January 3rd, 2011 | No Comments »

capturing a new year

I’ve noticed some of my blogging friends have chosen a theme word to help focus the year.  Simplify.  Breathe.  Listen. Words like that.  What word would best encapsulate my aspirations for 2011?  I can think of many words that describe how I feel at this moment.

Drained.  Deflated.  Depleted.

Relieved.  Relieved to have my boys home, asleep in their beds, and to have a little alone time to regroup, try to figure out where I am, how I am, and let tears stream down my face as I try to sort these things out.

I’ve had a week off from work, but it doesn’t seem as though I’ve had a vacation, even though I did get two full nights of sleep in during that week, and even though I had two fine grown-up days that bathed the senses with visual, aural, and gastronomic goodness.

Maybe this is the year to focus on loving myself the way I want to be loved, or treating myself the way I want to be treated.  Or to put the golden rule into action and love others the way I want to be loved and treat others the way I want to be treated.  In general, I think I do these things (for others).  For me,  I can give myself time.  I can carve out more time with which to do things that edify me.  That I can do.  But what of intimacy?  Why is it that I have such a deep and persistent ache for physical touch, for embracing, for intimacy?  I don’t know how to assuage this ache alone, and I can’t make it an expectation for another.  So I’m stuck, like a spoiled and whining child who wants something she can’t have.  The difference being that that which I want to receive is also that which I want to give.  That said, I like to think that I don’t come across as spoiled and whiny.  I hope that I come across as loving, giving, and nurturing.

Stuck.  Stuck is not the word that I want to use to define my year.

Maybe I will find a way to overcome the ache, and just live, just be.

Be.  That can be my word.

Be.

December 22nd, 2008 | 5 Comments »

It looks like Mother Nature is granting us a white Christmas (in the Pacific Northwest, anyhow).  Even the trio of miniature trees on my covered front porch are blanketed in snow.

drifttreesThey’re tiny trees and I decorated them with fruits and birds.

drifttreecloseAwww, isn’t that sweet?

Speaking of sweet, my cookie baking failures continue.  Alas!  If I were to put a price on these cookies based on how much time they took and what I get paid for real work, these would probably cost $10 each.  No cookie is worth $10.  Not even a Versace (if there were such a thing).  I’m a terrible cookie maker.

sugarcookies2

I gave up on shaped cookies and tried drop-smashed instead.  This recipe emulates the Lofthouse cookie.  It’s light and fluffy and the icing is surprisingly good.  They are a far cry from uniform, though.

sugarcookies3To my credit, they all taste good.  The execution, however, leaves much to be desired.  Because I like to beat a dead horse, so to speak, I may make one final attempt at holiday cookies before Christmas.  I’m thinking of a sugar cookie dough that is rolled, refrigerated, and cut with a wire to make uniform circles.  Or, I could try to overcome this ridiculous perfectionism personality disorder, and resist the urge to produce a beautiful, delicious, uniform cookie.  That would be the better road, in many ways.

I also made some sweet and spicy almonds, which turned out okay, but could be improved upon.

spicysweetalmonds

The same can be said for the Chex Mix as well.

chex

Again with the dead horse.  I am SO very tempted to try again with all of these concoctions.

The thing is, in the interest of giving home made things to friends and family for Christmas, I can hardly feel good about giving something that looks gross or tastes gross, now, can I?  I think I’ll just put these out for people to nibble on (if they dare, and if they care) and not use them for any sort of gift.  Eventually I’ll get these recipes figured out, and hope for better luck next year.

December 14th, 2008 | No Comments »

Gadget is away for a week, visiting his brother Gizmo in California somewhere.  He’s not the best of planners, my Gadget, and announced one day not so long ago that he had a week of vacation time that he needed to use by the end of the year, or forfeit it.  And to him, vacation means going somewhere.  He didn’t like my suggestions of staying home and doing things around this city.  After all, people come to this city for vacation, so why not take advantage of what we have at our own back door (and not spend a fortune)?  He totally turned his nose up at that idea.

Being the sucker enabler that I am, I looked into last minute cruise deals.  There were some great deals, but as it turns out, babies must be at least six months old.  So no cruise for us.  So how about Disneyland?  He was all gung ho about that, but the more I thought of it, the more I realized that it would be absolutely wretched for me, since I’d be the one with the baby, walking around all day, having to find a place to pump, working out how to store the milk, and generally just watching them have fun.  Which made me consider sending BB and Gadget, alone, while I stay home with LB.   That would save a good grand at least, and I’d be a lot more comfortable.  And of course he makes the comment, “I don’t want to stay in a dive hotel.”  (Translation:  You’re a cheapskate.  Defense:  We’re not made of money, Dude, and why spend five star prices when all you need is a place to sleep since you’ll be gone all day every day.)  But then I thought I want us to vacation as a family, so if we can’t all go, then none of us will go, and we’ll just plan a trip for later, when I’m not bound to the insufferable breast pump.  We could manage a drive to see my sister, but no, he didn’t want to do that.  To him, that’s obligation, not vacation.  We settled on him going to visit his brother Gizmo, and me staying home with the kids, or possibly taking them to see my sister.  So much for spending time as a family.  He’s a master manipulator (he claims not!) and I’m an idiot for letting it happen.  All because I allow him to corner me into a guilty place where somehow I’m doing him wrong by not wanting to spend thousands of dollars venturing out somewhere, preferably tropical.  Clearly I have some serious underlying issues that I need to get to the bottom of.

He tends to see things through rosy glasses.  Probably my fault too, because he sees a plane trip as a fun thing to do, and I see it as a hell ride with a handbasket full of logistics to accompany it.  Two kids, one of whom is exceptionally defiant and prone to loud unpleasant and lengthy outbursts, a car seat, a booster seat, a stroller, at least two pieces of luggage, a breast pump, a cpap machine, pump paraphernalia and milk storage items, not to mention the need to work around the pump schedule itself.  These things he’s oblivious to.  These things make even the thought of travel sheer insanity.  The oblivion itself is maddening to me.  I find nearly everything about travel very stressful.

That said, I was actually happy at the prospect of having some ‘single’ time.  The freedom!  I was also happy at the prospect of visiting my sister.  But as luck would have it, this is the weekend that winter touched down with a fury, so the roads are dangerous, and I cancelled the trip.  My vacation, therefore, is being a single stay at home mom.  Nice.

It was nice.  Very nice, in fact.  Liberating, even.  One less kid (the biggest boy of the house) to care for.  It felt great to distance myself from all the thoughts described above, and to enjoy having the home to myself with no resentment at chores undone and general perceived lack of initiative.  (Why is it that a man who works all day thinks he’s entitled to relax all evening, as if life’s duties stop at five o’clock.)  I cleaned the fridge, and it made me so happy to gaze upon those sparkling shelves!  I enjoyed my peaceful home for the first couple of days, but tonight I found myself feeling melancholy and, dare I say it, missing him.  I even called him and told him so, much to his surprise.  He didn’t believe me, really.  He tends to assume he’s always on the verge of being kicked to the curb.  I do miss him.  Truly.  I like to be together as a family.  I like having him around (even if I have to remind him that I do, in fact, need help around the house and parenting the children).  But most of that warm fuzzy missing him was snuffed out when I discovered, close to midnight, that no outdoor winterizing has taken place, the snow has arrived, and I am left rifling through the garage looking for insulating materials, then wrestling with the outside faucets in the black of night with snow falling all around me, removing garden hoses from the spigots, rigging some sort of insulation to the faucets, hoping to stave off frozen and burst pipes.  I miss him, yes, but some resentment has resurfaced.

Some vacation.  I am using it to capture as much rest as I can.  Tomorrow, snowmen and sugar cookies.  BB will be very excited to see the snow.

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