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Friday, June 27, 2014

Trusting that You Care About My Thoughts (Excuses)

Can Miracle Gro fix this?

Hi, Readers. Things have gone on. I’d like to offer you insights, but really, I don’t have any. I haven’t been meditating. I’ve been doing Kegels. If you know what those are, well, you know. If you don’t – well, there’s always Google. I haven’t been reading the paper. I’ve been reading my Twitter feed. I haven’t been reading about success. I’ve been reading Flowers for Algernon for one book club, and A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki, for another book club, and The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud, for a third book club. And Gunn’s Golden Rules, by Tim Gunn of Project Runway for fun. (Lots of meow in that one.) I haven’t been writing my blog or my book proposal, I’ve been writing for pay. Meagre pay, I hasten to add. Very meager. Embarrassingly so, in fact. But it’s pay. 

Then, just when I thought I was getting myself together, the husband fell apart. Appendicitis. Appendectomy. Hospital stay. Thank goodness for friends, who took the kids and fed them and offered them shelter for the night, and who walked the dog, and mowed the lawn. And thank goodness for morphine. For the husband. And Xanax. For me. Because, in case you hadn’t heard, hanging around the emergency room is a real blast. The sounds and sights of psychotic breaks, the hacking and barfing, the suicidal teenagers. I’m not cut out for that crap. Although I was prepared for the shackled prisoners and correctional officers because I watch “Orange is the New Black.” And the husband on post-op meds was kind of amusing.

I might as well come clean. The other thing I’ve been doing is ordering a lot of clothes online, trying them on, finding they don’t fit, and collecting the boxes to send back to the store. Who has time to write a blog when there’s a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress half price at Nordstrom, and it fits - but the 15-year-old objects to the eye-popping graphic design? This eye-popping graphic design might be the reason the DVF classic wrap dress is half price. It just might be too much for my 5’1.25” self. But I can’t decide. Not deciding takes time. And I have to wear Spanx to try on the dress – and Spanx take time. And in short, I haven’t shown the dress to the husband or the 12-year-old yet, because there has to be a moment when the lighting is good, I feel like rolling on the Spanx and wrapping the dress, and the moon is in the seventh house - and moments like those are few, especially when one or the other of us insists on falling apart periodically. It’s hard to fit it all in.

Also, the 15-year-old left for her summer dance intensive earlier in the week, and preparing for that took a lot of time. The preparations also encroached on my workspace – the dining room table. There were a lot of leotards. A lot. I was thankful that she could travel with a friend and the friend’s parents. Since I have that meager paying work, it was not a good time to fly south myself. However, I spent a lot of time and energy feeling guilty that I wasn’t going and guilty that I was relieved not to go. These emotions required naps to alleviate. You know how it is.

Since I’m clearly not one of those single-minded, monomaniacs driven to pursue one goal nonstop, I didn’t squeeze efficient writing work into all spare moments. I used those for surfing the interwebs. And for watching “Orange is the New Black” with the husband.

Now is the time of year when I usually post something complain-y about my garden. Well, this year I’ve had the perfect excuse to let everything go to hell. The husband’s appendectomy. However, that was two weeks ago, and now the weekend approaches and there are so many weeds. Just so many. I might as well report that I haven’t been totally negligent about the garden. However, I seem to have killed a hanging basket of something lovely purchased at the farmer’s market. Also purchased at that market: four baby kale plants, which I planted. Yes, I did. I planted them among the surviving rose bushes that once lushly flanked our patio. The next day I noticed that the little plants were leafless nubbins. And the day after that, I saw a cute little bunny loping past.
Kale nubbins, rose nubbins, tomatos
Tularemia, I thought. (Google it.) I used to love bunnies, but not now. Tularemia. I think I’ve mentioned before that I ought not to read the Diagnosis column in the NYTimes. Yet, I seem unable to resist it.

To plant those kale plants for the bunnies, I had to weed part of the rose bed. Even though I wore gloves, I developed some kind of itchy rash on my arm from something nasty. So, forgive me if I’m just not that enthusiastic.

I have to say that I do love a garden. I even love planning a garden. It's the gardening part of gardens that I find troublesome. So the husband’s surgery has been a handy excuse in that arena. Silver lining and all that. However, now he’s better, and the weeds are bigger, and the weekend’s approaching, and there are no more good excuses. Except –hey, I have one: I’ve gotta work on my book!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Update on Bunny

Well, I've been dragging my feet about publishing a new blog post. Maybe it’s just time for a quick update on what I’ve been doing instead of working on my success book.

  • Avoiding my freelance writing assignment until almost too late and telling myself I was working on it internally - letting it percolate. A better analogy would be to ferment, since fermented foods are enjoying prominence these days as super-nutritious, promoting digestive health, being pre-biotic, stuff like that. Improving by sitting around in their own juices. Just like writing. Just like it, I tell you.

  • Skipping appointments for my mammogram because of mixed feelings about whether the benefits of annual screening outweigh the risk of extra annual radiation exposure. This reminds me that when we went through security at Newark Airport to fly to Italy, the TSA personage handed a special magic paper to the 10th grader that excused her from the full body scanner. I don’t know if she was chosen at random, but I suspect that magic paper had something to do with the recent scandal that TSA personnel were looking at those full body scans of young women for non-official purposes. Thanks to that paper, and because we were clearly a harmless, typical vacationing family with a mom carrying a bottle of Xanax in her purse, we were all allowed through the good old-fashioned metal detector, instead of going through the somewhat humiliating hands-up-like-a-criminal machine.

  • Marveling at how much some of my readers loved my two blog posts on beauty and style. One of my earth mother friends was inspired to have her eyebrows waxed! Another one wants to go shopping. So, okay! I feel like less of a schmuck for thinking about maintenance.

  • Skipping my morning exercise to take a nap and then going to my first appointment for accupuncture for my hive-prone skin - and for anything else that would benefit, really. I chose Dr. X off the Internet because she studied at Beijing University and was chief of her department there for a long time before coming to the US. Or so her website says. Stab in the dark, so to speak. But I wanted a Chinese trained acupuncturist. She took my history, felt my pulse and commented that I have very low energy. That morning nap was on my mind. Dr. X had me lie on my back, and then she put needles in between my big toe and next toe, ankles, calves, one wrist and arm, a bunch on my stomach, on top of my head, and at my third eye. She directed a heat lamp to my belly, turned off the light, and left me. I anxiously asked how I could alert her if I needed her and she said, “Just call.” She said she would check on me, which she did about every ten minutes, I guess. After thinking about my strange willingness to expose myself to a total stranger, I eventually relaxed and left with flushed cheeks and feeling very good. And since then, I’ve had exceptionally good energy and haven’t needed a nap.

  • Bidding on Mad Men style dresses on Ebay for a friend's upcoming birthday party. 

  • Shopping with the 10th grader for an outfit she can wear to a work function of her father's. We found one - dress AND shoes. And both mother and daughter love both. This led to the following comment from her over soup at the food court: "We had a goal, and we met it. We were successful. If we hadn't had a goal and had bought these things, maybe we would be sitting here saying, 'I don't know if we should have spent money on this - will it ever get worn?' So you need to have a goal to be successful."

Look at that - I worked in something about success. Something that came unbidden from my own child

Speaking of things that came, look what arrived this weekend, via my MIL. As is fitting, Grandma is the heroine of the story!

That's Italian packaging