For the past seven years Stephen and I have not had one trick-or-treater come to our door on Halloween. Nor will we have any trick-or-treaters once we move out to the ranch. Here in downtown Ukiah, businesses open their doors in the afternoon for kids to go trick-or-treating. We missed it last year because we were away–I can’t really remember where we were. And this year we chose not to go and instead went to Zoey’s Waldorf school to attend the “Enchanted Pumpkin Path.” You walk a path around the school where there are various vignettes set up. This year the vignettes told the story of Peter Pan. I assume they change the story every year. At the conclusion of each vignette, the actors handed out something to the kids. Zoey collected a honey stick, a Neverland map, a candle, a bell on a string, a bottle of bubbles, gold chocolate coins, and a thimble. It was an enjoyable alternative to trick-or-treating for candy.
Two more days left in this Write 31 Days writing challenge. I enjoy writing but the thought of having to publish a post everyday has felt more like a chore at times than something I look forward to. It might have something to do with the fact that I don’t write until the end of the day when the kids are in bed for the night, and really all I want to do is veg out–meaning doing something mindless like sit in front of the TV or read a book. I don’t really want to think of something interesting to write. I don’t think I’m going to be that blogger who publishes daily, and that’s okay with me. I imagine for some of you, you’ll be glad to stop getting messages daily in your inbox from me. It will also be nice to not have to write in the evenings to publish a post so that I can actually spend time with my husband because night time is the only time we really have to ourselves. So here’s to trying something and realizing it’s not working for me.
Other posts in the 31 Day series can be found here.
It’s Day 29 of the Write 31 Days writing challenge. I was reading this blog tag “20 Things You Might Not Know About Me” at Growing Up Herbal and thought it might be fun to do a blog post answering these questions. So here goes:
Question 1: How tall are you?
5’1” without shoes and maybe 5’2” with shoes?
Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?
My hidden talent is being able to touch my upper lip to the bottom of my nose. Go ahead, try it. We already established my husband and my dad cannot do it, but my mom and brother can.
Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?
I’m not sure I have one, but I would say I really like pretty blogs with pretty photographs.
Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?
Can’t think of one at the moment.
Question 5: What’s your favorite song?
So many to choose from. The one song I like to get up and dance to when no one is around–“In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel.
Question 6: What’s your favorite Etsy shop that isn’t yours?
I’ve shopped Etsy a few times, but I don’t have a favorite.
Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?
Reading a book or writing.
Question 8: What’s your favorite junk food?
Can’t really have that anymore, but if I could eat anything I’d eat a big bowl of buttery popcorn with lots of salt.
Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?
No pets yet until we move out to the ranch. We plan to get a barn cat to keep the mice in check and a ranch dog. No names picked out yet.
Question 10: What are your number one favorite nonfiction and fiction books?
My all time favorite fiction books would have to be the Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery. I read them as a young teenager but I could read them now over and over again and still love them. My favorite nonfiction book that pops into my mind at the moment is Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.
Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product?
I love Ann Marie Gianni facial cleanser, facial oil, and honey coconut mask. Her products can be found here.
Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?
It was the night I had to do the Yale presentation at Ukiah High School. Turns out I represented the only private college there. The other schools were community colleges or in-state schools. The parents seemed to laugh when I informed them that the annual tuition rate is $63, 000.
Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Herbal tea. Currently I am drinking a ton of rooibos tea because it’s been shown to reduce inflammation caused by colitis in animal studies.
Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?
Hard to choose just one, but I usually say A River Runs Through It.
Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?
I guess I was a nerd? I was in one of those magnet programs (PACE) at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. All those labels were kind of lost on me in high school.
Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I’d like to go live in Capri. Stephen and I went there for a day with our REI hiking tour group.
Question 17: PC or Mac?
Macbook that is maybe 6 years old.
Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?
The one I always love is the back rub. Especially now because my back really hurts. I think I pulled a muscle from carrying Zane around so much.
Question 19: Favorite celebrity?
Can’t really pick one. Nobody pops into my head at the moment.
Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?
It would have to be Ree Drummond–The Pioneer Woman. She was the first blog I started reading, and I’d love to pick her brain about what the initial years were like for her when she moved to her husband’s ranch.
I’ve been thinking lately about the first two lines of Ellen Bass’ poem “If You Knew.” The lines are, What if you knew you’d be the last/ to touch someone? I go about my day most days and don’t pay much attention to how I am touching Zane, Zoey, or Stephen. Some days I am so absent-minded I even forget if I’ve kissed my husband goodbye in the morning. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately at night during the stressful time of trying to get Zoey and Zane into bed–when they cry and won’t go to sleep, and I’m tired and just want to go to bed. I know I’m not being the best mother to them. I get grumpy and frustrated. And then I sit here and think what if I was the last to touch them? I want them to feel safe and loved. Do they feel that when I have so very little patience with them at night? I want to believe that the good times cancel out the bad, that the times I am patient with them cancel out the times I’m not, that they will feel my love despite my crankiness sometimes. I guess we’ll have to wait 20 years and ask them how much damage I did after all.
Yesterday when I wrote and asked for suggestions for a name to call our guest house–I forgot Stephen already came up with a name. So here it is–“Buckeye Bunkhouse.” And for the main house once it is built–“Jacaranda Lodge.” Good use of our kids’ middle names, don’t you think? I think we still need a good name for our ranch though. Sometimes as we walk our property I start thinking about naming certain trees so when the kids get older they can say “We’re going over to our fort, ma” and I’ll know exactly where they are headed. Did you ever read any books by Lucy Maud Montgomery? She’s the author of Anne of Green Gables, but my favorite books of hers were the Emily series and Pat of Silver Bush. She always had her characters naming parts of the landscape where they lived.
Years ago when we had cable TV, I used to watch those shows on HGTV where they would remodel someone’s kitchen, bathroom, or living room. They always seemed to be putting on the finishing touches right up to the time that they revealed the remodeled room to the homeowners. Our move out of this rental home date is November 15th. It’s around the corner, and I think Stephen and I are feeling the unspoken anxiety about whether or not the house will be finished in time. If you think of a name we could call our guest house besides the boring name “guest house” that might be fitting, let us know in the comments below.
The bathtub wall still needs to be tiled. We had to fire the first guy we hired after he took six cigarette breaks the first day and left in the early afternoon with very little work done.
Stephen put our bathroom sink in today, but it was after the kids and I left so I didn’t get a photo of it. The toilet should be going in within the week. Currently it is sitting in Zoey and Zane’s room, the one room I didn’t take a photo of.
Did you ever read the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett? I imagine it might look like the above photograph of the garden at Campovida in Hopland. We went there this morning to attend their “Enchanted Garden” activity for kids. There was a misprint of the time of the event, so we arrived an hour late. It turned out all right though because our friends arrived late, too which meant we were able to meander through the gardens on our own without a crowd. We had perfect fall weather–it was cool and we had a light rain falling on us with bursts of sun every now and then. We picked a few grapes off the vine and had a raisin or two. Zoey was wearing her “butterfly fairy” costume. She forgot her magic wand at home, but thankfully wasn’t too upset about leaving it behind.
In less than a month we’ll be moving into our new house on the ranch. We’re slowly going room to room trying to figure out what we’d like to keep and what we’d like to give away. When we moved from Pasadena to Carmel, we had boxes stacked up on our hearth that we never opened the entire year we lived there. We have a few boxes here in our rental house that we haven’t opened up either. As I look around at all our stuff, I keep thinking I just want to be surrounded by objects I love. I don’t want to keep moving boxes of stuff we’ll never use in a year or that doesn’t make me smile when I see it. For example, this is the orange teapot I got for my birthday. I drink tea daily, and I’ve been heating my water in the microwave for about two years now. I missed having a pretty tea kettle on the stovetop.
When I was in college my room always looked so sparse compared to other classmates’ rooms. My junior year my friends noticed a chair that was deposited beside the dumpster below my window, and they helped carry it upstairs to my room so they could have a chair to sit in when they came over to visit me. When I was living in Ventura when I met Stephen, my apartment was pretty sparse then, too. I didn’t have a lot of furniture. I didn’t even have a TV. But it was calming to me to have more open spaces in the rooms I lived in. The more cluttered my house is, the more agitated I feel. Why is it so hard though to let go of things that we really don’t like anyway?
I’m going to Ukiah High School tonight for their College Night to give a presentation on Yale. Originally I thought I would just have to sit at a table and give out Yale brochures and answer student questions one-on-one, but then I found out late last week that if I was still willing to volunteer my time I would be giving a 35 minute presentation during three breakout sessions. Ten or fifteen years ago I would have had a panic attack, but I think I’ll be okay tonight. That’s the beauty of age, isn’t it? The things that scared you when you were younger don’t seem quite as scary as you age.
Next year in May is my 15th reunion from Yale. Stephen and I went to my 10 year reunion before we headed off to New York and then Italy for our REI hiking the volcanoes in Italy trip. Those days before children. I can’t remember who said this to me once that it feels odd sometimes when people in one circle of your life enter another circle of your life where the two circles are usually separate and never meet. It felt a bit odd like that when Stephen came with me to visit Yale. I have a feeling it may feel a bit odd tonight when I give the Yale presentation. When I’m here in California it feels like a whole other world over there on the East Coast.
I sat down forty minutes ago to write. My laptop’s battery is down to 20%-time to plug it in the outlet by the stove where I’ll stand and type some more as Zoey calls to me from the bedroom for the 20th time to tell me she has to pee. Although last time it was, “Mommy, I have to pee and poop.” I remind her that she already pooped at the restaurant tonight. We went out to eat for my birthday dinner because I forgot to defrost the bacon for the Beef, Bacon, Kale Meatballs I was going to make. Remember the mess I was talking about yesterday? This is the mess. This is imperfection butting its head into my desire to write a decent blog post tonight. And all I could do was laugh when she says to me, “No mommy, I went baby poop at the restaurant, now I need to do mommy poop.”
Today I turned 37. Awhile back I had listened to Krista Tippett’s podcast with the social psychologist from Harvard University, Ellen Langer talk about her research on mindfulness. I was reminded today of that podcast because of the article in the New York Times today, What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set. I grew up with two parents who often told me they felt like teenagers inside despite each birthday that would come and go. I feel no different. It was very apparent to me two weekends ago when I was on my own–not in the role of mother or wife. I felt like that younger 20 something year old girl who was single, and I have to admit a little fear crept in. For some reason it seems easier for me to be my braver self when I have little ones to be responsible for or when I’m in partnership with my husband. There is comfort in knowing he’s by my side. What intrigues me about Ellen Langer’s research is summed up by this line in the NY Times article, “If people could learn to be mindful and always perceive the choices available to them, Langer says, they would fulfill their potential and improve their health.” Having worked in hospice, I don’t think I will ever see my age as “old” because I know how young 37 is in the span of a long life. But the thinking I do need to change in a more positive direction is how I think about my health and this ulcerative colitis. I live my life daily thinking about it and the food choices I make. Today I ate carrot cake for my birthday–obviously not on the AIP diet. Could the way I think about my health really change what is happening on the inside of my body? I’d like to think so.