So, you know, I get all pensive and ramped up for big dramatic change. Emotions have been running high and I'm all over the place. But one thing stays the same. Life keeps happening.
For example, the girls got into some metamucil wafers(they almost taste like cookies) that we had gotten for Maddie because she was constipated. And you know, they are like potato chips, right? Can't eat just one... Ave yesterday was struck with the 5-metamucil-wafer-stomach-ache-and-bout-of-massive-diarrhea. It's not that I'm not sympathetic but you know there is an element of humor to that. So today, I'm driving her to school and she says, "Mom, I think I'm going to have diarrhea at school today." I'm like, "No doubt honey." And then I had to have the talk of shame where I admitted to her teacher that she went unsupervised long enough to eat half a box of metamucil wafers. Not getting mother-of-the-year-award this time around I guess.
I'm also in the doghouse with Ave because I didn't cook Thanksgiving dinner. She keeps asking when we're going to have Thanksgiving. It looks like I'm going to have to pull the whole traditional meal out here to get her off my ass about it. That's okay, I'm down with the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and yams.
So, this week is about to get even more fun as I'm off to Chicago tomorrow. Why I always end up in Chicago in November, December or January is beyond me. I will invariably slip on the walk-of-treachery between the hotel and our corporate headquarters and almost break my elbow or shoulder and bruise my tailbone- why? because that is what I always do. Gosh. Just looked at the weather forecast, maybe it won't even be frozen there. Could be my lucky break this time around. Heh.
Woke up this morning with Maddy snuggled into my side, all toasty warm. Having Maddy here really made me miss those times with my girls when they still held their arms up for me to pick them up, still fell asleep in my arms. It was hilarious because she was glued to me the whole time she was here, even when I went to take a shower she wasn't having a thing to do with Dean and instead busily transferred the conents of my make-up bag to my purse and then back again. So, yes, feeling a little nostalgic and like the girls are growing up so quickly. I love how independent my girls are, how much they want to do things on their own- but I do miss that time when they needed me in a very tangible immediate sense. I know they need me now, but it is different and harder because their needs have changed from basic physical ones to emotional and social ones that I'm never quite sure if I'm meeting and doing them right.
So, anyone who denies the effect of the weather on mental state, good for you! But for me, waking up this morning to the grey sky was a bit of a downer. I'm still holding out hope that it will clear up and go all blue skies.
This has been a rough week. Last weekend, Dean and I discussed our relationship. We've been having 'talks' for years on end now and I guess I'm just tired of talking and nothing happening. I don't really know what to do except that maybe it is time for us to move on, try a seperation. This is hard to write about because I've spent more of my life with Dean than without, practically. And in alot of ways things are really good between us. But we both admit that things just aren't right somehow and I've become pretty desperately unhappy over the past year or two, especially as the girls have gotten older and do not occupy all of our time and energy. The thing that is hard is that Dean is a great guy and I love him. He tries hard to be a good father. The problem is I feel like I live with a statue sometimes- he is always on the computer and never shares what he is feeling. Sure, we have great academic conversations but I get no passion out of him. And when I asked him what he wanted to do with life from here on out- he said, "Watch my kids grow up and work." And, while watching the kids grow up is a given- I feel like I need more. I want someone who looks at me and sees me and loves me- not someone who loves me because I make life comfortable but someone who loves me because I am my crazy self. And I want to pursue the adventures that life has to offer me, even if I have to do it alone, it is better than selling out for this life I thought I wanted. So, not sure where the next steps will lead. I'm scared. It is frightening to think of being on my own with the girls but in some regards, I take care of alot of the logistics of our lives anyway so I know I can do it. Part of me is excited, even more excited than scared.
Life IS like the horses. If you truly love it, you get back on even when you've been thrown and you're hurting and your pride is damaged and your confidence is shaken. If you truly love life, you set aside the fear and you go back- and try to live, maybe not the life you imagined or planned, but the one that is waiting for you.
Oh baby. Maddy is sleeping over with me tonight. Maddy is all of 14 months old and terribly dear. I am so far gone over her, it isn't even funny.
Ave was horribly jealous but then I got her helping me out with Maddy and she came around.
Maddy fell asleep snuggled up on my chest, her curly little head tucked under my chin. That's about as close to heaven as I've been in a while.
I've always said you can learn alot about people and the people world from horses. No matter what is going on in my life, the horses always set me straight. Horses I can understand. Horses don't lie and when they trust you, they bet their lives on it. I know that when I am with the horses, the visage of control I perpetuate in my daily life falls by the wayside. I know that with the horses there is always an element which I cannot control and all I have is my confidence in myself and my faith in the horse. There isn't room for fear or anger or sadness- there is just what is in front of me.
Today I got on Foxy for the first time. She is two years old and the biggest horse on the ranch where we board her.
Every horse person longs for that horse- the "one". When I got Apollo, I thought he was the one. I was drawn to him because people said I couldn't handle him. At first that proved to be true- a bad spill on the cross-country course at Moss Beach, a few other rough falls, and I just couldn't put the family through another trip to the ER so I sold Apollo. Of course, I regretted it immediately, but I honestly thought it was best for him and best for me and Dean was having fits over me coming off of him. Anyhow, then we got Cosette intending her to be our nice little family horse. We left her over Christmas and came back to find she had damage to one of her hind legs and wouldn't have much jumping in her future, especially if we wanted to extend her useful life. So, I got a hairbrained idea in my head to breed Cosette. We loved her personality and how refined she was and found a big Irish Draught stallion in Maryland to sire her foal. Dean thought I was nuts but shook his head and went along. I dreamed all through the spring and summer about my Irish Draught sporthorse and finally Cosette was pregnant. Foxy was born the following June and we were all there for her grand entrance- a little, gangly chestnut filly with four white socks. We named her Fox in Socks and no one really touched her besides us until about two months ago. For a long time I kicked myself for spending so much time and energy on getting Foxy. I was really regretting it when Apollo came back to me and with alot of time and patience started going really well for me. And it got even harder as Foxy got bigger and harder to handle and I started to feel I'd gotten in over my head with time issues and health issues and this huge baby horse to deal with.
But I have to say, we've really come full circle. I never let go of the dream of what she could be. And while Apollo will always be my boy because I love him and we've been through so many good and painful times together, as I sat up on Foxy today I realized this is what I have been waiting for- a fresh start, a new beginning with no mistakes in it yet. Getting here was a long, difficult path and required understanding the limitations of both myself and Apollo. See, I think like with people, there are some mistakes you can't take back with the horses. So no, it's not that I am casting aside Apollo or anything, it's not like that. I love him for what he is and he will always be mine and the horse that taught me so much, helped me get my seat and my confidence, taught me respect and what trust between two creatures can create. But today I had an excitement in me that I haven't had in a long time, the excitement of looking toward a new and unknown future with Foxy who has all the untested potential I could hope for. It's a beautiful thing to be looking forward.
Well, that was short-lived.
So, lots of stuff going on here and I wasn't going to blog about any of it because it's just really painful. But, then I started thinking about why I started blogging in the first place. I started blogging as an outlet for my thoughts and feelings but also so that someday my girls would have a record of all that transpired, from my point of view, both internally and externally. See, when my mom had a brain tumor when I was 13 years old, there were so many things about her and my childhood that I didn't understand and then it was too late to ask any more questions, get any more answers. Since I live in fear that my children will hate me for being a horrible mother and also that I am afraid I won't get them to an age where I can discuss the events of their and my lives as adults- I just want them to know.
So, after reflecting upon why I decided to blog, I have also decided that it is appropriate for me to divulge the difficult stuff here.
That's right unwitting audience, you are about to witness the chaos that is my life right now. But first, I think I have to write about Thanksgiving.
Yesterday was about the best Thanksgiving I've had, maybe ever. No, there was no Norman Rockwell family gathered around a turkey. Usually, I cook. I make a 22 lb turkey, potatoes, my apricot-soaked-in-grand-marnier stuffing, sweet potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce, Grandma's grapefruit jello salad(in memorium)... And yesterday I got up nd looked at the massive pile of groceries stacked and waiting for me on the counter and I just decided- not gonna do it. I wanted to enjoy our friends who have come down from Seattle to stay with us, I wanted to spend time with my girls and not send Dean out to the store 4 times for stuff I forgot. So that's what we did- hung out with our Starbucks, sat around the new dining room table and laughed our asses off, took a nap... can't tell you the last time I actually took a nap... and then we went out for Chinese food. And it was great- we were the only non-Chinese people in the place and we sat at a giant table with a big lazy susan. It was pretty great. After that we all went to see Enchanted which was cute and all the little girls loved it. The night ended with carrying a sleeping Avery to my bed and snuggling in with her and there could have been no better end,
So, yes, I let go of the Thanksgiving I planned and instead had the Thanksgiving that was waiting for me and it was fabulous. Now if only I could do that with my life, I'd be good.
I did it, I blogged. There it is. More to come. Stay tuned.
It's been very quiet out there amongst my blogger friends. Where did everyone go?
So, in the several years- I started blogging when I found out I was pregnant with Avery- I've been blogging, I've seen many friends come and go. Often, we bloggers realize that we've spent too much time ruminating about our lives instead of living them. That's where I am right now, so I think it is time for a little hiatus.
I think I'll probably be back, maybe even shortly, but it is time for me to buckle down and get living.
I love you all, my dear family and friends. I leave you with a little Rilke for the road:
There is probably no point in my going into your questions now; for what I could say about your tendency to doubt or about your inability to bring your outer and inner lives into harmony or about all the other things that oppress you - : is just what I have already said: just the wish that you may find in yourself enough patience to endure and enough simplicity to have faith; that you may gain more and more confidence in what is difficult and in your solitude among other people. And as for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.
And about feelings: All feelings that concentrate you and lift you up are pure; only that feeling is impure which grasps just one side of your being and thus distorts you. Everything you can think of as you face your childhood, is good. Everything that makes more of you than you have ever been, even in your best hours, is right. Every intensification is good, if it is in your entire blood, if it isn't intoxication or muddiness, but joy which you can see into, clear to the bottom. Do you understand what I mean?
And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrassed, perhaps also protesting. But don't give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers - perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.
--From "Letters to a Young Poet"
There was much hilarity with the girls last night at the pool. Ave kept trying her 'freestyle' which meant she'd get herself halfway out into the pool and then I'd hear, "Mom" *gasp* "help" and then I'd have to dash over to pull her up- but gotta give the kid credit for trying. Then she'd give me a lecture about not giving her a wedgie. Well, okay- you choose wedgie? or drown? Vi was really excited to race me from one end of the pool to the other because she had flippers on- ultimately frustrated because she still couldn't beat me, "Mooooom!". Vi was bugging all evening to come in the lap pool which is a good bit cooler than the activity pool where the girls usually swim. Finally, when we were about to leave I threw Vi in the lap pool and she bobbed up and said, "Cold! Let me out!" but then she started swimming and was fine.
Stopped at the grocery store on the way home and Vi was pretty mortified because they'd gotten into their pjs at the pool. "People are going to see me in my pajamas, Mom!" Vi was quite understanding, however, of my need to purchase hostess products.
Ave pointed out the moon was orange last night. We all sang the Rainbow song in the car on the way home.
They are both asleep next to me in the bed right now and Ave had both legs draped over Vi which is funny because I can't say how many times I hear Vi tell Ave, "Get your feet off me" during the course of the day. Vi would die if she knew Ave was sleeping with her feet all over her. Heh. My girls.
Ah, time to get going... driving to St. Helena today. Hope yesterday's weather holds so we can go to lunch and sit outside at a picnic table at Taylor's which is the best part of any day up in St. Helena.
So, my current major annoyoance is that my Outlook refuses to download headers when I am in my office. That's right- the one place I don't seem to be able to function fully with regards to work is IN MY OFFICE. So, normally, this wouldn't be annoying because normally I am working from home or from Starbucks or from a client site- all places where my e-mail works just fine, thank you. Lately, however, I've been working on a bunch of stuff that requires in-office meetings and other support more easily provided in-office (i.e. interoffice mail to send stuff off to legal because e-mail just isn't good enough for them, or uh, a fax machine, because I am too lazy to work the fax machine at home. That's right, I drive in to my office to use the fax machine rather than setting the one at home up to do what I need it to do. Sad. Pathetic even.). Finally, I do so like going to lunch with my coworkers which is a nice distraction from said faxing and mailing crap off to legal. So I'm torn... getting e-mail? or lunch with coworkers? Hm. Yeah.
Avery is snoring. Someone told me once that I snore, but I know I don't.
So, last night driving home in the car, Viola says from the backseat: "Someone put me down today."
I resisted the urge to slam on the brakes and instead calmly said, "Who put you down and what did they say?"
Vi says, "It doesn't matter."
"It does matter, it's obviously bothering you or you wouldn't have brought it up."
Viola was very reluctant to tell me. "Caitlin. And she told me she didn't like me and that I was going to fail my math test." Etc..
So this makes me boil because Vi gets really frustrated with her math. She is a fantastic reader, has an aptitude for science and is very artistic and creative. Math is her weakest spot and for someone to deliver a blow there, well, pisses me off. So of course I'm muttering in the front seat about how this Caitlin girl sounds like a little beyotch. And I say, "If she says anything like that again, tell her she's a rude, rude girl and you don't want her to talk to you anymore." Viola replies, "Well, then I would be rude like her." Ah. So then I say, "Okay, you don't have to be rude like her- you can just tell her to please not say anything to you if she doesn't have anything nice to say." I'm going to be having a chat with the teacher. We don't want Caitlin to grow up and become a bully. Best nip that right quick.
Oh, hey! My dishwasher works as do two of the three new sinks in our kitchen. That's right. You betcha. The oven is getting installed this afternoon and the cooktop is installed and will be turned on today. Looks like we're going to be a go for Thanksgiving. I'm still totally ordering out. Hello, Honeybaked Ham? And thank you to whomever it was who suggested this. ;)
So, question- should I feel weird about the fact that my husband is wearing my shorts to basketball today?
Oh, yes... I suppose it is time for an update. The countertops are being finished as of today which is fantastic! We're on the schedule to have the finish plumbing done this week, which I WILL DO MYSELF IF I HAVE TO. No, really, it is to that point. The cooktop is in and the oven is due to be installed this week. I have to say- I'm loving the black absolute countertops. Of course, at this point, I would probably have loved formica if it meant that I'd have a working kitchen in the foreseeable future.
We had our last soccer practice on Wednesday evening and our final game yesterday. The girls were fantastic. I mean, how amazing was it to see them finally pull all the stuff we've been working on together? Vi just continually amazes me. She carried the ball into this pack of girls and then totally juked them, did a pass backward to one of her teammates. She'd run straight up on an opposing team member with the ball, yell "Hyah!" and just take the ball away. My girl, I LOVE seeing her like that. Of course, after the game, she's like, "I like swimming better." Heh.
Ave has the entire High School Musical soundtrack down now. I finally broke down and bought some new music for her last night because even I can't take much more of the HSM sing-alongs anymore. She also has my Carbon Leaf cd memorized- but then I can't seem to get away from listening to that in the car these days. Also, progress at the pool- Ave is actually starting to put her freestyle together pretty well with the breathing and everything (breathing helps)- I think she did about 6 strokes in a row the other day with a couple breaths thrown in. That's some major progress considering she still freaks out in the shower sometimes.
Natalie is back from Seattle but I've hardly seen her- she and Kendyl have been living the party life. She applied to work at Nordstroms. That would be great. Think of all the shoes I could get for a discount. Woo! She's hanging out with the girls tomorrow since it is Veteran's day and they don't have school.
Looks like the weather is turning around which would be nice. After all, why else did we come to California if not for sunny days in November?
That's all I got. Nothing exciting. Today isn't looking too promising for much other than getting stuff done around the house, if that. If nothing else, at least I'll have countertops by the end of the day.
I've been reading "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales. The tagline is "Who lives, who dies and why."
Lots of good stuff in this book. Gonzales quotes this guy Leach quite a bit who is a survival psychologist. I love this: "When the personality is ripped away there has to be some core remaining to carry the person through. ...If a person carries all of his support within him then it matters little what the external environment comprises." and Gonzales says, "Starting from the moment of the accident, it is necessary for a survivor to take control of his situation."
So why is it that we so often only pull out this control, show our core, when our lives are on the line?
Love this, too: "Ultimately, it is the struggle that keeps one alive. What seems a paradox is simply the act of living: Never stop struggling... When the struggle ceases, we die."
So, clearly Gonzales is talking about when disaster strikes- but I think there is a certain take-away here that can apply to daily life. Every day we may not be fighting for our physical lives but on some level I think our emotional and spiritual selves could be regularly in peril in the face of a society that promotes dulling ourselves and going along with the status quo. How many people wouldn't change what they did with their day if they knew it was going to be the last one that the sun set on for them? I mean, I honestly can't say there aren't a dozen things I wouldn't do differently- so why the hell don't I do it?
I make my friends and family uncomfortable at times because I tell people that I love them- alot. This stems from a conversation I had with my mother a few years after my Grandfather passed away. She told me, "If I could have five more minutes, just five more minutes, I'd spend it telling him how much I love him." I have lived with the specter of that- not ever wanting to find myself wishing for just five more minutes so I could tell someone that I failed to, that I loved them. So, when I love people, I really do try to tell them, even when it might feel funny to them.
But back to survival- another interesting concept Gonzales raises in the book is that of "active-passiveness" and waiting. He calls it "the ability to accept the situation one is in without giving in to it..." That can take waiting and patience. Gonzales talks about dreaming and how one can use it but can't give over to it entirely or one is lost. But even in the midst of the struggle to survive we have to have hope and joy- Gonzales calles joy "the organism telling itself that it is all right." And sometimes that is required to get through the waiting, to bide your time without giving in.
What's the deal with my kids and their fascination with their butts?
The conversation in the house this morning:
Ave(to Vi): You're a butt butt.
Vi: You're a booty.
Ave: You're a big butt.
Vi: You're a big squishy butt.
Ave: You're a big squishy, tooty butt.
Vi: Get off me.
Ave: Butt butt. Butthead.
(more hysterical laughter)
Ave(to Vi): Squirt it at my butt.
Ave(to me): Moooom!! Viola squirted water at the guinea pig and now she's squirting it at me!!
(screams. running feet.)
All this while I am ineffectually bellowing at them to knock it off as I'm trying to get in the shower.
I'd say something about how I'm glad it's Friday, but I'm sort of rethinking that. Heh.
So, I have this feeling alot. I wouldn't describe it as an emptiness because that sounds sad and lonely and it isn't a sad and lonely feeling at all. It's sort of vaccuous- like a space that wants to be filled. I feel it less when I am with the girls. And I don't notice it when I am with the horses, but mostly because I've trained myself to focus. It's not a huge thing, it's really a little thing and I've tried to figure out a way to describe it.
And I think I have. I've been reading this book on music and the brain, This is Your Brain on Music, and there is a chapter called Anticipation. Levitin(the author) runs through how we become accustomed to certain schemata, our brains recognize patterns, create frameworks. Levitin talks about something called 'gap fill' where when the melody of a piece of music makes a leap up or down the scale, the next note should turn it around again. We expect it to. This has something to do with our brains wanting to resolve things. He uses Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata as an example(you may not recognize the name, but you've likely heard it if you have seen Jurassic Park or been to a wedding or even seen a wedding on tv). Beethoven keeps us waiting for the resolution to the tonic such that at the point at which it resolves it relieves the listener- the music has fulfilled our brain's expectation: what we anticipated, happened.
I think it is a great example, not Pathetique, but the whole concept of anticipation and resolution. With music, sometimes it is so strong it can feel almost physical. This is how I feel, and when I am with the girls and in the moment or I am with the horses, or with a good friend or laughing, it is like Beethoven taking us down a fifth to land on a note a fifth above the tonic... almost there but not quite...
Today we were supposed to have our countertops installed, I was supposed to ride Foxy for the first time, work Apollo, fold a mountain of laundry and ...probably other things. The day got off to a great start with a fiasco over a sink that wouldn't fit into the cabinet. Now, this turns out not to be the case because AS I LIVE AND BREATHE the sink is now set in the cabinet. But of course, this morning I was suddenly faced with having to run around and replace the Blanco Silgranit sink that I ordered specially like 6 months ago. Sweet. Finally, after some foot stomping and wild gesticulating, they agreed to "make it work".
I'm not barbie, I can do math. The damn sink fit.
So, I turned a blind eye to the kitchen and the herd of workers tromping in and out and painted the girls fingernails and toenails. Mani/pedi day in the Y. household. Ended up that we only had two out of five countertops installed. So, no cooktop and no working sink until next weekend probably. Yay!
Remind me never to remodel anything ever again. EVER.
But anyway, went up to the barn this afternoon to see Apollo. His stall door was absolutely impossible to open so I had to go get the ranch management out there. Viola tagged along for the ride. She was all on board to ride Apollo. I said, "What will you do if he bucks or bolts?" She said, "Hang on tight!" That's my girl. But alas, Apollo was a bit too much today she she had to settle for hanging out with him and giving pats while he ate grass after his workout. We watched the red sun set over the hills. It was strange, feels like the end of summer but how can that be when it is already November? Vi and I wandered around saying 'hi' to all our horse friends and even a few people friends. We stopped and got sushi on the way home which was the perfect end to the day.
As I was driving back I looked up at the sky and tried hard to remember what it used to look like to me, when I first moved here. The sky here isn't quite like the one in Seattle. Tonight, Dean and I were sitting on the couch chatting and he said he couldn't remember anymore what the sky in Seattle looked like in summer. He hasn't been up during the summer in years and years now. It's weird how this place that seemed so difficult to get used to when I first arrived has really become home. And this is the only place my girls have known- and that's a weird thought to me, too, that no matter where they end up they might always think of this as 'home', like I think of Seattle. Somehow, I wonder now if we're ever going to go home.