Saturday, December 29, 2012

Today's Schedule

That moment where the blissful glee of being at home with nothing to do that must be done passes and you still have a few days of vacation left and the panic wells up in your throat a little wondering how the time will get passed, like it was some sort of baton.  That particular bile is followed by the chunks of fear that you are somehow behind.

That moment when your child wakes with a fever and you have to change your plans, the things you were going to do and instead make soup and ferry Gatorades back and forth and sweep Saltines crumbs out of your bed, wondering how long to let the cartoons run for.

The moment when you just surrender to it and put the fuzzy leggings back on and take your bra off under the sweatshirt because, eh, who cares.  You might even have left the house like that.  Then you spend most of the day working on a puzzle and eating more chocolate and marveling at your expanding middle, it's eagerness to claim territory.  Nothing gets bought or sold.  Managed or recorded.  Monitored.  You have a third cup of coffee before 2pm.  And you still feel sleepy, which is weirdly okay, too.

Time slows down to this otherworldly pace and your house becomes the universe and your family the only only living beings within it and you just orbit one another in an unregimented fashion and forget what day it is.  You lie splayed across one another's laps, or rolling on the floor getting covered in dog hair but who cares put those jammies in the hamper and just put on other ones.

Who cares, who cares, who cares.

You don't even look at the clock.  You're supposed to go out but the kid's fever and cough keep you in and that's fine and then even the cabin fever passes and you are back to wondering at the massive elasticity of time and its ability to change you, as if to another species.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gushy Mushy

Man, what a bunch of selfish goodness, this staying around in our own house for the holidays, has been.  E. and I just look at each other in wonder, goofy grins on our faces.

We miss our families, don't get me wrong.

But to avoid airports, car trips, small talk, doggie daycare, packing and planning?  No national news, no NPR, no course planning, no fevered email correspondence.  To have an entire week of pajamas and pancakes, fudge and movies, snowstorms and presents, projects and peace?

Total bliss.  Bittersweet bliss.  The lazy, joyous stretching out of the days, not ruled by calendars and to-do lists but by whims and fancies, is almost too much to take.  Out of the corner of my eye, the new year is approaching, and all those stupid deadlines I committed myself to are waiting impatiently in folding chairs, angry drivers at the DMV wanting license.  Bastards.

But for today:  the blog.  Folding laundry.  Watching some snow fall.  Maybe a run, maybe not.  Eating, laying down, getting back up, puttering around, laying back down.  Answering one email and calling it good.  Watching the jay on the tree outside my window.  Reading.  TV.  Watching Nolie do magic tricks, listening to Addie rhapsodize on the finer points of Harry Potter.

Hard to imagine anything better.

Friday, December 21, 2012


I've been dwelling on the idea of happiness, something I am periodically wont to do, as you long-time readers will know.  I've been grasping at pleasure for a while now, and that usually comes in the form of brown cardboard boxes from Sephora delivered to my door, containing the Naked 2 palette from Urban Decay or the matching nail polish set they just came out with and the wee free samples that I squirrel away and sniff at like they're The Ring.  Or I read funny blogs and stories like this one on Man Repeller.  Also, N. turned me on to green tea frappucinos from Starbucks, but with only one squirt of the sweet syrup because we don't want to overdo it on our $5 drink with the six ounces of whip cream on top.  And then there is the endless Netflixing of The Office, Gossip Girl, and Downton Abbey.  I work all day and try to be kind to my children and then get the fuck out of my way so I can put on eyeshadow and watch my shows.

That is the depth of my existence at the moment.  I'm going through an incredibly shallow period.  I think it's because the tenure application process was like having a baby.  I have pregnancy, baby-blues brain.  It is manifesting as a make-up and crap-tv addiction.

Thus enters the dwelling on happiness.

One thing I'm pretty sure is true about happiness is that the things that made you happy as a kid probably still make you happy.  Gretchen Rubin calls this her "Be Gretchen" rule:  you should stretch and grow and try new things, but it's also just fine to acknowledge that there are some fundamental things about you that make you, you.

I made a list of the things I liked doing as a kid (kid as in little kid through high school):

  • playing piano
  • doing puzzles
  • singing loudly along with records by Whitney Houston or Kenny Loggins
  • singing in a choir
  • swimming in lakes
  • playing volleyball
  • snowboarding with my friend Stacy
  • crocheting big old afghans out of shitty yarn
  • camping
  • reading novels
  • shopping
  • organizing and rearranging things
  • road trips
  • making people laugh
  • dancing
  • making out
I'm pretty sure that doing each one of these things now also makes me happy, both in a "this is pleasurable" sense but also in a "deeply fulfilled" sense.  So I'm trying to work them in here and there and do less of the shopping on Sephora.

Though if you wanted to get me that nail polish I would not object.  Come finish season 8 of Weeds with me and we'll do our nails.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More on Nolie

We took the Noles to get some blood drawn about ten days ago and got the call from the doctor yesterday morning.  There was nothing that screamed out as causing her stomach pain, but enough was just a little off that now we have to take her to the GI in January.  Thyroid, a little off.  Pancreas, a little bit off.  Celiac test, inconclusive.  Blood in the stool.  So, more tests to come.  She continues to be whiny and to need to be near us all the time.  We still don't know if she's acting like that because of her tummy, or if she is anxious and therefore her tummy hurts.  Won't know for a while.  So we have to be loving and patient but also not let her run all over us.  It's not easy.

But it won't last forever.  

Today the snow is coming down in huge, gorgeous flurries.  Milo sleeps in the corner, our fake fireplace/space heater is roaring, the candles are lit, and I have time to read through emails and write here.  I celebrated the end of the semester yesterday, both because I couldn't last Friday after hearing of the shootings, and because it took a while to slough this one off.  Milo and I ran seven miles in the foothills, the snow sticking to our eyelashes and eyebrows.  We came in to the house slow, sore.  But I felt like this effort marked the end and that I could take a few days off, finally, without angst or guilt.  Because if not now, when?  The tenure package is in.  My deadlines can wait.  We're home as a family all next week.  So why not take a few days and live more slowly now?  Why not have a few hours where I can do whatever I want instead of having every moment dictated by the do list?  

The snow offers a perfect excuse to stay in, too.  Hope you are cuddled up wherever you are today.

Prayer for Connecticut

sent to me by N.

Prayer for Connecticut

For those who bear the unbearable burden of unimaginable grief, who in their agony yell at the forces of fate... For those who moan and those who faint, for those who rage and those who pray, we moan and pray along with you. For today those were our children too. Dear God, May a legion of angels come upon these parents. Bring to them an otherworldly touch, an otherworldly comfort, an otherworldly sense that their children are well -- that they are safe with God and shall be with them always. Give to those who grieve what no mortal can give... the touch of Your Hand upon their heart. May all touched by this darkness be Lit by Your grace. Please wipe away all tears, dear God. as only You can do. Amen

Marianne Williamson