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In the spirit of gratitude.

*Spring. It is here. There is red growth on the tree branches, the faintest of buds on some. The snow drops have been bloomed for weeks. The daffodils have had their green out but yesterday I saw the yellow bits all enclosed waiting to bloom. I saw some purple crocuses over the weekend too. Birds are building nests and chirping like mad. The sun is warm. Today I hung my laundry out on the line for the first time since November! Ah, sun, miracle elixir, you take away the stains of the world.

*My homemade chicken noodle soup. Lately, I've been nailing the broth. Bennett drinks it down.

*Mutliculturalism. Adam, B and I went to a birthday party yesterday. It was one of the the most diverse parties I've ever been to. It was the first birthday of a little boy that goes to one of B's playgroups. The little boy was asleep through most of it. He is Nigerian. His father is a student here. Aunts and uncles from London came. There was a Polish couple. Locals, though mainly of English extraction. Two Muslim families from Libya were there too - the hosts are also Muslim. And one little boy who is half Bengali. Languages heard: English, Spanish (thanks to Adam), Polish, Yoruba, Arabic. Amazing.

*Friends. We have friends here! Not really close friends, yet, but friends nonetheless. It's wonderful. It's like we live here.

*Best of all, Bennett goes to sleep at 8pm. Cut for those who couldn't care less )

ETA: How could I forget?! Adam got a great gig today. So we will have money for bills one month in advance. This is a great step toward getting back on our feet!
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I feel like I've been bitching a lot lately. Bennett is a handful at bedtimes and Adam and I aren't on the same page. Of course, I'm wishy-washy about I want at bedtime too, which makes things worse. We're poor. We have colds. I'm waffling on my research ideas. I'm bored with the paper I'm (not) writing. My hair is just ok.

We all know what that means: it's time for some gratitude.

I am grateful for:
*flexible schedules
*great neighborhood boys
*Adam - in spite of my wanting to throttle him every now and again, he makes my flexible, scholarly life possible by paying our bills and being an amazing father. He makes me laugh and in general, is the greatest partner. It doesn't hurt that we make cute offspring together.
*Bennett makes me happy beyond anything I have known
*the weather - we have some. Every day is just a little different from the one before. Wind, rain, snow, sun, warmth, chill, hail, slush. All, some or none. It's beautiful every time I leave the house
*I get to read and ponder theology, religion and spirituality all day long
*I don't have to look at my hair! Neither do I have to brush it or wash it more than once a week
*I've lost weight. I'm guessing I'm easily back at pre-pregnancy weight. Although my shape is not, I fit into things and can see my collarbones again
*my peaceful life
*a new sweater

Lastly, tonight's dinner menu: (grass fed, local) stir fried beef with red quinoa, broccoli and baby rainbow chard, with ginger, tamari and lime! And wine.
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Night three of horrible sleep. Night one: the Puking. Night two: fever and snot and massive squirming and crying. Night three: all of us were exhausted, B passed out straight away only to wake in the wee hours squirming and crying. Twice. UGH. Teething? Sleep regression? General unwellness? Who can say? But Adam and I slept through our alarm and I was 15 minutes late to a meeting with the financial director at school. No big - I am so grateful for Welsh country time! Paying a bill late? No big deal.

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about how quiet my life is here. Outside of the drama of money (I think there is only one other time in my adult life when I've been this poor) and the general drama of having a toddler, there isn't anything else to discuss. I don't follow the news. There's no gossip. No trauma in the community (that I can see or know about). Life is peaceful here. There's space for all the thoughts in my head. It's conducive to navel gazing and spiritual work, if you're into that sort of thing. And Adam and I are, quite a bit. Every day as I walk down the hill, taking in the trees, birds, smell of earth, fresh air and green, I am grateful for being here. I love that there is space to be. That Adam and I have space and time to be with Bennett. It is a gift and absolutely worth the financial stress.

I do miss friends though. I've been dreaming about three things I'm not getting enough of these days: sex, exercise, and social gatherings. But this morning I was reminded of the blessing of friends far away. [livejournal.com profile] keypike sent us a surprise! The postman put the package inside our door (obviously we slept through his knocking!) - I love that it's not weird that the postman would just open the front door and lay a package inside. In the package were bright, cheery, stripey, fleecey footie pajamas for Bennett and socks with grips on the bottom. YAY!!! I cannot wait to put B in his new jammies. So thank you, Ms Keypike! I look forward to having money once again and being able to do the same for you and others. The reminder of love from afar was the brightest and best way to start my zombie-rific day.

Wow

Jan. 12th, 2010 06:28 pm
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Another great day. I'm beginning to feel the ebb and flow of energy and blockage in our life, personally, in my relationship with Adam, and in our larger life. I don't understand it, but it's good information. I worked for 4.5 hours straight today, reading and writing. I ate delicious, healthy meals and even got in 20 minutes of yoga this morning. I've had great snuggle time with B. Adam has work. The snow is coming down thick and wild. Praise be for it all.

And this: a great article from a conservative point of view, in fact, from the council for the case against Prop 8, on why gay marriage should be allowed. It is clear, succinct and right on. The queer, radical feminist in me has thoughts about this, essentially negating marriage altogether, but for the moment, those thoughts are irrelevant. If you have qualms about gay marriage, and I know some of my friends out there do, please read this really excellent article.

Dinner is ready. .... and my back just seized up. Uh-oh.
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It all started last night when Adam made dinner and we had a couple and their baby over. We have one other couple as 'friends' - but frankly, the man is a workaholic and I think the woman is depressed. Hanging out with them is such *work.* In fact, being friends with them reminds me of a past friendship I had where all the work was one sided. I realized last night I was replaying those patterns. All it took was making new friends who weren't work. This new couple is fun and engaged and funny. They gave up their careers to move here to follow their dreams: family and cooking. Awesome. Already our kind of people. Their little boy is only 5 months old and reminds me of Bennett: small, alert, happy, chill, big eyes, snuggly.

Anyway, new couple came up for dinner. We drank red wine, Adam made his AMAZING cheese burgers, I made a zesty carrot/cilantro salad and for dessert, brownies with cream cheese frosting. We talked and laughed and YAY. Sweet jesus, we've been missing friends.

Then this morning we started our day with the postman arriving at 8am to deliver a big package. [livejournal.com profile] hraftinna and [livejournal.com profile] alizarin71 sent us gifts! I received a wonderful black and grey woolly sweater. YAY! Bennett received a super soft stuffed donkey. Adam received a beautiful pen set. So thoughtful and the best way to start the day!

It is Monday so next Bennett and I went to the breastfeeding play group. Fun was had and it always without fail puts B to sleep when we get home. And he's been happy all day long. The time spent alone did wonders for Adam too. He had a massive emotional breakthrough around some crap he's been carrying around with him and he's been in a great mood all day too!

Lastly, the washing machine repairman came and fixed our machine. It was a hair pin stuck in the filter. I guess I didn't know what to feel for when I rooted around in there. A load of wash is now drying! When we're finally caught up (in another day or two) Bennett can go back to cloth nappies. YAY.

For tonight we have just enough left over ingredients for more burgers and the last of the wine. And right now, Bennett is playing in the box the gifts came in while I drink a hot beverage in front of the fire.

WIN.

Gratitude

Dec. 20th, 2009 01:10 pm
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Today I'm feeling slow, a little crusty and achey (I ran into the bathroom door), but mostly I'm feeling happy. It's a good time write a gratitude post.

I am grateful for:
*Snow? Frost? It doesn't matter. This morning the outside was crispy and white!
*A good night's sleep
*Our new clothes dryer. OMG, clothes and diapers that are soft and not crispy! And dry in less than two days!
*Playdates for Bennett. Really nice family people and their little kids that love Bennett
*Winter! Christmas! Solstice!
*A truly amazing and happy little boy
*Living in Wales, a healthy, green, magical place - this makes me happy every day I wake up here
*The Family Centre - basically it's a parent particpation preschool. That's my best description. It's been a sanity-saver for us and Bennett loves it there. Plus, it's great to feel like we're a part of the community
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STILL SICK. 4th week, 3rd virus. Now manifested in my right ear canal. Possible ear infection? Bennett has a bit of a cold and a blood shot eye. Conjunctivitis? Nothing boobie milk can't cure! I did indeed squirt breast milk into his eye. If it doesn't clear up by Monday we're both going to the doctor.

Today two American friends of ours, Adam's best friend and his wife, are coming to visit us. They now live in London and we're having a makeshift Thanksgiving. Adam is going to make his gourmet turkey sandwiches. Our friends are bringing home made cranberry sauce, and a tofurkey and pumpkin pie from the Wholefoods in London. I'm making mashed potatoes and garlicky salad and stuffing. Speaking of stuffing, all I have are two pounds of breadcrumbs. Can anyone recommend a vegetarian stuffing recipe?

So what am I thankful for? Free health care, an awesome partner, the greatest little boy ever, a warm home, few distractions, peace, the dark, new flannel sheets, friends coming to visit.
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Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] bravenewcentury

1. Avatar: the Last Airbender Seriously, this is my new favorite tv show. Possibly of all time. It's whimsical, it's deep, it's developing, it's spiritual. I care about the characters. Adam and I can watch it with Bennett - it's completely age appropriate for all. I''m only half way through season 2 (of 3) and it just keeps getting better and better.

2. Autumn I love the brown and yellow leaves on the ground. I love the chill and damp and grey. I love the lengthening nights. The air feels comfortable, cozy.

3. Lampeter It's seriously beautiful here, and peaceful. I love walking out my door and seeing the rooftops of the town at the bottom of the hill. I love seeing the white dots of sheep on the surrounding hills and the wood across the valley. I like the gentle hum of the high street and the rhythms of the town.

4. Tea I am drinking copious amounts of tea these days. Green, black, herbal, you name it. It goes hand in hand with numbers 2 and 3. I live in a tea culture but the warm soothing liquid is also so appropriate to the weather. And, the caffeine doesn't hurt when I'm constantly fighting a cold.

5. Adam has work This improves his mood and I know we have money coming in. Maybe more of a relief than anything else!

6. The new couches We got a blue couch and chair yesterday! All of a sudden our house is now a home. I can hang out in the living room comfortably! We had people over today and they didn't have to sit on the floor! I can't explain it but our house is transformed. I couldn't be more happy - I was getting tired of constantly sitting in the kitchen.

7. The sound of rain Right this second I can hear the rain coming down on the roof and the street outside. Just outside the window the drip drip drip off the gutter is trickling. The wind gusts through the trees. Between the dark and the rain I get flashbacks to Octobers past as a kid in Alaska. All I need is the woodstove...

8. Bennett Even when this kid drives me nuts because he hates having a diaper put on or he won't go to bed, he is the cutest, most snuggly and happy guy. We have so much fun together. Crawling into bed at night and feeling him warm and soft snuggling up to me is just about the best feeling. And, I think he's going to learn to use a toilet soon. Tonight he was running around naked for a while and he pointed at his penis and made a sound. I said "Are you going to pee?" "yeah," he said. I asked if he wanted to use the potty and he said "yeah" and ran to the bathroom. I sat him on the toilet and he proceeded to hang out there for a good 15 minutes. No action yet, but he did flush the toilet when he was done!

9. The Mists of Avalon I'm re-reading it and it's as good as I remember it being.

10. My life in general I am so blessed. My life is amazing and rich and I couldn't be happier. ...Ok, I could be. If my sister and her girls moved in down the street I would probably explode with joy. But that would be messy.
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Today is a good day. A really good day. One in which I feel settled into my own bones and brain. In spite of being tired and feeling the twinge of a sore throat, in spite of everything, it's a good day.

The wi-fi cafe was nice and I chatted a bit with the woman who owns it. She has a beautiful 9 week old son. I cannot imagine birthing a child and a business at the same time! She seems like some one that Adam and I would enjoy getting to know. We're going to meet up at the Monday breastfeeding group. Neat!

I wrote. My adviser likes my ideas and is encouraging. So far, I have found the faculty here welcoming, friendly, laid-back and encouraging. More so than at any school I've ever attended (save the music department at Shoreline Community College).

Last night's choir practice was SO MUCH BETTER than last week. The people who sucked didn't come back. I don't mean that to be awful, but there was one girl in the soprano section who literally could not carry a tune. However, this also means there is one man. Sigh. This afternoon, on my way to meet my adviser, I ran into the choir director. He's also a professor in the theology department. He told me I had a lovely voice and that he wants me to sing the solo at the carols service in December. Neat!

I can home from all of this to find Adam putting together our chests of drawers. YAY! Oh, I so can't wait to pack away the suitcases! These are cheaply constructed pieces of crap, but hell. The store delivered them to our door. Next week we get the couch (it comes with a free matching chair!) - I hope it's comfortable. Also, in other happy Adam news, he has a job! In Canada! Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] keypike, to whom I will make sweet, sweet love if I ever meet her in person! This is a HUGE RELIEF.

And to top it all off. The weather this evening is amazing: massive dark grey clouds, intermittent pounding rain, and shots of bright sun. I could not be more pleased with this day.

Tonight I am making hot brown rice salad and tomorrow I am sleeping in.
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I was going to spell out the details, but I just don't have the energy for it. Basically, I'm tired of obstacles and buraucracy and working around the systems. I just want the internet set up and a freaking phone. But one piece is needed for the other which is needed for the next, which makes certain details a complicated circle. It's like a closed system and we can't quite seem to break in.

I'm super pleased that I cooked a dinner in my own home last night (sauteed potatos, mushrooms and onions, green salad with vinaigrette, and fried whiting - hee). But this morning, I'm tired of things being difficult, of running into unforeseen obstacles in trying to accomplish basic daily tasks.

Thank goodness we're not in a truly foreign land. I can't imagine how taxing that would be!
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Adam's parents belong to a time share thing. They just volunteered to get us a week at Pantglass Hall, a time share place about 40 minutes away from Lampeter. This would be WONDERFUL. The units all have laundry, which means we can keep cloth diapering easily. They also have kitchens so we don't need to spend a fortune eating out all the time. We'd have to pay for the rental car, but I think this would be the most helpful situation. One of the property agencies finally got back to us and said that basically, all Lampeter rentals are posted on notice boards. How..... quaint.* This is a HUGE load off.





*I actually love this. Although it sucks for those us not actually there.
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Life feels like a total train wreck these days. Let me enumerate the ways:
*No one at the Univ of Wales, Lampeter, feels the need to return emails
*We still do not have visas, nor a place to live
*Our stuff is everywhere in an already full house
*Santee is a suburban wasteland
*I feel like we're bleeding money
*Adam and I are getting testy with each other
*My wrist is getting better but is still preventing me from normal action
*Bennett is teething, between that and anxiety attacks I am not sleeping well
*Which leads to my brain and attitude not functioning well
*There are other decisions to be made about various things and I just don't have the bandwidth for them
*For example, if we don't get the visas, what the hell do we do? (First thought out of the gate? Anchorage)


And all that leads me to what I'm grateful for these days:
*Airconditioning
*A happy, healthy, delightful, patient kid
*In-laws that do not guilt me or annoy me, that let my family take over their house, and seem to even enjoy it
*Adam's increasing self-employment
*Lots of great tv and movies thanks to Adam's computer skills
*Mindless reading of vampire mystery/romances
*Hot tea with whole milk
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I am loving our new-ish schedule around here. B's morning nap has moved back a little and is now about 45-60 minutes, then he naps for about an hour at 4 or 5. We are all up until 10 and sleep until 8. Yay!

Bennett didn't wake to nurse until about 5 am last night. Yes!

Bennett is a freakin' delight. Still whining, but it's kind of nice seeing him develop his own person.

My old job at the Jewish nonprofit just reminded me that I had 60 hours of unused vacation time - and they are going to cash it out for me now. They are also going to continue to cover me, Adam and Bennett on the health insurance until we get set up in Wales. !!!!! This is so unheard of. We are so blessed. So incredibly done-well-by.

It is my sister's birthday today. She is 32. For some reason it always takes me by surprise when she ages.

Tomorrow I am getting a few hours B-free to read and go shirt shopping. Then, Adam and I have a date at our favorite restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. Saturday we have another date scheduled - use of a gift certificate for a hot tub place.

Life feels really good today. I see the packing monster looming, but it feels manageable.

It also helps that I got my paperwork from Wales yesterday.
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Speaking of adopt-a-mom.... I wish there was a sleep adopt-a-mom group. Sleep is our biggest challenge. We do not want to do anything CIO related, but sweet lord, you just can't make a kid sleep. Or stop squirming. Or want to be with anyone other than mama. As frustrating as the inconsistency is, I am grateful that these awful chunks are broken up with periods where he sleeps soundly and easily. I know that this will pass, but we have no idea what we're doing. One of us is always wondering if we're creating bad habits and dragging this out.

GAH.

(Boy, Bennett sure is mad that his papa is trying to put him to sleep.)
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The only negatives today are that I'm tired, not well slept, thanks to B's near constant nursing last night. He also is not rested - he had only 2 half hour naps today! That not nearly enough rest, for either of us.

But where can I begin with the goodness? First, Bennett is such a delightful kid. I'm really truly in love my family. Being with them is just about the best thing ever. Secondly, two friends came over this morning. Had I been with it I would have made lunch. I miss having cheese and crackers or tasty things to nibble on. Australians seem to have this down. Americans, not so much. I aspire to this level of generosity. But in any case I enjoyed discussing all things Feri and baby with them. I was able to give them a car load of baby stuff. it feels so good to help out another couple in the baby department! We were so blessed by generous folk and I'm glad we can do the same for some one else. The friends brought this wooden drum for B and it is GREAT! He loves it, and so do we. He's hardly put down the mallet.

During B's second "nap" we saw a teaser episode of the new show "Nurse Jackie" on Netflix. The show doesn't open until June on Showtime. Holy cow, it was good! Really really good. Dark, funny, complicated, interesting. I'll definitely get it when it's made available on Netflix.

Then later in the afternoon we walked all together to the grocery store, seeing friends on the way, enjoying the smell of jasmine in the sun. When we got home I got a phone call from a friend of Adam's who asked to have lunch together this week. She said "I always want to get to know you better every time I see you." I feel a little like I was "asked out" - and it feels good.

I am now cooking potatoes gratin, roasted carrots and garlic salad for dinner. Adam is on Bennett duty and they're watching the Cavs/Magic game.

Life feels really sweet tonight.
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Totally beat. Not totally well. A tad overwhelmed. But happy.

I love my coworkers (mostly). I am thrilled with my replacement. I am grateful for relative health and balmy weather, the encouragement and patience of others, and new wool covers for B.
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So tired.

Boot camp. All day with B. Spent 4 hours walking around in the rain with B strapped to me. Seriously, good fun. I made a great pasta dinner. We watched three episodes of Scrubs. I've had two glasses of red wine. I am ready to pass out. It's 10 past 9 on a Friday night. My apartment is warm and Ella Fitzgerald is playing. Why do I want to move to Wales again? Thankfully the wine is dulling the panic. I don't remember there being a bookstore in Lampeter.

Time to go crawl in next to my sleepy boy and snuggle up. Life is beyond good tonight.
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I've worked long days for the last 4 days. Work again today. I am swamped with work things. There are papers and bills piling up on my desk. My assistant needs a talking to. But I'm still excited that I've found a good replacement.

On the home front, I also have some bills piling up. I just discovered that I am 2 days late on one! ACK! How did this happen? Wales preparations are weighing on my mind. I STILL have to apply for visas. We keep saying we're going but we've done about half of two items out of the at least 6 major things that need to happen before we can go for real.

I feel overwhelmed. And anxious.

But not crazy anxious, for this I am truly grateful.
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I think it is high time for a gratitude post around here!

I am grateful for:
*An invigorating discussion about feminism in previous posts
*The people I know and have met on LJ
*Having steady, reliable income during a bad economic period
*A beautiful, delightful, easy child..... who is currently passed out a 7pm (whoa!) and went down without a fight!
*Spring
*A job that pays me to take off Jewish holidays, even though I don't observe
*Uninterrupted hours of reading
*The deliciousness of simple, fresh foods
*Opportunity, faith, love
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Going to the Japanese baths in San Francisco is like going to church and making massive kala. I am infinitely grateful that I was given a gift certificate to this place years ago. It's the most luxury I've found for the least amount of money. Today's trip was especially powerful. After meditating in the sauna, scrubbing myself clean in the steam room, drinking copious amounts of cucumber and lemon water and ginger tea, I had some pretty profound realizations about a big, painful, awkward issue in my life. I feel rejuvinated.

Continuing with the spring purging feelings, Adam and I got rid of 7 boxes of books this afternoon, as well as three bags of clothes. I have a skirt and top that I think I'm going to put up for sale on here soon, because they are just too nice to throw in a charity dumpster. One is a silk peach blouse and one is a blue and brown skirt, both by Alannah Hill, an Aussie designer.

Bennet has been a fuss pot today. Adam took him for a long walk around the lake in Oakland and the little guy got sunburned. Eep!

Tomorrow Adam and I have babysitting lined up and we're going on a date. I think we might see "I love you, man." Anyone seen it?

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