Friday, November 20, 2015

Over/under

A month ago, I posted about how I was so god damn tired all the time. All. the. time. I went to the doctor and nothing changed afterwards - I did not start taking any pills or vitamins or have some life-altering diagnosis. But what did change was me. I decided to quit sitting around feeling tired and to instead push myself to do stuff.

So I did. I started taking yoga classes and running again. I began reading and writing more. And what do you know? In doing stuff, I felt motivated to do stuff again. My laziness was making me lazy, I suppose, because I am able to do much more than I did. I'm not saying there isn't something wrong with my body - I most definitely still believe there is. But I'm choosing to focus on health rather than sickness and in so I'm feeling healthier.

Mind over matter, right? Wellness over illness. Positive over negative. And paper covers rock.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

losing home

The unthinkable has happened. My parents are selling their house. Our house. Our family home. 

When I heard the news, I should have been instantly happy for my parents to be moving on and up. I should have been glad for them and this next chapter that they've been talking about for years and years. And I suppose I was, but that feeling was dwarfed by my overwhelming feeling of loss, losing this piece of my history. I felt pretty choked up even when the family sold my grandpa's house, but my house? My house. A lump is in my throat even just writing those words.

A few months ago, I wrote about my childhood home after reading a book all about what home means to different writers. It was as if I was preparing myself for this moment, before I had any idea it was going to happen. But I still was not prepared. I instantly texted my sister, who also lives a little distance from that house and can also see it with the same sanguine nostalgia I do; rarely seeing it instead for what it is without us.

Then that night, I texted my brothers and my mom. I called Alaska Airlines to see how much it would cost to extend my Thanksgiving vacation for a couple more days, one more weekend in that place that means so much to me. A few years ago, we actually stopped doing many holiday festivities at my parents' house. I always have a baby in tow as does my older brother, and that house has rough edges and extra stairs and not enough space. Instead, for the holidays we gather at my older brother's house. But this year, should it be at 118th Street for one last holiday? Of course. Of fucking course. 

Steve came home late on Tuesday after finishing class and he walked into the kitchen to where I was crying and stopped short. "Is everything OK?" he asked. "It's been a rough day," I answered. "I'm really sad about my parents moving out of our house." And I tried to explain why it meant so much to me, how not only was I raised there, but how that's where my siblings and I became friends and allies, where we were home schooled and helped my dad on his campaigns and where we got our first dog and even better, a trampoline which we spent hours on.

I thought about the bases my dad spray-painted on that cul-de-sac pavement so we could always play baseball even without bases and I thought about that fort we had girls' club meetings in and I thought about how I learned to drive in that backyard and how my brother repaired the fence after I drove into it so my parents wouldn't know. I thought about how that was the first place I had a room of my own and where I fell in love with reading and writing and puzzles and all of my other solitary hobbies. It was in that living room that I first called the adoption agency when I was pregnant.

But it was hard to explain this to Steve. Although he listened, he has always moved every few years and only now in this house does he feel what home feels like. It's hard to explain that there is another kind, the kind our sons will remember this home we have as. Although a person can hear your words, they can not feel your emotion unless they have something similar to compare it to.

We have Thanksgiving, but after that, our house will no longer belong to my family. We will not spend another Christmas listening to Evie cassettes while mom bakes in that puny kitchen (my mom finally gets a proper kitchen! She has been dreaming of this since I was a child. Yay mom!). We will not jump on that rusted-over trampoline anymore. We will not walk down Pipeline road or close that damn bathroom door and turn the fan on after a shower because dad insists on growing mold. What's silly is we don't do those things that much anymore anyway. But something about the option being removed makes me think of those things in that sanguine nostalgia.

It's coming on Christmas and one of my favorite memories was one winter night when it snowed. I remember when dad allowed us to run barefoot in the snow. It was dark out, and the four of us and dad ran up the neighborhood hill and back down in our bare feet, squealing in delight. And then, we ran home, into the warmth of that house and told mom all about our adventures. That's what coming home is to me. And perhaps why this hit me so hard is because I feel that I will never have a home to come back to. I know that it is the people that make something special and the place is just the backdrop, but that backdrop was pretty damn special to me too. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

definitions at 32

Well, Jewel's book didn't turn out quite as fantastic as I projected. She transformed from an independent warrior woman to a co-dependent brainwashed one. Her book ends up being a bit preachy - bestowing on her readers everything she learned as advice we should heed. And although I definitely didn't agree with all of it ("be a filter, not a sponge" ~Perks of Being a Wallflower), I did like the point she made about how we are constantly redefining things as we grow and evolve. So I decided to write down how I define a few words now. And perhaps in a few years, as I have grown and developed, I will do it again, after I have sponged and filtered all sorts of new lessons.
 
Beauty - contentment in now. Feeling good currently, rather than constantly focusing on what to do to look better later. Carefree and spontaneous always looks better than contrived and overworked.

Success -having a purpose that you fulfill with pride and excitement.

Happiness - living with purpose, love, friendship and peace.

Family - the people who will never leave or abandon you, no matter what. And the ones you will never leave or abandon either, despite their darkest hours.

Friendship - people you laugh with. People you feel free to be yourself around, without pretense.

Grief - allowing yourself to feel the pain you've experienced. Not wallowing, but acknowledging and working through your emotions, even the shitty ones.

Peace - comfort with who you are because of the choices you've made.

Independence - being able to sustain yourself without help in your personal, professional, and emotional life. Not to be confused with refusing to ask for help in times when it is needed, because those times happen to everyone. 

Maturity -learning from mistakes and then retaining and applying that wisdom. 

Love - sacrificing what is important to me because someone else is even more important.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

halloween, lighthouse, hay rolls

Holden's second Halloween, the first one he's been excited about. He can say, "ween" and a variation of "trick or treat." He also asks to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" by pointing at the TV and saying, "good grief!"
 Brandon does not like taking pictures. For some reason my attempts to convince him it would be fun did not work.
 The boys were Marshall and Chase from "PAW Patrol," but when a neighbor asked Holden who he was, he pointed at his costume and said, "Tucker!"
 There were no good pictures of all four of us. It wasn't our night.
 Then today I took the boys on an adventure. Last Monday we went to Ashland and took a scenic US Highway home instead of I-80. I passed a lighthouse and a "beach" (RV park with sand) and decided to return one day.
 Today was that day. It is locked up to cars, but you can enter by foot, so we did.
 My kids had never seen a lighthouse before (of course not, we are in Nebraska, after all).
 Brandon said, "this is my favorite beach!" which I genuinely laughed at. He is one of few three-year-olds who has been to beautiful Hawaii, yet he thought this RV park was even better.
 I love travel pictures - I am always taking pictures from behind the kids, showing them going somewhere. They will grow up and wonder what they looked like at certain ages and I will say, "I don't know, kid, but I have four thousand pictures of the back of you running places."
 If you haven't visited Omaha, you don't know about one of hte most beautiful buildings that resides here.
 You can see it from I-80 and if I were to get married again, I would get married in the same place I did. But if that was booked, it would be here.
 The tall grass is something I love.
 And the back of them. Again.
Another weird thing that I love? Hay bales. Or rolls. So here we are: Quintessential Nebraska .

Sunday, November 1, 2015

finding calm amongst chaos

Turn the quiet up, turn the noise down.
~Sung by Eric Church

I have always loved solitude and find comfort in quiet. Yesterday, a fellow barista told me she was an introvert and I laughed and corrected her. She is very outgoing and talkative, and I associate an introvert instead with a shy person who thinks more than they speak. She told me that although, yes, she is outgoing, to her, an introvert means someone who craves solitude to reset and recharge. She is not charged up by being around people, but rather by being alone. Solitude gives her energy and restores her. Being around people, on the contrary, drains her. I agreed that by this definition, I too am an introvert.

I am reading Jewel's autobiography (have I mentioned how much I love Jewel? Oh yeah, I have; Here. I have more than just a little girl crush on her. I think her and I are spirit animals). She has an ongoing theme which is finding calm amongst chaos, finding peace in turbulence. She is introspective, thoughtful, an artist. Although she is constantly getting rid of her possessions, the one thing she always keeps is her writings. She journals and writes songs and makes sense of her feelings by writing about them honestly. Although she has a tough life, rather than acting out as a result of it, she chooses to find her way through it the best way she can.

I set my bags down in the guest room and stood in the living room, looking out at the frozen lake covered in a thick blanket of snow. There is something so peaceful and quiet about land covered in snow. It muffles all sound in quietness so unlike the hum of summer. No birds in the trees, no rippling of live water. The isolation reminded me of Alaska, and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go into silence myself. Winter is a time for going inward. For tending to the unseen. 
~Excerpt from Jewel's Never Broken
 
Although it is the first day of November, it was seventy degrees today, so I made arrangements yesterday with work and childcare so I could make it to this outdoor yoga class at Lake Zorinsky. I think perhaps the reason I gravitated towards yoga was because it is a chance to quiet yourself and find peace. And although in a class there are other people, I barely notice them. "Yoga is about your own journey," you often hear in the practice and indeed it is; each of us doing slight variations to the same pose, breathing differently - being aware of each other, but in no way comparing or defining ourselves by each other. It was relaxing and challenging, motivating and calming all at the same time.


I am always looking for calm amongst chaos, but I have learned with two small boys it is nearly always chaos. In my craving for solitude, motherhood is hard. Even eating dinner together is constant noise - shrieking and running from the table, throwing food, spitting it out. So I look for little moments to isolate myself partially - writing at my desk across the hall from the toy room or reading on the porch while they play on the playground. It isn't complete peace, but it is what I can get for now. I must find time to go inward and tend to the unseen, despite the seen and very much heard.