Friday, March 23, 2012

Feeling like I need to slow down some!

This is my horoscope for today, and man, is it accurate!

Friday, Mar 23rd, 2012 -- Today you may wish you were on a fishing boat, in a monastery or off on a long hike in the wilderness. In fact, you might prefer to be anywhere that relieves you of having to interact with too many people. It's not that you don't enjoy being with close friends and family; it's just that you have been tugged in too many directions lately and you need a chance to regroup your thoughts. If you are able to engineer some down time, avoid the temptation to fill it with noise. Unplug and listen to your heart.

In my mind I am craving my hammock swing, hanging under a big old tree, with a book, a beverage, mottled sunlight, a light breeze, and NO interruptions!  Finding a place of peace and quiet, to regroup and collect my thoughts has been next to impossible this past month, and while I have loved much of the commotion, at heart I am a person who craves solitude and quiet, and there has not been much of that available of late.

My final paper for this last term, which I thoroughly enjoyed, got an A on it, and even more exciting, I got an offer from the instructor to help me in any way she can to use it either for professional development or publication.  Publication has always been a dream of mine, and her words shook me to the core.  I want to take an opportunity to try, but I am also scared to death of falling flat on my face.  The worst thing that could happen is for it to be turned down, which I can certainly deal with; I think in some regards, I am almost more afraid of success...  Best of all possible worlds, she is my instructor again this coming term, and she just lives over in St. Louis, so that a face-to-face professional relationship is possible.  I just need to reach out and accept what is being offered.

I have also been struggling with feelings of guilt and worry over Liisa and the house.  I knew, and she knew, that there were issues with it going in, things that would need to be taken care of, and probably sooner than later, but she is now dealing with no power to her upstairs bedrooms and the power flickering when going up and down the stairs.  The problem is in the wiring, and she currently doesn't have major funds available to rewire the house.  Fortunately, my brother-in-law knows a reliable electrician who checked things over for her, and he is going to be rewiring the upstairs for her, bringing it up to code, and then, as she can afford it, will aid her in bringing the rest of the house up as well.  It's not the crisis we initally thought it was, but it's bad enough and she had many sleepless days (she works overnights) in which to fear for her house burning down due to an electrical fire.  Then there is the roof needing to be redone too.  She has approached Habitat for Humanity, and they have sent her an application; if she can find workers to help in the labor, they can aid in providing supplies at an affordable cost, she she is doing that as well (applying for assistance).  My guilt stems from not being able to do more to help her (it was my house after all, and I knew it was in need of repairs I couldn't afford back in the day as well), and of course, when she calls scared and crying, it's hard to be so far away.

Tony and Andrea have settled into their new house and are so happy.  I cannot wait to see it, and that is another thing weighing on me.  I am missing out on so much of their lives, especially Justin and Alexis, and I had always wanted to be a hands-on grandma and not a long-distance one.  I miss my kids with an ache that isn't easily soothed, and I am not sure when I will next be able to see them.  Gas prices down here in my corner of IL are at $4.19/gal and that is crazy!  Airfare is better, but finding the time to go that won't detract from the needs of the rest of the family is harder. 

Eric and I took yesterday afternoon to go out to lunch (we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Margarita's), and had a nice long lunch and conversation.  One of the things we talked about is that our lives today are no where close to what we envisioned 4 years ago when we got engaged.  Not that they are bad, or that we would trade away the blessings we have; only that things are way different than what we envisioned back at the beginning.  For one thing, there is the privacy issue.  We appreciate having the ability to help the kids and to have them all home (and Skye too), but we have no place that is just "ours," nor privacy to even talk without the risk of being overheard, contradicted, or echoed...  And the opportunity to get away for a weekend every couple of months or so, that hasn't happened more than a couple of times in the past 3.5 years!  We talked about the need for another vehicle, but finances preclude our going that route at the moment, and we also talked about my taking on paid employment, and all that would entail, from being at the mercy of someone else's schedule regarding hours, to negotiating childcare for Skye, and transportation issues between Aurora, Eric, and I (their work and school needs against my needs to get somewhere); It isn't impossible, just logistically trying!

Then we walked around Lowes for a good hour and a half.  I picked up paint chips of colors I want for the house: the main floor, the loft, our bedroom, and the adjoining bathroom and closet.  I pointed out some mosaic glass tiling I would love to put in the backsplash in the kitchen, and I also picked out a color I would love to see on the counters and the island (and we would really like to put a bigger top on the island, so that the outside edge of it makes a breakfast bar).  We looked at ceiling fans to replace the one in the family room and to put one in the stairwell to help with air circulation, and we dreamed.  We spent no money at all, coming home only with paintchips and ideas, but it was refreshing! I slept better last night than I have in a long while, and I woke up this morning feeling peaceful rather than agitated.

Dan has left for basic training.  He is at the same base Brie had been at, so that is kinda cool. Aurora is doing ok with his being gone although I think she's feeling lonely.  Patrick is working lots of evenings, so he is gone a lot, and I never honestly know what his plans are as he comes and goes like a ghost much of the time. Brie is Brie: life, love, school, work, and parenting all juggling for precedence and her doing the best she can to stay on top of all of it; and Skye was seen at the clinic yesterday because of a rash she developed at the nape of her neck and down her back: they think it started as a reaction to sweating (like a heat rash) and became a bit more eczema like.  She has some ointment for it, and it does look better today (she's had it over a week). Eric's new term started this week and he has classes 2 evenings: Monday and Wednesday (which kinda sucks because he bowls Wednesday nights--although that season is coming to an end shortly). My new term doesn't start til April 9th and I have my books all ordered.

The gardens are flourishing from all the warmth we've had of 9 record breaking days in the 80's; now we are rainy and in the low 60's, but the rains are nice and the trees are greening up beautifully.  The roses are starting to bud, and the spring flowers--hyaciths, daffodils, and tulips-are elegant, as are the boldness of the forsythia bushes in their bright yellow glory.  I have spent a lot of time outside, and Skye loves the freedom of walking the sidewalks with me exploring the yards around us.

Anyhow, speaking of Skye, she is hollering at me, so I guess she isn't ready to nap quite yet.  Time to go get the girl and figure out what it is she needs!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In which I post an upbeat update!

Yesterday was another great day: this weather is blowing my mind--to be sitting outside for much of the day, in a tank top and shorts, in MID-MARCH!!!!--it's fantastically wierd!  My final paper for the term is due tomorrow afternoon by 5 p.m., and I feel like I have a great handle on it.  My goal is to finish it today, sit on it overnight, then proof it tomorrow and send it.  I am relaxed and on top of things (knock wood it stays that way), and feeling really good about this term, and life in general.

Yesterday I also chatted briefly with my "Miss Alexis" on skype: Liisa went over to Tony's to give me a tour of their new house (via her iPad and skype), with Alexis as tourguide; that went by the wayside when Tony had the power turned off at the pole so he could take down a tree in the yard, but Liisa and Alexis took pictures instead and text-messaged them to me so I could see.  It made me smile!  Andrea informed me that Tony is taking wonderful care of her, putting in a dishwasher for her in the kitchen, and other new appliances (they needed updating), and they have started painting.  She made me laugh though when she said I needed to drive up there to pick them all up, to bring them back to me house for a visit (so a 20 hour round trip, lol), then drive them back home afterwards...  Her last solo drive down here was a nightmare for her, so she is in no hurry to repeat it (hit a raccoon, got a speeding ticket, and got car-sick on the drive down; missed her first major turn off on the way back and ended up in Kansas City on her way home and added 8 hours to her drive...)

I admit, I am really homesick and need to spend some time back north with the family, but between gas prices and everything else going on, it just seems impossible to pick a time to travel... 

Hmmm  Skye is yelling for me, so I guess I need to go get her: she had such a busy day yesterday and last night (went to the Zoo with mama and a friend, then went shopping for some new spring/summer clothes) that it was close to 11 when she finally fell asleep last night.  No wonder she slept in til almost 11 today!  Not to mention DST is still screwing with her sleep schedule...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It feels like I lost an hour of sleep somewhere...

and man do I hate DST!  Not the time shift itself, once I get used to it, because I love the hours of daylight.  It's the body realignment I hate and readjusting one's circadian rythm.  In this day and age, there really is no longer a need for the hour shift either way, and it would be lovely if we could pick a schedule and keep to it!

Things have settled back to whatever passes for normal around here.  Eric is on his second week of a "spring break" of sorts, aka his between term break.  I am on my last week of my term, with just a paper and a couple of assignments to do.  I plan to get a head start on some of that today so I am not trying to type frantically on Friday to finish it all up.

Yesterday was a lovely and productive day, spent mostly working on schoolwork, interspersed with a little time outside embroidering the last few stitches on blocks 1 & 2 of the Catacademy block of the month quilt.  It has been a relaxing project to do, and one I am enjoying doing completely by hand.  Not conducive to doing with Skye, but I find putting aside one or two blocks of time each week is rewarding. I have slowed down on my March sock challenge, in part because the frentic knitting I did on it over the week we had company has been replaced by other priorities. I am almost done with the foot though, and should finish it this week, giving me still 2 weeks to do the second one.  I screwed up one of the cables early on, and decided to just go with it, calling it a design element, because by the time I realized I had twisted the cable in reverse, I was too far along to justify ripping it back.  Can't say this is one of my favorite socks to knit (although I do like cabling), but it's got just enough challenge to be interesting without being repetitious.

Skye has come down with a cold, and it sounds like Eric is fussing with one too.  My allergies are bugging me again after a lovely respite from them (I think I need to just bite the bullet and use the Nasonex daily--it really seems to help, as much as I hate it). Brie is on spring break next week, so no classes for her, and I think Aurora is too, but I am not 100% sure on that.  She has been bowling in sectional all weekend, and while she was pleased with some of her individual scores, they weren't quite high enough (she doesn't think) to go on to nationals, and her team too isn't doing as well as she'd like.  Hopefully today will be a good day for them and she will be happy with how they place.

I was talking to Eric about plans for the coming week (his short week working) and one of my goals is to take my bike to the repair shop and get the pedal crank fixed so it doesn't clack. Then I want us to get the bike cart put together for Skye (was a goal not met from last year) so I can start building up my endurance with her on back.  It will give me some mobility options for when I am vehicle-less, and with gas prices rising, biking looks like a good option for at least local transportation.

Yesterday when I went to sit outside I threw Grandma Hap's shawl over my shoulders to help cut the breeze, and it was neat to realize it smelled like her perfume. It made me smile, and I felt like I was given a hug as I sat in the back yard with my embroidery and my coffee.  What a nice experience it was, and it felt like a blessing or a benediction from her on a lovely sunny day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Today is a day for regrouping. 

Great-Grandma Hap passed away on Friday morning, after a brief illness and renal failure.  Her funeral service was yesterday, a day filled with family, conversations, memories, and movement (mostly chasing Skye around--18 month-olds aren't big on sitting or conversation when there are new dogs and things to explore!)  Liisa and Zack flew home to MN yesterday as well, and most of my weekend was spent treating them to the site-seeing tasks of what we could fit in over the weekend, keeping the distractions as minimized for my spouse as possible (who was trying valiantly to get homework and end of term tasks done in the midst of family and funeral arrangements), and entertaining.

There were lots of things we had hoped to accomplish over the weekend, none of which were fully completed to satisfaction, but all in all it was a good weekend, and a loving send-off to a woman who spent almost 102 years on this earth.  The neatest thing was that Grandma Hap was lucid and present, even up until she went to sleep Thursday night, when she shared with Mom she was ready to go home to the Lord, and she never woke back up after that.  Her faith was celebrated at her funeral, and she looked lovely and at peace.  Skye wanted so badly to wake her up, recognizing her from the other times she had seen her, and when we said goodbye before they closed the casket Skye waved and said "bye bye" as she does when she goes to bed.  It was rewarding and heart-tugging all at the same time.

I was glad there was no school yesterday for the 18 and under set (some Polish explorer has a state holiday here in IL that the elementary thru high schools give a holiday for), so Rei was able to spend that time with Liisa and Zack, running around with them and riding the train to the airport with them so they weren't completely abandoned by us (they, of course, fully understood and had no problem sharing their weekend with our family emergency/sadness, and I was so glad to have them here). It worked out for us all!

Today everyone is back in school, Eric's parents are here by us, Skye is still sleeping (bless her heart, she is exhausted and off schedule too), and Eric is finally able to relax some with his parents and visit without his homework hanging over his head (he had yesterday and today as bereavement days from work). I have had a cup of coffee, have read for a couple of hours, and am enjoying some much needed peace and quiet as well, although I will head downstairs and be social shortly.

It's going to be a peaceful, relaxing day!