Words of others (because I don’t have any…yet)

I haven’t written much of anything in a really long time. And I’m not just not referring to the tumble weeds rolling around this joint. I’m still managing editor of the family section over at RVANews, but that’s more editing (as the title suggests) than writing–both by the nature of the job and by choice, really. I said so many things for so long that I just didn’t have anything to say. I needed to shut my yap for a while.

And it’s been good. Turning inward a bit and tempering my tendency to share all! the! things! has been positive all around. But lately I’ve been feeling the urge to write more. The only problem? I still don’t really have anything to say. When that happens, it’s usually best for me to read everything I can get my hands on. This practice can be both good and bad. Good: reading good things makes you want to write good things. Bad: reading good things makes you think you’ll never be able to write anything as good as that so why bother OH GOD WHAT AM I EVEN DOING HERE ON THIS PLANET.

I’m kind of dancing back and forth over the line of those two places write now, which isn’t such a bad place to be. Nervous energy, we’ll call it. I still don’t have anything to say, but I can feel it coming. And in the meantime, I’m soaking up the really great sentences other people have put together. I want to share some of them with you. Maybe you’re in a similar spot. If not, it’s always good to hear from people who can write the shit out of a thing. So here you go…

***

“And still tired from yesterday’s ranch work but cooking breakfast for us anyway, my mother is my mother and father and God, and my sister with her makeup and Jon Bon Jovi-in-a-leather-jacket poster is a teenager, and my sleepy-eyed brother is a boy, and I am a boy: tow-headed and loved, delighted by everything, confused by everything, growing right out of my hand-me-down blue jeans and hungry for the new day. “(from The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing Up on the Big Dry by Joe Wilkins)

***

“‘Hey, I like that in a girl. Look, if you don’t have a bad attitude and lots of things wrong with you, no serious person is going to be interested. If you feel scared, outraged, confused most of the time, come on over. Have a seat.’” (from Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott)

***

“We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as a microscopic electrical swarm. The lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.” (from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr)

***

“Shut your mouth; open your eyes and ears. Take in what is there and give no thought to what might have been there or what is somewhere else. That can come later, if it must come at all.” (from Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis)

***

“I didn’t know how to be in the world without her.” (from The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd)

***

“…and I want our hearts to be open. I just wrote that. I want our hearts to be open. I mean it.” (from The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison)

***

“And now, from beneath the audible, came a low reverberation. It came up through the soles of my feet. I stood still while it hummed upward bone by bone. There is no adequate simile. The pulse of the country worked through my body until I recognized it as music. As language. And the language ran everywhere inside me, like blood; and for feeling, it was as if through time I had been made of earth or mud or other insensate matter. Like a rhyme learned in antiquity a verse blazed to mind: O be quick, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet! And sure enough my soul leapt dancing inside my chest, and my feet sprang up and sped me forward, and the sense came to me of undergoing creation, as the land and the trees and the beasts of the orchard had done some long time before. And the pulse of the country came around me, as of voices lifted at great distance, and moved through me as I ran until the words came clear, and I sang with them a beautiful and curious chant.” (from Peace Like a River by Leif Enger)

31

I wasn’t too jazzed about the idea of turning 31. Well, not *not* jazzed–just basically neutral about it. I mean, it’s not exactly a milestone. As my brother put it, “Now, finally you can…um…have only 4 years to wait before you can run for president?”

But better to have a birthday than to not. And my only expectations were to have a nice day. No work, no chores–just eating and napping with my little man. All of those things did happen, but I also happened to wake up on my birthday to a lovely surprise.

You see, Ross only wore his wedding ring for about a year after we got married. He chose a band that just wasn’t very comfortable, so he stopped wearing it.

It never bothered me that he didn’t wear a ring, but, if given the choice, I would’ve liked him to. So when Ross asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I asked if he would consider wearing his wedding ring again–or at least *a* ring. He made some sort of non-committal noise and we didn’t really talk about it much after that.

But on Monday morning he gave me these:

Yeah, those are an Empire Strikes Back reference. And they are perfect and I love them and he promises to wear it always.

Best gift I’ve ever gotten. Best birthday ever.

I hate nature

So this happened:

We had a crazy storm on Monday and our part of town basically took a direct hit. Branches were down everywhere–including into the windshield of our car, as you can see from the photo above. The best part is, we were the only car on our street *not* parked under a tree.

It’s about as awesome as you can imagine, but it could be worse. We weren’t *in* the car when it happened, and our house was spared any damage. Another insane storm blew through last night and we only had a few sticks in our yard for that go-around.

The insurance adjuster came out on Tuesday. He was very nice and seemed to genuinely feel horrible about having to tell me that the car was totaled. I wasn’t exactly surprised–the car was nine years old and subsequently worth less than what it would’ve cost to fix damage to the roof and frame. But it was also wonderfully, gloriously paid off, so we’re looking at having to take on a car payment for the first time in six years. I would be lying if I said that thought didn’t make me want to throw up.

The whole process has sucked a lot–I think mostly because it was such a random event and there’s no one to blame for it. Money is going to be tight while we work to replenish our savings, but I realize we’re lucky to *have* savings to begin with. While this situation is unfortunate for us, it could be potentially devastating for someone else.

Still. It was sad to see the old girl go. She was very good to us for a long time.

The beach was swell (and re-entry is the pits)

Before I begin, I’d like us to take a moment of silence to officially mourn the end of our vacation in Hilton Head–a week of sun, naps, and (that most wonderful of wonders) grandparents who are willing to take the morning shift for six days straight.

Thank you.

***

Anyway, hey! It’s been a while. I bet you didn’t even know we WENT on vacation. Well we did. And it was awesome. I’m thoroughly exhausted, freckled, and hating the fact that we’re home. But I will say that I’m much more willing to return to life as it is now than what it looked like when I was working full-time. If that were still the case I probably would’ve spent yesterday’s eight(ish) ride back up to Richmond weeping and curled up in a ball on the floor of the car. Instead I just pouted a bit and clung desperately to the fact that at least the dogs are being boarded until Monday. Once I pick those (adorable!) jokers up, it’s all over.

Until then, I will stare at these pictures over and over. You should too.

He pretended to sleep for the first 15 minutes of the drive. Then he spent the rest of the time kicking the back of the driver’s seat.

Photo by his Mamaw. I was very much asleep when this was taken.

Swimming was his favorite. He’s still pretty nervous in the water, but I think we’ll have a little fishy by the end of the summer.

Freckles. All I get are freckles.

Mini golf was totally my favorite part of the trip. The kid had The Adorable turned up to 11.

First real ice cream on our last night in town.

***

Things look to be calming down a tiny bit for the summer, so I’m hoping to spend more time over here. I’ve missed you guys. What have you been up to?

Dearests

I know I’ve done nothing here but post videos and images and links, but it’s about all I can handle right now.

Here’s the thing: a couple days ago, I started to feel like maybe (JUST MAYBE) I was ready to start phasing out my meds. And then I immediately started to feel like I was coming unglued again. So that’s fun.

Anyway, I have a physical at the beginning of May, so I’m going to wait until then to talk about it with my doctor. Until then, I’m trying to cut myself some slack. I hope you will, too.

Thanks for your support, as always. And now I’ll leave you with this song. I’ve been listening to it a lot lately*. It is oh so sweet.

(I thought the drawings on this video were kind of adorable.)

*JR and I have also spent many a morning dancing in the kitchen to this song–maybe my most favorite song in the whole world?)

Whisper whisper

The other day I needed to call our insurance broker to answer a few questions before we submit applications to a new health insurance company. His assistant need to know the dates around JR’s kidney situation and how long I’ve been on my various medications.

(You see, Ross is a robot and basically has no medical history/ailments. And he doesn’t have enough bandwidth to hold such data.)

I got her on the phone and gave her a brief history of JR’s kidney non-issue and told her when I started back on birth control, the two of us chatting away–your typical pleasant conversation.

And then she paused. Notably.

“Ok, hun. Now I need to ask you about…you know?

“…what, exactly?”

“Your…condition.”

“My condition.”

“Your **depression**, dear.”

[VAL SMASH]

I know she was just trying to be sensitive, but I got off the phone pretty frustrated. Sure, I realize lots of people don’t feel comfortable yammering on about being depressed, but there’s no need to treat it like some deep, dark secret that must be hidden. No wonder there’s a stigma. Make people feel like lepers and they’re probably not going to want to be open about their struggles with this condition, despite the fact that it affects 19 million (as in 19,000,000) people in this country alone.

On the bright side of things, the conversation reminded me of this scene from Brighton Beach Memoirs. And it’s always nice to think about Neil Simon.

The way I love you

I know it’s been nothing but videos and photos up in here lately, but, well, I’m just being kind of lazy these days. AND LOVIN’ IT.

I wanted to share this video with all of you because it is fantastic and will make you cry ugly-yet-happy tears. And then you’ll go and hold your babies so very tight because, oh my, how time is cruelly and wonderfully fleeting. Also: why did I never learn to play the guitar and then become a beautiful singer with a wonderful voice and an ethereal quality bystanders cannot help but love?

(Thanks to Patience for posting this last week and to The Checkout Girl for telling her about it.)

In related news, I’ve got a piece going up on RVANews tomorrow (Tuesday) about the lullabys (lullabyes?) I sing to JR. I so wish I could go back in time and sing this song to the baby version of him. Anyway, keep an eye out for it…and make sure to leave a comment sharing your favorite baby-lulling tunes.