Monthly Archives: May 2014

What’s Making Me Happy

February 28, 2014

  1. Snowshoeing. I know, I know. I’ve said this before. My mom and I hadn’t been out in a few weeks, but we had a lovely tromp through one of the county parks today. And it was really cold. And it felt really good. And we both agreed that we’d missed it. We figure it was a warm up so that we’d be back and good to go snowshoeing with Lizzie and Amber on Sunday.
  2. Flex time. I put in more than 40 hours last week, which meant I had an extra hour this week. Plus the extra hour I picked up by getting to work 15 minutes early each day. Which all added up to only having to work 6 hours today. Yes, the above-mentioned snowshoe tromp happened at 2:30 this afternoon, after a hot lunch at my parents’ house.
  3. I got the annual accreditation report finished and uploaded today. Finally something that, upon being checked off my list, will stay checked off! At least until next year.
  4. Pillow chocolates? Yes, pillow chocolates. Tuesday was a kind of rough day. And when I went to bed, I discovered that my mom had left a Ghiradelli sea salt caramel chocolate on my pillow. And yesterday, I discovered she’d left one on the table by the sofa, too. No, I did not immediately eat either of them. (I mean, I had just brushed my teeth when I found the first one.) I probably laughed a little harder than I should have when I found the first one. It was sweet and funny and absolutely made me smile.

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A Follow-Up

February 26, 2014

Yesterday, as my mom and I were taking our preprandial walk, I was telling her about what I’d written for a blog post. She told me that it reminded her of a speaker she once heard at a work conference. (We’d give him credit, but she can’t remember his name.)

Emotional support is like a checking account. Each time we help someone out, we write a check. But just like with money, we can’t keep writing checks without also making deposits. Right now, I’m living paycheck to paycheck. I have enough emotional capital to get up and go to work. Sometimes there’s enough to go grocery shopping or to get gas. Sometimes there’s barely enough to get as far as lunch. But there’s no reserve. There are no savings that I can share. There’s just barely enough for me to get by. I’m sure the day will come when I once again have enough my account that I don’t have to spend it all on me. But that’s at a distance that I can’t quite see yet.

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The Relationship You Start With

February 25, 2014

I remember hearing an interview with Dana Reeve at some point after her husband became a quadriplegic. She said that you come out of a tragedy with the marriage that you went into the tragedy with. It’s something that’s stuck with me ever since, this realization that a tragedy won’t bring people together in the long run. A marriage that is rocky isn’t going to get better because of a mutual grief.

I think this holds true of all relationships. We all have a variety of friends. Some friendships are more mutual than others. Some have more give than take. Some have more take than give. And it’s becoming really clear to me which of my friends are givers and which are takers.

And that makes the friends who are takers sound like bad people. They aren’t. They would do anything for the people they love. But they are also oblivious to how they force the universe to revolve around them, even when making an outward show of support.

The problem is that right now I don’t have much to give. I’m walking on this ridge. It’s hard enough to keep my balance. And I want people to be happy, so I’ve nurtured relationships in which I almost always give and friends almost always take. Because my life has been pretty good. I’ve been able to give. I’ve been fine with being the ear while friends complain. About their jobs. About their kids. About their love-lives.

But it’s not necessarily a balanced relationship. So now that I’m the one who needs to take, I find that these aren’t the friends I can go to. Our relationships haven’t changed.


I had a travel fellowship when I lived in Rome. When back in Chicago, the couple who endowed this fellowship invited all of us fellows (that phrase makes me smile) to a reception. One of the questions they asked was what we wished we’d known before we spent that year abroad. We all agreed that, in addition to culture shock upon returning to the States, we wished we’d known how much we were going to change. And we wished we’d known that we were going to change, but our friends who were still in Chicago weren’t. That didn’t mean we wouldn’t still be friends. I’m still very close with people I’ve known since we were freshman. But those of us who had studied abroad had changed.

This is the same. While I’ve shared my grief with my friends, they’re experiencing the postcards and emails. I’m the one who’s living abroad. I’ve changed. And I need to figure out how the new me fits into a relationship that’s stayed the same.

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An Alarm of Relief

February 23, 2014

My last post said that, all-in-all, it had been a happy week. And while that was true, it didn’t reflect my mood at the time. I was sad on Friday. I didn’t want to be sad. It was my mom’s birthday. But I was sad.

I was so sad that I woke up at 2:30 and cried for over an hour. And I so wish I could have just cried myself to sleep. I have trouble doing that. It’s a breathing issue. It’s hard to cry yourself to sleep when you keep having to blow your nose.

I eventually did fall back asleep. And I woke up feeling drained. And my eyes were still scratchy from the tears. It was shortly before six. Around the time I get up to go to work. (Yes, I’m one of those nerds who really does get up at the same time on the weekend as she does during the week.)

I was lying there, thinking about what needed to be done. Laundry. Cooking for today’s gift exchange. Finishing the straps on my Olympic knitting project. Debating whether I felt like walking over to the fitness center to watch some of the Olympics in the afternoon. And my iPad chirped at me. Just a single alert tone.

It was odd. Who would be texting me at 6am on a Saturday?

I looked at the alarm. It was a reminder from the app I use to track my cycle. My period is supposed to start in two days. (Okay, now one since this all happened yesterday.) And I smiled. Yes, I was still sad, but there were extenuating circumstances. PMS. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I was so close to my period. And, yes, I’m in that app just about every day. Pretty much every day I look at a calendar that shows me just where I am in my cycle. But all I’d really been processing was that my period wasn’t yet. It was somewhere in the future.

Would I have still been sad? Maybe. Probably. But would I have been crying so hard in the middle of the night that I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t breathe? Maybe not.

P.S. The Olympic knitting is nearly done. Actually, the knitting proper is done. The straps just need to be steam blocked and the buttons sewn on. I’m going over to the finishing fairy’s house to take care of those things. I think my sewing case is in the closet in the nursery. Definitely not going there right now!

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Happy Happy Joy Joy

February 21, 2014

  1. Great Performances last Friday was brilliant. (Okay, I watched it online on Saturday. But it was still brilliant.) The only bad thing about it is that it left me wanting more than the brief scenes of each play presented. Sure, they couldn’t put that many plays on in two hours, but as each scene ended I was a little sad that it didn’t continue so that we could enjoy the entire play. My favorite selection (sorry, Benedict Cumberbatch, you know I love you, but it wasn’t your magnificent selection from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead) has to be the Angels in America: Millennium Approaches scene. It encapsulates the beauty that is that play. It is hilarious and heartbreaking. And I so wished it to continue. Even more than the rest of the scenes. I’ve seen Angels in America (both Millennium Approaches and Perestroika) live. And I’ve seen the star-studded movie. And I was so disappointed in the movie. I was shocked when I saw it on stage. I laughed. A lot. Everyone did. I wasn’t expecting it to be so funny. I was expecting to cry. The movie? I didn’t laugh. I missed the audience. So seeing this one brief scene. With a live audience. Who laugh. Because it is funny. Which makes the heartbreak in the scene that much more poignant. Which is how in two minutes, two actors can bring you from laughter to tears. I wanted them to go on and do the rest of the play, both parts. Gosh, I hope I haven’t built that up too much for you. Meh, it was okay. If you feel like it, maybe you should watch it. Whew! Potential damage undone!
  2. It is no secret that I love Linda Holmes. I’ll be reading a post on NPR’s Monkey See blog, and I’ll think, “yeah, that’s right, good point”, and then I’ll scroll up to the byline. Sure enough. It’s by Linda Holmes. She is also, in part, responsible for my beloved Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. I swear, if we knew each other, we would totally be friends. Well, this week, Linda Holmes, along with NPR movie reviewer Bob Mondello, got better. They have done a series in which they read internet reviews of Oscar-nominated movies. (That link will take you to the first one. I recommend them all.) Yes, this does mean seeing what some radio people look like, but they are hilarious. I’ll just say ❤ and leave it at that. And yes, you need to watch the clips to get that joke.
  3. A slew of new-to-me Doctor Who episodes showed up in my Hulu queue. I believe this gives me the last of the Matt Smith episodes (except for maybe the Christmas special), so I will be the closest I’ve been to caught up since my brother still lived in the UK.
  4. My daddy replaced my driver’s side windshield wiper before I had to drive across state. Yes, I am spoiled. I’m okay with that.
  5. The weather was fabulous today, so we got to celebrate my mommy’s birthday as originally planned. We had a beautiful drive both to and from East Lansing. And Daddy picked up Thai food for dinner. I’m looking forward to my leftovers for lunch or dinner tomorrow.

In the whole scheme of things, it’s been a pretty happy week.

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Oh, Michigan

February 20, 2014

Yesterday hinted that spring might exist somewhere in the world. It got above freezing, and we actually saw the sun. The sun! So naturally, today started out with snow which has now turned into rain with the whole mess expected to freeze overnight. Oh, I should probably revise that statement. Today started out with thundersnow. So much for yesterday’s hint of spring.

This wouldn’t really be that big of a deal, but the DD Committee is supposed to have a planning meeting in East Lansing tomorrow, plus it’s my mom’s birthday. And since driving to the dentist a mere twenty minutes from home proved to be too far for me to be alone in the car with my thoughts, my mom and I got her birthday all planned out. I’ll go pick her up. She’ll hang out at Kellogg while I’m at my meeting. We’ll drive back to my place and go for a walk. Meanwhile, my dad will go pick up Thai food and bring it to my place for my mom’s birthday dinner.

But if this mess continues? Yeah. There’s no way I’m driving to East Lansing. And since this storm has covered pretty much all of southern Michigan, I don’t expect any of my committee members to drive to East Lansing either. Chances are reasonable that the meeting will be canceled. And my mom’s birthday extravaganza will have to be revamped. Although we will still have Thai for dinner.

I did get the most important things on my to-do list accomplished today, which I suppose says something. (Yes, I did cross the “S” off. It was really only one thing.) I’m definitely not moving as quickly as I should on a lot of things, but priority-wise, today was better than yesterday.

I do, however, find that I’m opting out of things. I didn’t go to the season preview at the Civic yesterday. I’d thought about it, but I just wanted to be home. I know several of my friends are really excited about the season, but I’m underwhelmed. Okay, I am curious to see the treatment Richard III will receive. Will it be treated as a history? Or as a tragedy? And if as a history, will it attempt to undo any of the blatant Tudor propaganda that it is? Obviously, it all depends on the director, and that, of course, hasn’t been announced. I suppose it is fitting for that as a selection given the fact that his remains have been found, but I agree with Yorkshire that his remains should be laid to rest in the shire he loved and not in the south of the country. Ah well.

The other thing I’ve opted out of this week is the employee appreciation celebration that’s tonight. There are two things I really don’t enjoy. Mingling and public praise. Yeah. So not going to happen. Even if the weather were decent, I still wouldn’t have wanted to go. They used to do this during the day. We got breakfast. It was part of the work day. Yeah. I’ll pass on going out on my time to do things I really don’t enjoy. Just give me my award in private. (Which they did. Michelle dropped it off this afternoon. Now to decide what gift I want. There are several pieces of luggage. I just need to settle on one to replace what I currently use, a hand-me-down with a wonky handle and wonkier wheels and bits that get wonkier with each flight.)

Yeah, I probably would have been happy at the season preview. I would have been amongst friends. After all, these are the people who sang at Sofia’s funeral. But I’m definitely happy to be home this evening. Now if it would just stop raining before the temperature drops and everything turns to ice…

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February 19, 2014

I’m having trouble prioritizing right now. At work, I mean. I still struggle to do more than just stare at my to-do list. And I know which things should be dealt with first. But I keep pushing those tasks aside. It’s not even that they’re the most difficult things on my list, these most important tasks. I just don’t feel like doing them. So I don’t. I stare. For a while. And then I’ll tackle something else on the list. And then stare some more. And I read those most important tasks. But by then the day is almost over, and it’s too late to get involved in something new.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If there’s a hard deadline, I deal with it. I force myself to take care of those things that really and truly must be done immediately.

And I do like my job. Most of the time. But I’m… dissatisfied right now. And I’m not completely sure why. I don’t know what it is that I want.

Is it the grief? Is it that I’m ready to start trying to get pregnant again? Is it that I have to wait three more weeks before I see the midwife and we even talk about how it might work this time?

Or is it really and truly just work that leaves me wanting? Is it the waiting for this new job description? Wanting to know what my responsibilities are evolving into?

I just feel stuck right now. I’ve hit a new liminal space. I’m neither here nor there. And this hero is ready for her journey to proceed.

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