Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Krispy Kreme Warm Day

Today. What a day. When you live in upstate NY and the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the 70's in March that is truly cause for celebration. Even after a mild winter such as the one we have had, by March, many of us have gone the route of winter weary nonetheless, and are searching for the sun. Today, we didn't really get much sun, but it was warm from the start. I walked into my classroom and immediately opened the window. Even at 7:45 am, the temperatures were demonstrating equivalence, just like the fractions in my math lesson would later in the day. Throughout the day, kids were on the playground, birds were in the sky, and both sounds floated into my classroom and created an ambient noise we had replaced with the ticking and blowing of a heating unit, for so, so long. A de-thawing began today, and continued when I got home. Even though I had a glorious box of fresh fund raiser Krispy Kreme doughnuts in my hand, Tim and I changed and headed down the road, with Lucy, to walk on the beach. Balancing through the shoreline rocks, and then walking on the sand before climbing up on the pier, it truly felt as if spring, and summer, and freedom were within reach.

Now, living in upstate NY, we also know full well that March is fickle, and that more bad weather could be on the way, but I will take the gift of today. It was a treat. And as for tomorrow, it is going to rain. But it will still be warm, and I still have a (fairly) full box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Snow Day/Baking Day

Well, five minutes ago I was peaceful in the living room, reading, and listening to my two children working in the kitchen. Gwynn is trying to teach Devin how to bake bread. They have old 90's alternative music playing, and five minutes ago, things sounded OK. Now there is some yelling going on, as she is not the best teacher, and he is not the best student, but I am just staying out here. In the end, she is the baker, he will defer. "Don't kill the yeast!" "God you are so SHAKY!" I am not sure I ever thought motherhood would be like this. I grew up in a house where I was merely a spectator in the kitchen, and I never wanted to cook, or bake, at all, but they do this stuff all the time. They are very self sufficient, and capable, in so many ways that I was not as I headed out on my own. I suppose in some ways, I did some stuff right.

It is funny, as there is an awful lot of reflection in my life right now. I have not been writing much, but it's because I am full of question, full of "wonder what's next," and completely in the moment, but it's a moment of not really knowing where life is headed. I don't have many clear crisp thoughtful thoughts, because I don't really know. I don't know if what we are doing these days is the right stuff, but it's the first time I've faced launching my first child into the world, so the jury will have to be out for a while. Life is at a change point, and for me to write, often, I am better at reflection, not projection.

Still, today, with a surprise of a snowday, I am content. I am snowed in, reading, and listening to my kids making their own mess. I suppose much of life in the next years will be filled with the same. Life is messy, but life is a great adventure. This year one leaves the nest, but so soon they will both be out there; on their own, making their messes, cleaning them up. I've equipped them, perhaps mostly by allowing them their space. I kind of hate saying this, but I am at my best as a mom when I stay a little more out of their way. I will be around for them still, for a long time, I know, but their lives are starting to be more theirs than mine. Motherhood has been one way for me, for 18 years next month, but now it's on to the next phase.

Today, 18 years ago, in my ninth month of my first pregnancy, I am certain I did not give any thought at all about how motherhood would be at this point. I was so wrapped up in diapers, and sleep schedules, and the upcoming year of milestone and firsts. And now I suppose we're on to more firsts, and wrapped up as I could be in them as well, they are not mine, they are theirs. It's the time for the proverbial wings. No, I am not sure I ever thought motherhood would be like this, but I do think I am glad for how it is turning out.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Over the Shoulder in Love

I have never been a fan of Face Time. Gwynn uses it all the time, to talk to Ellie, and I peek over her shoulder, and say hi to my beautiful teenage niece, but then I duck away. I am only supposed to be a quick blip in the conversation, anyways, and I also find myself feeling awkward. I wonder about how horrid I look, where to look on the screen, whether my nose looks even bigger than it does in real life. But tonight, due to the wonder of Face Time, I got to see my brand new baby niece, Agnes, and it was amazing. A word I do not love, for sure, but one very much fitting to this moment. Scott sent me a picture, of Mom and Dad fawning over her in the hospital. I replied that it was so nice, but that I was a little lonely, and SO jealous. Then he suggested it, he Face Timed me in, and I "got it."

Suddenly I became a BIG Face Time fan.

Sweet little Agnes, born just a little over 24 hours ago, but filling up that phone screen, made me feel like I was there, in that hospital room. I really, kinda, sorta, was. I got to "Oooh!" and "Ahhh!" with everyone over her hair, and her long graceful fingers. Mom unwrapped her and I saw her round little belly, and her delicate toes. I got to put in my two cents about who she looks like, at least for the right now. I got to tell a couple of funny stories about how we are taking in the news, up here in Fair Haven; about the excitement of having another member in our tiny, wonderful family, about the fact that Devin has already chosen a nickname for her. And to top it off, I got to snap a few screen shots. A couple are particularly funny too, looking a bit like those creepy Sears photos from the 70's where you'd have a front facing portrait of someone, and then a sideways portrait of the same person superimposed over their shoulder. Except this time it was my little brother, holding his little daughter, with me, superimposed, in a Face Time box, up and over his shoulder. Yeah, a little bit creepy, and a little bit AWESOME! Baby book material for sure!

Yes, after a long day, and with a bit of a cold coming on, it was just me and the dog, home alone tonight. Tim was coaching a football game. Devin and Gwynn were with friends at the Homecoming soccer games. But suddenly, and thanks to Face Time, I was not alone. I was with my family. I was meeting my newest niece.

Welcome to the world, Agnes. I love you already.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Summer Mosiac

"Woah, We're Half Way There" - Written 7/27

Mid-Summer it is. And I have to say, it is my notorious happy/sad time. It is the time I realize we are half done with our summer time off, and I have to wallow in that for a few days. Then I realize that half done still means half to go, and I better start to pick myself up, plan some things out, and keep on enjoying myself. This year it is particularly difficult, though, with our trip through Great Britain behind us. It was truly an epic adventure. It was in planning stages for a long time. It was two weeks of wonderful, and new, and wow around each and every corner. And now, it is over, and that is kind of a tough pill to swallow. I have read that planning trips far in advance is a good thing to do, not only economically, but also from a mental health standpoint. Apparently you gain more from the anticipation and build up to a trip than you do from the after effects. I bet that is really true. Most of our big trips the last several years have been over April break. We would spend a lot of time dreaming off and planning ahead in the cold months of February and March. We'd get all excited, have a great trip, then just throw ourselves back into work, still basking in a travel glow, but busy again, getting back to life, and back to reality. A summer trip, at least for teachers, doesn't happen that way, since, once you get home, the back to life back to reality only really consists of doing the laundry and putting away the suitcases. That work thing it isn't there to distract you from the fact that you are missing your adventures. You have plenty of time to chat about all you did, peruse your pictures, look up recipes for things you ate, pin on Pinterest places you went, or trips you envisioned for the future while you were there. You can read book set in towns you visited. You can watch Harry Potter films yelling out "we were there!" to your heart's content. But deep down, your heart never really is content. Sure, if you are a traveler, your heart is happy and full, but it is also sad, and nostalgic for days spent wandering, learning, growing ,jumping on and off trains, and wondering what was around the next turn. Well, our trip was part of our first half of summer this year, and it was wonderful. And I am curious if I will ever be able to process all of it. But that half is done, and it is time to move on. On to summer 2015 part two. On to more adventures. May they never, ever, end.

The End is Near, The End is Here - Written 8/27

I have barely written this summer, and I am not sure what to make of that. Perhaps, just like my previous blog, "Thirtysomething, Farewell..." had a shelf life, this one does as well? I have been on this format for 4 and a half years...writing an average of once or twice a month. That's not too bad, but really, maybe in this blog, I've said what I wanted to say. It truly functions not only as writing that I can share with others, and as a place I can share my thoughts, but also as a quasi-journal for me. And, when I look back, I see patterns of life oh so clearly. I see that I am always crazy at the beginning of the school year, always thankful around November, always reflective at the close of June, sad at the close of August. It is good therapy in that way I suppose, and certainly a helpful road map for the people who have to live with me. But really, 4-5 years of that is, perhaps, enough.

But that begs the question, what next?

Maybe it is just that. After all, "What next?" is a lot of what I am feeling right now, anyways. There are the typical questions rolling in my head, wondering what does the school year hold. But I'd say that this particular year, with Devin being a senior, the what next feeling is particularly pronounced. It is inconceivable to even think of how life will be different at this exact time next year, but in fact, it will be. And while that is super exciting, it is super terrifying as well. So much will happen, I know that for sure. I just hope to be able to stay on top of it all, and at the same time, take it all in. I hope I am able to be in the moments, as they come. I hope to be sad less, and to enjoy it all more. All remains to be seen, and with all of that change going on, I am sure my writing practice will stay pretty much the same. And that is probably good. Like every parent of a high school senior, we are surely in for a rollercoaster of a wild ride this year. You enjoy a roller coaster because of its ups and downs. And while you survive a roller coaster by holding on, I think that you enjoy a coaster a little more when you let go. When you loosen your grip on the safety bar, and MAYBE even throw your hands up in the air, the ride takes you where it wants you to go, and physics helps you move with the machine. There are times I will need to HOLD ON this year, there will be times for me to LET GO, and if this, perhaps finite, writing place can help me through that, more power to it. Onward. Upward. And for right now at least, holding on.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fresh Start Fridge

So I know that summer has begun, as I am cleaning out the refrigerator. Yeah, I know, it is probably something I should do more regularly, and don't get me wrong, I throw out perishables and such each week prior to grocery shopping, but I mean the take everything out, wipe down the shelves kind of cleaning. That screams school's out to me, and that's what I'm doing today.

Let me fill you in a little on my evolution in refrigerator cleanliness. We moved into our house in February of 1997, and had a new to us, clean refrigerator. At that time, I don't even know that my 26 year old, had only lived in dorms and apartments, self really even knew you had to clean out a fridge. Being homeowners and all, we moved on to the next step in real life adulthood, and I got pregnant for Devin in June of that year. He was born in March of 1998, and my mom came to stay for the week. Along with talking me down, and teaching me how to care for a newborn, she cleaned my fridge. We had Gwynn three years later, almost to the day, and mom came again, and she cleaned the fridge again. And honestly, I don't know if it had been cleaned between the two births. Go ahead and judge, I don't care. They are alive, and so are we, so really, was it a problem?

Well, Gwynn was our last kid, and although mom, and dad, came to visit a lot, it was never for a whole week, and somewhere along the way I realized that I was either going to have to have another kid, or learn to clean my own refrigerator. I am glad with the choice I made.

Now, I am older, I have learned a bit, and when you know better you do better as Oprah always says. I'd say I clean out the fridge maybe twice a year, but this summer one always gets me. It is often the first task of summer. It just feels like a good place to start. And I find all kinds of treasures that remind me of the year gone by. There's an old jar of capers, that surely made the cut last time I cleaned, but now, their Sharpie date of 9/14 is a little past due, being from the very first month of school and all. There is red pepper spread that I discovered on a lengthy shopping trip in the fall, and cooked up with chicken. Thinking it'd be great on a sandwich too, I tucked the leftover in the fridge, but when it is shoved to the back on the bottom shelf, there is little hope. I find a Bud Light with Lime, on its side, and rolled to the back on the bottom as well. I furtively drink it as I finish my task, not wanting to take the flack from my Craft Beer hubby, but also because I feel a little guilty having a beer at 12:30 on a Friday.

But then, I sit down for a couple of minutes, and realize it is summer. It is anything goes time. It is time off time. And I stop my task for a while, and finish my beer out on the newly built deck. Drinking it, and the potential in...not of the beer, it is actually pretty bad...but of the two months ahead, I realize how happy I truly am.

All that, from a little GreenWorks and some paper towels.
Maybe I should clean more often.
Welcome Summer 2015.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Luncheon With Lucy

Lucy and I are both Ok with a sunny Monday off, it seems. I had both am and pm doctor appointments, so a full day off was completely legit and guilt free. It has been the nicest day. I have relaxed, and have actually had some time to write, both here and on a work in progress. I got some errands done, did some house work, and have just plain relaxed. Doctor stuff always stresses me out, and I will delay and delay and delay getting something taken care of, for eight million and one reasons. I hope the next time I am doing that I, instead, think back on today, and just schedule something that will both be good for me, and work for me.

Mondays are tough for all of us work a day folk, but I have been thinking today about how Sundays are Lucy's hectic days. On our road, in the summertime and on the weekends particularly, there is a dramatic uptick in traffic, both car and foot. And our Lucy must spend her long days barking at passers by, with a ferocity I just can never really understand. I mean we hardly live in a high crime area. But today, she has been outside the entire time I have been home, just laid out in the sun, and hardly lifting her head when something, or someone goes by. I just had lunch on the patio in the sun myself, and she sat at attention for a while, surely hoping something might come her way, but when nothing did, she went prone again. She seemed happy just to be there, on the warm brick, the two of us, together.

It's back to work tomorrow for me, of course, but I hope I can keep "Monday Lucy"'s zen in mind. I may not be able to nap while the kids move around me, but a mellow approach to Tuesday might be just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Going Strong

So, Tim gave me some roses, the day before Valentine's Day, which was also the start of our February Break from school. Today is the final day of that break, and I have to say, I am amazed that those roses are still going strong. Other things these days seem to require a substantial bit of work, patience, and maintenance, but those roses are just sitting there, looking pretty, and I am so appreciative of them for the message they send me. Every time I walk by them there's a little jolt, a little reminder, that life is beautiful, life is just fine.

At the beginning of this break, we were so excited to be heading off on a little mini trip, a just the two of us trip, to a beautiful romantic hotel, with a fireplace, and a jacuzzi, in the old town area of Montreal. The week before break, though, I was shot, tired, feeling like crap. I went to bed at 8pm one night, feeling achey in particular on my right side. I woke up the next day with a tell tale rash wrapped around my torso. I had shingles. Seriously. Who does that? Well, me apparently. The stress of life got to me, and broke out right along my side. I went to the doctor, had the rash confirmed, and got started on some meds.

Needless to say, disappointment set in as I was rather uncomfortable, certainly feeling unattractive, and semi down for the count due to medication side effects. Our trip was off. We still sent the kids off to stay with their grandparents for a few days, but we ended up just staying home. Not in a romantic hideaway out of the country, but at home, again, on a "stay-cation," which was exactly what we wanted to avoid. We have had so much stress over our house the last 6 months, through a remodel, decorating, and tweaking things that pop up, that we just wanted to escape it. We wanted to run away from the stress, but the stress found us, nailed us down, and forced us to face the place that has been driving us a little bit mad.

Our "stay-cation" started out, and we slept a lot, both of us. We slept away illness, and medication, and we slept away stress. We both slept, we both recharged. We watched a LOT of Netflix. And when I was feeling better, we did get out and adventure a bit. We didn't cook. We let restaurants do that for dinner, and we ate the leftovers on the couch the next day, with a little more Netflix.

Ed Sheeran's new album kind of was a backdrop soundtrack, and one day, listening to the song "Thinking Out Loud," I found myself taking in the lyrics ..."we found love right where we are"...I realized what a truth it is. We faced a big old bummer, but made the most of it. And you know, when I look back, this was really one of the nicest breaks we have ever had. We had time for ourselves and we didn't overdo it, we didn't make it more than it needed to be. We just had a break. The kids did too. And going back to school and work tomorrow doesn't sound all that bad to me. I'm rested, healed. We, and I, like those roses, are going strong.