Saturday, January 29, 2011

Too Tired to Deal with the Drama

It seems no matter how much older I get, I still will never understand people.

People you think you know so well are often the ones you end up knowing the least. The ones that surprise you with their seemingly crazy, irrational and selfish behavior.

Take one "friend" of mine. She lives on the other side of the country. We rarely see each other and both have jobs, little children and really busy lives.

But apparently, this makes me a bad friend. Because I am supposed to be checking in with her constantly and commiserating with her every issue and, obviously, I do not do this enough for her liking (even when she doesn't return my phone calls).

But conversely, it's clearly not important for her to check in with me and my issues. In fact in the most recent past, I mostly hear from her when she needs my help with some kind of work-related issue. Never mind that my father was very ill last year, or that I was out of work and stressed out or that finally, I was starting a new job and trying to balance work, toddler, family and home. No, none of that even comes into the equation. I'm just a bad friend. I'm the selfish one.

One to be cut off. One to be ignored. . .Huh. . .

Why is it that you can have a relationship that's clearly out of balance, but the person often getting the short end of the stick ends up being the bad guy?

And why does my not calling her because I am busy trying to take care of my sick father, toddler, home, family, job, mean that I wish her any ill will? Mean that I don't still hold her in a warm place in my heart?

Why does being busy mean that I have to constantly apologize for not being a good friend when this person isn't being a good friend to me?

It reminds me a little bit of a situation in the past when I had my elderly father living with me for six months while he recovered from a severe stroke. I had a full-time job and was his only caregiver and a friend of mine had the audacity during what was quite possibly one of the lowest points in my life to tell me that she was feeling a "definite lack of friend" on my part. Oh right, I'm supposed to be giving more to you when I haven't really anything to give. I was exhausted. Tapped out.

I'm aggravated and confounded by it all, yet again. Part of me thinks that I should figure out a way to repair the rift and another part of me says just forget it. Let it slide away. Do I need a friend that creates drama and contempt out of nothing, for no good reason?

It's tiring just thinking about it. And frankly, I don't have the energy or desire to deal with it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In the Fog

I really do feel like I've been through the mill a bit lately.

Every day at work is a long one. Today was 7:30 am til 6 pm and that doesn't include commuting time.

I like my job, I do. But I just wish it didn't seem so all consuming on some days/weeks/months.

Sometimes I wonder if it's just me. That I am the one who has a hard time compartmentalizing. That I can't draw the line and say "enough done today" and walk away unencumbered. That I just take it all too seriously.

Things I think I need to do for myself (revisit a diet plan, exercise, read a book) always seem to be the things that I daydream about in the car on the way to/from work. Today (whatever day that is) is never the day when any of that will become part of my reality. But if not today, then when?

When will I get something accomplished that's just for me? Something that will make me feel better. Something that will make me better able to handle all that life throws my way.

I know there's an answer here somewhere. I just can't see it yet. It's like I'm stranded in a thick, pea-soup fog and, if I could just reach out in the right direction, I could touch the answer with my fingertips. It's there. I feel its proximity.

I just need to be patient. And keep reaching into the shadows. . .

Sunday, January 16, 2011

To Forgive and Be Forgiven

I was never raised in a church-going family. Well. . .we did go. About once a year. Always, on Easter.

We'd dress up in something new (because Easter always demanded something new--even if it was a nice new bow for my hair or a mini-me suit jacket for my gangly little brother). And we'd pile in the AMC Hornet after the Easter baskets had been ravaged and go to some kind of middle-of-the-road Methodist church. We'd sit in unfamiliar pews among unfamiliar people and follow along as best we could. It always seemed pretentious to me, even as a little kid. That we were just pretending for that day to be some other family. A family who always wore their Sunday best and dutifully got up for church every week. But that wasn't really us at all.

Anyway. . .so not much of a church goer growing up.

I did start going to church pretty regularly after my mother died. I was in England for the summer and started going to the ancient, small church where my grandmother had been married and where my aunt was a regular. I loved everything about it: the smell of the incense, the bells, the Vicar who told stories about his time living in India and how those stories always seemed relevant to something I was going through in my own, ordinary life, the mass sung rather than spoken, the soothing ritual of the same words sung week after week. I loved the time to sit on old, old wood or kneel on ancient stone pavers and share my troubles with God. Unburden myself.

I felt like God really listened to me there.

More recently, I started going to church again. It's not as old as my lovely English church, but it still feels familiar to me. Comfortable. Going there feels like a little oasis of peacefulness in the middle of an often crazy week.

Lately, even though I truly believe I have so many good things going on in my life, I've begun to feel resentful. Resentful that my house is a mess and I seem to be the only one who cares. Resentful that I rarely have a moment to myself between, home, family and work. Resentful that the path of others often seems so much easier. Resentful that so many of the struggles in my life I seem to have had to face alone.

And the truth is, I'm tired of being resentful. I'm annoyed with myself that I can get so riled up by undisturbed dust and dirt. I'm tired of keeping a mental tally of my grievances and slights. Like my extra weight, I feel like I just take everything on, the unkind words, the annoyances, the general disorder of my life and carry it with me wherever I go. Holding tight to it like some kind of badge. Some proof of something I'm not even sure of.

And in the past few months, I feel every ounce of it strapped across my back and dragging around behind me. I just want to find a way to snip the cords that keep me attached to all of it. I want so much to stop being so crabby--especially with the people I love the most--and just live more fully and peacefully in the moment.

And so, this Sunday morning I made a trip to my little oasis of calm.

I laid it all out. I asked for help. I asked to be unburdened. I asked to forgive and to be forgiven. I asked to not get so irritated by the dust and disorder (though having the dust magically disappear would be great, too, but it's clear, God has more pressing issues to focus on).

I asked for God to take the list from me and take over record keeping--or not, as he sees fit.

I left feeling a bit lighter. The conversation has been broached. But there is still a whole lot more talking to do. I hope he's listening. . .

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year's Blessing

My mind is a little mushy.

I feel like I need to write something down but not really sure what it is I desire to say. So many words just floating around in my head. . .





More than anything--beyond the tiredness or the lack of answers to the still fuzzy questions, I feel grateful. Grateful for my lately, overly busy and imperfect life. Grateful for small things and big things: my healthy, happy wonder of a boy; my annoying and handsome husband who I never want to live without; furry creatures who have become part of my family; food on the table; my small but cozy home. Grateful that I have a job and don't have to spend every day worrying about paying the mortgage (like I did often in the previous years). Grateful that, since I have more, I can help others in ways that just make my heart feel good.

Like many of you, when the jackpot hit over $350 million, I bought the Mega Millions tickets, too. But honestly, I feel a little bit every day like I already won the lottery in so many seemingly mundane yet wonderful ways.

I am happy in my small life. Truly, I am. So many moments of pure wonder that I wish I could just capture in my hand and hold onto forever.

I wish the same for each of you.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Two New Library Loves: Read Them!

Continuing my library love, I have to talk up the two books I've been reading in the past week--both SO great. First, I finished The Help a few days ago. It is really a tremendous achievement for a first-time novelist and I just hated having to put it down. A serious page turner that has the characters really coming alive in your mind--so much so, I'm still thinking about them (especially Aibelleen), days since I finished the book. Loved every page. Cried at the end (and a couple times in other places).

On Saturday, I started reading the non-fiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Wow! As a person not particularly interested in science, I have found this book about cell culturing and the discovery of the HeLa cell line, (from the cells of a poor, til-now, unsung heroine, Henrietta Lacks) that helped find a cure for polio and create numerous other important medical advances, infuriating, engaging and totally engrossing. The more I read, the more I want to read. I'm about two-thirds through it, but can't wait to see how it all wraps up. It is really an amazing, and often sad and unjust, true story.

Need to line up my next book at CPL. Any reccos? Am thinking about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I have to say, I am loving making use of the quiet time when my boy is napping with a good book and cutting out all the background noise of the TV. Makes me want to get my chores done that much faster, so I can get back to the story!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oh Library, How I Love You!

Did I mention I've in love with the public library? Maybe I did. But, oh, it is SO GREAT! I have been reading a lot more (watching much less TV) and learning good, useful, interesting things and just being entertained. Am currently reading The Help, which is really great, Continued my inexplicable Tori Spelling obscession by reading Uncharted TerriTORI (pretty good actually, if you like TS) and also her mom's book, Welcome to Candyland (pretty lame, actually, but a super quick read).

I love putting something on hold online and then getting an email from CPL when my item is at my nearby library. So exciting to go pickup that new book.

And almost best of all: absolutely free of cost and clutter. Am loaning out books I used to buy (great savings!) and, though they clutter up the house when they are here, can quickly round up all the books I'm done with and take them back for someone else to read. Once again: awesome!

Have been checking out books that help me save money (Coupon Moms Guide to Cutting Grocery Bill), green up our living (several titles) and just requested Rosie O's Kids Craft Book to find fun things for Mr. H to do.

Can't believe I ignorned using the library all these years. If you don't have a library card and like books, run, don't walk, down to your nearest branch. Library, I "heart" you!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Playing Catch Up

Last posts were bleak and wintry and often about illness.

I'm happy to report that summer and good health have been reigning supreme. Work is still up in the air (still consulting and have been busy until about a month ago, am getting a strange number of job offers out of the blue!) but good. Am considering taking a real job again (one of the offers seems particularly intriguing).

Still not as far with the decluttering as I would have liked and have subsequently discovered thrift stores! Much of Henry's cute summer wardrobe and my own new wardrobe additions are thrift store finds. Score! Have also rediscovered the delights of the public library. Especially here in Chicago--where you can request books online and they let your know when they are in for pick up at your favorite branch. Awesome. My tax dollars at work in a way that actually feels beneficial. Great.

Need to dash out to buy groceries, pick up more library books and also make some lunch for me, Henry and the nanny. Then time, hopefully to try and tidy my office which is a downright disgrace of a mess. Shame on me.

Feel like I've been good at tackling messiness and disorganisation little by little. Still big piles to get rid of, some kind of inexpensive vacation to be planned, garage sale to be held. Lots to do and never enough time or sleep. Outdoor space this year is fab, however. New outdoor rug (craigslist find) was super addition to deck, creates a terrific outdoor play room for baby. Lots of flowers and red, juicy tomatoes ready for picking all around. Am LOVING our deck this year.

Baby Henry is a walking, talking wonder of a boy. At 19 months, he's a curly headed blond bombshell with a vocabulary of 100 words that he likes to use often. A boy who knows his own mind and will let you know it, but also a cheerful, loving little chap. What did we ever do with all our extra time before his arrival?

Having baby at almost 44 = best decision ever made. Keen to win the lottery one day. But can't be greedy. In so many ways, feel like I already did!