Friday, July 25, 2014

The kids are just fine

I love the summer.  I have an English degree.  And I've needed a hobby right now. So performing "Shakespeare Under the Stars" with an outdoor theater company seems just about heavenly these days. We're wrapping up a production of "The Tempest" where I got to play stage manager for the first time, trying to keep track of props, running lines, and getting scolded by divas when they miss a cue they were really supposed to know by now.

As this play calls for a scene with fairies, my girls were asked to be sprites. "Absolutely!" I said. 

"Oh cute!" I thought. "This will be adorable." I thought.

In answer to everyone's questions: the kids are doing fine. And they absolutely hate their costumes. Folks, this is reverse psychology; they have promised me several times already never, ever to have a "goth" phase. I'm delighted. Delighted that they usually look like this:

And do wholesome looking things like this at Children's Museums and stuff:

Not that I have anything against Shakespeare and the need for harpies, it's just... yeah...

But oh, look look, she does cooking competitions too, not just crazy drama:

And she does pretty darn well.

That's it for now folks. Writing has been hard, recently. I'll get there, and I'll have great stories to tell when I do. But for now, as you can see, all is well. :)
"The Lord will guide you always, 
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength." Isaiah 58:11

Saturday, July 12, 2014

When Life Hands You Convertibles

"No more coffee for you today honey."

Okay, so maybe I was talking a little fast. You see, about every two years, I reluctantly take one of my fave devices-my digital camera--to be "pronounced" by the nice camera-fix it guys down the street. And I'm usually in a friendly yet agitated state. 

And this guy says the same thing to me, every two years. (No more coffee, indeed!:)  And every time, the camera is just dead. 

But this time...

"Sweetie, you see this knob? Yeah, just put it on Auto. See? It works fine on Auto... you had it basically on the 'action shots at night' setting."

Oh. Of course.  I should have known that. I take pictures as one of my many mini jobs, after all. 

But I'm not quite myself these days. Mommy-brained, but even more so. Not widow-brained but... Something single-sounding like that.

Confused? Catch up here. Yeah, things have been different recently. Quite sad in spots. But not all bad, not at all. Space is good for growth and stuff. I mean, I can't get into all the reasons, but Dan being in an apartment with some good Christian friends and me being here with the kids... it's what is needed. I'm absolutely certain of it.

But yes, my mind is elsewhere these days.

Kinda like when I took all the kids to the pool and remembered to put it all in locker 10 though who locks it, right? And then came out of the pool with four dripping wet kids and nothing in locker 10! Nothing! Most immediately alarming, no dry clothes. After a tense half hour with squealing naked preschoolers, I rightly reasoned--after checking 216 other lockers in my very finest frayed bath towel--that a thief would unlikely want our clothes along with my van keys. Figured this out after YMCA staff ascertained my van was still, very much, there.

That's when I found my stuff in the family changing room.  Neatly folded on top of the paper towel dispenser.  

So I'm not exactly myself these days... or I'm like myself but even more so?  Living in separation can be a good thing but it's also stressful in new and unique ways. Like which circuit breaker is for the living room? And when do I pay for the van lease? And what animal is near the trash can at 3 AM?

And how to drive a standard 2006 Mustang convertible.  Because all four kids need the mini van to go out with daddy, regularly.  And after round the clock kids, I'm left alone sporting a loudly roaring car at a time in my life when I feel kind of... lost.  

I first, I protested firmly.  Didn't at all want to drive this recent acquisition which I had no part in choosing. Despite that (it's quite complicated), Dan and I are currently on civil terms, and may even be spotted at the grocery store occasionally--so neither panic or party if you see us, just smile and wave. Or chat. Chatting can totally happen; it's okay. You may even at some point see us driving around in a mini van or an obnoxiously loud topless vehicle.

So I'm not very fond of the thing. Not like my camera-friend or anything.  Not something I'm familiar with and know what I can expect from. Usually takes me a few tries to open up the roof.

But I'm getting used to it.  And it is really nice to have so much air and sky.  

Keep the prayers up.  I'll figure this thing out...

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior.
My hope is in You."
Psalm 5:25

Friday, July 4, 2014


Hi.  I want to write again.

But there's one thing I need to do first, as briefly and simply as possible.  It's important that I mention it, because the entire landscape of my life has changed.

This past month was a quiet one blog-wise because I have new responsibilities and some new roles, beyond the three small plays I'm currently in. Theatre has seemed more normal than normal life most of the time this month. But we did the normal things too: my sister-in-law visited, and we've been swimming and sailing in boats shaped like waterfowl.

As for the rest... for awhile, I was caught up on a funny word: detraction. But then I realized, I can "just say it."

With a long story, of course. :) Here was one of my attempts:

Lawning the mow, solo

I was rather proud of my Lowe's purchase.

Right up until the moment my favorite neighbor said, "Hey! Doing it old school, huh?"

I suppose a push, rotating mower is--rather--"old school."  And yes, I just bought it new, and yes, they do still make them.

My Dad had one when I was growing up. I remember the large rotating blades.  I remember it quickly finding a permanent home in the damp garage, replaced by the power version.

My manual lawn-mower version has a nicely rubberized handle and is "rust proof."  But yes, it's essentially the same thing.

I've never mowed the lawn before. I don't ascribe to "man's work" and "woman's work" when it comes to household chores. But there are enough household chores that the lawn had simply never fallen to my care. Until now.

Whirr whirr whirr pop.  Whirr pop.  Whirr pop pop.  I started timidly, going after the tallest grasses first (and yes, we grow every type of (legal) grass here on Ingleside.

But the blasted thing did not respond to timidity. It needed full control.

Standing squarely behind it, I rammed the thing, up and down the uneven ground, in fiercely determined rows.  It worked... better. But not well.  Far from well.  I pushed faster.

I realized I was angry. Angry at the stubborn straggling grasses that refused to yield, or break, or even bend. That popped right back up, mocking me.  Despite the fact that I had gone over them over and over and over again.

It didn't seem fair. To try so, so hard to make something work, and have it refuse to cooperate. To have the stupid grass stay the same problem it was before, no matter how many passes I made at it, how hard or how many times I tried.  All that work... seemingly for nothing.

Maybe I was using the wrong tool.  I'll find the weed whacker and have another go at it, after I take a bit of a break. I need a break.  In the process of charging through the grass, glorying in the carnage of the more cooperative vegetation, I plowed my face into a low hanging dogwood branch. I now have an impressive scrape on my eyelid.

Yes, I'm very glad it wasn't my eye. I'm not above being grateful. Even now, when I'm the one to mow the lawn.

There are many reasons a woman finds herself in charge of the yardwork, and the housework, and indeed any work that comes to keeping a house with kids in it. Some are good reasons, and some aren't so great.

And while I can't share them all, I know I have the best of reasons for being alone right now. And I know everything will be okay.

But I'm still mad at the grass I couldn't cut. I mean, I saw the problems, saw them for a long, long time. Worked so hard to fix them. I don't understand why they didn't go away. I really don't. It doesn't seem right not to succeed in the end, when you try and cry and pray and hurt so hard for so long with such determination. You know?

And like I said, I'm willing to try again, later. I think. But for now, I have to take time to tend to my eye first, and rest my back, and hug my kids.

Formally separated, I currently live in a household of five females. Thanks for your prayers.