Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Blue but Happy Solstice

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For some reason this year, I have been much more aware of the shifting of the planet, the darkness creeping ever further into the day.  So I looked forward to the Solstice with more than cursory attention. Another day closer to the bottom of the year, before we started shifting back into the light--Yess!!

We went to a bonfire last night, hung out with friends in the cold, noshing on food and dodging sparks and smoke.  Lots of funny stories about recent projects, botched opportunities to talk to our children about sex maturely (haha!), and the most outrageous things that we've taken onto planes in carry-on luggage before "the recent brouhaha" (as a British friend calls it) made such things impossible. (For the curious, the list included a chainsaw, a small butane torch, cans of salmon, and bloody scalpels and surgical scissors, and 40 pounds of frozen cow tissue for research purposes, thank you. No, I'm not kidding about any of it.)  Also, of children finally flying the nest and gossip about acquaintances still suffering from serious illness that's never gone into remission (dammit), and houses half-renovated and clients who have more money than taste...  

I can't say I was feeling very talkative.  It was just nice to see friends and be in the circle, eat some soup, watch the clouds racing over the nearly-full moon.   Afterwards, I felt a little blue. Probably it's just the early-winter lack-of-light kicking in. Or the let-down of adrenaline after finishing a busy week. Or my period kicking in.  Or the reminder that people probably gossip about us when we are not around.  Or that I have a few things that just won't get done this year, damn those ambitions.   Or maybe just not enough chocolate. 

I have actually gotten out Christmas cards this year after years and years of abstaining.  Wrote a holiday letter and everything and persisted in cultivating non-perfectionistic attitudes--it's good.  I made Christmas cookies with my niece and got a new pizzelle press, with which I have been gleefully making pizzelles.  It's just... I don't know. Chalk it up to holiday blues.   Again, M is pretty amazing, though.  He's not one to press me to be or feel something I don't.  I don't know how he does it sometimes, dealing with me and my moods when I get irate or upset or just depressed.  Classic male internalizer, I guess. :)  That and he loves me.  He also says that I am so caring and understanding when he needs to talk about his stuff as well, so I don't feel so bad about leaning on him when I need it.  

So... much to do this weekend, even though we are moving slowly at the moment.  I am enjoying my new Christmas music, CD versions of some old Windham Hill tapes.  

Other happy things:  

Earlier this week, I spent a significant chunk of money buying toys to donate to a local Share Your Christmas program.  I had fun finding numerous presents appropriate for children between the ages of 7-17.  We also made a gift run (together--it's fun! heehee) to buy for family members, and knocked off most of our list. We've even kept to our original budget pretty well.  My sisters are also thinking along the same lines, so it's actually kinda fun working within this $20-25 parameter.  It also helps avoid my perfectionism from getting in the way (too much) of making choices. 

Six cards in the mail box this morning!  Woot!!  That the haul included cards from a neighbor, a former neighbor, a Flickr friend, a Jewish friend, and someone I haven't heard from in more than 5 years is all the more astounding to me.  Must send out my own last few cards.  

I don't know if I will have he wherewithal to post a lovely holiday greeting, so consider yourselves greeted. :)  I really appreciate the comments and connections out here on the web, even on this brave new world of blogging. 

A cheerful, newsy email from the niece who's old enough to be on the internet. :)  The promise of rain tomorrow... The promise of cookies to come. :)  The lack of cat spit on the pine needles (believe me, this is a very good thing!).  Photos of my friends' Christmas trees and interiors.  Cozy interiors. Cozy spouses. Green vegetables to take the edge off the cookie madness.  Time to get off the internet and do other things.  And yea for more light coming back. We need it. 

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Friday, December 07, 2007

It's not always divine

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Don't know who wrote this originally, but I got it from Daniel Colvin on Flickr, so maybe it's his. He says:

Writing is like exercising.
You got to do it often and it's not always divine.

Yes! True words. I love this!
It may even be a candidate for another life motto.

And speaking of exercising, I did some reps today. 
All movement is good... 
Does that mean all writing is good? I'll go with a yes. 
It's been busy, busy, and will remain so for at least a couple weeks.
Hoping we all find those quiet delightful moments in the midst of the rush.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Random Things of Happiness, with a side of bittersweet (a short list)

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1. Happy Second day of Hanukkah! It's also about two weeks away from the Winter Solstice and less than three weeks to post-Christmas letdown, I mean relaxation. I am all about the Holiday(ies) of Lights. Bring back the light!

2. One of my neighbors surprised me with a visit and a plate of brownies. I was so touched and flabbergasted by this sweet gesture, I vowed to myself that someday I will actually have neighbors over. Maybe not soon, though. Christmas CHAOS and all that.

3. I just saw a picture of the sons of one of my ex-es. I was pleased and tickled to see they look like fine young men. One of them is even married now! But I was unprepared for the wash of sadness on seeing them. When I broke up with this long-ago ex (or rather, he with me), one of the hardest parts afterwards was missing his youngest son... we had become friends, and developed a bond beyond the necessary contact during my dating his dad. During the breakup, in addition to the usual pain of the situation, I also felt anguished that this ex o' mine was acting in ways detrimental to his son learning about good relationships, if that makes any sense. So it was a hard thing, to just cut off that relationship with the youngster so suddenly. I've often wished there had been opportunity for a better transition for both of us.

Well, over the years, I've forgiven my ex enough to talk with him civilly when we run into each other and even chat on occasion, and I'm always glad to hear news of his son, what he's up to and what he's trying and accomplishing. But, damn! I have not seen this kid (no longer a kid) for 10 years now. I am very glad that he appears to be happy and living a good life. I've seen some of his work, and I'm so proud of how he's worked so hard to make amazing things of his talents! *sniff!*

4. Yea for holiday concerts and plays! We have a weekend full of events, and some of them are even free! This is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season - the wealth of music and stories. So far, I have a play, a performance and a choral concert lined up. Somewhere in there we will get our tree too...

5. I am still in love with my husband. In fact, I sometimes notice that I still get infatuated with him, and feel all goofy, which is an odd thing when one is married. I just look at him, and my heart beats faster. He's indescribably handsome and dear to me. He's mostly bemused by this. I'm so glad we share our lives.

6. I've enjoyed meeting with my students this year. Whether for 2 months, 6 months or 11 months, we've been able to learn some things, teach some things, and yes, enjoy our time together. It's always a bonus when one comes to appreciate each other beyond the student-teacher connection, or even within that. The bittersweet part is that two of my students are leaving the country at the end of this month. Their time for being here is fast running out. I have only two-three more sessions with each of them. *sniff sniff* It's sad to say goodbye to those you have been working with over a period of time, even though you know that time is not forever. Time to move on to new stages of life, new connections, new projects... A teacher's empty nest is soon filled.

7. There is a cyclical nature to everything that can be reassuring, even heartening. Now is the season for nippy weather, possible snow, colored light and busy schedules, of baking and newsy letters and reconnecting and sometimes guilt over unmet plans. I see the pictures on Flickr, and how often does the glow of the lights come through the photo stream. It's another one of those images... another one, again. It looks much like past years. And yet, it's that time again! ...The glow of the lights as another family, another person, another generation touches the warmth of community for another year. It's bittersweet, because those who lack and crave it are sometimes adrift, feeling shut out, unconnected, uncared for. We do our best to share the light.

8. Happy happy, Joy joy.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007


I sat on my hands when the latest NY whatever adoption article came through. I saw the article about the State Department number of international adoption showed up in the paper, read it, had a few words with M about it, and buttoned up. Read more today about a kid raised on violence and now charged with 5 counts of murder... the senseless waste of his potential... and then I read the article about how more younger couples are going though IVF.

The article featured a young couple in their 20s going through their second round of IVF, unsuccessfully, I might add. It wrenched at me, to hear their hope and wails of anguish reported in the paper for strangers to read, so like our own except not plastered all over the state. I thought, "Should I blog about this?" Then I realized that I was in a really bad mood. Yes, I was angry. I was *pissed*, as we say in the States, stinking mad. I was mad that they had been unsuccessful. I was mad that the paper did a fuckin feature on this. I was mad, even that they had what seemed like an accurate depiction of the odds of success--1 out of 16 eggs of every woman under 35, or 21% for women *over* 35. I was even mad at the thought that some assholes would take this to complain about those poor f3tuses that don't survive. What about those of us who DO survive that experience?? I was just mad with a low-grade growl of ire.

I realized that I can't even write about these small stings. I don't even WANT to. it seems so trite to catalogue the ways in which the world is obliviously misinformed about such things. It's not worth it to me to drag the carcass out again to chew it over at any opportunity. I have to think about it as little as possible or spend my days in outrage.

I don't know why I just now noticed that I am so angry. I'm not angry all the time, at everything. I'm mostly happy, feeling good about my marriage, my work, about life. But it's all the things that have gone wrong, the limitations and misdirections and bio-mistakes that have frustrated and hurt us for years, all the unfairness of the situation.

There's no one place to put the anger. It's not that I can direct it to anyone in particular, and that's perhaps just as well. I don't want to dump this load of shit on an innocent bystander. So I avoid even reacting, thinking, feeling. Obviously, I have lots of work to do to resolve this, but I'll be damned if I am hurried along in this.

M is very good to talk to. I can't even remember what he said, but it was very validating, very wise. God, I love that man.

I think he said that IF leaves an indelible mark on a person. He reminded me of friends we know who went through a similar hell, how he had casually asked them something, even years before we went through our own shit... and even though they are a good 10 years older than we are and went through their IF stuff 30-40 years ago, it was clear that it still hurt. She told me once that they had had their kids names picked out in *high school*. She also told me once, "When I see someone with their child, it still hurts a little, inside." What she meant was, it hurts a lot, frequently. And it still hurts us, now. You can't wipe that away and pretend it doesn't matter.

M's opinion is that I am in a stronger place with the pain because I am more angry than depressed about it, that somehow the anger means that I am taking back some power for myself in this place of helplessness. It's an interesting theory... I agree with it in other contexts, but not sure how I feel about that here.

I could say the anger concerns me, but that would not be so. It's a righteous anger, and nobody can take that away from me because it would be "better" for me to let it go. I'm not letting it go, because honey, then I would be depressed, and I don't want to live there any more. If I didn't have my anger, I wouldn't have a place to put my helplessness, and let me just say that would be totally self-destructive for me. So the anger serves some function. But then where do I put my anger? Ah, ha! I will tell you.

I think I don't want to think or feel it much because I *don't* have anywhere to put it. I don't want to live in that town. But when these little jabs come out, it flares up again. So I look at it, acknowledge it, maybe even have a conversation. Then I bank the fire back, put it back in the box in the back of the closet so I can go out and live the rest of my life. Better living through judicious repression, I tell you.

Yes, I'm still angry. I think it will always be there.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Well, what do you know. A writing habit can be hard to break, and here I am again... NoMo NoBloPoMo

This whole week/weekend has been a little odd. M and I both have been hit with nasty head colds for several days, and we have done the minimal amount of obligations all week. I taught a class before it got too bad, and also managed to go to the class that I cannot miss, and hopefully did not spread my germs around too much, tried to not touch anything or breathe on anybody... M had been dragging himself to work, sick, all week--no fun, that.

When I'm awake, I've spent my time reading, cruising the internets, or attempting to get work done in short bursts of available energy between doses of cold medicine, soup, chocolate, and herbal tea. Occasionally, one of us feels well enough to make some more tea or heat some more soup.

The first couple days, the cold meds seemed to have NO effect whatsoever. Bad and good periods did not seem to correlate with dosage schedules. I also could not find my preferred meds in the stores, and was having to try out new stuff. Finally, we hit on something that seemed to work, and we slept better. Ahh, sleep...

We are just starting to come out from under that. We think so, anyway.

It's been disorienting, though. I still feel pretty spacey, with little or no attention span, much less mental acuity. I don't know how I managed yesterday's post. I think I started writing in the afternoon when my energy level was up and ran with it before I fell over again. I didn't even have energy to deal with M's attempts at humor on those occasions that he was feeling more chipper--I couldn't find the energy in me to even respond. I've just been waiting it out... I can't even get too sorry about missing two great dances and other events this week and weekend... we just are not up for it.

Today, I'm just well enough to feel restless and to want to work on things, but not well enough to actually accomplish much. I did sweep the floors today after I noticed the dirt enough for it to bother me. I took a bath. I went on another soup run. Tried to find vegetarian soup at Big Supermarket late at night. I found two (two!) soups that didn't contain chicken or beef broth, and one of those contained high fructose corn syrup-yuck! As much as I get annoyed by my local food co-op and High-end Organic Grocery Stores at times, I am so glad they exist. Otherwise, we'd be reduced to eating food that I can't tolerate any more.

And now to sleep... Ahh, sleep. Be well. Hopefully a better post will arise later.