Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

A New Year wish for someone I hold in high regard
As usual I am at my house with the kids and my husband, but we are in a new neighborhood. There are a few neighbors two streets over who take NYE seriously and to them I am grateful. A few minutes ago we were all up against the window, but I came over to my computer to write so the kids have more space. I love the laughter and the ooo's and ahhhh's as they watch them.

This has been a rebuilding year for us. I don't rememebr last NYE-- we were at the rental house and I don't rememebr very much. I don't think I cried, but I was sad quite a bit. This year when I unpacked the Christmas decorations, I remembered only buying the birds for the tree, but I know I bought all of it because I had joked with my husband that I'd saved an exorbitant amount of money at the store and he paused and asked me, "And how much did you have to spend to save so much?" This was the second year in the 14 that my husband and I have been married that I didn't have to put the tree into a play-pen.

Anyway, all is well at the Crumpet House.

I think that I have always been overwhelmed and the fire woke me up to the fact that I have been overwhelmed for the last 14 years (then it was 13 years) of my life. At the time, I thought it was the fire and surely the after the fire it was, but there are a lot of kids and I have had no family to depend on unless literally, someone in my family was dying or I was giving birth. I needed an extreme emergency for help!

The last 3 months have been about us settling. My kids are at different schools that I drive them to in the mornings. I have to fill up my SUV tank every forth day. How do I manage to put 65 miles on it every day, four days a week? The furthest I drive is 18 miles away, but times everything by at least 2 and they add up. I have realized with all the driving that I am always tired, always trying to catch up on more sleep and always running behind.

Today I realized that I wake up late and run out of the house late for everything. We are late to at least one of the kids' schools every day. I have asked my husband to please get to bed early, as in before 9:30 because he doesn't seem to need as much sleep as I do and I can't sleep until he gets to bed, but he doesn't like to. I am not sure how to handle it, but I would ultimately like to be up and dressed before the kids are so that they can wake up to a mom who is on top of things in 2011. I think that if I am on top of things (I feel like I've been body surfing through life-- and I am learning to go from dog paddle to hopefully a stead crawl stroke.)

Anyway, it has been a good year as far as rebuilding. I don't know if I can call it "good" because I am starting to get a sense that I can breathe now. The kids are getting older and while they need me with them more than ever (my sons' brotherly love is more "Cain and Able" than "Orville and Wilbur") I am really in a position to do more creatively.

My husband has been truly amazing. He has his faults-- but he has really done his best when not trying --with the kids-- to drive me out of my mind. He, not me, got us into the house we are now in. And he keeps us afloat. I realized a few days ago that my dream of doing something for pay and working around other adults will most likely not happen and he is the one who works, whether he likes ot or not. (He loves his job and he is quite fortunate.)

I think that what has helped me most through this year (besides the obvious, my husband) has been that I started making Shabbat dinners every Friday. I am not Jewish, but I have always leaned that way-- probably since I was 15. I may convert one day, but I fear that once what I like doing becomes an obligation, I may resent it. I don't want to resent it and I always want to enjoy it's beauty. About 2 years ago I decided to try getting my house as clean as I could and then have a nice dinner and except for dishes, relax for one day. Certainly there were places to take the kids, but I wouldn't bother with nagging at myself to get more done. There is always more to do, so when I gave myself permission to say, "It is done for now and like G-d, I, too, shall rest." I got more done when I resumed.

After the fire, I stopped for 10 months and resumed in July of this year. I started with just observing with tea and cookies! Within a month I was back baking challah bread and kosher grape juice. The baking of challah is spiritual for me because I feel like the making of the bread is like putting my family and friends together. At the rental house, I felt like my postage stamp kitchen was suddenly big enough for me. We have done things backward-- to my Jewish friends, the candles, wine and blessings are the biggest deal, but to me it has been the making of the nice dinner where we would all sit down to eat that has been the biggest issue. At that tiny rental house, the kitchen seemed just right as I cooked even though making burritos in the microwave for four people was usually too much!

I must add here that when I tried having a family night any other night of the week and tried to make it just any night, it was not the same. For me, Shabbat is only on Friday evening to Saturday at sundown. I am slowly starting to not knit of Friday nights and Saturdays. This is hard, but I need the break for my mind. More ideas come to me while I can't create. I'd not drawn for a while and as soon as I decided that I would not draw on Fridays, my mind flooded with ideas. (I did my first drawing in months of a golden lab puppy last Sunday-- she'd been in my mind for a month or two and I finally got her on paper!)

So we are looking forward to the new year. Starshine will be a whole half year into kindergarten, God willing that all goes as planned, and the kids will be a year older and I will be close to turning 43. I hope that I will have cherished this coming year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Greetings and a Commitment

As of late I have just been busy. Moving and raising children are hard work! I have been writing letters to a friend who has been away but he is returning and not needing me to keep writing and entertaining him, and I am coming back to my writing of my blog. It has been hard to write post inferno, but I am ready to resume.

About a year ago, probably a little over a year ago, I started knitting. When life has stressed me out, I have turned to it. What is it about fiber that is good for a person who is mourning? We couldn't afford presents but I was able to knit them and while I am late getting them out, they are bags in which I am putting Alaskan jams and jellies for friends and relatives. It is known that I will knit regardless and so people like my mom know that I have the yarn, and who can't use a good, roomy, farmer's market bag? Hemp is my favorite material for farmer's market bags, but I am making all kinds of things. I love that I can create something useful! My mother loves that she gets dishcloths from me on a regular basis-- and it is embarrassing, but she isn't framing my pictures and having to find space, so she either uses them or gives them to friends. In this picture here, I am finishing a little bag. I prefer pictures of my hands to my face.

I have returned to drawing. This past weekend, I was making time to draw when I got some terrible news and while no one had died, it kind of killed me. I tried to draw (which I hadn't done in almost a year) and my arms were numb. Most of this week I have been depressed over it and have decided that I want to draw regardless of my mood. So my husband came to bed early and he was greatly annoyed with me as I began sketching him. Specifically, his feet. He did not know that I was drawing his feet, but his feet are sensitive and as I drew he kept yelling, "Don't touch my feet!" I told him that I was drawing his shoulders. He got up and looked and I had, indeed, been drawing his feet. Am I that good that he could feel my stylus on his toes? (I must be a Ninja Artist!) I was really drawing on the pad, probably six feet away from him, not drawing on his body.

Winter break is almost over. My kids are busy this time and it isn't overwhelming as it has been in the past. I hardly remember anything from last year. Last year we were at the rental house and my kids tried to play the World Series with Christmas wrapping paper tubes and ornaments. My husband yelled at me for refusing to put up the tree or decorations until break began, but I didn't feel like fetching fallen or pulled off ornaments. So far, so good, no problems with ornaments or decorations being misused. If they are good this year until January 1, I will put them up a week earlier next year. It wasn't the little kids who messed with the ornaments, it was my three middle sons who were then ages 11, 10 and 9. Does having them be a whole year older make any difference in maturity? (No. My husband actually got mad at them for why I'd not put up the ornaments and told them that he shops more when he has more decorations up and to not screw themselves next year! He shopped the same as always, but they seem to be getting a clue!)

I sometimes wish winter break was shorter, but I think of when I was fighting a custody battle with my ex husband and I don't want it shorter. My daughters wanted to be home as much as they were able to be, so I won't bug anyone on the school board about this.

I will soon start sharing pictures of what I draw. I am going to start drawing for at least ten minutes each evening and take pictures. I want to draw awesome hands and feet. I did massage therapy and I think that hands and feet are amazing. We often see what artists render and they will put anything in from of hands to hide them. Feet reside in shoes much of the time. Since we don't notice them as much, they are not as easily recognized or appreciated.

We are getting ready for Christmas and I am ready for it. As we started to do last year, I am making traditional meals. The kids like traditional now where before, turkey was not the norm and we'd have other things that we liked and at regularly.