Monday, December 28, 2009

Almost my anniversary

This year as we were decorating the tree, I was the one who shattered the nice big glass globe ornament. It is amazing how thin the glass was, which could only be seen once it was broken. It had been beautiful, but in a way it was a relief, as sometimes I wish all those fragile ornaments would just be gone. Although they are some of my favorites. They definitely remind me of childhood and Christmases of old.

This year we made gingerbread men and rolled out Christmas cookies with frosting and all the candy decorations. We had an open house and I even forced people to sing a few carols. I don't know why nobody likes doing that. I love it! Of course I'm playing the piano so I can't actually see anybody, but I can feel them grimacing, and my husband tells me it is so.

I played my Christmas cds and ordered all the special shows via netflix for the boys. There was snow, so the kids were out playing in it making it feel even Christmasier. This year I got such lovely Christmas cards. Last year was a pretty motley assortment, but this year was really good.

Anyway, my anniversary is coming up. This will be our 25th. It hardly seems possible that anybody could stand to be around me for that long, yet it has happened. And we are on our second batch of kids. It is really kind of scary being this old. I guess I didn't realize that we would be starting to feel the effects of aging soon after these new ones were born. Of course I thought I never would age.

Our second two boys are so much like our first two boys it is freakish. It actually confuses me a lot. They even look like the older two. The older now is like the first oldest, the younger like my older younger son. The biggest difference is that my current oldest freaks out. My oldest son the first time around is very calm and even tempered. But other than that, so incredibly similar.

So with these little ones we won't be going anyplace exotic for our 25th anniversary. My sister-in-law even offered to take them if we went. But it's just too hard to leave them for that long and go that far (we were thinking Hawaii since my older younger son is there). They still get colds all the time, and sometimes they get bad. My mommy sense is just not letting out that much leash for me at the present time. But the day will come. With the older ones I wondered, would it? But it definitely did.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas thoughts

I am easily confused. I remember in abnormal psych in college, they said something about how schizophrenics, I think, either focus in too much on the tiny details of everything so they get overwhelmed and confused, like everything is fragmented; or they overgeneralize and have a grandiose, oversimplified, skewed view of the world. Well, I can actually relate to both those points of view.

In an English class we were reading Sylvia Plath's poetry and there was one where she was terrified by the redness of some flowers. We were talking about, "what does that mean?"...the endless speculation of college students...Anyway, I didn't have to think about it, I already felt it. I knew just what she meant. It made perfect sense to me. But I couldn't explain that to my classmates. To me it was just, "duh." I actually don't know how I ever got good grades in college.

Anyway, I am not trying to say I'm psychotic or anything, though of course as an over-drinking, self-absorbed college student I probably thought so. But it hasn't actually panned out that way. I'm just your average borderline neurotic suburban housewife. But I am confused. I do have a problem with sorting out just which details are important and which are irrelevant.

Like, just in framing a picture--Do I want the hawk in the view or the extra small barn...a front angle or a 3/4 view, include the feet or go for a close-up? This is why I love digital cameras. You can take a hundred photos of something and then just delete the ones you don't want when you see them enlarged right on your computer screen. Same thing with writing on the's a breeze. But not everything is digital.

I get overwhelmed easily and am extremely disorganized. I have a lot of trouble categorizing things. I will literally get rid of things I could actually use just because I can't figure out how to store them. You should see my tupperware cabinet. Yes, a whole cabinet devoted to tupperware, well, and office supplies, aprons, and dish towels. And yes, it's a mess. Every once in a while I will straighten it all out, stacking the little containers in their matching rows along with the proper tops--after weeks of just whipping the stuff in there randomly and slamming the door shut before it can all topple out. My husband always compliments me when I organize the tupperware cabinet. Now, he is a Peach.

But anyway, I have trouble with people. My emotions are, and have always been, way too big for me. I love people so much, but I'm also terrified of them. When I was little I didn't like pictures, like artwork, that had people in them. I felt that the people ruined the picture. Funny. And that was before I became antisocial (largely due to school bullies). But now my favorite artwork is portraiture. In fact I was trying to do portraits for a while, in pastels. I really liked it. People are so fascinating, so complex. Every single person is so amazing--The many facets and the whole picture.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Well, I don't know quite what to write about today. Last night my husband asked me, "So, what crazy thing are we gonna do next?" He was referring to our penchant for doing majorly off-the-track things, like, having two kids in our forties, after our other two were grown. Or when we put a huge chunk of our home equity into a vacation house up in Michigan. We also homeschool. Actually we homeschooled our two oldest all the way through highschool. We became born-again Christians in our early thirties, although that wasn't exactly something we can take credit for. I guess it all began early in our relationship. We were two messed up kids, and we really decided to get married on the fly.

You never know how life's gonna go. Although I really wanted to have more kids, by the time I finally got pregnant at age 39, almost 40, it was so shocking to me that I didn't get over it until my son was over one year old. I really thought it would sink in when he was born, but it took longer than that. It is interesting and wonderful to note that, right around the time I became pregnant, I had a special experience one morning.

I was praying and worshiping God by my sliding glass door. It was very sunny. The sun was beaming down on me and I felt such incredible joy. I was just very happy with God, and accepting at that point of the idea that we were not going to have any more kids. We had fostered, tried to adopt, but it became clear that that wasn't going to work out. But I was really okay with it. That morning I had read Psalm 37:4--Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. And I was truly delighting in the Lord that morning.

Right around that time I visited my neighbor's church. He was the pastor so I thought we should. His talk was also on Psalm 37:4! It was really wonderful. I never took it to mean I would get a baby, or anything else I wanted like that. What I thought it meant was that the desire of my heart is God, and if I would only delight in Him, I would truly come to know Him more. Well, that was a reality too, but He really surprised me that time!

And true to form, we had another baby four years later. I guess we both just like to be different. But we have found that there is a reason why most people do things a certain way. Our way is, um, I think sometimes it's called "doing things the hard way." But hey, easier isn't always better!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Aunts

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!--Ps. 139:17

I have a good number of aunts. There are: Pat, Jakie, Audrey, Deedee, Jeri, Priscilla, Julie, Barbara, Linda, Susan, Sue, Lorelei, Phyllis, and Kathy. Now I don't know all of these women well but I can tell you that they are all remarkable and admirable, each in their own way. I am truly blessed with my aunts.

There have been a couple of divorces in my parents' lives, so it gives me more aunts but also more fragmented relationships with them. However, I do not want to leave this earth without immortalizing these wonderful ladies in my infamous blog. My aunts are a part of me. They influence the way I see the world and my place in it.

I'll just start with Pat. Pat was born on the same day I was, in of course a different year. I think I have always been special to her because of that. Anyway, she sends me a birthday card every year. Sometimes I remember to send her one. I'm not good about sending birthday cards. Pat is the mother of three grown children, and now has one granddaughter. She has always loved children. She sends my children gifts at Christmas and their birthdays--usually books. Pat is a librarian.

She is creative. She writes Haiku for a little magazine and of course she loves to read. She did play piano but I don't know if she still does. She used to sew as well. When I was very small she made me the most exquisite dolls of characters like Pinocchio. Unfortunately, I did not take care of the dolls and discovered that they were stuffed with nylon stockings. I no longer have them. I wish I did.

Pat is always happy to hear about and receive pictures of my kids. It is very encouraging to have people like that in my life. She also cheers me on with my painting, though I really don't have time anymore to do that. She pretty much supports me with whatever I'm doing. Pat loves cats, she always has a couple. Usually a Siamese. She has had a couple of mean cats. I can never understand keeping a mean cat, but I guess somebody's gotta love 'em.

Pat has a very cool house. It's a Spanish style, stucco with a bright orange tile roof. She has lived in that neighborhood since I was a kid. It is integrated, which was always very colorful to me and somewhat foreign, as I always seemed to live in strictly white neighborhoods. I guess, too, her town has a different feel from being closer to the city. Those old Coca Cola signs blistering off the sides of buildings, places like "Maricela's Beauty Shop" and the old neighborhood corner grocery are things I remember.

Pat has influenced me in different ways. Some of her ways are just infused throughout my being, like from being in her home as a child, liking cat knick-knacks, homemade afghans and pillows. I don't know quite how to describe it. It's a comfy feeling, a permission to walk to my own drum beat. There is no way to pigeon-hole Pat. Though she is very meek and quiet, you can be sure she is doing things exactly the way she intends.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Neighborhood

I am one of those people who likes to move. Every few years I get the itch. It probably is never for a good reason. It probably is because deep down I long to escape--me. A couple of years ago we tried to sell our house. My husband's company had decided in their infinite lack of wisdom to move his office to the big city. We live a 2 hour commute away, about as far out as you can possibly get from that bustling metropolis. I am a country mouse, not a city mouse. Well, probably more of a suburb mouse, but I would be a country mouse if that were possible.

Anyway, I figured, I can't stand the thought of my husband having to travel that much. We have always lived within a half hour of his work place. It is a standard of living issue: our quality of life. Time is more precious to me than I can describe. Every moment I can be with my loved ones, I want to. So, although the office move would take a couple years to complete, I thought, "hey--if we're gonna move, let's roll." Remember, I was getting tired of my own skin in this neighborhood anyhow. Maybe a different place would be good. We could move closer in, near a train station. Maybe we could even find a bit of culture. Maybe it was time for an adventure, or at least a change of scene.

So we got rid of lots of junk, did some repairs, and put her up for sale. That, by the way, was right as the housing market was beginning to collapse. I thought we might even find some kind of bargain... Well, not too many months later, we were taking that for sale sign down, woefully telling our already battered realtor that we'd had it. We knew that no one was going to buy our house. We were not moving after all. We were staying put. No new skin. No new scene. Just less junk.

Here's the great thing, though. In the time since that happened, a lot of wonderful events have come to pass. We live backing up to a field in a neighborhood with a good amount of kids, nice kids. My son, who is now 7, is just to the age where he can run around with a pack of them every day after school. They play football, or guns, or soccer, or whatever...they just have a blast. He is really in his element. I love to see him out there, playing his exuberant heart out. What a great set up! Also, my 3-year-old tags along, the little brother all the bigger kids look after and the girls love to baby.

And I've gotten to know my neighbors better. There are many people who are to me like points of light in this neighborhood. We've met in various ways, through kids or open houses or church...and we are building relationships. Even in this skin. I've shared many joys with people in the neighborhood, and had the privilege of sharing pains. I've had a couple of women open up to me with their hurts, and spent some good time sharing with them. I like this very much. I know that I am on this earth to minister to these women, to care for them, to pray for them and their families, to love them as I am loved.

I have also had the great pleasure of being encouraged, and of laughing with people, and of partnering with a couple moms around here who are also homeschooling. I am starting over again at this. I already have two grown sons. I need now to meet new friends (without casting away the old) but friends whose kids are going to be my little kids' friends. I think I was beginning to get lonely. God kept me in one place just long enough for me to poke my head out of this turtle shell, instead of running away on a moving van.