January 30, 2012

Elsinore Cruise

 Scenes from a Sunday drive.  We drove north on surface streets, avoiding the interstate, up to the town of Lake Elsinore.  Lake Elsinore gets a bad rap.  Maybe it's not unjustified, I don't know.  Even before I moved here to Temecula, which is about 20 minutes south on the freeway, I knew about it's white-trash reputation.
I know people who call it "Lake Smell-somemore." (The lake itself doesn't smell.)  I think the town is sort of charming in a rough and rowdy kind of way. There are a couple of seedy "casinos" near the lake, a few budget motels.  The old downtown district has a few good antique shops, a few bars and eateries, and constantly resists attempts to gentrify it and make it a destination. 
Whatever others might say, folks who live up on the hills overlooking the lake have an awfully nice view of water and trees and the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest to the northwest.  Interesting fact:  Elsinore is the largest freshwater lake in all of Southern California.  Interesting, because it's a natural lake, not man-made or a reservoir, like so many other lakes in the region.   Like most of the Inland Empire  (as this region is nicknamed), it has it's share of suburban sprawl and cookie cutter tract houses.  You can get a big house here for cheap, at least by SoCal real estate standards.  But those neighborhoods are further north and east of the lake area.  Around the lake, homes and apartments still have a lot of...character.
As we were driving through town, ZZ Top's "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers" was on the radio.  That felt pretty appropriate. Let's just say that the residents here seem a lot more laid back than us residents of prissy, uptight suburbia.  After touring Elsinore (but not around the entire lake, which is a much longer drive), we headed north again to the little farm-stand shopping area called Tom's Farms.  It was getting late. We had some mediocre Mexican food from one of it's two cafe's, then explored the Cheese & Wine shop.  Which looked just like a Cheese & Wine shop should look:
We didn't buy anything here. But the kids begged for and purchased some candy at the very well-stocked candy and nut shop across the parking lot. When we came out, the sun had slipped behind the hills, and it was getting chilly. 
Time to get back in our car and head down south for home,  another weekend in the can.

January 27, 2012

Fine & Mellow

 Happy that it's Friday, happy it's almost the end of January.  January feels so much like we're all just pacing around in the wings, eager to get onstage and finally get the real show started.

I've been trying to work on the house and get back into routine, but I've felt lazy and unmotivated for the most part.  I think it's a long hangover from the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  Just last week, I had to ask my husband to take apart the vacuum cleaner, which would turn on but not suck anything up; turns out, it was literally choking on too many needles from the Christmas tree, and had formed these odd, solid clumps of dust and needles that were like large owl pellets. Lovely. So there's my metaphor for the month of January: a solid mass of detritus, blocking the way to getting down to the real work.

So far, I'm doing okay on my resolution to dig in & embrace routine, though there have been a few hiccups. In my efforts to post more often and earn a wider audience, I've logged in lots and lots of time on the computer.  Which I know is par for the course and part of the "work" to achieve my goals, but since it's hardly a real paying job, it's also hard not to look around some days and wonder....just what am I doing here, exactly? And why?

The above shot was taken on a sunny, warm day a couple weeks back. It was late afternoon and I'd been puttering around and listening to music.  The waning sun was golden, there was a slight breeze in the palm and pepper trees out the window, and I felt compelled to lay down on my unmade bed and just soak it all up.   I felt fine and mellow, and like a lucky person, to live where I do, to have the opportunities before me. To bask in warm winter air and wiggle my bare toes and listen to my children, laughing together downstairs.

Golden days, golden sunlight: January, come over here so I can give you a noogie.  Ya ain't really so bad, after all.

January 26, 2012


I love this print by talented illustrator Kris Atomic.  I've suffered from this same affliction for nigh on decades, now. 

When I was a teenager and young adult living at home, I had to listen to my dad asking me on a daily basis, "what's the matter?" and "what's wrong?" when I'd simply be sitting there, deep in thought or staring into space.  I'm very thankful that my husband gets me, so I don't have to walk through my days assuring him that really, I'm just fine.

Now, that is not to say that I'm not ALSO a moody bitch on occasion, but even in my most giddy, or content, or happy moments, I still look pretty cranky.  Sorry.  Like the bottom of the prints says...

THIS IS JUST HOW MY FACE LOOKS.  "Bitchface" print available for purchase here. 

January 24, 2012

I'm A Rocker

I'm rockin' some black Chucks these days.  I've loved and worn Converse sneakers for years, but always in other colors. I've gone through a few pairs of my beloved burgundy, have some gray with pink accents that are getting pretty tired, and bought a bright aqua pair last spring.  But black...oh, I've never felt quite hard-core and worthy enough for black.  Until now. (It's not that I'm any more cool. Maybe it's that I don't even care if anybody else thinks it's cool, or tired, or even appropriate, for an over-40 mom to be sporting black sneakers.) 

Black chucks are for rockers, for the skinny jeans and black leather set. I feel like I should be muttering, “Gabba Gabba Hey,” under my breath, a la The Ramones. (By the way, Gabba Gabba Hey is NOT the same as Yo Gabba Gabba, which is still pretty rock n' roll too, for kids programming.)  Am I rocker? Hells yeah.  At least I've thought of myself as such for a long, long time.  (Granted, it didn't kick in until the passing of a certain obsession, #3 on this list.) 

I don't know what kind of credentials I can pull out to prove my true rocker-status, except that I could show you a small photo album, filled with tickets stubs from rock concerts that testify to how I spent the majority of my time and money in my late teens/early 20s.  I didn't attend college immediately after high school. Instead, I worked at a series of small office jobs, after putting in a year at a chain record store (anybody remember The Warehouse?).  I was broke a lot, spending my paychecks on used records,  new cassettes, used books, and lots of black clothing. (But not black Chucks!)  And concert tickets. Lots and lots of concert tickets.  When I was really broke, I'd take some of my lesser favorite albums and cassettes and sell them back to the cool record store in my neighborhood. 

My husband and I both share a deep love of music (not always the same music) and find it pretty integral to daily life. I talk a little more about his (and our kids) current music taste here.  We own a LOT of music, and except for the really old “standards” stuff (Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc.), I think most of the music we own could be classified as rockin'.  Because in my book, Waylon Jennings rocked as hard and lived the lifestyle just as much as say, Ozzy did, back when he was snorting ants up his nose, along with cocaine. 

I don't see very many live shows anymore.  Tickets in general are just so, so much more expensive these days. And living out here in the sticks, it's hard to see a good live show without traveling into either San Diego or L.A., which in turn leads to questions on who/how/what to do with the children, and yadda to the yadda.  Considerations that are NOT very rock n' roll at all. But because I grew up in L.A. county, I've seen shows at just about every major venue in the area. (First concert ever: Supertramp's farewell tour, at the The Forum. A friend's older brother had tickets.  First concert where I paid for my own ticket: The Cult, at the Palladium in Hollywood.) 

I don't smoke Marlboro 100's any more, don't hang out in scrappy dives playing (bad) pool any more. It's been years and years since I sidled up to some strange guy at the bar and flirted for a dollar, so I could play some good tunes on the jukebox (yes, yes I did that).   If I went to a concert tomorrow, I don't even HAVE a lighter that I could hold aloft during “the slow, moving song.”  ("FREE BIRD!")

But damn, I've got me some black sneakers.  I'm hoping that sometime this year, I can attend a live show and hear some loud guitars and feel that drum beat pounding through my body, and get some beer spilled on my Chucks.  Because it's important to have goals, y'all.

January 19, 2012

The Useful Hook

I'm linking up on Thursdays with Jules at Pancakes and French Fries as part of her 2012 William Morris Project series. 

The William Morris quote that inspired Jules' project is this:  "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."   It's a good quote to live by, although I personally think one is a little off if you don't have at least one seriously junky junk-drawer, somewhere in your abode. It's like the Id of the home, or something. 

My post for today is about a recent purchase that doesn't really meet the standard for "beautiful," but it's definitely proven to be useful, and is something we've needed for a long time.  C'mon in to check it out:
So, you've come in the front door and are standing in my minuscule entry. You look around, it's your first time here. Living room is fairly tidy, but what is that, over on the couch? Let's get a little closer:
Oh look, a big pile of random jackets and sweaters.  Can I take your jacket? Um, well, uh, just lay it right here on top of all the others. 

Seriously. This has been our solution for a coat rack for years.  It's the "coat-couch."  Sometimes, it spills over across the room, onto the "coat chair."  Now, I have a perfectly good closet right in my entryway. But when our family comes home from an outing, or from school, do we hang up our jackets/sweaters right away? Nope. Every one of us just throws our stuff on the couch.  I usually let it build up for a couple days, before I get tired of looking at it and hang it all back up, grumbling under my breath why is it my job to deal with this crap? 

I've looked online and in stores and on Craiglist for a stylish, affordable coat rack to put up for the winter/early spring months.  Because honestly, here in Southern California, we don't need outerwear for most of the year.  So damn if I'm going to spend a lot of money on a non-granny looking coat rack to use for only a few months.  Enter my purchase from Target last week:
Ta-da!!  For $17.99, I bought this over-the-door hook for the entry closet, and voila...
Jackets are hung up!  Now, this is not supposed to mean that nothing will ever get properly hung up on a hanger, in a closet.  Like the couch, the hooks are  only to serve as a temporary way-station, for when we first come in the door.  I'll probably still get cranky about putting them all away.  Still, I was pretty happy to walk in my door this morning after walking my kids to school, and have a place to casually hang my jacket. 
Another view of the entry.  You can see that it's pretty tight quarters immediately inside the door.  (There's another wall right beside that narrow window.)  So perhaps  my hook and the jackets hanging upon it are not the most beautiful things to look at.  But it's definitely a better solution than watching that coat-pile, and my resentment toward it, growing larger until it reaches a tipping point.  And in a few months, say by late spring, I can remove the hook and stow it in the closet until needed again in late fall.  Or the hook might just prove to be so useful, that we'll use it all year long.   Now, if only I can train my kids to actually use it!

January 18, 2012

Roaming: San Diego Getaway

 On New Year's Day, our family kicked off 2012 by driving down to San Diego for a 2-night getaway. This was an easy, fast trip for us. San Diego is barely an hour's drive south, so it was almost like a "stay-cation."  Since we were taking my mom along (the trip was actually part of her Christmas gift), we didn't have any plans to go to the big tourist sites, like Sea World or LegoLand.  But lots of fun was had by all, without any need for amusement parks.

We arrived late in the afternoon of the first, so the first night's stay was simply dinner out at a seafood restaurant and settling into our hotel on Shelter Island.  In the morning, we took a quick drive through the Point Loma neighborhood and arrived at Cabrillo National Monument.   I was really, really hoping to spot some whales (its their season to migrate off the coast toward Mexico), but it was too foggy. That white sheen in the right of the above photo isn't sunlight, but a big bank of thick fog that sat just off the coast. 

After this, we got into the car and drove over to Coronado, specifically to check out the Hotel Del Coronado. I've seen plenty of photos of this grand old hotel, but none of us had ever been there.  It was magnificent and old and all of the history and architecture made my heart beat fast with happiness.

Inside was a contrast to all the white buildings, with dark wood paneling on the wall and ceilings:

Really, it all seemed quite fabulous.  But with an ocean-front room close to $400 a night, I can't see that we'll be checking in any time soon. Still, it was lovely to just walk around and soak it all up.
After the Del (and after letting the kids blow off some energy at Spreckles park a couple miles away), we headed to our next tourist destination: Old Town State Historic Park.   Old Town has lots of adobe buildings dating back to the ranchero days, when California was still part of Mexico. There's also plenty of shops and eateries (especially Mexican restaurants, all claiming to have the biggest/best margaritas, burritos, home-made tortillas, etc.)
Lily and a very fake smile in Old Town. We closed out the day with dinner at an open-air Mexican restaurant, and the kids liked watching a performance of some ballet folklorico on a nearby stage.  Next day, we checked out of our hotel  and walked along the bayview strand, over to the small Shelter Island pier.  As you can see by all these pictures, we lucked out with some glorious January weather.
 We spent the rest of the day walking around ginormous, beautiful Balboa Park.  I don't think my mother had ever been here before, and she was amazed at how big it is.  We often go to the Ruben H. Fleet Science Museum, which is perfect for kids (lots of hands-on exhibits). But this time, we checked out the Air & Space Museum.  Which was a lot of fun, but doesn't really warrant any pictures. Space and aviation: you get the idea. 
Great trip, fast trip.  Since the kids had three weeks of winter break this year, I was determined that we go somewhere. And I think its very auspicious indeed that we kicked off the first day of 2012 with a road trip.  Bring 'em on!

January 16, 2012

Reading: The Gift of an Ordinary Day

 Last week I read The Gift of an Ordinary Day, by Katrina Kenison.  I don't read a lot of what I consider “mothering memoirs,” just like I don't read a whole lot of “mommy blogs.” But I do read lots of lifestyle blogs by interesting women who happen to be mothers, and I consider this book to be in that same category – even if the book's subtitle is “A Mother's Memoir.”  I recognized Kenison's name as the former series editor for the “Best American Short Story” annual anthologies, back when I used to be a serious student of the short story myself, and eagerly scooped up each volume.  (Kenison was laid off from that job with just a phone call, as she explains in this book.) 

Ordinary Day is a book of journeys and of deep changes within a family. It details the time from when her oldest son was about to enter high school, and she was suddenly seized by the idea to move out of their family's “upscale, well-groomed suburban neighborhood,” and move toward a slower and more rural way of life, and to also find a smaller, less intense high school to compliment her sons unique talents. I was instantly drawn into the narrative of their move from suburbs to country, as one of my own recurring fantasies is to own an old farmhouse, somewhere with a view of rolling hills and the sound of freight trains traveling miles across the land.  I completely related with Kenison's description of her new ideal of a perfect home:
“a cottage with sloping wooden floors, a screen door that would bang shut and fasten with a hook, daisies in a mason jar on a big screened porch table, walls that could be whispered through, beds covered with faded quilts, afternoon light filtered through the pines.” 
Oh yeah.
So the book is partly about the quest for a new home: buying a 200-year-old summer cottage in rural New Hampshire, living in it for one summer (and comforting the enraged tears of her younger son, upset at living in this terrible new place, so far from his old home and friends), then regretfully tearing it down and building a new, modest farmhouse on the site. (The new home took three years to complete, during which Kenison's family lived with her parents.)  Concurrently, the book is also about her two sons, growing from sweet-cheeked, happy young children, into, well....teenagers.  She describes one son at thirteen so vividly (surly, grunting, angry, refusing to wear anything but a baggy black hoodie sweatshirt) that I was compelled to put the book down and go plant a shower of kisses and snuggles on my own seven-year-old, sweet-cheeked boy.  

Ordinary Day is also about the deep changes in this woman's life, as she finds her role as mother and nurturer shifting. She has to adjust to the “empty nest,” and cherishes the simple joys of just having dinner together around the table, as her son's orbits and interests grow increasingly wider and wider, moving them away from home as they become young men.  She also has time now, time to sit and think and write, after being laid off after sixteen years from an editing job that also defined her. 

This was a great book for me to read at the beginning of the new year.  Fundamentally, this is a book about change, and finding grace, and home, right where you sit at any given moment.  About a family and all the little moments we take for granted, in anticipation of the big ones.   Like the gift of all those hundreds of nights at our table, after dinner, when the kids eat dessert and are tired and silly and know that it's the wrap up of one more ordinary, average day:
Katrina Kenison has a very sophisticated web site and blog, where you watch her read an essay cobbled from sections of the book (have a Kleenex ready) or view a slideshow of the lovely, light-filled home they built (and the gorgeous views from the rolling front lawn).

January 12, 2012

Feathering The Nest in 2012

Today I'm linking up with Jules of Pancakes & French Fries, for her William Morris Project series. (I've never been to a link party before. Hopefully, there's no lipstick on my teeth.) Each Thursday, Jules will be posting about a project, makeover or home DIY as she checks off her list of goals for her home. You can read much more about that here, where she explains all.  To that end, I've made my own list. I'm not a big list maker in general, but when it comes to feathering our nest, I always have a short list stashed away to remind myself where to spend the “nesting” money. But for 2012, inspired by Jules' own massive list of goals and dreams for her home, I've gone through each room and area of my own house and come up with quite a list of things to tackle.

I've held myself in check and only listed actual goals for this year...this isn't by any means a complete list of things that need to get done/repaired, nor does it include any “dream projects” (like replacing the carpets with hardwood, or building a deck off the master bedroom). And it doesn't include the outside of our house, which requires another list entirely. 

Living Room/Entry: The first areas you see upon entering our home, the first impression of our style. The living room is somewhat more formal, a sitting room, a library with a large wall unit of books.  Big plans for the room this year:
  • Re-paint the room, changing out muted blue paint for sapphire blue
  • Change out sheers/drapes with matchstick blinds and new curtains
  • Possibly sell solid blue chair, replace with new white or vintage chair
  • Spray-paint frame on vintage Turner print
  • Repurpose a current rug, or buy new rug for under coffee table
  • Buy new table lamp
This is an old picture of the living room (I don't arrange furniture on the diagonal anymore), but I still own all these elements, and this is the current paint color & window treatment that I want to switch out.
Entry Way
  • Remove the pesky double shelves, as seen & discussed here.
  • Touch up paint from exposed shelf holes
  • Buy new, used or vintage chest or table for entry area
  • Solve need for coat rack/hooks for our sweaters/ jackets – (right now they pile up on the couch until I get sick of them and hang them up.
The Family Room/Kitchen – The most active and used area of our home: cooking, meals, TV, homework, video gaming, reading, snuggling on the sectional: the heart of our home is in this one large space.
Great Room:
  • Replace old wooden blinds/add window treatments
  • Have the sectional professionally cleaned (find out if a foam-insert couch CAN be cleaned)
  • Replace entertainment center with a vintage/mid-century console for the new TV
  • Paint the nook that will hold the new console
  • Buy a larger, 8x10 rug for the space (guilty of buying too-small rugs)
  • Buy new art for behind the couch
  • Add on to the gallery photo collection on the Big Green Wall (see below)
  • New pillows for sectional
  • Replace cold-weather throw for sectional
  • Possibly replace sunburst mirror over fireplace with new art
Our kitchen is in pretty good shape, thanks to our Ikea remodel, seen here. It still could use a few things/repairs:
  • Repair/caulk the tiles behind the faucet suffering some water damage
  • Better organization for paper flow/mail/etc.
  • Replace blinds/window treatments
  • Make a terrarium for the island
  • Buy pendant lighting for over the dining table
  • New napkin holder (!): A small thing, but I don't like the one we've used for years.
The Laundry Room: Ugh. My least favorite room in the house, because it's a tiny, dark closet without even a sink. Located off the kitchen and with a door into the garage, the linoleum floor is often dirty and full of lint. Goal: make it happier? Prettier? How about just cleaner?
  • Rug?
  • Artwork?
  • New Storage containers?
Kids Play Room
  • Organize/purge (never ending)
  • Hang Mary Blair postcard art from Disneyland
  • Hang some kids art
Office Nook My work space at the top of the stairs. Recent painting/re-do (you can see the bland "before" shots on this post) needs finishing touches:
  • Buy mats for the black&white photo prints now hanging (pop of color)
  • New art work on bare wall to the left
  • Colorful slip-cover for chair
  • Buy or pick fresh flowers for my desk, all year
Master Bedroom: An elegant, cool retreat from the world outside. A (mostly) adults-only space. Over a year ago, we painted and restyled the room in a big overhaul, but it's still needing lots of finishing touches
  • Buy a true bedskirt ( long story behind the reason, but I've been using a king-size flat sheet as a bedskirt.)
  • Make & install wallpaper panels for the Big Gray Wall. (See Below) I bought a beautiful roll of Romo wallpaper on Ebay last year, and it's still sitting in my closet.
  • Art work and/or mirror
  • Small side table for the chair
  • Possible small/brass shelves for books & storage
  • New duvet cover, for shot of pattern & color
  • Purchase correct-sized shades for bedside lamps (current are too small)
  • New vintage clock! See photo at top of this post. It looks cute and retro, but I HATE this stupid, inaccurate, loud-ticking cheap thing. When it's wound up, I have to stick it in the drawer at night to mask the ticking noise.
Lily's Room – Bedroom of my almost 10-year-old daughter. Recently had a major re-do last month into a big-girl/tween room. Needs finishing touches:
  • Shorter bookcase
  • Wall shelf for her Josef birthday dolls/collections
  • Small shelf for her sleeping area
  • New desk lamp
  • Need pops of bright color to break up the hot pink/black/white theme
  • Improve cheap ceiling light fixture that replaced her fan
Tucker's Room – Bedroom of my seven-year-old son, a collector of tiny insignificant objects (read: trash) and champion pack rat.
  • CLEAN IT UP (currently a disaster)
  • Buy new, working blinds
  • Curtain or valance
  • Hang art work
  • Organize, organize, purge
  • Buy vintage dresser
Kids Bathroom: A place where the mirror is constantly streaked/spattered
  • Needs artwork
  • Switch out old, dusty wicker display shelf
  • Hamper for towels
  • Clean out & organize under cabinet of old toddler bath supplies (Sniff!)
Upper Long Hallway:
  • Start work on the family photo gallery wall I keep wanting to do. Will include old photos of me and my husband, extended family members, etc.
Office: aka The Cave, where my computer-geek husband works from home. Full of computers, monitors, and too much furniture. (Requires it's own AC system during the summer!)
  • None of my business. Although, I recently had the idea the he should take the doors off of the closet and organize and utilize that area to work harder for the room. And next time he picks a paint color, I totally get veto power. (Current color: Suntan Pantyhose)
Whew! Okay, that's it. Although I'm sure I forgot quite a few things. But do you see a theme here? Looks like I'm going to be spending a lot of time picking out new window treatments and artwork this year. I don't know if I'll be able to participate and link-up with Jules every Thursday -- not many of my fixes and projects are cheap ones -- but then again, if I direct my cash and efforts wisely, I hope to check off most of these items by next December.  Better get on it. Time is ticking...ticking loudly, like my stupid alarm clock. 

January 11, 2012

Bookish Gifts

My husband gave me some wonderfully bookish gifts this Christmas.  In my stocking was the charm bracelet above, from Etsy shop A Likely Story.  Thank goodness for online wish lists, as I'd added the bracelet a few months ago to a list, then nearly forgotten all about it.
Next is this pretty library mug, from Kate Spade for Lenox.  Love it.
An occasional Friday-night outing for our family is heading over to our local Barnes & Noble after dinner.  Standing in line to buy a few things, I spotted this book bag, designed by Jonathan Adler, and full of quotes from classic books.    "I love that!" I told my husband.  I also love that it's in one of my very favorite color combos, of turquoise and grass green.
Another item on my wish list was this book, Stealing Magnolias, by Debra Shriver.  This coffee table book is a celebration of the French-influenced style of New Orleans.  Not a travel book, it's more about the author's own home, and features lots of photos of monogrammed linens, antique china and drowsy courtyards.  A great book for whiling away the time and dreaming my  anywhere but here daydreams.

So, granted, three of the items were on wish lists, and the other I pretty much told my husband: "buy this for me."  Still, I love and appreciate that he takes the time to research my lists, and listen to me, and look over my shoulder as I window shop.  If he wants to keep on gifting me in the same vein, I welcome him to hack into my public library account and take care of my overdue library fines.  The first outing for the new bookbag will be later today, when I return some seriously late books.  Oh well.  Somebody has to fund the place.

January 9, 2012

Digging Into A New Year

 This is me, celebrating my birthday last month at a newly-opened Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour. Farrell's was a big part of my childhood – they used to have locations all over SoCal, including at the outdoor mall in Downey where my mother and her two sisters went shopping nearly every Saturday afternoon, back when I was a kid. At one end of the mall was a Farrell's, and I enjoyed many, many lunches there, eating grilled cheese sandwiches followed by their signature “Clown Sundae.” (One scoop of vanilla sitting in fudge, 2 cherry halves for eyes, topped by a sugar cone hat.) It didn't have to be an “occasion” to go  – I suppose it was my reward for being somewhat patient, somewhat well-behaved, while watching my mom and aunts browse and try on clothes at The Broadway and all the little chain boutiques.
It's no accident that my first post of the new year features a candid photo of me. I don't really want to talk about my birthday, or the gooey marshmallow sundae I celebrated with, or my thoughts about being back inside a Farrell's again after so many years. (Let's just say: you can't go home again.)

I'm posting this candid, untouched shot of my shiny, happy, toothy self, because a) it's a shot of the real me, not a posed, this-is-me-looking-into-the-camera shot and b) it makes me deeply uncomfortable to do so. 

But that's what I hope to do this year, here on the blog, and also out in the world: be unapologetically myself, share my real self, be true to my deepest, authentic self. Even when, especially when, doing so makes me deeply uncomfortable and anxious.

I have big ambitions here on the blog, which I think and hope will also translate into fulfilling some of my other big ambitions. Namely, I intend to try to post at least three times a week. Now, that may seem a laughably easy resolution if you're a blogger who posts almost daily, but for me, that's a big leap. Me, who half a year ago, was posting maybe once or twice per month. For now, in my quest to stay authentic and only share what truly engages me, three times a week should do (who knows, maybe my creativity will spring into gear, and I'll be overflowing with ideas of things to talk about).  And also, hopefully I will start to build a real readership, because most days, I feel I'm just talking into a microphone, into the overwhelming silence of the interwebs  -- like "tap, tap, is thing working??"

But also: it's very, very hard for me to commit to a routine and stick with it. Not because I'm lazy, or flaky, or can't focus. I don't like routines because they scare me, they fill me with fear and anxiety. Sometime I think my whole philosophy can be summed up by these brief lines from Joni Mitchell's “Down to You:”

“Everything comes and goes/
Pleasure moves on too early and trouble leaves too slow
Just when you're thinking that you've finally got it made/
Bad news comes knocking, at your garden gate/
Knocking for you.”

Since I was just a little older than my daughter is now, I've been living with fear. Bad news came knocking out of the blue, several times over during my early adolescent and teen years. Since then, I live a cringing sort of life, a life where I'm afraid to truly exhale. The other shoe can drop at any time, man. I'm tightly coiled, gasp easily, jump a mile if a door slams. My body, my mind, is poised and waiting: What's next? The fear of routine is built into me: If I dive into something, enter the swim of life, become unconscious of just living, what will it be that comes knocking to snap me out? So I stall. I procrastinate. I dawdle and circle and make plans to make plans. Between all that and raising two children, time slips away. And it's taken me all this time to figure out why I hate routines, why making lists and charting out the week ahead fills me with dread.  Just figuring this out feel like such a breakthrough.  

So. Be generous. Share myself, when it makes me anxious and uneasy. Embrace the fear, invite it over for dinner. Wrestle around with it after dessert. Take on some new routines, and stick to them, even if the nervous voice inside tells me to STOP DOING THAT, YOU ARE CALLING THE WOLVES TO YOUR DOOR. In short, it's time to dig in.
With gusto.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogger Template by Designer Blogs