Sunset On the Mason Dixon Line

Posted on 10/26/2015 06:02:00 PM In:
Or somewhere thereabouts. 

My thoughts: 


Posted on 10/25/2015 10:42:00 AM In:
I said yesterday that Fallingwater wasn't my favorite Frank Lloyd Wright house.  Fallingwater is great, don't get me wrong, but this is my favorite Frank Lloyd Wright House: 

It's called Kentuck Knob and it's just a few miles from Fallingwater. It was built for the Hagan family who knew the Kaufmans, the owners of Fallingwater, and wanted a Frank Lloyd Wright home of their own so they somehow convinced Frank to design it for them.  But it was built late in Wright's career -- after he'd already become quite famous and I guess had had enough of traveling from location to location.  He famously asked for photos and some topographical maps and designed this building without ever visiting the site once.  He never even saw the home completed. 

This Grand Usonian is not the most unique of his designs and there are some issues with the layout, but this, of all his buildings, is the one I most want to make my home in.  Maybe it's because I simply don't have the ego to see myself living in a place as grandiose as Fallingwater.  Maybe because of the clerestory windows you can see in the picture above and that motif that looks to me to be at once both ancient Native American and modern.  Maybe it's because I always wanted to live on "a knob." Maybe it's the fact that the second owner, Baron Palumbo, was an avid sculpture collector and all the grounds are filled with his acquisitions, like this Claes Oldenburg that the Shortlings are so cleverly pretending they ate too much of in this picture.

Maybe it's because it's one of the few buildings that has a verified Wright signature tile. 

Maybe it's the fact that without ever visiting the location, he knew just where to put the windows so these hexagons would slowly track across the floor throughout the day.

Maybe it's the miniature Fallingwater in the back.

Or the tin roof.

Or perhaps, the running/rolling hill.

There are a hundred reasons I love this house.

 But I think probably the view has something to do with it too.

See why I wanted to go here in the fall?

My thoughts: 

Can't Do That with Legos

Posted on 10/24/2015 09:39:00 AM
It's no secret that I am a huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan. I adore his creativity, his love of nature, his philosophy of living, his brilliance with just a touch of arrogance... my husband has a lifetime goal of seeing every Shakespeare play; mine is visiting every Frank Lloyd Wright building that's still standing --  even if it's not a public building and that means I have to beg to be admitted and/or I have to sneak in uninvited. But that's another story for another day... you know.. after the statute of limitations has passed.

Fallingwater is incredibly close to us so that means this is one I need to see at least once each season.  I've been there before, but I hadn't been there at the peak of fall when the leaves were really beautiful.  As it turns out, we missed the peak color by a few days, but still Pennsylvania did not disappoint. 

There are so many great FLW houses.  This one is by far the most famous.  And while it's not my favorite, it's up there near the top.  It definitely my favorite FLW house that's been on the cover of Life magazine and featured in a postage stamp.  I love some of the other lesser known buildings, each for different, unique and very personal reasons.  That being said, if I had the chance to live in this one, even for a day, I'd give up vital parts of my anatomy to do so.

With Fallingwater, the story of the family that lived in it, the Kaufmans, is almost as compelling as it's designer. How they supported his work, the community, nature around them, and art is fascinating to me.  The fact that they battled Wright's legendary ego over this masterpiece, and even won sometimes, yet remained friends with him throughout his life is something I both admire and am pleasantly bewildered by.  There is some of my favorite art in the world in this house and photography inside is prohibited so add taking pictures of the interior to that list of things I'd give up vital parts of my anatomy to do.

There are lots of better pictures here and around the internet, so if you really want to see the inside and some great photography of this place, feel free to consult The Google and move away from this place.  But for a truly impressive feat of photography, scroll down and note the fact that while this place was crawling with people, I managed to get off a few clicks off with relatively few people in the frame.

This is my favorite piece of art on the property.  I'm reasonably certain I was not supposed to take a photo, but it was outside while we were walking from one part of the house to the other so I decided better to beg forgiveness than ask permission and be denied.

This is not art.  Well not permanent art anyway.  I got to take it home with me.

The bridge that leads to the house.

Stairway that leads down to the waterfall.

The stairs from across the bridge.

This is not Fallingwater.  This is my living room.  Since the day I found this house and walked through it, I was drawn to it. We stopped at the open house on a whim; we had pretty much decided we weren't going to try to move that year.  Afterward as we got in the car to leave, I said to The KoH, "I hate how much I love this house."  Then we spent the better part of the next year trying to buy it.


We love the mid-century modernness of it and often refer to it as our "Fake Unsonian," even though there's not really very much Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired about the design of our house. That's okay, no one has any idea what we're talking about when we say it.  I even had to explain it to the appraiser who was here this week.  It's mostly a run-of-the-mill house.  But when I walked into the great room of Fallingwater and got the same feeling of being in the trees I get from getting up in the morning and watching the sunrise before anyone else in my family is awake and up, I realized maybe the source of original reaction to this house.

My thoughts: 

To Gillian on Her 15th Birthday

Posted on 10/21/2015 11:23:00 AM
Note: I wrote this several days ago but I'm a day late in posting because I forgot to hit publish on the post and then I didn't look back into the blog yesterday.  Testament to how completely nuts I have been this year.  As early as last month, I planned on working at home yesterday to enjoy a little bit of solitude, but then I didn't really even spend that much time reflecting.  So today's letter comes the day after her 15th birthday.  It's not the first time I've let the moment almost pass me by but I think this year I'd probably gotten it out of my system a little early and then got caught up in the Have-To-Dos of every day with a job and a family.  Just goes to show you, you can't schedule feelings.

You know how life happens while you're not really paying attention?  This year, we bought and moved into a new house.  Then we still had the old house and had to sell it, but we put a whole lot of time and effort into renovating the old house first and then Stuff and Things happened and we couldn't sell the old house to the first couple of people who wanted to buy the old house and almost couldn't sell the old house to the third buyer because the county is a Big Dumb Stupidhead so we carried two mortgages for about half the year.  Oh and by the way, we moved into the new house and then had a whole lot of unplanned renovation projects and money to be put into that and unplanned travel.  It sucked.  Because Reasons!

I couldn't wait to get rid of the old albatross around my neck... er... I mean... house.  

When the sale finally did go through, we breathed a sigh of relief and didn't even care that the new owners almost immediately cut down the entire flower bed full of day lilies we spent fifteen years cultivating and coaxing to grow in that spot.  Not that they weren't allowed to do it; I just would have dug up more bulbs to take with me if I'd known.  Good luck getting anything else to grow there, New House People; it won't happen.

I believe we celebrated the house sale with pizza and a "good riddance" and let the moment go by because I'm sure some kid had a homework assignment or a music lesson or whatever.. other things were happening at the same time.

Then one day, earlier this month, I was a bit early for a rehearsal and happened to drive by the cemetery so I stopped in to see her, which I sometimes do when the moment allows.  There was a big sign near the gate that said, "If you have family or loved ones buried here, please contact the main office."

My heart fell into my stomach because... well.. I don't know why.  Not sure what the worst could actually have been in this situation but my brain went there anyway.  Everything else has gone horribly this year, why not this too?  I stopped into the office with that sense of impending dread, but it was after hours and they were closed. I called and left a trepidatious message asking what it was about and to please call me back.

They called back the next day and it turned out to be nothing, really.  The cemetery wasn't being razed to make way for a high rise.  There was no long outstanding bill that needed to be paid.  The office was just updating their records and wanted to know if we were still at the same address.  I said, no, actually we had just recently moved and I gave them our new address.  They took it, I thanked them, and that was that.  Not even a little crisis, which was a pleasant surprise.

Then I hung up the phone and realized for the first time that that is not my house any more.  

The kitchen door I was standing in when I learned I was pregnant with her is something I will probably never stand in again.

That wall I stared at for weeks on end when I was ordered to bed rest - only on my left side, I'll probably never see again. 

All those moments when I sat on the floor and sang to her and talked to her and begged her to grow so we could get to meet her are all contained within those walls and those walls don't belong to me anymore.  My last physical connection to her is kind of.. well, gone.

I totally understand why our culture buries its dead in cemeteries. They give you a physical location - a connection to a place and time that life often doesn't allow to remain because life marches merrily, mercilessly on. It's a place direct your energies.

I knew I was being kind of literal and dumb about it, but I hung up the phone, quietly closed my office door and cried for the first time in a long time.  Maybe it's just the stress of this year.  Maybe it just blindsided me.  But this was a tough pill to swallow and it took me a couple of days to feel right again. 

I know it's been well long enough for life to feel right without her and I do, mostly. But every once in awhile, I look around.  I see my beautiful, amazing girls, growing and being pains in the ass and brilliant, being horrible to each other sometimes but also kind and wonderful others.  I see this incredible man being their father every day.  I'm so grateful for the family I have now and would never regret any of it.  Everything we went through has contributed to who and where we are now and she is so much a part of that.  Sometimes I think maybe that's why she came and what her purpose was here.  

But then sometimes I look around and I see a hole in it all.  Someone is missing.

It sneaks up on you, this grief stuff.  

My thoughts: 

THIS is Why I Hate Eating There

Posted on 10/19/2015 04:57:00 PM
I love the “Food without a side of questions” mantra all the radio ads for Chipotle are sporting this season.  As a firm but gentle counter, here is, more or less, a transcript of my last interaction there.

Noise level in restaurant is deafening.  I walk up to the bar and scream across the sneeze guard, "Hi.  I'd like...."

CW: *interrupts me* "What do you want?"

Me: "A steak burrito, no rice, but everything else on it."

CW: "OK." *passes empty tortilla to next employee*

Chipotle Worker #2: "What do you want?"

Me: "A steak burrito with everything on it, but no rice, please."

Chipotle worker: *mumbles something unintelligible with head down*

Me: "What?"

Chipotle worker: *mumbles something unintelligible again*

Me: "I'm sorry, I can't hear you."

CW2 finally looks up at me: "WHAT KIND OF MEAT?"

Me: "Well.... steak... you know... 'cause it's a steak burrito?"

CW2:  "Yeah, but what kind of meat?"

Me: "OK... steak."

This seems to finally land with CW2 and she plops a spoonful of steak on the tortilla and passes it down.

CW3: "What do you want on it?"

Me: "No rice, but everything else,"

CW3: "Do you want rice?"

Me: "No."

CW3: "Do you want beans?"

Me: "Yes, no rice, but everything else."

CW3: "What kind of beans?'

Me: "Black beans."

CW3: *plops a spoonful of beans on the tortilla and passes it down*

CW4: "What do you want?"

Me: "Everything."

CW4: "Do you want lettuce?"

Me: "Yes. Everything."

CW4: "Do you want tomatoes?"

Me: "Yes. Everything."

CW4: "Do you want cheese?"

Me: "Yes. Everything."

CW4: "Do you want sour cream?"

Me: "Yes. Everything." *seeing where this is going* "And hot salsa, please."

 CW4: "Do you want guacamole?"

Me: "Damn, I missed one."

CW4: "WHAT?"

Me: *sigh* "Nevermind. Yes. Everything."

Might want to rethink that slogan, Chipotle cause whoever came up with it has clearly never tried to order something in your restaurant.

My thoughts: 

There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

Posted on 10/11/2015 02:02:00 PM
There aren't that many moments when they're getting along, so I have to take photos which I can use to fool them into believing they liked each other when they're older.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 10/10/2015 01:56:00 PM
Firefly season is over and I no longer need to psych myself up for when I get up in the middle of the night and see out of the corner of my eye, what my brain immediately assumes is a person walking through the back part of my yard with a flashlight, only to end with the inevitable epiphany: those are fireflies, you dummy. 

So that's good.

My thoughts: 

Thar She Blows... Out the Candles

Posted on 9/23/2015 04:39:00 PM
This one turned eight this week.

We planned her baptism.

And then asked her what kind of party she'd like to have afterward. She said she wanted a pirate party.  I love this kid and her patience for our weird obsessions.

Bob the Pirate showed up with his new pets to welcome all our party guests.

Party goer: "Where do you live?"
Me: "Here's the street.  You'll know the house because there's a pirate skeleton in the yard."
Party goer: "Wow, that was a really good idea put a skeleton in the yard to help people find your house for the party."
Me: "Yeah... for the paaarrrty... sure... that's why he's there."

She wore her pirate princess costume, devised at a thrift store for our recent trip to the Renaissance Faire.

I made yet another pirate cake (I am seriously starting to run out of ideas for this theme).

And she was dutifully impressed.

Every pirate princess deserves a pirate pinata.

And she managed to show everyone what the emotion enthusiasm looks like when she realized she'd gotten a hamster for her birthday.

I have few words with which to wrap this all up, except to say that this one has been a constant source of entertainment for these eight years.  I cannot wait to see what the next eight bring.

My thoughts: 

Alice's Final Repose

Posted on 9/18/2015 07:31:00 PM
I was cooking dinner last night - fish - and decided to bake it in the oven.  So I laid all the fish filets carefully down in a Pyrex dish with some lemon juice and spices and baked them at a normal, totally-agreeable-with-Pyrex temperature for a determined-to-be-not-too-long amount of time.

When it was done, I pulled the Pyrex pan out of the oven and was moving it over to set it on the stove when I heard a crack and then a split second later, the entire Pyrex pan exploded into thousands of pieces sending glass, lemon juice and fish parts all over the entire kitchen, leaving me standing there holding a small piece of glass with a hot pad.

I was walking when this happened so a piece of glass must have ricocheted off the floor and embedded itself in the bottom of my foot.  So here I was, standing on one foot, still clinging to what was a now a shard of glass in my hand, staring at the floor and wondering where to step and whether or not that piece of glass in the bottom of my foot had actually broken the skin and the pain just hadn't made it's way to my brain yet or if it was just stuck there because it was so hot and had melted itself to my skin. (It turned out to be the latter, and peeled off later once the lemon sticky had cooled enough, so good day for me.)

The Dormouse was just around the corner and witnessed the aftermath and once I realized I wasn't going to bleed out, I first told her to stay out of the kitchen lest she step on any of the glass (or, I suppose, the fish), then finally put the rim-of-the-pan-piece I was still inexplicably holding onto into the trash can, then went to find shoes.  After that, I busied myself with the brand new job of cleaning up the sticky chaos of lemon juice, glass and now disgustingly mashed up fish.  It was a mess, but it could have been worse.

Dinner was a shambles, obviously, so I threw some pasta in a pan for the Shortlings to eat and decided tonight just wasn't my night.  About that time I turned around to find The Dormouse standing in the doorway, looking like she was about to cry.

"What's the matter?" I asked, thinking she had been concerned for my safety while I was trying to figure out whether I'd been injured and was disturbed by the sight of the fearsome glass explosion, "Are you okay?"

"No," she said, "I'm disappointed there's no fish for dinner."

And that is why I'm telling you now, if I go missing for a long period of time, come to my house and check on me, because I'm pretty sure my family will have been stepping over my lifeless body for weeks before calling the authorities and my face may have been eaten by the cats.

My thoughts: 

The Precipice

Posted on 9/08/2015 04:38:00 PM
For each of us, there comes a moment when we cross that line from complete, euphoric innocence to jaded, wistful adulthood.  For The Caterpillar, that moment came a few weeks ago.

We'd been in the new house for only a couple of months and a friend came over to meet us for dinner.  I threw a load of laundry in the washing machine and the dishes in the dishwasher and absentmindedly hit the start button on both while we loaded up everyone in the car and went out for Cuban food.  Good food; good conversation.  It was a much needed respite from some sucky things that had happened that month.

When we arrived home, I walked in through the kitchen door and stepped in a puddle of water.  "Well that's not right," I muttered. The KingofHearts and his friend were still chatting while I tried to figure out whether an ice cube had dropped on the floor and melted while we were away or a cat had upended a glass of water.  They like to actualize all potential gravity, these cats, and some times we find this when we come home if someone was short-sighted enough to leave a cup on a surface.

I made my way a little further in and did not find the end of the puddle.  My brain went through a quick checklist of possibilities and crossed off the refrigerator, freezer, tsunami, flood plain, rain inside the house... by this time, I'd waded across the floor far enough to figure out the real problem: both the dishwasher and the washing machine had spewed out their magical cleaning water.  See, everything in the kitchen empties into the same drain and they had overflowed.  The washing machine particularly, as it empties into a utility sink and the sink fills up with a wash cycle, if it doesn't empty before the rinse cycle, the water just sloshes out over the sink's edge onto the kitchen floor.  

But that's not all...

because the genius who installed the floor in this new house decided to take a short cut and not put down any water barrier under the brand new pergo floorboards. So that two inches of water that had been standing on the floor the entire time we had been out, blissfully eating Ropa Vieja, was now leaking between the floor boards and through the floor, which as you may know, is attached to the basement ceiling... water that was now coming down through the ceiling tiles and onto the brand new carpet in the basement.

What I didn't know then that I know now was that the main drain that everything the kitchen empties into had developed, for reasons we have never come to understand, a giant, mother-of-all-clogs clog in it - completely impassable - and I had just started pretty much every water-making appliance we owned and walked out the door, leaving them un-monitored.  So I wasn't there to notice that the utility sink didn't empty after the wash cycle. Or that the dishwasher didn't empty after the clean cycle, or that the water I'd emptied out after rinsing dishes in the sink never drained, or that the utility sink that was now filled up and not ready to accept more water overflowed after the rinse cycle, or that the water standing on the kitchen floor was now raining down on all our belongings in the basement like a drip drip drop little April shower.

I yelled at the kids to "BRING TOWELS," to which one of them ran and brought me... a single tea towel. I yelled, probably too uncharitably, "NO! Both of you, bring me TOWELS," and then added as an afterthought since I knew what they were thinking as they hurried down the hallway, "ALL THE TOWELS WE OWN!" 

Then we all spent the next several hours on our hands and knees mopping up water that had no where else to go.  And when we'd used every single towel in the house, even the dirty ones, we used robes... and all the dirty laundry.  Every stitch of fabric that was available was sopping with mopped-up dishwater.  Then and only then, had we managed to mostly dry the floor, but all the sinks were still filled with standing water.

The floor is ruined by the way. Inexpensive Pergo doesn't stand up to water very well as it turns out.

The kids were great helping me. They brought their adorable faces along to soften the blow when I had to go next door and ask the neighbors to borrow any house fans they had.  They sponged up water and moved furniture and wiped off bean bag chairs and rocking horses like sailors swabbing the deck. Our home warranty covered at least part of the cost of bringing out a plumber (twice) and although this moment was the straw that broke the camel's back that month and I nearly had a nervous breakdown waiting to find out whether the clog was within the perimeter of the house and fixable with an industrial snake (COVERED by the home warranty) or outside the perimeter of the house and fixable by having someone to dig up the entire yard (NOT COVERED by the home warranty), this was one instance this year where God smiled upon us and the plumbers (it took three of them) eventually fixed it the easy way.

We finished cleaning up around midnight that night, exhausted from spending hours trying to plunge, snake, coax, and plead out whatever was causing the clog. Every time someone used the plunger on one drain, the other two drains would just barf more water out and onto the floor.  We finally gave up and just concentrated on drying off the floor and bailing most of the water out of all the sinks.  I tossed all the water-logged towels in a laundry basket, promising myself I'd wash them all tomorrow, while The KingofHearts researched online the process for making a claim against that brand new home warranty we were now quite happy we'd paid extra for. Then we both went to collapse in bed.

The next morning we all woke up - a bit late for obvious reasons - and while the KingofHearts jumped in the shower to get ready for work, I went into the kitchen to prepare lunches for the kids and get them ready for school. At some point I stumbled over the laundry basket of soaked towels and it dawned on me that The KoH would be getting out of the shower and we'd pulled all the towels from every room in the house the night before. It dawned on him too because at that exact moment, he'd stepped out of the shower and reached for a towel, finding none.   

About the time I was searching for a reasonable facsimile of a towel to bring him, he was tiptoeing through the hall and rummaging through the linen closet for something to use in place of a towel, leaving puddles of water dripping off his wet body the entire way. Finding none, he turned around to search elsewhere.

It was exactly this moment, that The Caterpillar had finally taken to heart the direction to GO AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH NOW THIS IS THE THIRD TIME I'VE ASKED YOU that I'd yelled only seconds before, and headed down the hall. So when I turned the corner to bring The KoH the one remaining dry sheet I'd found, the scene I encountered was the Caterpillar running down the hall, meeting up with The KoH's path and stopping short, jerking her head up to find a completely naked, dripping wet, grown man standing directly in front of her. 

She didn't quite know what to do and neither did The KoH, so they just stood there, regarding each other for a few seconds, like a couple of wild boars.  Then The Caterpillar put one foot behind the other and slowly, surely, backed out of the hallway without saying a word.

She returned from the hallway and went out to face the world again, older, wiser.... and sadder.

My thoughts: 

Rope Swing

Posted on 8/31/2015 05:08:00 PM
So, school has started.  I'm trying to get back into the swing of writing again.  I took the last week of the summer off to spend it with my kids and it was kind of awesome, so the first day of school is a little bit bittersweet for me.  I kind of wish we could do this kind of learning and exploring the world together all the time and I briefly considered finding that commune in Virginia and homeschooling them. 

The first day was full of new school jitters and worries and the need for "outfits" and new backpacks and reassurances and having next to zero information from school administration about anything that might serve to make managing the first day in a new school just a tiny bit easier.  Apparently that is not a goal of this school system.

However, they have both returned unscathed and are now relaxing in a post-anxiety state of euphoria....

with the rope swing Dad made them this weekend.


My thoughts: 

Llama Trauma

Posted on 8/21/2015 06:34:00 PM
I don't quite know where this came from but we listened to this thing that came home from camp with her non-stop on repeat for about a week.

I kinda adore how serious she is about it.

My thoughts: 

Uses For a Boring, 3-Leaf Clover

Posted on 8/02/2015 08:41:00 AM
Given to me by Small Child, who always sees the potential in every situation.

My thoughts: 

Where is Thumbkin?

Posted on 8/01/2015 05:37:00 PM
Oh, here he is... he just got back from the hipsters' convention.

My thoughts: 
Today, I was asked to substitute for The Caterpillar's Sunday School class because someone was out of town.  Honestly, I had forgotten about it until right before church started so I didn't discuss it with her at all.  My phone just reminded me and may I say that if you ever ask me to do something and you don't see me putting it in my phone, you can pretty well count on that thing not getting done because I will have forgotten all about it.  Also, if I ever lose my phone, I will most likely need to call the police to have them take me to my home because I don't know how to get anywhere anymore without the crutch of GPS.

She had already headed off to her class when I remembered was reminded, so I walked in and sat down next to her on the row with the other kids.  She didn't notice me for a second.  Then she looked me up and down and said, "What are you doing here?"

"I'm going to teach your class today."

She looked confused.

"Is there something wrong with that," I asked.

"No.  I'm just confused."


"Because we already asked the other lady who was going to be our teacher today and she said, 'It's not any of your moms or dads..."

"Oh," I countered, "Well, there's a good reason for that."

"What's that?"

I leaned down and whispered earnestly in her ear, "I'm not your real mother."

For a split second, her eyes widened in horror while this new piece of information bounced around in her brain and then she realized that I was kidding and she rolled her eyes and turned back to the cat's cradle game she was playing with the girl who was sitting next to her.

It's tough to be a member of this family if you have feelings.

It's not so hard if you don't have those.

My thoughts: 

It Figures

Posted on 7/25/2015 06:49:00 AM
A long time ago, I wrote this post about a flowering clematis plant that I tried to make grow and bloom for forever. I wanted one of those explosions of beautiful, purple flowers around the mailbox like so many other people in the neighborhood had.  

I nurtured, fertilized, encouraged, watered and loved that plant for more than a decade and while it never completely died off, and even grew into quite a large vine, it never bloomed more than one or two flowers at a time each year.  Never not once. Sometimes I got maybe a total of six or seven blooms during the season, but they didn't all bloom at the same time.  Instead, one pretty flower would show up, then die a quick death before the next one dared to come out.  So the whole thing always just looked like an errant weed that I was too lazy to pull.

The day before we moved out of that house, this happened.

I hate you, clematis bush.

My thoughts: 

Getting Past the Semicolon

Posted on 7/15/2015 11:15:00 PM
The last time I felt it was six months ago. 

We moved out of the old house and into the new one.  Even though I have threatened multiple times over the past decade that if we ever moved, we would most certainly be hiring a moving company because it was cheaper than the inevitable therapy and possible psychiatric commitment that would be necessary for me after touching every single thing I owned twice (once to take it out of the old house and once to put it in the new one), it became painfully clear that we wouldn't be able to afford it.  Not when we were just moving across town and the distance didn't require such heroic methods.

So we begged, pleaded, asked politely, sheepishly inquired, of a dozen or so friends who all stepped up to the plate, offered trailers, and came with pick-ups, strong arms, willingness to give up a Saturday, and way more good will than I would ever expect for the likes of us.  They showed up in the morning and when the morning people had to leave, others came to spell them.  They took in payment: doughnuts, pizza and Coke.  We didn't even offer beer.  It was terrible, horrible, grueling, and I put more miles on my car in one day of back and forth trips than I had in the previous two months put together.

And much to my surprise, we got it all moved before nightfall, but only just.  Or at least the lion's share and whatever was left was incidental.  We didn't have enough time to put anything away or find our clothes and/or food, and we broke three bookshelves and/or cabinets, and our bed didn't fit through the hallway, and the Shortlings' beds were still in pieces, and there was no way we'd be sleeping in any kind of proper sleeping apparatus that night, but it was all moved and in the new place by that evening.  

Since the beds weren't, ahem, available, we took our L-shaped couch and shoved the two parts of it together to form a giant litter box of sorts.  I threw some pillows and blankets in it and all four of us squeezed in - feet to head to feet to head - exhausted, sore and nearly asleep on our feet.  The KingofHearts pulled out a book and read a chapter to The Shortlings and I put my arms around each of the girls, mostly because there was nowhere else for my arms to go.  I threw my head back against the arm of the sofa and looked up out the window at the stars that night.  The KingofHeart's voice wafted into the air above us and I could hear crickets and was so grateful to have accomplished so much that day and so grateful for the friends who helped and supported us and so grateful to have this family that I love traipsing through life with me and I realized it then: this is what joy is.

Because life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful.

That was the last time I noticed it.  Because then life got really, really sucky.  The renovations on the old house didn't happen as fast as we wanted and then the selling of the house didn't go smoothly and the new job wasn't all that great and all hell broke loose with family and friends and the kids' school year went out like a lion and I worried about it all way more than necessary and everything pretty much sucked for a long time, which has happened before, but my ability to cowboy up and get through it pretty much sucked too.  We kept slogging through, mostly because what else are you going to do?  We tried to do things that would help - to find those little moments of joy.  We carved out time to go to plays and movies.  To spend time with friends and to eat good food.  We tried to scare it away with humor and love.  To make sure to notice the universe and enjoy the beautiful spring in this beautiful new yard we have.  But it all just felt hollow to me.  I tried to remind myself that there are so many good things, and I was right.  Intellectually, I know that.  It's just sometimes hard to feel that.

Depression lies. 

It tells you everything is bad when it its neither good nor bad; it just is.  It tells you you're not ever going to feel that moment of  joy again when that moment is sitting right there waiting for you to notice it.  It says there is no light at the end of the tunnel while it holds a blindfold over your eyes.

Sometimes the only way out is through.

I don't know if I'm close to the end of the tunnel yet; I'm pretty sure I'm still slogging through.  But tonight, I drove the Dormouse back from an activity and it was clear and cool out and I had the windows down with my arm stuck out one of them.  I drove past a field filled with Queen Anne's Lace and four horses grazing in it, wading up to their withers in flowers.  Then I parked in the driveway and went out to get the mail while The Shortlings went inside.  I could hear the cicadas and the frogs and I looked up at the tree tops slightly moving in the breeze while I stood in the middle of the street with my head pointed skyward, looking like a crazy person to any of our neighbors should they happen to glance out the window.  There was nothing special about this evening to make it better or worse than any one of a dozen evenings over the last month.  And then I noticed it again.  It was only a tiny flicker of contentment, but it was there.  And that counts.

I think I can see the light.

For those I know who didn't make it through.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 7/09/2015 07:44:00 PM

My thoughts: 

Me in 3 Seconds

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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