school, soccer practice, drum lessons, back to school for a 7 p.m. parent meeting and photocopying, home by 9:30
Friday, September 6th
coffee, flowers, flowers, flowers, snacks with our wonderful neighbors, flowers, flowers, rehearsal, pizza, cotton candy, beer; bridesmaids hem my dress with safety pins because it’s too small for me to wear my petticoat under.
Saturday, September 7th
Snuggles with a very-pregnant bridesmaid and her baby belly, coffee and breakfast, Xanax, hair
I really, really, really didn’t want to be there early.
Do you know how terrifying it is to have that many people looking at you!?
Sunday evening, September 8th, Millinocket, ME
Home. The honeymoon’s over, but we are still far from recovered. It was lovely and fun, but so very much work for us, our friends and our families.
We’ve all been sick, one after the other, and there is no end in sight. I won’t be surprised if our dogs start sneezing and leaving dirty tissues in the couch cushions.
A trip to Southern Maine for a travel soccer game was the perfect excuse to get away without exerting too much physical or mental energy.
Colby and I decided to make a day of it. We woke early Sunday morning, packed picnic lunches and hit the road. We listened to the first 1/3 of Atul Gawande’s Better (I had read it and thought Colby would like it – I was right for once!) and watching the sunshine peek through the fog as we drove.
We hit Freeport by 10 a.m. and made our first stop at a real donut shop.
I thought Colby was finally old enough to appreciate the Maine mecca of shopping, and I was correct. We had a day of sunshine, street music, good conversation and great deals.
We wrapped up our shopping just in time to head further south. It only took twenty minutes to get to the field. We were starstruck with the beautiful facility until I realized the portable toilets were not quite so sparkling (I saw cleaner ones at a Phish show, and that’s saying something).
We met up with my parents in Augusta for burgers and milkshakes (and a quick trip to Dick’s for a new pair of soccer socks).
While we were there we received a text from my husband: “guess what I bought at a yard sale for $5”. With him, you never know, so I asked for a clue. He sent this picture.
It’s a friggin chicken plucker. A chicken plucker. Apparently “she needs some work”.
It was a beautiful late-September day, even if I did return home to find a chicken plucker in the driveway. Colby and I both had a relapse (fevers, general yuck, etc.) today, and are wishing for a nice, germ-free stretch in the near future.
I haven’t worn pants all week. Also, I told my friend’s daughter that the best thing about running shorts was that the underwear are built in, and much more comfy than regular undies. She looked at me like maybe it is not socially acceptable to tell people that. Whoops.
If I were a cartoon character my name would be Ms. Webb No Pants.
It’s no pants week because I said so. In a few days I will be forced to don teacher clothes. They are itchy and pinchy and no fun. My abdomen and thighs are enjoying their last week of freedom.
While the end of soccer season always brings a visceral, and bittersweet, relief, the beginning sneaks up on us. A practice here, a game there, until BAM. It’s October and everyone is out of clean underwear (either wearing dirty ones inside out or none at all) and you haven’t had a hot meal before 9 pm in two months.
This is what the beginning of this soccer season looks like for me:
I change into my running clothes before every practice. I pack one work-related activity. I spend the first 30 minutes working or reading, and the rest walking or running. I was feeling pretty smug about this until I realized it’s only August. Actually, I’ve written this post before, haven’t I?
I guess the good news is that we always survive to see another season. I do have a few tricks up my sleeve this season though.
PBJ suppers- no whining allowed.
Cereal always trumps Pizza Hut. No restaurants after games.(Playoffs excluded). This will easily save us an hour and a half each game night.
Freezer meals. I’ve already planned out meals to put away for busy game/week nights.
This is my least favorite: morning work outs. I’ve been practicing since July, and think the habit is setting.
Thursdays and Saturdays are for grading (and soccer games). I will find the nearest Tim Horton’s or McDs and use their Internet while waiting for C’s game.
One needs to know me for about five minutes before they know without a doubt that I am not a morning person.
Just a couple of days ago, Matt tried to wake me up in, let’s say, a very unsatisfactory and much too creative way. It didn’t go well. I did end up fully awake by the end of the encounter, which extended beyond thirty minutes, but I also maybe told him any of the following: “I JUST DON’T WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE RIGHT NOW!!! ARGH! I DON’T WANT TO BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS YOU. I WANT TO BE ON A DIFFERENT PLANET! YOU FUCKING SUCK SO SO SO MUCH!” I picked up my head to sneer and then flopped it dramatically on my pillow. I tried to punch him in the penis, which was not where it, ahem, should have been in the first place. I pulled the covers over my head and rolled around until I was wrapped up like the tightest little burrito in the freezer bag. I was, we could venture to say, not ready to wake up yet.
I’ve learned plenty about myself over the last few years. I like to think that I was pretty self-aware before I met Matt, but the truth is that you don’t know a lot about yourself until you are living with another person. Matt, most days, wakes up and begins his day immediately. I, on the other hand, need Time. The alarm clock blares thirty minutes before I need to get out of bed. I don’t talk (or think or eat or do anything) until I’ve finished my first cup of coffee, and sometimes even the second. If it’s a weekend, I read in bed for a bit. On a work day I tend to review my schedule and skim a few news sites for interesting info to incorporate into lessons.
I’m slow to warm up.
For me, this goes beyond mornings. It means knowing what is coming far in advance. It means accepting homesickness a full year after a move. It means the first two miles of any run will always be the hardest.
We’ve adapted at home to try to negotiate this. I keep a color-coded Google calendar and I’ve only totally messed it up once in three years. Matt does an admirable job keeping me updated (why, God, won’t he just use the Google calendar?!) on any changes in his plans. We meet during Sunday night dinner and The Simpsons to talk about the upcoming week and review our meal plan. Colby accepts gracefully when he asks a question that I answer with “I’ll get back to you on that, okay?”.
It also means that I need to learn some new skills, as in, How to Deal When Something Comes Up and You Want to Totally Lose Your Shit.
Because life happens whether I’ve put it in the schedule or not. Games get canceled, plans change, kids come home sick and boy, there is nothing like a last-minute assembly and/or fire drill and/or lock down at work.
When I begin my runs, I start slow. I walk for a bit, jog for a bit, and hit my pace when I’m ready. If I’m training I reign those times in, but the setup stays the same. By the time my first two miles are over I feel like going another two. This is why the 13.1 is my favorite distance.
Two things have come from this realization:
1. I’ve been consistently running two milers. I figured if those were the hardest miles, those were the miles I needed to work on.
2. I’ve translated some warm-up activities into my life that help me deal with the unexpected.
I plan out my whole school year before it begins. I mark all scheduled holidays, teacher in-service days and the estimated weeks/months where testing shows up. I still won’t know a lot (field trips, sports games, flu season, pep rallies), but I’ve accounted for everything I can. I know what units come when with ?# assignments per unit. Two miles.
If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I begin and complete one short task: clear dishwasher, sweep, fold laundry, etc. Voila! I’ve accomplished something. Two miles.
I’m working on those two miles, friends. I enjoy the warm-up, whether it is the first two miles of a run or the first two hours of a Tuesday, but it would be so nice to enter fully into everything just a little bit sooner.
I’m not looking to jinx myself, but the living really is pretty easy.
I’m sitting under my $34.99 Christmas Tree Shoppe umbrella and sweating through every stitch of clothing I have on.
This is not a complaint. It’s just fact.
But also, it is so hot and sunny that I have to sit under the umbrella or hide inside with the air conditioner on and the blinds drawn. That, my friends, is a miracle.
Matt and his father are framing out the space for the new barn floor, and it seems like every time they set aside a day to dusk-till-dawn work, it is a bazillion degrees out. I feel badly about this. We should be at camp (and by this I mean I want to be at camp and I want all of us to pick up and go and I feel the teeniest bit guilty that my tiny work ethic only kicks in only when it is raining or snowing, but really those are good times to lay around and read, too).
My flowers are blooming. Between the frequent appearance of a green John Deere and some helping hands and flowers appearing on my doorstep, it is easy to make the call that we have the best neighbors ever. We get annuals from one side, perennials from the other. As the annuals are blooming now, I’m operating under the assumption that the flowers will not still be in bloom for our September wedding. Oh, well. That’s what supermarket flowers are for. But look at our gardens now:
I just dropped my baby off at music camp (keep your band camp jokes to yourself, thanks. I can’t handle it!) for his first overnight camp. I realized, with every step I took, that it would be five measly years before I did this, moved him into a college dorm, for real. Holy Holy Holy Shit.
Colby and I did get a good dose of time together today; we waited in an hour’s worth of lines for registration, drove back and forth across campus, moved him into his dorm, met his roommate, had lunch, and sat through the full-group (kids – behave, parents – don’t worry) meeting. We simultaneously realized that we were about halfway through July. And then we didn’t mention it again. Please summer, just stay. Please kid-version of Colby, just stay.
This is what we’ve done so far this summer:
This week, more of the same. I have recipes for all of the above (up soon). Do any of you have chard/sturdy green recipes for me? I’m running out of ideas.
I feel like summer is a boulder rolling, rolling, rolling downhill and picking up speed. I want it to stop. STOP. Now. Thanks.
My wedding registry tells me there are 57 days left until the wedding. This means only 50 something days before school begins again. *sigh* I’m not physically ready for the wedding or spiritually ready for school.
I have Colby a grand total of six days in July. Six. That is not enough. I’m so happy that he has a chance to spend some time with his father, but. . . more on that later.
I am reading like a fiend. Check out my book list page. This is one of my favorite things about summer. Also – all of my reading and writing time counts, for me, as “professional development”. That’s what I tell my family anyway.
I am awaiting a lumber delivery as we speak. Matt and his father have been jacking and digging and mixing concrete and pulling up boards. I cannot wait for the barn to be finished and have Matt back. I’m sure he would rather be at camp instead of pulling boards in 90 degree weather too.
I have a list of recipes that are nearly ready to go up. We have been eating swiss chard, more swiss chard, and occasionally cereal.
I’m running again. We’ll get back to that.
I am officially enrolled on my local yoga studio‘s teacher training program. I’ve been waiting for this FOREVER. Like since I was 10 years old and pulled a yoga sequence article out of my mother’s Redbook. I’m dropping out of university to go to yoga school.
And now, I’m going outside because I cannot stand to see the sunshine without being directly in its path.
In fact, the past couple of weeks have been busier than usual. I’m feeling that itching from the inside of my soul, the one that says: it’s quiet time.
While I am a terribly social being, I need time to be home alone. It’s like my Miracle Grow.Without time alone I end up looking like sad, sad tomato plants. Yellow and withered at the edges, drooping, and begging for someone to just feed me already.
Colby and I (finally) arrived home today after an overnight trip to Portland to 1. pick up my wedding dress, 2. visit my aunt, uncle and cousin, and 3. welcome my parents home from Okinawa. It was a great trip, but by the time we hit 295 north I was done. Too much interaction, too much talking, not enough sleeping. I made a deal with Colby as we pulled into Bangor. “Ok”, I said, “We have chores to do, but how about we take an hour when we get home?”. He thought it was a great deal. And so we took an hour. He began watching Supernatural (his show du jour), and I settled in on the porch to read. Then I fell asleep, so we took another hour. I was enjoying the silence so much that I decided to let him continue while I cleaned up the house and unpacked. Another hour. I called him down for supper. I sent him back upstairs. Another hour.
I just let my kid watch four hours of television. And you know what? He’s still up there.
Mom’s gotta do what mom’s gotta do.
On the solo note though, what I MOST enjoy about being home alone is preparing a meal for myself. This post reminded me of just how important that time, and that meal, is.
This started as a way for me to deal with a transition night (when Colby would go with his father). I would pour a glass of wine and get cooking. It was meditative and purposeful and when I was done: delightful.
Back then it was always the same meal. Good angel hair (yes, there is a difference), scallops or shrimp in a garlic, butter, and white wine sauce. Fresh parsley. Ice water, wine, something sweet for dessert.
I’ve moved on now, but nothing brings me as much comfort as that old, faithful meal.
Some new meals:
Winter – small batch soups, grilled sandwiches, pastas
Summer – goat cheese and fresh tomatoes on hearty bread, new salads
Anytime – fruit, crackers and cheese; veggies, hummus and cheese
Do you cook for yourself? What do you make? It’s time to expand my meals for one file.
Goodnight, Friends. I need to peel my kiddo off the television now. xoxo.