100% full

Almost 11 years after starting this blog, 100% of the free space for photos has been filled.

To add more space requires $48 per year. That seems like a pretty big commitment if it were to continue forever. So, it seems we’re at a crossroad, WordPress and me.

I’d like to leave this blog in cyberspace for my kids to read someday if that’s what they want to do. There is a record here of their lives over the last decade, in some shape or form. Well, maybe more specifically, there is a record in pieces of my experience as their mom.

Today I wanted to post some photos of Mia and Anna from this week, pictures that spark joy and love and gratitude. But alas, there is no room for that now!

Until I figure out what to do next, I’ll probably keep on writing here without photos. Writing here leaves me feeling lighter and better. After the last post about how awful I felt, I felt better almost right away. That’s the power of writing.

This blog has been my free therapy and I am grateful for it. It’s been someone or something to listen and hold the space for my big feelings.

Thank you to those of you who have read and let me share with you. Bless your hearts. Truly. Thank you.

Still lost

I’ve been sick for seven days with what began as viral pneumonia and has transpired into something bacterial, so I’m just a mess of wheezing and coughing and pain. There is so much pain in my throat that it’s almost intolerable. I am running out of coping skills and mental resilience. I resisted taking antibiotics because I’m fearful and stubborn when it comes to modern medicine. But today I caved and took the first dose, and it seems it’s already helping a bit.

The sickness arrived because I’ve been lost. So lost. Grieving, hurting, drowning in life. I feel like I’m in a snowstorm in the dark, listening for sounds in the distance that are calling me in their direction. Marriage and work and life overall have been an absolute fucking mess and my feelings have been so hurt. My self-esteem totally shot. Depression through the roof. Of course, somewhere along the line I was exposed to someone’s germs, too. I guess needed a break from life, and I got one. Not exactly the kind of break I would have planned, but here I am nonetheless.

During this bout of illness, I’ve been soul searching, crying, letting stuff out. Tonight at the dinner table I could barely talk but started bawling at my family and trying to say things that I was sad about related to work. My words were unintelligible through my blubbering and hoarseness but still they came out of me and I think that was healing. Then Anna, my angel daughter from heaven, touched my hand and then proceeded to draw me a bath, complete with eucalyptus, soothing music, and candles.

My mom came over today and that was really nice. She is a nurse so she listened to my lungs and convinced me to take the antibiotics because my lungs are full of gunk. She brought a bunch of food and took care of us. Later, my mother-in-law brought a crock-pot full of turkey noodle soup. Mia, Anna and I then binged on Dr. Phil and Judge Judy on the couch. It was just what I needed–all of it. The bath, the crying, the antibiotics, the crappy tv, my mom, the soup. I felt so loved. I am loved. I need to remember that.

In an impulsive, feverish decision, I sent a resignation email to my company for my role as outpatient psychotherapist, which is practicing therapy in the clinic. My last day doing that will be Dec. 17th. It’s a relief. I love the clients and the practice of therapy. Absolutely love that. What I can’t take any more of is the clinic atmosphere and the fast, impersonal pace of it all. Working there for the last 3 months has drained and discouraged me deeply. I’ll go back to doing the community-based therapy, which is a slower, quieter pace. In the community-based work, I’m mostly alone, I get time between clients, I can manage my own time and pace.

That’s that. Hope to feel better tomorrow. Thank you for listening.

Mercury is in retrograde for the last time this year. Thank God.

Many posts on this site have been written during Mercury in Retrograde, or MiR, as they call it. It’s some non-scientific fluff that I like to follow and assign meaning to, because somehow it makes sense to me.

This MiR cycle lasts until November 20th. There is a great deal of inner turmoil (more than the usual amount) and resistance to change brewing in me at the moment. There is overwhelm about tasks and financial worries. There is feeling the need to plan ahead for next school year and possible sending Anna back to school.

MiR is not a good time to make commitments, but rather, a good time to explore options to be solidified later (or not). During MiR we lack the clarity and intuition that we might normally have to make good decisions or appreciate the life we have.

Nervous anxiety is pumping through my body at the moment, which is what brought me here. Seeking to escape the discomfort of the anxiety, I’ve been running around aimlessly tonight, jumping from one thing to the next, mostly online.

My new job has been stressful and overwhelming so far. I’ve loved the therapy aspect of it, but disliked strongly everything else–the management (very Big Brother-like), dealing with rules and regulations, the billing and paperwork, and the insurance hassles. I’m still doing a portion of my old job on top of the new one, so at least there’s some sense of normalcy. It’s overwhelming to even explain why the job has been overwhelming.

I cannot wait until I am fully licensed (hopefully one year from now) and am seriously thinking about doing a cash-only practice as soon as possible. Because I can’t stand billing, crappy computer networks and software, insurance, and rules in general. I want to do my own thing. I want to get paid for it a reasonable hourly rate that I choose. I want to live by my own rules and be my own boss. I just have absolutely no idea how to do that.

In the meantime, let’s talk about the good stuff. Mia and Anna have been happy with homeschooling, even though there has been some lack of direction and structure. They are happy and healthy, laughing a lot and getting along quite well these days. Mia had a paid music gig which was a joy to be a part of. In addition, she continues work on recording an album. Anna quit ballet for reasons too exhausting to write about. Let’s just say we’re all happier now, but she still wants to dance ballet…and we just don’t know where. There has been lots of music in the house lately, which has been lovely. Halloween came and went, too, and that was fun as always. Alan is good. He was Bob Ross for Halloween but unfortunately his photo will not upload.

Here are a few photos of everything else.

Thanks for reading! Until next time…

Summer is (almost) here!

Spring came and went, and summer vacation is here.

Here in Minnesota, the temps reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit today, which certainly made it feel like summer.

Earlier this week the girls and I visited the scultpure garden (photo below). That day also happened to be my 41st birthday.

A short while back, Alan surprised us with a picnic to Carver Park on an idyllic spring day, and that’s the next photo. Sometime in May, Anna had her spring ballet showcase. Other memorable events from this spring are visiting my parents a couple of times, babysitting a dog, and spending a day at the landscape arboretum. Alan and I went to a lecture on sustainable lawns and are inspired to convert our lawn into a low-mow, bee friendly lawn. We considered this a date, and I realize now how nerdy that sounds.

Anna and Mia celebrated their last day of 4th and 9th grades today. In her homeschool journal entry today, Mia wrote:

“This year I learned that happiness is one lifestyle change away.”

Meaning, switching to homeschool from public school was the change that made the difference. She is happy. Anna is happy.

Life is good.

Hello

April is almost over. I got my nose pierced last weekend–a milestone of sorts. I’ve wanted a nostril piercing since I was a teen, but never thought my nose or face were “good enough” for such a thing. And then suddenly, I just did it–because I wanted to. And, I love it.

A few days ago, Anna told me that when she grows up, she wants to be like me. And I thought, “wow, what a compliment and a huge responsibility.” Then a couple of days later, Mia told me that we are boring adults and she is going to be different than that when she’s an adult. And the pendulum in my mind swung in the complete other direction.

Life is so weird. It changes all the time. One moment, your kid thinks you are the world, and the next, she’s planning her escape and realizing how much she doesn’t want to be like you.

What will life be like after the kids are grown? It’s hard to imagine a life that doesn’t revolve around the care of children. Who am I if I am not a mother? Of course, I am always going to be a mother. But it will not always be my most defining characteristic in the way it is now.

I think this is what Mia meant when she said that we are boring adults. Having parenting as a defining characteristic is not particularly interesting.

Mia has no idea the sacrifice or the commitment one makes when becoming a parent. And, she shouldn’t. The gift of childhood is being free from that knowledge–free from the knowledge that life is hard work once you’re not a kid anymore.

My sister has 4 dogs and no children. She calls the dogs her kids and calls herself a mother. She celebrates Mother’s Day for herself. And, rightfully so. She’s a mother in the best way she can be. I think often what I would be like if I’d never had kids. What would I be doing now? Would I be happier or less happy? Would I have a bunch of pets and call them my kids?

Those are my thoughts for today. Happy spring, my friends.

Here is a photo showing my new nostril piercing.

I am not an all-bad person: An epiphany from chocolate cake

Today, my mom and dad came over for a few hours to spend time with my girls.  I had a couple of hours off in the middle of the day, so I dropped by home to spend time with all of them.  My mom had baked a cake with Anna, the recipe shown below, and it was so good that I ate three pieces in a row!

My mom showed me the recipe they used for the cake and explained that I’d made this same cake back in August of 1994 as a surprise for the family.  What? That 15-year-old insecure girl who couldn’t seem to do much right with her life made a CAKE?  I remember those days painfully clearly, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot remember this cake-making that evidently occurred. As you can see by the recipe below, my mom takes very good notes! That makes them extra fun to read 25 years later.

Learning about my teenage cake-making episode transpired just at the right time–as these things often do.  Recently I’ve been processing my long-held belief that “I am a bad person.”  Memories of my mistakes and all of the bad things I have done are plentiful and easily accessible in my busy, ruminating mind.  Not so accessible, however, are the things I did that were NOT bad.  Like baking.

Back in August 1994, I was the age that Mia is now.  Through Mia and with the help of this new cake-making information, there is a surge of compassion and love for my younger self.  It’s like water is flowing into an empty cavern, filling it with life.  The cavern has been dry for a long time.

Mia is wise beyond her years, a kind and genuine soul–which perhaps I was not.  But, like Mia, I was trying to figure things out and doing the best I could.  Figuring things out when you’re 15 years old is not an easy feat.  I gossiped about people.  I talked behind people’s backs.  I went along with teasing a girl for being fat. I cheated on tests. I complained and was ungrateful, and the list goes on.  But, was I really as bad as I’ve been telling myself?  Look, I made this cake.  For my family, as a surprise that made them happy. That is pretty sweet.  That sweetness came from me.

Today, this was an epiphany: I am not an all-bad person.

20190117_223659

Another year

With just two days left of this year, my heart is contemplative and nostalgic.  2018 was a year of change and challenge for me and probably many others in the world.

I wonder what 2019 will bring for the world, for our country, for my family, for myself.  We can never know, and this terrifies me a bit. And then I remember that the best we can do is to surrender to the unknown–to God’s will.

This year the realization of my mortality and the mortality of those I love weighed heavily on my heart. I take with me into 2019 my fear of dying young and of leaving my children motherless–and perhaps will find peace with this fear in the coming year. I also take with me the dreadful knowing that if I do not die young, I will lose my parents someday, and that day looms closer and closer.

The real work of my life seems to be this inner work that I constantly feel driven by.  In recent years, this inner work has been more rewarding than burdensome and I’ve begun to embrace it more. Themes from this year’s inner work that will lead me into the new year: unconditional love, forgiveness of self and others, loyalty, generosity, the courage to be myself.

I am indebted to so many.  I have taken more than I have given in my life so far, or maybe just broken even.  I want to pay it back, pay it forward.  I want to give more than I take.

That said, I am grateful.  Grateful for the hardships and the lessons as well as the many joys.  It is all a part of life, of our common, shared, brief existence on this earth.

Love, peace, and happy new year to all.

xo