Unwound

4-ish, Sunday afternoon, end of a three day weekend. The house is clean, the shopping done. My clothes are laid out for tomorrow. Between now and when I go to bed all I have to do is make my lunch and ask Wayne (a.k.a. my human alarm clock) to get me up early enough to spend some time at the gym before work. It’s been a weekend, for sure.

I am finding myself in a place where I am not doing anywhere hear as much as I normally do. Mostly, I’m sleeping a lot and reading a ton. But I’m not getting much knitting done, I haven’t exercised since Thursday, I haven’t tracked my food, I’ve been eating like I’m carrying sextuplets and they’re all destined to become sumo wrestlers. There have been times in my life where this combination of things represented a real problem, a need to get my meds adjusted or the beginning of a slow roll downward into one of those nasty depressions. But I feel okay, actually I feel pretty good. I’ve made the decision not to worry.

Some things that have happened this weekend:

  • I watched 5 Flights Up, loved it, cried so much I couldn’t knit.
  • I watched If I Stay with the Squirrel. I started out bashing how it wasn’t 100% accurate (I read the book not too long ago). But then… I loved it and cried so much I couldn’t knit. Seeing a theme here?
  • I watched the 2013 Carrie with the hubs & the Squirrel. I may have gotten a little snippety at all the questions – I was the only one in the room who had read the book and seen the original movie. It was okay and I’m glad I watched it. I didn’t cry. I got about 20 rows of the grandbaby’s blanket knitted.
  • I fixed my Goodreads account so it has my name on it and not Wayne’s (long story short, he got my Kindle for me as a birthday gift and it was pre-configured on his Amazon account…)
  • I finished Gangsterland, read Empire Falls, read Water for Elephants, worked on A History of Loneliness, started The Things They Carried. All of it amazing. It’s been a rather good reading week all in all.
  • I had a dream about a way to take feelings from one person and give them to another and started writing a story (book?) about it.

Tomorrow it’s back to the real world, the world of counting calories and eating salad, of sweating like a pig and not eating Edie’s Butterfinger, a world of the job that still feels new (and is still kicking my ass) and apps to build and meetings to attend and drama-attitudes-etc. Tomorrow is shoes that aren’t flip flops and no afternoon nap and answering emails. Tomorrow it’s being that other Karen, the one who isn’t told “That’s okay hon, just get your read on, I can take care of this myself.” Love that man.

Speaking of loving him, Tuesday is our first anniversary. I’ve purchased a suitable gift, one made of paper, that I really hope he loves. We both took the day off. We have a half-made plan to ride our bikes to Cambridge and split an order of seafood nachos at Jimmie & Sooks, then ride back. It would be about a 70 mile ride round trip so we would totally swing a second meal out – maybe Plaza? All I know for sure is that we’ll spend the whole day together, just like we did last year. I’m really looking forward to it. 🙂

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Intentions versus resolutions

Happy New Year! As an employee of a state University, I have had the awesome luck to have been off work since Christmas Eve. With all good luck comes bad luck, though, and my long and awesome stay-cation was greatly affected by a sinus infection, which seems to be almost gone now. Since tomorrow is a work day, I’m grateful that I have been feeling better for the past couple days. It’s also a great thing to start a new year on a high note, isn’t it?

To celebrate this new year, I put the Christmas decorations away and did my annual $20 redecoration of the living room, which consists of three yards of fabric, my sewing machine, and an afternoon. Last year, Wayne made me valance boxes, which I covered with some really cute red and black fabric. This year, through the magic of double-sided tape and a staple gun, I recovered them with some pretty gray and black fabric. Curtain tie-backs and new throw pillows complete the change. I love the feeling of newness, and I am particularly pleased that I found fabric that matches the lampshades I got a year or so ago.

We also started, in a slow and easy way, on remodeling the house. Our plan starts with the second floor. There’s a tiny room (my craft room before today), a large room (shared between Wayne’s daughters, again before today), and a weirdly shaped bathroom. We relocated the bedroom to the tiny room and turned the big room into my craft room and a storage room. The chimney is in the big room. Taking it down is the first big step of our remodel and when it starts coming down, the girls’ bedroom will be untouched. The relocation was a simple little thing we could do to start us on our path.

These small things, though, are discreet and complete in and of themselves. What will we do with the rest of the year?

I can tell you one thing we will not do: make resolutions.

I’ve been anti-resolution for a while now. A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something” (thanks, Google). When you add “New Year’s” into it, though, a resolution takes on greater significance; it becomes a promise we make to ourselves. According to statisticsbrain.net, the success rate for New Year’s resolutions is between 14 and 39%. That means that somewhere between 61 and 86% of resolutions fail. Personally, I like better odds when it comes to keeping a promise I make to myself.

So instead of resolutions, I choose intentions. I intend to continue my more healthy lifestyle, to do the Seagull Century again and beat last year’s time, to do the rewrites and edits on Handsome Prince Stephen and try to get it published traditionally, to apply for the MLS program at UMCP and accept the decision with grace, to stop letting other people determine where my emotional energy goes, and to give the knitting thing at the library a try. These intentions are like resolutions, with the simple exception that I am promising myself to try and not to succeed.

I’m currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love” (I know, I am all slow and whatnot) and this line resounded in my soul: “‘Liz, you must be very polite with yourself when you are learning something new.'” I love the idea of being polite with myself. I deserve to be treated with care, especially when I am trying to make myself into a better version of me. More than anything else, this year I intend to be polite with me.

Generations

I am guilty of not looking at myself.

I’m sure I am not the only one who focuses on one thing in the mirror. I’ll look to see if my shirt is making weird lumps under my skirt. I’ll check to see if I have made a big road bump on the top of my head when I pulled my hair back into a pony tail. I’ll study my teeth to see if I got all of the egg out from behind my wires. But I seldom just look.

A few days ago, Wayne and I were hanging out, doing our thing. I was reading a book on my Kindle and working on an afghan I’m making (slowly because I am an idiot when it comes to estimating how much yarn I need and I keep running out). He was doing school work on his computer. We do things like that often; sit in the same place but focus on different things. We interact but we are both fine with not fawning all over each other. Anyway! I must have come to a particularly good part because he said, “You’re beautiful, you know? Even more when you smile.” What a sweet and rather random thing for him to do. I thanked him, smiled more, and went back to what I was doing.

But later, I looked.

I stood in the bathroom and looked. And I’m still a bit amazed at what I saw.

I have my mother’s eyes. They are big and bright, just like hers. I have her cheekbones, hiding under my freckles, and her chin. Her face was my blueprint, and it’s no wonder I am still told how much I resemble her.

I have my father’s nose, in miniature. I have his high forehead. Sorry, Dad, but I am thankful the nose and ears did not come as a set. 🙂

But then I saw more. I saw my daughter’s smile. I had no idea she had my smile. I was guilty of smiling, then stopping, then smiling, again and again, just to see her in me.

I have my son’s inquisitive look. As I checked all of this out, I noticed my head tilting to the side, and there he was. It tamped down a bit on the longing I’ve been feeling to see him, and an equally strong feeling that I need to let him live his life and just let him know I am here.

I know, I was still focusing on pieces. But I stopped and really looked, at the whole of my face. I don’t see myself as beautiful and never will. I was guilty when I was younger in believing in my cuteness, after being told of it many times, but cute and beautiful are much different, and I am too old now to successfully carry off cute. I don’t have a word that I think describes the whole me, except that I am them. It’s more than my face, but I can see it there. I can see my mom and dad, I can see my kids. I am made up of parts of them, and they are beautiful. I think that is enough for me.