeling really good about our new priest at our church.  I'm not sure it's going to be enough to keep DH there, but that's okay.  I think this guy is really pretty amazing, and I've found his sermons resonate really strongly with me, and give me a lot to think about.  Today he talked about doubt and how it's an essential part of the resurrection experience.

Okay, enough for now.  I had my geek book club over on Friday night and we had friends over yesterday...I am exhausted!  TIME FOR BED!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Whoa, poor neglected blog!!

Oh my goodness, it's been far too long since posting on this blog!!  I think the main issue is simply that life is very full and very busy!  Turns out working is taking time and energy, who knew, HAHA.  Just kidding.  Work is amazing - I'm so lucky to get to do the work I do, but it can be hard, and sometimes depressing.

I've not been doing much in the creative world at all.  Almost no knitting - I meant to finish a baby sweater and time got away from and the baby is arriving TOMORROW!  Yikes.  Gotta get moving on it. Step one - figuring out where it is.

There's been a whole bunch of other stuff going on though, and I'd like to ramble a bit about it, to see if I can make some sense of it all.

So - DH and I are still not in the same place on all this church stuff.  He told me that the place we've landed (an Episcopal church two towns over from us) just is the wrong place for him.  I think the Episcopal church in general is not the right place for him.  It's hard, because it's really the first time in our marriage (coming up on 12 years) that we've just been so...far apart on something that feels so important to both of us.  I had an interesting moment.  A few weeks ago the Bishop was speaking.  Oh, back story, the priest of 12 years left at the beginning of January, and the new guy started a couple of weeks ago, more about that in a moment. Anyway, so the Bishop was talking about transitions and said "Do you believe that God is working in your life at this moment." My immediate reaction, I have to say, was "NO. I don't believe that AT ALL."  I am still very unsure about the whole God concept - I recently described myself as an agnostic, but practicing, Christian with a strong Bhuddist bent.  So, no, I don't know that I believe that.  But I thought about what it might mean if I *did* believe it, and realized that it would mean that I could trust that DH is on his own journey, whatever that might be, as I am on mine, and that even if our journeys take us in different directions, it's okay.

So the new guy started and I think he is FANTASTIC.  Smart, well read, humble, human, holy...I believe he has so much to offer our church, and me.  I'm pondering getting in touch with him to see if he'd be willing to talk with me 1-to-1.  I don't know, is that done?

Anyway, fast-foward to a week and a half ago.  I have this stuffed tiger from my childhood, named Amy.  She is, well, very special to me.  My daughter found her on my armoire and got her down and was playing with her.  Somehow, she misplaced her.  I. Was. Devastated.  Way, way beyond all appropriateness about this.  It felt to me like someone had died, I was mourning the same way I mourned my grandfather, the way I imagine I'll mourn my parents some day.  Devastated.

Now, I have perspective, and I was able to keep saying to my little girl, "I'm not mad, it's not your fault, I'm just sad."  She was devastated as well.  No lack of empathy in that one, for sure.  And, I get it. It's just a thing. It's NOT that I lost my parents, or my husband, or a child, or anything like that.  Just a thing. But I was trying to articulate why it hurt so very much, and there are a number of reasons.  One, I just felt stupid and careless. No one likes losing things, but I am so controlling and anxious, it really sets me off and I get, well, crazy.  Also, I had several childhood things that I lost when my HALEB (that's "heroin addicted loser ex-boyfriend) forfeit a storage space we share, using the money for the payment to buy drugs.  Among other things, I lost a quilt that my mother made from the fabric she made a bunch of clothes for me as  kid.  I still mourn that loss, years later.  Amy is all I have left from my childhood.  That, and a necklace that I don't trust myself not to lose, so my mom still has it for me.   So I'm really sensitive to losing things.

Also, I went through some truly horrific things as a child, and Amy is what got me through.  When I really thought I would die from it all, she was what I held on to, literally and emotionally.  The thought that she could be gone was unbearable to me.  Part of what is so striking to me was my struggle with hope.  We kept thinking "she's got to be here SOMEWHERE" but we looked everywhere we could think of (and, basic truth, the lost thing is always in the last place you look), and no Amy.  DH couldn't figure out why I was so distraught and unwilling to consider the possibility of hope.  I realized that for me, hope was too painful.  I could not bear it, so I felt that I had to just accept she was gone, for good, and not coming back.  As the days went on, we couldn't think of new places to look and DH started to lose hope too.

Now here's where it gets a little spiritual and all.  I've been praying.  I do yoga, every morning when I'm in the groove, and I end with praying.  I'm doing this spiritual practice where my prayer begins and ends with "thank you." I use the word God as my shorthard for my complicated beliefs, and I give thanks every day.  I've been praying for help with all of my pain - not that Amy would be returned to me (though of course I wanted that), but for help living with the hole that had been ripped in me.  My mom taught me this new agey technique of muscle testing, where you use a form of applied kinesiology to ask yourself questions.  On Friday, I asked myself, "Will she be found?" "Yes." "Today?" "No." Tomorrow?""No." "Sunday?" "Yes."  I told myself I was an IDIOT and that of course she would not be found.

This morning, Sunday, I did yoga and again prayed for help in carrying my pain.  I took a shower and as I got out, I prayed again.  "Hey, God. I know I keep bugging you, but please.  I can't do this. It's too hard.  I'm not going to ask for her to be returned.  Just help me deal, help me stop making my family crazy.  Please help me carry this."  I stepped out of the bathroom, turned and looked at my dresser, and there she was, at the very back, behind a pile of clothes.

As far as I can figure, my daughter carefully put Amy back where she found her, by standing on a chair and tossing her onto the dresser.

I immediately burst into tears, called my husband in, and showed him, and showed the kids.  Because, seriously, I've been a freakin' nutcase ALL WEEK and I've made them crazy too.  Everyone was happy, and I felt like I could breath for the first time in 9 days.

I've spent most of today (when I wasn't off teaching the Easter story at Sunday school) pondering what to make of all of this.  First and foremost, it shows me that if I can be ripped open like this, I've got some healing to do, both around my childhood stuff and around my HALEB.  I never truly dealt with the abuse I suffered at his hands. As soon as he was gone, I shut the door, and not too long after, I met my husband and life took off.  So, I've got some work to do, and I need to figure out how to do it. Man, stupid PTSD.

But, it feels very connected to this whole struggle around faith and spirituality that I'm going through as well.  My rational self doesn't believe in a personified God who hears and answers prayers like this.  And yet...and intuitive self knew something.  Do I think God put Amy there? No.  Do I wonder if some diving hand turned my head to say "LOOK! She's right there." I...don't know.  Do I think the very act of praying for comfort and help creates that comfort and a help within me? Yes. Yes, I do.

So, that's probably enough for my first post back after a good 6 weeks away. I'll try to be more regular, maybe this can be a place to ponder and wonder about this journey.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What time is the charm?

So, this Baby Surprise Jacket.  The saga so far: started on little needles with sock yarn, and had to admit that it was Just Too Small. I love the yarn, so I'll make socks or something out of it.  No waste but time, right?  I started it again with Cotton Tots and wasn't loving it and it looked HUGE.  So now I've got some sort of acrylic Bernat that looks good, in lavendar, which is the color for this eagerly-awaited baby girl, so that's good.  For each attempt, I've had to cast on 3x, which is 9x at 160 stitches each...I don't know why I find long-tail cast on challenging, but I obviously do.  Anyway, I'm moving ahead on this.

We've been derailed but the stomach flu at my house.  Both my son and I have an autoimmune thing that basically leaves us really vulnerable to stomach bugs.  There was a bad one going around my town a month ago and I was hopeful that we had avoided it, but no.  It hasn't hit me yet, I'm just waiting and praying it doesn't come on during work tomorrow because that would be awful.  My poor son threw up right in the middle of piano practice (to which my older son said, "that was so...SO...SUDDEN!")  and then threw up every 15 minutes for 7 hours.  That sucked.  There's something about parenting under those conditions, though, that just sort of drops me into this very calm and patient place.  Normally I'm not that good in a crisis, but this, I don't know.  I'm not typically patient either, but just being present with  my poor kiddo through that yuckiness, it's a very powerful experience.  NOT to say it was enjoyable, at all, but just like marriage, we parent "for better and for worse" right?  It's part of the commitment.  And it is a real practice in simply being present and in the moment. My daughter also has a high fever and horrible cold, so she's been home for two days now.  I feel pretty gross, myself, especially considering I spent the night on a pallet of yoga mats next to my vomiting child.  Which is as restful as it sounds.  So we're all germy here - when this passes, I'm going to bleach the house.

In other exciting news, though, my husband and I are going on vacation!!!!  I AM SO EXCITED, allcaps doesn't even begin to convey it. We've got childcare lined up, tickets are purchased, I've started planning clothes, and I'm using it as inspiration to get in better shape. I've been working out every day, and doing yoga as well, so that's cool.

Okay, now I'm going to KNIT and get off the internet!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Day 3

So, I'm setting myself a 30 day challenge - to exercise a bit every day (I'm starting my day with 25 minutes of yoga and then later during the day, I'm doing a 20-30 minute fitness DVD), and to clean something every day.  I'm tired of feeling like my house isn't clean, so it's time to do something about it.  I have so much more time at home than my husband, so it's not that I think it's "my job" to do it because I'm the wife and mom, but rather, there is an infinite amount of work to do, and I want (and need) to be doing more. It'll help all of us!  So, I'm on Day 3.  Day 2 was not as successful as I wanted it to be, but today is a new day!  I'm not going to let me thoughts of "ARGH YOU FLAKED ON DAY *TWO*!!" get me off track.  So, today I'm going to clean my bathrooms.   I am being very, very careful with the exercise stuff too.  Given my history, I cannot jeopardize my eating disorder recovery for this.

I have been working on the Baby Surprise Jacket and am close to done.  I finally figured out how it should all be folded and came to the unescapable conclusion (which I knew all along, damnit), that it is way, way too small.  I'm following the pattern recs for a newborn size, and it might fit my daughter's 15" bitty baby.  MAYBE.  I love the yarn, so I'm going to rip it out and use it for socks.  The baby (NOT MINE!!) is due April 3, so I have some time.  I think I'll run to Michael's this morning and get some of my go-to yarn for baby sweaters.  (Huh, they don't seem to have lavendar anymore.)  I have these super-cute owl buttons that my 3 year old picked out, and I really want to do a sweater and hat set for her.  

In other projects...well, my husband and I are splurging this summer and taking a VACATION!  JUST THE TWO OF US!! We're going back to where we honeymoon'd (hence my eagerness to drop the baby weight...err, which, given that the baby is ALMOST FOUR, I can't really blame it on her anymore), and I am so, so excited.  


Whoa, derailed by the day there.  I am happy to report that two bathrooms are clean!  I also survived the last ski lesson, and the fact (so far) that my DH is coming home late tonight.  I did make it Michael's and got some yarn, but I'm going to look and see if I have enough left-over lavendar for the sweater.  Probably not, but I'll look.   I didn't get the 2nd exercise session in, but that's okay, I did yoga and lots of moving around. It's a start.  Day by day, right?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life goes along...

We got some snow this weekend!  Which made my kiddos very happy.  Our lot is very sloped, and with the right kind of snow (which this was not, sadly), we can construct an excellent sledding run.  Last year, with all the snow we had, we had an AMAZING one, full of bumps and whatnot.  Very fun.

I had meant to do a whole bunch of knitting today, but then I remembered that I had to do this certification thing for the State of MA (the CANS if anyone cares), which ended up taking 5 hours and making me so cranky.  Okay, I admit it, I've been staying up too late the last few nights, which just MAY have contributed to The Cranky.  Last night I stayed up too late looking at old pictures.  My husband resurrected our other computer that has our digital pics from 1999-August 2010 (when my little Apple laptop came to live with me), and it was SO SO fun to go through old movies and pictures.  It's so hard to remember that my guys were SO small!  I have some hysterical videos, I need to figure out softward to knit them all into a few larger home movies that I can torture entertain my friends and family with.  It brought up a lot of feelings interestingly enough.  There are some pictures and videos of the women I spent *all* my time with when I first had my oldest.  It makes me sad to know that a person I really thought would be a friend for life...won't.  It wasn't my choice to end the friendship, and it was so painful, but it now also feels firmly in the past.  I can wish her the best, hope she's doing well, and move on.  It's funny, for a long time, I was so hurt and angry, but now, I sort of think "huh, I'd like to hear from her."  Not my place to reach out though.  In any case, it is fun to remember how funny my oldest's little voice was.  He's such a BOY now, into Pokemon and karate and shouting out "That's *sick*!" when something...I don't know, entertains him?  I feel so old. :)

So, yeah, no knitting got done today.  We had church this morning - our rector left two weeks ago, and it sounds like the Vestry has made the decision to go a particular route in the search process which means we'll be getting a new rector fairly soon, it sounds, for at least a 3-year contract.  The Vestry voted unanimously for this person, hopefully it'll be a good fit.  DH and I still struggle with our commitment to this church.  It's an Episcopal church, which is some ways is a good fit for me (which, being a Christian church is bound to be imperfect, but I'm not sure what would be better), but it's not a great fit for DH.  He's committed to coming for me and for our family, but he hasn't found the community there he'd like.  I want him to get more  involved with the Habitat for Humanity programs the church does, I think that would help, and I've committed to encouraging him to go out and work on building friendships here in our own town.  It's really hard - I was going to say, for men, but maybe really for people who work full-time.  I've had the advantage of being here all the time, and being in the preschools and getting to know people there.

Anyway.  It's almost 9:30...I'm going to bed!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Four years ago today, we moved to our small town in the 'burbs of Boston (well, Cambridge, really).  It was such a leap of faith, and I can't believe it's been four years!  I've got one of my bookclubs coming over tonight, I've got two others I'm involved with.  I'm not doing any group knittng at the moment, but I'm pondering starting a craft night.  I run into people I know everywhere I go in town, I have an amazing community of friends here.  This afternoon I'm sending my oldest off to a friend's house, picking up my younger son and two friends, taking one of his friends home and picking up that friend's little sister who is my daughter's good friend, bringing those four home to play...*whew* Thank goodness for the minivan!  I feel like we have a real and rich life here.  It's harder for my husband - he's not here as much simply because of work, but it's coming together for him too.  We still have friends "in the city" that we see regularly, but so much of life is HERE now.  I remember how scary it was to move, but it was so the right decision for us.  It's funny to think that barring unforseen changes in circumstanecs, most likely this is the house we'll grow old in!

So anyway, what does that have to do with stillness?  One of my friends has a sauna in her basement, and has a sauna club once a month in the winter.  I was the first one there on Wednesday, and she was getting her kids settled, so I got changed and sat for a bit by myself.  I am a busy person, often in motion, running around, doing.  Even at work, when I am sitting and listening, I am a bit fidgety, moving my hands, shifting in my seat.  And, I'm listening, actively and intently, so that's a different thing.  This was a time, 10 minutes or so, just to sit.  There's not much to do in a sauna except sit, you know?  And I realized HOW HARD that is for me to do.  I get...anxious, I guess.  My thoughts fly all over the place, I'm looking around for something to do, I just can't sit.

I'm not sure what the point of this is, other than to take notice of how busy my head is.  No wonder I'm tired!  (Well, and that my cat stomps on my head all night, that's probably part of it too.)  I love knitting and crocheting because it gives me something to do, with both my hands and my head.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Knit All The Things!!!

If I were 1/1000th as talented as Hyperbole and a Half, I'd draw funny pictures, but I am so, so not.  But it's true, I have a *massive* case of startitis at the moment!  There's the two socks I started over my Christmas holiday.  There's the scarf I started, just a 1x1 rib, alternating black and Chroma, which has a hat and mittens planned to go with it (sadly one of my kids misplaced my other knitting needle, so I may need to get another set).  Then, it occured to me that I am co-throwing a shower for a dear friend who is having a baby girl in April, and that I simply MUST knit her something!  So I cast on a Baby Surprise Jacket, my very first!  I'm knitting it in what I hope will be a newborn size (in Blue Violet which is so pretty I just may have to get some for myself for socks).  The pattern alarms me but I am assured it all will be clear.  And, I accidently ordered the video from KnitPicks when I thought I was getting the pattern, so if I have to break it open, I will.  And there's all sorts of yarn and patterns calling to me.  It's not so much that my creative juices are flowing, but that I'm just feeling all energized and ready to get some things DONE!

I've got some sewing to do too. I made my daughter two little plain A-line, elastic waist skirts because my husband decided that "leggings are NOT pants" and that she needs more to cover her.  This is so baffling to me, in part because she's long and lanky and always has been, so to get pants long enough, they're always baggy, even leggings.  And she's 3.  But whatever, he's an awesome co-parent so I'm going to respect his wishes.  Of course, I have *no* idea where the skirts got to!  They're somewhere in my house. *sigh*  And I've got fleece for new hats for all the kids, plus socks for me. Because I need more fleece socks.  No, really, I do.  For some reason, this year, I've gotten more into shirts with some embellishment on them, which means I don't really want to be wearing patterned socks.  So I need some plain socks!

Last night, I climbed into bed early to read, and ended up falling asleep at 9 pm and waking up at 7 this morning.  This seems like a really good thing to me, so I'm going to try and get to bed early this week. In part, I'm trying to get more exercise into my life, and sadly, the only time that really works in my schedule these days is 6 am.  I have a high school reunion, a college reunion, and a second honeymoon (WOOO!) coming up this summer, so I'd like to be in slightly better shape than I am.  We'll see.  I always have plans....

I remember college, where parties didn't start until 11:00 pm and just shake my head.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Heavy and Light

So, something really really big is happening for me tomorrow.  It's entirely positive, but I've had a much stronger emotional reaction than I anticipated.  To explain it, I need to explain some history.  When I was in college a million years ago, I had my first Real Love.  I moved 3,000 miles to live with him. It wasn't the healthiest of relationships, and ended badly.  I moved to Somerville, MA, got a cat and felt rejected and unlovable.  I was drinking too much and *deep* in throes of my eating disorder.  Living alone wasn't really all that great for me.  During this time, I met a guy.  A record store guy.  A guy who was so different from me, and who ended up hating me for everything I was, everything he felt he wasn't. A guy with a big fat monkey on his back, and that monkey's name was heroin. What should have been a 2-week fling ended up being 4 years, much of it as bad as you can imagine.  He was mean to me. He insulted me, humiliated me, lied to me, stole from me, left me with thousands of dollars of debt.  Last of all, he beat me up.  To take the rent money, to go buy drugs.  Because, I - LIKE AN IDIOT - gave him my PIN.  He'd hit me before, more than once, but this was a beating.  This later stuff all happened when I was, ironically enough, in my first year of Ph.D. program...IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY.  I know, it's crazy to me.  I was a feminist!  I volunteered for a rape and domestic violence crisis line!  I was going to be a therapist!  And yet, there I was, drowing in in someone else's addiction, and a victim to his rage.  There are many, many reasons as to how I ended up there.  While he bears the lion's share of the responsibility, I do take my own.  It's not just that I stayed - I went back to him.  More than once.  But, when it finally came down to that last cataclismic fight, I had what may have been the greatest epiphany of my adult life.

You get what you settle for.

I finally understood that this was never, ever going to change for the better.  It was only going to get worse, until he finally really really hurt me, or (more likely) died from an OD.  And I had that moment of absolute clarity that I can only believe came from source outside of me, that voice in my head so clear that said "GET OUT."  I felt so entangled, so responsible, so guilty.  I thought he might kill himself.  I realized I could live with that.  I called his mother, I got him out.  I had support and help, of course, but in that crucial moment, I was completely alone, and I dug deep and found what I needed to change my life.

As part of the aftermath of that experience, I had literally thousands of dollars of debt.  So I took a big extra student loan, and paid off the credit card debt.  That loan has been hanging over me since then.  As a stay at home mom for the last 10 years, and now earning, well, not much, it's been my husband's money that's been paying those loans.  My amazing, supportive, kind, generous, gentle husband - for whose presense I give thanks every single day.  It's not just payment for my mistakes - I did earn that Ph.D. too! - but that's a huge part of what those loans represent to me.  Every time I saw the note for the payment in our bank account, I cringed, and felt that remembered shame of what I let that man do to me.  I remember what it felt like to be sobbing on the phone in the Harvard Square T stop, calling my dad because I couldn't pay my rent.  Hiding my bruises.  Lying.  Covering. Apologizing.  I don't think I'll ever forget.

Because of an amazing piece of good fortune, yesterday, I scheduled the payment to pay off the rest of the loan.  I panicked before I hit send, and made my husband come over.  "You do it!" I said.  "Do you want me to?" he asked.  I thought for a moment.  "No. I want to do it." And I did. I hit send.  That payment will clear tomorrow, and it feels like it clears the last piece of that old relationship from this amazing life that I have today.  My sweetie's out of town, so (barring getting the horrible barfing flu that's been sweeping my town) tomorrow night I'm taking the kids out to dinner and then we're coming home for a family movie night. And I'm going to marvel in the basic joy my life holds.

There's something so powerful about remembering that moment in that little apartment where the guy and I lived, standing at the crossroads, making a choice without fully knowing what I was doing, but only knowing that I could not survive the way I was.  I had no idea the joy, the love, the awesomeness that was in store for me.  I feel like a weight has lifted.  You get what you settle for, so why settle for anything less than amazing?