malgrin: (penguin)
I just had a weird sort of synchronicity. At lunch, I was reading a new book I bought while at FaerieCon. In it, there was a quote by Joseph Campbell that I really liked. I went looking for it online, and didn't find it, but I found quite a few others (I've always known that I need to study Joseph Campbell - now I'm certain of it).

At any rate, I was pondering this quote:

“But if a person has had the sense of the Call — the feeling that there’s an adventure for him — and if he doesn’t follow that, but remains in the society because it’s safe and secure, then life dries up. And then he comes to that condition in late middle age: he’s gotten to the top of the ladder, and found that it’s against the wrong wall.If you have the guts to follow the risk, however, life opens, opens, opens up all along the line. I’m not superstitious, but I do believe in spiritual magic, you might say. I feel that if one follows what I call one’s bliss — the thing that really gets you deep in your gut and that you feel is your life — doors will open up. They do! They have in my life and they have in many lives that I know of.”

And - I was vaguely wondering to myself if I've been too frightened... if I'm one of those with a dried-up life... if I let too many doors close.

While pondering that, I clicked over to Facebook for a moment, and at the very top of my feed, I saw this:

That one was instantaneous enough to raise my eyebrows. Plus, it always feels comforting when I wonder about something and receive an instant answer like that. It's also a little spooky.

At any rate... I have officially decided that my life isn't dried-up and that there are plenty of doors all around me, just waiting to be opened.
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I allowed myself not to think about any "offspring stuff" over the weekend. Saturday, Pete and I wandered around a bit in thrift stores (in preparation for FaerieCon West). Then, we went home and I sewed and sewed and sewed. Sunday was entirely devoted to Candlemas - which was lovely.

Yesterday, I was horribly tired because I stayed up far too late on Sunday - plus I had really been in "go-mode" all day that day. But - Monday was pretty good. I had work to do and made progress. I also got a lot of laundry done (very exciting, I'm sure).

On Sunday as I was rushing around to get things ready for Candlemas, I was becoming frustrated because of too much clutter, etc., in the house. Everything felt shabby and complicated to me. So, in an act of "reclaiming," I stripped the bed yesterday and washed the sheets and blanket and then put everything back together again. It hadn't been terribly long since I'd done so, but I've been a restless sleeper lately and it was all getting rather torn apart.

Writing about it now, it seems like a very mundane and ordinary thing to do... but in the moment, it was this huge symbolic act. Heh. Interesting how 24 hours can change the perspective. All the same, it is much neater now, and that is soothing to my emotional state - so I suppose that's what matters. I have many more small, mundane acts of reclaiming to perform. I have no doubt that each one of them will help me to feel better about life in general.

I also feel a need to gain more financial control in my world. Things aren't utterly OUT of control, but the situation with my daughter has caused me to re-evaluate many things. I'm feeling a sudden need to get some of my debt paid off more quickly. I don't have a lot of debt (other than my house), but I DO have a loan for some windows that were replaced. There is still quite a bit owing on that - and debts such as that mean that I have less funds available for other things. Plus, the faster it is paid off - the less interest I pay in the long run and so it just makes sense to get it handled. Once my current sewing projects are completed (one of which, I'm actually be paid a little bit for), I'm going to check into some sort of freelance work.

In thinking about all of this - it's pretty obvious that I'm "grasping for control" right now. I'm sure that's because I feel like I have so little control over other aspects of my life at the moment. However - neither cleaning the house nor paying off debt are unhealthy activities, so I'll let it be.

Last night, I tried to take it relatively easy on myself because I was very tired. I didn't sew - because sewing when I'm tired usually only results in mistakes being made. I worked on a different project instead. Upon completing it, I was folding up the table I was using (it's an over-sized sort of TV tray with a larger, heavier table top) and managed to collapse the thing right across the toes on my right foot. My large toenail took the brunt of the impact. It hit so hard and was so painful that I just sat in my chair and yelled for awhile. Both Karl and the cat were appropriately alarmed. I put ice on it shortly thereafter. With the ice on - it didn't hurt too bad, but it woke me up in the night several times. It's hurting today and I am still icing it. I'm not really sure what the mid-range impact on my life will be. I'm not even sure I can wear a shoe - and fortunately, I don't really have to wear shoes all that much. But, I do have to leave the house tonight and I'm trying to figure out if I'll wind up having to wear flip-flops - even though the weather is cold and rainy. All in all - it's a First World problem, but I really dislike being slowed down.

I don't think it's going to require medical attention. I hope not. I can bend my toes - although the big toe will not bend as far as the big toe on my other foot. I assume that is due to swelling. I'll just keep an eye on it over the next week or so and see what's what.

In the grand scheme - I can still be grateful because a banged-up toenail (coupled with otherwise good health), and a disorganized house (that I can afford the mortgage on) with a window loan (that I can afford the current payments on) aren't terrible problems. To maintain perspective, I'll work toward improving the things I'm able to improve - counting my blessings all the while.


Feb. 1st, 2013 02:46 pm
malgrin: (sad)
I'm struggling a bit today. The tensions surrounding my children are getting me down. Karl is stressed out because growing up sucks. And while I know that everyone has to do it - and that it sucks for a lot of people, it doesn't make it any easier to watch my child realize that childhood has slipped away and responsibility is breathing down his neck. He and I are very different people - and when I was his age going through what he's going through it was a pretty grand adventure. There were scary bits and hard bits, but for the most part, it was fun and exciting. I think that since home has always been a pretty safe and comfortable place for him, the real world and adulthood seem more scary than exciting. For me, of course, I'd have lived in just about any circumstances to avoid ever living with my step-father again. Karl doesn't have that sort of motivation.

Fortunately, he's made plans to hang out with some friends this weekend, which is really good. He spends way too much time locked away in his room - which I'm sure is the way he avoids ... everything. I expend as much energy as I can trying to drag him out - with chores, reminders to him that he should contact friends, mandatory job search outings, dinner, etc. But, he can't be my full time job, because I've already got one of those. I want so desperately for something to SPARK him... to make him excited about exploring the world and becoming independent. But, I can't control that.

Britt was denied a Pell Grant because - since I remarried - I make too much money for her to qualify. The thing is... I only "make too much money" on paper. In reality, I make exactly the same as before and have all the same expenses as before since Pete and I don't combine our finances (he has financial obligations to his own children). I found out today that she also doesn't have a student loan this year. She says they didn't offer her one, but that seems odd to me. I'm frustrated because if I had known this a year ago when she should have received her financial aid info - I could have done something about it. I could have helped her get a loan elsewhere or something. But - I was never informed. So, all year, her Dad has been paying a crazy amount for her tuition while I assumed he was paying his usual child-support amount. Now he's struggling to get by and I honestly don't know what will happen for her Spring term. She's freaking out because she thinks she'll have to drop out. I have re-checked all of my finances and I just don't have the extra resources to pay for her tuition - so I've been researching extra jobs, etc. I have a freaked out daughter, there is now tension between her father and I, and no one really has the ability to make money appear from the air. Her dad thinks he should claim her on his taxes, but according to what I read, the person the child "lives with" is who should be used for the FAFSA - and if we claim she "lives with" him - then I don't think she'd quality for in-state tuition anymore. Plus, I'd have needed to change my withholding a full year ago in order to not claim her this year. If I just suddenly don't claim her this year, I'll get slammed with taxes. Crap situation all around.

So... stress... and in my current frame of mind, it all spirals and I start thinking that I've failed at life because I didn't manage to save for the kids to go to college... and because I don't have any retirement and a thousand other things (things my dad would have counseled me to do differently, of course).

I was listening to an online radio show today and the song "Hurt" by NIN came on. I can still remember the first time I ever heard it. It was as if the stereo cast out a fishing line that hooked me and reeled me closer until I was standing with my ear practically pressed to the speakers. I had no idea who the song was by or what album it came from, so I researched it until I found out. It seems pretty cliché to identify with that song - but I did. A lot.

Operative word - DID.

It was a rough time in a life that had a few pretty rough times to its credit already. But spite of all of the stress and the general feelings of depression the stress has caused, I am no longer the person who identified with that song. When I hear it - it seems familiar... as if it was a story that I saw in a movie once. It doesn't seem familiar as if I lived it anymore. That's something to be grateful for.

There are a million things I could have done differently that would have made this moment easier. Maybe. But - I don't hurt myself to see if I still feel. Not anymore. That's something.

We're all healthy. That's something else to be grateful for.
malgrin: (Wee Me)
This is my official 10-minute afternoon break. I only note this because I'm realizing today that I need a bit more regimentation in my life. This isn't to say that I think my life needs to be inflexible. I am, however, noticing areas where regimentation could serve as a very solid and stable foundation upon which to hang my spontaneity.

Honestly, I've said for years that "good habits" are a great way to live a healthier life - and yet lately I seem to be acting in defiance of that premise. I don't really know what the underlying reason for it is. However, I don't have to go digging into my psyche to recognize that more regimentation would do me good - and if I'm resistant to it, I am at least aware of the resistance and can make the effort to push through.

There are areas of my life that create stress/strain.

Keeping the house clean
Home repairs/maintenance
Grocery shopping/meal planning
Health (specifically weight/exercise)

There are other areas, but these are the areas I'm choosing to focus on for the moment.

They create stress because they are "things to be dealt with which I do not enjoy." Thus, I think they are excellent candidates for regimentation.

For example, I come up with a list on a semi-daily basis of chores for Karl to complete. Additionally, there are chores I tend to. Some are daily (cleaning up dishes after meals) and some are less so (dusting the bathroom shelves, etc.). Often, I do not assign a chore or chores to Karl simply because I don't want to have to think about it first thing in the morning. I could avoid this, however, by creating a regimented weekly chore list. In other words, I could have him to certain tasks on certain days EVERY week. I would, in effect, be creating the chore list once and then just allow it to "run in the background" from there on out. Other special tasks could be assigned on an as-needed basis, but the basics would be covered. I could also do the same for myself. I could always do laundry on a certain day, etc. It would involve having less to think about all of the time.

I could do something similar for meal planning - and have actually talked about doing so, but I have failed to follow through on it. That could be remedied. I could create a card file of 20 or so simple, healthy dinners that I could rotate. This would VASTLY simplify the meal planning and shopping/list-making experience. It would also benefit my health because I would include planning healthy lunches, etc. also.

My break is nearly up (I'm noticing that my work day is moving more smoothly because I've made an extra effort to remain focused today - so I'm trying to stick with that), so these ideas are somewhat incomplete... but I wanted to make a note to myself so I will not forget that this is something I should work toward. If these somewhat mundane aspects of daily life are regimented/automated, then it will be much easier for me to plan fun and spontaneous things because I will never feel like I've allowed the fundamentals to slip away from me.

Break time is over!
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I do so love it when I see instant results.

Yesterday, I was whining about my son and fretting about whether or not he'd ever get his butt in motion. And, like a gentle and loving benefactor, the Universe gave me two gifts.

First, my son's Associates of Arts degree (the actual pretty certificate) arrived in the mail. It was like a calligraphy-laden reminder that there HAS been progress... and that with Karl, it is often slower than it would be if it were me or Britta... but the progress still occurs. Then, at dinner, he told me that he had called the temp agency he registered with to let them know that he's still looking for work. He then said "And I did it on my own - like an adult."

That was what I needed. Evidence that I wasn't the one pushing the boulder up the hill all by myself. I know it is still quite a ways to the top, but there is at least SOME investment on his part.

All the same, I think I'm going to add to his chores. As it was pointed out in comments to my entry from yesterday, he's got it pretty "good" here. He already does most of the household chores as his way of "paying rent." I figured out about how many hours worth of effort would equal the cost of renting a room and I have him do that level of labor here. With the weather warming up, he's about to have a slew of yard work to do - which he doesn't really enjoy. He also has to clean the toilet and mop the floors and scoop the cat box, etc. I do have to say - he does all of it with very little complaint - which I appreciate. I think that even though he does have it good - he KNOWS he has it good. He doesn't walk around with an entitlement complex. I think I am also going to have him start preparing at least one meal per week. I can start off with something simple like spaghetti and then basically teach him to read and follow a recipe. It's a life skill that he's going to need anyway. If having to cook in addition to having to clean and do yard work doesn't motivate him to get a job, I don't know what will. Maybe homelessness - but I really don't want it to come to that. For now, I feel rejuvenated because of the gifts I received. Needless to say - I am grateful!

Now, I just need work to sort itself out in a similar way. At least - no matter what - it is Friday and I'll have a break from the desk to regain perspective. But, if today could be a day in which the accurate and complete data flows, you won't catch me complaining!

Also - yesterday afternoon - there was a break in the cloudy haze for a short while. I could see a patch of blue sky way out to the East (the first blue sky I've seen in weeks. Literally). The haze had thinned enough that I could see where the sun was positioned in the sky - even though it wasn't actually breaking all the way through. It was the closest thing to "sun" I've seen in a couple of weeks as well. So, I did what any normal person would do. I made Karl go outside with me (so he could see it too) and then I ran around in circles on my front lawn like an excited dog. It's rainy now - but rain isn't stagnant fog, so I'll take it. Plus, it was 45 degrees when I woke up this morning, which is warmer than it has been in an age. So, I'm going to stamp this with "Grateful."


Jan. 24th, 2013 11:25 am
malgrin: (sad cat)
I'm feeling overwhelmed today. I'm sure that hormones are to blame for the emotional aspect... everything else is just mundane stuff or "the chores of being alive." I'm just not handling it very well today.

My projects at work are sticky and hard to complete. As is often the case, this is primarily because I can't seem to get complete information no matter how I plead or cajole. For the most part, I'm used to it. But, I've been dealing with the same reports for weeks now and I still can't seem to make satisfactory headway because so-and-so didn't list the serial numbers on the data and so-and-so didn't take any photos of the test setup and so-and-so didn't give me a list of which tests were to be covered in the report. I feel like putting my head down on my desk and banging it there repeatedly.

On the personal front - I'm incredibly frustrated with my son. He needs to find a job. He needs to give his life some SHAPE. I know he is "trying"... but it is the same level of "trying" that one sees from a 7 year old told to go clean their room. Progress is almost impossible to detect. So - Mom has to be in the room supervising the entire time. He's 22 - nearly 23. I shouldn't have to be this "hands-on" with his life... but if I am not - then he just sits in his room all day. I give him chores. I send him links for jobs. I help him update his resume. I send him out with resumes to go job hunting. I feel like I'm in the position of having to micro-manage everything he does and I hate it. I'm exhausted. I honestly don't know what else to do. I don't like ultimatums and I don't want to throw him out (where would he go?). He's not a bad kid. He's not disrespectful. He's helpful when I ask him to be. It's just that he doesn't seem to have personal motivation of any sort (except revolving around his personal interests). I can't fabricate that for him. So - I push and push - hating it all the while, and fretting and worrying that he'll never get it together on his own.

Today - with the bio-chemical emotional cloud hanging over my head - I honestly just want to crawl in bed and cry out my frustration. Unfortunately - that won't accomplish anything except making my face puffy.

Soldiering on is my only real option. And.. whining about it in my journal (of course).
malgrin: (Wee Me)
"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind."
~Kurt Vonnegut (God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater)

One of my favorite literary quotes of all time. There is a "pre-kindness" iteration of Me. I am not entirely certain when I made the shift... but a number of years ago I really wasn't a kind person. At times, I was an unkind person. If I get psychological about it, I could probably trace the shift back to my efforts to learn how to love myself. Let's face it - that's where it all begins. I've often said that the problem with Jesus' admonishment that we should "Love our neighbors as ourselves" is that most people don't love themselves much at all. It all begins "at home." Being a self-serving sonuvabitch isn't the same thing as treating oneself with true, gentle, loving kindness. Looking back, my misery was pretty self-serving. It gave me something to talk about. It made me feel interesting. It gave me the impetus to shape pretty phrases of sadness and share them with the world. In the long run, it was all just emotional masturbation. I really just needed to get over myself.

"There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity."
~Nathaniel Branden

I still fail at it - but I am at least aware of it now - and that's always the bulk of the battle.

Somewhere along the line, I figured out that life is complicated, weird, exhilarating, heartbreaking and often, just plain hard. If it is like that for me (and it is), then it is likely similar for others. If I can take a moment to forgive myself my own transgressions because life is complicated, weird, exhilarating heartbreaking and often, just plain hard - then I can do the same for anyone and everyone else. It's actually easier to do it for others because I hold myself to higher standards.

This doesn't mean that I will lie down and offer myself up as a Universal Doormat. Part of loving and respecting myself means that I must be aware of my own boundaries. It means that I do not have to spend inordinate amounts of time trying to understand the nasty motivations of other people. I don't have to take everything personally. Animals in pain bite - and we're ALL animals. A good portion of us are in one sort of pain or another at any given moment.

"Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not."
~Samuel Johnson

If I am NOT in pain - then I've got a lot of elbow room to forgive and to simply be kind. Even if I AM in pain - I can still take a moment to be empathetic and (yep... one more time) kind.

"In life you can never be too kind or too fair; everyone you meet is carrying a heavy load. When you go through your day expressing kindness and courtesy to all you meet, you leave behind a feeling of warmth and good cheer, and you help alleviate the burdens everyone is struggling with."
~Brian Tracy

Nothing really prompted this entry. I am simply meditating on the concept of Kindness today.

"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment. We can start now, start slowly, changing the world. How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make a contribution toward introducing justice straightaway. And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!"
Anne Frank


Jan. 21st, 2013 11:18 am
malgrin: (Wee Me)
We've been under a blanket of fog for over a week now. It was novel at first - but now I feel like I live in a very small, dismal world. I realized that between living in Fogsville, USA and watching Battlestar Galactica (which pretty much takes place inside a spaceship all of the time) my brain is SCREAMING for sunshine... or a patch of blue sky. Anything DIFFERENT (except snow or sleet).

I think that today, I should probably watch something else. Something that takes place outdoors... with a bit of sunshine and green meadows and beautiful flowers.

Meanwhile, I'm very grateful for my warm house. Dippy wanted out at 3 am... and it was cold outside - of course. The feeling of crawling back into my warm bed was exquisite. I wish I could have stayed there. Alas... today is a work day.


Jan. 9th, 2013 01:59 pm
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I didn't sit down on my lunch break today. That's three days running. I guess considering that I sit for my job all day long, it really doesn't matter. Moving around is good for me. What it really represents is a lack of "relaxing me-time." But - there is a lot to do around here. I've got a lot of projects I want to finish up, but I can't even justify working on them until the house is back in order again after the holidays.

I've been putting things back to rights in stages. I'm deep cleaning some things. They need it. With Karl working for all of December, there were a lot of tasks he'd normally do that didn't get done. I need to come up with a good way of handling those tasks myself because he's looking for a job again (and finding one NEEDS to happen).

Tonight, by some wild and random miracle, I will be home alone. Most of the miracle is that I'll actually be HOME. So, I'm going to shoot for a mix of "getting things done" and relaxing. Maybe I'll work on the baby quilt for Rozaylia (now that Maisie is almost 4 months old) so I can get that done. Quilting - really NOT my bag. Good to know. I just want to get it done, though, so I can move on with my life. It is nearly done. It just needs to be tipped over the edge. Then I can start working on some other project that's been languishing around here for ages.

I think I'm feeling better today than yesterday. Yesterday, I nearly fell asleep at my desk. I must be readjusting to the workday, etc.

Good. Lot's to do.
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I think my step-father is dying. I don't keep in contact with him anymore since my mother passed away. We had one long phone conversation to discuss the abuse I endured at his hands when I was a teenager. It wasn't pleasant, but I reached a new level of being at peace with it all.

I wish I could say that he wasn't a loaded topic for me in any way at all anymore, but that isn't true. I'm not haunted anymore. However, he will always be tied up in the disintegration of my relationship with my mother. I will always regret that I allowed that to happen...that I allowed his influence to keep me away from her.

In some ways, he's still doing it. He has never claimed my mother's ashes... and my sister and I are not allowed to do so without his written permission. If he passes on - I hope that the estate will allow us that right or that the right will pass to us as next of kin. I'm honestly not sure.

Once upon a time, my sister and I would have inherited something from my mother. I don't know if that will happen anymore. It isn't VERY important - although there was at least some wealth that they enjoyed as a result of what my mother inherited from my grandmother. It rankles a bit to think that my grandmother's estate will pass to people she never even knew. Those are petty thoughts, I know. I guess I just feel like he ripped my mother away from me - and nearly all traces of her as well.

Death is a messy business.

During that one telephone conversation that we had - he told me that he thought maybe my mother was haunting him. He would hear things from time to time and it frightened and unsettled him. All I could think was - "I hope she IS haunting you." There I go with the petty thoughts again. Here is another one: I hope she's waiting for him on the other side with her bright, pure, loving spirit... and I hope he can't even look her in the eye.

Today - I am mean. Later today, I will get my thoughts in order and find a peaceful and loving way to deal with this.
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I have a lot to process right now. We arrived home from our trip to California yesterday afternoon. It was a truly wonderful trip - primarily because I got to spend a lot of time with my Dad. I even had the chance to learn new things about him, which is always treasure to me.

He and Pete really seemed to get along. They talked about football. They talked about education and my Dad shared a lot of his experiences - particularly regarding various career avenues within the realm of education. It gave Pete a lot to think about. They also talked about genealogy and my Dad demonstrated for Pete. It did me a lot of good to leave the room for a while and to return to find them in conversation about one thing or another.

We had a good time getting to know my Dad's new dog (Shady O'Grady Potato) as well. He's a good dog and he definitely keeps my Dad and Chantal on their toes.

We had a great time visiting with Sharon and Tom in Mammoth on our way down. It was a cheese-tastic night... they had so many lovely, yummy cheeses. We also had Mai Tais in the village and then wine and port back at the condo. I can't believe I woke up without a headache. It bordered on the miraculous. It was good to have concentrated face-time with them. They are incredibly gracious.

On New Year's Eve, we spent time with Chris and Jimmy - which was also great. We decided not to go to the big shin-dig. It was crowded and expensive. Instead, we hung out - went out to dinner - walked around downtown Orange. I think that was perfect. It enabled us to have more conversation and to really BE together.

Other than that, I spent some time with the Rasmussens and some time with my co-workers - but didn't try to see anyone else. I'd like to go back over the summer, if possible, and see other people that I miss very much. Right now, though, I feel a sort of imperative to spend as much time with my Dad as I can.

Now we're home - and I've got some spiritual things to process and I've got to De-Yule the house and put up Candlemas instead. Everything needs a good cleaning and I've got a lot of goals to begin working toward. I feel like the beginning of 2013 has been delayed by a week - but I'm chomping at the bit to get started. Thus, today is the day. :)


Dec. 20th, 2012 10:59 am
malgrin: (Wee Me)
It's been quite a week - having been ill for most of it. I came down with a stomach flu on Monday night - and although Monday night was by far the worst of it, I've been recovering slowly ever since.

I didn't work on Tuesday. I worked half of a day yesterday. I think I may manage a full day of work today - primarily because my job isn't physically taxing. I cannot eat very much - and I think that a good deal of the weakness I'm experiencing may be related to that.

sleep has become a very odd experience because I've been doing it at all hours - having slept for most of Tuesday afternoon, off and on yesterday afternoon and evening, as well as attempts at sleep during normal sleeping hours. I had a bit of trouble with it last night, due to all of the napping, I suppose.

I've had to back out of social engagements as a result of this. Firstly, I do not want to give this awful thing to anyone else. I feel very fortunate that both of the children have managed to avoid it thus far. It is my hope that it remains that way - as they have to fly on Sunday. Secondly, my energy fades away so rapidly and unpredictably, I do not like to be too far from home. Yesterday, eating 3/4 of a baked potato wore me completely out and I had to sleep for an hour and a half afterward.

I continue to improve each day. Pete, however, has had the same (or a similar) bug since Sunday night and his condition hasn't changed very much. He was much less violently ill than I've been, but he's malingering - and not experiencing very much improvement. He has also worked the entire week (no doubt because the illness didn't hit him with quite the same ferocity), but I think the lack of rest has hindered his healing.

My primary goals for today - although not very exciting - are to have a shower which involves both washing my hair and shaving my legs and also to go to bed at a reasonably early hour and fall fast asleep and remain that way throughout the night.


Dec. 13th, 2012 10:55 am
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I'm feeling seriously nostalgic for a way of life I only knew once a month as a child. There was something endless and wonderful about kicking around on my grandparent's farm every summer. I know that they worked - and worked hard - but to a child, it seemed like the world was filled with idle activity and naps and the sound of insects in the yard. There was time to just let the wind blow us around the yard or to play marathon games of Monopoly. We gathered in a great group for the noontime meal and would have parties out in the yard with home-made ice cream.

I'm watching a movie right now that is set in rural Scotland in 1920... the only "job" is managing the estate and so there is continual connection with hearth and home.

It makes me miss my Grandma.


Dec. 13th, 2012 08:41 am
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I am grateful that Jonni is safe! She was in lock-down yesterday because of armed bad-guys on campus at CSUF. She was there past 10 pm (when I went to bed). I think she got released sometime after that, but before midnight. Craziness. Nyk and Seth (her brand new baby) are doing fine - and I'm grateful for that, too.

Yesterday, I was exhausted. I think it was partly due to staying up too late on Tuesday night and for somewhat poor sleep. I didn't feel quite up to snuff - probably the result of all the birthday mead I consumed. I had NO work to do - and so the day moved very slowly. It made me cranky and I couldn't seem to feel energetic at all. I had to do the grocery shopping - which I'm not a fan of... and then I had to make dinner (also not a fan). So - I'm really grateful for Britta. She went to the store with me (made it more interesting), helped me prepare dinner (made it faster) and then did all of the washing up. Glorious child - that one. She doesn't do those things every day, but she really steps in when Momma needs the support - for which I am very grateful.

Today, I'm giving her a list of chores she can do to earn some extra $$. Poor kid is poor. Heh. It will help me out a lot, though.

I am grateful that we're starting to get things nailed down for the holidays. There are a lot of people to see and a lot of things to do - and it is helpful to actually know the whats and whens.

My goal for today is to be more energetic today. I've got actual work to do - and that will help. I didn't have any work until 3:30 yesterday - and that makes for a very long day. I know that things have slowed because of the holidays and such, but I just want to get back to my usual pace. I like being busy.

So - today should be better than yesterday. I'm grateful for that!


Dec. 6th, 2012 03:14 pm
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I'm still feeling restless. I could feel my inner machine trying to tell me to create some drama for myself - to convince myself that the restlessness has its roots in something WRONG WITH MY LIFE. The fact is - I am just a little bored. Work is slower than usual. There isn't anything really dynamic going on in my world at the moment - no event to be prepping for, etc.

I'm just "working" and doing what I need to do... getting ready for Britta to be home again, etc.

I also cut way back on caffeine... not really intentionally. My body just didn't want hot tea in the morning for the last few days. I've been drinking a lot of lemon water - sweetened with stevia. My body seems to appreciate it. At least I'm very well hydrated.

I guess I'll just do my best to ride out this case of the "mehs."
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I'm feeling a bit "blah" today. I haven't had a lot of energy since about Sunday afternoon. I think the fact that work was so slow yesterday is contributing. Even though I got other things done, there is a certain "dragging" energy to a slow day at work. It gets into my blood and turns it to cold syrup.

I had a nice chat with a good friend last night. That was good - and even mildly energizing. Then I found out that my son had a really rough day on his first day taking live calls at work. Actually, most of his day was fine, but he had one customer that was - quite simply - a complete bitch. She belittled him and was exceptionally rude. Karl isn't used to being treated badly by anyone. It really threw him. When he got home, neither Pete or I were here (we both had other obligations) so he just cried and petted the cat and then cried and took a shower. It broke my heart. It sucks to have to watch your child be introduced to some of the harsher aspects of growing up. I told him, though, that he should be thankful that he doesn't live with that woman and that he ISN'T that woman. He can always choose to be patient and kind with others... and that will always mean that he's having a more pleasant life experience than the people who constantly drag others down.

The good in all of this is that he's feeling motivated to make SURE he doesn't get stuck doing this sort of work for the rest of his life. I've been trying to explain the concept to him for awhile - but as is nearly ALWAYS the case in life - until you experience it, you can't really KNOW.

Now - he KNOWS.

All the same, it's hard to watch your child go through something like that. My inner-mamma-bear wanted to hunt that woman down and give her a sound thrashing. Not that it would solve anything... but all the same! Grrrr...

Fortunately - he's still got his job. It wasn't a situation where he was punished for one bad call. He said most of his calls were perfectly fine. So, I hope that he manages to have a day today with nice callers.

I'm still waiting on work to roll in. I'm going to find myself another productive project to fill the gap. I think I may go ahead and exercise at least a little bit on my lunch break to see if I can't get the cold syrup to turn back into blood. I'm still not feeling terribly well - but I just need to power through. I am never going to feel well if I don't get my blood moving.

I am grateful for the determination to keep on moving. It would be easy to just crawl under the covers today - feeling the way I do. However, I don't really have any room for that. I have felt this way many times before - and in the past I would use this sort of feeling as a vehicle for self-destruction. Fortunately, I've lost patience with that old behavior. I feel blah? Too bad. I'll just have to do something about it.
malgrin: (Wee Me)
Today, I am grateful for the weekend. Pete and I spent it together - we did some shopping, watched the Springfield holiday parade at the tattoo shop, had a nice meal, met up with friends at The Mohawk, checked out both Holiday Market and the Picadilly Flea Market. It was all at a very relaxed pace. There was no football to get in the way of anything (heh). We even had a little nap yesterday afternoon.

I'm especially grateful that we made the effort to spend this time together, because on Friday, we'll have Nick with us for the weekend and Britt will be home for the winter holiday. We won't really have any "just us" weekends for awhile. We have to take the time when we can get it in order to maintain balance.

I'm additionally grateful that Karl's training went well. Today, he's answering "live" calls. The rubber officially meets the road! He's feeling pretty confident. He had yesterday off, and I think he enjoyed having the down-time. He'll be able to appreciate his free time a bit more now.

I'm still brainstorming ways to help him become increasingly independent and help him get his life launched.

I got my meditating done this morning before even getting out of bed. The goal is to exercise on my lunch break - and if I can get my meditating done in the morning, it gives me extra time for that. Unfortunately, I'm in a bit of pain today - so I don't think exercising is going to happen. I still expect that it WILL begin this week, and I'm going to keep on meditating in the morning so that I have the space for exercise on my lunch break - but today, I think I'll fill that time with sewing. At least that will still be productive (and also satisfying).

Now I just need the work day to pick up speed. I'm all caught up, which is really weird.
malgrin: (Wee Me)
I am grateful that Karl started his job today! Hurray!!!! Forward motion! He didn't pass his driving test yesterday - and that was probably good for his ego. I don't think he was taking it very seriously... and now he's got a failure on the books as well as having to inconvenience himself on his day off next week. Learning experiences are good for the soul. Hopefully he'll have his permit by next week, though, and that will be more forward progress.

I am thinking that I'm going to get a sort of "life kit" together for each of the kids as part of Yule. I won't go too crazy. I already got Karl two different gadgets that help with opening jars and bottles to put in his stocking. What I'm thinking about doing for both of them, though, is getting an accordion file or maybe one of the Rubbermaid file boxes and then setting it up with a few pre-made folders - like "Important Papers" and "Job Search" and "Pay Stubs" and "Taxes" or something like that... they are both at the point where they really need to start handling their own paperwork. Yet, I doubt either of them would think to spend the money on something to help them with that. I remember when I was Karl's age, I asked for a file cabinet for Christmas. Ha. I was more motivated to be independent, though.

At any rate - forward progress is good stuff.

We had our last Tuesday class for the year the night before last. Pete and I attended Merry Meet yesterday to hear about the OTO - which was really interesting and sparked a lot of thought and conversation between Pete and I afterward. We managed to get to bed mostly on time, which is good. Tonight is the second-to-last class for the Thursday night class, although I have a couple of other obligations next week in regard to all of that. In between now and next week, I need to prepare a key for the test that they'll be receiving today. For the most part, I tend to know the answers off the top of my head, but lately, I've been trying to "do the homework" that we give out so that I know for SURE I have well-formulated and articulate answers to the questions that are being asked. It just helps me feel truly prepared. So, I want to do that with the test as well... and that's going to take a minute. Fortunately, we have a relatively slow weekend for once. Pete and I are going to go to Holiday Market together on one of the days. Next weekend, we'll have both Britta and Nick again - and then Britta will be here until she leaves for California. So, even though I won't have as much "going out in the evening" stuff to do - I'll still have obligations. It should be OK, though - especially since both Pete and Karl will be working, so it won't be as if the entire house is full of people all day long.

It isn't even December yet, and I already feel like I'm lagging behind for the holidays. But - I need to recognize that as the myth that it is and remain calm. Perhaps I'll decorate the house this weekend while there aren't extra people here trying to watch TV. I'd like to make a new Yule wreath. Maybe Britta would like to help with that when she gets home. Maybe I'll just do it myself.

Primarily, I resolve to remain grateful that I'm so abundant that I can even fret about things at this level. I am grateful for my family (even when they are all in the house at the same time). We are pretty darn fortunate, and I don't want to lose sight of that. Life is a little complicated - but that's primarily because we're all growing and changing. Next year, there will be a little baby toddling about under the Yule tree.

My mom has been on my mind... I've been wishing I had her here to talk to. The events of the past week have really shed new light on a lot of things that she would have some insight into. I often wish I had access to her as a guide. I'm very sad that by the time I really began to need that - she was already gone. I'll just have to wing it - which is what I suspect she was often doing, too.


Nov. 28th, 2012 09:49 am
malgrin: (Default)
Today I am grateful for several things.

1. Karl is going to take the test for his driving permit today.
2. The chores are caught up and so the house feels peaceful to me.
3. Meditation
4. Pete took some of the vegetarian stuffing that I made for Thanksgiving in his lunch yesterday. He reported back that it was far tastier than the non-vegetarian version he bought with the turkey. He has decreed that he now feels it is unnecessary to purchase non-vegetarian stuffing for holidays ever again. WIN! This means fewer left-overs in the refrigerator and more room on the table. I adore simplification.


Nov. 19th, 2012 09:27 am
malgrin: (Default)
Today (and all weekend) - I am grateful for the Anniversary trip that Pete planned and executed for us. We stayed in a nice hotel. We had some us-time running around downtown Portland. We enjoyed a really wonderful dinner. We attended the Swashbuckler's Ball. We slept in. We wore hotel robes. We had room service breakfast. It was relaxing. It was good to have time with him without any kids, etc. involved. Our lives are so much about work and teaching and kids, etc. It was really nice to just be US for a little while.

Now we're back home and in the swing of things once again. I only work two days this week... so that's something else I'm grateful for. It's time to put together the Thanksgiving shopping list. Britta will be home tomorrow night. Things are going really great for her and I'm grateful for that, too.

Oh my gosh - I just found out that Brittany is having a baby boy!! I had a full body chill and I feel suddenly weepy. There will be a tiny little boy in our lives soon. I'm a little overwhelmed... in a happy way. Wow... so let's add THAT to the list of gratitudes.

Additionally, I got word from my Uncle (via my Dad) that my Uncle David still has no cancer markers in his blood. His cancer is considered in-curable - however, they did a bone marrow transplant several years ago - and he's had a clean bill of health ever since. Every time I get this news, I am awash in gratitude. They are even lengthening the time between blood tests from every 3 months to every 4 months. He is a truly wonderful, kind man. I'm so grateful that he's enjoying good health.

Listing gratitudes at our Thanksgiving dinner is going to take a minute!!


malgrin: (Default)

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