a deep breath year

the year's turned.  i've rested, and spun in circles, sipped, and dreaded.  i don't want any fewer answers than i already thought i had, but they seem to be slipping away, melting through the cracks like the ice disappearing between the boards of the porch.  it's a waiting place, this month. 

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m leaves tomorrow to go back to work, and the interlude together has been rich and savory sweet.  not productive mind you, the measuring stick by which i've always labeled days as good or bad, but that's slowly starting to shift.  good books, pictionary with the boys, or simply getting along for the majority of the day.  these are good things, very good things, and the less i plan the more they seem to happen.  and the laughter when fynn's drawing "gas mask" for me to guess, and lets go with one of his famous farts?  it does a body good.

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this year is one that holds new things, including growing plans for change, and i'm finding myself sharing some of m's visions that i've never been able to support fully before.  though i find them absurd.  this particular one is something i've always found insanely embarrassing, but it's only my pride getting in the way.  it IS funny.

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i think it's going to be a deep breath year.  i'm settled in to life in the woods ... finding friends, outings, longer trips, knowing when i need to just get OUT and breathe the fresh air, and yet i know we'll be moving on before too terribly long.  so i take a deep breath, and know that the roots i have here are just as real as any i've left elsewhere, and they'll hurt just as much to pull up.  so let 'em grow, and grow deep and fast.  i can't live on the surface, and i can't live half-rooted.  it doesn't feel right.

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i'm a worrier by nature.  worry handles things, right?  keeps it under wraps, under my control, and in my hands.  not.  i can plan, hope, work, and all that, but there are no guarantees.  back in the bklyn years (as they're rapidly becoming known, not sure how i feel about that but i can't seem to stop it either) we lived in an apartment we never could afford, in a neighborhood we couldn't afford, eating food that we sometimes couldn't really afford either.  freelancers, new baby added to the mix, and when you look at it on paper i have no idea how we survived.  but we did.  and left without debt.  God does work miracles in my book, and that's one of them. 

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i used to get so very stressed though, the tighter the money got, and more and more shut down.  in everything.  irritable, uncommunicative, unresponsive.  wound up in my little cocoon of worry and anger and fear.  fear of what could happen, anger at my husband for not worrying as hard as i was (or at all quite frankly), and worry that my pride would take another hit.  M would eventually get a bit fed up, and suggest we pray together.  which i did NOT want to do, knowing it might crack my shell, but guilting myself into doing it anyhow.  so we would, and inevitably he'd start off with what we were thankful for, including never really lacking for anything and always having things work out in the end, without drama or damaged relationships, even with our landlord.  and i'd seethe next to him, feeling like he was pointing an unfair finger at my worries, which were what was keeping us afloat, dammit!

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sometimes i'd hang onto my worry even tighter after that, and let it become a bigger wedge between us.  sometimes, i'd be able to let it go.  rest in it, knowing that it always does work out, somehow, and that the worry really is a curse. 

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that there's always some bit of deliciousness in there somewhere, even in the not knowing.  that there's tremendous freedom in letting go. 

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i don't expect i'll become a non-worrier, or a calm and never flustered mom (hah!).  but it seems that with age does come a bit of that weight-of-experience thing, and when i look back and see that we really never have gone hungry, or roofless ... yet ... i've come close enough to trust that even if we do at some point, it will work out.   

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and if i do start freaking out because we hit a new low somewhere, remind me of this, will you?  i'm sure i'll need it.

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deep breaths, and not just the sighing kind.  warm breaths, because i'm close to someone i love.  slow breaths, because i'm savoring.  short breaths, because i'm laughing. 

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these are my hopes for the year. 

snippets

trips taken, friends visited, sun warmed, loneliness felt, body crashed, clouds watched, thoughts chewed, life lived.

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between my birthday and the holidays, it always seems to trigger introspection that often slides into depression. this year is no different.  in many ways it's been the least stressful year i've had in a long time.  finances are better (at least temporarily), there are few obligations and lots of free time, and we've gotten in lots of trips and visits in the last 12 months.  my day-to-day interactions are far less frequent than they've ever been though, and while i feel like my introverted side is becoming more prominent, it needs to be balanced by deep-enough interactions that i don't get too lost in the well.  i seem to be leaning more towards small groups or 1:1, the pull of a party crowd is not what it used to be. 

i especially miss female friends to chew the fat with, though the local homeschool meetup gives me a couple hours a week of that which i'm very thankful for.  face-to-face is much better than phone and email, though i'm glad for that too.  it's something that i'm looking for more of in the next year.  xo. 

home again and reflecting as usual

Florida was great.  More pics are here.  Douglas turned 8, some sun was found, training kept mostly on track, internet was left behind, and boys did pretty well together.  It was a good break. 

As usual I’m home with the desire to not go back to what I left, but keep the relaxation alive, and the internet-time at a minimum.  This is hard to do.  Very hard.  Once again I waffle on combining this blog with my other one, and getting more personal in the process.  I’m tired of obligations that I’ve created, I’m a pro at that.  I’m enjoying homeschooling for the most part, and resent the things that glue me to the computer.  I have a newsletter to write, D is addressing letters, and F is sleeping.  I must take advantage of the quiet hour.  I’ll be back sometime. 

ps.  This?  Is atrocious, worse than anything I’ve ever seen on the subject of marital relations.  Bad on so many levels. 

treading water

been treading water the last few weeks.  canning, enjoyed, finished.  2 bushels and it still won’t be all we use, but enough.  school starts tomorrow.  i got depressed this time last year too.  feeling locked into the school schedule, another year here, little chance to get out, and little visible progress on moving.  i still have no doubts as to it happening, but struggling to keep my heart here and engaged.  no big projects, no big goals other than the very distant-seeming one of moving out to the country, no passions, just treading water.  i get angry at it after awhile, not finding something to sink my teeth into.  less the teeth-sinking than the feeling inspired and motivated really.  no passions.  watching my husband and his never-wavering one of making art.  jealous of it to be honest.  knowing i can pitch on more on the biz end of that, and that i’d enjoy it.  but enough?  not sure.  being itchy doesn’t run a happy house.  supposed to be my alone night and i can’t even muster myself to leave to do anything.  this i will regret. 

rumblings

I seem to have a continually fermenting stomach the last few days.  Landlord/tenant battles, which I am squarely in the middle of and partially responsible for (being the agent and all) are seriously messing with my peace.  Which I was enjoying thoroughly, having not thrown myself headlong back into “work work work and feel very busy” mode since returning from vacation.  i’ve taken the kids out to several pools, on walks, to the beach (never again to that one, ended up detoxing afterwards as we found it was a sewer-water dumping ground.  ugh!!), and spent lots of time chatting with friends.  little internet, little responsibility beyond kids and meals.  it felt really good.  but i felt the axe hanging over my head of jobs for clients that i still owe, and promised to get back to right after vacation.  that i should be working on right now as fynn sleeps.  somewhat of a rebellion inside kept me from picking up the mouse and getting it done, wanting to still be free.  then the battle between those above me and those below me erupted again this morning, and i was called in to mediate and “please talk to her and get this straightened out! i don’t need this stress!”

i’m non-confrontational to a fault, and this is forcing me to be very confrontational, which on some level is good experience.  but i hate it with a passion.  it makes me not want to come home, or answer my phone, when it’s two volatile people who can’t seem to make one inch of space for the other.  the small saving grace (or large one actually) is that the new frontroom tenants are wonderful, relaxed, aware and adaptable, and seem to have a magic radar for when to be social and when to be in their room.  loving that and very very glad for it, if the previous one were still here i’d probably go find somewhere else to live for a few weeks. 

i’m going away for the weekend, solo, and can’t wait.  i feel about to explode, and hope to find a way to express it and get perspective.  after the wv trip i can see even more clearly what i’d love to build with m, and was reminded again how i feel when away from the city.  toying a wee bit with the madness (or so it feels) that would be pulling D out of public school this fall and starting homeschooling.  i dread the thought of schedules and rushed mornings again.  but where would my work get done?  can’t currently afford to drop it, especially if there’s a hope of moving soon.  we need a car and land for starters.  trusting the way to that dream will slowly become obvious. 

now i’ll go attempt to work again, hoping i have more than 5 min before Fynn wakes up.

last day of school

feeling a bit fragile today.  not sure what it is.  very very glad to have c here, she always gets my feelings to the surface.  one kid finished first grade today, the other finished being a ‘ladybug’ and his first year of preschool.  very little sleep last night.  facing a summer of no childcare, but lots of work to do to keep things afloat.  have to work out a time-share with m on the days he’s not working.  almost burst into tears when thinking of the boys getting to see grambie next month, tho it will be very very short and she probably won’t remember much as it’s going to be chaos with a big family wedding.  rain for 2 weeks means hardly any sun.  almost everything feels like it’s in limbo.  i think we have a front-room tenant(s) starting in august, yay!!! not sure what to do for july.  still have r here but he knows he’s out if we get someone in.  owes a month, about to owe two.  not feeling the yay today, feeling very introspective but not depressed.  just needing to get it out.  i imagine that will happen tonight.  i hope so.

today, in pictures.  stops just before i got to see Douglas after school, when i met up with him at the park with his friends, in jeans and nothing else, soaking wet and gleeful.  another good day.

fynn had a performance at school, followed by pizza at the park.  i wasn’t feeling like being social, sadly, and kept to myself pretty much. 

circle time performance, singing

watchers

ladybugs

sweet melissa

see kai run

showing dad the medal

rather apt

juice boxes are coveted

and abandoned for popsicles  (did i mention i love redheads?  i have a slew of pics of this delicious one)

 

when do you stop?

i don’t know when you stop being gracious.  when do you say enough is enough, you’re walking all over me, stop it already!  i don’t know.  i was taught to turn the other cheek.  to take the heat, cover the other’s shortcomings, and keep my mouth shut.  i think i know when to hold my ground if i’m being taken advantage of by someone who will continue to do so until i put up my hand.  i’ve done it recently.  it’s absurdly difficult for me.  i bend over backwards to excuse their behavior, explain, accept, tolerate, and even cover their bizarre foibles from others so that they’re not thought badly of.  i defend someone i don’t have a real relationship with to those i have an important relationship with.  just because …. i really don’t know.  i feel compelled to do what it takes to make any relationship work. 

any. 

i’ve guilted myself for years over two friendships that were lifeblood to me at the time, which i walked away from.  one was due to them trying to shut down my discussions about mutually painful topics, and the other cut me off due to my choice to wear pants to church.  i accepted that cut, realizing it was an absurd criteria for a friendship.  it had to get that absurd for me to stop trying (it was broken long before) and i still to this day have twinges of guilt that i didn’t try hard enough. 

i take every hiccup in a relationship extremely personally, and on some level blame myself.  the friend that shut down my discussions?  still do feel guilty over that one, that i didn’t somehow manage to fix it.

i’m not god, relationships are two sided, and i know it’s just plain not all about me.  why do i feel a pathalogical need to make them work, even if it’s simply a relationship of convenience, and not one i sought our or really care to cultivate or continue?  yes, i want to live in harmony, that’s part of it.  my home is my haven, or rather should be, and it’s not been that at all lately.  i reduces me to tears pretty regularly.

there’s the question of why the connection has been “allowed” at all.  is there a point god’s trying to make with this, that i’m supposed to figure out or endure or teach him, or is the point that we both need to learn how to holler ‘nuff?  we’re both notoriously bad at that.  a libra and a sag, goes to figure i suppose.  last time i hollered after a “just one week pretty please he’s really depressed and his girlfriend kicked him out” boarder stayed 6 months, and i saw him more than my husband.  it took 6 months, proving my point.

i just don’t know when enough is enough.  i really don’t.

i'm blogging instead of showering

go figure.  things got totally rearranged this week.  i was hoping to go to columbus to see my grandma, and meet up w/my mom there for 2 days, but mom got sick enough to not go.  so that’s tentatively rescheduled for next week, when it’s not spring break and when M is scheduled to work again.  after taking this week off.  not really in a position to have him not working when he could be. 

the housemate thing has gotten more dire, which means a change is likely coming soon.  i don’t feel free to blog too much about it.  i didn’t expect to have to feed him in addition to everything else, however.  yes we could kick him out, and no we haven’t yet.  leaving that decision to M if/when it comes to that.  trying to drill into his head that lying and hiding do NOT help, but so far it doesn’t seem to be sticking. 

had a very very weird experience sunday night.  felt like a direct spiritual attack, which i suspect it was.  we were on the bus going to my aunt/uncles to have easter dinner with them.  d and m were sitting together going over robot plans (an all-consuming thing now that he has motors to play with) while f and I were looking out the window and commenting on things.  the whole 12 minute ride was calm, harmonious, and pleasant.  i didn’t keep my usual eye on what was going on around me, but focused on my kids.  f pushed the button for our stop, and we walked towards the back door. 

a couple people were ahead of us, and the woman in front of me held the door for us.  she was probably about 65, smiled pleasantly at me as f and i were stepping off and said “it was so nice to listen to him talk!” in a really happy voice. 

i was slightly surprised as i hadn’t noticed her listening, or even where she sat, but smiled and said “thank you! it’s so nice to hear that.”  then her face changed suddenly to a very sour look and she said gruffly “actually i was being sarcastic, it was really quite annoying!” and then marched off down the street. 

I was dumbstruck for a second, and then said “hey, wait a minute! what are you talking about???”  I stared after her as she marched away, and stood there muttering “what was that?  what on earth was she talking about?”  M had heard her and laughed loudly, making sure she could hear.

It felt so bizarre, i didn’t know what to think for a couple minutes.  we debated following her for a second, then shrugged it off and went on our way.  i found myself with tears welling up a minute later, feeling like someone had taken their claws out and run them across my heart.  it felt so very pointed and poisonous.  i honestly think she was either unbalanced, extremely bitter about something, or even possessed.  whatever it was, she wanted to ruin the nice thing she’d seen. 

i don’t want to make it into more than it is, but it made me feel a lot like i did in 3rd grade when some creep in my class decided he didn’t like me for some unknown reason, and spit on my face when i was walking home for lunch.  i came home with the spit running down my cheek, afraid to touch it, and mom cleaned me up and told me something comforting that i can’t remember.  perhaps i’m just naieve. there may be no sense to be made of it, but it sucked.

twisted up

i'm in another tailspin that i can't seem to talk about.  angry, resentful, pent up, and generally tense all over.  i imagine the sciatica this week was a symptom, not a cause.  i did manage to run the brooklyn bridge today and it helped to get tired, but it barely took the edge off.  i wanted to stop and pray in the middle of the bridge, my favorite spot in the city, but I couldn't.  the financial pit is getting deeper, i know it's possible to pull out of provided work shows up, but i freak out in the meantime.  i have one web job done (at almost half the price I quoted, and not much simpler than I'd promised) and two more on deck, tho neither will pay for weeks.  m has been averaging about 6 days of work a month for the last three.  that just doesn't cut it at all.  i have 2 coaching clients, both paid up, and one i know won't re-up and the other I don't know about.  i've lost all enthusiasm for coaching too, i honestly dread it except for the two clients that are real friends also.  i don't want to do it anymore.  i resent my husband's attitude about it, his waiting on the lord and calling his regular contacts thing, and if there's nothing doing he goes to the studio.  he's done the best painting of the last 10 years in the last 3 months, and that has long-term promise, but it doesn't pay the bills right now.  i'm frozen on the outside and boiling on the inside.  he points out that the lord has always taken care of us, and he has.  i know that.  i can't seem to rest in it, and i question that tactic every time it gets tough.  but the times others have stepped in, the things that are always off limits, the feeling trapped and claustrophobic in a city i can't afford to leave, that sucks.  please pray for work for both of us, i'd appreciate it.