Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
|Pictures of Eye village from here|
On Friday I met the Prof from work. I went into a little café near the station and had a cappuchino while I waited for him. It was a nice little place, and for once my coffee was perfect. Often I find it so bitter I have to add sugar, which normally I don't take. It was really nice to sit there quietly with my book, drink my coffee and read. This is one of my favourite things to do, to sit in a café and read, or write. It doesn't happen too often, there isn't a café locally that I can walk to, so it tends to be if I am waiting for someone - often the Prof, who is likely to be rummaging through Latin documents in an archive nearby. On honeymoon we spent a lovely hour or two in a bookshop where, not only was there tea and coffee on offer, when we asked for some it turned out to be free of charge. If I lived in Bath I would be in there all the time. Surrounded by books plus the opportunity to sit quietly and write, with free refreshments - what could be better?
We drove that afternoon to Ipswich, where we went to a lecture on the Black Death by the author and politician Ben Gummer It was fascinating. After the lecture we drove to a little village called Eye. My friend had been telling me about it as her sister lives there, and we decided to go and explore. It is a lovely place, though very isolated, a bit too much so for me! I am coming to terms these days with the fact that my living in the country fantasy is probably exactly that.
On Saturday, we had to do grocery shopping, and stopped to have a drink and do the crossword in a coffee shop. We have been doing the Telegraph general knowledge crossword together on Saturdays since early in our relationship, and its become somewhat of a tradition.
We drove to Southend on Sea on Sunday evening for a concert. There were lovely views across the water from the theatre, it would have been nice to sit and look out across the water for longer. The concert was really good fun, I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I came out a little deaf by the end and the Prof had to turn the volume on his hearing aids down. We were amongst the youngest people there, but I am not sure we felt it!
All in all, it was a lovely weekend. It was longer than usual, because we started on Friday lunchtime. We packed a lot in, we also included two lie ins and some gardening. Not bad going!
Monday, June 27, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
|The Girls. Debbie, Lisa, me, Gail, Jackie|
Thursday, June 23, 2011
There is so much to say. Really, it could be about getting away for an evening. It could be about two best friends on the verge of 40 living a dream. It could be about leaving the children behind and sitting in your club seat watching the hoards move in; just enjoying no one expecting anything of you. It could be reading the board before the band came onstage telling you right now there are 73,692 people in the stadium (73,692, will have to look for the final figure later). It could be about the rush of energy when they took the stage. It could be about singing the songs that you've been singing for over twenty years. OVER TWENTY YEARS. It could be about the warm air in the stadium or the soft breeze welcoming you after you step out. It could be about the smell and the heat of the city. About the faces of those that surround you on the light rail, all with the same type of satisfied yet tired looks on their faces at 1:00 am. It could be about driving home from a friend's house, following the moon, an eye ever watchful on the road, for the deer, no two, standing on back country roads at 2:00 a.m. It could be about the noise of the concert and then the quiet of the night. It could be my mother coming down the stairs at 3:00 a.m., my kids tucked tightly into bed, long into sleep.
But it is 3:24 a.m. I must get up in three hours to go to work. No longer the teenagers that first fell in love with this band. Now working women, with children, who sacrifice one night's sleep, because this right here is about building in your memory forever. A love of music. A love of words. A love of old friends together in the heat of the city, in the night, heads leaning on the dirty side of a train car, looking at each other and knowing it was worth it. So now off to bed, the rest of the words to come later, though I was dictating them in my head all night long.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
|rainbow: just before it disappeared|
Monday, June 20, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I have a few little plants, less this year as I haven’t planted any annuals or vegetables. There are a few herbs, some of which I have lifted to safety on the table out there as the snails won’t leave them alone and they can’t seem to climb the metal table legs! The little table and two chairs are right by the back door, and that is where I sit with a cup of tea or coffee when the weather is nice. I also have a green garden bench at the end of my garden, which is where I like to sit and read sometimes. It is old and shabby now and needs painting, but I love it because it came from the garden of my dear Auntie who died several years ago. We were very close and I have fond memories of sitting next to her on this bench in her garden many times.
It is mostly quiet here during the day, except for the birds and sometimes the sound of children in the playground of the school in the next street. Today, though, I can also hear the occasional yaps of a neighbour's dog, and a disturbing buzzing. Have I told you how much I love flying bugs? Ah, now I see the source of the buzzing is a handful of little bees on the campanula (Canterbury Bells). I like bees. Wasps, not so much. I love Canterbury Bells, with its little mauve star-shaped flowers. It's one of the few plants out here. I also have a weigela hidden behind the bench, I need to move it to the front garden really, and I have ivy, and then there is virginia creeper all along the fence one side and a large ceonothus (Californian Lilac) the other, which flowers a beautiful purple in the Spring. Those last two belong to the neighbours really, but they hang over my fence so I get to enjoy them. Just to make you and your black thumb feel better, I also now see I have a dead clematis and an even more dead hydrangea, sadly. I am a fair weather gardener, and don't even look at the garden from about October until April, so I am afraid that anything that can't manage the winter with no tender loving care and attention is not going to fare very well. When the weather is bad I hide indoors with a book, a mug of hot chocolate and a blanket and don't give a thought to the garden.
What does contentment look like? Today, I am anticipating spending the next couple of weeks reading the pile of books I picked up on Saturday from the library. I hope the weather will be nice enough to do some of that reading on my Auntie's bench. I was able to put the washing out to dry on the washing line outside today, which always makes me happy, and I have a pot of cream in the fridge for my coffee. I am planning to cook something new this evening, courgette and lemon linguine, open a bottle of wine and sit round the table with my family.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
So I've decided to make a new list of dreams. Dreams for the immediate future. I guess some would call them goals, but goals to me are "lose ten pounds" or "get a promotion" or "save enough money for a new car or college". Goals seem to me to be kind of strict and well, a bit boring. I think what I want more than anything right now, is to spend my days with a sense of peace, with a sense of calm, with a sense of satisfaction. So maybe I can come up with the "TO-DO" dream list to simplify and calm my life.
Like, planting flowers around my house, tidying up my basement, reading a book to my children each night, hanging some artwork on my bare walls, committing to actually finishing a book.
I'm ready to start making my current life my dream life and thus it is far more attainable and rewarding and far less likely to cause great amounts of stress.
So to start by simplifying and slowing down. Slowing down is a hard thing for me to do. The very nature of being a working single mother of two young daughters makes it difficult, but I am vowing this month to start. Take a task at a time. Decide what is a priority and what can wait until later.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
My son was born when I was 23 and yes, he was the focus of everything I did from then on. I found my vocation in being his mother, I loved it, and would have loved more children and to spend even more years raising them. It is the most interesting and rewarding thing I have ever done, by a long way. I loved watching him grow, helping him to discover the world. I even loved the fact that it was just the two of us, although it was sometimes hard, and there was never enough money. To make ends meet I took in ironing, did cleaning, babysitting, various little bits and pieces to earn a little extra money whenever I could. I rarely went anywhere without him, and from the age of eleven he was home educated which meant we went everywhere together almost all of the time. There was a lot of fun in our house, and a lot of love. There still is.
You asked, now he is older how do I look at where to go next? The honest answer is I don't really know. A few years ago I went back to work, but had to leave last year because of my ongoing health problems. Work, at least the jobs I have had, has never been very enjoyable. At least, I have never had a job that I would continue to do if I didn't have to for the money. I think most people just end up doing whatever pays the bills, and probably don't even think of what they would like to be doing. How wonderful it would be to have a job that you love!
For the past year or so a lot of my time and creative energies went into planning my wedding in April and now normal life has resumed. Like you, I have things I would like to do, or be. Somehow I don't quite know how to get there. I don't know where to start.
Monday, June 6, 2011
I sat down the other day when we talked about revisiting dreams and thought not only about what I envisioned my dream life to look like from a sense of place but also from a sense of what I wanted to be doing. How I wanted my "work" to represent myself. It seems a bit ridiculous to be sitting at the age of "just shy of 40" and say I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I should be grown up, and I should be "something".
I loved what you said about not needing "big" dreams. I like that your ideas for a happy future involve small things, like gardens and tortoises. Whereas you say that you have never allowed yourself to reach out for something grand, I seem to be unable to rein mine in. What I like so much about you is your sense of contentment in your place and I know that is not 100% true. I know you think beyond the scope of your front door, but I can never seem to get away from the urgency of needing to be something other than what I am.
So I dream that little dream and then it happens....what always happens. My mind takes off on a journey of it's own. It's never simple enough as to be, say, "one day soon I hope to be a _____". It goes something like this.
I want to work from home. I want to be my own boss. I want to be a writer, either magazine contributions, or books, novels or photo journals. I want to be a photographer, having my work in a gallery, or selling off prints or postcards. I could do unique and unusual portraits for people, capturing their innermost qualities and letting them shine through. I want to work with young girls, those in the midst of their awkward, self-involved teenage years or those on the brink. I could work with them and help them find themselves through creative outlets. I want to have classes or seminars where they can come and explore writing, or painting or sketching or photography and express without fear of retribution who and what they are becoming. I want to be a yoga instructor, teaching to children. I've thought of being a teacher again, having dropped out of college in my early twenties to do just that. I've dreamed of being a wellness professional, a park ranger, a bakery owner.
I do this until I have so many ideas of what I "could" do that I can no longer see through the clutter at what I "should" do. I do this until I just sit down with my head stuck in the midst of too many thoughts and just give up.
Apparently I've never felt good enough to be just who I am. Right now, I work as a bank teller, or a bank cashier as you would say, and it's good work. I know I will bring home a paycheck every two weeks, I know there will always be enough money for me to buy groceries and clothing and a little more for nights out and little surprises. I know that when one of us falls ill we have medical insurance that will pay for trips to the doctor and the medicines we need. (We do not have national healthcare as you do, our medical insurance is paid partly by both your employer and yourself, if you are self-employed you pay the entire chunk. As an employee, I pay $167.00 per pay as my portion for medical insurance just for myself, not counting the girls, so you can see how costly that would be if I didn't work or we just had to forgo it).
So there are reasons that I do what I do now. The stability and the protection. I am the sole supporter of my girls, so I must do what I can in this given situation to provide for them. My current job, though about half the pay grade I used to have, enables me to be at home on the weekends and to also leave only 10 minutes earlier and about 45 minutes later than the girls have school each day. And thankfully, I have my father and grandparents who are both retired and live close to usher them to and from the school bus each day. So in the end the job I have now allows me to be the mother I need to be for my girls. I can financially support them and I have (almost) enough time to be here when they need me to be "mom".
In the end and after spilling all this out to you, it seems there is only one job that really matters to me and that is the job of "mother". I think sometimes that perhaps that title is the only one that really matters and all the rest is just either a means to an end or a bonus. If at the end of my days, I can say I raised the girls to become happy and strong women than perhaps no matter how I got there, that is the one thing I can be proud of. I know that you raised your son alone and that you were responsible for a huge part of his education. So what do you think? Was motherhood for you the thing that guided what you did in life? And now that he is older how do you look at where to go next? I love these days growing my girls. I cannot imagine what my life's purpose will be once they are grown. So maybe, that is where all those big schemes that I listed above come into play. Or maybe I will just look forward to getting a full night's rest or a little time to sit in the breeze uninterrupted and read a book.
Friday, June 3, 2011
|Wordle, created from my Dream list|
rambling rose, called 'Wedding Day', a present from my son, waiting to be planted by our front door. I have birds visiting the garden, though the neighbours' cats scare off all but the most intrepid. Ours is a quaint little house - nothing special on the outside, we can't do much with it as we rent - but it is quirky, cottage-style. My dream house is tidier, more organised, nicely decorated, is filled with flowers from the garden and the scent of baking, despite the fact that I have hardly baked in my life. These are all reachable dreams, something to be going on with, working toward.
I have other dreams: the impossible, the silly, the potentially embarrassing (just who does she think she is?). Those are staying on that piece of paper, tucked away. Some of them might see the light of day....when they come true.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
So is there a better place to ruminate on dreams than above the clouds on an airplane? First I have to thank you for all you have done working us through these first couple days with this blog while I was 2,000 miles away from home on vacation. It's a sign of an excellent partnership that we got this off to such a beautiful start with even more distance (and time zones) between us.
So I was thinking about what we were saying about dreams while I was on the plane today. Right now I am at a very "scratch your head and wonder" kind of time in my life and when I think about the future I want to know if what I envision for myself and what I can make or want to make for myself can come true?
I won't list all my dreams here. We've both made the lists and some of them are far too personal and some of them sometimes seem far too ridiculous. The ones you've disclosed to me that you thought were too embarrassing or ridiculous I think are spot on and perfect for you. But thinking about it, I sat on the plane today and thought well, why can't I take control of my life and make my every dream come true and what again is my dream for my future, has it changed since last year? It seems sometimes our lives get pushed and pulled in varying directions and we find ourselves falling into old patterns or unsure of new paths and for selfish reasons, having given up so much in my previous life, I would love to put all my energy into continuing to make my way toward the life I have been dreaming for myself.
So I wrote down a few things today. A little bit of a reminder and a recheck on where I would like to see my direction in life go. Loose thoughts written on a piece of paper on an airplane, so here goes:
I want to live:
in a small house, cabin or cottage set back in the woods or a field, out in the country. wood, lots of wood. simple furnishings and decorating. lots of inspirational artwork, clippings and maps on the walls. decorated with small vases, rocks, and little bits of nature found. airy and light. minimalist but comfy and inviting. a garden shed size studio out back or in a separate room, a wall to showcase clippings and other bits of inspiration. a nice big wooden desk with a hutch for little bits and a laptop for writing and a space for laying out photos or pages for books. a wood stove for winter and a screen door for summer and maybe a little porch to sit out and listen to the birds and soak up the sun. a small garden, feeders for birds and a place for nature walks. a comfy chair next to the stove with a good book and a cat as the sun goes down.
In some ways, I have worked a lot of this into the home I have now, so maybe I am working towards this place and maybe one day if I stay focused I will get there. I wrote some other notes on what I wanted to be doing in this future dream life, but that is for another day. I am tired and ready to fall into my bed. Funny enough, I am playing a song from the girl's goodnight playlist I created and am listening to Kesang Marstrand sing "lay your head down and let yourself travel, in the land of dreams, in the land of dreams. the stories in your heart will start to unravel, in the land of dreams, in the land of dreams".
It's goodnight time here, which means you will be near waking soon. I hope you have sunshine and a good cup of coffee and that you find yourself lost in your dreams, but not lost too much.