Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Night I Almost Got Eaten by Crickets

Good southern girls aren’t afraid of the dark.  Neither are good Canadian girls for that matter.  BUT.  I think people with really good imaginations (like moi) should be given more credit for doing even SLIGHTLY scary things.  Like taking my dog for a walk after dark in my new (country) neighborhood.  It’s not like we’re the only people for miles or anything but, the dark here, it’s deeper than city-dark.  And quieter and noisier at the same time.  No sound of cars or horns or sirens but the crickets are a little scary.  Especially when it isn’t the nice soothing two or three I used to hear.  

It’s not a relaxing chorus of crickets, it’s an ARMY of them, all singing with their weird little legs about how to eat me down to my bones.  See?  I should get more points for kind-of scary when my brain turns it into a horror movie every time.  Saturday night I took Toby out for a walk in a thunderstorm.  Thunderstorms didn’t look like this in Virginia.  For one thing, it always rained when there was thunder and lightening there.  Not so here.  The sky growls and you aren’t sure if the lightening is coming from the ground or the sky, it’s kind of everywhere, all at once.  And there’s no rain.  Its like the sky is trying to pee but it’s having a really hard time.  

I took Toby for a walk and I kept remembering the conversation about lightening Bill and I had the night before.  (It also storms a lot more here).
Me: (watching the storm clouds roll over the Home Depot building).  Bill, are you ever afraid of getting hit by lightening?
Bill:  Of course not.  Of all the billons of people on the planet only a few get hit by lightening every day, what are the odds I would get hit?  Not very high.
Me:  Yeah, but it DOES happen to someone, somewhere.
Bill:  It’s so unlikely there’s no point in being afraid.
Me:  Ah huh.  (remembering all the weird stuff that’s happened to me in my life that ‘never happens to anyone’…)  SOMETHING happens to SOMEONE ALL THE TIME!  Wake up people!!

So anyways I didn’t get hit by lightning Saturday night while walking the dog.  But I should get more credit for it because I could imagine what it would FEEL like to get hit.  A sharp SNAP and the smell of burnt hair.  

Also, lastly, I’m afraid of opening the door to go outside in the first place.  Inside is bright and clean and safe.  Outside is dark and noisy with insects and animals I can hear but can’t see.  

Every time I open the door and the cold air conditioned air rushes out around my ears and I feel the heat rolling in I feel like something out there is waiting for us to come out so it can eat us whole.  Or in parts.  See?  More credit needed for walking the dog after dark…

Not that I’ve glimpsed anything capable of taking down a grown woman.  (Or me).  All we’ve seen so far is deer.  A LOT of deer.  Deer everywhere, all the time, back yard, front yard, driveway, all around the neighborhood.  The DISH guy said there has been an explosion of the hog population here recently and have we seen any.  (!?!?!?!?)  Apparently they were ruining the golf course he went to so they let the maintenance people take them home and eat them if they could catch them.  (Using guns inside city-limits!?  Using rakes and lawn mowers!?)  I didn’t ask.  It IS Texas after all.  Any option is possible.  I found a few golf balls around the house and I had to add ‘getting hit by a stray bullet intended for a hog’ to my list of things to be afraid of.  My life just got ten shades weirder from yesterday to today.  What will tomorrow bring!?  

So, anyway, here I am.  Afraid of the dark again and reminded that the world is bigger, badder, cooler, more magical and interesting than we know.  It just takes us getting out of our ruts, our routines, maybe our houses or our towns to see a different side of life.  Not that I would move just for the change in perspective but, if the opportunity arises for you, I say take it.  Life is short.  I don’t want to just live the length of my life but the breadth of it as well.  Someone smarter than me said that.  I’d like to give them credit but I can’t remember who it was and they’re probably dead anyway.  Probably got hit by a stray rake in a terrible hog-hunting accident.  Or eaten by a swarm of crickets hungry for human flesh.  Or got hit by lightening and had cardiac arrest in the driveway after supper while walking the dog.  Her last dying moments spent wishing she’d eaten that extra piece of strawberry shortcake.  Eat the dessert.  Take the opportunity.  Try not to get eaten by crickets.

Monday, June 22, 2015

WANTED: Bigger shell for my big crabby butt

I want to go home.  I don’t want to write.  I don’t want to think.  I don’t want to entertain a tired baby for one more minute.  I want her to go to sleep in her bed and then I need to go to bed.  I’m done interacting with the world today.  Done.  I just want to brush my teeth, wash my face, crawl into bed and have sweet sweet dreams about Humberto our landscaping guy.

Ok he’s not really our landscaping guy but he did give us a quote.  I think Bill wants to go with the OTHER landscaper.  The ’nice older guy with a pot belly…’ well, yeah, if you’re into getting the job DONE instead of enjoying the eye candy while they’re doing a probably ok job.  Well.  I digress.

In the last two weeks Ellie has learned to pull herself up on her own, how to walk a bit while holding onto things, how to stand on her own for a few amazing, tottering seconds, how to say ‘I don’t know’ (hands up in an I don’t know gesture, with a vocal sound that sounds exactly like I don’t know but without the words).  She can identify her head, and tell you she doesn’t know where her belly is.  Or anything else really but that alone is amazing.  She is progressing, maturing in leaps and bounds.  A fly scared her today.  She was at the window sill looking out as is her want, and it must have just been hanging out there quietly then suddenly started buzzing and flying because she was not pleased.  Angry monkey-like intonations and bouncing on her feet with some tears.  She would not conquer her fear of flies today but we did see a mosquito on the other side of the window and we managed to get pretty close to that until it flew away.  She looked at me and did her ‘I don’t know’ thing again.  I think she meant, hey, where did it go?  I said it flew away.  She did the I don’t know thing again - I think she’s already like, duh, I saw it go, WHERE did it go?  Mommy you’re not as smart as I thought you were….She’s also started blinking for no.  Want more liverwurst?  Blink.  Want this toy?  Blink.  THIS toy?  Blink.  This one?  Yes, she accepts the toy.  When she’s fussy in the car we sing to her.  Now she cries when we stop singing.  We end up singing the same five or six songs over and over again.  Wheels on the Bus can kiss MY bus.  It’s a good thing she oozes adorableness from every pore.  

Know who DOESN”T ooze adorableness from every pore?  Me.  I’m cranky and tired and overwhelmed and irritated that I feel so cranky and tired and overwhelmed.  I’m not a refugee on the run from crazy people trying to kill my family and I or worse.  I’m not homeless and living on the street.  I’m in a very comfortable home in a very comfortable part of town with a soft comfy bed and lots of restaurant-worthy home cooked food to eat and even a sweet, super smart little girl to keep my baby girl company.  I’ve got loads of super nice people trying to get my baby used to them so eventually I can leave her with them and go see a movie, or have dinner just Bill and I.  What’s wrong with me that all I want to do is yell at everyone to leave me the heck alone and go sulk in a dark room with nothing and no one but my kindle and a mug of hot tea?  (IE: Full glass of good Cab.)

Does this mean I’m a loner!?  But, I love people!  Don’t I?  Aren’t I a people person?  I think maybe under duress we revert to a more primitive state.  I’m not feeling relaxed and easy-going and confident and hence able to feel the love for my fellow man.  The only thing I’m feeling toward my fellow man right now is an urgent need to tell them to MOVE OUT OF MY WAY.  Why and where am I going?  I have no clue.  But I need to be alone to get there.

We move into the house this week.  I fully expect my love of my fellow man and woman to return once I’m able to sleep in my own bed, cook my own food, use my kettle to make my tea, turn on the TV and watch the Daily Show and the Nightly Show in the morning while she plays as is MY want.  And to invite people over once I’ve had my fill of solitude.  Life is a balance and right now I’m out of balance.  The biggest thing you learn from living with another family is that it exposes you to another way of eating, living, communicating, working, BEING.  It throws light on your own way of doing things and makes you question the logic behind it.  I think all in all I strive to live an aware life.  Aware of why I make certain decisions, why I eat a certain way, why I’m feeling a certain way, how we’re raising Ellie.  It may not make sense to anyone else (I’ve been told) but it makes sense to me and frankly that’s all that matters.

As in every situation where I’m uncomfortable I try to look to see what I’m being shown.  I’m being exposed to a side of myself I may not have seen if this hadn’t happened to me.  I’m kind of a jerk when I’m stressed.  I’m a little judgy, which I hate.  I’m not all sunshine and light.  I’m a little rigid.  I don’t just enjoy my routines, I have grown to need them like the shell of a turtle.  They protect me from the swish, swish, pull, pull of the many currents trying to move me about.  It’s good for me I think to feel a little exposed now and again.  Like a turtle in a vast ocean without a shell.  Or, more accurately, like a hermit crab (because I’m so, so crabby) in a vast ocean looking for a new shell.  Maybe that shell was too small and I need to find a bigger one.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I'm a flailing Blue Whale

I’m in bed at 8:00pm.  EVERYTHING needs to be thought about.  Where to go for groceries, how to get there, how to get back.  Why does everything look the same!?  WHERE ARE THE AVOCADO’S!?  Ellie will not be happy without her daily avocado hair treatment.  She gets some in her belly too, it just so happens it mostly ends up in her hair, her eyebrows, and in her ears.  No high-chair so we’re using the Bumbo.  Had her on the floor, realized with two dogs also on the floor food was being eaten but it wasn’t by Ellie.  Bumbo now on the chair, one sharp lean to the side away from total head trauma.  She must be watched every second she’s in the chair by someone close enough to catch her if she falls.  

I’m not miserable.  We have been blessed with great friends who have totally unselfishly opened up their home (and kitchen, and leather arm-chair - Mr John I’m so sorry Ellie drooled all over the arm!!).  They’ve cooked for us every night but one, and pish-poshed Toby’s first-day jitters (he pooped in their living room…) like pro’s.  

But.  I am such a creature of habit.  I hadn’t realized how much I LOVE my routines, my own space.  Hot tea in the morning while Ellie eats cheerios (safely, in her high chair) and I play yoga music through the internet on my phone.  We eat, then sit down to play in the play area while I finish my tea.  She’s safe so I don’t have to watch her too closely.  No steps to hurl down head first.  Only Toby’s water bowl to flip over, only HIS food to stop her from eating.  A morning nap, then lunch.  After lunch, a putter around the city running errands or shopping.  (No need for GPS or even to think about how to get there).  Home, another bottle, maybe a nap, making supper while she plays at my feet with the pots.  No other feet to worry about.  

I was a little lonely in Virginia.  I was a little isolated.  But I was content for the most part.  I had my books, (my book club) and Ellie, and sometimes Bill would stop working long enough to have a whole conversation with us.

Now everything is chaos, everything takes work, everything is an effort.  I haven’t even mentioned the heat yet.  I won’t - that’s too obvious an adjustment that needs to be made and frankly so far its not too bad.  I like the heat.  It’s only June.  

Here I am in a new city, faced with living with someone else’s family for another 10 days, trying to get my own house ready.  So many decisions to make.  We bought a new washer/dryer and fridge today, will get delivered a few days before our furniture arrives.  Honestly making that decision totally wiped me out.  I have discovered making decisions exhausts me, totally energizes Bill. I was ready to go home and have a nap, Bill was ready to take on Washington about race inequality once and for all.

We have to pick an internet and cable or satellite provider, a landscaper, a painter, FUN stuff you say, yippie, so many decisions!  What plants to plant and where and when and how deep.   A few of those decisions at a time are fun, usually, even for me.  But all together?  Add on I’m sleeping in a strange (comfy) bed, wait, while we’re taking about the bed, it’s tried to kill me twice.  It has a large wooden head and footboards that jut out beyond the mattress.  I’ve only run into it twice, and hard, in the middle of the night, with a crying Ellie in my arms.  When the bruise turns purple AND YOU CAN SEE IT TURNING IN THE BLACKNESS OF THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, it’s bad.  One large, swollen bruise with a nice scraping of skin on the top, now with a match on my other leg.  Oh, and I ran into a railing while we were walking with Ellie.  One of the kids wanted to push Ellie in her stroller and of course I was watching her and not where I was going and SMUCK.  Right toe partly broken, another large bruise to add to my collection.  Honestly I’m dangerous enough to myself when I’m in familiar surroundings.  I’m like a big blue whale, flailing about in a strange ocean, smacking my fins on anything stupid enough to be in my vicinity.

I haven’t meditated since I got here, well, only once and this is the time when I need it the most.  Now more than ever I need to take the time to focus on my breathing, on myself, on the quiet and solitude that’s inside all of us no matter what’s happening around us.  On the still, small, wise voice inside of us that says ‘Hey, enough with the whining and flailing.  Calm down.  Everything will work itself out.’  And it will.   It just will.  I’ll get used to where everything is, everything will get done eventually, and soon I’ll be rocking the red cowboy boots and waving my Texas flag.  ‘Cuz good southern girls don’t FLAIL.  Even if they are proud Canadians.

Monday, June 08, 2015

I Choose Awesomeness, or, at least the POSSIBILITY of awesomeness.

Possibilities.  Life is full of infinite possibilities.  Left, or right?  Frosted chocolate-y O’s or shredded wheat?  Some choices are obvious (frosted chocolate-y O’s).  Some choices give you an immediate result.  (Sugar high, blissful sugar high!)  Some choices take years to uncover the consequences and sometimes we never find out at all if we made a good choice.  How’s that for a peppy Monday morning blog?  Monday’s are actually my favorite day.  The whole WEEK stretches before us where anything AMAZING could happen.  WHOOOOT!

What the heck am I babbling about you may ask?  I’m talking about life being infinitely mysterious and often overwhelming.  The myriad of choices we make everyday is dizzying.  And yet our lives are guided, for the most part, by what we’ve done before.  It’s guided by freewill sure but our freewill we exerted in the past.  It’s by habit, by choices we’ve weighed and decided long ago so that now we can be a functioning adult.  Can you imagine if you had to weigh the pros and cons every time you needed to eat breakfast?  Or get dressed for the day?  To bring lunch or eat out?  What to EAT at lunch…  (I think I’m getting hungry).  Mmmm french toast covered in Canadian maple syrup... 

I digress.  All of this has been reinforced to me lately because of all the upheaval of a major move across multiple state lines.  We’re staying at a friend of Mimi’s (Bill’s sister) in Arlington until Wednesday when we fly to the moon, ah, I mean Texas.  It’s a tiny one-person apartment up three flights of loooong stairs.  Everything here is different.  I have to be much quieter, but it’s nice.

And I think it is a good thing I’m being shaken out of my routines.  I don’t want to live my life as merely an accumulation of decisions I’ve made in the past.  I want my choices to matter, I want to be conscious of them, to think about them, to make sure I am living my life in line with my current goals and dreams.  I come home, I flick on the TV out of habit.  I put Ellie down and I check my phone, again, for the upteenth time that minute.  I NEED TO STOP THE MADNESS!  I know I can live a better, more centered and careful life than this.  It’s so short.  When I think of all the hours I’ve wasted watching TV that honestly, I didn’t really enjoy in the first place, it was just what was on, it makes me mad.  MAD I TELL YOU.  

I don’t want Ellie to live an unaware life.  I don’t want her constantly distracted by media - by the TV that spends half it’s time selling stuff and the other half entertaining but surely slowly degrading our brains as well.  I don’t want her so focused on her phone, on her job, that she fails to notice the beauty around her.  The HUMANS around her.

I was in the waiting room at the doctor's office today and there was a lady sitting across from me who was obviously very important.  Who obviously THOUGHT she was very important.  She was complaining loudly on her phone to someone on the other end (who probably didn’t really care WHAT time she ambled in) that the appointment was taking too long and this is ridiculous, blah blah, blah.  Yes, you’re important.  Now sit down and shut up and let us read our stupid out of date TIME magazines in peace.  Sheesh.  Finally she walked up to the desk and began berating the receptionist about the time of the appointment (She was there fifteen minutes, same as me).  She was so busy berating them that she didn’t notice her name being called.  Finally the other receptionist pipped in, ‘Ah, is that you?  Amy G?  They’re calling your name.’  
‘Oh, yes, thanks.’
I rolled my eyes.  Asshat.  This could be her last day on earth, and she spent the morning harassing and annoying everyone within a twenty foot radius.  After the appointment I was sitting in the lobby downstairs putting Eliie’s socks back on (for the third time that morning) and she walked (stalked) out of the elevator, face stuck in her phone, totally unaware of anything or anyone else around her.  I felt like jumping up and down and making faces at her.  “BLAH BLAH BLAH!!”  I did not.  I did the mature thing.  I rolled my eyes again to myself.  (Ugh, the first time Ellie does this I’m going to kick myself for not breaking the eye-rolling habit too…)

Anyway, I really, really don’t want to be THAT woman.  I want to be present, kind, open to what the world has to show me.  It’s not all rainbows and sunshine but it IS magical, and beautiful, and funny and weird and strange and miraculous.  I just have to remember to look up from my devices long enough to notice it swirling around me.  That’s my choice today.  I choose to turn off the TV, put down my phone and really connect with the world around me.  Um, if I'm being totally honest sometimes life is boring too.  That’s why the TV is always on.  It distracts me from the boredom.  Maybe if I let myself BE bored, I might try to fill the time with FUN things.  Like going for a walk, or eating another chocolate chip cookie.  Wait, darn it, no, I will NOT fill the time with eating.  Ugh maybe I’ll just tackle that issue another day.  Today is no device day.  Tomorrow will be no over-eating day.  That’s my choice.  I choose leaving myself open for awesomeness today over mere entertainment.  Even if it does get a little boring.  And fattening, for awhile.  Wheeeeee!  

Monday, June 01, 2015

The Last Days of Virginia, wait IN Virginia. Virginia will be just fine without us.

A beautiful morning today, one of the last mornings I will spend at this townhouse in Virginia.  Feeling a little melancholy even though this place never really felt like home.  I always knew it was temporary and Texas was our next move.  The only thing I really loved here was the yoga studio, Radiance, and that we were so close to DC with all it’s free museums and history.  And the cherry blossoms, that was a sight to see every spring.  Made me feel all touched and poetic and stuff.

Life is exceedingly strange.  Soon I will be flying even farther south, moving to the exact place I said over and over I would probably never even SEE again in my lifetime, let alone LIVE in.  Texas.  As foreign a country as a quiet, progressive granola-eating-lifetime-yogi can be and still be in North America.  Texas.  Doesn't it sound like a curse word?  A dirty, hot, gun-loving liberal-bashing curse word.  I’m trying not to worry about the fact that I am a very round peg in the rigidly square hole that is Texas.  After all I’ve never REALLY fit in anywhere.  I’m like a dust mote, floating along from place to place, never really finding a place to stay still.  But the people are really nice.  So that’s something.  They really are.  Hold the door open for you at the grocery store and everything.

When we were scouting a house I was walking into a grocery store for some water and a ten year old boy stepped right up and opened the door for me.  ‘Mame’.  He said.  I could get used to this, I thought.  Leaving alone the question about whether or not this is respectful of women or just evidence of centuries of treating women like they are not able to do things for themselves.  I digress.  It was nice.  It was nice that ANYONE opened the door for me, let alone a kid.  I could have lived without the ‘mame’.  Who DOES like it when someone calls you Mame?  Maybe when I’m a hundred I’ll be like yeah, you BETTER call me mame sonny.  I’ll throw my dentures at cha, ya young sass-pot.  Grrr.  I plan to be quite cranky when I get old.

I AM super excited about the house we just built - it isn’t a large rambling castle with seven tower-turrets and a moat filled with alligators LIKE I WANTED, but it’s still pretty cool.  We’re having trouble getting a drive-way paved with all the rain they’ve been having.  It might have been easier to build a moat and just wait for it to fill up with rain and alligators.

There’s a horse-farm down the road from our new house (I know, I know, can you get more TEXAS!?) - I have visions of Ellie learning to ride a horse before she learns to ride her bike.  I am a little worried about Toby getting eaten by snakes.  Ellie is smart enough to scoot away but Toby may think he found a new chew-toy.  And spiders.  HUGE, actually poisonous SPIDERS.  My very very worst nightmare.  The biggest danger outside for me in Canada (or Virginia!) was if that large hoard of mosquitos pooled their strength and finally carried me away to feast on me slowly.  Hopefully they don’t read this blog…

Anyway I’m sitting here feeding poor Ellie cookies at 830am and letting her watch TV while I write this so, I’m officially venturing into the ‘bad-mom’ neighborhood.  That neighborhood is the same no matter WHERE you live.  

Next week I will be in Arlington, waiting for Bill to finish his last day of work here before we fly out.  I will keep busy researching what the bad spiders look like (they’re ALL bad, they’re ALL bad!!) and trying to teach Toby to be afraid of snakes.  Is it wrong to attack him with a stuffed snake over and over again?  I’d be venturing into the bad mom neighborhood again.  It’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.  Not like Texas.  Wheeeeeeeee.

The Gift Of Nowhere To Go

Hiya my friends – look – I don’t know if anyone other than mom and some uncles and aunts back home read this but, in case you’re out ther...