Today has been, despite the best laid plans, a day of fits, starts and frustration. It was Monday morning, take II, all day long. And we’re only half way through the day. I’m curled up on the couch, under a blanket the color and texture of Oscar the Grouch, hair wet from a scalding hot shower (an attempt to start the day over) and watching edited re-runs of Sex and the City on TBS. Awwww yeah.
Abby is home sick with a nasty croupy cough. (don’t worry, she’s up in her room, not watching SitC reruns) Jeffrey started the day off staying home, but just before lunch I called his bluff and took him to school. Bean nearly missed his bus this morning. Like I said, Monday- Part 2.
Yesterday I made the Weeping Angel wings, and spent the entire afternoon running around to various dollar stores in an attempt to mine the raw materials for a Dalek costume. WHY do I do this to myself? The Angel outfit, minus the hair, is nearly done, Bean’s outfit was easy (a trip to the thrift store) but a Dalek outfit?? Sigh. And it’s not like I have nothing else to do…
So my San Francisco Giants are heading to the World Series again- there is no way to overstate the excitement in my family. I halfway toyed with making a run up to Michigan to see them play the Tigers, but the cheapest tickets I could find were more than $400. Each. Yeah. Not a chance. TV it will be. My brother is even attempting to grow a Fear the Beard- or as a friend of mine said when he saw Brian Wilson in the dugout “Look! Old school apostle beard!” Mormons, ftw.
Man, Carrie wore some hideous clothes on this show- a lesson in style being timeless, but fashion being passing.
Fall here in Virginia is simply spectacular. I walked out onto my teeny-tiny patio-yard the other day, and the sky was azure, the leaves were swirling in crimson, amber and fiery piles, and the sun was perfectly golden and deeply slanting. It was still warm enough that a sweater was all I needed, but with juuuust enough bite underneath the warmth to let it be known autumn was serious, not playing around. I love it.
Meanwhile back at the old western homestead, they in hard frost and barely into the forties during the day. Here’s a secret: sometimes I miss it still. I won’t when it’s still winter in April, nor when it flurries into May, and they’ve been logged in grey skies for months. But for now? I do.
Feeling restless. It’s been almost six months since I had a day/night away from kids. Now, I adore my kids, but I’m a much, much better mother when I get periodic breaks. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that yet- I don’t know anyone here yet that I can have stay with them for a night or two, but I’m starting to go stir crazy.
Trying to plan out where the Christmas tree is going, as I sit here under Oscar the Grouch. It’s a very important decision. And now that Fakey Fakerson lives at Mo’s house, we have to get a real tree- the first one of Abby’s life. I’m looking forward to it, actually.
Watched the debates. Sigh. I don’t truck in politics- as a matter of fact, I hate it. I was looking at a job in the District, and after talking to the guy for a while, he said no one wants to hire an Independent. They won’t trust me, he said. I had to pick sides. What do you do when you don’t feel represented by anyone?
There are actually a lot of movies I want to see for the first time in forever. Argo. Cloud Atlas. Skyfall. Lincoln. The Hobbit. Will I get to any of them? Meh, probably not. But it will make Netflix and Redbox fun in a few months!
Way back a million years ago there was an episode of Northern Exposure (Aidan was Chris in the Morning first) where the bush pilot Maggie had brought a beautiful chair to her remote Alaska cabin, at expense and hassle, but once she got it there, she discovered it was the Most Uncomfortable Chair in the World. No matter what she did to it, it was wretched- and everyone who sat in it would slowly start to fidget and shift, trying to make it comfortable, but no matter what anyone did, it sucked. She tried to give it away, she tried pillows and donating it- but the chair was so horrid, whoever initially took it soon returned it.
I have the couches that match that chair.
My lovely, awesome buy, thrift store couches I scored the first week I moved here have turned into a joke in our house. They look good! The fabric is a plush, soft chenille, the pale taupe color is lovely, and yet, I dare you to sit. Just like Maggie’s chair, you slowly start to shift and squirm. You’ll cross and uncross your legs. You’ll move the pillows around. You’ll move your butt. You’ll scoot forward, then back. You’ll lean your elbows on your knees, lean on the arm, a scowl will slowly creep across your face… and you’ll realize you’re on the Most Uncomfortable Couch in the World.
I’ve tried fluffing the cushions, propping the springs underneath, adding pillows, adding soft blankets, tipping them back and looking at the undersides…. to no avail. It’s become a running joke, how much the couches suck. Forget relaxing and watching a movie- everything is wrong about them. Your back will tense up, you’ll put your feet on the coffee table to try and keep from sliding down, you’ll try and rest your arm on the back or the armrest- all to no avail. Everything— EVERYTHING— is wrong with these couches.
I’m putting them on Craigslist.
Doctor Who has taken over our lives. My children are obsessed, and I’m in the midst of trying to figure out how to make a Jeffrey-sized Dalek costume out of cardboard and dollar-store gadgets. Bean is going as the Doctor- we scored at the thrift store with a tweed jacket, suspenders and a bow tie. His sonic screwdriver came in the mail already. Abby wants to be a Weeping Angel. Ditto on the thrift store scores with a long grey dress I can modify, and more cardboard for wings.
If your kids have these same aspirations, you might want to check out this website, which shows how to make a Dalek outfit (ours will not be nearly so cool) or this one, where the woman makes the most amazeballs Weeping Angel (ours will also not be nearly so cool, though I am going to try and cop her wig idea). Mo thinks I should go as River Song, but that’s mostly due to my new short curly mess of a ‘do.
(My other secret obsession right now? The Walking Dead. I mentioned this in Random Crap the other day… but dudes! Shhhhhhh! I read the wiki pages and knowing what was going to happen totally made watching bearable. Dang I missed a lot of good entertainment while I was buried in school.)
Roll away your stone, I’ll roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don’t leave me alone at this time,
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside
It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But, you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the new start.
I have not been writing. My words have been caught in the slow moving amber sap of internal criticism, more depraved and dangerous that anything external. The critic says, I must have something Important to say, something witty or clever or entertaining or beautiful. It’s so subtle, how the critic plucks away the grains of sand, undermining yourself, pebble by pebble, until you confuse the uncertainty for reality.
This morning, in the early slanting glow of the October sunlight, I nudged the critic with the toe of my boot and told her to get the hell out. I write for me. I write because it’s how I make sense of my life. I write to open the doors of my swirling, creative mind, and let the clearing winds take my feeble offerings up in gusts and eddies, leaving me clear and free, sanctified, able to see and climb the mountain that is life.
There is tremendous change, as there always is in the autumn- it’s my season. It’s where I come home and am safe enough, always, to inventory and cull and sow and reap. Things are not easy, clearly illustrated in the few cards I’ve tipped to the table lately, but it’s also so very good. If nothing else, my faith— in God, in plans strewn about, in my friends, in my own ability to do hard things, in life, in love— allows me a grace that can only be explained as a gift. It’s not my own- or at least, I am not its source.
My program for grad school might be changing. I won’t know until November, and while that’s nerve-wracking in and of itself, grace lets me know if those changes take place, there is a reason, and there is a more perfect program for me. I am being nearly offered a spot in a different program, at the same college, and I’ve been wrestling with the enticing demon of “a bird in the hand is better than….” But I have come to the decision that I should shop for exactly what I want, and not settle. Part of this grace thing, garnered over time, is that there is a bigger plan I may not see.
Not settling is a recurring, spiral theme- winding up like helix, giving me the same lessons, from a slightly different vantage point as life progresses. For years I confused battling with being strong. I am fearless, I would proclaim, swathed in armor with sword raised, ready to defend and war with life and love. I don’t want to fight anymore. I want to set down my battle-scarred shield and twisted sword, and find peace. It was necessary to have those skills, hindsight makes brilliantly clear, but wisdom also means recognizing the season changes, and knowing when to unstrap the sheathes, unthread the gauntlets, and set down the weary bones. There comes a point where the defenses once used to survive, once so necessary, become barriers to feeling new life.
I am happy. For the first time in a long time, I am content. I conquered some ridiculously hard things, and it’s possible the season (or at least the day) has come where I am allowed to lie down by the river, trail my fingers in the cooling water, watch the gold, pumpkin and scarlet leaves swirl against the azure autumnal sky, and exhale.