Lemonade stand that raised them 36 bucks, not bad :).

150 year old Japanse Maple at Greenwood Cemetary.  Fascinating place with loads of stories.

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At the zoo with Fynn’s class …

More getting out than books going on these days, which is good.  I’ve been battling comptuer problems for weeks, I think I’ve got it functional for now.  Tired and badly in need of getting away myself, plotting on that on several fronts. 

it's been quiet on this here blog

because i’ve been adjusting to a whole new life.  the homeschooling one.  i decided i didn’t want to be bound to posting here, so moved my blogher ads over to sanemoms, where i get a lot more traffic and post more regularly anyhow.  now i feel a bit free-er to rant over here if i want to.  i’m tired of obligations of all sorts, other than parenting and household stuff.  that does get old sometimes too, but less than i expected it to. 

i love having d home.  i really do, and not just because our days are less scheduled.  we go just about everywhere together.  he’s helpful, fun, crazy, and only drives me nuts about 12 times a day.  that’s spread out over the whole day, rather than starting the minute he walks in the door from school.  that means we’re having a lot more good times together, upping the ratio of good/lousy considerably.  i like this.  he likes this too i believe.

it’s going to take time to adjust fully though.  a lot of time.  he misses school.  i do miss free time, but am not missing it nearly as much as expected.  my friend s was over yesterday, saw the look in my eyes and asked if i was stir crazy.  i was, but hadn’t realized it.  strange, i’m usually so aware of that, but the kind of crazy and the kind of stir has changed.  she took my kids home with her for a couple of hours, and i got in a run (something that’s been suffering quite a bit) and started dinner on my own.  m happens to be painting her house, so brought the kids home after a pizza dinner, by which time i was already on my way downtown to see How to Train a Dragon. 

that was good.  coming home to find out our landlord gave us the wrong receipt a few months back, and we believed it and assumed we owed a lot less than we do?  not good for my psyche.  how does one ignore yawning pits at ones feet?  they’ve never failed to be filled, we’ve never gone hungry, and never been homeless.  i don’t know why i worry, but i still do. 

there’s beans with garlic simmering on the stove, iced tea brewing in the gorgeous sun, and a breeze coming in the wide open windows.  i’m working on my attitude. 

i will post her occasionally, as i feel like it, but not as regularly as over here.  i’m trying to be more open over there, as i manage to make tiny cracks in the shell. 

home again and reflecting as usual

Florida was great.  More pics are here.  Douglas turned 8, some sun was found, training kept mostly on track, internet was left behind, and boys did pretty well together.  It was a good break. 

As usual I’m home with the desire to not go back to what I left, but keep the relaxation alive, and the internet-time at a minimum.  This is hard to do.  Very hard.  Once again I waffle on combining this blog with my other one, and getting more personal in the process.  I’m tired of obligations that I’ve created, I’m a pro at that.  I’m enjoying homeschooling for the most part, and resent the things that glue me to the computer.  I have a newsletter to write, D is addressing letters, and F is sleeping.  I must take advantage of the quiet hour.  I’ll be back sometime. 

ps.  This?  Is atrocious, worse than anything I’ve ever seen on the subject of marital relations.  Bad on so many levels. 

away

off to florida, thx to inlaws and such.  just the boys and i.  a welcome break, tho packing is sucky at best.  i think it’s a good way to clear the decks before digging into homeschooling, and a way to start clean.  both boys are curled up on my bed looking exhausted and we leave in 45 min, here’s hoping they stay docile through a day of subway/greyhound/cab/amtrak/car so we can get to where our ride starts!  i’ll leave you with the fynn and our housemate, from our trip to the park in the snowstorm.  i’m looking forward to some sun!

today is the day

today is douglas’ last day of public school.  it’s bittersweet, exciting, and feels utterly inevitable.  i never dreamed i’d actually do this until about 6 weeks ago.  somehow when you make a big decision, the relief upon arriving at the ‘decided’ part of the equation is huge.  it’s not as big, however, as the feeling like i couldn’t have possibly made any other decision.  the rightness and conviction of it has been continually surprising me for the last 3 weeks. 

i know it’s right, but i can’t express why very articulately.  i’m getting blank stares from most parents that i talk to in person, a resounding silence in response to the email i sent to his class parents, and an amazingly supportive response from the teachers and administrators at his school. 

this is the image he drew for the card he wanted to give to his classmates today, with his name and contact info on it.  tractor beams and aliens and tanks, the currency of 7-year-old imaginations.  i think i’ll be more well-versed in that language in a few weeks, i’ll let you know how it goes. 

I'm missing my grandma

she loves me.Do you ever pre-mourn something?  Something you know is inevitable, so you start processing the feelings in advance, even though it hasn’t happened?  I’ve been doing that the last couple of weeks, for my grandma.  She’s 93, in an extended-care facility, and while reasonably healthy she’s slowly losing her mind.  I’ve dreamed about her packing her bags to leave, heard reports from my mom that her short-term memory is gone, and am afraid that she won’t know me at all the next time I see her.  She very well may be around for a few more years, but she won’t be Grambie to me.  She’ll be like her own mother, the one I remember mostly as a frail bird perched on the edge of her bed in a nursing home, spitting cookie-bits across the room when she couldn’t gum them well enough.  I never really knew my great-grandmother before she was senile, so there wasn’t a relationship to mourn.

Grambie Rotten Kid Rule and I?  I can’t even begin to tell you how much she means to me.  I’ve always had her in my life.  Babysitting me as a child, making popcorn and letting me listen to Bill Cosby records.  Sewing tiny doll clothes, dresses for me, and then finishing anything that I started to sew on my own but inevitably got hung up on.  Burying my head in her lap, digging through her bottomless purse during church and sucking on the tiny fruit candies she always had in a tin.  Watching her fold her handkerchief into babies in a cradle.  Listening to her stories of growing up in Kansas City, about being a tomboy until she had to take on responsibilities too young.  Knowing in my heart that I was a lot like her, that the love we share had a special fierceness to it.  I’m afraid of that fierceness fading, and not being able to put my head in the lap of the bird she’s becoming.  Of being lost to her. 

She asked me years ago, when she was about to go into a home and lose her car (which equalled freedom and life to her) for permission to go.  Somehow I knew she was going to ask and had prepared myself to give it to her, which I did.  Watching her go slowly, fading a bit with each conversation and visit?  I didn’t expect that, nor did I realize how it would feel.  So I mourn her life before she’s left it, and wonder if this is the year.  She’s 93, I’m 39, and I still love her so fiercely it hurts. 

Cross posted over here.  Photo featured over here.

so

we went on a cruise.  one night, down the hudson and past Long Island, and had a wonderful time.  thx to my sis and her hubby.  great to get away, see the sunset AND sunrise across the city, eat at 3 restaurants, and have time to just be.  a few things came out, and peace with decisions was deepened. 

particularly the decision to homeschool douglas, starting in just under 3 weeks (at the winter break).  primarily me.  fynn to hopefully stay in school until the end of the year, though we’re months behind on his tuition.  they’re being helpful and flexible, so we’ll see.  not a light decision though we’ve tossed it around for ages.  not in response to a terrible school either.  pretty much in response to watching his change in demeanor, sensing a shift in my relationship to him, and god kicking me in the butt and whispering “take him out now, or lose him.”  i can’t tell you why, really, just that despite the obvious potential issues with patience and freedom and personalities, i have no doubts about it.  just that it will be hard, with potential for great joy and great challenge. 

a piece of it involves me dropping the last bits of feeling like i must bring in money, even though logic dictates that i must.  i can’t work much and still focus on my kids like i have to, and indeed want to.  i didn’t want to for a long time.  not exclusively.  i do now, within reason.  meaning i still need time alone, to run, etc and have no intention of giving up my other blog unless it proves to be too big a time hog.  i’m not a good mother when i work.  at all.  

i’m looking forward to the change.  i need prayer for patience and realistic attitudes about it.  ironically, the social aspect of his school is the best it’s ever been, and i feel more at home there than i ever have.  there will be tears.  i talk to his teacher tomorrow, to launch the ball.  i’ve said for years that it’s never time to leave a place until it really hurts.  this will be no exception.   

btw

i’m doing nablopomo over here

i’ll still post, and actually finding so far that daily writing is making me want to write more. 

still simmering a lot, but not able yet to even put my finger on why. 

d had a hysteria-induced breathing episode tonight (athsma attack?  something along those lines anyhow) that was triggered by being overtired, mockingly talking about god when i said it was time to pray, and getting disciplined for it.  have an ongoing issue with mockery with him, and been consistently dealing with it as a serious issue, which i believe it is.  ended up trying relaxation exercises, steam bath with essential oils, and then an old albuterol inhaler that i had from fynn’s breathing problems.  i honestly think the triggers to it are psychological, but don’t want to downplay the physical problems that result either.  he has an appt with his homeopath in a couple weeks, and i’m curious what will come of that. 

been doing a lot of cleaning lately, of the organizing and digging out the cracks kind.  house smells a lot better (fabulous at the moment actually as i have chicken stock simmering, D/A have soup simmering), and it’s making me hungry again.  when i can’t get my mind wrapped around something, cleaning is often therapy, and the physical organization tends to clarify my mental drawers too.  so does running, at which i’ve been woefully lax lately.  hard to get dressed/out when it’s so cold, but it’s more the why-bother-i-have-no-goal sort of thing.  got one yesterday though, when i realized (thanks to my bank acct dipping even further) that i got into the nyc half marathon on mar 21.  looking fwd to it muchly, as it’s a route that is far more interesting than circling central park, which i’ve gotten sick of.  it’s one lap there, then down thru times square and the rest of mid/downtown, into Battery park.  so i have some motivation, hoping it’s enough.  my body misses it, much like i missed my period when i was nursing fynn.  it’s emotionally cleansing, and i need a lot of that right now. 

house is blissfully quiet, going to go try on some clothes i was sent and see what to keep.  i think music is in order.

housemate reflections

we’ve been married 9 years and counting.  we’ve lived alone less than 2 of those years.  i’m not talking kids, but someone other than us+kids has been living with us almost the entire time.  it’s entertaining, it is.  yes, that’s euphimistic as well as true.  there have been some extremely trying situations, several involving bodily functions that i’m not even going to go into.  tmi already, i know.  some partners in living have been great, some so-so, and all challenging in some way. 

i miss my privacy.  intensely.  i don’t have space to myself (cranking the broken record).  i don’t like to share my kitchen, my apartment-sized fridge, my every bowl and coffee mug and pan.  i don’t like other people’s spit in my sink.  strange leftovers in the fridge.  disappearing ice-cream.  bathroom battles, and kids using buckets in desperation.  (and no, not *always* the kids).  sometimes you just don’t have a choice. 

i’ve gotten better at labeling things, so we don’t have too many food issues.  i don’t mind sharing food most of the time either, it makes it feel that much nicer.  but when you suddenly discover that the bottle of silver you were eke-ing out for another couple of weeks is down to half, and it wasn’t you … i get irritated.  i said they were welcome to share.  when money gets tight, i want to yank the welcome mat back into my territory.  when space gets tight, i want to sweep off counters and window ledges of their accumulated THINGS and make a fresh open space somewhere.  even if i do, it lasts for exactly .3 seconds before a mug or an action figure or keys and mail have cluttered it up again.  everything has it’s place, but that place is sometimes behind or under or squeezed in between or up above so many other things that putting it away right now is frankly more trouble than it’s worth.  you can’t live that way. 

so we live in clutter.  I live in clutter.  no one else seems to care or feel it.  I feel claustrophobic at home a lot of the time.  I was raised in a house with minimal stuff and decoration, and i love it that way.  Wood, books, some pottery, fabric, and windows.  Pretty and useful things.  Not much else. 

The pic up there is a combo, a compromise.  I saved the chicken bone from a stockpot, thinking it was beautiful.  It sat on the window ledge for ages.  Van Helsing is one of a gazillion action figures, about 1/16th of which belong to my boys.  The rest belong to the front room, and are happily shared, crowding about the window ledges and tables.  Clifford was found on the roof of our rental in PA when we first moved in, leftover from a previous tenant.  M perched the bone on Van Helsing’s back and put him on top of the toaster.  After one session of burnt rubber, he was moved to the window ledge, competing for attention with bionicles, wedding cake angels, transformers, and I’m not sure what else.  M added the two to Clifford, and once I moved them from the ledge to Fynn’s shelf, I enjoyed it.  A crazy combination, but it works for now.

I have my moments of frustration, many of them.  Muttered a “please don’t tell me BOTH pots have coffee in them!” this morning, before realizing that it was the front room that had used the 2nd pot.  Then I was glad I had, as I’d likely have censored myself had I known.  I need to either confront graciously, or ignore it completely.  No room for pissy sulking in a house this size, least of all from me.

But it really does even out sometimes.  Like at 5:00 today when the doorbell rang, and I found we were the lucky winners of a long-form census thing-a-ma-jig.  She offered to come back, but I wanted it over with, so when D-of-the-front saw Fynn’s antics starting to get to me (I was stacking Cozy Pillows To Order over him on the hallway bench) as he careened between me and the large census-taker-with-the-laptop-perched-on-her-knees-typing-madly, he came and asked him if he wanted to Play Pirates!  Of course he trotted off gladly, and when I finally came back in another 20 minutes later, both boys were having a ball at the table, with a bag of heretofore unseen action figures. 

It’s good for rubbing the edges off, keeping me on my toes, and not letting me be a perfectionist.  Lord knows I’ve try hard enough!  I still can hardly wait, though, to have a house where it’s just us.  At least for awhile.  There will be enough treehouses for the rest, I swear.  I’ll build those first and live in a tent before sharing tight quarters again voluntarily. 

being me

 it’s about time to be me.  i have lived so much of my life to other’s expectations and requirements i’m not sure who i am anymore.  i remember knowing quite clearly at age 7.  then we moved.  everything changed.  there was a whole new set of people to please (those whose donations helped support our family, and a bigger meeting and bigger school) and i felt a lot of pressure to perform.  to be liked, to fit in, to not make anyone unhappy with me or disappointed in any way.  i was trained to be certain things to certain people, so as not to offend anyone.  somewhere in the process i lost sight of who i am, naked before god.  it’s carried on to the point that i still have trouble, at 39, expressing an opinion.  standing up for things.  being decisive.  i can control things to the point of strangulation, for myself and others, but i can’t just be.  i honestly don’t know how. 

i’ve been trying to write about things that make me angry (thanks mike), and succeeded in epxressing my feelings about the most horrific 7 weeks of my life on paper.  that would be the 7 weeks before i got married, and it didn’t exactly turn into sweetness and light afterwards.  i’m still a bit numb in spots.  it felt somewhat good to write, but hard to look at and remember.  i need to speak the truth about things that hurt me, which is different from pointing a judgemental finger and saying “you screwed me up”.  the distinction is important to me. 

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i feel rather amused/chagrinned that in my quest to keep this blog out of sight from search engines looking for my name, i forgot to take off the footer with my complete name in it.  riiiiight.  done now, but to what purpose i’m not sure.  i don’t hide who i am, but don’t want random googlers to find me, like clients.  i feel a wee bit more free.

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having family and friends for the holiday was great.  it was encouraging, enjoyable, and distracting.  i have these silly hopes that now that i’m confronted with myself again, i’ll find some big magic mirror that allows me to see underneath all the layers of crap i’ve armored myself with.  there are no magic answers, just picking away when i see stuff or am poked at.  the boys have watched insane numbers of videos, played computer games (yes both of them, fynn can operate the spiderman game passably and played some lego starwars when mike was here) and not gotten outside much.

i’m going to go running, for the first time in 5 days, and see if the crazy wind will blow some of the cobwebs out.  it should help with the sugar cravings at the very least.

yes

i’m still here.  been too depressed to write.  no words most of the time, when i do surface and feel alive, i overcompensate and try to get lots done before i sink underneath the cloud again.  it’s not been pretty.  i have no answers, some clues as to why i’m in this hole, and hope it changes soon.  running helps, visitors are good as i almost reflexively play my role, but it’s a deep one. 

it’s christmas.  we have company.  there are piles of presents under the tree, thanks to the generosity of others. 

i’m tired of feeling on the fringes.  i don’t belong anywhere.  i have a need to, i think.  i miss my family, miss feeling like a real part of a community.  i have a bit of that at fynn’s school, but it’s not deep enough.  i need to feel at home somewhere.  anywhere.

i hope i find it. 

a thought

i was interviewed today for someone’s phD dissertation.  the subject was the effect of gentrification on school choice.  as i shared my reasons for my choices, the interviewed made an observation that caught me totally off guard.  she asked if i preferred to be in the minority.  she’s right, i do.  i have suspicions as to why, such as being brought up that i was different, special, and while not to be proud of it, different was good.  good to be ridiculed a bit.  good to stand out.  good to be the underdog. 

i had no idea how that translated into my school choices until today, but i do enjoy being the minority.  curious, it is.

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quote for the day, from the WC.

… this woman (suburban wife, mother, successful career woman) clearly walled off huge sections of her inner life from her most beloved friends and family. She never felt safe enough to reveal her real self to anyone. She died not being known. … Don’t do that. Don’t die not being known.

 

the best place in the city for pictures

i swear there’s something magic about photos on the staten island ferry.  perhaps it’s the orange cast from the ship itself, crazy breezes, or reflections from the water, but it’s hard to take a bad shot.

watcher

leaping shadow …

flip side

walked the glow of each other’s majestic presence …

i love the ferry

band of brothers …

brothers

D hid, and this was the best I could get …

hiding from the camera

these two yahoos were along, making it a rare day …

da boys, from a few years back :)

and i leave you with this …

no he's not upside down

so much for nablopomo

I started off with a bang, got distracted, and here we are.  ah well. 

random things of late …

1. does anyone else think Audrey Tautou and Johnny Depp look a lot alike? I watched Coco Before Chanel last night, and found the resemblance downright startling at times.  Perhaps it’s just cheekbones and eyebrows and sometimes brooding looks, but i find both of them delightful to watch. 

 

2. I alternate wildly between taking people too seriously, and not seriously enough.  I seem to have little middle ground.  Makes for some interesting misconceptions!

3. I love pomegranates.  Seeds, juice, color, taste, all of it.

4. I love these too.  The fact that they come in threes and don’t match is priceless.

5. I have someone else picking up D today, as F is home sick.  I didn’t want to wake him.  I feel slightly guilty that the real reason he’s still napping is that I rearranged/cleaned his room this AM, made a fort in it, and took him out for a beef patty for lunch because I didn’t want to cook.  Not very guilty though.

6. D is sitting in on his friend’s piano lesson as a result.  This is cool.

7. Dan the Man is coming to visit tonight.  Very glad, love having him.  Part of the reason for the room-cleaning too, as he’ll be in F’s bed for the week.

8. I’m making refried black beans with lots of garlic, as part of supper, which means both bedrooms should be nice and fragrant tomorrow morning.  I had falafel last night, which produced the same results. 

9. I’m glad Fynn was sick and I didn’t have to take him to school today, I dread the dropoff/pickup routine.  I didn’t want to run either.  

That’s all.  Becoming non-random and overthought, so I’ll stop.

green sanctuary

In honor of my favorite watering hole, the Women’s Colony, here are some of my favorite Green images (as requested for Monday) for the Sanctuary

The first is from a rainy day spent land-hunting-dreaming in WV.  We stopped at the top of a mountain, knocking on the door of a cabin that appeared to be for sale.  No response, so we wandered and poked and got dripped on.  Fynn clutched his precious juice bottle for dear life.  When he saw me posting this photo, he asked if “that juice was all mine? It’s all mine, isn’t it?” We don’t drink much juice I guess, and I do tend to make the boys share bottles of it.  I love the green cast around their eyes.

green day

Douglas found the dripping that day a bit chilly. We all did actually.  The incredible green-ness of everything, in contrast to home, was delightful. 
shivering

I gave Fynn green yogurt once, long ago.  Only once.  The results were hilarious to me, as his motor coordination wasn’t so hot.
it's not easy being green

Making salsa is a summer tradition.  I make (and can) as much as I find the time and money for.  I didn’t get that much done this year, and missed the last couple weeks of Romas at the market, so picked up a bag of tomatillos to make some salsa verde. They were gorgeous to me, swirling ever so slowly in the pot.  I wasn’t so sold on the taste in the end, sadly. There’s still a half-eaten jar in the fridge that keeps getting shoved to the back of the shelf. 
tomatillos

Happy Monday, and perhaps, just maybe, you’ll see me around a bit more this week.  I’m toying with the idea of NaBloPoMo and all that. 

running

i wasn’t prepared for how i’d feel this week, especially this morning.  watching the marathon.  not running it.  i found myself itching terribly near the end of the week, as friends who were running got prepared, and i wasn’t.  then i had to cancel my volunteering for the race, as m ended up having to work and i can’t afford or even justify getting a sitter.  this morning i was alternately excited, looking up the start online, madly checking the weather, etc, and feeling increasingly like bursting into tears.  i bundled up the boys after m left, got a few toys together, and headed down the whole 3 blocks to the sidelines. 

we live at the 1/3-of-the-way mark, so most folks still look pretty fresh but some are starting to show the strain, especially as we’re at the end of a long incline.  my legs itched.  my heart ached to be a part of it, to be feeling exactly what i’d felt last year at that point … finally doing what i’d dreamed of doing for years, running up my “home stretch” and seeing familiar faces.  we picked up free little cowbell shakers and hats from TWC’s booth, watched some of the disabled athletes go by (i teared up watching the man with one fake leg … and no real ones … haul himself by on crutches) and then the pack of lead males.  i screamed Go Ryan! for Ryan Hall, watched a few more (including one of the expected-to-lead males limping by miles behind the pack) and then took the boys to the park. 

the ache dimmed a wee bit as the race progressed. perched on the back of a park bench, i alternated between scanning the park to check on my boys, running after fynn, and watching the race.  i felt very torn in two directions.  of the two people i was hoping to see, i missed the first one though i was right where i should have seen him, and almost missed the second but she saw us and looked fabulously rested.  fynn got a huge kick out of putting his hand out for high-fives, squealing in delight with every hit.  quite a few runners did a quick detour just to give him one.  i also got to see the pace leader that i ran the first 20 miles with last year, bobbing along under her green balloons as usual.

i’m home now, partially glad i’m not out there slogging away, and wistful that i watched it go by.  i do truly love running.  the time alone, the energy, the feeling of doing something that stretches me to my limits.  i think i’ll enter for next year, just in case. 

indian summer day

shadow boy

is it just me, or does this look a bit like an ad for Guess?

first gorgeous day in a week or more, sunny and warm.  threw fynn in the stroller, douglas took his bike, and we ran/biked to prospect park, meeting up with M whose work was cancelled 10 minutes after he got in.  i hadn’t intended to run and was in flip flops and non-running gear, but couldn’t help myself, it just felt so good to fly up the street alongside of d on his newish bike.   lay in the sun, watched the boys play in the mud and with the aerobie, and kept an eye on fynn’s toys that a nearby girl kept taking, running away with, and leaving out the middle of the huge meadow.  the park was packed. 

walked home slowly, browsing stoop sales, playin in the fountains at the library, and buying a cheap bag of felted wool and silk scraps from a lady down the street.  thinking of making more of fynn’s patchy lavendar pillows and hocking a few on etsy.  the felt would make great patches. 

m’s strumming his guitar and it’s the perfect end to a delicious day.  it’s been a long time since i’ve felt like that, and i’m glad.