Thursday, September 25, 2014

Five minute Friday: REACH

I recently finished a book called The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. Without giving away the whole story, I will say that much of it was about the main character, Alma, and a kind of happiness that seemed to be eternally out of her reach. Despite her best intentions, it simply was never to be.

As my kids have started yet another year in full-day school, I have begun slowly reaching toward my professional self. She has lain dormant for many years and I'm having a hard time finding her. Not feeling completely fulfilled to stay home all day and cook and clean, however, I do know that she exists. Of course she is hesitant to come out after so long and I've been indulging her reticence. However, that desire to reach for new professional heights nudges me along every so often.

I have searched in vain for my features clips these past months, and that has held me back from making any real moves. However, just a couple of weeks ago Zach accidentally stumbled upon my clips when I was a stringer for the Courier-Post so many years ago. I was at first filled with excitement that they had been found, and of course followed up quickly by trepidation. Now is the time. I began scanning articles and am preparing to apply for some freelance positions. It may be extremely slow and almost tedious, but I am reaching. I'm getting there.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Five minute Friday: finish

As a child, most people seem to be impulsive, reckless, indecisive. These traits can often be explained away by youth and often continue into the teenage years and even into the early 20s without anyone really questioning it. It just goes with the territory. Most people grow up, and by "grow up" I mean become responsible, do what you're told, be practical... at least most of the time. Not all of us grow out of it, however. Not so much impulsive or reckless, I am absolutely indecisive and a procrastinator. Not saying that I believe in it, but this seems to be in complete agreement with my zodiac sign (Libra). My indecisiveness has not even gotten better as I've gotten older; in many cases, it seems to have gotten worse. Eventually I have to just push through and make a decision whether I truly believe in it or not.

As a result, it's hard for me to finish things. I start projects all the time and they sit unattended to, all set up and ready and waiting for me, for weeks or even months at a time. Looking like a dog waiting expectantly at his master's knee for a treat or to go play or... whatever. I have the best of intentions, and I have Pinterest to prove that, but once my projects begin I can pretty much guarantee only about a 25% chance that it will actually finish, no matter what time I have set aside.

Currently I'm looking at my family room wall. It's big and blank due to the large painting that I recently removed from it. I want to do it over, and I will. I've recently begun a project featuring an old window which I'm sure is going to look awesome when it's done. I'll let you know when it is. All I have to do is finish it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Five minute Friday: begin

As August draws to a close, there are few topics on my mind with as much frequency as the start of the new school year. I guess it's that way for most parents of young children, but when you're a sensitive person, it's probably worse. On the one hand, I'm excited to see the new school year begin to restore some sense of peace and order to my days. As much fun as you might think it is to go food shopping with two kids in tow, trying to avoid the crowds, while one child (who shall remain nameless) delights in simultaneously careening the cart around sharp corners at dangerous speeds AND tossing into the cart every baked good you pass, well, it's really not.

On the other hand. I worry about my kids, probably more than most, and how they fare in school is one of those worries. Colette is very outgoing and social. She is looking forward to school with great excitement. Alexander, on the other hand, is the one I worry about more. He keeps to himself more, enjoys the company of other kids but has a more difficult time making friends. I spend a fair amount of time when they're in school, much more than I should, wondering how he's doing and worrying.

But no matter how I feel about it, school will begin again, and with it all the nervous butterflies I've become so accustomed to. And once that begins, well, it's hard to stop.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Five minute Friday: Bloom

I love things that bloom. All plants and flowers, the brighter, the better. I love those huge tropical flowers that come in dazzling shades of orange, red and fuchsia. The ones that require round-the-clock sun.

I myself have never been good about getting things to bloom. Try as I might, my thumb has never been very green. I wouldn't go so far as to say black, but definitely a muddy shade of brown, much like the healthy soil these plants need to survive. I have killed bamboo plants and cacti, which I thought were supposed to be indestructible. "Bloom where you are planted." Which would not be at my house. Currently, I have four plants decorating my large bay window. Three of them are dead. I keep watering them anyway, not willing to accept that they're really gone.

So it seemed like nature was doing us a little bit of a favor when we moved into this house. Zach likes to refer to it as being "eternally shrouded in darkness." We don't get much sunlight, and what we do get is dappled and moves during the course of the day. I would love to have a garden and grow vegetables, but our property is just not cut out for that. We do have a hanging tomato plant on the side of the house, which doesn't get as much sun as it should and not nearly enough water. A couple of small tomatoes are on there, and they are red, but they're tiny and suffering. Dying, actually, I think.

My children, however, are flourishing. I can keep them alive just fine, thanks, by giving them food and water, and of course lots of love and encouragement. I can look on my windowsill at my faltering plants with a twinge of sadness, but when I look at my kids and how they're growing tall, strong and beautiful, I can't complain about my dirt-brown thumb too much. Besides, the weeds in the front yard are totally thriving.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Five-minute Thursday: belong

To some extent, at one point or another in their life, everyone struggles to belong. For some it's easier than others. For me, I was so shy as a child and had a hard time overcoming it growing up. It didn't help that in my town, if you were either rich or athletic - or, if you were very blessed, both - you were easily accepted. Unfortunately, I was neither. Well, I could have been athletic, but I let my shyness get in the way and prevent me from doing things I secretly wanted to do. So as a child and then a teenager in school, I struggled to belong, to find my place. It happened eventually, once I stopped caring about things that just weren't worth it.

Moving to a new area would always bring up the same old issues for me - trying to find my place. In our last place, we lived there for 5 years and still knew no one, not even our next-door neighbors. We both worked full-time, until I had Alexander, so it was easy not to get out and meet people. After he was born, it was nearly impossible to get myself out and about. I tried, for his sake, and enrolled us in one Music Together class. That was big for me. We didn't make any lifelong friendships but it was a good experience.

Now, after 7 years here, I feel like I finally belong. Part of me will never stop pining my old town, where I grew up (and have since forgiven for the whole money/athletics thing), but otherwise, I feel like I belong in this town. I know people, my kids know people, and in spite of my shyness that still crops up every so often, I push past my hermitical tendencies and get out there with the people of the real world. I may still not want to belong to any club that would have me as a member, but even still, it's nice to belong.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Five minute Tuesday: lost

I've been looking for a job. Not in your typical pounding-the-pavement, trolling, reaching out to LinkedIn members every morning kind of way, but in more of a relaxed sort of "let's see what's out there" kind of search. In fact, search may be too strong a word to use in this case.

We have a lot that needs to be done on this house, but it's not even so much about money. I need a little direction in life. You don't often hear about the lull that takes place when you're a stay-at-home parent and the kids are in full-time school. You feel a little lost. There is a big flurry of life events that take place one after another for a while there - you get engaged, you get married, you get pregnant or adopt a child, there are milestone party celebrations of one kind or another all along the way. Then, for some years, you've got your hands full with babies and toddlers. And when that ends... you suddenly feel lost.

What to do? Well, look for a job, of course. Not so much a job as a career. No offense to those who do, but I'm not simply looking for a 9-5 (or 9-2, or whatever would fit in to the kids' school schedule) job to fill my time and bring in some cash. I have my degree, I have some experience and I want to use it to be a writer or an editor again. It's getting out there that's so terrifying. It's scary, but maybe I'll finally have some sense of direction.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Five minute Friday (in theory): release

When summer begins, most people, I think, tend to see it as a time of freedom. More freedom from schedules, as a release from the day-to-day drudgery when their summer vacation rolls around. I suppose if you're accustomed to working every day throughout the year and are anticipating easier summer days with reduced hours, maybe short Fridays, and a long vacation away, then summer is a form of release. For a stay-at-home mom, however, it is viewed quite differently. Freedom ends.

For people who relish in the challenge, in the daily adventures of life at home with kids, those who are excited for day trips, play dates, and time at the pool, this is fun. Some people even look forward to it. I, unfortunately, am not one of those people. As a type B personality, I'm quite content to hang out at home and, often, do nothing. I have to get myself motivated to get out there and do something. If I can check off 2 or 3 items that I've accomplished at the end of a week that involve getting out of the house then I consider it a successful week.

So, while summer may be a time of reduced freedom for me, I'm going to try and enjoy my time with the kids. I know these years are fleeting and one day I'll look back and wish we had had more summertime adventures. I'll do my best to make some fun memories for them (and for me). And then, in September, comes my release.