Sunday, November 28, 2010

Favorite Trees

I have almost always had a favorite tree. I am not sure why, but at some point I grew an affinity for a tree (that has since been cut down) right outside my bedroom window. I would take pictures of it as it changed through out the seasons. I would look at it and think about whether I should date the skater boy with the brown hair or the one with the red. I would listen to Love Phones on Z100 and think about what I would do if I were in THAT situation. I would always look at it before shutting my blinds to change out of my towel. I really must have looked at it every day.

I loved that tree and watched it intently. The most exciting day for that tree was when the rain came down so fast one frigid winter evening that it froze right on the branches and weighed them down so they stretched soo far and wide, it looked like they would just crack. But they didn't. I am sure the structure of the tree changed, but it did not crack. Totally impressed. I picked a good tree to like.

I have some new trees that I like. While walking to school, Calvin and I walk past what has been one of my favorite trees in the neighborhood even before we owned this house we are in. We were mere renters. I didn't know this tree would become the one (thinking about it now, it is really more of a bush). But I do really like this tree.

It has been there the whole time (what an exact measurement). I don't think anyone can say the same for much else.

My son has made note of my tree love and remembered that I now have 2 favorite trees to note. There is a small weeping willow a few houses down that we walk past. I did mention one time that it was a favorite (especially in the fall) and he responded with, "Now you have 2 favorite trees!"

My realization: He is keeping track and adding 1+1 correctly. Amazing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tough Girl

A few weeks ago, in deciding when my husband would venture to the West for some needed family time, I thought immediately, "Thanksgiving" and told him that was when he should go.

I thought, "Only 2 and a half days of child care," I thought, "He will be able to enjoy everyone since the convening will happen for sure and he can soak in everyone at the same time," I thought, "Maximize the amount of time," and I thought, "We have those travel points, right? Just do it."

I thought differently than I do right now.

It's like when I was younger. I thought soo (that's right, an extra 'o') differently than I do right now.

The older I get, the more emotionally vulnerable I become. I did not think that was part of growing up.

I was able to handle six weeks of husband-lessness at 24. Why is it that 6 years later, 4 days without his prickly beard and I am tapped out?

It is not the fact that I have 2 kids. They have been wonderful.

It's me.

I need my husband.

I have this compulsion to want to build our unit more and to stay so insular. At 3:45a when I woke this Thanksgiving morning and made my way to the commode for that nightly ritual, I thought, "I would have Thanksgiving with just the 4 of us and no one else."

What kind of daughter would say that? I love my mom. I love my sisters and brothers. We all live within and hour of each other. Who am I?

I have become a wife and a mother. My husband and my kids are what everything is for. I have never needed them like this, but they are who I want to serve. They are who matter most.

And my husband is at the top of my list. Thank goodness he left some of his PJs behind.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Re-assimilation Not Complete

Sometimes I become homesick for Turkey. I have not thought about my feelings long enough to decide whether it is for Turkey or for the "other" life that seems so much cooler now that we left it.

That distinction does not necessarily make it any cooler, but it just seems like it was since we came back to what we left and some days it seems like nothing has changed. And that wasn't what we were going for.

Of course things have changed. Of course. Time has passed, so things must have changed. But the outcome of our lives is right where we left it and in many ways how I would have expected it had we never left. But we did leave.

Sometimes I think, too, that maybe our life would be the same but easier had we never left. I imagine it is the same thought process people go through when they think about the child they had too early or the child they never thought they would have. Was it the right time? Could it have been better planned? Should we have even done it? (I hope most people don't really consider that last one).

I found myself glued to the computer screen, searching for new "footage" of the place we left. I was trying to hold onto something that doesn't exist anymore. And it doesn't exist because we wanted what we have now.

The romanticism of living abroad is so alluring, but it is so not for us. I loved the travel planning and the packing an unpacking of bags and the airplane flying and "other" language speaking and food eating. I loved the strong relationships that come out of such adversity: trying to live somewhere where you don't really fit and will never really understand.

I still love all those things. I still wish they could exist in our lives. But alas we are Americans. Bound to our culture by all that land that Lewis and Clark helped appropriate.

It is hard to just be. But I'm working on it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Driver's Driver

We drive a lot in NJ. I think about it a lot and there are such specific things I look at as I drive to those routine places we always go: to grandma's, to the beach, to and from our home, and of course grocery shopping.

I love looking under the Rte 27 bridge in Highland Park which I wrote about previously here.

But I also have these other things. Like this one sign on Plainfield Ave in Edison is in front of an older looking Victorian house. It is a picture of an old time film camera for talkies and it has a name underneath, but there is nothing that looks like any movie would be shot, produced, edited, or even viewed in the structure it is in front of. I always wonder whether someone has a failed videography business inside. Or maybe it is booming and the owner is just thrifty.

I also look at the pedestrian bridge spanning Rte 18 near St. Thomas the Apostle church. My eyes always follow it and sometimes I get distracted and follow it up so much that I forget I am on the road. I always use this bridge as the bridge I think about when I think of people throwing things off of bridges at cars (horrible thought, but totally the bridge that pops into view when it comes up). I also think about the handful of times I crossed it (or maybe just once), and I can't really remember what the reason was (solidifying that it was probably just one occurrence just to see if I could get across). In NJ these bridges always interest me, because I wonder, since everyone is in cars, who uses these things? I guess, secretly, I am always trying to catch a glimpse of someone pitter pattering across.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

House of Love

Tonight my house is seething with it.

I just put my oldest son to bed, and he was asking questions about whether or not we were staying here, in this house. His room is a bit smaller than our last apartment, and it doesn't have his brother in it and it doesn't have new paint. I think he likes his old house better and maybe even the "different" house too.

When he was asking about whether we were staying here or not, it was a bit difficult explaining that we were going to rent out the other portion of the house to other people and I tried to explain it simply. He decided to tell me where everyone was going to stay, and, sorry Calvin's friends' moms, but you guys are staying in your cars. And Aimee, your friends are staying in the backyard next to my friends.

After saying prayers and thanking Heavenly Father for such a wonderful day today with my son, I walked passed the door that leads to the first floor where "other" people will be living in a few weeks and I heard working. Lots of unrecognizable bangs and bops. It was the sweetest sound two men have ever made. I love hearing people working, but I especially love hearing my husband work with his father.

It is like a long tradition passed down that men do. They work with each other. And to have two men so close in their genetic make-up working in such close proximity. It is just like a hot cup of hot chocolate (so what if I have used that simile before). Like a sweet sweet cup of hot chocolate after being out in the snow all day.

I am so glad I get to hear it a few more weeks.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Me and the Machine

What kind of woman takes apart a washing machine and replaces a broken Drive Motor Coupler?

This kind, that's who.

Today, I conquered the at home repair. I had a load of laundry that just wouldn't spin and I stared at the machine and stared at my hands and said, "We can do this."

And it's done.

With a little help from google and some input from my dad and a little muscle on a few "clips" from Pete and advice from Pete's dad on how to also change the valve that the washer hose is connected to (that Pete actually changed)...I did it. Me.

I can now return to happily watching my washer twirl and twirl until all the water is sucked out of the clothes. What a charmed life I live.

Sorry -- no pictures of me sweating on the floor, with wood chips stuck to my knees while trying to pry the clip back into position over the motor. And no pictures of me setting and resetting the "shell" (that's what they call the whole of the body of the machine - the white part) back onto the washer.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The House

The house is developing and changing. It is like a baby, it is like a different house everyday.