Thursday, September 29, 2005


I haven’t written in awhile because I lost my groove. I was in a rut. I was in a funk. I was blue. This happens from time to time, sometimes for no apparent reason, and I don’t consider myself middle aged so it’s not mid-life crisis. (If I were middle aged that means I’d die at 74 and my kids would only be in their 40s and I can’t leave them hanging at that age.)

This bout of the blues stemmed from arguing with the hubby. All is well again, thank you very much, but it does suck when you’re in the middle of it. I think often times one assumes that because you’ve been married for almost 13 years you’re safe and yes you may argue or whatever, but for the most part you’ve got your shit together and are paddling in the same direction. You can never assume anything I’ve learned. However, I’m not here to discuss that, because it’s resolved and you know there are just some things you keep private even from your blogs.

Just the other day I was talking to a friend and he too is in a funk for no apparent reason, (FFNAR). He asked me how I got out of mine and it got me to thinking. In this particular instance it was resolved because the hubby and I talked and worked things out, but in other funks, when it just creeps up on you and it’s not because you’re PMSing or the job sucks or whatever, I’ve recognized a few common denominators.

When I’m in a FFNAR I tend to stop listening to music (my very life blood). I also withdrawal into myself and just sort of exist—I don’t talk as much as normal, I’m vanilla. In my world, as my kids like to say, vanilla is blah, boring, no waves on the water. I don’t want to interact with people.

FFNAR make me think deep thoughts like I really want to quit my job and do something so wild and creative and important. In the midst of FFNAR I feel hopeless, like I’m wasting time and talent, like nobody really understands me, like there’s no end in sight to most of my common every day issues. FFNAR also make me think about how fucked up my family is—mother with a martyr complex on the verge of a breakdown who might leave the alcoholic dad after 38 years, bi-polar unmarried sister with two kids (from different dads) who supposedly is going to marry the father of the second kid (because he’s divorced his wife back in Mexico—at least that’s what the Spanish papers he waived in front of her face are supposed to prove) this spring and a grandmother who’s knocking on the door of Alzheimer’s way too often. These things could bring a person down.

My friend in the funk said something about my having a husband and kids, and yes, sometimes that does help pull one out of a funk, but not usually. I think what I’ve learned, or am learning, is that simple rule that you have to be happy in yourself before others can make you happy or you can make others happy. Ok, yes, I know it’s schmaltzy, but it’s true. The hubby and kids can make me feel better, but they can’t lift me out of the funk if I’m not ready. The same as people without the hub or kids can’t rely on their friends or family or sig Os to do the trick.

I don’t think there’s a magic cure for getting out of the FFNAR, but for me cranking up the radio and singing along helps—music soothes the savage beast you know. Working in the yard, planting flowers, riding the lawn mower those all help. Realizing that no matter how bad I think things are, they could be much, much worse and I do have the ability to change some things and be creative and enjoy life and do whatever it is I was put on this planet to do. Maybe I won’t accomplish that today, or tomorrow, but I will accomplish it.

I think too we can draw comfort from the fact that everyone gets in a funk, and it’s not the end of the world. (Good Lord can I put another cliché in here or what?) FFNAR hit people you think have it all. Some would look at me and say, wow you have a cool job, great hubby, smart, funny kids, what do you have to be in a funk about? I’d look at some of my friends and think the same thing—you’re single, answer to no one but yourself, travel the world, have an interesting business, work from home, have a rich spouse, are living your creative dream, whatever the case may be—but they too get in a funk.

Bottom line is—FFNAR happen. If they begin to last for a year or more, seek medication.

Monday, September 19, 2005

42 year's worth of stuff

About a week ago my brother and I went to WV to help clean out my Grandpa’s house. He’s moved into an assisted living center, a pretty nice one, and he decided to sell his house.

We were cleaning out 42 years of someone’s life. Paw-Paw (that’s West Virginian for Grandpa) decided what he wanted to take with him, what he wanted to give away and told the kids (my aunts and uncles) to get rid of the rest.

A little background might be in order. My Mom is the oldest of five kids. Her Dad died when she was 14 and my Maw-Maw married my Paw-Paw, who had two kids. At one point they all lived in this three bedroom, one and a half bath house. I don’t know how they did it. Now the kids are scattered, one died, two still live in WV and my Maw-Maw died six years ago. For the kids this was an especially hard time, cleaning out the house. This is where most of them grew up, the only house they remember living in. For me it wasn’t quite as bad because for me the heart of the house, my Maw-Maw, has been gone for awhile.

So the kids decided to divvy up the things Paw-Paw wanted to get rid of. It’s sad to think that everything you worked for just gets gone, either trashed, given away or taken by someone. I understand you can’t take it with you, but it still seems sad.

It was interesting to me to see the things people wanted, the every day things that you’d never give a second thought to. After the big things were divided, the furniture etc. it became harder because emotions were more involved. One of my aunts held up a pink glass bowl and smile while she asked, what did we eat out of this? Banana pudding was the response. I’m sure my Maw-Maw never gave it a thought when she put the banana pudding in the same bowl time after time, but it’s something they all remembered.

When we left, my brother and I ended up with quite a lot of things. Nothing really of any monetary value, though I do have a nice big freezer in my garage now that the Hubby is determined to fill with sour dough creations, but the things I do have make me smile.

I have a set of marshmallow roasting tongs—I remember using them many times on camping trips with my grandparents, and now we’ll use them in our backyard. We have a fire pit and roast marshmallows and make smores all the time.

I have two worn old blankets Maw-Maw used to curl up on the couch with, they’re so soft.

Maw-Maw was a puzzle working woman. Many times when I’d spend the night with her we’d sit up watching The Tonight Show, Love Boat and Fantasy Island working puzzles and drinking watered down coffee, usually waiting for the youngest two aunts to come in from their dates. Sometimes Maw-Maw shellacked the puzzles together, framed them, and hung them on the wall. I have one of those. A work of art? Nope, but it reminds me of her and makes me happy.

Going through boxes I found a datebook/calendar from 1996. There are odd notes in it, lists of family names with items written by them, her handwriting, my handwriting, I kept it. It was the only time I broke down and cried the whole weekend, not bad for a person who’s normally a blubbering idiot.

The best thing I got that weekend was a bunch of peonies I dug from her yard. She had a huge bush planted under a magnolia tree in her front yard and I took some and have planted it under the magnolia in my backyard. I hope it lives.

BTW--the Boy's doing much better. I got an email from his teacher today, she says he's great (don't I know it!) and though he still has some issues with losing, transitioning and sitting still, he's improving. Yahoo!

Thursday, September 8, 2005

The Boy and The Girl

Ah September, fall is in the air, really it is, it’s a bit nippy in the evenings when we sit on the patio for the after dinner smoke. The sun’s going down sooner and you can just feel it. I love fall. It used to be my favorite season until we bought a house, now it’s second to spring because I love me the hell out of some gardening.

So, this is The Boy’s first full week of school. Friday, his fourth day of kindergarten, his teacher called me. The Boy was taunting 3rd and 5th graders in line waiting for the bus after school. He was calling them idiots. This, I didn’t have too much of a problem with; it was the fact that he sassed not only his teacher, but also the assistant principal and another teacher when they told him to behave. He threw a fit, threw his book bag, copped an attitude. All was not well. He was punished. (30 minutes in his room; no videos all night) Not harsh enough the hubby said.

Since then The Boy has found a drawer in the kitchen where he’s decided to leave his attitude. I hope it stays there and we forget about it and it spills out into the cabinet underneath, sneaks out when we open the door to get cereal and then makes a b-line for the door, through the garage and out into the neighborhood to live elsewhere.

The Girl is quite happy in third grade. It’s a milestone year in elementary school. The first year the smart kids get separated into the AG (academically gifted class)—The Girl is in AG. It’s the first year they take a foreign language, though they don’t have a choice, it’s Spanish. It’s the first year they can run for student council—she wants to run for something. It’s also the first year they can try out for the school talent show. The Girl wants to sing. On stage. She’s inherited my singing voice. This is not good. We have until January to work on this.

The Girl has moved on from her obsession with the news, thank God. While I liked her interest in current affairs (she certainly gets it from her Dad, not me) the news is scary and depressing. She’s only 8; the news is too graphic for 8 year olds. Her latest craze is one I can support. She’s an Animal Planet junky—especially Animal Cops. She wants to work for the ASPCA; she wants to arrest people who hurt animals. This is a good thing. She’s also a bit of a vegetarian, but that’s nothing new really. She doesn’t like eating a lot of meat (beef, chicken, pork) although move out of the way if you put down the really bad stuff like sausage, bacon or ham. She’s been known to eat a hamburger too.

All things considered, my kids are great. We sat together last night and watched The Wizard of Oz. The Boy decided he's over his fear of the wicked witch (he's had it for two years.)