Sunday, August 28, 2011

240 and Ticking

I started 365 on January 1st. I wanted a challenge, a recording. I wanted to pick up my camera daily and work it, work my eye and my equipment. I wanted the discipline. I am 240 days in with a few missed days here and there which is not too hard to shrug off.

365 ongoing

I am finding that I may be getting more than I thought from this year of shooting. I may have recorded the last year we will live in this house, this space, these hills, this Home. Hard to believe so much (and yet so little) has happened in the span of 240 days.

In January Tim and I took a solo trip North. We needed kid-less time and we wanted to explore. We headed North into the land at the base of Lake Tahoe, rolling foothills not very different from our own but with so much more space and possibility and promise. The promise tasted sweet and unfamiliar, an adventurous taste reminding us of those days pre-family and pre-home ownership when we used to leave ... to Africa, to Ireland, To Oz. It was a heady thought, the leaving and relocating. We returned home, immersed back into the Home we have now, the work, the friends, the lives. But we could not let it go.

We talked about it. I Mondo Beyondo'd it in a very quiet internal way. We incessantly perused Zillow and Redfin and had discussions with my live in parents about logistics and possibilities and hope for a different place, a Future that was not so shaped by the Past.

And then we went, three weeks North with our boys, seeing family interspersed with more searching and finding, a deepening well of assurance that this was right. We left reluctantly, afraid to re-immerse and reconnect and maybe forget our resolve.

The day before we returned I screwed up the courage to look into one of the larger healthcare providers in the area. They had no less than 5 jobs open in my area of practice, 5 jobs in the area we want to call Home. But I stalled, hesitated to apply online, frozen in the headlights of such big change.

I spoke to my supervisor the first day back about my desire to move and the very real possibility of leaving my position. She was supportive and encouraging and even gave me ideas about what my salary should be up North. I still did not apply.

It has been a month since we returned. Last Monday I put in my application. I received a call back that evening. I talked with a recruiter Tuesday then had a phone interview Wednesday for a position, Friday for another. The medical system is stellar, the people I have spoken to make me smile, the jobs offer fully paid benefits for the whole family and a whole lot of other bells and whistles that had me jumping up and down in my chair. We are headed North again, Tim and I, two in-person interviews scheduled for later in September.

I am giddy, I am so damn nervous and I am marveling at all that can happen in 240 days. Some days have felt mundane and unoriginal, slogging through paperwork, later seeking a glimmer of light for that picture I 'have' to take.
365 random recent past collection

But if this all happens in the way it may happen, I will forever be amazed and grateful for recording the Year Our Lives Changed A Lot.

Going to keep going to see what the next 125 days hold.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A pie for Mikey

I work in health care. I work in home care. I work with the sick and sometimes the dying. Many of the people I see are more in the ebb than the flow. It is what I do and I feel that I am in it because I do it well.

Over my years in home care I have come to appreciate so many things; the way people feel when they are finally home, in their own clothes, surrounded by their familair things, allowed to have their routines. I worked for years and years in the hospital setting; the world of gowns that lay you literally bare when you dare to move out of bed. Later I moved to the rehab setting where you are allowed to wear your own clothes but you cannot because your left arm and leg do not work so your spouse goes to walmart and gets a hideous pair of pull on sweats that leave your frame swimming and exposes you in a totally different way.

A pie for Mikey

I am trying to say I love home care, love what I do now. And I am digressing far from what I was trying to actually say. Friday night I made a pie. I made it because of a father and mother, husband and wife, family and life that was broken by unforeseen tragedy. She asked for pies in his memory and I felt as if it was a small thing to do in light of the wave of huge loss, maybe a small current sent her way as she reshapes everything that she is.

A pie for Mikey

I see loss on a weekly basis because we have a hospice component to our services. I take hospice patients regularly. It sounds a bit anomalous, rehab in the hospice setting. In these times I go into the home to teach a family member or caregiver how to help make their loved one more physically comfortable, I teach them how to protect their bodies as they struggle to not only care for this dying person but take on roles they never imagined. It is a great privilege to be a part of this but it is never not wrenching.

So, I see death in many forms daily. But this death, this loss, it strikes a different chord. It is one thing to try to accept the process of loss, another to have no say, no warning, no time. It is truly a terrible loss. And so despite the fact that she is a stranger, a person not met yet, I made the pie. I read her post and made the pie and cried as I shopped for the needed items and felt that the loss was not distant.

A pie for Mikey

The pie is still being eaten. My sisters are in town and the little cousins keep running in and out and people keep scooping bites and pieces and asking how to make it and hearing the about the loss of this man. Loving the pie but not the reason for its presence.

A pie for Mikey

Yes, we will all go someday. And none of us know the how or when or why. Won't know. But I do know we are here now and can live best by embracing it all, the big huge messy picture that is our Life. It is not too late to make some pie. Or give some love. Or change things you do not like.

The littles

My beloveds.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mothering :: Lessons

Last night I did the unthinkable. I withheld my love from my children. They had completely dismantled a handmade necklace, scattering it in every direction. When I found them it was too late to salvage the piece, bedtime was minutes away and my head was going to explode. Fuming, I yelled for them to get to their room! and then went into my office to try to settle myself. It was Tim’s turn for bedtime and I decided that I was just going to get my yoga things together and leave the house early, give myself a few extra minutes to calm down.

One thing led to another and the early start to class did not happen. But I saw one of the boys run by the window on the outside patio and started to see red again, knowing they were drawing out the already arduous process of bedtime yet again. I yelled, telling them to get back! to their room and get in that bed!. I turned off the light, shut the door and went back to find the ever elusive pieces of yoga that I need for classes. And then I heard it … from their room.

I could hear him crying. Racking sobs, so loud. I knew Tim was in there, that they were not crying out of fear. But even more, I knew exactly what I had done. In my anger I had diliberately ignored our bedtime ritual, the kiss-hug-high five and repeat that happens every night unless we are too far to touch. I had ignored them racing past the window which was the two of them looking for me to say sorry and get that hug-kiss-high five. I had let my anger get the best of me and was hearing the result of it.

I opened the door. Mason was there, devastating tears and deep sobs, Owen just staring at me, closed face and shut down. Both looked at me and I opened my arms and they came into them. I felt their still small bodies burrow into me, I apologized for being so angry and also for being so mean. I apologized for letting my hurt hurt them and then we cuddled and laughed a little and said a proper good night.

Yoga last night was like a purge and a prayer. I have been at the end of my tether in so many ways lately. There are times when being stretched so thin in so many directions feels like it will never end. Sometimes the hardest tether to take is the one of Mother. There is no rest from it, it is a ceaseless demand and a challenging position. Sometimes the tether feels like a noose as they refuse to eat this or cooperate with that or take 10 minutes to usher from car to house or house to car. It is no matter that I have to work or launder or cook or clean, always the Mother part comes first now because it should, because it has to, because they are and so that it how it is.

365 :: 220

It struck me as I thought of writing this post that so much of it has to do with what I am mothering. They are children now, unmalleable in many ways. They are assertive and have desires and wants and wishes and ways of giving and holding back now too. They challenge us daily to think of new ways to entice or engage or just get away. They make me worry in a different way as school and reading and learning and Life starts coming in. I am feeling a new fear, unacknowledged until this moment, that I cannot do this. That I don’t know the right way to do this. That I am hurting more than helping, that I am fucking them up.

That feeling has not gone away as I write this, my fears still sit at the back of my throat as we contemplate huge life changes, knowing they will have to go along with any ride we choose. But I know one thing. I am not going to with hold my love from them, no matter what anger sparks from whatever is happening. Because that was a scary thing and it left me feeling empty and them feeling so sad, so sad. Chalk it up to another lesson in the land of Mothering. A good one, an important one, an essential one.

Going to go hug one of my boys now. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Blogher11 :: Unmoored

Last year I attended the annual Blogher conference in NYC, my first. I posted about it the day after and I still feel strongly in my conclusion that Blogher is whatever you make it to be.

I went to Friday of the conference this year and I do want to speak of the experience but cautiously, very cautiously. Because for me this year felt totally different and although not terrible, I am not putting 'different' into the 'better' category.

Let me say this; I do think tacking on a conference that entails the gathering of three thousand women at the end of a three week journey may have been a bit much. I feel like I entered the space already exhausted, not energized or enthused about blogging. And Blogher is really about just that, women blogging. The conference has grown exponentially and with it the topics, the numbers and the sponsers. There was a lot going on and information and people speeding by at a rapid pace. And stuff, so much stuff.

There was also a few intimate moments meeting the ones I love to read and know online and letting their physical person take shape in my life, getting that hug and learning little bits of information that rarely slip out online in our measured blog posting and twitter clips. But when these things happened in the quiet of a hotel room or at the edge of a pool, both places not technically included in the conference space, well, that was when I have to question just why I am there.

I found the pace and information and the sheer seas of people to be too much for me this year. I found difficulty staying in it and wanting to stay in it and I actually ended up leaving Friday evening, calling my lovely husband who was juggling the boys that day and asking him to grab me early and bring me back to our little rental cabin thingy where the boys were wreaking havoc and there was a horizontal space to lay my head. I did stay to see the one part of Blogher that I think remains true to the initial spirit and purpose of blogging, the Voices of the Year speakers.
I listened to Bon and Kate read and then listened to other women speak their written words and cried and laughed (hard) and then cried again. That part will always be like that, I think. That part is the reason why I read and sometimes write in today's blogging world. You should read that part, and you can here, but man, it was good to hear the words spoke clearly and purposefully by their creators.

I did attend the Thursday night parties which were low key, except for the seven feet in heels drag queens wandering the halls.
I did wander through the Expo hall where the sponsors set up booths to entice and engage the bloggers. For me it was definitely zoo-like. The Jimmy Dean sun guy from the commercials was there, there was a lot of sausage, some free Dove bars .... a lot more, oh lord, a lot more. I think so far as I dig down into the bag of swag which followed me home, I have yet to find anything that I would buy, endorse. I did get a free copy of this book by these ladies, the book went promptly to my newly pregnant friend and I do hope it is a help or at least a laugh as she navigates this new part of life.

I think what I am trying to say is that this year I realized Blogher is not for me. I don't believe I will take my dollars, hard earned that they are, and direct them towards another weekend next year. Not because there is anything fundamentally wrong with Blogher or sponsers, not that there is anything wrong with me or the way I choose to blog. Mainly because we are not a great fit, Blogher and I. I would rather hoard those dollars so that on some future weekend I can travel to new place that holds old friends where there is no session schedule or party to make but just people and tea and couches and drinks. All the laughs and fun that happen at Blogher but scaled down to just the people and not why they blog or if they make money or do it right but instead what they love and believe in and plant and think and do.

I will say, there was a great moment where I received a detailed description from this lovely woman about how to bale hay and dispose of feral kittens and that was pretty cool (please say that like Miley Cyrus as you read those words because that is how we use them around this household and it makes us laugh every time).

But hell, who knows, now that it is NYC again I might just use it as an excuse to travel, not buy a ticket and just crash people's hotel rooms.
Adios to another Blogher.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

It was a Good Trip

It was a good trip but now we are home again. So quickly we fall back into the routine of life; watering the garden, messing up every room in the place, returning to the work of patient care. Forgetting.

It was hard to leave Sunday, we lingered in Auburn, having lunch and walking around the wooden sidewalks, stopping into the antique store, the Alehouse.
Or gold
It was hard to plunge back into the steamy swampy heat that summer has become in the Los Angeles basin. Sticky and uncomfortable, running the AC that night because we needed some sleep.

A part of me wants to run back North right away, just do it now. I miss it already. I miss knowing my sisters are close enough to reach in 6 hours, not 13. I miss the sunset there. I miss the hikes with family. I miss it all.

Monday I went into the office to pick up my laptop and muster up some home care patients, in need of work and money. And I had a sit down with my supervisor and let her know that I am going to apply for jobs North, unsure of timing but sure of the change. She was supportive and assured me that she would not fire me in the meantime, so that is good. And in that moment I knew we were committed. That we are not waiting until next year or 'maybe soon' or 'someday'. I know that it is time to do it now. So scary but so cool too.

Big changes make me think of the movie 'What About Bob'. Baby steps. Baby steps to the computer to fill out the system application. Baby steps to the de-cluttering of stuff. Baby steps will eventually get us the 500 or so miles North, back to the place we want to call Home.

Then I always inevitably think of the scene where Bob is tied to the boat mast, arm spread joyously shouting "Look at me! I'm a sailor! I sail!'. And he got their via Baby Steps.
(God, I love that movie. Bill Murray, he is just brill.)

But first, this weekend we will play hooky for a bit, heading down to San Diego for a few days of equanimous weather that stays in the 65-72 degree range without fail. Legoland calls, then Blogher 2011 to see the lovely friends that live too far away no matter what point West, to play in the beach sand and watch sea animals and listen friends speak their amazing words and then it will be time to come home and declare an end to all the dallying and just get to it.

A little recap of our trip as a reminder to me that we need to do this and a little glimpse for you as to where you will find us in the near future.

365 :: 208

And a big smile to any new people that found their way here via Blogher. Feel free to come along as we take this new ride in Life. :) xo amiee