Archives for June 2013

The day I broke the blog

Well, it appears I broke the blog today. I attempted to update something or other without the assistance of a professional, and I reached what I believe they call “the WordPress white page of death”. I concur. I felt as if I died a small death right then and there when I hit a blank white screen and couldn’t retrieve any of my posts. I told my husband that between the apparent loss of all of my writing, the steady stream of writing rejections I receive, and the fact that I just scrapped nearly 10,000 words on my current work in progress, I took this as a sign that I should give up writing for good.

He suggested I try therapeutic massage instead. When I realized this was not a suggestion to head to the spa to overcome my blog’s near death experience and the decimation of my writing dreams, I stood behind him and rubbed his back while he attempted to fix the problem. Hours. It took hours, and the blog still looks a little wonky and unfinished. We’re working on it.

All of this internet nonsense comes on the heels of my leaving a new-ish Kindle at our previous hotel (one and 1/2 hours away), as well as my inability to distinguish between a.m. and p.m. on the family calendar, leading to all sorts of scheduling hullabaloo. The only words I have right now are “I’m sorry”, but they feel awfully small in comparison to the mess I created over the last few days.

While we’re displaced from home and traveling to a new location every couple of days, I suspect I’ll have to use these words often. I realize now how heavily I rely on routine, on my little lists, and my daily rhythms to keep our lives humming along. I can’t function well without them. I need the slow stretch of time during the quiet hours, the early mornings while the kids sleep, the bedtimes and bible story routines. Right now, I feel as if I’m living with a bunch of caged monkeys in the zoo.

Once my husband restored most of the blog, I took it as a sign I might have a future in writing after all. It’s also possible the cramp in my hands caused me to realize I am ill-suited for any other career path, especially any form of masseusery, scheduling, or technology. I have words and a few mildly amusing stories. And for today, the white page of death doesn’t own me.

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When was the last time you had to say “I’m sorry”?

Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

Hello, Friends. Welcome back for another Friday spent with Lisa-Jo and the Five-minute crowd. Today, we’re taking five minutes to write on the prompt Rhythm. Do you have five minutes to write, read, or both? Why don’t you join us?


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

Today’s Prompt: Rhythm

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Somewhere between the packing boxes and the suitcases, we’ve lost our groove. The beds in the hotels feel unfamiliar and we share close quarters. A little too close for the comfort of a teenager, a tween, and an eight year old who believes she is, indeed, a princess. We go to sleep to the cries of “Mom, I can’t find my hairbrush! Mom, he won’t turn off the light! Mom, she won’t leave me alone!”. And I wonder once again why we chose to stay four weeks in hotels, before our new home is ready.

This morning I woke to the cacophony of construction outside our bedroom window. My husband threw the pillow over his head, and I lay awake thinking this may be the soundtrack of my days for a while. Our groove is out of sync, a little more noise than melody, slightly structured chaos over complete harmony. And just when we find the rhythm of a place, it is time to move on to another. Kind of like life with kids or husbands or pets. It’s all a little bit rock and roll.

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Are you as sick of reading about this never ending move as I am? Why don’t we talk about you? What’s the rhythm of your days?

5 ways to ease into change

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Change, even the self-induced kind, can leave me feeling as if a drunken monkey had it’s way with me. I suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way. Today, I offer you a few tips I’ve learned while facing the crazy beast.

1. Self care:

Wear the outfit that makes you feel pretty. Carry your favorite bag. Eat the last ice cream in the freezer. Breathe deep. Do not choose this time of change and upheaval to suddenly decide you’re going to devote yourself to the Paleo Diet. Stick to what you know and what makes you feel alive. In my case, I’ll skip the chia seeds for a Magnum mini bar covered in dark chocolate. Make it two.

2. Exercise and sleep:

This might sound like self-care, but I think it deserves a category all its own. We let exercise and sleep slip off the list when we find ourselves pulled and stretched into new places. Change leaves our minds on overdrive with ALL THE THOUGHTS. Why not give your brain a break and stretch your legs a little? Go for a run, complete your yoga routine from memory, heck,  just take the stairs. Every step you take towards exercise, is also a step towards sleeping better at night. Which, if you’re anything like me, you need in order to not rip your kids’ heads off when one decides to wash their dirt-caked feet in the sink where their sister is brushing her teeth.

3. A good book:

This is my answer to pretty much every solvable problem. Maybe even the answer to world peace, as long as you’re not reading anything written by the likes of Hitler. I like to choose a book that corresponds thematically to the place I currently find myself. Sometimes it’s a location, and other times I go for a feeling. This means I read Pride and Prejudice when in London, Harry Potter when on holiday (who doesn’t need a little fantasy and magic while sweltering on the beach?), and Scream-Free Parenting anytime I’m trapped in a hotel room for prolonged periods of time with my children. Right now I’m reading Eat Pray Love for the first time, and I feel as if Elizabeth Gilbert is giving me a master class on writing as well as how to embrace change.

4. Prayer:

Find your sanctuary, stay there a while, and let your spirit breathe. Most often I meet God in the forest, on the running path. I go there when I feel overwhelmed or fearful or confused, and it helps me remember God is not. I also know that when I must navigate the beginnings and endings of change, He sits on the other side of each one. He is the Alpha and Omega, the only beginning and the only ending I need. Everything else is just filler.

5. Freedom to grieve:

Do you need to cry? Scream? Throw socks at inanimate objects? Sit in a TV induced stupor for a day or two? Give yourself permission to grieve the inevitable losses that come with any type of change, even the positive kind. I find the bathroom stall at the airport is a fantastic place to have a mini-meltdown without anyone ever knowing. The noise of repeated flushing drowns out the wailing, weeping, and rending of clothes. The bathroom also has the added advantage of a full-length mirror in order to make yourself presentable again. It’s a win-win situation. And you could use one right about now.

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What change are you facing during this season of life? Good, bad, neutral? What’s your top tip for coping? And if it’s red wine, I’m way ahead of you.

Muscle memory

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The movers will arrive in an hour to pack up our little gray house. I should be doing something, anything, other than sitting here typing. But here I sit, with one last cup of tea and chocolate chip muffin. I feel tired even before the day begins, this past week a whirl of graduations and goodbyes and hours spent on taking inventory of every single item in our home. Please stop me the next time I want to buy something just because it’s cute. After attempting to fill in the forms with estimated values for every piece of clothing we own (why so many socks, people?), we decided in our sleep deprived stupor–we are never, ever, ever, moving again.

Yesterday, I ran my six-mile loop in the hills and forest. I haven’t run that far in a long time, and as I ran I thought of all the months I spent training for races on that same loop, back and forth, every Saturday morning. I huffed and heaved my way up and down those hills for miles, and I swear it was uphill both ways. My legs ached in the good way muscles do when they remember what they’re made for, how they’ve already carried this body across so many miles. I told a friend I feel nervous about an upcoming race this fall, and she said, Don’t worry, your muscles remember. I think she’s right.

My muscles remember how they burned with exertion all the way up the hills and their loosey-goosey feel on the way down. They remember this gray house and how it cradled me, how it held me close and kept me warm during winter storms, how it fed me on the life taking place beneath its roof. They remember how the sun streamed through the windows and warmed my back as I wrote, the scent of the spring peonies blooming in the garden, the sound of kid-sized feet pounding up and down the stairs in a weekday frenzy. My body remembers.

We spent our final night in our bedroom with its view of Zurich nestled at the top of the lake, and as I burrowed down beneath the sheets, I listened to the house breathe its night sounds. I sighed deep, content. I let this house cocoon me and lull me to sleep one last time, and I stored one last memory of how it held me.

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How and what are you remembering as we turn the corner into summer?

 

Attend to the echoes

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Every working afternoon, like clockwork, I entered the parking garage and began the relentless circle up and then back down through the cement levels. I gave myself an extra thirty minutes before the start of my shift to find a parking spot. When I got tired of circling, I pulled up to a hospital exit and waited, stalking my prey, and following any unsuspecting visitor to their car in a slow-wheeled motion. It usually took the full thirty minutes to find an empty stall in this busy inner-city hospital garage, and often, when not cursing my cruel luck, I spent the time praying.

I’m honored to write at A Beautiful Mess today. Join me there for the rest of the story…