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February 2012

New Sunshine Morning

Today, I got up at 7:30, which is just about par for the course, and headed up to Kroger for milk, juice, cereal, etc. It was pleasant, though the music is not. It's very sunny out, and not too cold.

But the boy whose kitchen job it was last night left too many things undone; worst of all, a colander half-filled with pasta, now partially dried out. 

He started jamming it down the garbage disposal about an hour ago, but even with the water running, he went too fast, and ended up creating a starch clog in the u joint. Which won't open, and we don't have a wrench quite large enough to fit all the way around it. He had to open the joint above it to drain the water and attempt to reach the clog in the joint beneath. But he still can't reach the source of the problem.

It is now 10 am. I haven't ground my beans for coffee or made my oatmeal. Yet I'm still in a fairly pleasant mood. And this is mainly because there is still sunshine pouring in the windows. 

When the sun is shining, I am a healthier, happier, and better person. I read recently that my new home is in one of the least sunny spots in the entire country. I am completely unsurprised by this fact. 

I've been feeling very unsettled for the past week to ten days. I felt like I was headed in a good or interesting direction for the year and now I feel like everything is too big to do and too far away to touch and that my time to reach out and grab something new has passed me by. 

When I try to express this, however, I receive platitudes and instructions. A few days ago, I even mentioned to a few people that one of the things I hate most is sentiment and platitudes and the main response I received could have come straight from a self-help book written by a greeting card company. 

I'm not asking for anything—except—I am asking not to be told if I do certain things or think a certain way, I'll get back to that direction I wanted to take. 

Recently, someone of a certain middle eastern extraction wrote he was unhappy that whenever a problem is presented or brought to awareness, western people have a tendency to automatically start applying a list of solutions to it. That just annoys the crap out of me, as well. You can't run everyone's life the way you run one of your crappy business seminars. Stop it. 

I'm in a pleasant mood, as I said, partly because I am in a fortunate place where I get to ignore people and their lists and maps and admonitions most of the time. And when I feel that my problem can be solved, if I feel that it can be, I'll look to my own wisdom, experiences, and resources to work it out. Right now, though, it gets to be what it is; an annoying period of time that affects the tenor of my day and has me feeling quiet and low. It's just that the sunshine helps me ride it out much better than bestseller philosophy. 

 


Sunday

This morning I cleaned two rooms, repaired my plant stands after a cat took them apart, watered all the plants, and started catching up on Grey's Anatomy while eating pepperoni and lemon Girl Scout cookies.

I could clean my bathroom some more. And I could wash my sheets. I have these really amazing sheets and can't afford more just like them, I mean, at least, I can't justify paying full price for another set. Once you have slept on such amazing sheets, the rest are all just no good by comparison. Anyway. I should wash them. 

Um, this wasn't meant to be about sheets. It's very sunny out today, but I can't grow anything in it, so I don't much feel like being in it. I am fully aware of how unbalanced that is. Maybe next winter I will feel like this space in which I exist is one I can embrace during hibernation. For now, I still mourn the world in which I had fused myself. 

So, that isn't what I wanted to talk about, either. I don't know, maybe it all is. 

Later on I will chop things and make spaghetti sauce. Chopping onions, peppers, and garlic is very satisfying; kind of meditative, yet productive, you know? As a treat for the boys, I will add sausage, and let it simmer for a long, long time. It will smell great in here. And since I'll open a bottle of wine for the sauce, I'll enjoy drinking the rest of it this evening while watching "stars" prance around in evening clothes.

Or else I'll just run a bath and simmer in bubbles for awhile, and enjoy my wine there. 

In the meantime, more Grey's Anatomy, and plenty of windows to wash on such a bright day. 

It's good to have a plan.

My Valentine Perspective

My dad used to give me a little box of candy every year on Valentine's Day, and he'd give my mom a large one. One year he gave me 6 red roses, and told me that my first dozen must come from a man who loves me. Well, that never happened, and he's gone now, but somehow it's a memory I truly cherish, because it was done with such complete love. I don't remember when the candy tradition ended, sometime around when my parents divorced, when I was 15. 

Don't get me wrong, I never asked for the dozen roses, or felt it was some sort of right! It was just somehow, well, Dad said it would happen, so I assumed it would. :-) Because I loved him completely, too, even though we ended up living so far apart, until he died two and a half years ago. 

My mom gave me a card every year, and of course I always made one for her. Sometimes we added little gifts. When I was 14, she gave me my stuffed lion, Jean-Serge. I still have him. She died when I was 24, otherwise I expect we'd have continued the tradition.

For a long time during marriage, Valentine's Day became this serendipitous thing for me. Once in awhile, there'd be some big ol' surprise, a great surprise. Most of the rest of the time, murmurings about commercialism. So, having so many kids and just wanting some fun in the middle of winter, I'd come up with little surprises for them each year, and we'd make some fun treat to eat. When they were little a couple of them would sneak a card onto my pillow, as well. It was very sweet. 

So that's what it came to mean to me; some small gesture of affection I received from my parents and then gave to my children. Now I am reflecting on this because this year it's just me and the three boys, all teenagers, nice boys, but not into hearts and flowers. It didn't matter that much until it was "suddenly" no longer relevant.

I'm not in a great hurry to become a grandparent, but it will be nice to someday have small people to share the fun parts of love. My mom died before she was able to do that with my children, but I hope to live a long time into the future. 


end of a week's reflection

I couldn't get this to all format right so I just gave up. FYI.

I miss this space. I've closed down my personal presence on the web to just a few spots, but I want this to still be one of them. So I did another review today, and also published months' worth of posts that had been saved as drafts when it was moved here from Vox.  Too bad the image files from the earliest posts and from so much of 2007 were lost, but that's what you get when you sloppily play web nomad.

 

 There are so many repeating patterns here; and not all of them good ones. Making the decision once again to work on being fully myself, with no one else's labels or expectations to live up to, well, maybe I'll break some of the patterns this year, after four years and one day of trying my best to just keep going for others while giving up on myself. So here's what I want to share before I get started on that.

 Excerpts from June, 2005; the month I turned 40:

It's summer.

 

 The solstice occurred around noon yesterday, so that makes today the first full day of summer. I need this summer to be a restful one. Last summer was enormously stressful and painful, and the past few months have just been tiresome.

I don't know if I get to take the summer off from stress, anxiety, or being inflicted upon by the drama of others, but I've decided to claim a few spaces of personal peace, just in case. One is my closet. Half of it is empty right now, and therefore full of possibilities. I could put any old thing I wanted in there, and it would just be mine, in my own space. I kind of need that.

Another is this bit right here. When it got to the point where even writing was stressful, I knew something was amiss. Since I am compelled by nature to continue writing no matter how I feel about it, then I gotta have a place to do it where I'm not even keeping my own score. No point, no plan, no goal at all, except to write something in it every single day.

So there.

Good evening

It was a good evening. We got Chinese food and went to the Long Branch promenade to eat it. Only, as there was a crazy bad storm earlier, the benches were too wet to sit on. So we sat in the car facing away from the water to eat--you can't really park there so you're facing the right direction. I learned how to operate my new phone, and then we walked up the promenade, which becomes a boardwalk after a short way, and kept going as far as you can go right now until construction bars the way. It's being transformed into an upscale condo-and-shopping HQ, but regular locals will always maintain a presence; walking, jogging, going out to the beach to fish.

There are bicycle patrol cops rolling past, and two new sports bars facing the water. We looked at the monuments to all the presidents who used to hang out there in the summer, and peeked into the hotel lounges. If we make this a weekly practice, maybe we'll actually go into one now and then. But mostly it's just good to be outside, inhaling the breeze, listening to the rhythm of the tide.

For want of a brain, the point was lost.

Last night, and the night before, I dreamed of having a sort of encounter with a strange man. I don't remember much about either dream, except that nothing much happened, just all that essence and feeling and intent, but if this is the start of Manweek? All I can say is, where have you been for the past 6 months? Why are you at least a full week ahead of what might be termed a reasonable schedule? And can you try to hang around, please? Everyone said that turning 40 is hormonally unpredictable. Sheesh.

Oh! I remembered the original point from an hour and two Lost Posts ago. It was that within the past year, every single human in the universe has become a wizened social commentator, all full of sarcasm and faux irony and junk, and even though I rise above all that, they have sort of sucked the material dry. And aren't you tired of looking for some news each morning, only to find it's all about Tom and Katie, or Blond Brad and whoever, or that Surprise! eyes chick who ran away from her dull, non-sex-having fiance? See? How wrong is it that we know this about him?

So. Manweek. Is it here to stay? (good lord, if I only knew then it would come back and stay for approximately 27 days of every 30.)

Hey, don't argue with Science.

40 really is the new 30. (the link has been lost, sorry.)

One thing the article mentions is how we act younger than our parents did at our age. In my case, that probably isn't true, at least with my mother. She was always youthful-acting, until a couple of years before she died, at 53. But she maybe looked older at 40 than I do, even though she was thought of as lovely and young-looking. Sadness and stress took their toll all her years after that, though she tried to always be light-hearted, loving, and fun. I want to believe my hardest years are behind me, instead. I've got a lot of living to do.

Fish weather

I do live nearly 8 miles from the beach now, or maybe 7 if I go that other way. And according to my non-native standards, I'm sadly about 1.5 miles west of what I'd call properly "at the shore." But summer rain is still the same here; if it rains while very warm out? It smells like fish. Ocean fish. I opened the windows this morning to get some fresh air after three days of really humid hot weather, during which the a/c was running, but that never feels fresh to me. It's supposed to rain off and on all week, so I was hoping the a/c wouldn't be needed. However, fish. I'd forgotten that happens since it feels like forever since last summer or any summer, for that matter.
It's really not unpleasant, even though you tend to only smell fish when they're dead. Let's say it smells like water in which fish have been swimming.

Honestly, having spent my first 35 years in the midwest, I still think it's pretty cool.

I coined a word just now.

Illiterati: People who frequent internet news forums, willing to offer an opinion on any and every subject no matter how little they understand the matter or how much they've actually read about it, and who post these opinions in one tremendously long, unbroken paragraph, generally filled with spelling and grammatical errors, many examples of poor and twisted logic, and incorrectly-cited or downright false statistics.

But yeah, sometimes I can't resist challenging them either. It just burns inside you now and then, doesn't it?

Tuning out

It's been quite a family sort of day. Up and out of the house fairly early for a donut treat, and a triple-crazy treat; iced decaf flavored milky coffee! Wild times, man. Then shopping for the little one's birthday (Darth Vadar voice-activated mask, electronic color change light saber, walkie talkies, kid binoculars, crash dummy smash-up car, and a little tool set for building a wooden birdhouse,) and some groceries, and we got two baby rosy barbs to round out the aquarium, which was in need of a little youth and color. This evening we drove up to Menlo Park Mall (28 miles north) to have dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in honor of the June birthdays.

Then we had to cruise through the Apple Store, and now we're back home but there are three boys in my bedroom, who, along with their dad, are searching for educational meaning in some Chinese movies, by watching the dvds in the matching Apple Powerbook, over there on the futon, and the dog is in here, and I'm so exhausted of noise and people that I have my ear buds plugged in but am not even listening to any music. I'm just sort of pretending to tune out my surroundings somehow, without having to use alternative noise replacement.

The situation probably requires some Stan Getz, but I'm holding off for now.

I won this dress from eBay today: (photo is from a year later)

Stripeddress

 

--with shipping it came to $9.85, so I'm happy about that. Only I think it needs me to weigh 5 pounds less in order to fit well, so I have to actually make some sort of effort regarding that issue, which I've been avoiding. I knew today would not be a healthful one for eating, though, so I plan to start being conscientious tomorrow. Also? Today took all the money in the world, people. Days like this don't come around often.

Okay, Chinese chick screams; I launch iTunes.