Saturday, November 07, 2009

Pulled In Many Directions

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Since my camera is still out of commission, I have turned to my photo archives. Fortunately, I have a lot of images stored away.

This is where I want to be. Yes, it would be nice to be at Morro Bay, watching the tide rise and fall, but what I actually seek is the quiet and peace of this image. Peace, and quiet in the mind... that is what I need. From our whirly swirl through Europe, to the trials and obstacles of going through escrow, and the very exhausting, frantic and labor intensive weeks of moving out of rental purgatory, followed by flu and other ailments... all of it has felt like a frenetic, fast paced, intense wild mouse and I am so ready to step off this roller coaster.

I feel like there is so much to do... probably because there is so much to do and I cannot seem to prioritize and manage it.

"It:" Unpacking, cleaning, playing and bonding with neglected children, celebrating Max's August 3rd birthday, planning Maria's 5th birthday, sewing, crafting, cooking, organizing, making something profound and possibly lucrative, reducing our material wealth junk by 25% and did I mention cleaning-unpacking-organizing?

It feels like, whatever I choose, I am missing out on something else, failing in some other area of my life and duties. I see the world moving on without me. People going places and doing things, while I hang back in a stupefied trance. Part of it is being 42 years old and trying to be a Super-Mom Suburban Wonder Woman, but having moved 8 times in the last 18 years my earnest attempts to be effective and good are utterly and regularly dismantled. Once again, when I want to be reaping the benefits of stability, to know where my square baking pan is, I am starting from scratch. I am trying to do too much in the midst of chaos, and it is very demoralizing.

I can see the happy outcome... that we have our own home and this is definitely a dream come true. I love the rock days when I can pause and delight in the pleasure of work that is play. Everyone has been sick, but everyone is healing, so there is more to be thankful for. I just cannot seem to calm my mind and figure out what to do first and what to do after that...

I cannot put away the DVDs until we strap the tall cabinet to the wall.
Why am I unpacking movies, when I should finish planting the new prepared flower beds?
Who needs flowers when the house and garage are filled to the ceiling with unpacked boxes?
The beds have to be filled before it rains, because it's all about the drainage and not letting water get into the foundation.
If I don't make plans for the holidays and celebrations, the days are going to slip by and catch me unprepared, and we will wind up with another season of postponement and deferment.
Did I answer that email, that phone call, that urgent request for volunteers?
Why aren't I organized? After all these years, you would think I could keep track of a stupid camera battery?!
Weight loss.
Three balanced meals a day.
Maria needs new shoes. Her winter shirts are too small.
The boys need haircuts. They want haircuts.
Cat litter.
Print pictures from vacation, so you can remember how wonderful it was.
Plant flowers.
Prune roses.
Send thank you cards.

Where do I begin?
I know it never really gets done... not all of it, not all at once. There is always something. But I really want to reach a point where I can feel some balance, some sense of accomplishment and peace of mind.

Did I hear you say "delegate?" Yes, I am doing that. I am getting children to pull their weight. And I have definitely lowered my expectations, reduced my personal goals, but believe me I should not lower them any more than this... even troglodytes would want to raise the bar from where I am standing.

I think I will start with kitty litter, then the day can only get better, right?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

All I Want For Christmas

Don't be jealous just because I have awesome rocks. Lots and lots of awesome rocks...

Oh man. Maybe I should be writing about my camera. My camera and the missing battery and charger. The battery and charger that I so carefully guarded and protected all month long, then lost. Lost! I am so sad and dejected. You should have seen the hot air balloon that nearly landed in our backyard. It was trying to rise, but over our yard it was still low enough for us to converse with the occupants in the basket, to look up into the balloon. Amazing. And us with Dorothy running around the yard too. I would show you how spectacular it was, but I could not find my camera battery! There are no pictures. This just slays me. (Shakes fist in helpless frustration.)

What was my point?
Oh yeah.

I am using the tiny camera. The camera that we have become so unappreciative of that we let Maria use it. The camera that is pretty good, but would probably be even better if it had occurred to me that the lens is covered in several layers of Maria fingerprints.

What was my point?
Oh yeah: These pictures are pretty lousy. Sorry about that.

I can almost pretend that it was an overcast afternoon, with a light marine layer and fog rolling in from the west. I could lie and say that I was trying a new lens-filter-setting for artistic effect. Dirty camera. Dirty camera and I probably never even bothered to check the settings. It was probably set for photographing butterflies in bright light or something... I'll have to check with Maria.

All I want for Christmas is a new battery and charger rocks. Beach cobble. Chocolate flagstone, granite stones. Big ones and fist-sized ones, flat ones, roly ones. When these beach cobbles were dropped off, Maria and I sat on the sidewalk and watched the funnel bucket open up and deliver. What a noise! What fun! What possibilities! What began as a practical matter... solving drainage issues, so we don't flood the front side of the house, has evolved in to a creative, constructive and dirty dream come true.

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, Smiley and I were deciding on spots to lay flagstone. Maria and I were handpicking larger stones to place in the garden bed outside the kitchen window. We carried rocks from the driveway through the gate and set them in the freshly graded bed. I could carry about four at a time and Maria would pick up no more than two at a time, and every time she found the ones she would carry she would exclaim with fresh interest: "This is my favorite one! Look at this beauty, mommy. It's my favorite."

Max joined us after a bit. His approach was pensive and deliberate. He carried two stones only and placed them methodically in a pleasing, thoughtful pattern.

The new bed will keep the soil from staying muddy next to the house and we can fill in the spaces with shade loving and low water-needing plants. The flagstone is giving us more access to and from the house. The rocks look pretty and the thyme that will fill the spaces between will look pretty too.

It occurred to me that if we did not want rocks, if we were pulling them out of the earth and trying to be rid of them, then it would seem like we had far too many. But we very quickly went through our supply of wanted rocks, and now I am itching to get some more. Yes, "itching." I think our afternoon in the dirt, playing with rocks, was the happiest yet, since we have moved in to the Bird House. I'm not sure even a good camera could have captured the satisfaction and pleasure I took in our labors.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

It's no use screaming at a time like this

"It's no use screaming at a time like this.
Nobody will hear you.
Help! Help!"-The Scarecrow

Our own Dorothy has grown up since the last time she appeared, but she's as cute as ever and probably even more delighted to be wearing ruby slippers than when she was one year old. I may have even improved on my last attempt at making a pattern and sewing a Dorothy dress.

Fortunately, Maria is easily pleased and did not seem too disappointed about our low key celebration. Alex slept feverishly all day. Geoff is almost as sick as Alex. Max is relapsing a bit. William and I are on the mend. But none of us were up for parties or even pumpkin carving. We missed the annual party at Holly and Rich's place. We missed trick or treating almost... Maria and I walked to 3 houses and came home with one dear piece of chocolate. We watched Disney's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and kind of raided the candy we had for passing out. Only three children came to our door and they came at once... this might not be one of those big draw kind of neighborhoods. At least no one actually screamed, but we are definitely feeling the need of a Glinda intervention... a little deus ex machina if you will.

On second thought... we aren't ready to surrender. We have brains and courage and plenty of heart.

It's November. I cannot believe it's November. If I look back and lament all the time it took to get to this place, I can feel overcome with sadness and frustration, but looking ahead, I feel eager and hopeful... so forward!