Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the sky is falling in fluffy white frosted flakes!

it's been windy all morning, and about five minutes ago it finally began to snow. lovely large flakes dancing by the kitchen window, where i stood with my hands ensconced in protective yellow gloves as i scalded the dishes in the hopes that two years of accumulated grease and food-bits might simply slide off and not require scrubbing.

i have been cleaning out my in-laws pantry. it is full of moths and larvae... i threw out two garbage bags of open food that was crawling with little bugs.

ew ew ew ew ew....

my father-in-law simply doesn't see the filth, i think. he's not accustomed to thinking about it, and my mother-in-law can't do it... she's too tired to see, or care. until recently they used to get offended when i came to visit and started cleaning, but i think they have come to accept the fact that i am a little anal retentive when it comes to the bathtub not having mold in it, or my food, for that matter... and now they let me clean.

and as gross as this morning's project has been, i feel accomplished at the end of it. there is something deeply satisfying about turning chaos into a semblance of order. between that and the snow, and the fact that my sweetheart is coming tonight, i am in high spirits and looking forward to getting out for my afternoon run.

my mother-in-law is in good spirits today too... anxious to start ringing in the new year, asking for some Manischewitz wine at 11:15 this morning. she hadn't even gotten out of bed yet, never mind had any breakfast. i shall watch carefully to see if this is a family tradition that has been passed on...

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

choice moments with my mother-in-law

My mother-in-law informed me today that I need to learn Spanish so I can speak to her sisters in Colombia. She told me she would help me to learn.

In her next breath she told me that when God is ready to take her, she is ready to go... she used to want to go in her sleep, but now she thinks any time and any way would be fine.

Then she shared her favourite recipe for ceviche... I'm not sure if that was a hint to make her some, or the beginning of my Spanish lessons.

I wonder where the conversation's going to go tomorrow...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

favourite photo of 2008

of the many great moments of the year, this is one of my favourites... when we arrived at the beach earlier that afternoon, he held my hand so tightly it hurt, wanting to go in the water but afraid of the waves. he went into the water in increments... to his knees, to his waist, to his chest... fully clothed. every few waves or so he took off another item... socks and shoes first, then pants, then shirt... til he had only his Lightning McQueen underwear on.

he is my sister's oldest child, and i looked after him three days a week for two years while she finished her last year of law school. he regularly melts my heart with little sayings like "Megs, you're my sweetheart" and "tell me a story about your eyes"...

although it was hard to be so far away from my fiance last year, it was wonderful to have 9 months to spend with my family, to soak up those priceless moments with my nephews and watch them grow into their own unique selves.

not long before this particular day we had learned that my visa to the US had been approved. he cried and stomped his feet when i told him, angry and sad that i would once again be leaving him. so we had a date... we went at Queensland Beach, braving the weather and the waves. and he grew fearless, shrieking with joy and exhilaration as the waves knocked him about. taunting them, daring them, shaking his fists and shouting "is that all you've got?!!"

i strive to find that fearlessness in my own life... to face the waves and find delight in the power and fury of each day. and some days, like him, i find myself saying "isn't it cool that i was under the water and lived?!"

the stories we tell ourselves..

Online friend Buddha Mama wrote not long ago about how we create myths about ourselves... made up of our lowest and most painful experiences, and present them to the world in search of sympathy and support, or admiration for having "made it through"... She wrote about how by letting go of the anger and hurt, we can let go of the story... and by letting go we can change our focus, we can look for the positive in our lives, and we can write ourselves into new stories, happier stories...

I immediately began to think about the story I have been telling about myself (on another blog that I no longer use).

Over the last thirteen months I have written about the unexpected illness and rapid death of my brother, and the drawn out illness of my (now) mother in law. I wrote about my engagement and then the early months of a pregnancy. I shared my story infrequently through the 9 months I was separated from my fiancé whilst waiting on my visa application. I wrote even less frequently after losing my baby, and a debilitating depression. I kept my story to myself through the near collapse of my relationship with my fiancé, his diagnosis with post traumatic stress disorder, and months of long distance work we put in to repair the damage that caused.

It is true, these are all parts of the myth I have created about myself. And I have shared those parts of my story online because the burden is somehow lessened when shared, even with anonymous readers (real or imagined).

But when I think about the story I tell myself about my life, it is the highlights that stick out for me... the moments of laughter and pleasure and love. Perhaps I am more stingy with them... I hoard them, hold them to my chest.... And when they make it onto the page, it is because I feel so full that I cannot contain them. I could burst from their intensity, as small or insignificant as they may seem to the observer.

They are the stories of my family and my friends. The stories of the people and places I experience... the little girls shaking their pink pom poms as they cheer on the runners, the old man riding his bicycle through the swirling snow, the sunlight catching on dust motes in the silent woods, the smell of the jacaranda trees after the rain... the hatching of robin eggs, and the holding of small hands...

So perhaps the sad stories are just the stories I tell you... and not the stories I tell myself. I tell myself that the stories of my life are fundamentally good ones, happy ones... touched with tragedy at times, but not consumed by it. I tell myself that I am lucky, that my life is good, that my future holds wonderful things... And I believe it.

And so I share with you now some of the highlights of my year.... those wonderful little moments that make up the story I tell myself.

~ a day at the beach with my nephew and my fiance...

~ my wedding day...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

keep me from going to sleep too soon...

On the advice of Robert Frost, I have been whistling up the road for many years now... seeking moments of wonder and joy in every day life, and trying to share them... the sparkle of sunlight on dust motes in the air, the scent of lavender on the breeze, the birds' nest full of eggs, the holding of small hands, the music of life.

Since I moved a few months ago, I have fallen away from this habit. I have found it hard to meet people here, and feel as though I rarely have people to share these moments with. And so, I shall share them here, if only to remind myself that these moments are wonderful and important.

Here begin the online chronicles of a soul who strives to always whistle up the road of life, banging on doors and persuading others to come see what the clouds are doing to the moon...


Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour

Of night. Come whistling up the road.

Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.

Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.

Tell me the northern lights are on

And make me look. Or tell me clouds

Are doing something to the moon

They never did before, and show me.

See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you

And start to dress wondering why

I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.

Not only tell me but persuade me.

You know I'm not too hard persuaded.

Robert Francis