"Don't you stay at home of evenings? Don't you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?"
-Oliver Wendall Holmes Sr.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hydration and The Ice Age

The nice thing about chilly weather is that I stay hydrated. I am living off of a virtual deconstructed i.v. of hot beverages, rotating coffee and tea by turns...dreaming of a hot toddy tossed in for variation. Also, I keep up on my wash...there's no chore in the world that sounds better than folding clothes, fresh out of the dryer.

The poor chickens on the other hand and probly getting very sick of their breakfast time slipping further and further into the morning because the resident farmerette can't seem to get up the gumption to go tromping out through the frosted leaves and fill their water and feed. Brrrrr!!!! On the upside, I have a new coat (this is surprisingly encouraging for outdoor chores!) and on the downside, it is after all, only November.

A was talking to the boys the other day about the concept of an Ice Age and their eyes got pretty darn wide. They like chilly weather as much as any kid. Snow is twelve shades of fabulous and there's almost nothing better than dipping your mittens in mud puddles after you have scooped out the ice film on the top, as a stiff November gale whips down the driveway. All that aside, I think the idea of an entire era of frozen living with snow and ice that was higher and thicker and colder all the time put the fear of God into them. They keep checking with me from time to time now to see if an ice age is starting yet. I keep reassuring them that that's not how they arrive...and that this is just New England in late fall.....I think. Time for another mug of tea. 

We are off to Michigan to see my parents, a couple of my sisters and my much beloved grandma for Thanksgiving this weekend and even though travel is a hassle and family can be stressful...I'm really looking forward to it. Its so good to be with those you know and to settle in where you are well loved. It is also such a comfort to know that even if I do that ridiculous thing where I always choke at dinner--just for tradition, wear earrings that are utterly too large and glamorous for stacking wood, completely forget to be on time to anything or boss everyone around non-stop they all totally get me and while they might laugh at me outright or roll their eyes they laugh, nobody will be disowning me anytime soon. Its all  part of the great comedy that is family. I'm me and they all get it. I love it.

 I hope you all have a cozy start to the holiday season, and feel launched into familiar places of festive dreaming, warm knowing and brave new edges of growth.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Never Giving Up On My Journal

I have been absent from paper journals for a few years. Like maybe 10 years. In my single days I was a pretty avid journal keeper. I filled several books, granted....mostly with drivel, but faithful drivel. I have been blogging which some people might say is "the same thing" but no, its not. Very few people blog the same kind of personal, raw, introspective, sometimes tedious things that we pour out in our journals.

I think I stopped writing shortly after I met A....there are a few entries through our early marriage and I think it really stopped completely after Ru was born. The only other personal writing that I have done is some dream journalling...trying to keep a written record of significant dreams upon waking. Also cool but different.

This year I went on a retreat and one of the things I came home with was that I needed to start journalling. I think one of the things that was holding me back is that life is hard and sometimes its rough to actively process the reality of it all by writing it down on paper. I've just come through a really tough period in my marriage and am also starting to feel like I am making real progress with parenting which are both super scary and huge and some piece of me wants to just avoid mentally engaging sometimes...especially with my inner self. I like to hide from the shadow pieces of me, the things that are hard or dark or angry or bitter and I like to avoid processing the really sticky and complicated, even overwhelming things because I hate conflict...even inner conflict. That said, this recent progress in my marriage and parenting is almost completely due to a new grit, a new determination to look at all the realities, to say hard things, to be honest, to be terrified and not run, to be angry and allow it to happen, to try harder and solve things and grow. Journalling came back.

I'm journalling differently this time. I'm the current me journalling, in my current stage of life. I journal short bits, phrases that strike me, things I am studying in nature with the kids, doodles, intense ideas that I just need to write down and want to come back to later, I write for 5-10 minutes at a time, I allow gaps....even long ones. No topic is off-limits, no medium or kind of writing or use of the book is forbidden. I'm opening up what journalling means to me and letting it be a place where I write whatever I want. I'm excited about coming back to it, about revitalizing something that got scary and dull at the same time, learning new ways to do things, not being a quitter and chewing on my own inner storyline.

Grow, people. Write. Draw. Sing. Play your thoughts out somehow, have a place to digest, face your nightmares, allow fooling around somehow in your life, be the dynamic sort.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Seashore Cure

Well, we have....as I tell the boys....only two more sleeps until our family is all back in one location again. We're all good and ready for A to come home.

Today the weather was still insanely gorgeous. The day started off with a misty, fog that was stunning against the beautiful fall colors we still have and the fog burned off into a beautiful, if sometimes cloudy day. It almost felt like spring...the air was moist and warm and smelled of leaves and green things.

We worked in the yard a little. I raked leaves into the hen's new pen which made them tremendously happy. We finished the stone garden borders in the front of the house which I have been working on for about two years. SO AMAZING to have it all done! I keep looking out the window again to enjoy the accomplishment. I also laid a little more of the brickwork (mortarless) that I am using to edge our front walk. Should have taken a picture...didn't think of that. I am using salvage brick that is all red and the standard size but otherwise varies in style and design and mossy character. I love how its turning out. I have maybe one third of the walk left to finish although at the moment I am out of brick and need to keep my eyes peeled for more being thrown out somewhere.

Poor little Nib was sick again today. This is his second illness in the course of A's travel. I let him sleep in a long time and then we did some gentle things around the house and read a bunch of story books and then it was time for something cheering. The boys and I took a cloth bag for beach combing and headed to the ocean.

It was gorgeous. We saw a school of big silver fish, swimming and sometimes leaping out of the water. We found horseshoe crabs and ark clams and beautiful driftwood and more oyster shells than we could count. There are oyster beds right off the coast here so loads of their shells wash up. Some of them get to be enormous. I also thought to myself that maybe next time the chickens are getting low on their store purchased oyster shell, I could just take a hammer to some of the extra shells we bring home from the beach. Wonder if that would work?

By the time we got home Nib was feeling 200% better (there is no place better to recover than the seashore) and little Pom was taking his place with a clingy attitude and permanent bad mood. I have him draped across my lap right now while I type...his feverish little self snoring away on my knee.
Have to remember the seashore for the next time I get deathly ill...it seems like such a wonderful place to be sick. The air feels cheering, the sound of water is theraputic, there are shells for combing, there are birds wheeling over you and the endless water sweeping out in front.

Man, do kids get sick a lot. Good thing I have an immune system that can handle it! I can usually avoid getting sick and if I do fall prey I usually get a lighter version. I'm all for that.

Do lets learn invincibility!