Thursday, June 14, 2018

Simple Woman's Daybook - June 14



For Today...
Thursday, June 14, 2018

Outside my window...
...outside my - office - window, there is a really ugly cement block and an endless array of construction workers who have been building the same tiny room aside a brick building for months. At one point they tore down the most beautiful huge tree that I have loved for years. They replaced it with a row of little bush/trees (arborvitae?), and left the nursery tags on, so someday, the bushes will grow tall and the birds will have to pick off those labels. When I was out earlier today, I saw one of my favorite city sights - a young preschool worker toting a big wagon filled with children. I love those kid wagons.

I am thinking...
(more like feeling) overwhelmed in my life at the moment. I feel like I am inside a tornado - everything swirling around me, pretty much no control over anything, never knowing what's coming (but it's bound to be familiar and the same and still frustrating). I feel overwhelmed with my schedule, my work and workload, my lack of free time this summer, my total lack of quiet time - except for gardening. I feel panicky about the kids and everything in that world. Strapped and hindered by tight finances. Frustrated with things happening around me that I cannot seem to influence. Having a hard time communicating. Feeling lonely and disconnected. Feeling generally crabby and spent and not "up for" what I need to do immediately.

I am thankful...
that I have a job. That I have a mom who lives nearby - my anxiety and agitation over her being gone this summer is simply due to the luxury of having gotten used to her being around. That I have a few people who dearly love me.

I am wearing...
the tunic and tights - almost the same outfit - that I wore when pregnant with Lucy...and Jack. Hoping nobody remembers or notices.  It's comfortable and I am too tired to deal with fashion today. And it isn't actually maternity-wear...

I am creating...
the most peaceful and beautiful garden this year. I am way ahead of last year in terms of getting my seeds and plants in. I have a lot left to do, but it is all gravy at this point, for the most part. The children came and enjoyed themselves TWICE last weekend - was a God-given miracle. Not sure if they will come again, but I am already grateful for those two visits.

I am going...
nowhere. This is one of my great frustrations. I need some time off and this summer, the time and money simply do not give way to vacations or even many day trips. I am trying to take the kids on some adventures. So any money will be saved for that. Otherwise, I'm just slogging through. I really need a mental break from work and home responsibilities. I need a serious unwind.

I am wondering...
when the next phase of my life will begin - either in the career realm or the home-making realm. H and I sometimes plan to live together, pick out houses and talk about yards and gardens, goats and chickens. Then sometimes we don't. [Hazards of a sun-Gemini and a rising moon-Gemini.] I have big plans for my next career but so many obstacles stand in the way. I am OK waiting for now, and working on my current job, which I at least half thoroughly enjoy.

I am reading...
not much. I started a few books and some even travel back and forth in my overnight bag. But I haven't opened any in a while. I do continue to peruse several child-rearing books. And "what's the deal with boys" books. And I just got "Two Kisses for Maddy" from the library after reading about it online. Haven't opened yet. Is due in a week. ;)

I am hoping...
to come upon some vacation time or some spontaneous quiet time, so I can get myself back in order.

I am learning...
to try totally new methods of relating in my boyfriend-relationship. No sense re-plowing old ground, right? Time to find some new ways of communicating and relating. This process I find to be difficult and confusing...but also freeing. Am trying to relax considerably.

In my garden...
I accidentally let the composter become a house for wasps - even though I was carefully warned against it (via articles read). So that sucks. I am breaking my back lugging gallons of water back and forth bc we haven't had rain in a while and I have a lot of new things planted. I need to replant all the snap peas. And crap! As I sit here, I realize I never "soak and nick"ed the seeds I meant to plant this afternoon. Shoot. Well, I will plant something else then. I need that garden time like it's an anti-depressant. Or coffee. Actually, garden + anti-depressant + coffee is a POWERFUL combination! :)

In my kitchen...
are a bunch of foods my children refuse to eat and none of the three foods they will consume: mac n cheese (Lucy), fish sticks (Jack), waffles (both). Hmm. This is not good. They come back home tonight.

A favorite quote for today...
"Your family is one of nature's masterpieces." I love this. And I do believe it.

A peek into one of my days...
Cue the circus music....

One of my favorite things...
is the ongoing dream to get three dogs someday: an English Setter (mostly white), a French Bulldog (white), and either an Irish Setter or a Sheltie (or an alternate days, a Great Dane).

Post Script
(Jack, Lucy, and friend Piper)
Hand-powered paddle boats at Chucksters - a brilliant invention for little kids (and those of us who always found paddle boats to be fatiguing and annoying)!

Many blessings to you and yours. Thank you for reading.
~Ally

Tuesday, January 10, 2017



For Today...
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 

Outside my window...
It is snowy. It is deep winter in New Hampshire. And I do not hate it. We chip off our car windshields in the morning, feel the whip of icy wind when going between the car and the grocery store, trod through slush in the parking lots, and walk precariously on icy sidewalks while looking up to see black night and snow gently falling, illuminated in the streetlights. It's the North. And some of us love it.
I am thinking...
about my upcoming vacation which my friend has so graciously invited me to attend. In the sunshine. On the beach. Cooking my flesh little by little, like a slow-roasting chicken. Ahhhhhh. Sounds FABULOUS.
I am thankful...
for my friend Rachel. She came into my life at a time when I needed a friend more than ever. I didn't realize she would become a weekly part of my life, someone I looked forward to and counted on. I didn't realize we would be so compatible, even though we are very different in personality and circumstance. She is a balm of comfort to me, and provides me the TLC I so desperately need right now. I love her very much and learn from her every day.
I am wearing...
grey on black. Because it's New England. And winter. 'Nuff said.
I am creating...
a manuscript of poetry.

I am going...
to continue working and reworking three things: my bucket list, my 2017 Resolutions/Goals, and my garden plan for this coming spring and summer. All three of these things give me great joy.

I am wondering...
as always, how to reconcile the strenuous balance of work, motherhood, and taking care of self. Single mother at 43, with two young children, who works full-time and shares parenting. It's a real challenge and that equation is always shifting and changing. 
I am reading...
(oh I can hardly even admit it) large print books from the library on my trip this weekend. Because it has been so long since I got a new glasses prescription - and it was wrong in the first place - that I can barely see to read. My eyes are killing me but I have had no time or money to fix this ridiculous problem. Hoping to accomplish that in February. In the meantime, I will be the one on the beach towel reading the book that even my grandma could read from across the room.

I am hoping...
to get laid. [hahahahaha - that was from 5/2016.......still true.]
I am learning...
to take the long view in many areas of my life. It takes practice. But seems beneficial to mental health.
In my garden...
there are precious strawberry plants - six of them - waiting out winter. I gave them scarves of mulch and straw, but meant to put 3-4 inches of straw over top of them before the first snow - but missed the window. I hope they survive. Those plants represent GREAT hope in my heart. I absolutely LONG for my garden. Every single thing about it was transformative in my life last summer and provided blessings beyond compare. I had no idea how incredible gardening could be for me. I long to dig the weeds, turn the soil, continue working on amending what was the dustbowl I inherited. I am anxious to see what's cooking in my composter, to make sure the yellow jackets don't nest there in the spring, to feed it the coffee grounds and veggie scraps I have been saving. Will the Japanese grass come back? Will the lavender ever thrive? Were those things Jerusalem Artichokes after all, and not just yellow weeds? I think so! Should I plant catmint or try again with a different variety of lavender so I can accomplish that purple swath we dream about.... Am pawing through endless seed catalogs now (dangerous endeavor). I keep redrawing and reconfiguring my garden plan. Companion plantings. Butterfly and bee attractors. Does baking soda really work on crabgrass? Oh........I LONG for my garden so.
In my kitchen...
are the remains of the Christmas cookies. They didn't fit in my suitcase to Nebraska. Then we had to cancel the post-Christmas holiday party with Laurel's family. So now I am stuck with boxes of treats. Ugh.
A favorite quote for today...
"Don't accept that others know better than you." (fortune cookie) (right on!) Also, "Get on board or get outta the way."
A peek into one of my days...
no, not today.
One of my favorite things...
is to keep envisioning my life until I feel stronger and stronger. Dreaming saves the soul.

Post Script
Can you imagine????


Many blessings to you today. Thank you for reading.
~Ally

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"No! No! No! No! No!" x infinity (he said)

Epic motherhood disaster. Brought on by a tiny, three-foot minion who has the uncanny, almost otherworldly ability to get up under my skin and kick around in there. All was going well enough until moments - moments!! - before leaving the house for our day. And then all hell broke loose. So many disasters ensued. Multiple altercations, multiple calm downs, multiple pull over the car on the side of the highway incidents, multiple get myself and my other minion out of the car so we could escape the wrath of the acting-insane one. Lord Jesus. Finally dropped off the kids at daycare. Tried my best, "Honey, what were you so mad about," only to be rejected in my parenting-book-inspired tactics, AGAIN, and then of course, they could not be happier for the daycare lady. Which is fine. Because I would not wish on her what I had just gone through - could not afford the cost of care for that.

Then a good 45 minutes of hearty self-flagellation in the car while driving back to work, a spiraling down the black hole of despair while crying hysterically and wondering what the fuck have I done with my life and why do I have no mothering skills whatsoever, after studying and babysitting, nannying, and caring for the children of others - rather successfully - for 38 years before having my own. Now I am 5 years into the experience of caring for my own tiny dictators and I still have no fucking clue what I am doing. And yes, I read every book, watched every episode of "SuperNanny," and followed every technique from the doctors and social worker and even the smug teacher.

Ugh.

Does everyone feel this way?

"The precious angels!" says everyone else. And I think....who are they talking about??

So now it's 8:34, and it's time to start MY day. And out of my 100 energy unit allotment for the day, 93 have already been spent just getting here. Sooooooooo.....good luck with that.

~out.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Something in the air?

Oh I have a big feeling today is going to be one of those days. Did "ok" with the kids getting out the door. A little yelling and aggravation, but no crying, no temper tantrums, no weeping mother, etc. Something somebody told me recently is that you are responsible to help your kids grow up to be a functioning adult in society. Meaning, not a functioning kid! So no need to worry about how insane they may act NOW....it's just all baby steps toward adulthood and as long as we have our shit relatively sorted out by age 18 or 20, we should be in the clear. We shall see.

But whether it's barometric pressure, the grey clouds forming overhead, the pressure of the clock with today's IEP appointment in the middle of my workday and three trips to Henniker required...., the fact that I have not paid rent yet because there is no money to pay it....., or the frustration (everlasting) of not getting timely answers at work - though I literally BEGGED in pathetic pleas this time - or from the garden guy. Well, I just have a feeling. There is no one on my wing of the office today. Quiet and productive sure, but also lonely. Two good friends work near me - one quit last week (!) and the other is working from home, attending to happy home events.

I have felt rather unmoored lately. The last couple weeks have provided several emotional challenges. Maybe something's in the air. Lot of brick walls. Lot of closed doors. And conversations hanging out there with only silence to answer them. Ugh.

So "what have you gained in that time"? Grateful for...

- Having my kids back at my house until Sunday. I really missed them the last four days.
- Knowing several people who went through the divorce road with their kids and all survived. Some even thrived and were quite happy once they could start over.
- A visit to Bob's garden yesterday with the kids. Wow, he is really a farmer and has the most beautiful, lush garden of vegetables and flowers. Also visited Rachel's phenomenal wild-n-wooly flower garden Sunday night. A balm to my soul, both of these encounters. And Rachel was right - letting a gardener talk to you about their garden is very fun.
- The chance to blog again. Nice to be talking to the great wide world.
- A brief talk with my sister last night, on speaker, while the kids were taking a pink color-bath. "Hi Aunty Lauren!" (Lucy) "Have a great night Lauren!" (Jack) So sweet. I can't believe she and her family are really coming in July. I probably won't believe it until I see them in the airport coming down the hallway. I haven't seen her or the kids in three years. I haven't seen Benjamin in five. It's not right. But seeing them in one month is SO right.
- The opportunity to try to mend a relationship that had suffered a slight. I think we are okay. Time will tell.
- Two *free* visits with a financial planner who is getting my finances all sorted out, thankfully!
- Sunny days and starry nights.
- Decent health.

Wary, a little depressed, and also thankful.
~Ally

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Reality check

Today my heart is momentarily gripped by fear for the safety of my children. There is a such thing as knowing too much. Read the thoughts and feelings of a sexual predator this morning in a novel. And shuddered at all the many things that can happen to my dear babies (God forbid) when I am not there to protect them. I was thinking about this concept anyway - about how they are in school, on the bus, with the daycare people (the mom I pay and absolutely trust, of course, but also everyone who comes in and out of her home and her life, many of whom I do not know), with friends, with a babysitter, anywhere really. Even with their dad, they are perfectly safe and lovingly cared for, but I am realizing there are so many moments of their days that I don't see. Things they do that I only hear about in preschooler story-snippets. Oh, Lord Jesus. Send angels to guard and guide them - three for Lucinda, probably six or more for Jack! :) Send a hedge of protection around them to keep them safe and let them live and learn in a gentle, untarnished, easy way. No trauma, no drama. The world and living this life are harsh enough - may their childhood at least be calm and sweet and full of good memories.
~Mama

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

just a Saturday afternoon

"Universe in Motion," by Scott Snyder


Lucinda: Can we go through the sky?

Mom: Yes, that is outer space. It's a black sky with all the stars and planets and where the sun and moon live.

L: No, THROUGH the sky and through outer space.

M: Well, it goes on forever....no one's ever done it.

L: Well I could do it.

M: Yes, you could.



photo by Scott Snyder Photographyhttp://scottsnyderphotography.com

Friday, May 20, 2016

Itchy scratchy

You know how some days you just wake up uncomfortable in your own life, in your own skin? Today is one of those days. Luckily, it's a "Mom by Herself" night (S has the kids) and I am hoping to have some quiet time to write and reflect after work this evening.

When I take stock, some of things that were plaguing me a month ago have simmered down - the kids and dealing with Jack's rage fits and everyone's crying outbursts (some of that seems to have dissipated with the arrival of the sunshine and bare-feet weather, thank Jesus), my crap love life, my job insecurity (it is still insecure, but not quite as much so...and for the record, my love life is still utter crap but I don't care as much at the moment), my ongoing financial disaster (met with a financial planner who is sorting out my entire life, haha, or making a stab at it anyway). But the sheer presence of massive uncertainty/unsettledness continues to rifle through my psyche in waves - whenever the hell it feels like it - causing anxiety and unease. So, a few steps forward, a few steps back. Same same.

Had a few really precious encounters with old and dear friends - that truly healed a thousand ills - with a weekend trip to see Rebecca and family (each one of them blesses me in their own way), Valerie (whom I haven't seen in 20 years!), Davy who came to visit me for a weekend and spent time getting to know my kids. Had some visits with Rachel, and those always fill the tank, a few interactions with new friends. I have worked hard this year on reviving and focusing on my friendships. I need them so much to round out my life, to give perspective, and to fill the love tank. I appreciate my friendships on a deep and molecular level. They give life to me, and that's no joke.

But today......today the air feels a bit suffocating and the twinging angst inside me is bee-bopping around just enough to make me want to run and hide. Need a beach day. Need sex. Need a vacation. Need my family. Wish I could spend the weekend in Indiana with all the extended relatives, and my sister and cousins. With mom and dad and the past and the future.

I cannot see one inch into the future today! Cannot imagine at all how my life will unfold from here. What the fuck am I supposed to do from here? Starting your life over at age 42 is no picnic. It can leave you with a bunch of cold chill moments in which you think, I am halfway through and totally unequipped for life's challenges! And alone! What the fuck???!

And then you breathe. And get your ass to work. Stop thinking so much. Get busy. Say a quick prayer of thanks for your children and the roof over your head, food in your fridge, limbs and eyes and ears that work, the paycheck coming direct into the bank today. You do some yoga on your 15-minute break. And you just fucking keep going....

...hoping tomorrow will be a wake-up-to-calm-heart sort of day.

~Selah.~
Ally