Monday, November 29, 2010

A New Chapter

                                                

It's a freezing Monday morning after Thanksgiving break and we've survived the return of routine. The amazing part of this morning- and something that hung over the family like a shining star all weekend- is that Dad is starting a job today. He caught the 7:22 train to the city dressed for business. I'm still feeling skeptical as though this is all an imaginary scheme that will be yanked from him (and us) in short order. But it does seem like it's really happening. By now, James has picked up his i.d. and is heading to the location where he will work. He is starting a short term contract with a new firm and will be doing project management in i.t. and finance. Exactly what he knows how to do. I am alone in the house and it's 8:45 in the a.m. It's hard to comprehend that my solitude is being returned to me. Since January 21st of 2009, James has been home as well. He used the desk in our bedroom as his office space and I worked down in the office. Both in the house yet worlds apart. During which time I got my paralegal degree, my real estate & notary license. It worked out to have him around helping with the kids. Nora, Sarah and Jacob have probably had more parental supervision than the average teens in our community. Watching him get dressed this morning to jump on the train was lovely. He seemed excited in a way that I haven't seen for a long time.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

N.M.J., U.S.A.




This is the land I live in. Dust bunnies, piles, leftovers, and coats are all easily ignored by my brood. My husband is perfectly capable (or used to be) of strolling through a scene of utter chaos and continuing on his merry way to the object of his concern. (One could pause for a moment and think "What could I do right now to make things better?" I know- pick up all the shoes, or rattle the saber a little and get the kids going.) As a resident of Not My Job, U.S.A., I do get a little miffed at the lack of engagement around me. I fluctuate between being good natured, being psychotic (that's what I'm told) and feeling overwhelmed by domestic tedium. Sometimes I can't wait for them to grow up and leave, and other times I'm happy to be pulling my end of the bargain.

After finishing this post- James discovered a recently abandoned piece of bubble gum on the kitchen counter. One that Sarah forgot to throw away (or was she coming back for it later?). Another mystery from the land of curb appeal. I'm going for a detour outside to photograph the random azaleas that have appeared on the bush by the sunroom. Flowers that bloom at the end of November are much more fascinating to me than pondering the state of our household affairs.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankfulness

I'm getting along with my husband lately- and for anyone who knows me, sometimes that isn't the case. It's nice to wake up on a holiday with a big meal to cook and like my family. I helped Dan & Jessie in Bryant Park yesterday and met all sorts of interesting people selling their jewelry collection called Made with Coins. Sometimes, in a lull of traffic I contemplate the effort of smiling at every strange face I see. The park atmosphere draws an incredibly wide range of people and the booth is situated in a good spot- near the nicest public bathrooms the city has to offer. I have had a few memorable interactions. Lots of great coin stories and coin trivia. Yesterday, a couple came in. He preceded to take out a small magnifier to look at the coins. It turns out that his job is designing coins for the U.S. Mint. He told me about the new quarters they are doing of the state parks and the larger special coins they work on. I marvel at the many positive encounters that life has afforded and today, I'm grateful beyond measure.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Troubled, Sort of

                                     

It's that kind of vague "what next?" feeling when so many things have been sorted out, delivered, done. Maybe there was more happiness in the getting ready, the worry and anxiety of pending deliveries, outcomes and unknowns. No, today there is no monumental challenge to keep me up at night, tossing and turning in the hopes that it will all turn out okay. The play at the high school has come and gone. The college application submitted. The party documented and c.d's mailed. Like the waitress in the limbo of checks on the table, I await the next obstacle, desire or necessity that will absorb my focus and concern. In the meantime, I inspect the garden and the last gasp of autumn's glow. Fading but determined to dazzle the eye. Restless and troubled, sort of.

Monday, November 15, 2010

In my opinion

Motherhood seems to be an endeavor where it's routine to feel that you should be doing better. If you manage to help one of your children achieve something they desire- the next day it can seem wrong and then what kind of job did you do of helping in the first place? You are suppose to be all things to all people, stay as fresh and adorable as the day before you got pregnant and manage to be chic and attractive without ever buying new clothes. (Kids are after all, very expensive.) You have to look for all those teachable moments, forgive all their irrational outbursts ("I hate this family and especially you!") and keep your mouth shut when you'd most like to vent about the frustrations of living with them. No one held a gun to my head and said "Now that you are over 40, you have to have 3 children." No, I signed up for this and most of the time it feels like a worthwhile enterprise. Undervalued, repetitive and low on the excitement chain (unless you like receiving phone calls in the middle of doing something important because your son just flew off his bike, appears to be bleeding from somewhere and needs to be picked up- right now!) Kids are great when they are asleep or off at school getting good grades and being good citizens to boot. But like all things worth doing- different days can leave you in a very different state of mind. Managing the family, the home and all the petty concerns can make the rewards of parenthood vague some days at best.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Arsenic and Old Lace





As a result of spending most of last week in the city, everything has kicked up a gear or two. Lots of things have to be delegated and it's mostly working. So somebody up there likes me. I'm having some nice opportunities to shoot photo stories for the Tarrytown Patch and that's a lot of fun. I ran into a neighbor while covering a recycling event and learned some great news. Later, watching my daughter and her classmates rehearse Arsenic and Old Lace in the high school auditorium, I was completely entertained. I really appreciate their teacher Mr. Kennedy and the fine job he does as their director. I created a photo story to post on the Patch featuring the characters who are featured in the upcoming performances and I am posting some of my favorites here!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Twist in my Routine

The cold has arrived along with the early darkness of life after daylight savings. I am going to the city to help a friend of James for the next week or two. He's selling a jewelry collection of his wife's designs crafted from coins and I am operating the booth at Bryant Park a few days a week. So odd to be thrust into the middle of Manhattan and watching all the dozens and dozens of people going about their business. My total immersion into the asphalt jungle- midtown version. I am happy to be of help but getting home after 9 p.m. after being gone all day makes me wistful for my normal routines. I feel completely disconnected from the family and a little sad. Not exactly feeling the thrill of retail but then again, I said I would help and I'm not going to punk out. The upside is all the designer bags, shoes and hairstyles that form their own kind of parade. I've been on the farm a little too long and this temporary immersion makes me realize how small my life has become.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday in Teendom




Saturday and no one needs to rush anywhere and do anything. No forgotten binders, notes, uniforms or lunch. We are free to take a moment and gather our wits. Teenagers can be remarkably invisible- off with their friends, hiding in their room with their friends, chatting online with their friends. The house feels quiet and busy at the same time. I'm prepared for someone to come knocking at the door or the phone to ring, "Is Jacob (Nora, Sarah) there?" There is lots to miss about parenting small children. How important it was to be with us and their easy expressions of love and connection. At some point, you have to back off and hope that all the unheeded advice has penetrated the noise in their young minds. My kids seem more or less sensible and aware of the dangers of risky behavior. Let's hope all our due diligence was a good investment in raising thoughtful young adults.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rain

Some kind of fatigue rolls over me and it's hard to know where to begin. "Live each day as though it were your last." Well that's a pretty tall order when the covers seem very attractive and I can't resist closing my eyes. I wake up to discover the kids have eaten dinner. Whatever they prepared worked fine as no one appears to be starving. Somehow the nucleus of my family is melting and rearranging itself and I'm standing on a mental sideline trying to recall what exactly I am doing. Hanging uncomfortably and feeling like it is all slipping by me. I have to redefine my purpose. Now that's one big understatement. Time to get a life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kitchen Dispatch



I'm having a very domestic week and it feels great. Suddenly in the kitchen more and cooking again. I'm trying to be a good frugal gourmet. James brought back a huge bag of leftover salad from the neighborhood party that was getting very soggy. So I threw it all in a pot and made homemade vegetarian stock. Then I used the stock as a base for cream of asparagus soup and it was extremely edible. Delicious even. Had to use a lot of All-Clad for that operation. The huge pumpkin that James carved was full of seeds. I love how yummy they are when you coat them and roast them in a slow oven. It was completely worth the impossible headache of getting the seeds all nice and clean of the pumpkin junk. Max came and went yesterday and his van is no longer in our driveway, Nora's application is moving along, and Sarah was positively sweet to me today- amazing. Here's to forward momentum.