Calamity Jennye

Sunday, July 31, 2011

How neat is that?

Today I went on my first hike since the ankle incident. It actually felt kind of good, not to be in nature exactly but just to have the ability back to go where I want to go when I want to go there.
My friend and I took our kids to their favorite swimming hole. I feel this hike was as successful as most of our hikes in that the water was running really high so when we got to the swimming spot the kids were a bit too scared to actually swim, everyone was tired after a long weekend so there was a meltdown about who got to wear what dress home, then there was another major meltdown on the trail where we actually thought my friends daughter was going to jump off the cliff right at the spot of one of the strongest waterfalls. After that crisis was averted she spent the rest of hike back to the car raving at a decibel just below the sound barrier about how everyone was following her, talking to her, looking at her, being a way only a 4 year old can.
Needless to say we had so much fun we thought we should just turn around and try the hike again :) I mean why wait an extra second to experience pure joy like this?
So it was such a bust that it didn't seem like there was anything that could possibly happen to redeem the experience at all. Everyone was even still crying in the car on the way home.

We passed a cute little deer sauntering down the road...I slowed way down rolled down the windows and said "Well look at that nature, how neat is that?"
The four year old, who was the one I least expected caught my cue and said: "neature! How neat is that?...pretty neat."
And the entire car broke out in gales of laughter. It was just what we all needed and did in fact redeem the trip.

So if you have no idea what I'm talking about you have to take a look at this video...this guy is frickin' hilarious, I mean, at least hilarious enough that every member of the family can enjoy it. Again, and again, and again, and again...

This was not the kind of trip where you want photographic the video will have to suffice for the outfit of the apologies!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mirror, mirror

Today I paddled on a Dragonboat team.
Dragonboat is one of the big festivals here in Grand Marais. Last year I got to watch a little, when I was able to get away from my shift at work. This year I walked my friend over to the team's practice section and got drafted to be the team drummer.
I followed the team over to the boat and then I had to climb up on the tiny little chair, suspended backwards from a platform at the very front of the boat.
My face betrayed my sense that this seemed like a very bad idea. But there I was and there was not a lot of choice with a whole team seated in front of me and no way off the boat.
Our practice session yesterday went pretty well. The team started to get the hang of it, got into sync and started to make some progress. Then we had our first race today, and everything went to hell...
No one could seem to paddle in sync, there was no rhythm, I tried to focus on getting everyone to follow me, then I gave up and tried to get myself to follow them. Nothing was working. We were a mess.
I realized my worst fear...I am the least qualified person these days to pull a team together. I know nothing about what everyone in the boat is doing and I am no longer qualified to be a good leader.
So then we had a long break between races, a long break turned even longer by a really big thunderstorm moving through like a freight train. And in that break one of our team members went out and found out what we didn't know, what we needed to know to be a better team.
We moved people around, we practiced our moves, we came up with some great team cheers, figured out the word that would that would best motivate us all. I think everyone felt ready for a second chance.
As we got to the starting line we paddled slowly and sang row, row, row your boat. The juxtaposition felt perfect for our team. We were the only team out who didn't take themselves seriously and it felt great to get in the lineup singing a happy song and having a great time.
Then we paddled, and it was a brave new world. Everyone was in sync, the boat swooped forward just like it was supposed to. We shaved 7 seconds off our first time and it felt great.
One of the team members came up to me after the race and said "it was inspiring to watch your face." My only response was that I was simply reflecting what they were all working so hard to achieve out there on the water. It felt great to be a reflection of their teamwork and passion for something we had all built together.
It makes me sad and a little bit worried at the same time to feel like I'm no longer capable of building things on my own...but maybe it's just more of a break. Maybe I've spent so many years building things on my own that it's okay to lay low for a little bit.
Maybe it's okay to be a reflection of what's around me. To work really hard to channel the good, to support it, nurture it, and reflect it back to the world. Maybe that's how I build the good back up in me.
Maybe goodness and joy are like energy, you can really only have so much in yourself and when your savings account is spent you have to spend a little time building it back up. Focusing on that goodness and joy in others, reflecting it back to the world in every space where you find it seems like the best way I can think of to build my own energy back up.
So maybe I'm not a terrible leader, maybe I'm just what our team needed and in time I'll get back to being the leader I used to know so well within myself. In the meantime I'll relearn who I am when I'm not leading; when I'm participating, focusing on others and feeding the collective joy.

Outfit of the Day

Here's Esme showing off her Dragonboat tattoos
and her 'Do it for the dragon' sticker!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A very noble pursuit (on more than one level)

Me: Esme, what do you want to be When you grow up?

Esme: A, a doctor!

Me: A doctor? really???

Esme: Yeah, a doctor....a doctor who also makes gowns

Me: Gowns?

Esme: Yeah gowns, for girls. And boys. You know, gowns with pants.

Me: Huh, gowns with pants...sounds creative.  So what kind of doctor would you be?

Esme: The kind that fixes people, when they don't feel good, or their leg falls off, or they stop too fast on the swing and their feet break off. I will put them back on.
(apparently it's a very rough daycare we send her to)

Me: So you want to fix people who are broken?

Esme: Yes. I want to put them back together when they break apart.
and then give them a gown.

Esme knows this story is about her and she would like to say hi:
2afd3rewfrjkgjitkjvtjlod.gejuorthuidfhjugfkhf     esme
(see, already she writes like a doctor, totally illegibly :)  )

Outfit of the Day

A very busy little girl

Monday, July 25, 2011

Selfish Sufficiency

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about selfishness and self sufficiency. I think there are a lot of ways that these two things are completely different but I think there is an area of overlap as well.
You know when you make concentric circles in the way that they overlap with an oval shape in the middle. There's always some way that these circles remind me of butterflies.
Anyway, I think the overlap between selfish and self sufficient is sort of big like those concentric circles.
It's not a line you can step over and go "oops...I didn't mean to do that, I'll just hop back over to the other side".
Instead I think there is a wasteland. You step over and say "hmm...this seems a bit different, it seems so similar to where I was before. I can see the line, my boundary, over there. But something seems different in this space, there's all these nice people here with me."
And then you spend some time wandering around. Mostly in circles because that's what the lines encourage you to do inside a circle...then you reach your boundary, turn around and realize..."Hmm, that closest boundary over there is a different color. What is this place where I've been spending all my time?"

Meanwhile your friends are screaming "Selfishness!! You've been spending all your time at the entrance of the circle to selfishness (bitch)!" That last part is hopefully under their breath.

I feel like I'm in that circle danger zone...There have been so many times lately when I have been unable to be self sufficient, times when I have been so far beyond grateful for the help of my friends and family. But I'm beginning to feel like it's gone too far. I'm beginning to feel myself wandering.

I want to get back to self sufficiency, some healthy form of communal support. I really think community needs support, we all need each other to truly thrive. But I don't know right this minute how to find a healthy balance. I feel like my need for help has become a need to accept help too easily. And while the wasteland amongst those circles seems vast the lines between them is so fine...

So my resolution for right now? To say "no" more often and pay more attention to everyone around me. Mostly to how I can be there for those around me. To write more thank you's, to take some meals to people, to...I don't know, really keep my eyes open for things that are not about me.

I just have to end these positive, happy resolutions with a story that underscores my life:
I've been thinking about this all day, the selfishness issue (so yes, I've been thinking about me all day). How to be less selfish, ways I can start turning down help. Then tonight I went to my mother-in-laws for dinner and my car ran out of gas in her driveway 7 miles from town. The details are too much to tell but the first chance we really had to get gas was at the end of dinner just as Esme had a full on melt down. My M-I-L's partner graciously said, I will go get you need to get her home. I sat there once again feeling helpless. Knowing I had to accept her help but feeling this should have been the perfect opportunity to assert my self-sufficiency.
Just one more Calamity...I'm beginning to worry I may have to change my blog title...

Outfit of the Day

I'm just hoping Esme doesn't want to become a swimsuit designer.
As you can see she was very proud of this look.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

a little ketchup

First and foremost I offer my deepest apologies for falling off the face of the earth.
Esme and I went to the cities for a week and it was really hard in ways I didn't expect.
One of those ways was that I could not bring myself to blog on someone else's computer. I didn't take my laptop because it's old and clunky, has to be plugged in when you use it, and we had to take the shuttle to get to Mpls from Duluth so it just didn't seem worth trying to lug it on.
Normally  I have no problem just hopping on my in-laws home computer at the end of the day when everyone is in bed, but this trip it was either impossible to find a time someone else wasn't on the computer or impossible to find the motivation at just the right moment.

So in any case, I was a bit like Skippyjon Jones in the new book we've been reading...Lost in Spice.

We had a really great time in the cities. Went to a couple different pools, Esme had a great time on the big girl slides (at the pool) and was so proud of herself for going down the ones she wasn't ready for last summer.We had a couple great trips to The Mall of America, rode some rides, visited legoland, met up with some marvelous friends we don't see nearly often enough. I got to celebrate my sister-in-laws 30th birthday with dinner out and karaoke at the VFW (I mean really does it get any better than that?).
So it was an action packed awesome trip.
We even got to go to the two hour long Aquatennial Parade in Minneapolis with tons of princesses, Esme dubbed it "a really long parade" about 15 minutes in and we had a good laugh.
In the midst of it all I got my car situation mostly wrapped up with the news that my car is totaled and I will have to buy a new one (ick).
By the end of the week I am walking 90% normally on my foot, Esme and I even went for a walk into town and back this evening after I got her stroller all set up and back in working order.

So I guess this is the catch-up blog where I get myself ready to go back to sharing things. Llike, you know, why this last week was so hard. I think I have another day of processing before I know exactly what to say about that. I feel like it was something of a milestone week though. As we arrived back in Grand Marais I had a feeling that things are starting new this time. The bad stuff feels behind (I know there are plenty of challenges ahead) but I think I made a resolution this week to stop feeling so helpless about things.

It really feels like so many things lately  have just happened to me without me being able to control them at all, pretty hard if you're a strategist and controller like me. But I'm done with that. This IS my life, I've been blessed by so much help, care and aid of late. But I have to move forward. I need to be whole and I think that starts by getting back on my own two feet (literally and metaphorically).

So that's where we're headed.
See you tomorrow!

Outfit of the Day

Esme wanted to show everyone her new Tinkerbell pajamas
But she asked that the picture go especially to Alyssa:
"because she likes Tinkerbell"
(so here you go Alyssa, tonight we're sending you a little magic!)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Outfit of the Day

Looking at old pictures tonight I realized we'd missed a whole category of fashion:
The bubble crown. Where would we be without it?

How's this for a wimp?

So, the thing about being an that it sucks. This is a universal truth.
I mean sure we get alcohol, and sex (I mean I've heard some adults do), we can drive cars (although I'm not so crazy about that one lately), and stay up late. But we also get bills, taxes, responsibilities. Why did I ever want to grow up so fast anyway?

Can you tell I've spent the whole day doing every grown up thing I've put off for weeks on end? Well I did. I've been very adult and responsible all day. And the result? A strange mix of relief, pride, frustration, and exhaustion.

I've talked with county representatives (about child support and my driving ticket) worked on paperwork for a lawyer, sorted through multiple, multiple stacks of paper, got everything ready to finally file my 2010 taxes (I'm assuming at this point my husband is not going to file them, best to move on myself), Found out the insurance company decided my car is a total loss and learned my options for keeping the car or walking away from it, had to arrange alternate transportation for our trip to the cities this coming week (you know, since I don't have a car).

Are you as tired as I am? It was a full day!
But...most of my counters at home are now clean. I think I finally found every piece of paperwork that's gone missing in my life, except one (anyone seen that extended warranty for my car?). And it feels good!

I've been thinking about all of this doing, in the context of my foot. When I went to get my boot off my doctor called me a wimp. Not something I've been called very often in my life. "I just think you've been overly cautious he told me, but the time for being overly cautious is over" he said. "You're one job now", he told me as he put on my air cast, "is to walk without this thing as soon as possible."

Well, the next night I took the air cast off to get up on the acupuncture table and as I took my first step with nothing on my foot I had the complete opposite experience from the day before. There was no fear, no concern, and amazingly no pain. Just as I suspected...that stupid air cast was doing nothing but being inconvenient (it's a total lie when they tell you it should fit in almost any shoe...I own most shoes, just ask anyone will tell you, and I owned approximately two pair that the cast sort of fit in.)

It felt so good to walk out of acupuncture that night with no cast. Just the way it felt to get all these grown up things done today.

Several times over the last two days, while I've been limping along wearing two normal shoes I have thought, how will people know why I'm walking so funny if they can't see anything wrong with my foot? I feel the same way about life right now. How will people know why I can't seem to accomplish all these grown up things in a regular time frame if my handicap is not obvious. But I think I found the answer. Ignore the handicap.

It's always painful to do adult things. As I told a friend earlier tonight "there was never a way this wasn't going to be painful." That's adulthood, inconvenient and sometimes painful. But if I face it, get it over with, sort the piles. Then, well, then maybe I can move on to the fun you know, alcohol, and more Grey's Anatomy!
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Do they make air casts for a life?

So…big excitement, I got the boot off today!

I have to say I honestly sat there waiting for the doctor with completely equal parts excitement and terror. This boot and I have come so far together. As much as I am really aware of how cumbersome and inconvenient the boot is, it’s also given me a lot of great support.

I mean, really, I’ve learned to walk again thanks to that stupid boot. I feel pretty confident one of the little girls can’t re-break my foot during their couch-arm walking escapades, as long as that boot is there.
So, as I saw the doctor slide over toward the shelf of air casts after looking at the bone growing in the previous gap on my x-rays, there was some part of me that wanted to stop him. I never in a million years would have expected this but, doctor’s bills and amazing inconvenience aside I think this break couldn’t have come at a better time.

For 6 weeks I’ve had something else to focus on. I’ve had something practical and visible holding me back. I’ve had to focus on re-learning a skill that is so basic. No one has to ask why I’m occasionally a mess; well, just look at that huge thing on her foot, who wouldn’t be?

And now…as he puts on my foot this newer, sleeker, thing I’ve been striving for I’m not sure I’m ready. You know maybe I should just walk out in my boot and only wear the air cast at night in bed, or when I’m sitting on my couch? But no…there it is. And now, in moments, I’m going to have to walk out of here.

W-A-L-K out of here, with only these tiny pieces of plastic on either side of my foot…how can this be safe? Surely my bone will snap right off if it’s left out there all unprotected.

So the doctor left, all sunshine and encouragement, just up and left. At first I thought for sure he should have stayed to make sure I could still walk. But as I stood there contemplating my first step I realized it was probably better to fall on my face, or ass, or whatever I was about to fall on, alone.

So I stepped…and I stepped again, all the way out to reception, all the way out to my car. And I made it over to my friend’s house for dinner and I stepped all the way up their stairs. Then I sat down ‘cause my foot was bright purple. But I made it!

I walked. And just like the x rays showed, it’s true. I let my bone rest, and heal for 6 weeks and it grew back. I protected it, I was patient, I took it slower than I’ve ever taken anything in my life. And I think it’s paying off. It must be paying off because my doctor put me in the wimp category today and told me I don’t have to be so over-cautious.

Maybe I’m an idiot for not seeing this coming but there is of course a lesson here.

I’ve not gone totally crazy. Esme tried to sit on my foot tonight for a horsey ride and Alyssa and I nearly knocked the house down simultaneously screaming “wait, wait, wait!” I’m still not ready for everything all at once.
Just a little at a time. And I think that’s where I’m at with life as well.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Outfit of the Day (a special installment for an old friend Bruce)

I know this picture is huge...but Esme's been really obsessed with tying her own shoes lately.
She's been wearing her "twinkle toes" shoes practically every day.
I thought you should all see the intricate knots she calls "tying"
She is so proud!
I should mention she insists on lacing them up herself as well.
Pair the above with these pigtails...
I think my toddler is really turning into the "big girl" she thinks she is.

Monday, July 11, 2011

With winners like these who needs losers?

I can’t believe I forgot to share one of the funniest things from the whole Friday debacle…
I’ve been getting these funny little alerts on my phone lately, I must have inadvertently downloaded some mutant spawn program and occasionally these little red stars appear, up in my notification bar.

“Your droid has been chosen for a $1,000 gift certificate”, “Your phone is too slow, click here to fix the problem”, “Meet other singles in your area…we’ll help you get started” That one I figure is just proof of how bad the cell reception is up here. If my phone thinks it can help me find a man it clearly has not been to “my area” (I don’t mean that to sound naughty, I really mean my area as in the area where I live).

Anyway, Friday had to take the cake. I just got off the phone with my insurance company where I had recounted for the umpteenth time the version of events as I best remembered them. As I went to hang up my phone I noticed one of the red stars had appeared. I dragged the bar down to see what my phone’s little mutant had to contribute to the day’s events…

“You Are Today’s Winner!”

My laughter could be heard in the next county…perhaps my phone could help me meet singles in my area after all, we'll just expand the area!

Outfit of the Day

Esme has just become a buttoning professional
I wish you could see that the two buttons on this sweater are one button off...
oh well!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Motorcycle

(I apologize to those of you I should have called and told this story in person. I can't do it...)

In a completely unexpected turn of events I have managed to find myself in another situation that has left me totally without words.
It is truly rare that I am left completely baffled and speechless. But ever since Friday afternoon at about 3:30 all I can do is replay one event in my mind, marvel at the fact that yet again a completely horrific situation has turned out only mildly horrific, and ask myself over and over and over what I possibly could have done to avoid this.
Have I mentioned that is a mantra I’m getting really tired of?

I was having a great day Friday…well okay maybe it started out not so great. I stayed in bed until 10:30 Friday morning a bit afraid to face the text messages I had sent Thursday night. That is a story for a different time. But the point is I convinced myself to sleep in beyond all reason and not face reality simply because I could. This sleeping in meant that the work I had meant to do Friday AM I did not get to until Friday at noon.
I got to my friends office at their house at noon and had a really productive two and half hours of work. I got everything done that we’ve been trying to accomplish for months and actually couldn’t have felt better about myself, the errands I had left to run, I had dinner plans, the sun was shining. Things were really great.
This work I was doing was for my best friends and they were out of town for the day. Here at my apartment I only have a small stall shower and it’s a little tricky to get in and out of with my foot situation. I actually can’t decide if it’s more or less tricky now that I’m off of crutches but in any case I decided to take advantage of their empty house and great bathtub.

By the time I left the house I was clean, productive and had a clear agenda ahead of me. I drove up their driveway and just as I got to the top my phone rang. I could see it was someone I had called about a business thing and knew I would need to write down an address. I stopped at the top of the driveway, put my car in park (I know this is so not me) and took the call. I honestly have to say as I slid the car into park I had the conscious thought “this is so responsible”.
I was just hanging up the call when someone who wanted to come down my friend’s driveway turned off the highway and pulled up next to me. There are actually two driveways that converge at the top and you can go down theirs or her parents. As he pulled in I thought this person must be going down to Layne and Rolf’s. But then as he sat there for a few seconds smiling at me I realized…oh he’s going to Jon and Alyssa’s. I have to get out of his way before he can go any further down the driveway.
I started to pull out onto the highway to let him by and before I knew it, before I could process anything there was a loud noise and a man on a motorcycle skidding across the highway.


I was in complete shock.  I pulled my car over to the shoulder, hopped out, turned to the man in the truck and said “Oh my God…I hit that man? What do I do?”
I couldn’t find my phone, I couldn’t think straight. By the time I found my phone someone else had called 911. By the time I made it across the road and up to where the motorcycle was laying the man was up.
He came towards me and asked if I was ok (can you believe that?) I said you shouldn’t be standing up. He said it was as smart as he thought to always wear protective gear…I said thank God you do. He then walked over to me and shook my hand. As he stuck out his hand I started to panic, what do you say to the man you just nearly killed? “So nice to meet you in these unfortunate circumstances” were the exact words that came out of my mouth. Did my parents train me well or what?

I stood there in shock as my friend’s brother pulled up, on his way home, got out of his car and came over to be the moral support I needed so desperately right then. The thing I do love about this small town is that one of the local EMT’s was on his way by and even though he was on vacation, stopped and checked the man out just to make sure he was okay before the ambulance arrived.

I walked over to my car to get my id and insurance info and as I walked back I had the horrible realization that maybe my parents hadn’t trained me as well as I thought. You know how all of your childhood your mom beat it into you that you better always wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident?  Well….I had just bathed and as I got out of the bath I realized I hadn’t brought any clean underwear. No big deal I thought, this dress often looks better without underwear anyway. So as I’m walking over to give my statement to the sheriff I realize I just had that accident and it’s not just that my underwear isn’t clean. “I’M NOT WEARING ANY UNDERWEAR!”
I think it shows the state of near shock I was in that I couldn’t even laugh. Not until about seven that night when I told everyone I was having dinner with. We all know I’m an oversharer.

That night at the same dinner my friends dad said to me: "So, how are you feeling?"
 "Done" I said.
"Yes done, you know, like I cannot handle one more bad thing. Nothing, This is it, I'm done."
"Oh, so you're done."
"Yes, done!"

The amazing end to this story is that the man I hit. Wes, called me today to make sure I was okay. I had intended to call him yesterday to make sure he was okay (he ended up going to the hospital, even though he was walking and felt fine) but I chickened out. I’ve spent two days replaying the horrible thing over and over again. Cringing as I fall asleep. Randomly saying under my breath “holy shit I hit a motorcycle”. And I got scared, scared that if I called him he wouldn’t be the guy that shook my hand on the side of the road, scared that he’d say all the things I feared most, “you idiot, what were you thinking, how could you have done this?”
I knew I couldn’t handle it. In all these hours, all these repetitions I can only see one way this could have worked differently and I still can’t figure out how I could have made that happen. It’s been horrible. But yet again, horrible in the best way possible. No one died, my car is drivable, as long as I don’t need headlights, I was right where I needed to be to have family and friends take care of me and tell me they don’t think I’ve totally gone off the deep edge, and then today the one person who has every right to hate me, completely and utterly, calls to say “I don’t think this was your fault.”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Sad Little Puppy

Last week I felt like I was really turning the corner about these Daddy days. I barely missed Esme at all. I honestly thought…I can do this. It’s great to have a break, maybe our relationship will be healthier because we get this time apart. I don’t need to feel devastated every week. I’m going to be fine.
And then…of course the roller coaster has to come back down from that great view at the top. And the scream on the way back down was Esme’s good night call tonight.
She almost never calls me to say goodnight.
Somehow when we moved out I started this thing where Esme called her dad every night to say good night. It just happened and it became tradition.
Esme has called me a few times on her daddy nights. It always makes me so excited to hear her voice. I keep my phone right next to me religiously when she isn’t with me. There was one occasion where I missed a call from her and they did not answer when I called back. I was devastated for weeks that I had not been there for her.
All of this is to say that Esme called tonight. It was actually the most devastating call of all. For some reason Esme has told me a few times this week that soon she is not going to have daddy nights anymore. I’ve tried to pry a little bit more as to what she means, it’s been impossible to get her to explain. She just tells me that they are going to end soon and she is only going to have mommy nights.
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about these statements because they go hand in hand with the fact that she has come home from almost every visit with her dad lately having been sick while she is there. She either gets diarrhea or throws up and she almost always gets a fever.
So tonight for the first time she called me in tears. “I miss you so much mommy.” The whole conversation was her crying and telling me how much she missed me. When will it be a mommy day? When will it be Saturday? Then in the middle there was a section where she said “I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really  (and I kid you not there must have been 20 reallys, I honestly lost count) love you”
And there was nothing I could do. Every fiber of my being wants to rush up to her dad’s house, scoop her up and rock her in my arms, which is really exacerbated by the fact that I was already feeling that way tonight for the first time in quite a while. But I can’t do it. There is nothing I can do.
I asked Esme a couple times if there was anything either of us could do to make her feel better. She didn’t have an answer. I didn’t expect her to but I was hoping maybe…maybe there was something she could say that would help her dad to help her. And at the same time I was honestly holding my breath that she wouldn’t say “please come get me” then I think my heart truly would have broken.

Outfit of the Day

I've gotten a bit loose with my outfit of the day feature lately (I figure I could use a little "loose" in some part of my life). Today's outfit is for my kitchen:

Tons of thanks to one of my oldest, best friends Jess
I think I'll use this beautiful Fiestaware Bowl as our new inspiration to eat more fruit.
A food group my husband hated!

Also many thanks to (Aunt) Shari who sent a bag of kitchen utensils here for me!
Because of you tonight's egg was made with a spatula.
Way to encourage my healthy eating habits.
Thanks a ton ladies! It's great to have these things to spruce up my (sort of sad) little kitchen. I mean...the whale cutting board can't do it all :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Outward and visible signs

The tourist season just kicked into full gear here in Grand Marais. I struggle every now and then to fully see the draw to a place that is this cold year round. But people come, in droves, and the fourth of July is the first big town celebration. There are three parades (trust me it's a loose description) every summer and two nights where there are fireworks.
Last summer I went to all these festivities imagining how much more fun they would be this year. When my husband had arrived, when we were a family. Then it would be so great to be in this town.

I grew up in a fairly small town (nowhere near the size of Grand Marais, but small.) My hometown also had two summer festivals involving fireworks and in Oregon fireworks are legal and families gather on the street to set them off together and enjoy the holiday.  I have many memories that involve fireworks. Whether it was being gathered with family and friends on a curb while someone ran back and forth lighting the small time pyrotechnics, or being gathered in the middle school field with the whole town waiting for the big show.
I also have a few memories, mostly from high school,  one where I was walking home alone one fourth of July, watching all these families gathered, looking happy and together, enjoying the fireworks and each other. And a few memories where instead of being in that field alone, or tagged onto someone else’s family I just stayed home and watched the fireworks from our living room window.

Last year, as I sat in the living room of the tiny apartment Esme and I lived in, watching the fireworks, alone, it brought back a bunch of those memories. Only this time I thought of what I was building for my family and how much better this year would be. When we were all together, and all the loneliness would be worth it because finally I wouldn’t be watching fireworks alone, through a window.

Well I hate to say it but fireworks have always been very symbolic for me. They’ve always been something families do together. A very visible, blowing up loudly and brightly in the sky kind of visible, symbol of all that families are supposed to do together.

And I spent so many years waiting to have a family so that I could sit on a blanket with people who were mine and watch those fireworks loudly proclaim to everyone that I was not alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a beautiful amazing daughter and when she’s older we will huddle together on a blanket freezing our asses off and enjoying the show.

But tonight, here I sit, in my living room, and before I know it there are the fireworks. Another year, where they are there outside my window, reminding me loudly that I still don’t have it. That somewhere along the way I made the wrong choice and no amount of sacrifice or strategic planning could redeem it.

I may just have to decide that at home, under a blanket cozy on my couch is really the best way to watch fireworks, maybe I’ll just always have to make sure my living room window has a decent view of the night sky.

Outfit of the Day

Just chillin' on the fourth

Another bible school lesson

Esme:  Mama, did you know Jesus lives way up in the sky?
Me:  Like up in heaven?
Esme: Yeah
Me: Yes, yes I did.
Esme: With Mary and God…did you know that?
Me: Do you know where else Jesus lives?
Esme: Where?
Me: In your heart.
Esme: What? (paired with a  look of utter disbelief) He does not live in my heart…with God…and Mary?
Me: Well, not with Mary.
Esme: Where does Mary live?
Me: Well…Mary doesn’t live…she’s dead.
Esme: Mary? Jesus’ mom? She’s not dead.
Me: Yes, honey, she died a long time ago.
Esme: No she didn’t. She lives at bible school….you just haven’t met her yet.

Seems bible school could be a bit confusing.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The evil red eyed step cousin

If jealousy is the green eyed monster then I feel like anger must be a red eyed demon. Some sort of cousin on the emotional spectrum.
Throughout this nightmare process I’ve really not had more than a momentary hesitation worth of anger. I’m not an angry person, you can ask anyone who knows me…or even better yet ask the people who have worked for me. They’ll tell you it takes A LOT to make me angry and even then my reaction is not violent, or vicious. It’s measured, careful, and calm.
Well, this weekend I experienced my first feelings of anger toward my husband. And I have to say the whole situation was very interesting…
I know I mentioned that I had some friends visit on Friday I had not seen them since January and they had a number of thoughtful, concerned questions. The kind, well even some of the exact ones most of you have had over the last few months. A few months ago I found I couldn’t handle more than one of these conversations in a two day span and I had to really carefully plan how and when I told people what was going on.
Immediately after these friends left on Friday someone else dropped by bearing a few new stories about my husband’s recent exploits, immediately after that I got a text that Esme was running a 102 degree fever and on her third nap of the day while she was with her dad.
I went into acupuncture the next day full of great stories about my week, being off of crutches, being able to really clean my house before my friends came over; It had been a good week.  One of the first procedures of acupuncture is when she checks my pulses.  Pretty quickly she asked, is there any chance you’re emotionally depleted?
The events of the day before came rushing back to me….Funny you should ask I say. By early evening yesterday I could barely move off the couch, I was completely exhausted. It was all emotional.
She put my needles in, left the room, and as I lay there. In the moments where I usually feel calm and peace begin to envelope me. This day, instead I found my mind racing. First it raced over everything that had done me in the day before, then before I even realized it the news someone had delivered that morning came rushing at me like a genie out of a bottle.
See, in case I haven’t mentioned it one or two hundred times before now, this town is small…so small that my husband cannot blow his nose without someone calling me thirty seconds later to tell me about it. Just that morning someone shared with me the great news that last week a woman called the local radio station and devoted “Love Me Tender” by Elvis to my husband.
As soon as this genie came oozing out (well, I may have to say in this case it felt a little more like the scene with Jafar in the bottle) it felt like a little explosion. I couldn’t stop my mind from racing. The main thought that kept going around and around was this. “It’s clear by now, that my husband lacks the self control necessary to keep it in his pants, I’ve made peace with that! But I moved to this small town for him, I’ve stayed in this small town so he can be close to his daughter. If he can’t even manage to be discreet about his indiscretions this small town will become unbearable, and quick!”
The same thoughts just went round and round…till finally the moment came when I felt like one of those old filmstrip reels…the wheels kept spinning but that little tale of film was just flapping on every round.
I finally was able to breathe deeply, and not long after, I fell asleep for the remainder of my time with the needles.
When the acupuncturist came back my first words (as they almost always are) were “The strangest thing happened…” I told her and said: “were you by chance trying to replenish that emotional energy? Because wherever those needles were you really hit on something.”
That is the crazy thing about acupuncture, her goal she told me was to get the energy moving, you just never know exactly what the body needs and how it will respond, what exactly it is that will move, needs to move, to get you back to healthy.
Well, for me it looks like I needed to move a little anger. I don’t think this chapter is complete. I think these are thoughts I will have to share with my husband. I’m sure there will be more here.
But it felt good to get a little angry…just a little. And I think it will feel even better to have the opportunity to work through it rather than having it build and build to something bigger than the tiny little monster it is now. Boy would I hate to have to experience that full grown Jafar demon.
In any case…I think I’ll go with this, move a little anger, and hopefully it will help me continue to move on.

Outfit of the Day

This what happens when Esme doesn't want to model...
Just thought it might be time for a reality check.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Good Friday

Today has been a good day. Some friends were up visiting from the cities and we threw together a great, yummy salad lunch.
I was able to spend the morning doing some cleaning around the apartment in anticipation of their arrival.
Since the place was looking all nice and sprucy I thought it might finally be time to share some pictures...
Have I mentioned yet how tiny this apt is? I'm really no good at things like sq. footage but if I had to guess this place is probably somewhere around 300...maybe?
So today I have some pictures of the entryway/living/dining/playroom/kitchen. The room is so small I wasn't able to get far enough away to get it all in one frame...I'll try to arrange everything so you can kind of piece it together.'s so great to have all of you visit me like this! We should definitely make this more of a habit.
Hope you like the place!
The view from the front door

A step further in the front door looking toward the room

The kitchen -- off to the left there is a little room
with a washing machine, small fridge and toaster oven

The sitting area

My favorite little corner of the hallway
This is the self portrait Esme made with her Babka

I thought it might be nice to have a couple upbeat songs to start the weekend. I racked my brain for something upbeat and appropriate for a blog-housewarming. These are not as upbeat as I'd like but seem appropriate. Enjoy!