Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Official

I've become my mother.

I mean, I'll be honest, in a lot of ways I've been there for quite some time.

Wildly inappropriate lullabies? Check.

Awkward misreads? Check.

Questionable coordination? Check.

Ability to lose glasses while wearing them? Check.

Weirdo magnet?  Check.

More fabric/yarn/craft supplies than your average Hobby Lobby? Check. Check. And check.

And I'm okay with all of those things. 

But this morning, I woke up and things were a little different. I realized that I'm absolutely over-committed and I have no stinking time for myself.

My mom is awesome, and we never lacked for attention, help or anything else from her. But I remember being a teenager and looking at her workload, her outside commitments and all the committees and everything else she did and realizing she never had any time for herself. Mostly because she had an undeveloped ability to say no to anyone who asked her for something. I vowed that no matter what else happened, I'd be sure to have at least a few hours to myself every week.

Well, I don't know what happened, or where that girl went - the one who was determined to say no (at least sometimes) and carve out some time for herself. But wherever she is, I need her to come back, have a backbone and make time to do something fun. Something relaxing.

My mom finally figured it out - but not until she was in her late 50s. I can't wait that long.

So I apologize for not being around much lately, but the stress of overcommitment and other life-type stresses are getting in the way of fun stuff like blogging. I hope you'll be patient with my while I try to get rid of some of the chaos and find that girl who has time for fun things.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Conversation with Jen Armintrout

Jen and I spend a lot of time on instant messenger pretty much every day.

This conversation just happened. 

Me:  Corwin is insisting on listening to bagpipe music while doing his homework.

Me:  I know, I know, I made that myself, but Christ, it's too early for bagpipes.

Jen:  As you sow, so shall you reap.

Me:  I'm reaping, all right...

Jen:  A Reaping of Bagpipes.

Jen:  That is the title to an Oscar winner, right there.

Jen:  No, not even. The Caesar award.

Jen:  For movies that are made not in the United States and are way too depressing for The Oscars.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Please send wine...and maybe Valium.

For those keeping score at home, Matt's still in Singapore and I won't be seeing him until the 14th or 15th of October, so I'm doing the Dance of the Single Parent. Which, to be fair, isn't too bad. The boys are great, and it's not like they're toddlers or something.While I miss their toddlerhood, I'd rather do the dance with teenagers.

I don't sleep well when he's not here, and that's what I blame the following on. Lack of sleep. We just finished up the second full week of school and I foolishly agreed to let Corwin have an overnight with some of his friends from his old school. Four of them to be exact. So there are six teenage boys in my house right now.

I'll go ahead and let that sink in for a minute.

Six. Teenage. Boys.

One of them does the best Gollum impression I've ever heard. Seriously, this kid is amazing. However, he won't. stop. talking.

At all.

It's all Gollum all the time. He's now proposing marriage via google video chat to girls from his school. Unsurprisingly, there are no takers.

I just talked to Matt via skype. He's twelve hours ahead us, and he's never been so happy to be working away from home.

EDIT: One of the other kids is now doing Dr. Evil.

It's gonna be a long night. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

I Suck at Change

Yesterday was a bizarre cross between going back in time while simultaneously being trapped in a high speed film. I went to my paternal grandparents’ farm to pick up a few things that I’d inherited. I think I’ve only been inside the house once since my grandmother died eight years ago – and that was right after the funeral. It’s taken until now for my uncles to decide to clean out the house and what remains of the outbuildings. Honestly, I think the only reason they’re doing it now, is that one of them is terminally ill.

So anyway, I went there yesterday. One of my uncles has moved back into the farmhouse – at least for the time being. And while he’s there, they’ve rented a dumpster, and they’re getting rid of everything they couldn’t burn.  When we got there, the burn pile was still smoldering and had been for five days. Because apparently they’ve never heard of recycling and donating. But…I’ll try to contain that rant for another time.

I was given a couple old books that were my great-grandmother’s – one of which is a 1902 copy of The Song of Hiawatha with her name inscribed in the front in the careful script of a child. I was also given the china cabinet that always stood in the dining room. It’s very old – late 1800s – and there are a few chunks of wood missing from the top where the roof fell in on it a couple winters ago. But it’s mostly in one piece including the rounded glass sides – which is nothing short of a miracle.  And the filigree style skeleton key is still in the lock. I can’t tell you how many times I got my hands smacked by my grandmother when I was a kid because I was so enamored with that key.

The cabinet is still beautiful, a little haunted looking now that it’s empty of all of my grandmother’s depression era glassware and souvenir teacups. It definitely needs some restoration work and cleaning, but luckily, woodworking is one of my husband’s hobbies and he’s pretty damn good at it. I’m hoping that he’ll be able to fix it up when he gets back from Singapore, and we can move it into our dining room. 

I feel like I’ve also brought home a touch of the melancholy. It was strangely unsettling to see how much of the house had changed and how much had remained the same. For instance, the dining room has a brand new ceiling – complements of the winter cave in a few years ago. But the bathroom looks like something out of a horror movie set of an abandoned house. Where the porcelain still exits, it’s completely rust stained, but most of it has been eaten away to reveal the iron base. The 1950s style pink tiles my grandma loved so much are falling off the walls, revealing the discolored glue underneath.

The kitchen still has the hideous screaming yellow and orange floral wallpaper from the 70s, and all of my grandmother’s dishes are still in the cupboards. It looks like it always did – like she’d just stepped out to work in the garden or milk cows. I don’t think I realized until I started writing this post that part of me actually expected to see her in there making supper. I also didn’t realize how much it hurt to see that she wasn’t actually there.

The yard was another exercise in dealing with the passage of time. When my grandmother died, all the acreage was sold off to cover medical bills. I, of course, don’t begrudge anyone that, but I wish it had been sold to another farmer. Instead, it was parceled out developers. There are cookie-cutter style houses all over the hayfields and smack in the middle the pastures. The rolling fields have been systematically swallowed by swimming pools and McMansions. Even though I hadn’t been in the farmhouse in years,
I’ve driven by it often. But I still don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing lookalike houses in all the places I used to play. In the field where I learned to drive a tractor and where I used to help haul hay is a house and a private road named after a late NASCAR driver. (I loathe NASCAR.)

And looking out over what remains of the farm, I’m a little sad because I know that my kids will never know what it’s like to milk cows, or haul hay or work in the garden all day long. They’ll never know the excitement of finding a litter of kittens or watching a calf being born. They’ll never ride a horse that their dad won in a poker game - at least, they’d better not!

I’m not saying that I’d want to do any of these things again; I spent enough time doing them as a kid on summer vacations. I miss the animals, though. And I miss the land. I miss wandering through the fields and making up stories about the people that used to live there. I miss exploring the woods and imaging the faeries I believed inhabited the forest. I miss the trees and the rolling hills. I miss the possibilities.

But the last lot has been sold and another house is emerging from the earth—looking just like the rest. I don’t wish any of the homeowners ill. Actually, I hope they’re really happy there. As stupid as it sounds, I guess I just wish that I had a magic wand to put the fields back the way they were just long enough to wander through them one more time and maybe take a few pictures.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

We Have a Winner!!!

Congratulations to Julianne Keller!!! 

You won the copy of Anya Breton's new book, A's Surrender!!!

Anya will be contacting you soon!!!