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…

Fall cabin camping

We spent three days and nights at Afton State Park in a camper cabin. Well, actually we all spent two nights there–and then Mia and I spent the last night at my parents’ house and came back to camp in the morning. Body pain from a bad mattress made that diversion necessary–but it ended up being a nice little visit with my parents.

This was our second time staying in the Big Bluestem cabin during October. This year the weather was cooler and a bit rainy, but still allowed for a quiet, cozy and peaceful getaway. Mia and Anna sang and played guitar, told jokes, and we all laughed more than we have in a long time. Alan taught us how to play Black Jack and Poker. Mia, despite not wanting to go on this trip, was a great sport about it and even made time for a long hike with the rest of us. We hope to do this again and maybe have a few other families join us.

Here are a few highlights from the trip.

Growing pains

October is here, and so are the usual fall-things, like Halloween paraphernalia, colder weather, pumpkins, rust-colored leaves. It’s been one of my favourite times of year since I was a kid, and I think it still is. We had a bonfire last night, complete with the girls playing eukelele and singing. Meanwhile, our dog, Penny, chased little creatures of the night and dug holes to chase them until her paws were covered in mud.

There have been hard things going on over the last month or so. There have been transitions, and these together have brought what I am calling “growing pains.” Growth is hard, and it hurts. We don’t always know when the growing will stop, or if it will have mercy on us and give us a rest. The hardest thing for me, I’ve learned, is when others grow. When those closest to us grow and don’t need us as much, or need us in different ways, or turn toward other people instead of toward us. Different from how it’s always been, disrupting the normal flow of things, disrupting the lovely predictability and safety that’s always been there.

Many new things about my honey have surfaced over the last few months; he’s gone through an inner transformation, or mid-life crisis, as he calls it. I’ve learned that he likes Facebook and joined it without telling me. This is the same Facebook he teased me for using so much when I first started using it…and the second, third and fourth times I went back to it. He’s connected with many old friends he’s lost touch with over the years, and this has been so good for him. I’ve learned that he will share things with others that he has not shared with me, over Facebook, even. And I’ve learned this makes me feel a little jealous and left out. I’ve learned that when asked of the life experiences he’d most like to re-live, he will spontaneously narrate a long and lovely list of wonderful moments, some of which I didn’t know about. Mostly, I’ve learned that this list will leave out much about me. And again, I’ve learned that this not only makes me feel jealous, but super jealous and super left out. At the same time, I want to honor the process and allow things to be what they are.

Therapy would be great at a time like this. However, it’s currently not in the budget, so this blog will have to suffice. This blog is no stranger to that.

There have been many good times, hard times, and just as many ups and downs. Right now I’d say is a hard time. The feeling of joy has been a rare and short visitor. Other than a glimpse here and there, joy has not been here. Yesterday joy paid a short visit when I was eating lunch at the co-op with my sweet girls on a beautiful sunny day, laughing and talking, without being in a rush to be anywhere but right there in that moment. Today joy was in the purple sky at sunset and coming home to the smiling, loving faces of my children. And maybe that’s all we need–a glimpse of joy, here and there. A glimpse to remind us of what’s waiting for us when the growing pains are over.

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.

Birthdays!

Pisces birthday month is in full swing! Anna turned ten on the 14th and Alan turns 41 today. Happy birthday to Allison and Ocean and all the other March birthdays out there, too.

We’re in the middle of a Mercury retrograde period in Pisces, which has made for some emotionally draining events for some of us. But in the midst of that, there has been loveliness, too.

We revealed to Anna her birthday surprise: a ballet studio in the downstairs spare bedroom. Alan worked very hard on making it happen, and it looks so great. We received help from our families to pull it together, and we are grateful for that. Alan had a challenging month at work on top of being sick and rushing to get the room finished in time for Anna’s birthday. He did it all with the easygoing attitude and loving nature that he always has.

Anna has been exploring spirituality and healing. She is interested in learning “space clearing”, so for her birthday, we gave her an old cigar box filled with space cleaning items like essential oils, incense, lemon grass, and smudge sticks. She was very happy about it and we fully expect to have our home cleared of negative energies on a regular basis ūüėČ

Love to all and thanks for reading.

xo

Happy 10th birthday, Anna!
Anna’s ballet studio
Anna opening her “space clearing kit” that she received for her birthday. Shelly was very interested in it, too!
And an extra bonus: a lost tooth! The tooth fairy paid a visit on Anna’s birthday. What a day!
Alan enjoying a little book that Mia and Anna made for him.
It’s a little “fill-in-the-blank” book about daddy.
Candles need a little help to stand upright in a banana cream pie.

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.

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