Just perfectly folded a fitted sheet, and felt compelled to yell, "She's a witch! Burn her! Burn her!" at myself. The cleaning lady can't come back from vacation soon enough..... Two extra (semi) full grown adults back from college add to the clutter and chaos exponentially. Toss in two weeks of solid grey skies, and I'm barely hanging on to my shreds of sanity.
Looking forward to a new year. And some champagne to send the old one on its merry way!
I might have actually won the Bad Jew Olympics this year. Forget presents. The kids are at school. Making latkes? Not a chance. (Fine, I have never actually made latkes.Do you know how much work that is?) This year I bought my potato latkes at Whole Foods and they were delish! But, not only could I not find the menorah (when I did I found four) until tonight, but when I did the poor candles looked like this after having been stuffed into a kitchen cabinet over the stove since last December.
The ones on the right are the ones I separated before taking the picture, (with a knife because they are that fused). I'm sure that when I put them in the cabinet I thought "Oh Hanukkah is in early Dec. next year. No use putting this with the Christmas decorations. I'll never find them there. And in several days of frantic search, I did not, in fact find them there. Instead, they were hiding in the kitchen.
And then, before I could put them into the menorah, I had to google "what night of Hanukkah is it?" So Bad Jew Olympic gold medal for me. (And I highly recommend the Whole Foods chopped liver.)
Walking back from town the other day, my phone buzzed at me a number of times, in quick succession. As both kids were home for Thanksgiving break, my immediate assumption was that something terrible had happened to one, the other, or both, and I nearly broke my neck tripping on a uneven bit of sidewalk while trying to extricate my phone from my jacket pocket. Both hands grabbing for a ringing phone means none to reach out in front of you when you fall. It was then I realized that I live my entire life just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am in a near constant state of worry.
An incomplete list of some of the recent things that have either kept me awake, or (my favorite!) woken me up at 4AM, and/or compelled me get out of bed to check on, would have to include; did I turn off the stove, did I turn off the toaster oven, did I turn off the dryer, do I smell smoke, is the tingly feeling in my pinky toe an early sign of MS, are my headphones really broken or am I losing my hearing in my right ear, is his snoring a sign of sleep apnea, did I lock the car, did I lock the back door, do I hear someone outside, are the kids both in bed, (better than when they were little and I also had to check if they were breathing), did I lose my keys, did I lose my phone, did I lose my wallet, should I have gone to law school?
With all the worrying I do, it's a wonder I get anything else done at all. I'm not worried about anything in particular, we're all healthy, we have a roof over our heads and plenty of food to eat, I'm just worried about everything. Planes crashing, elevators falling, car accidents, anytime the people I love aren't safely in my sight, I'm on heightened alert anticipating the worst. Most pointedly about things I can't control. If I'm not in charge, I can't be sure things won't go horribly awry.
The strange thing about my free floating anxiety, is that I have it in conjunction with unbridled optimism. So in addition to always feeling like sometime terrible is about to happen, I'm quite convinced that everything is going to be just fine. It's a rather confusing landscape in my head. The best way I can figure, it's a small picture/big picture dichotomy. While in the immediacy of any given moment I am concerned that something dreadful is about to occur, I have great faith that in the long run everything will work out for the best. I just wish I could believe that in the middle of the night when my mind is racing.
One of the wonderful things I have been given by social media is that back in the olden days (pre-facebook), I just assumed that this was just me and my weirdness. Now, nearly every day someone I know posts something about anxiety disorders, and what is it like to live with them. And I have begun to realize that not only is this not just me, but my anxiety level isn't even all that bad. So there, one less thing to worry about. It may not stop me from being anxious, but it does bring me comfort to know I'm not alone, so I hope this post brings comfort to anyone else in the same boat.
Oh, and the buzzing phone? Offers from Bed, Bath and Beyond, Lord & Taylor, and Michael Kors for holiday weekend savings......
This is the first Tuesday after Labor Day as far back as I can remember, where I just have no idea what I am going to do next. Before this year I had school, then work, then momming. It all changed this year with both the kids in college. While I realize that the momming isn't totally done (boy child can't find the package I shipped to him last week and I had to get the delivery info from UPS), it isn't the same ever present work that I have done for the last twenty years. So now what?
Honestly, I have no idea. I have a novel out with three agents (but haven't heard back from anyone). I'm working on my blog posts (please tell me you like them, I'm not above begging for approval). Most of all I'm trying to figure it out. I'd like to teach more yoga, but I have to get it together to find a space to teach in. I'd like to find interesting work, but the couple of places I've applied to have hired twenty-six year olds instead. I can do a lot of things very well, but I can't be twenty-six.
I went to a great yoga class this morning (thanks Samantha!!!) that helped ground me and made me breathe. Breathing is good. I guess for this transition time I need to be okay with just that. Breathing and sitting with it, and figuring it out as I go along. Any suggestions, please let me know. I'm floundering a bit.
Packing so soon? It is in my nature. I am an epic packer. It calms me. Seriously. Not like oh I only need to bring 6 pairs of shoes for a weekend in Boca epic - like everyone gets one carry on for a 3 week trip to Australia & California, covering 3 distinct climate zones, and everything has to fit, epic. I am great at editing down a trip wardrobe to only the essentials, and yet I am here to tell you that there is no way in hell to pack new sheets back into the plastic containers they came in once you've washed them (to get rid of the sizing so he won't be uncomfortable, that's why!). No damn way.
Did I mention that I'm packing up my baby because he's running away from home (OK, fine, going to college) at the end of the month? I have lists upon lists all over the house. I am driving him crazy and it's only August 3rd. I have already been told in no uncertain terms that he doesn't care what color underwear I buy him. Or flavor of mouthwash. And that no, he doesn't know what happened to his sneakers.
One day last week, I found myself uncharacteristically alone, for the whole day. The hubby was in meetings all day, and those were scheduled to stretch all the way through dinner. He works out of the house, so we see a lot of one another, which is great, but leads to very little alone time. The girl child is off in Spain, nannying for a Spanish family. So once I dropped the boy off at the 7:28 train for his internship in the city, I really barely spoke to another human, except for the check-out clerk at Whole Foods, and that was only to say "thanks." When I say uncharacteristically, I really mean it, we live in a small town, in a small house and we are all often here. Between family, friends and neighbors, I can't even begin to try to figure out when the last time I'd spent any extended time with just me.
In general that is a good thing. I'm pretty extroverted and curious, and so I love to hear what is going on with other people, what they think about the news of the day, what they are reading, what's their middle name? Pretty much all of it. I love debate and discussion and gossip. I love talking and I love listening. But it had been an emotional couple weeks with huge ups and downs (several literary agents asked to see pages of my novel, my bio-mom is dying of brain cancer, type of huge) and I was exhausted from all the excitement and sadness. I didn't know I needed a day alone. But the stars lined up so that was what I was going to get.
I got up in the morning and got the boy to the train, then walked the dog, got the laundry in, tidied up a bit, went to the grocery store, and was done.....Just done. Finished with everything I had to do on the list, and not wanting to add more. I wasn't about to start fiddling with my novel, after having just sent it out. I wasn't in the mood to tackle any of the deep cleaning, organizing jobs that I promise I will get to someday. I didn't even want to talk to any of my friends on Facebook (and those of you reading this on Facebook know exactly how exceedingly rare that is). I didn't even feel like going shopping (and now my lifelong friends are wondering if perhaps I was ill).
So I wrote sit in the hammock and read on the bottom of my to do list and grabbed the thriller that had been sitting on the coffee table waiting for me for two weeks. I got out of my world and in to the author's. Totally lost myself. And it was so much fun! By the time I climbed out of the hammock and out of the book I was refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever was coming my way.
This is my Independence Day message - once in a while declare independence from it all. Take the day off. Hang around with yourself. And enjoy. (Also today please leave the fireworks to the professionals, I know you guys, you aren't trustworthy with gunpowder.) Even if you don't think you need the time alone, (maybe especially if you think you don't need the time alone) you really do. Oh, and buy more books.
OK, so this Rachel Dolezal story today has me fascinated. This woman who claims to have some African-American heritage, is a Professor of African Studies and the President of the Spokane, WA NAACP. Her mother reports that her heritage is instead Czech, German and possibly some Native American. Looking at her pictures, it seems that it is possible that she is has some multi-racial background, and it's possible that she doesn't. (Because race is a false construct that we have plunked down upon ourselves, but that's a different blog post.) So who is "passing" here, Rachel or her mother or father? That part remains a mystery. (As is why her mother would go to the press, but again, a different blog post.) I'm not entirely sure why I'm reacting so strongly to this story, except that it hits me as an adopted child. A light-haired, green-eyed, Jewish, adopted child. The ethnic narrative in my head was always Jewish, plus some other stuff, probably, but I primarily identify as a Jewish person. In my search for my bio-heritage I found out that my biological mother was Jewish (phew), but as I suspected, my paternal heritage was not. I expected the usual American white ethnic muttdom, which to a certain extent I got, but I did not expect to find two early relatives on the Mayflower (Small and White, apt, no?) and ancestors that fought in the Revolution and on both sides of the Civil War. In some ways it was very disconcerting, I was a JAP not DAR. Not that any of it matters, but it was weird. It struck me as weird for they first time, when I took the boy child to visit Gettysburg College. I went into my usual "Daddy had ancestors that fought on both sides..." spiel, when I had to stop and say "Oh wait, so did I...." And for a moment it was like a brain hitting a brick wall. A different view of who I was. Which was very disconcerting. I knew who I was. A change in that at 45? Weird. Disconcerting, but ultimately not very meaningful because who we are is in what we do, not in who our ancestors were. So my inclination with this whole crazy story is to give this woman a break, if she feels black, identifies herself as black, let her be black. Maybe she is "passing." Maybe her parents are. Why does it matter? It isn't like there are any human without some African DNA, so if she feels hers more accurately represents who she truly is, why not let her claim it? No matter how much or little she has. I know that had I found myself to have no biological Jewish heritage, I would have felt bereft of my identity. (And that with religion rather than race there would have been a process by which I could have switched.) So why should I tell anyone else who they get to be?
I love the fine fragrance of lilacs and lily of the valley
Roses' olfactory charms famously abound.
But for me, there is no scent sweeter
Than the tang that wafts on the breeze over a salt marsh
On a soft and summery morning.
Been thinking a lot about forgiveness these days. "Tis the season for me, Mother's Day, my mom's birthday, my parents' anniversary, Father's Day, my dad's birthday, all pile up. These are all harder now, with both of them gone. No house to go to. No calls to make. So I've been thinking about forgiveness. Mostly for myself.
Other people are easy to forgive. My parents weren't perfect, but they tried. Most of their parenting mistakes were mistakes of love, holding too tight, pushing too hard for their point of view. Knowing they were right and wanting to protect me from my own stupidity. Those sorts of things are easy to forgive, all you need is time and distance.
Forgiving oneself is harder. Especially forgiving oneself of the casual cruelty of being a child. The number of times I rolled my eyes and gritted my teeth over family visits. (Because I didn't know how few I'd get.) The amount of energy I expended on stupid arguments, really truly stupid arguments. The pain I caused by my lack of attention. Remembering those moments is what keeps me up at night.
Or did. These days, I'm trying to go easier on myself. Trying to forgive myself for having been a child, with all the attendant childishness and selfishness. And most of the time I find, I can. I can allow myself the same breaks and understanding I give my parents and my kids.
Yes I know there is nothing more deadly dull than listening to someone tell you about the dream they had last night, but I think this one was really funny, so bear with me. Or don't - go read some important blog, mine is about silly nonsense.
Last night I dreamt I was with a bunch of friends at some sort of large party when suddenly we came upon a sign adverting upcoming events at the venue we were at. One of the upcoming events was Victoria Jackson Sings. I took a large Sharpie and wrote NO! across the whole thing, even though all my friends said there were cameras around and I would get in trouble. I felt very brave. Then suddenly (as dreams do) we were in chairs around a large circle, just hanging out and the friends were complimenting me on my bravery, and I said "Oh you guys are the best!" and then I heard, "No, love, you are." and turned around to see who was talking and it was KEITH FUCKING RICHARDS!!!!!! and I answered, (and I quote) "Gak." like Bill the Cat. Not a single word would come out. He just smiled, as he is probably used to this sort of reaction, as he is Keith Fucking Richards. And for the remainder of the dream, I continued to only be able to make sounds, "gak, splurge, bah" and the like. Christie was seated directly to his right, and could only look at me and shake her head. I was simultaneously happy Keith thought I was cool and sad I could not tell him so. The end.
OK, so the latest wrinkle in the Brian Williams made up shit about being shot at in war zones "scandal" is that while expressing outrage that anyone could do such a thing, it was brought to Bill O'Reilly's attention that he's done the same thing. (Iraq Falklands, potato, potato) Spoiler alert - Bill was not pleased. But the real spoiler alert here is - people lie.
People lie all the time. About things big and small. Usually to put themselves in a better or at least a more interesting light. Sometimes to make other people feel better. Does it matter if the giant guy at the coffee shop doesn't really give Betty in accounting a free coffee once a week because he thinks she's cute? Does it matter if the guy who backed down from a confrontation with David at the bar when no one else was around to see it wasn't really a Marine? Does it matter if Jan doesn't really like your new hairdo? No, no, and no. And it doesn't matter to me that famous people make self-aggrandizing stuff up either. Now if they are making stuff up and saying it is actual news, that's another matter, but making up stuff about their lives? Meh - I don't care.
What I do care very much about though is that these stories stay at the top of my feed, and at the top of everyone's mind, because my novel is all about the truths and lie we tell others and ourselves, and I want people to stay interested. And that, my friends, is no lie.