Thursday, July 26, 2012


Lately, my life is much less routine, so there are many more distractions. Work has been a real challenge for me; it takes tremendous self-discipline to get myself going on a project, and even more to stick to it.

I did a lot on Tuesday; yesterday I taught two yoga classes so my focus was there instead of on writing. Today, we have vacation plans, but I really, really need to finish this overdue text first. Just 1500 more words. Maybe not even that much. If I get it done, I get to lie by a pool and chat with my friend. Easy peasy to console her about her heartbreak compared to pushing myself to describe this program in new and captivating yet accurate language.

As my brain often does when I'm tired but pushing it, I've been obsessing a bit lately. My latest fad... (really, just out of the blue, and you would never guess)... RATS.

See, my daughter begged for a pet rat for her birthday this month. She is a super responsible pet owner and already takes care of her fish, our two guinea pigs and our dogs, so we agreed. She got a cute little two month old rat. Rue was white and grey; she loved my daughter and would ride in her hand and climb up her arm. Then she died, completely unexpectedly, with no sign of being ill. We think either she had a heart defect or she choked on something.

So B cried for the next week. And now we are in the market for a new pet. But now I've started researching on the internet. And I've discovered that there is a whole world of small rat breeders - ratteries- working to create the cutest, healthiest, most agreeable rat lines. So now I am just in love. Turns out that like guinea pigs, you have to get at least two. None of the social animals are meant to live alone. And these rats are just adorable!!! I want a mink harley dumbo and a siamese blue point but I think almost all of them are just SOOO cute.

So I spent about 3 hours last night searching for adoptable/puchasable rats from SoCal breeders instead of working. And I stayed up to 1 am. And none of that is helping my concentration AT ALL now. Just a little bit of the crazy that is me.

I'll post some links or photos later so you can see what I mean.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Friend Turns To Me

"Do you REALLY think I will find someone else to love?" She asks in a small, wistful voice.

I drag my gaze away from the trees out the window where I have been staring in a daze. "Yes," I reply, "I really, truly do."

"But, why?" she persists.

"Why?" I give a small chuckle. "Because I am clearly an Incurable Romantic and an eternal optimist."

"The Words Lie Inside..."

Age of Consent plays overhead. Music drifting down upon me in this large room filled with square tables and large glass walls where I sort and order my words, constantly pushing them forward, constanly pushing them into their new order.

Once inside, the words mingle with the rind of ourselves, becoming a part of us in ways that never leave us, truly. Once mingled, the change endures, the self alters and the new order of self takes its place, in the long, long line of selves that we once were, that we have ever been, that we are yet to be.

The world is full of unending hope and infinite possibility. The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper, someone said that once, and it is true. The magic around us seeps into and out of us with our very breath, connecting us all, linking the past and the future, and carrying us along on the currents of song, and space, and time.

But There's Always Reason to Hope...

"Life isn't fair," I murmured sadly to my good friend.

She shook her head back at me, curls bobbing and sorrow shadowing her eyes. "No," she replied softly, "It's not."

We shared a look as we felt that truth settling around us.

I've been sitting with my friend all day. She is in tremendous pain and suffering, and I am simply here. Simply spending time with her. Working while we sit together, sometimes talking, sometimes in shared silence.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the value of good friendship. The importance of caring for other people is almost beyond my capacity to put into words. I simply feel the bonds of my friendships sweep over me, and am aware of how very much they matter to me in every moment of my day to day life. The words that come to my mind most right now are Respect. Appreciation. Deep Admiration. Gratitude.

Words that barely begin to convey the feelings that I send out into the world on this day of shared life.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I wish I had more time to match the words I'd like to say to the effort of saying them. I've had a lot of thoughts in mind, but haven't been good with my time management.

Some days I'm just happy. Most days, I'm avoiding my computer in favor of doing other summer activities with my family. Also, though, I find it difficult to concentrate enough to work or write without the hours of lonely, silent space that the school day affords. While in theory, I SHOULD be able to shut myself off in my room with my very nice desk and use my firm voice to say, I'm WRITING - don't interrupt me... in reality I find myself watching hours and hours of mindless tv or reading pulp novels in the company of my family instead. I like them, and it's hard to pull away from the leisure to be purposeful.

Even though the schedule of school is so intrustive, I'm almost looking forward to being forced to get my own act together a bit more.

That's it really. No great stories coming from me. Not even that much exciting free time. Just watching a lot of Colombo and The Wonder Years and Phineas and Ferb. And doing minimal housework and laundry.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Late and Soon

"Getting and spending we lay waste our powers..."


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vacation Mode

The days slip past, slick with sunshine and sunscreen.

I'm typing this from a very, very nice office -- an outdoor cabana poolside at a resort in Palm Springs. This is our third day here, a bit of a break away from home after our family visit last week.

That went suprisingly well. It was a lot of work, as I mostly wound up feeding and cleaning up after all 10 of us, but it was the best visit we've ever had as far as emotional pleasantness and everybody staying in a good mood. My neice and nephew are gorgeous, adorable, happy, well-behaved kids. We had my neice with us the whole six days, and looking after a 3 year old again took me back a few years. I'm quite glad that our own family is past all of those stages! The need for nonstop vigilance is exhausting!!

This trip has been lovely too. I don't actually like Palm Springs that much. The desert climate isn't my thing, and I don't enjoy heat. So when we're here, I don't care if we go anywhere or do anything. That means hours and hours for the girls to spend in the pool. That's all we did the last two days. Today, I didn't feel good about spending another whole day reading novels, so I dragged my computer out. The staff very generously gave me free use of this gorgeous cadana. It is plush with an outdoor rug, a marble table, a couch for six, and padded chairs. There's even a TV, although why anyone would come to a pool to watch tv is beyond me.

Yesterday we spent over $100 on poolside drinks and burgers, a lifestyle my family adapts to with the ease of fish swimming in cool water. Perhaps that's another reason why I'm motivated to log back in to my working life for a few hours!

Regardless, we only have a few weeks of time off left. Then they'll all be back to school, and I will restructure my writing time to be more consistent and effective. I did have a very fabulous book idea yesterday -- a nonfiction project that I think I could actually pre-sell. I don't want to say much about it, as it's a good idea that I don't want someone else to get to first. I need to see if it's already out there. If not, I have a couple of years to pull it together, which seems just about right at the rate I've worked lately. :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

A very Happy Fourth of July to all!

Fireworks, and barbeque, juicy melon and potato salad. Whether mellow or festive, may this be a day of true freedom and the celebration of all the independence we each enjoy.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Even though for me, with my summer schedule, it is actually the middle of the night...

still I am awake and here at my computer. Watching the day slowly break open.

Dawn comes silver and soft, wrapped around the song of the birds, and gently hopeful.

Goodbye June 2012

In review, it's been an odd month. Although my family has been on vacation since the last days of May, that summertime feeling still hasn't kicked in for me. Instead, I have a feeling of waiting for the fun to begin.

I started the month buried under a ton of work. The big event took place that first weekend, and turned out to be more exhausting than I had anticipated. Additionally, the work from that event has trailed out over the last few weeks, keeping me from feeling like there's been a clean break. The event itself went very well, and I felt proud of my work for it. The organization, on the other hand, is deeply troubled and having all sorts of personnel and mission issues that rippled down to impact our local work quite a lot. So part of my attention has been there.

I also haven't felt free and lighthearted because of the ongoing issues with my car. Between mid-May and now, my car went to the mechanic five times for the same a/c problems. Additionally, we rebuilt the transmission at another garage. That means that I probably spent at least half the days last month without my car, maybe even more. It's sort of become this blur of inconvenience and expense. I finally got my car back Friday, and I'm not sure the a/c is any better than when I first took it in. I'm just exhausted of trying to work it out with the garage. Before, I considered them my regular mechanic. Now I don't know that I can trust them to get a repair right. My confidence in their abilities has plummeted. My glove compartment is put back together crooked; there's a dent in my driver-side door; my car is filthy and an odd smell lingers. All in all, it's been a terrible month for car issues.

With my focus, and quite a few of my hours, devoted to getting my car fixed properly, my work output decreased considerably. That means I didn't hit my goals for June, and now we start July without the income we'll need for the month. Also, my main client had a personal issue that made her drop out of touch with me halfway through the month. So part of my time was spent worrying about that. I've finally made contact with her and gotten the information I needed so at least we are set to continue our working relationship for next month and on into Autumn.

Ah, Autumn. As much as I hate the demands of the school year -- and I truly do-- at least the structure of the days will force me to get more work done. The best part of this summer to date, by far, has been the feeling of relaxation that our family has. All four of us are mellow and easy-going. There's a feeling that our time is our own. During the school year, all time always belongs to the school. There is always homework and more homework, projects to do, items needed for the week, bedtimes and getting up times and bells ringing to divide the day into success or punishment. I don't miss any of that while we're on vacation!

So there's the reasons why June was a bit tough. I'm okay with seeing those things behind me, although I'm sad that the month wasn't more fun. It feels like the time off together is so precious, and I hate to see it just slipping away.

There are two stressors right now that keep dancing around my mind and keeping me awake. One is short term and will be over soon if I just grit my teeth and get through it. The other is longer term, but I can't do much to impact it except try to be at peace.

So the short term stressor is family. My brother, his wife, my neice and nephew are due to arrive sometime tomorrow for this week. While a big part of me is delighted to see them, particularly to get some time with the little ones, another part of me is completely reluctant. If I am honest with myself, I find their family quite stressful. Both my brother and sister-in-law are prone to being somewhat self-focused and snappy, so being around them often feels like a long careful dance of trying not to offend them, while getting my own feelings hurt. Additionally, I do a lot of cooking, dishes, and general clean up when they're around, none of which they are helpful with. The payoff is decreasing with each visit. I think I feel a bit blindsided because I didn't initiate this visit at all. They simply told us that since they had vacation time they would be visiting us for this week. Now, they made these plans months ago, and I could have protested or derailed them but I didn't. So now I'm as much a party to this as anyone.

I hope it will be able to be a pleasant visit. I'm determined to be easy going and pleasant and let things flow off my back like water. I just want to enjoy spending time with my children and their cousins, like a family should during summer vacation.

But given my choice I wouldn't have hosted guests this week. I don't much like Fourth of July anyway. To me it's a hard holiday to celebrate. There's a lot of anxiety in trying to get to a place to adequately view fireworks, avoiding crowds and traffic, but not feeling like you're missing out on all this tremendous fun. We used to always go to a friend's bbq, but they stopped doing that in recent years. After a few bad occasions, I thought I had cleverly solved the firework question last year by booking a hotel in San Diego with an amazing view of the display. That's where we would have been this year instead of hosting family who doesn't care a fig about fireworks. Which means that I have to come up with some other meaningful way to celebrate that doesn't involve dragging everyone around to see them. Maybe my family should just go on our own?

In any case, their visit is the kind of mental pressure that I don't need right now. I thrive when I have stability, predictability, accomplishment and fun. I don't do well with the kind of unstructured schedule, series of small stressors, and interpersonal dynamics I'm dealing with right now. Knowing that is one thing; doing something with that self-knowledge is another.

But it's only five or six days, so I think my best bet is just to get through it, hour by hour. Try to relax and make it as enjoyable as I can. Not expect too much and not be too disappointed in any result. And remind myself that our REAL vacation can take place the rest of July, in the three precious weeks we'll have left.

(And I know. Our family is darn lucky. We're talking about vacation in weeks instead of days, like most families. I know.)

The one shining bright spot of this summer so far has been our family relationships. Everyone is getting along with everyone. The girls spend little time bickering, and lots of time doing stuff together. I adore being around the girls, just enjoying every minute with them. And S and I are doing really well together. We have the most peaceful, contented relationship we've had in years. That lack of anxiety and drama is nice just in and of itself. It's such a relief not to be fighting or stressed about fighting. I think the general relaxation has also decreased some of my drive to plan activities and trips. While there are a lot of places I want to go together, and things I want to do, I suppose they can wait until we get to them. If July works out then fine. Otherwise, we'll just have to keep having fun in Autumn. And not let school run every bit of our lives!