A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Life as Pictures: Catching Up

I’m trying to prioritize things. I have a lengthy list of items that I consider important, but I have absolutely no hope of getting to all of it. It’s a little sad because I feel that if I were generally functioning better, I’d get to all of it. Most days I opt to be lazy while completing whatever meager task.

I write…then I don’t…then I write again. Interestingly, it hasn’t been a record amount of time since I last published here, but I know I’m simultaneously months overdue. So, this is me smooshing all kinds of things that I’ve wanted to mention together, but can’t otherwise figure out how to keep a consistent running record of my life.

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(Top image description: (Maybe) a 1940s era ammunitions bunker. Trapezoid cement face with the rest going into a hill. Trees on it and surrounding it. Leaves on the ground. Rusted steel door with bars and some kind of steel box welded on it. Five relatively narrow leaf covered stairs to the right. A leaf covered cement platform in front of the door and to the right of the stairs.)

(Bottom image description: Leaf covered trail heading into the distance through a tunnel of leafless trees and evergreens. Some trees have fallen on both sides of the trail. (Maybe) 1940s era munition trapezoid bunker with a cement face on the left toward the back of the image. The front is visible, but the rest goes into a hill trees on it.)

We took a walk into a nature preserve Thanksgiving week. It was a beautiful, crisp day. I haven’t been to this place for years…funny how the time goes. There are these cool structures that were used as a munition bunker during one of the World Wars, I think. Somewhere there is one that is set-up to show us nature travelers what they looked like when they were in use. I’m bummed that I have no idea where it is. I’m so curious it’s killing me. My husband was lovingly mocking me for stopping so frequently to take some kind of picture, but how can I not? These things are fucking cool.

And as we were walking, Warrior Queen was complaining that she wanted to go home…because that’s her shtick no matter what’s going on or how desperately she wanted to go to a place. And in between complaining she was snuggling and asking me and my husband to hold her hands and swing her. Ms. Feisty is in the eighty-somethingith height percentile. I…am not. She’s really getting much too tall at five-and-a-half for this exercise, but she loves it so much, so she just has to ask with her little polite plea, and my husband and I knuckle under. Every time.

Seven-and-a-half Mr. Man was miserable because he’s my kid and would also prefer to have his default be pasty white no matter the season. He’d lag behind asking the walker version of, “Are we there yet?” and bumping into my side. That was the cue for him to grab my wrist and pull it around his neck…Little Man loves the snuggles when he’s miserable. It’s now February. He’s sick with a cold and feeling okay, I suppose, but that didn’t stop him from climbing on my lap while watching television the other evening. I’ll probably get whatever he has, but I really can’t resist a good snuggle.

(Image description: (Maybe) 1940s era munitions bunker with a trapezoid cement face with graffiti. The rest goes into a hill. Surrounded by trees with several fallen trees in the front left of the picture. A trail leading up to the front, but it curves out to the right before curving back to the door. The coloring of the image itself has been edited by a phone where it’s a darker picture seemingly how a horror movie might be promoted.)

I couldn’t help myself. I was bored at some point and looking through the fancy smancy photo effects on my phone. I haven’t done it since I got it. I absolutely couldn’t resist the horror movie-esque…whatever this is. It makes me look so creative and impressive!

(Top image description: Snow covered trail, but only a thin layer of the snow. The back of a man in the center of the trail. The back of a little girl on the right and the back of a little boy on the left holding a walking stick in his right hand. All three wearing boots and winter gear. The trail is surrounded by trees.)

(Bottom image description: Snow covered trail, but only a thin layer of the snow. The back of a man in the center of the trail. The back of a little girl on the right who is squatting down and the back of a little boy on the left. All three wearing boots and winter gear. The trail is surrounded by trees.)

Same weekend we took another walk around our neighborhood area. Warrior Queen requested to take this walk; subsequently complaining of wanting to return home within five minutes. It was a musical round of complaining cats between her and her brother. We had to force him to leave the house. We have about fifty-fifty efficacy doing so. Much of the time he flat out refuses, and it’s not worth the argument. Probably the most convincing I’ve ever been with him is to discuss the importance of Vitamin D and the role the sun has on this important nutrient. But sometimes even medical/body stuff doesn’t sway him.

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This is a disjointed post. I can tell already, but it is what it is. I figure it’s better to roll with the breaks than to try to squeeze this into a single, cohesive piece.

I was up early this morning…like four in the morning early. It’s what happens when I sleep through the night and wake-up at that time. In order to fall asleep in the first place I have to exhaust myself physically and my antipsychotic is taken at night, serving as a kind of sedative. But if I have an overnight like the last one, my brain is too active to settle back down. I’m tired, but not enough. There are certain things I love about the early hour, though. The house is quiet. I get to read and see the slow glow of a sunrise. This morning I looked out the window of our office. It’s a thick, snowy scape surrounded by trees and the early morning sun peaking through. I love that. I want to note it, so that I’ll remember it again when I go back and read through my posts at some point.

(Image description: A kitchen table with various items in the background. A cut-off book on the left angled through much of the picture. The book is Children of Blood and Bone. There is a white plastic crochet hook on it. On the right there is a partial of a small plate with a green and black border holding chocolate chips. In the back of the picture is a large Disney mug of tea with the handle on the right.)

I’m in my first book group. I’d never wanted to join one for a variety of probably silly reasons. I enjoy being social, but that kind of social made me nervous. Combined with having to find the location of someone’s house, along with the pressures of having to finish a book each month. I don’t know. I just never wanted to participate in one…not that I was asked. I suppose the more accurate term is that I didn’t care to seek something like this out. A few months ago a kind of acquaintance that I probably harass with random and annoying comments periodically, invited me to her own kind of book group. I like this one because the books are written by people from marginalized groups. I’ll soon be starting my own remote prison book discussion program, so I appreciate the opportunity to read books that I’d like to use. I have the same ambitions with what I’ll be running.

It’s been going on a few months now. I was asked if I had any book recommendations…never ask me a question because I tend to overdo my response. This was no exception…like I said, probably harassing and annoying comments. I’m not so great with my social skills, so I always feel backfooted with things. I try to reign myself in, but I’m not very effective at it. Consequently I’m perpetually in extra territory, and I feel uncomfortable about it. I’m middle-aged now, so I’m pretty sure this is just me. I’m destined to be an awkward person who (fortunately) seeks the company of other awkward people. I can laugh about it among my people, but when the circle is widened, I get anxious. Anyway. The books I’ve read so far have been really good. I managed to update my book list with a few…go me. I had an oopsie this month, though. I read the March book by mistake, so this week has been a mad dash to read the February one. I might finish it by tomorrow when we meet, but at least I’m enough into it to be able to contribute in a reasonable way. It’s strange though. This is my only real social thing I do…the only thing I’ve done for years now. I usually get a lift when I sign-off after the group meets. I hadn’t expected that.

(Image description: A colorful striped crochet afghan project close up to the stitches. The perspective is with the afghan flowing down to a pile from a lap to the floor. Some of the wood floor is visible on the right of the picture.)

In other news the afghan that’s kept me company for a deceiving couple of years now is almost finished. I’ve squared it off (I think) successfully. There is a whole section of pleating where I messed up. I’m not sure how, but it looks like I did it on purpose because of my mad crochet skills. So, I’m on the last color. Once I use up the final skein, along with some quick clean-up of strands, it will be done. I’m a little sad about it. It’s giving me some comfort imagining the moment I gift it to the people who populate its new homestead. I have a vague idea of what my next afghan will be. I think I’ll do another granny square-esque style, only square. The round turned out to be a massive pain in the ass trying to figure out how to square it off and what to do with the increases. I’ve learned some hard earned lessons, but it’s time to move on to a different design. That’s part of the charm of a new project. This one was entirely double crochet. I might try for squares that have a few different types of rows that I can repeat throughout…make it interesting with my signature random color combinations.

(Image description: A large colorful striped afghan taking up almost the entirety of a small room. The afghan has rings of various thickness with pleating in the middle. The back left of the picture has backpacks for scale. There is white carpet and the bottom of windows along the back of the room.)

This is several rows shy of the end. I have three more thinner bands of color after the pink above…then the gray square-off…this thing is huge. I’ve run out of room to stretch it out at this point. I say this took me a couple of years, but midway through I didn’t touch this it for months and months.

(Image description: Close up to the stitches of a colorful afghan project. the project itself is piled on top of itself, so it isn’t clear what the stripes would look like if it was spread out.)

It’s totally normal to have a plethora of “artistic” afghan-in-progress pictures, right? Some people can find millions of baby pictures with an assortment of, “what is this rash” ones. I play with afghan angles…

(Image description: Close up to the stitches of a colorful afghan project. the project itself is piled on top of itself, so it isn’t clear what the stripes would look like if it was spread out. The top is shadowed, so it has a kind of crocheted tunnel look to it. the top is also blurred while the bottom of the picture has a clear visual of the individual stitches.)

I also revisited my old, maybe original, art love…beading. Little Man busted a collection of shiny beads I bought him. He’s always partial to treasures, though less so now. Suddenly he wanted this string of sparkly to be made into something he could wear…okay. I dug out my bead collection because a mom likes to makes things fancy and harder work than a project needs to be.

(Top image description: A beaded necklace on a light wood table. There are round multi-colored crystal-like beads with hematite discs in between. The necklace has four sets of silver and goad “shell” bells.)

(Bottom image description: A boy from the chin to his lower chest wearing a long beaded necklace. He is wearing a blue and green plaid flannel with a green “Pirate Life/ St. Lucia” t-shirt with a scull and crossbones. The words are in a goldish-brown. The scull is white with brown bones behind it and wearing a red bandana.)

He was excited because he was able to choose bells for his necklace. He doesn’t wear it. Instead it sits on his night stand table as though it’s a presentation of sorts. Of course, Warrior Queen must have a necklace as well. Alas my collection doesn’t include things that are to her taste, but she seemed to like what I made her okay, even if it’s languishing on our kitchen counter.

(Image description: Various shapes, colors, and types of beads on a necklace. Most of the colors are in the neighborhood of golds, reds, and yellows. Some blue and black, but not a lot. Green cloth spread out underneath the necklace. The photo blurs toward the back.)

My kids are artistic as well. I like taking pictures of their work…for posterity.

Warrior Queen created a fairly accurate Pete the Cat.

(Image description: A child drawing of the head of Pete the Cat. Eyes and small triangular nose, whiskers. the face is in a box with three horizontal lines below.)

(Image description: Child watercolor of the eyes and mouth of a monster. A thin black line in the center partitions blue on the top half and purple on the bottom. Two big eyes in the middle of the paper. Round white circles with black solid spots for pupils. Three hairs going up from the center that gives the monster a kind of furrowed expression. There is a mouth with sharp triangular teeth going diagonally down from right to left in the middle of the purple section.)

(Image description: Child watercolor painting. Blue on the top right corner down to midway down the right side. Green covering the remaining background. In the middle is a red leaf rubbing that might be crayon.)

Mr. Man was only managing scribbles a year ago, but suddenly has had some truly impressive artwork. My fierce girl has always been crafty, loving color and playing with materials to make something bold and beautiful. My son never had such an interest or inclination, but now is able to follow all kinds of directions and produce some really skilled drawings and such. Some kind of switch flipped that I can’t explain. Maybe it’s because I’m more or less crafty and can kind of draw when I’m pressed, and on my mom’s side are a bunch of artist-like skills in various forms. Whatever the reason, he will bustle in from a school day insisting that I look at all of his school work for the day and whatever art piece he created. He’s especially interested in what I think of his artwork and drawings. Once I’ve taken a picture and raved about it, he stops caring about the piece. It sadly ends up destroyed in some way or drawn over…thank the heavens for smartphones with instantly wonderful picture capability. Warrior Queen, on the other hand is the junkman from the shtetel. She will never get rid of anything regardless if it’s technically trash or something that at one point was worth keeping. She hordes it all and schleps it upstairs every evening and back downstairs in the morning.

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(Image description: Unevenly cut and overlapping messy cut-outs of various food from grocery circulars on a table.)

Warrior Queen has this new game she plays. It’s very creative…as she is. The gist is that she has a store and she tends to me as the entrepreneur of the establishment helping me find food items for a party. She carefully fans out a seemingly endless number of grocery store circular cutouts on which I am to make my decisions. The feisty one has a real knack for creative play. Recently the play has become a kind of dramatic performance. Sometimes I’m the audience, and other times I’m some kind of participant. Her language skills are particularly advanced, so she has this whole thing she does with detailed scenarios and whatnot. Often there is some kind of complicated problem or mystery that she is charged to address, so she uses me as a kind of sounding board and we problem solve together. One of her “stuffies” or Barbies…because she’s suddenly become interested in them…not baby dolls, but fashionista “Barbie” characters that she gives creative names like “beautiful.” It’s always the Black dolls that are named beautiful or lovely, which makes me very happy. The White ones are given generic ones like Elsa or whatever random cartoon character that is apparently interchangeable. But, I digress. One of her toy characters will play a prank or will be trying to trick her. Others will be supporting her in her time of need, and they all team together to find something or stop the madness and trickery. But it’s not like a conversational thing. When I’m involved it’s a whole performance with exaggerated expressions and pantomime. It reminds me of my time in competitive speech in the Humorous Interpretation category.

As for my son, he’s on this whole game kick. Loves them…loves them. I in equal measures detest all games for a variety of reasons. My husband can’t stand playing with me because I’d only be less competitive if I were dead. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I feel guilty when I actually manage a good strategic move to the point where I offer to donate my points or whatever to other players. I can’t help it. The guilt gets to me. My husband and I have a running joke about it, but in all seriousness he looks ready to kill me in his frustration when we actually do end up playing some kind of game as an entire family.

Mr. Man is particularly invested in Monopoly. I really can’t stand Monopoly. I’m disabled on many fronts, but some of it is hefty learning issues…like with math…and processing in general. My memory is wonky, especially following my massive case of pulmonary embolism a couple of years ago. I find Monopoly particularly overwhelming and anxiety provoking. I have trouble processing what I should do…the math involved. I don’t really get what I’m supposed to do on a strategy front. One time I played with him, and I probably lost a year off my life from the stress of trying to figure out what decisions to make over the couple hours this experience entailed. Little Man is usually the banker, and he’s just fast with everything. He’s fast to compute and make decisions…totally wiped me out with his win…as he does with virtually everyone he plays with. It’s still a long game, though. Consequently, I absolutely refuse to play. I compromise with other games that are still stressful for me, but less so. It probably makes me a terrible parent that I won’t suck it up and do this for him, but it’s a line I had to draw for my own sanity.

(Image description: Blurred Monopoly board set-up with a game in progress. Fingers coming down from the top left. Money piles along the edge of the board closest to the camera. A few properties closest to the camera and after the line of money.)

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Transitioning to another topic…

I’m excited because it’s that time again for the lobby day that I returned to just prior to going into the hospital a couple of years ago. That year was at the state house, which is an amazing experience. This nonprofit does a fantastic job with it. Last year and this it will be online, which is a bummer, but they still do well with it. In the morning I’ll listen to various speakers about poverty and homelessness in my state, along with explanations of the various legislation this organization manages. In the afternoon I’m scheduled to meet with my State Senator…who knows me fairly well as I’m a very nudgy constituent. Not sure what’s happening with my State Rep. I like her well enough. She has a powerful position in the State Legislature. She mostly votes the way I like, but she tends to hold back from advocating for most morally just causes…even easy things for the state…like gun control. She’ll sit back and hedge public comments and advocating for causes. Not thrilled about that, but it could be worse…much worse. She has a new Chief-of-Staff in the last maybe six-months. He’s nice, but I’ve found the last two to be better with follow through. I might have to call him separately to schedule a meeting with my Rep for next week. I hope not. It’s more fun to be in the spirit of it all on the same day, even if it isn’t in-person, but I’ll take what I can get.

In the meantime, it’s just onward from where I was.

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