Sunday, March 31, 2013

I am very excited to say that I am going to be taking an art class. I will be using my blog to share the work I create. Check out the link!

 It is a mixed media portrait drawing class. It's online. I can't imagine taking a class any other way right now.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

On Running

I thought I would talk about something that is becoming rather important to me. Something that is not my kitchenaid mixer (which I am in love with) or the coming of spring (which I am desperate for). I thought I would talk a bit about running. It has now officially been just over a year since I have begun running. And folks, I have not live a week since then without running at least once (usually 3x). It has taken me this long to call myself a runner.

I am not one of those people who loves it all the time. There are days when I curse the fact that I am sweating uphill, breathing in fumes from a passing truck.  Days when I wish I wasn't running because I have been scared shiteless by some stupid undergrad who (inspired by my running tights and it's contents?) has chosen to make a strange primal (and LOUD) sound while driving by. Sometimes for no good reason, my legs feel like blocks of cement. Sometimes I am just tired. And because I am new to being an athlete, pushing myself past my comfort zone still feels, counterintuitive to say the least.

 The best things about running?

1. I am someone who verges on anxiety and hyperactivity. Sometimes after a long busy day at work, I actually feel jittery (and exhausted at the same time). The only way for me to truly relax is to beat the energy out of myself by physical activity- running. And when I start to run, the voices in my head-    the to-do lists, the how can I help this kid, the shit! that paperwork is due by Friday, all those voices start out loud and important, and as I run they get quiet and they get shoved into perspective in the healthiest way.
2.  I feel better about my body. I feel stronger and a little bit leaner.
3.  I don't feel as guilty about eating ice cream. Very important.
4.  My kids see me as strong and athletic.
5.  I usually run on trails. It's incredibly peaceful.
6.  I didn't expect it but cobalt blue running tights complete me. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Art on the Walls...

Needs more in the way of coziness...suggestions please. 

A week ago, I was staring at my new blank walls and wanting something fresh to hang up. Not having much in the way of funds, I thought I might make something. Not having much in the way of creative energy, I thought I might copy something. Googling, "line drawings Picasso", led me to this East  Asian design . I did not project it but looked at it a bit as I drew with pencil on heavy watercolor paper. It's  a circular design of flowers, leaves and buds. The great thing about it is that it can be colored if I get tired of the black and white. It could be a bit of a hanging work-in-progress. I like the idea of art hanging on the walls and changing/evolving. I like the idea that it is something to look at and something to do.

In other news, the boys have made two new friends in our little neighborhood. The boys seem to be coping well with the new schedule and other changes in their lives.

And back to the subject of art, I bought a beautiful original framed work from my friend, the artist- Kim Carlino , while at her art opening. It is a small watercolor from her Cosmos series. And I went to my other friend, Emily Neuberger's book signing and scored a signed copy of her new book, "Show Me a Story", which, incidentally just won the Dr. Toy Best of 2012 award.

I feel blessed. In friends. In family. In work. Thanks.

Monday, August 27, 2012

P.S- New Digs

In the spirit of positive thinking-

best things about the new dwelling

hiking trails everywhere you turn, perfect for my trail running habit
close to my new job (less than 2 miles close)
close to boys' school
close to boys' dad
almost too much space
washer and dryer in my own basement
car port (no crazy ice-scraping!!! Yipppeee!!!)
lovely kitchen!!!

And yes, my new couch is purple. So there. 

The Fair, Modern Family Style

I took the boys to the fair. An old timey country fair in one of the hilltowns. We went with my mom. And the boyfriend and his daughter. And the ex and his girlfriend. Yes, folks. We did.

I started a post a week ago about how hard it is. All of this. The separation, the changing schedules, the flux, the monitoring of feelings. How the older one has been a bit more sensitive than his already sensitive self, how the younger one has been a bit more angry than his spitfire self. How that hurts me. Because usually, as a parent we get to shield our kids from so many of life's bruises. And to be the partial cause of the anguish, well, it sucks. I have this pain in my chest so often now. And it is this messy amalgam of sadness, anxiety, mourning, and tenderness.

I did not finish that post because I am persevering to be positive. I am trying to be forgiving with myself.  I couldn't bear to publish a post that did not have a positive bent. Not now, when everything has been so difficult- moving, new job, separation etc. I know it is important to be in the moment, to let the sadness wash over you, to feel it. I do that plenty. It is hard to do that. And yet isn't it equally challenging to find the light? So, here is the light.

We were invited to go to the fair by my boyfriend. And because the boys' dad also wanted to take the boys to the fair, I said, why not join us. And he brought his girlfriend, whom the boys love.  And it was in front of the antique cars that my sweet Henry said softly that he wanted us to stay together. Instead of splitting up for an hour like I gently posed. And so we did. We shared lemonade. The dads chatted about how rickety the machines were. The mom and the gf talked about work, being in the same field. Lemonade was sipped, rides were rode, 4 horned goats were patted. It was natural. It was pretty easy, surprisingly so.   

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Minnow Fishing

       Curwood Castle

I wish I could offer a clear headed, orderly guide to searching for the perfect abode. I can't. Finding and securing an apt. in this area is akin to trying to grasp a blue minnow in a shimmering pool of mostly blue-green minnows while wearing rubber gloves.

If I had to come up with some rules... these are what they would be. I know they are useless. Sorry.

1. Forget perfect.

Perfect for us location-wise would be a place that is close to our closest friends, my place of work, their school and that place does not exist. Perfect would be a house with running/hiking trails in the back and a sidewalk that leads to the library. Perfect would be a place where I could have chickens and, on lonely nights when my kids are with their dad, perfect would be a place where I could walk two blocks and be at a girlfriend's house. Perfect does not exist. Forget Perfect.

2. Get a Raise.

Rent is steep here. Alps steep. No wonder why there are so many homeless people around Western Mass. steep. A couple weeks ago. I was in the waiting room at the docs (about to find out that I need pt for a weak/strained periformous muscle aka- weak arse, which is apparently common with runners which made me feel good bc my doc called me a runner) and I was thinking about my budget. I was feeling a bit sick thinking about trying to pay for rent, utilities, loans, car payments, insurance, cell phone, food, gas and miscelleny on my piddly salary. I was trying to think of what I could do to make more money.  I was planning on asking for a raise. But I knew it was unlikely to get me far. Little did I know, that  a few days later I would be offered a job. A job with a pretty serious salary increase. It's not like I am going to trade my economy car in for an SUV and start wearing Manolo Blahniks, but I will be able to buy insurance for my kids. And we won't be living on peanut butter and popcorn.

3. Weigh the possibilities

The boys need space. They are active outdoor kids and I love that about them. I don't love the probable lyme disease that we are currently treating for Ez. But I love that they spend most of their time outside. I love that their knees are skinned and they are dirty until winter. Most city apt.s don't have the space my kids need. But my kids also want a cat and many country apt.s don't offer that option. Can we happily live in a city apt. that is a block from the YMCA and a huge park if we have a cat? Can we live in a country apt. that has gobs of space outside but no neighbors and no little critter for the kids to love? YEGADS. They voted for city with a cat. I made no promises.

4. Ya get what ya get.

And you try not to to get upset. I have applied for two apt.s now. I did not get the first one. I may not get the second one. Neither one was perfect, see #1. I am trying not to be too attached to the second apt. I applied for. I have not heard yet. It is a 25 minute drive to their school. It is close to friends. The yard is a postage stamp (with blueberries) but it is a hop to the Y and a great park and it is on a dead end street. We can have a cat.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Bullet Train and Other Things I Have Been Doing...

1. Loving My Job- Recently I described my job as the experience of getting on a bullet train on Monday morning and being spit out on Friday. I don't love the frenetic pace. I miss my own children but overall I love what I do. For real. I love working with my kids. I think about my students all of the time. I want to be the best teacher. I want to make a difference and I think I do. A tiny one. I am constantly thinking about how to be a better teacher. I have such deep empathy for what some of them have seen and lived through. 
It's a challenge and I like it, mostly. I feel like I am constantly weaving in and out of disequilibrium. Feeling one minute like, "Yes, I get this. I can do this." and the next moment trying to figure out what is going on and how to solve a new set of problems. I am getting better at enjoying this process. But I do have pleasant thoughts about one day knowing exactly what to do and how to do it every single time. Though I know that is not quite possible! 
I also love the people I work with. I have never been surrounded by so many YES! people. So many people who spend such an enormous volume of time, helping, caring, being positive, being that essential, bright, shiny light in so many people's lives.  I love it. The support is somewhat akin to my experience at a women's college. Only when I was in college I felt a little bit on the fringe and I don't anymore. 

2. Running- I started running in January around the same time I started my job. I needed to exercise. I needed it to be cheap and convenient. I now run at least 3 times a week for 40 minutes. I feel so good.  A good portion of my run is on a trail near a pond and it is beautiful and serene. I am convinced that this is essential for my sanity. I even run in Springfield after work.  At a park.  With a coworker. It's safe mom, don't worry.  

3. Getting excited about my mandolin. And thinking a lot about playing it. Regularly. Real soon. 

4. Looking for apartments. Which is turning out to be very depressing. I realized the other day that every time I find one that looks lovely but is unaffordable, I feel a bit rejected. As in, "This apartment is so great, it's lovely. I'd be comfortable here. But, nope, it was meant for someone else. Someone who has more money." And goshdarnnit. I worked my butt of to get where I am. I have a degree. A license. A real job. Debt.  And it's hard to find a rental that I can afford.  And they go fast here.  Superfast. 


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