Friday, October 5, 2012

 Oh Lordy! I hauled home some furniture from the side of the road today. Not sure if I am going to keep it, but it coordinates with the Brasilia so well. Maybe it is the new television stand? And then the triple dresser moves into my bedroom? And the yellow chest goes into Emily's room? But then where will the bookcase go? Oh, the trouble of living in a small house and having a furniture obsession. 

I don't want to get rid of the yellow chest. It was the first furniture C and I bought together. And it ruined her back, so I feel obligated to love it forever. Plus, it is a fine, solid piece of furniture. 

If someone had driven past and seen me loading the stereo console into the Camry all alone, they would have thought I was nuts. I have never really hauled much home from the side of the road before. It was fun, but it would have been easier in a truck and with a best friend. I managed to get it in the trunk, even though I ended up covered in spider egg sacs.

While huffing and puffing and cussing the bungie cord that wouldn't quite reach, I remembered what family I come from. A family of women that never needed a man's help to move anything. From a very young age I helped haul furniture from room to room and up and down stairs. There was NO WAY I couldn't load this up. (This might be what was going through C's head when the dresser vs. back showdown happened too.) Even Emily, when she was like 9 years old, helped me move dressers to the basement. I remember the kids crying when our first attempt ended with the dresser wedged in the stairwell and me trapped in the basement. She makes me proud by carrying on the tradition of women in our family flexing their muscles when it comes to redecorating. My focus on grooming Emily into a moving buddy may have resulted in Matthew becoming completely worthless though. Which is not going to be pretty when he gets home tonight and has to help me get the console in the house for its first cleaning.

I was already reminiscing about my Mom earlier today. It is strange how much I don't really know how she felt about things. Is it just the length of time since we have been able to talk to each other, or is my perspective of what I want to know changing with age? I kind of thought about asking her best friend to coffee to see if she could answer some of my questions. I don't know if that would be weird or not. I just wonder why she didn't have more close friends. Why didn't she date at all? Was she happy? I think she was happy with us, but there is a difference between being satisfied as a mother and happy as a woman. Also, what really happened the night I cut my leg and had stitches? Is there anyone that can tell me?  Usually I miss her pretty bad around my birthday. That has lessened some over the years, but I sure could use some help in learning how to let Lou go to college. 
I thought my time of feeling out of place as a parent was over. When they went to Kindergarten, I was the youngest Mom and always felt judged by the other parents. I never had any friends my age that had kids that were at the same stages as mine. I feel like, for the most part, my journey as a Mom has been a solo flight. Now I have to keep hearing, "You can't be old enough to have a daughter in college!" I am. And I don't know how to reply to that without getting mad. "I had her as a teenager and managed to not screw her up." "I was a teen Mom, but not like what you see on MTV, and have raised a daughter that will do better than I ever did." I will not say I made a mistake when I was a teenager. The kids were never that. I made a sacrifice of my life when I was a teenager and my reckless actions caught up with me. A sacrifice of my dreams for their success. And now seeing them succeed is my only wish. 
Ugh, Ok time to not be so serious. Want to know which song always makes me dance and sing along? My Life by Billy Joel. I love it.

Got a call from an old friend
We used to be real close
Said he couldn't go on the American way
Closed the shop, sold the house
Bought a ticket to the West Coast
Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.

I don't need you to worry for me cause I'm alright
I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home
I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life
Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone

I never said you had to offer me a second chance
(I never said you had to)
I never said I was a victim of circumstance
(I never said)
I still belong, don't get me wrong
You can speak your mind
But not on my time

They will tell you, you can't sleep alone in a strange place
Then they'll tell you, you can't sleep with somebody else
Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
Either way it's okay to wake up with yourself

I don't need you to worry for me cause I'm alright
I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home
I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life
Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone

I never said you had to offer me a second chance
(I never said you had to)
I never said I was a victim of circumstance
(Of cirumstance)
I still belong, don't get me wrong
You can speak your mind
But not on my time

I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life
Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone

(Keep it to yourself, it's my life.)
(Keep it to yourself, it's my life.)
(Keep it to yourself, it's my life.)
(Keep it to yourself, it's my life.)


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The New Normal

I am trying to find a routine to my days and weeks. Trying to make the adjustment to dinner menus for 3, one of whom believes meat and donuts are the only sustenance he needs. I tried to suggest a new seating chart for the table so we would be grouped closer, but that was rejected. Now we sit from end to end of the 6 seater. I think every single one of my meals has involved wine.I wasn't joking when I said that was going to be my new hobby. ;)

So many changes for me, mostly, although I know everyone feels different. I have to give more Moe-Moe snuggles. Plans need to be made to have the dogs taken care of during long 12-hour shifts. I have a new address to memorize. Different closets to put clothes in, and a different way of doing laundry altogether. No one to pick up at 3:00 because soccer doesn't end until 5. Alot more time alone for me, really. And it is strange, trying to settle into this pattern. It just doesn't feel right.

I know there are thousands of parents out there just like me;I imagine mothers having the hardest time. It is just so strange not knowing every detail and everyone she knows. I am so excited and so proud and so devastated at the same time. It is a tricky place to be and still portray myself as "adjusting well". Difficult to find the balance of "letting go" and being a safety net.

It is hard not to text every morning my standard goodbye, "Make good choices" which means everything. Be safe. Be aware. Be smart. Think of the future. Make a difference. Eat a healthy lunch. Be friends with the right people. Be proud of yourself.

It is even harder not to end the day with my standard question, "What was the best part of your day?" It has been a part of our lives since Lou's Kindergarten teacher, one of the best teachers she's ever had, told me that was a better way to get her to talk than just asking what they had learned. I was so frustrated then that I was not a part of her day and all she would tell me is that she had done "nothing" all day. I was not the only one that had a transition then either. In the beginning, Sonny used to save half of his lunch for her and she would come home with half of hers still in her lunch box. They would sit and share at 3:00 every afternoon.

The reality is, I'm not a part of her every day now. I am not supposed to be. I know she is adjusting to a new pace of life, a new way of thinking and living. It is something she has to face on her own and I am so glad she made it to this point. None of my nieces and nephews have gone to college, most didn't even finish high school. I want every door to be open for her. I want her to forge the way for Sonny so he can focus on his next steps. I want them to do better than I have in every way.

With hockey practices just around the corner and a new work schedule, my dinner plans will be all shook up again. There are new activities to plan for and new goals to be made. Again,like when she started Kindergarten, I feel so out of place compared to other people my age. Most will still have their babies home for many years, while I forge ahead into a different future. I will learn to flow with another new normal. I will make good choices. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Onward and Upward

Another school year has started for us. In some ways it is the same, and in so many ways it is different. We are getting used to a new rythm, one that we have never danced to before. 
I was left behind on Matthew's first day of school, he rode with a friend. I still got up and made him a wonderful candlelit birthday breakfast before he flew out the door. I am still not used to them having friends that can drive.  He looked wonderful in his new clothes. And for once he got some reasonable shoes that I don't think are hideous. I do feel bad that his first day has been on his birthday the last few years, he kind of gets ripped off by having to share the first day of school budget and fanfare.

Today is Emily's first day of class. I know what she was planning on wearing, but I don't know if that is what she went with. And I am not entirely sure which class she has today. 
Dropping her off and getting her settled in was fun. The actual unloading process was very easy and her room is big and bright with a wonderful view. She is definitely in the heart of downtown. I hope her roommates are keepers. 
The programs the school had for parents were encouraging and they were smart enough to fill the broken-hearted Moms with liquor Saturday night.  She had a ton of programs to attend too and this weekend she will be busy exploring the city. 
It will take a while to adjust to one less heartbeat in the house. I am already counting the days til parent weekend so I can go visit and see all that she has learned.
So many parents there were concerned about what kind of jobs their children would have after school. I have never worried about that. She will be doing what she was always meant to do, and I can teach her to be poor if neccessary. So much of what is truly valuable cannot be bought, there is no price tag for innate happiness. 
I did realize I pretty much fail with the Pentax. When I have film, I don't have the camera. When I have the camera, I don't have film.... Someday I will get it right. Hopefully soon.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer needs a speeding ticket!

I wanted to have so much free time this summer. I envisioned long days spent reading, taking pictures, and knitting. In reality I have spent so much time in the car, washcloths are the only thing I have been able to knit, and I lost some film and/or forgot to pack it when I wanted it.

But it has still been great. We have gone to Woodhaven more than we ever have. Even a few trips for two + two puppies! Our garden is more amazing than I could have anticipated. Matthew has not wrecked the car (yet) and my nerves are not shot (even though I keep saying rules of the road while C is driving). We made it to 2 concerts, her fave and my old reliable. Both were great.

I have managed to mostly avoid the sunburn, even though I am now a deep-ender. I learned to tread water in June and now I do not want to get out of the pool. I am able to just jump into the deep end (with Jenny & Louie doing a countdown) and I went down the slide. I have even decided that I will start training now for the Senior Olympics so I will be at the top of my game. After 65 years of training, I will surpass Michael Phelps in greatness.
Baby me, you can't see my sisters holding up numbers for my performances ala Olympic style :)

My corner of the garden gave us carrots and peas as well as some early tomatoes. The tomatoes are still going strong. Who could have known that picking carrots could be so much fun? Like unearthing a mystery! And they are so tasty.
he didn't know I had a camera

I also took a writing class at the YWCA. I was not expecting it to lead where it has when I first saw the flyer at the library. I met weekly with a wonderful group of ladies and was introduced to some wonderful readings. I have a goal of writing a short story before I turn 40, and this class was one step to jumpstart that process. But, maybe I am not such a short story writer? Maybe I am an essay writer? Or...a poet? We covered nonfiction, fiction, and poetry in class. I even found inspiration in my carrots:

Fresh Carrots
Still buried this morning
From seeds planted last March, 
Sewn with a gentle pat of hope 

Fresh carrots
Still buried this morning
Pulled by their tops,
Into the bright afternoon sun

Fresh carrots
Still buried this morning
Rinsed in the sink, 
Scrubbed by the cloth that I knit

Fresh carrots
Still buried this morning
Slivered by my knife, 
Dressed with a spicy sauce

Fresh carrots
Still buried this morning
Served for dinner,
With dear, dear friends


Now I am a volunteer at the county jail, doing a women's literature class.  Never would have thunk it. 

Garage sales have been so-so. I went often in the beginning, but I haven't found anything too notable. A set of dishes to fill in missing place setting in a mix-and-match sort of way. Some things for E for college. 

Speaking of college. It is coming too fast, but I am so excited for her to experience real life! She is going to have so much fun. I have decided after she leaves I will pick up a new hobby. Wine. :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Say Cheese!

Early in May I bought an SLR at a church garage sale. I was so excited to have a new toy to play with. Britney came over and taught me the basics of using the camera, I dug out the old TIME LIFE books I had about cameras, and I set to work figuring it out. I spent the weekend just practicing focusing and learning the different parts of the camera. I have always had point-n-shoot cameras and photography was not an option for me in high school. I have always been interested in learning about it, especially in my scrapbooking years, but with little kids and a million other things to do it never got squeezed in.
So here was this fun new toy. I loaded it with film, shot a roll, and the camera promptly broke after I rewound the film. Plus very few of the pictures even showed an image. 
But I still wanted to play. There was a bag and directions for a CANON AE-1 at EP Goodwill, but the camera was missing. They said someone had probably stolen it. looked promising. Several older cameras were listed at prices I could justify, but it is tough to bid on something you can't hold and check out first. 
Then last week, C and I stopped at a yard sale in the afternoon. There was a camera that I carried around with me while we looked at the other stuff. C had to help me get the case off, but it advanced and the shutter clicked so I dug $5 out of my purse. I really had to dig because I had just given Matthew cash to go hang out with his friends. I made it, even though I had to use 10 pennies!

I again spent the weekend googling about the camera, reading the manual online, and learning about this Yashica Electro GSN. Bummer. The battery was no longer available. I was going to have to order an adapter to make a newer battery work. :( Until I found this link. Using the information provided in the article and in the comments I set out to make a battery on Memorial Day. I had a wild goose chase finding the tubing I needed, and I had to tear apart 2 different remote controls to rob the springs out of them, BUT...I made it! Using a PX28 with the tubing and the spring, my battery light lit up and my "revolutionary, solid-state Electronic Computer Brain, which measures the light with computer-like precision," was all set to go. I felt smart.
As is tradition with most of my new cameras, Matthew got the first exposure.
please excuse my scanning job 
I continued to shoot the roll over the next 3 days and then the moment of truth came...developing. I did ok. I have alot to learn. Stuff about the flash and lighting. Composition. Ok, I have everything to learn. But the best part is, I have the tool to be able to do it. It seems to be a solid little rangefinder camera, without the additional confusing settings of a full on SLR. So I am going to reload, take notes, and shoot another round. It is time to play!

Matthew on our walk
C's picture of me at our picnic lunch.

The deer that startled us when we startled them

swinging makes me laugh from my belly

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pretties To-do

There are so many ideas percolating in my brain. I feel the need to create and change. I plan on several areas feeling a refreshing touch. 
Plans for my garden:
Rainbow sticks for my peas. They will anchor the strings for them to climb into their glory and add a bit of color.
I decided my plot needs a little natural decorating. I have found a robin's egg shell and many other found items will be combined to make art in the dirt. I am excited. I think an owl theme will prevail this year. 
I found my plant markers, I just need to find the right supplies.

Operation refresh living room:
I am going to recushion the couch myself. 
I need to sew a slip-cover that will not shift if I can't find a commercial one. I am tired, oh-so-tired, of replacing the sheet or blanket that protects its wonderful redness. 
The couch needs some throw pillows also, dog-friendly throw pillows for Miss Jones.
The record corner needs some wall help....I am tired of it being blase.
I am going to reorganize the bookshelf and make it new and fun. So many odd little things to fit in in fun, surprising ways. 

Kitchen Spruce up:
New valences to go with the new curtains that will hopefully be sporting their pom-pom trim. 
Some prints to decorate the walls. 
A hutch reorganization to showcase my pans in a different way.
Maybe new shelving by the stove?
I should create more little "vignettes" on the shelves by the sink. Fun little spots to fill your eyes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hellow, Tuesday

This weekend I began feeling antsy. After being downright hot, then cold, it is finally warming up and looking like a normal Spring. Even if all of the plants are ahead of schedule (lilacs in March?!?). The peonies should be blooming this week or early next week. I cannot wait. They might be my favorites of all time, although it seems whatever is blooming at the moment is always my favorite. 

I have my own garden this year. Really gardenS! A veggie/herb patch in the back yard and two flower beds in the front. I am going ahead with my flower seeds this week. I already have peas, carrots, and broccoli in the backyard. I need to get my peas staked up and started up the strings this week. I have a feeling these little gardens are going to be so much fun. And so delicious. Plus there are 60+ tomato plants on the front porch growing stronger everyday. Those are C's babies though. Her garden area is HUGE this year. 

We have had our share of excitement recently. Three college acceptance letters arrived and future choices were made. (Close to home, YAY!) We have been on quick little day trips here and there. Knitting projects have flown off the needles: a Quaking Aspen shawl (nearly done), a calorimetry (for Louie? I thought it was for me!), and baby booties that just need some decoration before gifting. I have my next project ready to go after a fun day of yarn shopping with our favorite Aunt Carol. Rainbow yarn....oh my! Sonny got his driver's permit and after his first time behind the wheel promptly lost interest in driving o_0  But we are heading out again this week and pushing forward with this important skill for him.

I have begun making a list of forty goals to accomplish before the big 4 0. Things like writing a short story and submitting it for publication....Taking a vacation and staying at an ACE hotel....Learning to knit "continental" style. All fun things to tackle. And if I get through these forty things quickly...I will choose forty more! New things to play with are always popping up.

But I can't shake this feeling that something is about to happen. Like something big is right around the corner. Something even more exciting, in a good way. I can't wait to find out what it is. I'm ready!