If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Five Decisions

Schmutzie answered the question "what are the five best decisions of your adult life so far?"  I thought I'd do the same.  Here they are:

  • Getting pregnant:  The decision to get pregnant was a very visceral feeling for me.  My body ached with the desire to have a child.  I was fairly young but it was a very conscious choice and I set out to do it as quickly as possible.  The result was Angel...enuf said.
  • Going to graduate school:  The decision to go to college was a no-brainer.  It was an important one and I'm glad I did it but I can't imagine a world where I didn't make that decision.  I also decided to purse a masters' degree but that decision was made from a lack of knowing what else to do with my time.  I decided to get my doctorate after I had Angel and life was busy and hectic.  I had a good job, was making good money, and did not need the degree but I really wanted it.  Without it I couldn't have the career I have today and I love my career.
  • Leaving my ex:  This is the most painful decision I've made in my life to date.  It was years in the making.  It tore both him and Angel up.  I felt tremendous guilt over the latter but it saved my life.
  • Joining an online dating service:  It was a conscious decision to join an online service after I left my ex.  I wanted to date and as a single mother working full-time and going to graduate school (with mostly female colleagues), the chances of doing it any other way were pretty slim.  Once that decision was made everything else fell into place: meeting b, convincing him to go on the first and second dates, sticking around until he figured out he loved me, moving in together, buying a house, getting married.  I suppose most people would choose the decision to marry as the more important but the marrying was far less significant than the road that led to bringing him into my life. 
  • Moving away:  We were all ready, more than ready, to leave UpNorth when we did.  It was difficult and painful but I believe I've grown in ways I never could have if I had stayed in my home city my entire life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Little Late But Never Old

I'm late in sharing this with you (because somehow my world has gotten away from me again) but as it is a timeless piece, it will never grow old.  Click through to experience Drax's comic.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Twenty Things I Am Doing While Not Writing a Blog Post

  1. Helping Angel with a semester-long research project
  2. Lots of yoga
  3. Making chocolate sauce and then dipping fruit in it
  4. Revising a paper that I've rewritten twice already and just can't get right
  5. Watching Dr. Drew on Celebrity Rehab
  6. Rubbing Pupzilla's belly
  7. Answering student emails in an attempt to clear up their confusion over the assignment
  8. Reading other people's blog posts
  9. Giving presentations
  10. Snuggling b
  11. Not cleaning my house
  12. Reading dissertation proposals
  13. Watching b's videos of his paddling trip
  14. Worshipping The Brute
  15. Not taking any pictures
  16. Writing letters of recommendation
  17. Hosting book clubs where no one read the book
  18. Going to the theatre
  19. Trail running
  20. Wishing I was writing a blog post

Friday, September 16, 2011


I enjoyed this list the other day.  I enjoyed it because I like lists; it's a good list; and it made me think. Mostly I liked it because it made me think about what I do and I really enjoy thinking about what I do. I particularly enjoy thinking about what I do while I am doing it.

I enjoy yoga because to learn it you need to think about what you are doing while you are doing it. You need to be aware of your body and the posture and your body in the posture.  While you are doing all this thinking and posturing and thinking about posturing, you can suddenly become aware that you are aware of your body in the posture.

I really enjoy that.

When I write I am thinking about what I am writing and I'm thinking about how I'm writing while I'm writing.  I enjoy writing because, like yoga, it is really difficult to get everything to align correctly but when it clicks into place it feels wonderful.  I enjoy both writing and yoga because they feel like great big puzzles I have to figure out.  No matter how many times I solve the puzzle, there is a new one waiting for me.

The psychology of flow involves getting beyond awareness but I find it so much more fascinating to hover above it; to live in the land of meta-awareness.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watching Grown-Ups Grow Up

The other day I wrote about how nice it was to spend time with my family's younger generation.  It is an amazing thing to see people you've known since Day One (people who's diapers you've literally changed) as their grown-up selves.  When they're little you know the day will come eventually but it is a different thing entirely when it is today.

Since moving here, b and I have developed close relationships with members of SouthLite's younger generation.  These are people we have only known as their grown-up selves but they are at a point in their lives where a lot happens that matures you.  It is a very different (and special) thing to see these grown-ups, grow up.

In the past five years our friends and mentees have: gotten engaged, gotten married, had babies; started their first job; graduated college, started graduate school, and graduated graduate school. While these are all positive events, some have also dealt with (or are dealing with) tragedy: break-ups and the death of a parent being the most common.

There is a great deal of stress and uncertainty in the young adult years.  One of the benefits of aging is that those years are behind you.  Life may still be difficult but you've dealt with it before.  You've handled the stress of newness; of different; of grief and lived through it.  You have a confidence in your forties that you can't really imagine in your twenties.

Many of say we would never go back.  I certainly would never want to be younger than 30 and most days wouldn't leave my forties.  However another joy of aging is watching, supporting, and assisting (when asked) those who are living through it all for the first time.  The mentor-friend is a role I've come to cherish.

I enjoy our adopted group of twenty-somethings very much.  I admire them for their humor, good nature, and perseverance.  I am proud of them.  I hope one day to sit around a table, sharing a glass of wine, and experiencing them in their forties.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Family Festivities

Last weekend we headed north, to the City of Sisterly Love, for my sister C's wedding.  As you may (or may not) remember, C and K (her betrothed) had asked me to officiate.  After only a smidgeon of web-based fanfare, I became the Reverend Doctor Brigindo.

Friday afternoon I headed south to pick up Angel.  Unfortunately I did not fully grasp the particulars of Labor Day Weekend traffic on a Friday afternoon and the trip time doubled in length.  It was well worth the stop-and-go because I got quality time with Angel all weekend long.  We've always been a family that travelled together well and road trips are a particular favorite.

In between all the traveling, Angel was picking out a road bike for The Journey of Hope ride that he wants to complete this summer.  Saturday morning was for test riding the bikes and then we all hopped in the car for the 8-hour drive.  Driving with Angel necessitates more food stops than driving with just b.

We reached our destination, checked into our fabulous hotel, and promptly went out for more food. The next morning I walked through the old section of the city snapping photos.

I am not a wedding person but this one was truly perfect.  It took place late Sunday afternoon in a beautiful historic townhouse.  It was a small, intimate affair with around 50 guests.  The bride was stunning in a champagne dress.  It was mostly a homegrown wedding.  The bride's daughter was her Maid of Honor and also arranged the centerpieces.  Our 10 year old niece was one of the bridesmaids, as was the daughter of my sister's good friend.  Our nephew was the ring bearer and K's niece was the flower girl.  K had both his sons standing beside him as Best Men.  One of his son's read a selection from The Odyssey and the other was taking pictures throughout the day.  Both mothers selected and read poems.  In addition to K's son, both my niece's friend and b served as photographers.

As for my role as officiant, I feel I filled it well.  I dressed all in black (black dress with long coat and I even wore heels for the occasion) and read from my iPad.  C & K had given me general guidelines on what to say but left how to say it to my judgement.  I think I hit the mark.

After the ceremony, there was much chatting and catching up.  I spent the evening with my sisters and my grown niece and nephews.  It is amazing to see them all now as adults: still adorable but a lot more sophisticated in both their humor and their thoughts.  The grown nieces and nephews went out bar-hopping afterwards and the rest of us hung out in a hotel room, gossiping and analyzing as we like to do.

The next morning we picked up C's old car that she was donating to Angel and drove back south with Angel following us.  When we finally reached SouthLite, we headed straight to the store for Angel to get his bike properly "fitted."  He drove his bike home in his new old car and b and I went straight to bed.