I am dealing with a big ol' case of the blahs. Change of seasons, change of light, change of an important friendship, change, change, change. Some of the changes could even be labeled good. I've gone dancing, met some potentially interesting dudes to potentially date, stuff like that. Overall things are going well.
Yet still I say blah.
It's an internal feeling, a lack of energy, lack of desire to do things like go to work. No, it's not depression. It's just blah.
Don't think there's really much to do about these blahs. You've just got to ride them out.
I had a long conversation with my sister on the phone this morning. She was relating the chat she had with Hillary Clinton last night. Yup. My sister the airline pilot ran into Hillary Clinton in the hallway of the hotel where they were both staying. She had heard from the cab driver that Senator Clinton was staying in the same hotel, and when she got to her floor there was a secret service-type guy standing outside a door practically right next to my sister's room. She joked with him, "So, is that Hillary's room?" He surprised her by saying yes.
My sister asked if she could possibly speak with the Senator, since she, like Mrs. Clinton, is a powerful woman, and thought they would probably get along pretty well. She was only half serious because she didn't think there was any way she'd actually get her wish. "Well," he told her, "the Senator will be coming around that corner in about one minute if you want to see her."
My sister waited in the hall with her luggage and the flight attendants that had been on her shift earlier. Sure enough, along came Hillary and a bunch more secret service dudes walking towards them. My sister went right up to her and shook her hand. She had the presence of mind to call her "Senator Clinton" when she introduced herself, which shows she has a much better grasp of etiquette and cool than I do, as I'm sure I would have been jumping up and down and calling out, "Hillary! Hillary!"
The thing that was most amazing about it, my sister said, was that usually when you see someone so powerful or famous, even if you are close up, there would be dozens, maybe even hundreds of people all around you. She, on the other hand, got to say hello in quite an intimate set of circumstances. How cool is that?
Later on in the conversation we were talking about the different things going on in my life, everything from issues with Hijo's dad to my struggle with trying to find time for the endless list of things that I want to (and must) do. At one point she commented, "Your life IS hard." I laughed. No, I didn't choose an easy path. But it's mine and there's not a heck of a lot I would change about it. I sure would like to meet Hillary Clinton, though.
Since I seem to be suffering from a bit of blogger's block at the moment, let me take this opportunity to direct you to a cool foto contest that the happening mamas atPicture Thisand The Little Zygote That Could are sponsoring (along with mamazine). It's a picture taking opportunity that lets us focus on ourselves rather than our kids, which is both rather terrifying and exciting. It's called, appropriately enough, Mama Focus. The grand prize is a new camera, so how can you resist? Click here for all the juicy details.
And I'll be back soon with something juicy (or at least not completely dried out) of my own soon.
I think I had a wee bit too much sugar last night. We have a huge bowl of candy left over, candy which my mother offered to take away (and throw away). To which I reacted very casually with a no thanks, but inside I was thinking, "Oh noes! Don't take my candeez!!1!" I don't even particularly want this candy. It's not like it's Scharffen Berger 72%, and some of it doesn't even have any chocolate whatsoever on it. But some deep childhood thing came up out of me and couldn't let it go. So of course, I will take it to work. Because everyone knows that candy consumed during work hours, especially if you are working on some onerous or boring project is actually quite good for you.
November is typically one of my least favorite months. The holidays tend to stress me out rather than fill me with joy. I'm working really hard on focusing on how I really feel right now as opposed to how I think I'm supposed to feel based on the past or some expectation of me. This sounds so simple and basic that I'm almost embarrassed to even say it here, but it's very hard for me. I've always been a good girl, one who acts and does what she is expected to. And so much of my behavior is a response to that dynamic, even if I am rebelling mightily against it.
Motherhood is an especially difficult set of expectations to overcome. We are told constantly not only how we are supposed to act as mothers, but what we are supposed to feel. The first thing we are told is that we all want to be mothers in the first place, that it's our best, most natural role. That's the first lie, and it all goes downhill from there.
I'm still struggling at 45 to find my authentic self. Part of me wants to be depressed about that fact, but another healthier part of me just wants to see where it takes me. If I am as true to myself as I can be, if I stop trying to mold myself not only to some ideal of motherhood, but stop adapting so readily and automatically to whatever person I'm interested in at any given moment, who would I be?
I often mention to people how Hijo is very influenced by his peers, that he's not the alpha kid, he will go along with whomever he's hanging out with. Because of this, I need to be extra-careful to make sure he's got healthy positive kids around him. And of course, I need to do the same for myself.
Not that we tend to do things at the last minute around here, but here are our jack o'lanterns, which finally got converted from mere pumpkins last night. Hijo had originally picked the larger pumpkin (direct from Grandpa's garden!), but once he remembered the chore of cleaning out the insides, he opted for the smaller version and then chose to give it three eyes. Despite this ocular deviance from tradition, he is still fond of the triangle-for-a-nose concept.
I overestimated my own carving abilities, not to mention the sharpness of our cutting utensils, and therefore picked a rather elaborate design, the carving of which proved a tad bit frustrating. I might have used the "s" word inadvertently when the pointy part of a tooth got chopped off. I am normally not so frustrated by Halloween-based art, but it was coming up on nine o'clock and I'd had a stressful day at work, followed by a beautifully prepared but rather labor intensive dinner, and I really was no longer capable of much in the way of productive enterprise.
Today will involve the buying-of-the-candy part of the Halloween tradition, which will involve me highly overestimating the amount of Reese's peanut butter cups that we need in order that I might have a stash of them to munch on guiltily but happily over the next several days. Then we have the trying-on-of-the-costume part of this yearly ritual, which almost inevitably ends up with us discovering--again at the last minute--that some vital part of the ensemble is missing. In the city, this sort of thing was usually pretty easily remidied. I shudder to think what fate might befall us if we are lacking in something that one can't find in a small town at 7pm on October 30th.
All of this rigamarole is merely a way to avoid saying that I am actually a bit sad this Halloween season. An acquaintance of mine here in town, someone whom I am getting to know but am not close to, whose kids Hijo plays with regularly, has just lost her mom. Those kids have lost their grandma. And that is simply too scary to think about.
Never let it be said that we don't eat well here. I would have bought more fresh produce, but I'd just been to the co-op earlier in the week and bought chard and beets and baby bok choy from some of the very same farms at the market.
It was golden perfect morning, and though I've been to the market many times, this was my first with Hijo. I think he had a good time.
In the last fotos I posted of Hijo, I thought he looked like me. Above, I see a lot of his dad in those dark eyes and more serious expression.
Question of the week: What is everybody dressing up as for Halloween this year? (Followed by the second question: how am I going to keep myself from scarfing down all the Halloween candy that will soon be in the house? I haven't bought it yet for that very reason. But soon, I will have to face the music, and the Snickers bars.
My regular day care provider is unavailable this week, and so it's been one of those scheduling nightmare kinda weeks. And one of those weeks when I am particularly grateful for all the adults who step in to help me and help Hijo when we need it.
I had a voice mail the other day from Hijo's music teacher. They had been playing African drums, and Hijo was apparently doing pretty well with them. He's always had an affinity for drumming (aka pounding on everything in sight). This makes me smile.
Thanks to everyone who answered my little survey. Y'all are very kind. I did have one request for more recipes by jessica, who thinks I have more tricks up my sleeve. Ha! I am pretty much a one-trick-pony when it comes to recipes that I have come up with on my own. However, if you haven't ever made the flourless peanut butter cookies, I highly recommend them for ease of preparation and deliciousness. And if you or someone you love has celiac, they're gluten-free, too.
It's just: one cup of peanut butter (creamy is best), one cup of sugar, one egg, one teaspoon vanilla. Mix it all together and bake it for- oh darn, I always forget the details of this part. I think you bake it at 350 for about 12 minutes or so. I swear I am such an imprecise cook that I just sorta play this part by ear. My oven is always way off from what it's supposed to be anyway. But that's part of the beauty of this recipe - it's very forgiving. If you just keep an eye on the cookies so they don't burn, you'll be OK.
How did it get to be the week before Halloween? Wasn't it just Little League season? I've got a meeting in a little bit. I'm trying not to grumble too much about my boss scheduling a what is essentially a sales meeting early on the morning after I've been away for three days. I have to dress up and be "on" when I really just want to stumble into the office and start my day slowly. Actually, I always want to just stumble into the office and start my day slowly. Never mind.
The birthday road trip went very well. There's a foto on my personal blog which was taken a mere 24 hours ago when stumbling into work wasn't even an option. Those are the best mornings of all. Which is to say that I'm struggling with being back in the full time work world. Suddenly it feels like there is no time for all the other things I want or need to do. I feel that familiar sense of just hanging on, of trying to keep my head above water and never being able to swim.
Amidst this complaining, I'm aware of how lucky I really am. I do know that. And I am grateful for all that I have. But it all seems out of whack. Where's the balance? Where's the center? Why do I still feel so adrift? I feel like I've fallen back on the familiar (full time office job) instead of working harder to find something else.
I will figure this out, I know I can, it's just a long road, and I never seem to get enough rest.
Update: The meeting went really well. They always tend to go well; I even find them energizing. I always dread them, though. Thanks for indulging my early morning whining. We'll have no more of that, missy.
In a time honored tradition, I am heading off on a birthday road trip! I do have to work today (and a ton of work there is), but as soon as I can get things wrapped up there, I am picking up Hijo, taking him to his dad's, and heading South. And I don't have to be back in town until Monday afternoon. Wahoo! I love a road trip almost more than anything else in this world.
The essentials of a good road trip are as follows: one relatively comfortable vehicle with a full tank, one camera with fresh batteries, some clothes, some cash, and a pen and journal. That's it. A map is nice, but not essential. Good music or conversation is also quite nice, and may seem important, but there is something to be said for driving as meditation, for just breathing steadily as you go, paying attention to everything. Having a pre-determined route can ruin the fun. One must be open to all the possibilities of the open road. Of course this is true of life as well as road trips, but I find it much easier to practice when I'm traveling.
I hope to see some art, maybe catch a movie. A fine birthday meal is in order, perhaps a wee little birthday drink. There will be good company. A pretty nifty way to spend a birthday, even if I am now officially closer to 50 than 40. Isn't 50 the new 30 anyway? In which case, I'm really more like 25. Which is very scary indeed. Better hit the road.