Friday, April 29, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

My quiet house right now. The cats are catching rays and I'm writing words after a long, draining week.  

Lily is practicing pitching in the yard with her dad who is coach once again.  He's always coached T.'s finally her turn, and I think they're both enjoying it.

Teddy went straight from practice on one course to play 9 on another despite the fact it's in the 40s. He is completely committed to golf right now, and his scores show it. I love that it's something he can enjoy for the rest of his life too.

That he set up a date with my dad last weekend to get a new driver. My dad told me how great that made him feel. We all feel him growing up and away, so those one on ones are extra special.

Every morning these two have breakfast together.

A little inspiration in the kitchen the past seven days. It was long overdue. Not pictured is a batch of banana bread muffins hot out of the oven that were happily consumed by hungry kids and their friends.

No one at Casa Wags was too excited about the salmon, but the risotto sure was tasty.

Tomatillo salsa. They are only available for a short window so I make lots while I can.

White mac & cheese which means mozzarella, goat, white cheddar and a little Parm, all leftover in the cheese drawer.

Garlic and lemon roast chicken.

I just about finished H is for Hawk, and I'm grateful I stuck with it.

These words I so understand from the memoir...

I was in ruins. Some deep part of me was trying to rebuild itself, and its model was right there on my fist. The hawk is everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and the numb to the hurts of human life.

Gerbera daisies.

Forgiveness for myself and others.

Gentleness towards myself and others.

Luxury. 600 thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets. 

When I was really really sad yesterday and Lily just looked at me and asked, "Mom, do you need a hug?" It was exactly what I needed.

The four people who left kind comments on my last post. Only 12% of readers took the time to comment, but I'm going to focus on their positive juju and move on with big loving gratitude for them, and obviously it doesn't matter to me at all because I just took the time
to figure out the percentage and I hate math.

Tonight is pizza and movie night. Probably a little vino tinto too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Existential Blog Crisis

Peanut's taken it upon himself to act as placeholder. I turn on my computer, go get a cup of coffee and come back to find him in my spot. I like to think he's responsible for my absence here (a little play on cat's got my tongue), but the truth is, he'll make room for me if I just ask. Speaking of truth...I'm in a bit of a quandary.  You see on the one hand I'm noticing that when I come here to write, I've either said it before or can't say it at all. Best not to put it out there on www and to whoever may find their way to my little piece of it. So many stories aren't mine to tell even though nothing would delight me more. Gone are the days when I want to memorialize all the sweet and precocious things my kids say and do here. Gone mostly because my two don't want me waxing poetic about them night and day. I try to stay away from family drama, which is forever abundant, because I need and love these people plus I'm saving it all for my juicy novel. Work drama is so ripe for the picking, but I don't feel like looking for a new job and I'm storing it in the vault for the sitcom I write one day. By the way, it will be better than The Office, which was originally my idea. I'm telling you I could have written a whole season after 6 hours at the office yesterday. Politics and religion are big parts of my life, but I don't care for people other than Father Tim preaching at me, so I do my best to refrain from taking my Blogger pulpit. That leaves me with little material and it's exactly why so many of my posts are about daily life, which is the extraordinary ordinary if only to me. Recipes, books, excursions, celebrations that are reduced into what not why. I'm a why girl. Writing helps me figure things out. The words flow, the feelings come and go, and suddenly I can come out the other side.  The other side of joy or grief or anger or disappointment. Not writing is not good for me and not a healthy option so therein lies the struggle. I need to write, but I'm handcuffed. I feel I cannot write about so many of the things I want and need to write about.

I don't read many blogs anymore. It's less a time thing and more a matter of finding that writers are sharing less and less. Sound familiar? The blogs I was initially drawn to a decade ago when I first entered this forum were raw and honest. I was shocked at the confessional tone these writers seemed comfortable assuming as they poured out their hearts, fears, demons, desires, but I was drawn in because they felt safe and familiar. Some of them are still writing...lots of sponsored or self-promotional posts and once in awhile a surface level empirical crisis, which just makes me suspicious. I'm not a dog...I don't need a bone. Most of them have written books. I'll celebrate anyone who gives birth to their words, but I usually refrain from buying or even reading these publications. Why? Because I don't connect with them anymore. There I said it. They let me down. These women were once open and authentic, but now they are just shilling and yes, most of them are attention junkies. I know I know. The Internet has changed the world, blogging has changed writing and social media has changed us all, but I remember when there was a safe and supportive, honest and open community of writers, and I miss that.

I started this blog shortly after my mother died. It was a natural way for me to work through my grief. If you read here you know I'm still working through my grief, and I imagine that will continue until the day I die. Words heal, but there is always scar tissue. I wrote for myself without any attention to an audience. I wasn't interested in monetizing my blog, going viral or racking up comments and followers...I just wanted to purge. None of that has changed. Along the way, people in my real life discovered this blog, which I decided was no secret and that kind of delighted me. It scared me too, but I'm a writer at heart and the thought of sharing my words was appealing. I know of a few people in my real life that check in here and to you I want to say thank you. It means so much to me that you think enough of me to read what I write. You are giving me a much appreciated gift. I've been hurt by many others who have made comments that it would be weird to read my blog, or that they just couldn't imagine reading my inner thoughts. To them I want to say I don't get it. If any one of them wrote anything, I would be the first to read it. I am deeply interested in their their lives. It really feels like a snub. It hurts.

I don't see myself shutting down My Musings. I love all the memories it holds and I imagine my kids reading it one day. Perhaps, I'll make it private and then I'll truly be able to write without censor, or maybe I'll just start on my novel and my sitcom, but more than likely I'll keep on keeping on because this space has become an integral part of me.

I've never asked this before and I feel a little vulnerable doing so now, but if you read this will you check in and say hi? Just leave me a message in the comments, which I think I've successfully enabled. It can be your good deed for the day: helping a struggling writer in the middle of a real existential crisis. It would mean a great deal to me to know who's stopping by.

Monday, April 25, 2016

On My Mind Monday

"Now that Dad was gone I was starting to see how mortality was bound up in things like that cold, arc-lit sky. How the world was full of signs and wonders that come, and go, and if you are lucky you might see them. Once, twice. Perhaps never again. The albums on my mother’s shelves are full of family photographs. But also other things. A starling with a crooked beak. A day of hoarfrost and smoke. A cherry tree thick with blossom. Thunderclouds, lightning strikes, comets, eclipses: celestial events terrifying in their blind distances but reassuring you, too, that the world is forever, though you are only a blink in its course."

~Helen Macdonald
H is for Hawk

This memoir took its hold on me tonight.  Macdonald's writing is as keen as a hawk's eye and as sharp as each talon. Just this short passage touches on most of the things that both break and fill my heart every day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April Inventory

Reading not enough.  I have several stacks all around the house and a few waiting at the library, but in the past month I only made it through The Ramblers and Yes Please.  The Ramblers sort of annoyed me, but then I'm not the biggest fan of chick lit or stories that revolve around rich people problems.  It had potential to move out of that category and beyond the waspy world, but it never did. I was annoyed because it was well, almost gushingly, reviewed by people (readers, writers, bloggers) I usually agree with and respect so it made me question both their sincerity and my propensity to criticize. In other words, if a friend asks me to write a review of her recently published novel, am I going to admit it lacked substance?  And why can I not just realize that not every book I read is going to be riveting? Poehler's book was interesting. It's not all that funny and that's OK. It's witty, at times, but the biggest takeaway for me is that Amy is just an average girl who had the guts and tenacity to pursue her dreams.  The last section of the book was my favorite.  The stand out was My Boys. I laughed and cried through that vignette. Time Travel also resonated strongly with me. I'm still on track to read at least 100 books this year even after this recent drought which I blame on Showtime. See Watching below.

Wondering what to do with this monkey mind of mine.  I'm all over the place these days, which usually results in me getting nowhere.  I have a stack of lists an inch thick and growing by the day.

Watching too much television.  It started with Homeland and then The Affair and then Billions. Yesterday I was searching for my next show when I realized that we have to cancel Showtime. Lily and I went to see to Legally Blond at the high school over the weekend.  It was better than television that's for sure. Mike and I watched The Big Short recently. It was well done, but it made me angry. The amount of greed was gross. How is it that no one was punished except homeowners and taxpayers?

Listening to my quiet house. It's so quiet I just heard Tigger walk down the stairs. It's rare to sit in complete silence, and it's refreshing. 

Eating too much sugar since Easter. It makes me realize how even just small amounts set us up to crave it more regularly. It's in everything too from Greek yogurt to salad dressings so I'm passing on the yogurt and back to making my own dressing again. Truthfully, I've felt uninspired in the kitchen lately.  Cooking feels more like a chore than a passion these days and that's a problem for me so I'm ready to hand off the entree to the grill master.  This week we enjoyed the first brats of the season.

Wanting my new pillows and sheets to arrive today. I don't know that we've ever splurged on a really good set of sheets before.  I recently ordered a pair that caught my eye because they were a refreshing aqua color and then while I was shopping with Lily this weekend, I found a perfect sea glass linen quilt and shams.

Hoping to get summer camps and activities scheduled soon so I can breathe easy knowing my two will be entertained and engaged. 

Thinking that there is no such thing as too much kindness or too much gratitude.

Enjoying SNL especially during this election year. There's certainly an abundance of material although I will say that the skits start out funny, and then fall flat at the end. Also Nyle DiMarco on the dance floor, spring baseball, kitchen dance parties and open windows.

Loving this excerpt from Amy Poehler's My Boys that is anything, but funny:

"When your children arrive, the best you can hope for is that they break open everything about you. Your mind floods with oxygen. Your heart becomes a room with wide open windows. You laugh hard every day. You think about the future and read about global warming. You realize how nice it feels to care about someone more than yourself. And gradually, through this heart-heavy openness and these fresh eyes, you start to care a teeny tiny bit more about what happens to everyone in it."

Monday, April 18, 2016

On My Mind Monday

Time can be your bitch if you just let go of the "next" and the "before."

~ Amy Poehler
Yes Please

Friday, April 15, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Squeezing in my workout this morning before work because Lily and I have plans tonight.

Tickets for the high school musical, Legally Blond. I've never even seen the movie so I'm really looking forward to it.

Teddy worked so hard on homework this week. He was up past midnight a couple nights plugging away. That's, in part, due to faulty time management last weekend, but also amped golf and baseball practices and the culmination of a big paper. I think they'll be a little relief this weekend which is good seeing as how he has a pitching clinic and 2 baseball games.

He shot a 43 and took first in his match this week despite the fact that he was having a hard time driving.

Lily had a pitching clinic this week too. She worked so hard that her arm was sore. Mike said she is looking good on the mound. 

Teddy has a new bed.  He's had no headboard for years and then he was sleeping on a mattress on the floor for the past month so it's time.  We're trying to keep the momentum going in the home improvement department, but that takes time, energy and cash, of course.

Taxes are done.  Thanks Love.

This Amy Poehler advice from Yes Please: Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier.

Books in cue.  Next up is H is for Hawk followed by May We Be ForgivenMy Name Is Lucy Barton

A relatively quiet and temperate weekend ahead of us.