Monday, October 28, 2013

Falling Up

So much to report. The changing leaves are sublime, we've been enjoying mysterious fog. I finally got rid of my car. It feels really good to be able to drive around again freely, at night without that fear that I am going to get pulled over for having headlights out or for polluting my town with cloud of blue smoke that had begun following me around. The Passat served me well over the past 12 years and it was beyond fixing. Finding a new vehicle was a challenge. We looked at Explorers and Suburbans, vehicles that could tow our little trailer. The Fords were cheap and plasticky, the Suburbans were smelly and I could feel myself slipping into a sadness that was alarming. I had been driving a fairly nice, higher end vehicle and I was learning the hard way that the status of said vehicle mattered to me, a lot. We were cheaping out, looking at cars that were under $2k. I got my cash together and we got onto looking at smaller Chevys, V-8s, newer models. I want something that was born in the 2000s, the Passat was a '95. I needed to get out of the nineties. We finally hit on a 2001 white Blazer, 4dr, 4WD. It suits me, it has good pick-up, the body is bigger than the Passat but not gigantic like the Suburban, it fits in the carport and handles pretty well in tight spaces. It sucks gas but nothing is perfect, I ration my driving. I drive more slowly. It's a huge relief to have this mundane task taken care of. I knew the drive to Smithers would be the last for the old Passat. I took it to the recyclers and they paid me $260 to crush it. My ownership of that car can only be described as the classic abusive relationship. The car looked good and I felt great in it, but it beat the shit out of me, time and time again. On the drive to the recyclers I kept thinking how good it felt to drive it again, how nice the leather seats felt, how well it handled, low on the road, quiet on newer tires. I put all the bad stuff out of my mind and enjoyed it one last time.

It's been two months since I forced the kid onto the X-Country team at school. The first few weeks were brutal. Teary pick-ups and dirty looks. My gut feeling that it would be good for her has payed off. She loves the team interaction, and the running practice has visible benefits. She still complains a bit about their training but this week she shaved 4 minutes off her time for the 5K and man she looked great doing it. She surprised herself I think and was pleased with how it felt to do well. She's healthier and happier and the experience of going to all these mid-week and weekend meets has been good for me too. I have reconnected with many moms I knew years ago when Pearl was small. One woman in particular, was instrumental during the time I was choosing an adoption agency to work with. She was also looking for an agency she could work with and eventually adopted just after Pearl was born. Her daughter is also running XC for a school in town. I feel a great sense of renewal reconnecting with people and also seeing my daughter blossom along with her peers and make new connections through physical activity.

And me. How am I? Well the weather has been perfect and I have been busy enjoying it. I have been helping in the garden, taking out the tomatoes and cutting down the spent raspberry canes. I am deeply grateful for everything and mindful of my self care as we slide into darkness. It rained a lot early in September and I just wasn't ready to fold up and go inside. Miraculously the rain stopped and October has been dry. We have been given a reprieve, more time given to strengthen and steady ourselves before the deep grayness of winter sets in. We have no control over how our reactions to dark will be from year to year. There are so many variable but for now I am just plain grateful for good weather that allows me to be active outdoors and to have so many good friends on whom to lean if I do start to falter. It rained in the night but the sun is back today so out we'll go and continue to beat back the wilderness.

I'm rapidly approaching my 50th birthday and while I am sure I will experience some more feelings about it, for right now I feel okay. The last few years were rough and I still have the occasional moment when things feel sketchy at best. I know it will pass and in the moment it's a good idea to get out and move around, put yourself in nature. Connect to something greater than your measly-self. Feel your body's sensations, good and bad, move around. When I start to feel that separation of what I know to be happening and that which is imagined, it is best to get up and go outdoors. I find that engaging my body in physical activity I can move through the worst of the rising confusion and despair. Set your hands to labor, knit, wash the dishes, dance, scream if you have to. It will pass. The more I am mindful of the effects of my readjusting hormones, the less scary their manifestations become. We are all unique, the point is to see what works best for you. (Sorry how this is written. I had had a discussion with a friend who had hit a few rough patches and was seeking a pharmaceutical answer. I was encouraging exercise, rest, and kindness.)

Monday again and time to get back to work. Halloween this week which I will thankfully miss. I hate dressing-up, isn't it enough that I get myself dressed and put together and presented to the world everyday? I have enough trouble with my own ego let alone an alter one. Above is a snippit of a piece I am working on, must get to the finishing. Off we go!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Food for Thought

I guess it's an absolute truth that if you want something done properly you must do it yourself.  I suppose it also rings true that we are what we eat. Criticize a persons food and you might as well criticize them directly. It is also true that not everything should be taken personally. I read that in a book called The Four Agreements. It made sense to me.

In my starring role as mother to my 15 yr old daughter, my main objective is to teach her how to eat. My mother taught me and when I no longer lived with her my stepmother picked up where she left off. They were housewives, mothers of 4 and 5 and they had both been a part of the Diet for a Small Planet movement. They had also been through a war, this effects, probably more than any thing ones relationship to food. They knew about vegetables and whole grains. They baked their own bread and cooked all of our meals. We ate seasonally, my stepmother had her own butcher who she had a really tight relationship with. She cared about the quality of what we ate. As an adult when I visited my mother she still made me all the things I loved, again, it was homemade, seasoned with love and rich in wholesome comfort. Of the 8 living children these two women raised, no one was fat and we are all good cooks.

When my daughter was learning to eat whole food as a baby I remember her hugging me at the dinner table. I would give her a little bite, she would eat it up and then she would hug me. And so, a strong bond was created around nourishment. When she has been away, I tend to want to feed her up when she gets back, to get her back on track. Food is not folly, it is healthy, whole, fresh, and satisfying, designed to build her up. I can't rely on anyone else to do this for her, it is my responsibility alone, it is not a burden, it is my job and I do it willingly with love, good humor and sometimes flair.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I told my daughter tonight that if she wanted to know what sort of mood I was in to check the state of the kitchen sink. If the sink is clean I am feeling good. If there is chaos in the sink I am not in a good place. I think it's important to give kids these clues, to help them navigate the emotional landscape of the people they live with. My mother was not an open book. There were certain things she communicated clearly but teenagers are naturally self absorbed which makes picking up subtle cues challenging, if not entirely off their radar. I don't want to burden my kid with the process I find myself in currently, this period of hormonal readjustment, this life as a creative, self employed, slightly fragile human. This drying up. It's complicated and sometimes scary.

So far, the fall has been good. My daughter has been busy which means I am busy supporting her, in her multiple activities. In many ways being in service to another human makes your own life very simple and directed. It's easy to suppress your own feelings when someone else needs your support. I wake early, make breakfast, make lunch, drive her to the bus or to school, have my day, attend school related functions revolving around sports and music, make supper, plan lunch, sleep. Strangely, I feel the opposite of put upon. I feel like we are this team. I signed up for this and she is working really hard. It's my job to help her be her best. The structure of her life dictates the structure of my life and this holds me together while the rest of me fluctuates wildly. There is no chaos when I look at her. I see the course we are on, I know what to do. I am grateful for her.

I stopped over at the urban farm today, the home of my friend who I have been helping in exchange for fruit and vegetables, since the spring. We picked tomatoes and she gave me the low-down on making sauce, which I will do tomorrow. We weeded a bit, social weeding while catching up pulling out bind weed, that stuff that just spirals around everything. She dug me up a perennial to take home. An Echinops; globe thistle, to be planted in full sun. I made a note on my phone, my memory is poor for these things, these days. The garden is moving along, into a new phase, there is still so much life there.
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