REPORT A PROBLEM
Driving my car this morning I had a golden moment; the kind of thing that answers the question "Am I doing OK as a parent?" My three year old was singing "Hush Little Baby" as she paged through a magazine. The words and verses were mixed up, but the tune was right. I thought about correcting the words, but decided to listen. If I was gone tomorrow, the words wouldn't matter. We've sung the song with her storybook, over and over. And not one wrong word could erase the time spent and the comfort it gives her to sing it.
How is it that one hundred words are so tough to fit into each day? The real time spent is about ten minutes, but those are tough for me to find. This is my third month trying and I havenít succeeded yet, but maybe the third time is the charm? I never understood how little time my mom had to herself. As a parent now, Iím mystified that she juggled so much and made it look easy. Where was there time for all the things I know she did plus us? So there must be room for one hundred words.
What an exhausting Saturday. I spent more time in the kitchen than I spent sitting down. I felt my chest tighten from the annoying blood pressure symptoms that plague me lately. No amount of wishing will make my health issues return to the norms of the past. I always feel the weight of responsibility; pressures of ďhave toĒ imposed by myself as well as implied by others. None of my activity today was out of the ordinary. I didnít dislike it, but somehow it never feels like me. Itís a life lived through me but without ďmeĒ at its center.
The message at church today was on active listening, hearing our inner voice, and going where it leads us. But I spent all weekend running around doing too many things and being late, tired and irritable. My message is obviously "slow down" but how? With kids I'm forever busy. But my soul's work seems absent or unfulfilled. I somehow need to change or adapt a new goal for my spiritual journey. I need to reframe my life; spend less time running around, more time enjoying. It's imperative. The running around left me physically fried, so my weekend ended in pain.
Cold chilled to the bone in morning; heat sweltered the office at noon; cold returned by night. The dog escaped her crate today to seek warmth in comfy beds upstairs. No crate blanket could shake the damp chill of the basement. Like that crate, I felt left in the cold. Lunchtime laughter tumbled down the hall. Seven people, and I wasnít asked. I surmise a dozen reasons why. My finances. Sometimes I talk too much or say wrong things. And the social faux pas, dating a coworker, radio ads remind me. But after seven years, it hurts to be uninvited.
Not sure I wanted to meet another prospective couple. Too distracting to mix adult conversation and the needs of a tired child. Two personalities struggle within me and ďmommyĒ usually wins, needs to win actually. Which ruins the moment of meeting by competing with a childís attention. Folks find her pleasant and sweet, but thatís not the focus of the introduction. While Iím open to meeting new folks, days like that just make me want to settle for more mundane traditional stuff. It ends up one more complication, and not an experience I want to bother with at this point.
For my next life, I think I'd like to be a bug, maybe crawling someplace pleasant beneath the canopy of the jungle. Do bugs feel guilt? Probably no room in that tiny brain. Do they understand stress, panic, fear? I can't even imagine, but at least it's simple. Eat, defecate, procreate; then get eaten by some bird or lizard when I least expect it. Or maybe I should be a tree. They usually live longer; spending the days growing roots and leaves, warming in the sun with nowhere to go but up or sideways. My luck, I'd end up deforested.
The cold is seeping into every crevice. I longed for a taste of winter to make the summer better with less bugs, but it would work better if the house didnít let the cold ooze into every space. Now I long for the windows I didnít have time to purchase before Christmas, and some new doors with better weatherstripping. Can you imagine a log home on the frontier? How did anyone endure that? No central heating and months of snow and cold that could hardly be kept outdoors. No wonder everyone slept in one bed. Itís a three dog night.
Does anyone else get eight hours of work done during eight hours at work? I find it a struggle now, but not when I was younger. Then I even worked extra hours, stayed late, arrived early some days. With kids and a muddy frame of mind, some days I feel I guess less than half done of what I should. Today was a cloudy minded day. Perhaps I just donít find my tasks appealing anymore. I need something new, challenging, some variety, and preferably something interpersonal that doesnít involve phone calls. Iím open to suggestions, but doubt Iíll find any.
If children are our future, why do they drive us totally crazy? Challenge every word? Push our buttons? And furthermore deprive of us of sleep on Saturday morning? For all those reasons and more, I waited until after thirty to have mine. Today was a decent day, but a house-bound winter day, so the kids were nuts. My solace came from doing laundry and going to choir rehearsal. My sincerest bonding moments were while giving the girls their baths. I still donít understand parenting. How can we expend so much energy and time correcting them and still call it bonding?
Despite trying for more than two months, I have yet to send greetings to the folks Iíd always considered important. Family life is the biggest hurdle these days, and although I feel the neglect I canít find time to make it ďpriority of the dayĒ either. Valentineís Day approaches, and our kids want cards and only homemade can be afforded if time can be found. I did all the steps to make it fun and easy. The cards are made, but the letter is unwritten. What weight does that carry? Will I remedy the neglect or just learn to accept?
What is the romance of the tattoo? How can a simple skin decoration enhance attraction or redefine preconceptions about a person? At Christmas, I found a bunch of temporary tattoos which I gave as stocking stuffers. They reminded me of childhood fun. And while never brave (foolish) enough for a real one nor seeing the need, the temporary kind have immense appeal. The children are enchanted by them and even my guy looks changed, somehow more sexy, with a banded arm. Maybe they just reveal shadows of what we see within ourselves. Or maybe they satisfy a want for daring.
Soft tinkle of ice pellets glancing blows to windows. The world outside enveloped in a crust of ice. Now properly winter, the weather returns to cold habits. Softly drifting snow has diminished in recent years as scientists debate the term ďglobal warming.Ē All this modern world lives out of harmony, distanced from the center of this home called Earth. Why do they deny the possibility that these modern conveniences are slowly destroying the planet we live on? How blind must they be? How naive are we, the lowly inhabitants, to wait for the debate to end and atonement to begin?
I havenít spent a snowy day at home in years, and it was Valentineís Day. A fitting day to spend with family. It would have been sweeter as a romantic day together. Not really snow, inches of heavy wet ice subdued all movement. The romantic day was lost in digging out, doing laundry, changing sheets, cleaning, giving baths. A scant half hour was spared for romantic overtures which seemed lost since I felt out of step with that mood. I miss the mood and long for its return. I feel the pressed tension in my veins and long for relief.
Making up for lack of romance on an icy Valentineís day, a ďfancyĒ dinner for two was found this evening with wine, appetizers and dessert. In years past it would have been typical, but now a rarity, it made the evening special. The rarity is as much for the mealís expense as it is for the ambiance of dinner for two, no kids and not at home. The world outside was still iced over. Cars still packed in ice and streets unpassable slowed things down for a change. But like our make-up dinner, it was a day of steady improvements.
This is my makeup day, finally a day later than a single digit, but I still feel the missing of a day. But exhaustion caught up to me and I fell asleep, too incoherent to try again when he woke me. I only managed to remove my contacts, didnít even brush my teeth. Then I slept eleven hours, a rare luxury of no kids this weekend. Even though I was still exhausted, it was one day of focused activity, and I gained some needed time management ideas. A good day but not for writing. Writing waited for Saturday to dawn.
A last thought for the day. Tomorrow is Ianís birthday. I gave no thought to it until I sat to write this and added the date. Thatís the glory of pen to paper over keyboard - the stroke of ink writing familiar patterns, dates, phrases. Should I get him a card, at least one from our daughter? Heís forty and still very crazy. Will he resent having no party since heíd wanted a big gathering to mark the decade? There is so much angst readjusting after divorce - knowing too much past and not enough present. Think on it tomorrow.
Much needed quiet. Few chores or errands; time to read for a first in ages. Even a bit of time for sorting and discarding, the goal for the year to lose one hundred pounds of stuff per occupant. Yesterday did not help since I gained a freezer and washer. But I got rid of a washer too, so that much balances. The freezer helps with economics, weight notwithstanding. Bulk prices are less expensive and I have enough hungry mouths to merit bulk purchases. By night, excitement and noise of children will return, but Iím enjoying the quiet, fleeting and temporary.
In the home stretch now, I might finally achieve a month of entries! Yippee! Wasted words I guess until Iíve made it, but something to look forward to. Iíve been a cleaning fool the last couple days. Guess it was overdue anyway, but I feel like Iím getting somewhere in a couple spots of the house, and need to see it spread to further corners. And I so look forward to trash departing the place to lose that excess weight of junk baggage. The snow and longer weekend have done me good in rest and purposeful activity. Tomorrow, the doctor.
Disappointing that doctors canít provide magical cures. Instead, mad scientists, they draw blood, wait, try medications, see what works. A friend said something about getting a new medication for every year past 50. Since I take a half dozen already, Iíll need a suitcase for pharmacy trips at 65. Pills canít, wonít, and donít provide good health. But still, I havenít the willpower to eat better, exercise more, sleep enough and relax. In 1907 maybe, but not this century. Is there a pill that can set the clock back 100 years? That would be a cure, but fantasy, not reality.
The last delivery arrived today. Hooray for the washing machine! Crashing in at midday was a colossal headache. So after receiving results from the doctor, Iíve yielded and started BP meds. Iím angry and upset that my body just doesnít function well. Iím worried about how to deal with side effects and drug interactions. Itís scary to read about side effects. I need a solution with less pain, better quality of life, and ability to still have fun. I donít want to be 300 pounds, depressed and frigid. For tonight, however, Iím exhausted. So after a paper entry, Iím crashing.
I spent much of my day ďdiscussingĒ topics of religion, religious cultural history, and religious education of children. Stemming from prior comments by electronic mail, I ventured onto this road after posting a minor update about my state of hopefully improving health. Spirituality and religion have been favorites to her and it was a good day when she had time in the office. A rare set of exchanges, a day not spent in court or away on business. Lucky chances and good days are my best devices for maintaining long friendships until kids are grown, and I enjoyed the opportunity.
Last night I stole time by myself, hung out, shopped, read, paused. Tonight, chores, errands, work. I need time ďfreeĒ to follow through on ideas. Iíve had some good ones lately. Time saving ideas for cooking. Done some follow up, but created no meal plans yet. But I filled the freezer today. But weíll continue to eat, of course. I want to quilt, use the myriad fabrics Iíve collected. I want to scrapbook, but I need simple designs to repeat ad nauseum to fit pages into the time I have. Why does it take time to plan to save time?
Busy but not focused. One lot in life. And deprived of time for the individual; only time to do for family, do for others, do with others, rarely alone. From a Christian background, this serves a purpose. No time for idle hands, always giving of yourself. While this creates a giving, serving, somewhat loving environment, it is also hollow, shallow and devoid of reflection. Reflection and thought must be pieces of this puzzle, but so challenging to integrate. How can we teach if we have not learned, if we havenít begun our own journey? Time must be dedicated to searching.
Ideas strike me to be creative but it was a day to be active instead. A lovely snow fell instead of ice or frozen rain. We played, built a snowman, threw snowballs, chatted with neighbors while shovelling. Stepping back in time, it repaired days missed playing with my own family. And nothing could steal the delight as I watched my daughter sparkle, tease and dance with laughter playing in the snow. In those moments, all was right in the world. A rare gift was this day of laughter and family fun, and it set many things right in my heart.
Jealousy edged my day. I still long for a baby, torn by troubles surrounding it. Financially itís disaster, but itís already disaster, so whatís one more? Sooner or later? Sooner would be best for health, and better for readjusting to schedule and cash flow challenges. But Iím older and on the wrong drugs. Could I nurse? Iím not sure I could skip that. What damage would it harbor for my relationship? What harm is done with no sibling for my daughter? Too many questions. For now all answers are ďnoĒ which leaves me tormented by others having what I want.
Ever a busy signal sounds internally, an irritating buzzing, a ringing in the ears. Too many thoughts, plans within plans, chores, ideas, hopes, dreams, lacking sufficient velocity to escape, become reality, achievements. The inner maze of confused and abandonned paths also has energy, drive, nervous aspiration and worry. This was yet another day when the constant buzzing couldnít be subdued, do nothing, only think, imagine, formulate, distracted. Checking on things and obsessing over details, but work didnít get done. This mind lacks a powerful ďengageĒ to jump thoughts into action. And so another day ended wandering in circles, no progress.
First time Iíve made it to the last day. Sometimes I hesitate, a rules lawyer streak. Iíve hand-written some days, too exhausted to look at another computer monitor. But fairly enough, the words were written on the day in my own hand; the typing waited. My time management and goal setting are far from perfect, but I am pleased to complete a task for me, taking time for myself. I completed another longer project this week too, a blanket for my daughter started when I was pregnant. Two accomplishments. I long to see more, and hopefully this is a beginning.
The Tip Jar