23 December 2010

Waiting...additional thoughts

One of my colleagues yesterday says to me, "So, what are you up to these days? Working and waiting?"

"Yep. Working and waiting. That's about it," I reply. "And we've put up a new website for ourselves. One that basically says, 'Hey, we're really nice people. If you know of anyone who is in the position of needing to adopt out a child...look-y here.'"

She looks at me with great empathy (both of her children are adopted so she knows about the working and waiting and waiting and working.)

I end the conversation with what I usually say to end these types of conversations, "It'll happen when it happens."

When I first started blogging about adoption, so many of my posts explored topics like whether or not I'd be a good mom, fear, transracial adoption, the relationships that we'll have (or not have) with the child's first/birth family, the rightness or wrongess of adoption, etc. In re-reading some of those posts recently it hit me that I have covered a lot of ground in writing and thinking about all of this adoption stuff.

And then it hit me that as we've gotten further and further into the waiting and wondering phase that I kind of stopped blogging.

Guess I'm feeling kind of done thinking about all of this.

I'm less interested in thinking and I'm more interested in doing.


I know that there are more issues that I could explore in regards to adoption - and to our particular adoption. However, the more I just think about stuff, the more I find myself feeling a bit blue. The waiting seems kind of endless when I'm blogging and wondering and wondering and blogging. So, I'm focusing on doing...

Doing my best to be a good wife, daughter and friend.

Doing my job.

Doing my best to get rid of this stupid upper respiratory thing that I've had for two weeks.

Doing my best to enjoy Christmas and get ready for our annual New Year's Eve Eve game night.

Doing my best not to whine or complain about how long we've been waiting, but instead to be happy, to be in the present moment and to enjoy this one life hat I have to live.

It'll happen when it happens, right?

19 December 2010

Christmas again

Chris picked a great Christmas tree this year.

Well, he always picks a great tree, but this year it seems especially nice. We've gotten to the point where we have enough "special" ornaments - those that we've given each other over the last 11 years, family ornaments, and those we've received as gifts - that we don't need to add an "fillers" (you know, the plain round ones.) The tree looks beautiful. Smells great. Every time I look at the tree I love seeing the fat glass reindeer, the pickle ornament, the cheer leading moose, our various lobster ornaments (yes, we have quite a few), the felt Pinocchio characters that Chris' Gram made by hand a million years ago, the ornament that Parker made in kindergarten, and, of course, our tree wouldn't be complete without the many light-up, noise making Star Trek ornaments collected by my goofy husband.

It really is a beautiful tree.

It's Christmas again.

And yet I seem to be missing my holiday cheer.

Partly because I caught whatever horrendous cold bug/plague that was flying around the office (and very kindly passed along to Chris. I'm such an awesome wife...) and I'm feeling physically pretty lousy. But mostly because I thought that we'd have a Little One here in the house with us for this Christmas season.

Last Christmas as we were decorating the tree, I remember us saying things like, "Just think, next year the baby will be here and it'll be our first Christmas together." And I remember thinking things like, "Will she even be awake when we decorate the tree?" or "I know she's not going to remember her first Christmas as an infant, but it's going to be so much fun for us to have her here going through her first Christmas."

But here we are a year later and...

Well, here we are.

I had kind of a "moment" during Thanksgiving where I had to leave the table or risk crying in front of the whole family. Watching my brother-in-law and sister-in-law with our beautiful little nieces was really hard this year. Selfishly, instead of being thankful for our family, our health, our home, our jobs and all of the really wonderful things in our lives, I kept thinking about the fact that another Thanksgiving was rolling by with Chris and I no closer to parenthood than when we started all of this almost two years ago.

And now here we are at Christmas time again and I'm feeling a little blue.

Stupid feeling this way? Yes.

Selfish feeling this way? Yes.

But here I am trying to just move forward. Trying to remind myself that we'll become parents when we become parents and that I need to live in the present moment.

Right now.

And reminding myself to not spend so much time fretting about what is or what isn't or what hasn't happened or when it's going to happen.

Be in this moment.

Right now.

And in this present moment it's Christmas.

So, I'm off to do some last minute shopping, clean the house a bit, and try to find myself some holiday cheer. Because I really am an incredibly lucky person with an amazing husband, wonderful family, terrific friends, a nice if somewhat messy home, and a cat who we love to distraction even if she is a pain in the patootie sometimes.

Life is really good.

Merry Christmas.

24 October 2010

Not much to report...

We thought we might have some news, but it turned out to be nothing.

Still waiting.

Please come visit me at my other blog 80 Sticks of Butter to read about my ongoing efforts to rid myself of Bernice.

10 October 2010

Yep...still here

Still here.

Still here.

Still no news.

It's actually gotten to the point that we will need to renew our homestudy...so that means that almost a year has gone by with no real movement. So, at least we'll have something to "do" for the adoption in the renewal process.

I'm trying not to be sad that we are not yet parents. Trying to simply enjoy life. To not let my crazy-making job make me too crazy (not doing too well with this...) To focus on health and fitness as we continue to wait.

Please come visit me at my other blog 80 Sticks of Butter. There's quite a bit more activity over there these days as I focus on that journey.

22 September 2010

Still here...

I'm still here.

Just very focused on health and weight loss at the moment.

Trying to move ahead with life during "The Wait."

So, if you need a good chuckle or two, please come visit my other blog, 80 Sticks of Butter, where you can read all about torture by stability ball, the Fall Fitness Challenge in which I'm currently engaged, and my battle to get and stay healthy.

Hopefully we'll have adoption news soon, but until then...it's all about health and fitness.

05 September 2010

Still no news...

All's quiet on the adoption front.

Chris and I have some decisions to make about potential changes to our profile. And we're going to re-do many of our photos in the coming months as we both shed the pounds.

But otherwise...

[Insert the sound of crickets here]

I had been eager a while back to get the guest room turned into a nursery, but with the start of my busy, busy season at work and the new focus on weight loss with its attendant time commitment (prepping food and taking time to exercise...) I ended up not getting around to painting as I had planned.

Perhaps Columbus Day Weekend would be a good time to do that.

Hoping for news soon, but attending to life in the meantime.

28 August 2010

When?

When?

The question pops up in my mind frequently these days, much as I try to be in the present moment and not worry so much about the future.

When?

We had our company picnic a few weeks ago and it was Baby Central. A new born, a few one year-olds, some toddlers. Baby Central.

And I visit them all.

Everybody's kids and grandbabies.

I hold the newborn who decides at the moment to let out a great wail. So I hand him back to his grandma who laughs and says, "It's nice when they aren't yours and you can still do that."

"He wants his grandma," I reply, "he doesn't know me."

When?

I play a game with a colleague's one year-old daughter. We roll a soccer ball back and forth along the ground to each other. She smiles and laughs each time it comes back to her and laughs even harder as she sends it back towards my waiting hands.

Someday I'll be playing this game with my daughter.

When?

Another grandbaby at the picnic is sucking not very contentedly on a bottle. Her little face is red. She's been crying.

"Oh she's so tired!" exclaims the proud grandmama who's holding her and feeding her the bottle.

"She needs a nap in the worst way," says the baby's mom from across the picnic table, "but I think there's too much going on here for her to sleep. Now she's just getting cranky."

The mom doesn't seem overly concerned when grandma hands her the baby. She gives the now loudly fussing baby a quick squeeze and a big kiss on the forehead, "You need to go to sleep Little Girl."

I wonder if I'll be so calm in the face of a cranky baby who needs a nap, but won't go to sleep.

When?

I watch my ball playing friend scootch sideways along the concrete crab-style while her mom calls to her, "Hey there. Where ya going? Where ya going?"

The little girl pays her momma no mind whatsoever and scuttles along quickly to her destination - a pair pink sneakers left behind by one of the older children.

When?

As I watch the moms and the grandmoms and their little ones I keep hearing the question over and over in my mind...

When?

18 August 2010

No news...still

The phone is silent.

No emails from the adoption facilitators.

Adoption feels very far away right now.

My focus is on work and getting healthy.

I'm writing entries in the new blog about the other journey that I'm on right now.

I try not to think about how long we've been waiting or how long we'll have to wait.

Life goes on.

Life goes on.

17 August 2010

Another blog???

I know. It seems so crazy to have more than one...but I can't help myself.

Actually, I realized today that weight loss and getting healthy are becoming a very important part of my life, so much so that they really deserve their own space. They're starting to crowd out adoption stuff so...

Please come visit me at my new blog 80 Sticks of Butter to read all about my journey to good health.

And please keep coming to In the present moment... for continuing news about our impending adoption.

Best and peace,
Jennifer

15 August 2010

Not Fat Old Jenn...

I step on the scale again today to check my weight.

Stupid, I know. Shouldn't really weigh yourself everyday when losing weight.

But I can't help myself.

Because I keep thinking that I'm not really losing weight. Somehow in my head I've convinced myself that I was just "overly dehydrated" a few days ago when I weighed myself and so when I step on the scale again today that those three pounds will be right back where they were.  I just assume the worst.

How crazy is that?

I've been carrying around this weight for so long now that I sorta dumbly resigned myself to the fact of being Fat Old Jenn. And there is a part of me is who is desperately afraid - despite all current evidence to the contrary - that I'll never get rid of the weight.

That I always be just Fat Old Jenn.

But here's the thing...I wasn't dehydrated a few days ago and those 19.5 pounds I've lost this year - still gone! I stand there on the scale today and the number is just the same - in fact a little less! - as it was two days ago.

Guess what??

Making responsible eating choices + exercise = weight loss.

It's a pretty simple formula.

There's no magic cure for being fat.

Eat healthy food. Move everyday. Breathe. Lose weight.

I have a lot of pounds left to lose to get to where I want to be and where I know I can be a  healthy, active mom to Schmoopie. But now that Chris has joined me in this weight loss adventure, I know that I can do it.

P.S.
My husband is a genius. Today he decided to have a salad and a burger (no bun, of course) for lunch. No ketchup or BBQ sauce allowed on SBD because they contain too much sugar so he used Taco sauce. Brilliant! I wouldn't have thought of that ever...

14 August 2010

We drank the Kool Aid...

So Chris and I have successfully completed Week 1/Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.

Yep, we drank the SBD Kool Aid.

I know.

You weren't expecting that, were you?

Well, miraculously, we're doing it.

And LIKING it.

No, really.

So I didn't buy the SBD book that explains the whole diet/way of life. Instead, printed from the web the lists of foods that are allowed/not allowed, bought the latest cookbook, and used the sample meal plans along with the food lists as guides.  The recipes produce really flavorful, tasty meals (so far anyway...we're batting 1,000 for dinners...Asian Beef in Lettuce Cups, Southwestern Turkey Skillet, Beef with Edamame and Ginger Garlic Sauce, Steak with Mustard Shallot Sauce...YUM!!!)

It's a bit of work. And it definitely takes planning to be successful. Today Chris and I planned out meals for the coming week then hit the grocery store to purchase ingredients. On the menu this week: Quick Beef Fajita Salad, Turkey Romesco, and Chicken Satay Burgers.

As we're driving to the grocery store Chris says to me, "Y'know the leftover cash that I took out for our trip to New York?"

"Yeah."

"I didn't touch any of it this week. I mean before we were doing South Beach that would have gone for lunches or ordering something for dinner, but it just sat there all week in my wallet."

"We did like to eat out a lot before this didn't we?"

"Yep."

So, in addition to losing weight (and, yes, SBD really does work if you follow it) we're actually saving money even though our weekly grocery bill is a bit higher than it was pre-SBD because we're not paying for restaurant food.

Bonus!

"Y'know, the other good thing about this is that we're getting into routines making food, which is going to be awesome for when the baby comes. Can't not have food in the house and just rely on take-out when you've got a kid," I say to Chris one day earlier this week as we're preparing dinner.

And it's true.

I'm so glad to be starting these good habits now so that when Schmoopie arrives she'll have parents who keep the fridge stocked with good healthy food. She'll have parents who set a good example.

I'd like to write more, but it's dinner time. So, no more clackering away on the laptop for me this evening - instead it's off to the kitchen!

13 August 2010

TGIF...

video
Rocky Gorge, New Hampshire


I'm really longing for the White Mountains right now.

(Can ya tell?)

Work is really ramping up. Meetings, meetings, meetings. Work event today and one a week from Saturday (and I'm in charge of a big portion of the one next week.) Interviewing for annual temporary staff all next week. External meetings with clients to begin the following week. Continued aggravation with one aspect of my job.

There's a lot going on.

While I'm actually keeping up with all of it and only feeling moderately overwhelmed, there's a big part of me that is desperately wishing for a more simple life. 

Not going to happen anytime soon.

In the meantime, I'll just have to be content that it's Friday.

11 August 2010

Still here...



I've been neglecting the blog.

Life is busy right now.

No adoption news. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Wishing we were back in New Hampshire.

More soon.

I promise.

31 July 2010

Controversial post!...

Sorry, but not really.

No controversy. Just said that to get you here. (What a horrible blogger I am...)

I stopped visiting blogs written by the anti-adoption folks so there certainly hasn't been much controversial fodder for creating posts that have that "oomph" factor to them. And I've stopped asking all of the questions and expressing my anxieties and worries. I've stopped asking you and myself, "Are we doing the right thing?"

Now we've just settled in to the waiting phase.

And let me tell you, it's not very exciting - for you or for me - to continually write about the fact that we're just waiting right now.

So, I've been writing less and less. I miss writing the daily posts. 

But when it comes right down to it, what's happened is that at long last - after more than a year of mulling and agonizing and questioning and writing and processing - I have finally gotten comfortable with our decision. I'm letting go of those fears that I've expressed in this blog. What's going to happen will happen and we'll deal with it as it happens.

I accept where we are right now in this moment.

This is how we've decided to build our family. I don't need to question it anymore. Or worry about it. Or fear being judged about it.

In a recent post I wrote about making a space in our home to welcome a child - that we need to let the Universe know that we're really and truly ready by creating the physical space for that child. Not just saying, "Yeah, eventually we'll turn the guest room into The Kid's room" but actually doing it.

Now I'm also realizing that I need to let the Universe know in no uncertain terms that I believe in our decision. No more questioning. No more uncertainty. No more hesitation. No more fears.

I accept where we are right now in the present moment.

So, Universe, bring it on.

Let's not talk about it anymore. Let's just do it.

Motherhood.

I'm ready.

30 July 2010

A new favorite place...

Rocky Gorge, White Mountain National Forest (along the Kancamagus Highway), New Hampshire





26 July 2010

Making space...

Is positive news that doesn't really change anything actually news or is it just a series of statements that find no anchor and have no impact?
--Chris (my husband)


I'm chatting with my dearest friend on the phone last evening. We've been on the phone for quite some time when she pauses and says, "I've been reluctant to even bring this up, but is there any news at all on the adoption?"

Not really.

(And there's no need for reluctance to ask us about the adoption - friends and family. Really. We'll be happy to talk about it.)

Chris describes very well the most recent conversation with our adoption contact in his post Dog Day Thoughts so I'll suggest you hop on over there to take a gander at it rather than rehash it all here (it's a quick read.) The quote at the top of this post gives you a hint of what you'll find over at his post.

I haven't had much to say about the adoption these days because there really hasn't been any "news" so to speak.

We're waiting.

That's the news.

Which isn't really news at all to our friends, family, colleagues and anyone who has been following our blogs. We're waiting.

The only change or news is that now that we are 90% done with the post-flood basement re-do, our erstwhile guest room is pretty much close to being empty. All that remains: futon sofa, one large bookcase, one lamp, one small dresser and a few pieces of art work on the walls.

Which means...drum roll please!

The room is that much closer to being ready to become The Kid's room.

My lovely husband doesn't know it yet, but if the heat and humidity stay away this weekend, there is every chance that I am going to push for us to move what little furniture remains to the center of the room so we can paint the walls a kid friendly color (I'm voting for some shade of purple...)

And I'm going to begin looking online for furniture - changing table, dresser, crib, etc.

Shocking, I know.

The thing is that when we started this process I said loudly that I didn't want to be one of those prospective adoptive moms who has a nursery full of furniture and baby stuff, but no actual baby. I just thought that would be so very sad.

Even pathetic.

However, I've changed my mind.

Going through the homestudy and the adoption application was a shitload of work and certainly put the word out to the Universe that we're ready to start our family.

But I can't help thinking now that we need to do a little more.

We certainly haven't made any effort to create a space for a child. Just said, "Yeah, we'll turn the guest into The Kid's room" and left it that.

What is that telling the Universe?

I mean we've purchased all kinds of baby/parenting books for ourselves, but nothing for the kid.

So, my thinking now is that it's important to move forward by creating an actual physical space for this child in our home. Creating a space where this child will be welcome.

Putting that energy out into the Universe.

OK, Universe. We are serious. We are ready. Everything is in place.

"The Voice" in Field of Dreams says over and over to Ray Kinsella, "If you build it, he will come."

Maybe there's some truth in that...

If we build it...

23 July 2010

The heavy lifting...

"I had this really weird thought on the way over here," I tell my therapist earlier this week. She looks interested as I continue, "I didn't want to come here today because I didn't want to do the heavy work we've been doing."

I pause.

She doesn't say anything. Just looks at me with that calm therapist-y look she has.

So I go on.

"I just realized today that I am feeling very resistant to the heavy emotional stuff we've been doing because it's getting to be 'that time of the year' [my crazy busy season at work] and I feel like I have to pull everything inside of me. Kind of marshall all of my resources and gather the troops. Y'know what I mean?"  I ball up my fists and pull in my arms close to my body to demonstrate, "So when I was coming over here I thought to myself that I just can't spare the energy to open myself up like I have been. I can't do the heavy emotional lifting. I can't do it and I don't WANT to do it."

My therapist nods and asks, "So, how does that feel in your body."

Considering that I have pulled my knees up, my arms are crossed, and my fists remain in tight balls...I'd say that I feel pretty tight, stressed and uncomfortable.

The thing of it is that I am coming to "that time of the year" in my job - the busiest, craziest time of the year where I'm going to be facing each day at a dead run with no stopping:  lots of daily travel, client meetings most everyday, multiple presentations each day in October and November, preparing tons and tons and tons of prospect letters that I not only sign but on which I write personal notes, lots of follow up with clients in December and more client meetings, etc. etc. etc.

And, until this year, I had not ever really been consciously aware of the fact that at this time each year I do just pull everything inside of me. That I put up walls and retreat into myself in a vain attempt to save every bit of energy because I know that I'm going to be crazed and absolutely exhausted for the next few months.

The rest of my life pretty much stops from August to the end of December.

Or, at least, it has stopped in the past.

But no more.

The truth is that I can't do this to myself again. Sacrifice my life for my job.

It's slowly killing me.

Yet here's why I do it and keep doing it: I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to work.

I'm that idiot that's still in the building at 10:00 p.m. working on something for a client that's technically due the next day, but if I called the next day and said to the client, "I hope you'll accept my apologies, but I miscalculated how much time I actually needed to prepare these materials for you. I'm going to deliver them to you tomorrow morning instead of today" the client would - 98% of the time - be just fine with that.

I'm that idiot that says "Yes" with a smile to her supervisor and to others about taking on new projects and joining new teams when she knows perfectly well that her plate is already full to overflowing.

I'm that idiot that isn't good at asking for help or delegating tasks. Every year in September a temporary staff person is assigned specifically to me to help me during our crazy, busy season. And every year I fail to utilize that person the ways that I could and should. "It'll be better and faster if I just do it myself," is the thought that always runs through my head. Even after I was part of the hiring process last year and knew that we had hired really good, competent people.

I'm that idiot that cannot let go.

So, I pull inward to focus all of my energy into being my perfectionist self - the person that will throw herself head first into the job, work the crazy hours, take on too much, and end up exhausted and burned out from the busy season.

"How can you do your job differently?" my therapist has asked me on any number of occasions over the last year.

I entered therapy several years ago because I hated my job. Or at least I thought I hated my job. The process of therapy has uncovered SO much about me that has almost nothing to do directly with my job, but has also revealed some completely interesting reasons as to why I'm still in this job.

"How can you do your job differently?" my therapist asks repeatedly. She doesn't confirm that I need to be looking for a new job (as I tell I want to) nor does she assure me that I am most assuredly in the wrong job. No, she asks me, "How can you do your job differently?"

By asking me this over and over it seems to me now that she's basically saying without saying, "Your job is fine. Chances are that you'll be exhausted and unhappy in ANY job because your behavior and the way that you approach your job will be just the same."

I've felt totally exhausted by my work for years and years.

"How can you do your job differently?"

Until this week, I had not been able to come up with an answer to this question. I couldn't see the answer. Because I didn't truly understand the question. Because I had no awareness of just how much I was sacrificing myself to the Gods of Work each busy season.

But now I see it.

It took three years of therapy to figure it out (apparently I'm a slow learner...)

It's not the job.

It's me.

It's how I approach the work. It's not the work itself.

And I realize that I can and have to do my job differently. In a way that I might actually be able to enjoy it, be successful and not end up totally burned out.

I need to really and truly plan for and prepare for the busy season.

In the past, I've done some prep for my busy season, but I realized recently that I haven't done nearly enough and thus ended up working late nights and weekends because there were numerous things that I hadn't and could have done in advance. So I took 3 days last week and I've taken much of this week to prep my materials.

I need to delegate.

There are tasks and accounts that I could certainly delegate to my temporary staff person. Stuff that I have not been willing to let go of in the past. And I need to plan ahead of time just what I will delegate. Last year, because I really hadn't prepped myself, I was doing just about everything on the fly like my hair was on fire. Yeah, that was bad...I didn't know from one minute to the next what needed doing and so I couldn't really make any informed decisions about delegating. Won't be doing that again...

I need to have a life outside of work.

There are people that I love - friends and family - my husband for goodness sake! - who I rarely see over the course of my busy season and that has to change. I can't lock myself up in my office and then my home for 5 months and expect to feel happy. I need to make time for and commit to reaching out to people. No more pulling inward and retreating. Dates with my husband! Game nights with friends! Girls Nights Out! Life goes on in the midst of the busy season. Well, it should go on. So, I have to make it happen.

I need to utilize my new art studio.

Being creative isn't an option for me anymore. It's a must. I feel alive when I'm making art and when I'm writing. So I need to get down there and use it.

I need to ask for help.

Not so good at this and never have been. But I know if I am going to be at all successful and not lose my sanity that I have to ask for help.

And, actually, I started yesterday.

"I need some help," I say to one of my colleagues.

(I actually say the words "I need some help"...It's a miracle.)

She shoots me an inquiring look.

"Here's the thing...I need to get energized for the busy season. I'm feeling kinda burned out and I just need something to re-energize me and re-inspire me for what's coming. So I was thinking that our team needs to do something. I don't know what - maybe a great team dinner somewhere or some kind of mini-retreat -"

I'm about to make some other suggestions when my colleague says, "Ooo! I'll plan it! I love doing this kind of thing!" just as my supervisor walks up with her own inquiring look.

So, I say, "I was just saying that I need some help," (there! I said it again!) "because I've been feeling like I need to get re-energized for the busy season."

"So we want to do some kind of retreat!" says my colleague.

My supervisor gives us the green light.

I put it out there in the Universe that I needed help and help arrived.

"How can you do your job differently?"

It took a long time to get to this place. I don't know if I'll be able to change behavior that is deeply ingrained in my being, but I know I have to try.

This is going to involve some seriously heavy lifting...

20 July 2010

Soooo very hot...

It's too darn hot
It's too darn hot
I'd like to sup with my baby tonight
Refill the cup with my baby tonight
I'd like to sup with my baby tonight
Refill the cup with my baby tonight
But I ain't up to my baby tonight
Cause it's too darn hot

-- Cole Porter


The heat finally breaks last evening. Instead of stale, yet cool air conditioning in our bedroom, we sleep with the window fan running.

It's heavenly. Feels totally delicious to have cool, fresh air in the bedroom.

I don't do well in the heat. Actually, that's something of an understatement.

I completely wilt in the heat of the summer - to the point where I feel like I'm going to pass out.

Any temperature above 75 degrees is something of a misery for me unless I sit very still in front of a fan or condemn myself to extended periods of hibernation in our air conditioned bedroom.

This past weekend Chris and I work on finishing our finished basement. The final stages of turning flood damaged rooms back into usable, livable space. Moving furniture around, emptying boxes, organizing my studio, hanging art work and painting a few pieces of furniture to match our office/entertainment area's new color palette (blue, tan, & black...)

After about 15-20 minutes of spray painting a bookcase in the 90 degree heat/sun on a tarp in the middle of our backyard, I am sweating profusely. I feel dizzy. And sick. And there's a good chance that I might just vomit onto our bookcase.

Not good.

"You want me to do that?" Chris asks, looking surprisingly cool (of course, he's smart enough to be wearing a hat...something that doesn't occur to me to do before heading out into the sun.) He looks at me a bit more closely. "You really don't look so good, Sweetie."

Thanks, Honey. Just what every wife wants to hear from her husband.

Of course, it's totally true.

Back in the house as I am cooling off by splashing some cool water on my face I note the extreme flush on the apples of my cheeks and the fact that all of the color has drained completely from every other part of my face.

Yes, very attractive indeed.

Chris very kindly finishes painting the bookcase in the broiling sun.

Best husband EVER.

"Looks like it's breaking a bit this week," Chris tells me this morning, "It's only going to hit 82 today. Then it looks like 86 tomorrow and then back down to 82."

"Lovely," I say, my voice saturated with sarcasm.

"Hey, at least it's not going to be in the 90s."

True. Very true.

But it's still going to be in the 80s, which just sucks.

Grumble, grumble.

The thing is that I absolutely haaaaate it when people grumble and complain about winter - about how cold and miserable it is. Personally, I love winter. Bundle me up in a jeans, a turtleneck and a sweater and I am a happy, happy girl.

A nice crisp, cold, sunny day when it's 20 degrees outside. Heaven!

So when people complain about winter I'm all like, "Hey, Doofus! Winter comes around every year! Quit bitching about it. It's not like it's a surprise, y'know..."

But then summer comes around and, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm just like those people who complain about winter!

Only louder.

And grumpier.

Hey, Doofus! Summer comes around every year! Quit bitching about it. It's not like it's a surprise, y'know...

Yeah, whatever.

18 July 2010

Writer vs. ...

I just finished reading a fantastic young adult fantasy series by Brandon Mull entitled Fablehaven.

If you haven't read it yet - you should.

Really.

The series is so incredibly engaging and entertaining.*  By the fifth and final book I was desperate to see how the story ended. Read late into the night until I couldn't read anymore, but tried to keep reading anyway because the story was so compelling. Love that! Brandon Mull - what a great writer.

However, as I was reading this series it set me to thinking about my own writing. Kind of this nagging annoying feeling in the back of my brain. A feeling that I intentionally ignored because I was too busy reading and enjoying to start worrying about my own neurotic stuff.

But now that I'm done reading the last book in the series, suddenly that feeling and all of its attendant thoughts and worries about my own writing that I had been squashing down and ignoring have bubbled right up to the surface of my consciousness and are shrieking "Hey! You! Dummy! Over here!!!!! Pay attention to us!!!!!"

Crap.

I don't want to be thinking about this today.

Too late.

Here' s the thing...It's just like what I wrote about in my last post "Making art vs. ..." where I almost never refer to myself as "an artist," but instead as "someone who makes art."

I almost never refer to myself as "a writer" but will describe myself as "someone who writes."

Here's the other thing...I have absolutely no confidence in myself and my creative abilities. In my ability to produce something interesting, entertaining, insightful, engaging, thought-provoking, whatever...

Really.

Most of what I write...I always think that someone else could have written it better.

How stupid is that???

And yet here I am...Writing stuff here on the blog for the world to see (well, a really teeny tiny itty bitty fraction of a portion of the world..) and secretly (now not so secretly) working on finishing a novel (I already have 100+ pages) that may or may not ever get published. And outlining other stories in my head that I may or may not write.

So, does that make me a writer?

I don't know.

Here's what I do know: I write because I have to write. Because I am compelled to write.

Because I don't feel like myself when I'm not writing.

So, does that make me a writer?

Don't know.

Maybe I am just "someone who writes." Maybe I have not "claimed my inner writer." I don't know if I'm good or terrible or somewhere in the realm of just mediocre, but I do know that there is something inside of me determined to get out into the world through my writing.

So...guess I'll keep showing up each day to clacker away here on the laptop. And if that makes me a writer, then I guess I'm a writer. And if it just means that I'm someone who writes - I guess that's OK, too.

Maybe someday I'll even believe that what I've written is worthwhile.



*But, be warned, Mull has no compunction whatsoever about killing off interesting and favorite characters in the Fablehaven series. The books aren't all nice and happy ending-ish in that way. So if you're reading them with your kids - be prepared to have a conversation or maybe several about death and dying.

16 July 2010

Making art vs. ...

Therapists are tricky little buggers.

I don't intend to go to therapy last night to talk about being an artist, but somehow that's exactly what happens during my session.

What???

Through a series of conversational and therapeutic twists and turns somehow I end up "claiming my artist self."

Huh???

And committing to submitting a piece of my artwork to a show (any show) by the end of this year.

What???

How the heck did this happen???

It's that tricky therapist of mine.

Oh, she's a wily one alright!

Darn her.

The thing is that I know this is probably good for me. But it's also scary.

I haven't exhibited a piece of artwork in a show in more than 20 years!

This is probably how I let myself get railroaded into this situation...by mentioning that in therapy. And by talking about the fact that often I don't think of myself as an artist. It's always been a kind of "making art vs. being an artist" situation for me.

I mostly think of myself and refer to myself as "someone who makes art" rather than "an artist."

For many years in my twenties and early thirties I don't even pick up a paint brush or make a place for myself to make art in my home. Art becomes something that I look at and think about, but in which I never engage.

Then in 2001, my maternal grandmother (my last biological grandparent) passes away and my mother and I meet in Florida to lay my grandmother to rest and to clean out her home. During this time, my husband apparently decides that I am much too sad, that it's been long enough since I have made art and that he is going to change all of that right quick. When I return home Chris surprises me with an antique drafting table, new chair (which Annabel immediately claims as her own...) and art supplies - all set up in a nook in our office.

What a kind and generous man I married.

Lucky me.

In the succeeding years, I've added significantly to the original set of supplies and used that drafting table on and off. Some years very on and other years - depending upon what's happening in my life - very off. But it's always there waiting for me. And Chris is always. always supportive of any time that I spend away from him while being creative.

Since the flood, we've re-done our basement and I claim our former finished storage room as my own. I mean I kind of ask Chris if it would be all right for me to use that room as a studio, but it's really more like I kind of - um - er - inform him that we'll be clearing out that room so I can use it as a studio.

"Sooooo, what would you think..." I say to Chris, "about me moving my drafting table down to the storage room and using it as a studio?" [Interpreted...this means "I've already thought this through and this is what we're doing"]

No hesitation from Chris as he replies, "I think that's a great idea."

Best husband EVER.

So suddenly I actually have a dedicated space where I can create.

My studio.

MY STUDIO.

A real studio space just for me where I can be creative. Not in our office. Not in a corner of the guest room. My very own room. It feels very decadent and I know it's going to be kind of a pain in the ass to get rid of all of the stuff we have down there in storage (and it IS a huge pain in the ass), but I can live with that.

Today all of my supplies still need to be organized, but the furniture - including the beautiful antique drafting table that my very thoughtful and generous husband bought for me so many years ago - is in place and ready for use.

So, somehow all of this comes up in therapy and suddenly I find myself "claiming my artist self" and committing to this show.

Oy.

Still, I guess this isn't such a terrible thing. Because the truth is that even though I might not have the confidence in myself to say that I'm an artist, I am truly at my happiest when I'm at my drafting table being creative. And this commitment will certainly force me to get to it.

So, Universe, bring on a show for me!

(Darn therapist...)

15 July 2010

Still here...and bizarre dreams

It feels weird to have been away for the blog for yet another mini-hiatus.

I haven't had the energy to write because of continued concern over a dear friend in crisis. She and I have been talking a lot over the past few days as the events of this crisis continue to unfold.

It's been incredibly draining for me so I can only begin to imagine how totally exhausted she must be.

I'm feeling pretty wiped out.  This is in part not only because I am excessively worried about my friend, but also my anxiety appears to have triggered a series of truly bizarre dreams culminating in the doozie I had last night.

In the dream...

Chris and I have adopted two kids already - both boys. Because we had been waiting so long on our little girl, we had decided to change our preference to "either" when it came to gender and were able to get the boys. Still wanting a girl I ask for a third child to which Chris readily agrees. So we go through Adoption Round #3. Somehow we end up in a kind of "baby born" type situation where we have to take this little one...who once again turns out to be a boy. I decide that the Universe is telling me that it's boys for me. 

So we go to get this little guy. He's so tiny. We're not really ready for a newborn again (in the dream the older boys are like 7 and 5) and so we scramble to kind of get stuff ready. Don't even have a name for the little guy when we bring him home so we just keep calling him "The Baby." 

On Day 3 of The Baby being with us I go in to check on him in the morning because he hasn't been crying.  Just want to see if he's still sleeping. He looks really big to me. More like a 10 month old baby than the little newborn that came home with us just a few days ago. His eyes are open. So I pick him up and am shocked at how much he weighs. It's impossible that he's grown this much.

Then, suddenly, he SAYS something. It's muttered and indistinct, but I could swear that he actually spoke in English.

"What did you say?" I ask him.

His eyes turn to me and there is comprehension in them. I just about drop him back into the crib. He sees my shock and LAUGHS. 

"Omigod!" I shriek. "Who are you? What are you?"

He smiles broadly and there is something quite threatening in his eyes and his voice as he replies, "You'll figure it out."

I drop him in his crib and scream because it's then that I realize that our new son is possessed by a demon.

I wake up totally confused. It doesn't help that Chris is a away on business. So I am alone in our bed...bewildered and upset by this frightening dream. The cat wakes up and looks my way, but does nothing to assure me that it was just a dream and that all is fine. She just puts her head back down to slip back into her peaceful kitty sleep.

Damn cat.

Damn dream.

11 July 2010

Cruelty...

All cruelty springs from weakness.
-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Cruelty is a tyrant that's always attended with fear.
-- Thomas Fuller 

Is the capacity for cruelty inherent in all of us?
-- Soledad O'Brien

Now I say that with cruelty and oppression it is everybody's business to interfere when they see it.
-- Anna Sewell  


I was the victim of bullying when I was growing up - elementary, middle and high school. Cruel children, adolescents and teens making it known that I was not welcome. 

Not accepted. 

Not acceptable. 

And making it known in cruel, public humiliating ways. There are events from my childhood that I have tried in vain to erase from my memory. Humiliations of which I will likely never speak or write ever again...but that remain burned into all of my cells.

Never understood it then and I don't understand it now...this need for and capacity to be cruel that some people possess. 

It's one thing to be stupid, thoughtless, careless...to hurt someone without meaning to. We've probably all done it at one time or another. Some of us actually recognizing our thoughtless hurting of others and attempting to make amends. Others too dumb or thoughtless to realize that they're inflicting pain.

But to be intentionally cruel. To inflict pain out of malice. With forethought.

This is a mystery to me.

A dear, dear friend is currently the victim of unspeakable cruelty. Her pain right now is unending. And so completely undeserved. 

I ache for her. 

And I am so incredibly angry at the cruel people who are inflicting this pain upon her. This torture. And it is not thoughtless hurt. It is with malice and intention and forethought.

It is so completely unfair.

08 July 2010

The waiting...

 
The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

-- Tom Petty from "The Waiting"


I want to be patient and to let the events of our adoption unfold as they will on the timeline set out by the divine mystery of the Universe. Instead (and unfortunately) I seem to be leaning in the direction of impatience - and restlessness. 

"Is this really going to happen?" I ask myself...as each day passes with no news... as the waiting continues...wondering if we'll ever be a family.

In Buddhism, impatience and restlessness/worry falls into the category of the Five Hindrances - negative mental states that impede one's ability to be mindful. I'm embarrassed to say that it's been quite a while since I've listened to any Dharma talks or even cracked a page in any of my books about Buddhism. Between work, the flood, damage to the house, repairs to the house, putting the house back to rights, worry about the adoption, trying to lose weight, blah, blah, blah...I guess that I let life get in the way of my studies.

And in the way of being mindful.

So here I am feeling anxious and worried. Impatient and restless.

Suffering.

Gil Fronsdal, in The Issue at Hand, writes the following about patience:

When we recognize that clear-seeing, peace, compassion and love are quite different from, even incompatible with, compulsive behaviors and reactions, the value of patience becomes apparent. Patience entails choosing not to respond reactively. It provides tremendous support for mindfulness practice. Perseverance, patience under insult and acceptance of truth are three traditional facets of patience that give strength to mindfulness.

The patience of perseverance, through a gentle and steady effort, keeps us from succumbing to doubt, discouragement and fear.

I want to be patient. I want to listen to Gil. To practice patience and perseverance. To trust in the Universe, be in the moment and not let myself succumb further to doubt and discouragement.

Really, I do.

But...the waiting really is the hardest part.

03 July 2010

It's complicated...

In a recent post  - Done -  I wrote the following:

Genuinely wanted to (and still want to) understand how Chris and I can make our adoption the best it can be - not just for us, but for the child we will raise and the parents of that child.

Another blogger, Mei Ling,  had this to say about what I wrote:

I think the very issue with this (in the solely anti-adoption POV) is that adoption is not "the best" thing and can never be "the best" thing because it relies on the worst case scenario already having come to fruition. 

As always, I want to thank Mei Ling for visiting and taking the time to comment. Even though we come from different places in the adoption triad, she has visited in the past and been someone who has engaged in thoughtful and respectful dialogue.

In response to your comment, Mei Ling, I say: You're right.

Adoption isn't "the best" thing because it does rely on the worst case scenario coming to fruition.

The very best thing would be that all babies are born healthy, get to stay with their families and grow up in their cultures/places of birth with all of their biological relatives.

Period.

I actually have a whole different version of this post in which I describe the "in an ideal world" scenarios and all of the things that wouldn't happen in regards to children and their natural parents. And in that version of the post I write about how I came to the world of adoption - my "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans" story.

But I've opted not to post that version because...well, because I've just run out of energy for trying to tell my story and have it make sense. I've run out of steam in regards to feeling like I have to defend myself about our adoption.

So, you're right, Mei Ling. Adoption isn't the best.

Adoption is complicated.

It's a complicated solution to building families in a messy, complicated, and entirely imperfect world. It's a whole world unto itself that involves love/loss/gain/sadness/joy/regret/hope/anger. It's about the haves/the have nots/the frightened/the powerful/the manipulators/the manipulated. It's about children. It's about children and their parents. It's about children and first parents and adopted parents - and the complicated, messy and imperfect relationships that they must navigate throughout their lives.

If it wasn't complicated, I don't think that I would have started this blog to process the experience for myself and for the people who choose to share my story with me. If you've read this blog, you'll hopefully recognize that I am aware that adoption isn't all rainbows and kittens.

However, having a family via adoption is my imperfect reality. And the best that I can do is to make every effort possible to make our particular adoption the best that it can be in its very imperfect, complicated form for the child we will raise, for ourselves and for our child's first parents. 

02 July 2010

Still here...and technology

Radio silence...hmmm.

I've been off the grid because we went on vacation last week to Maine and New Hampshire where I unplugged (well, mostly...I did have my phone with me for text messaging a friend who was having a hard time while we were away) and didn't look at a computer, the news, TV, etc. for four whole days.

It was heaven.

Not that I don't love my blog and FB and all of the other technological wonders that make life easier.

But I am a person who, before I got married, didn't actually own a computer. Or a television. I listened to the radio at home, did my e-mail correspondence at work or headed to my college library to use the computer lab after work, and when I was feeling the need for entertainment I took a book to my favorite coffee house where I would hang out and watch the world go by for a few hours...sometimes by myself, but more often than not with coffee house friends who would sidle up to my table.

Who needed technology to have  a good life?

Now, of course, I'm married to Mr. Techno Guy and am surrounded by technology - all of which I have come to greatly appreciate, although none of it would I have were it left up to me.

A few years ago Chris comes home with a box under his arm and says with a huge grin, "I bought myself a birthday present."

A DVR.

Seriously???

"How much is THAT going to cost us each month?" I ask him, annoyed at yet another new piece of technology in our home and at the additional monthly expense. I mean, for God's sake, we already have a perfectly good VCR that is in great working condition! What the heck do we need with a DVR???

Chris ignores my annoyance and cheerfully gets us set up with the DVR.

I grumble about it for days (mostly to myself, but sometimes not...)

But then I discover the joy of watching a favorite show as it's recording while simultaneously recording another favorite show.

How did we ever survive with just a VCR player????

And so now I am addicted to our DVR.

Same goes with WiFi.

You would think the world was coming to an end the way I carry on when Chris announces that we need WiFi. What??? How much is that going cost us? Why is this necessary???

And who is now at this very moment sitting in the living room on her laptop utilizing the dreaded and totally unnecessary Wifi? Who is the person in the house that uses her computer in the bedroom, in the kitchen, on the deck?

Yep. That would be me.

I   L-O-V-E having WiFi...how it allows me to not be tethered to a desk when I use my computer.

Which brings me to the computer itself. I always had a desktop system, but when I decided to go back for Round 2 of grad school, Chris suggests that I get a laptop. I argue about the expense and all of the reasons that it's unnecessary, but we go to look at Mac Books and sure enough I leave the store with one (and a beaming husband) and now, of course, I can't imagine going back to a desk top system.

Ever.

I'm  very slow- even reluctant - to accept new technology, but when I finally do I generally embrace it.

Still, that doesn't mean that I'm unwilling to live without it, particularly when we travel.

So, last weekend while we were hiking Mount Willard in the White Mountains and searching out as many waterfalls as we could find, I didn't miss the computer, the TV or the DVR at all. Even though I had my iPhone with me, I didn't bother to get online to check FB or my blog. Although I did get online a few times to look up things related to Maine and New Hampshire - mostly to check the weather for the next day so we could plot and plan our activities accordingly.

If I had to give up my computer and all of my life's current technological conveniences.. .I'd miss the online friends and visitors I've met through my blog, the ability to instant message with friends far away, reading my favorite blogs with the regularity that I do now, and the ability to record and watch a variety of television entertainment.

But last weekend reminded me of a time when I didn't rely so much on technology.

When I didn't feel the need to be tied to a computer or the TV.

Four days of being unplugged.

It was lovely.

This vacation made me realize that I need to unplug more. And not just when I'm on vacation. As much as I love blogging and Facebooking and e-mailing and all of the other technology stuff that I do, it truly is a great thing for one's mental health to sometimes just shut down and focus on being in the present moment.

24 June 2010

Done...

I think that I'm kind of done trying to educate myself about adoption from "the other side."

As a result of a respectful comment that I recently left on another blog I have been in turn called a "predator" by two other bloggers. Additionally, one of those bloggers wrote the following comment when I invited her to visit my blog - specifically the post about Compassion:

Don’t try to teach us compassion–we who have lost our children deserve to be given compassion!

Exactly.

Yes, you do.

That was one of the main points of the post.

And, in truth, I wasn't trying to teach anyone about compassion. I was simply expressing my feelings and thoughts about compassion. Asking the question: Why can't we be compassionate with each other?

But she was having nothing to do with me.

There can be truly respectful dialogue among the parties involved in the adoption triad.  I am well aware of this because I have been extremely fortunate to have had some amazing, respectful and thought-provoking dialogue and interactions with other bloggers who sit firmly on the opposite side of the adoption fence.

And then there are interactions like these - full of name calling and hostility - that leave me feeling sad and stomped on.

So, I think that I'm going to take an extended hiatus from visiting the blogs of those folks who are vehemently in the "against adoption in all forms" camps. I've been there and tried my best to educate myself. Read the stories. Asked my questions. Genuinely wanted to (and still want to) understand how Chris and I can make our adoption the best it can be - not just for us, but for the child we will raise and the parents of that child.  I've tried my hardest to be respectful.

As such, I will always welcome respectful dialogue from other bloggers - in any part of the adoption triad - and sincerely hope that those folks who have visited me in the past will continue to do so and to leave me their candid, thought-provoking comments. I hope these women know how honored I am that they took the time to engage with me about their views. And hope that I've expressed my appreciation at having the opportunity to converse with them.

However, I believe that I am done going out into the blogosphere and intentionally opening myself up to a stomping from anyone who doesn't like me - or even apparently hates me - because I am a prospective adoptive parent.

It's gotten too hard.

23 June 2010

Home improvement...

Sorry for the radio silence on my end of the world.

Life has simply gotten in the way of my blogging.

Darn life!

That and I haven't felt like I have much to say these days. Well, that's not totally true...I have stuff that's been percolating in my brain - some of it adoption related and much of it stuff that I'm working through in therapy - but none of it is quite ready to come out and play.

Hence...radio silence.

So, in the spirit of at least getting back in touch I will mention that our house is finally on the mend.

Woohoo!

After finally admitting that the flood damage was just too much for us to handle on our own, my fabulous husband tracked down and hired a young energetic contractor guy to come in and fix the place. And fix it he has!

Wet dry wall - out!

New dry wall - in!

Plaster - up!

Today Young Energetic Contractor Guy returns to install new water-proof PVC baseboards.

It's wonderful knowing that soon our basement will be returned to us and we can get back to living in our entire house - not just three rooms.

The best part of having Young Energetic Contractor Guy come in is that we asked him to demolish a small storage room right off the main living area. It seems as though the original owners of the house intended to make the room into a bathroom, but only ever installed a crummy tiny little itty-bitty mostly useless sink.

No toilet.

At one time we looked into having a toilet installed, but it was just crazy expensive. So we used the room for storage. By having the room demolished, it opened up a huge amount of space in our laundry/utility/furnace room. Enough room that we can finally install a big useful functional utility sink and a laundry sorting/folding table! And still have room for storage!

Yay!

We will also be installing what apparently should be in every New England home - a sump pump.

Which, of course, we'll probably never actually need considering they're saying that the floods here were a freak thing in a "once every 100 years" kind of way.

But we're taking no chances.

The sump pump goes in the now enlarged utility room in the lowest part of the room. So that - on the off chance that more than three feet of water decides to make its way up through our foundation anytime in the future - we'll be ready for it!

(Oh, and by the way, in case you ever experience this particular kind of flooding - where the water table is SO high that it has nowhere to go except up through your home's foundation...just know that according to your homeowners' insurance - even the kind with a flood rider - that this is apparently considered "normal seepage." Not exactly sure how anyone can think that a foot of standing water in your basement is "normal seepage" but that's what our insurance company told us. Yeah, whatever...)

The other great thing about having our basement re-done post flood is that it forced us to get rid of a lot of things. We used a large finished room off of the main room for all the years we've lived here as a storage room and as the cats' toilet room.

Stupid really to have wasted such valuable space for storage and kitty toilet.

So now that room is pretty much cleaned out.

The kitty litter box is currently living in the bathroom, but will be moved down to the utility room upon its return to the basement.

So that leaves a nice finished room (listed originally as a bedroom) free for my use as a studio. I'll be moving my drafting table and all of my art supplies from their current location in our guest room to the downstairs.

This is a very good thing.

Not only for me to have a dedicated space I can call my own for my creative endeavors, but also because it finally means that we can begin the process of converting our guest room into the baby's room.

"I think it's time," I tell Chris, "to get that room a little more ready for the kid. I didn't want to have a whole nursery set up when we started the adoption, but I think it's at least time to clear out the room and paint it. To say to the Universe, 'OK, we're really ready. Send us a kid.'"

He gives me a sideways glance.

"You really want to paint that room?"

Yep.

And, conveniently, one of the colors that I had been thinking of for my new studio wasn't quite right, but it would be perfect for a little girl's bedroom!

We'll see if Chris is OK with this, but since he gave me a "I'll leave the nursery decoration all to you" just a few weeks back, I'm thinking that the color will be approved.

16 June 2010

Insomnia...part 43

From a prior post:

Last week I spend 40 minutes grousing to my therapist about how aggravated I am all of the time by work.

"Do you have the book Co-Dependent No More?" she asks me in her lovely calm therapist voice.

"Yeah," I reply, not liking where this is going.

"Maybe you ought to read the chapter on 'Detachment'," she suggests in her very gentle therapist-y way.

***

Last night I am once again sitting in my therapist's tiny office in the green, mushy, moderately comfy chair with my feet up on the ottoman.

"Look, I did my homework!" I chirp cheerfully as I pull the Co-dependant book from my bag. "I'm reading the chapter on detachment."

"And how's that going for you?" she asks. "Is that helping?"

"Yeah..ummm," I say, thinking of the very aggravating afternoon that I've just had at my office and feeling my blood pressure soar, "Not so much."

Present day...3:33 a.m.

Here I am awake and obsessing over work.

Thoughts of work wake me at 2:54. So I move out to the living room to try to get back to sleep without waking Chris.

And yet here I am more than 30 minutes later fully awake, feeling beyond aggravated and blogging about it.

The thing is that I don't want to feel like this. I know that my response to this particular situation at work - to this particular person - is totally out of proportion with the situation and now getting kind of out of control. Hence my being awake at this ridiculous hour blogging instead of getting the rest that I desperately need to cope with my job!

This goes way beyond me being angry about work...this is anger coming up that I've been carrying around for a long, long time.

In regards to anger (or any extreme emotion) directed at a situation or at someone else, my therapist recently used the phrase, "When it's really intense...it's yours."

This anger I'm feeling...it's pretty intense.

So I guess it's mine.

Damn.

And the things is - I really don't care to to let this person at work trigger me like this.

He just isn't worth it.

Me getting so angry doesn't affect him or help me resolve the situation.

It only hurts me.

Why am I so good at hurting myself?

So....Detachment....

Um, no...not so much.

Yeah, actually not at all.

I have the feeling that my therapist is going to be a wee bit disappointed at our next session.

Maybe now that I have blogged about this - acknowledged that it's happening - I can get a bit more shut eye. If I shut down the computer and manage to get myself back to sleep I could still get in a few more hours.

G'night.

Or I should say...g'morning.

13 June 2010

Stuff...

We have too much stuff.

Seriously, how the heck did we accumulate all of this stuff?

Books, furniture, tchotchkes, weird kitchen gadgets and serving items, miscellaneous goofy things, more books, more tchotchkes, more books, more tchotchkes.

We got STUFF.


So yesterday we have a yard sale  - primarily to get rid of all of the stuff that we had been storing in our large and small basement storage rooms because we're finally having a professional come in to deal with the flood damage to our basement.

Hosting a yard sale is exhausting. 

You stay up WAY TOO LATE the night before pricing all of your various and sundry stuff. The kitchen and living room are your basic staging areas. This is so you can haul the stuff out to the driveway and front lawn post-haste the morning of the sale in something of an organized fashion. Then you get up CRAZY EARLY on a Saturday morning to engage in the set up of your stuff. You've placed ads in the paper and on Craig's List. Ads that list what assorted bargains yard salers might expect to find amidst your particular treasure trove. 

Ads that say, "No early birds please."

But, of course, there's at least that one guy who shows up 50 minutes early when you have maybe a third of the stuff actually outside and set up for display. He hovers around for about ten minutes while you're hauling stuff outside like mad. You hope that he doesn't just grab something and leave while you're not there supervising.

Your mother-in-law and uncle-in-law arrive with the stuff that they'd like you to sell on your behalf so you give them different colored stickers than yours so you can figure out who gets what $ in sales.

And then the fun begins once you're all done setting up and the raging hordes of yard salers descend upon your driveway and yard. 

Some look at every single item you have on display. Study them to see what might actually be of value or of need for them.

Others do a quick walk through to see what jumps out at them immediately. Some of these folks leap back into their cars to head onto the next sale, hoping that the next sale had better junk than yours. 

Others find just what they didn't know they were looking for. A lovely woman practically runs up to me with a wooden serving tray I received for Christmas a number of years ago. It has a large rooster on it and has sat unused in a cabinet since the day I received it. "I can't believe you have this!" the woman exclaims, "My mom just re-did her kitchen and everything is roosters. She's going to love this!"

Some meander around with no apparent method of selection and ask, "How much for this?" for every item they pick up in spite of the price tag on the item located right next to their thumb.

Still others do the sloooooooooowwwwwwwwww drive-by in their cars...some to turn around and actually get out to shop, while others just keep on driving. Who knows what they were looking for.

And lastly, you have the quick drive-by people. These are the folks who apparently and miraculously can tell in 30 seconds if you have or don't have good junk. (These are the same folks who drive by with their cell phones clutched to their ears, no doubt reporting to other yard salers, "Yeah, you can skip this one. Nothing good here!")

Everyone wants a bargain.

Some will simply hand over the $ no questions asked when you tally up their purchases.

And others...

"OK, that's five paper back books for $2, the serving platter for 25 cents, the potholders for 25 cents, the set of 6 candles for 25 cents. That makes the total $2.75."

"How about a dollar?"

Sigh.

We keep our books in beautiful condition. Particularly Chris. He can read a paperback book and leave it looking brand new as if no one had ever even opened it. I'm getting better at it (particularly now that I don't read in bed much anymore and so do not fall asleep on top of my books...) So we didn't think it unreasonable to charge 50 cents per paper back or 5 paperbacks for $2.00 for our almost pristine books.  Considering that paperbacks today cost almost $9, we thought 50 cents was a pretty good deal.

One yard saler later in the day is simply UP IN ARMS about our pricing.

"When I have a yard sale, I only charge 25 cents for a paperback," she says testily.

She weasels the entire Peter Robinson set of Alan Banks mysteries - all 14 paperbacks! -  out of us for 3 bucks.

Another gentleman, a neighbor of ours who drives a very expensive car, wants Chris' $120 diving flippers for a buck. Chris holds out for the $10 he has listed on the price tag. Cheap neighbor guy acquiesces after a while of making jokes and trying to get Chris to relent on the price. 


I like the lady to who drives up to our yard sale in a brand new Jaguar.

A. Brand. New. Jaguar.

Seriously???

"Maybe this is how she can afford that Jag," says Chris to me after Jaguar Lady leaves.

At the end of the day a lot less of our stuff is left in the yard, but there is still lots of it. 

Damn. 

Not our most successful yard sale venture, but still...there is less then when we started. 


Woohoo! Make this stuff go away!

Until our next yard sale...

As we are hauling stuff back inside, I say to Chris, "For Christmas and birthdays this year, can we ask for tickets to things? I don't want anymore stuff."

11 June 2010

New look...(all over the place blog post...)

Gotta love it when Blogger comes out with new templates. I love messing around with the colors and the formats. So much fun.

Perhaps I missed my calling as a graphic designer?

Yeah, maybe not.

So, anyway, after about 30 minutes of fooling around with the new templates - voila! - a bit of a new look for the blog (although I am nothing if not predictable and it just has to be green and purple!)

Not much news about the adoption...unfortunately.

We'll try to schedule a conference call for next week with the new rep from our facilitator. Apparently, the gal who encouraged us to consider a mom who smoked heavily through her entire pregnancy is no longer employed by our facilitators.

Go figure.

I'm not sure that the new gal is going to have much to tell us. And, in fact, I'm still unsure what the "client liaison" does exactly since our original one seemed to have no clue how to help us except by suggesting the whole smoking change.

Truth is...as I mentioned in an earlier post...kind of tired of the whole thing. The waiting and the wondering. So, unless people ask me specifically about the adoption I'm not spending a whole lot of time thinking about it.

Mostly I'm thinking about work these days because it has been a tremendous and seemingly constant source of aggravation for me. I've just been a huge, walking, seething ball of anger. So much so that I can't seem to let it go at the end of the day. I come home fuming. I vent to Chris. I go to bed fuming.

It's not good.

Last week I spend 40 minutes grousing to my therapist about how aggravated I am all of the time by work.

"Do you have the book Co-Dependent No More?" she asks me in her lovely calm therapist voice.

"Yeah," I reply, not liking where this is going.

"Maybe you ought to read the chapter on 'Detachment'," she suggests in her very gentle therapist-y way.

Damn.

Knew that was coming.

So, essentially my therapist is telling me that I'm being obsessive and controlling about this particular issue at work.

Damn.

Knew that was coming.

Last night I am once again sitting in my therapist's tiny office in the green, mushy, moderately comfy chair with my feet up on the ottoman.

"Look, I did my homework!" I chirp cheerfully as I pull the Co-dependant book from my bag. "I'm reading the chapter on detachment."

"And how's that going for you?" she asks. "Is that helping?"

"Yeah..ummm," I say, thinking of the very aggravating afternoon that I've just had at my office and feeling my blood pressure soar, "Not so much."

She looks at me sympathetically and then launches into trying to help me detach from my anger about my work.

Gotta love therapists.

I leave the session feeling more calm than I have in days.

This morning I forget to set my alarm, which is bad in that I missed a trip to the gym, but is good in that I was feeling a bit droopy yesterday - always a sign that I'm on the verge of getting sick. So a long night of sleep was probably the best thing for me instead of hauling my butt out of bed to hit the gym.

And in other news...

Yard sale!!

That's right.

We finally found someone reliable and reasonably priced to come and deal with our very flood damaged basement because we finally admitted that we were just too overwhelmed to do it ourselves.

And he's coming on Monday.

Which means that we have to get everything out of the basement so he has room to work.

Which means that tonight after work will be a mad scramble to haul everything up from the basement that has yet to be hauled up. Then we have to price everything and scour the rest of the house for more stuff to sell.

Gotta love yard sales.

And now that I have rambled somewhat incoherently here I must be off to have some breakfast and then get myself off to work.

Think maybe I'll bring my copy of Co-dependent No More with me...

I was going to say, "You never know, I might need it."

But, quite frankly, I'm going to need it.

09 June 2010

Not much to say...

6:09 a.m.

Awake.

I've actually been awake since 5:42 and probably should have hauled my butt to the gym then, but I was feeling SO groggy and unmotivated...

Never shut down my laptop last evening so here I am.

But the thing is...I just don't have a whole lot to say. So, what the hell am I doing here?

Trying to work up the energy and motivation to head to the gym.

Up until this past Monday I had actually been to the gym for 18 consecutive days and would have made it 19 on Monday except that I overslept, brought my gym clothes with me to work with a plan to hit the treadmill after work, but then got stuck working late. By the time I left my office it was after 8:30 p.m. and I just cannot exercise that late in the evening.

Wakes me right up.

So, here I am today with the time to work out, at the time of day when I prefer working out, but not much energy.

In part, it's because I failed to follow my regular routine, which involves laying out my clothes the night before so I can jump into them and GO. But last night I fell asleep on the couch. Chris sent me to bed. I stumbled my way to the bedroom where I promptly passed out in bed. Now...this morning...gym clothes are down on the laundry lines. And my socks are back in the bedroom where Chris is asleep. So not only do I have to go to two places in the house to get myself ready, but I run the risk of waking my exhausted husband (huge proposal at work for him...rather hellish week...)

Some excuses, eh?

Yeah, they sound pretty lame to me, too...

OK, my alarm is about to ring so I think that I will get myself ready to go.

Hmmm...for not having much to say, I seem to have had much to say.

06 June 2010

Beachbody...not quite

A colleague of mine is on Day 4 of "P90X" from Beachbody.

Until he started Facebooking about P90X, I had never heard of it. So I make a quick visit to the company website where I learn that by using the P90X home training system ("our most extreme home fitness training system ever!! Just 3 payments of $39.95 plus $19.95 s & h") you'll "GO FROM REGULAR TO RIPPED IN JUST 90 DAYS!"

Wow.

That's impressive.

So apparently you throw in a P90X DVD each day and for an hour sweat like mad in your basement or bedroom or workout room or wherever you happen to have your television set up and enough room to move around. The system boasts different workouts for each session so your muscles don't get accustomed to a particular set of moves and thus you encounter none of the dreaded fitness "plateaus."

Sounds great!

But not for me.

I've tried working out at home. DVDs, the Fitness channel, following the instructions in a book, etc.

I always stop after just a few days or a few weeks.

What I realize today while I am at the gym is that working out at home to a DVD or the TV has never worked for me. And not because I don't like to work out...quite the opposite - I really like working out.

But what I truly enjoy is sharing the experience of exercising with other people.

At the gym.

There is something about being with a group of people who are sharing the same kind of physical activities at the same time that I find extremely comforting. That I just cannot get from watching people exercise on a DVD.

Sharing the experience of breathing and moving and focusing with other human beings in the flesh is akin to a kind of collective meditation.

There is an energy at the gym that I can't get at home by myself.

It is the energy of solidarity.

When I'm on the treadmill I am focused on my breathing and the movement of my body.  I do not read or watch television and I usually ignore the music that is playing.

Breathe and move.

Breathe and move.

And absorb the energy of the person on the next treadmill or the bike behind me or on the elliptical trainer just down the way.

We are all breathing and moving.

And moving and breathing.

Together.

Not a true meditation practice, but as close as I have gotten to a regular group practice in many years.

Lifting weights or stretching - I am again focused on my body, on my muscles, on the breath, on feelings of becoming stronger, more fit and healthy.

The rest of the world simply drops away.

Again - a kind of meditation.

And although I am focused inward while I am moving and breathing and sweating I am still - on some deeper level - aware of the people around me.

Aware of their energy. Their breath. Their strength.

When I see a very heavyset person sweating away on the elliptical trainer or the bike or the treadmill I am inspired to work harder. To breathe deeper. To push a little more.

I notice the weightlifters with their incredible drive and focus. While I have no desire to look like them, I do want to emulate their commitment.

I watch other women - fit women whose bodies I admire. I observe what they're doing to achieve their levels of fitness. They inspire me, too.

Every single person I encounter in this world is an inspiration and a source of energy and comfort.

The gym has become for me more than just a place to get in some exercise.

It is a community.

Will I become "ripped" in just 90 days?

Probably not.

But that doesn't bother me. I know that slow and steady is the best route for me.

And I have a place to go each day where I can escape from the world of work and aggravations and stress...a place where I can enjoy the breath and the body and community and solidarity and quietness of the mind.