My Selfish Heart

Last week my husband had me convinced we would be moving to San Diego. He had applied for a job and had been contacted about coming down to take a test to be moved along to the interview stage. He booked plane tickets. He made a list of what to pack. He started looking at apartments on Craigslist. I woke up with my teeth clenched together so hard that my jaw still aches.

When we moved to Maine 6 years ago, the deal was that if, after 2 years, Mike didn’t like it, I would be open to moving somewhere else. Mike is from San Diego and has been pretty homesick lately. His mom came to visit and suddenly he was reminiscing about the good old days and he wanted to move. I really don’t want to leave Maine. But a deal’s a deal. I’ll do it. I won’t like it, but I’ll go.

My reasons to stay in Maine are purely selfish. I grew up on the east coast. I like the change of the seasons. I like being able to drive through multiple states in a few hours if I feel like it. I love my house, my yard, being able to stay home with my kids, living somewhere that is so uncrowded that I can drive around, even at rush hour, and never get frustrated. I like having the privacy of living in a house. I like having a washer and dryer. I like that we live in a semi-small community where people know each other. If I move to California, we’ll have to live in an apartment. I’ll have to go to the laundromat to wash our clothes. Chase will go into daycare because I’ll have to work outside the home to keep up with the huge cost of living increase. Like I said, all selfish reasons. I kept my mouth shut when Mike gushed about how excited he was. I was prepared to move.

I didn’t sleep that night. I tossed and turned all night thinking of all the work involved in moving, especially now that we own a home. The next day I was cranky from no sleep and an overworked brain. Mike called me from work. He had cancelled the plane tickets. He wasn’t going to go for the job. I swear, I said a silent prayer of thanks in my selfish, selfish heart. He too lay awake all night thinking about moving. He realized how much he likes our life here and that the only real pull for him was living near his family. I can’t even tell you how happy I am that he came to that realization and that he came to it on his own.

Now my selfish heart and I can sit back and enjoy Autumn in Maine. While I drink my Pumpkin Spice coffee from Dunkies and listen to my washer and dryer do their thang.

Purple Soup

Yep, that’s right. I made purple soup last night. I’ve been on this soup kick since the weather started getting cooler. While Pinning soup recipes, I randomly saw this amazing photo on Pinterest of a mysterious purple soup. Of course the link only brought me to a food photography website – there was no recipe. So I Googled purple soup and pulled my usual recipe twist where I look at a couple of different recipes for the same thing, take out all the weirdo ingredients (or stuff I don’t like) and make up a slightly new recipe that’s all my own.

Viola! I made Borscht, a Russian peasant soup made from cabbage and beets. Sounds yucky, but I’ve had Borscht in a few different Russian restaurants in San Francisco and it’s good. Although, I don’t remember any of the bowls I ate being purple. Guess that’s where the red cabbage comes into play. I’m not a big fan of beets, but I noticed that when I make soups that get blended at the end of the recipe, my kids eat it up. Vegetables and all. So I’m experimenting with what kind of vegetables I can get into their healthy little bodies.

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Purple Soup in a red bowl.

As you can see, I’ll never make a living as a food photographer. In fact, they might pay me not to take pictures of food. It’s hard to see the purple color since I only have red bowls in my house, but you get the picture. So, do you think my kids ate it?

No way! It was absolutely horrible! Gah! I spit my spoonful right out of my mouth. In 8 years of marriage, this is the first meal that my husband wouldn’t eat. Even when he doesn’t like something very much, he’ll still eat it, but not this time! I got a, “I’m sorry, honey. I know you worked hard on this.” Then he got up and heated up some leftovers. Caylie tried a spoonful and then laughed while she pushed the bowl away from her. Chase said, “Yummy in my tummy; it’s delicious mommy.” When I asked him if he wanted more he said, “No thank you, I’ll have some peanut butter.” Peanut butter sounds good, kid. Sounds really good!

And here I was, all excited to post my first foodie blog, recipe and all. I’ll spare you. Don’t eat purple soup.

The Sensitive Soul

Since everyone keeps asking me: Kindergarten is going well. There have been no more reports of bullying from my daughter and so I’m hoping we’re in the clear. Everything seems to be going smoothly.

I have noticed that I feel more connected to my daughter now that she is going to school. Sounds weird, but her behavior at home had been pushing me further and further away from that whole mother-daughter bond that I keep reading about. Frankly, I wasn’t feeling very bonded. Terrorized, yes. Bonded, not really. But now that Caylie is out there interacting with society (in as much as Kindergarten in a small local school is a society), I am feeling a sense of communion with her. I’ve never denied that the two of us share some major personality traits. And I’ve learned that if I were to ever meet a clone of myself, we would not get along. I can, however, relate to my daughter more now that she’s out there in the world.

ImageI am a sensitive soul. I cry easily. I take things personally when I oftentimes shouldn’t. My heart can feel like it’s breaking just from reading a poem, hearing a song or looking at a painting or photograph. I just feel deeply about anything and everything. And it’s wonderful, beautiful, exhausting and leaves me feeling vulnerable in a world that dissects a person’s every action and thought and puts it up on a big screen to analyze. Caylie inherited my sensitive soul and I feel for her as she takes her first steps out into a harsh world. I’ve been having flashbacks to when I was in school: like the time in English class when the teacher read Anne Sexton’s poem Double Image and I sobbed at my desk and couldn’t understand how anyone couldn’t feel completely destroyed by the fact that Anne was forced to make moccasins and hated herself. I wonder which things are going to make Caylie sob at her desk or just bring tears to her eyes.

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It’s not easy being sensitive. I want to be able to teach her to protect her heart, but I’m almost 38 and I still haven’t learned how to completely protect myself from the things in our world that get to me. I still take things too personally. I still cry when I hear good songs and watch sad movies. (I didn’t even make it through the first stanza of Sexton’s poem before my throat closed up.) I can’t even think about the end of The Notebook without getting tears in my eyes. I hope Caylie talks to me about the things that are breaking her heart, the things that get to her most deeply. The beautiful things and the ugly things.

We can cry about them together.

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Happy Hormones?

Is there a such thing as happy hormones? Because I can tell you for sure that there are sad hormones. Every woman knows this. What I’ve learned in the last few weeks is that the progesterone in birth control pills can make me sad.

I haven’t been blogging a lot recently. I haven’t been doing any writing at all. Or much of anything else either. Because I was feeling so low and so uninterested in anything that only my motherly obligations were getting me out of bed each morning. So I called my “drug” doctor and she told me that maybe my birth control pill was making me so depressed that my anti-depressant couldn’t make up the difference. So I called my doctor and asked her if I could change pills (which I’m taking to prevent migraines). Apparently there are two different types of progesterone. She switched me to the other type. I immediately got a migraine. But the longer I’m taking this new progesterone, the happier I’m getting. (And so far I’ve only had the one migraine.) Makes you think, doesn’t it? Isn’t it grand to be a woman?

ImageI ordered this book that my “drug” doctor was referencing when she was telling me that it might be the progesterone I was taking that was causing my new depression. I’ve been convinced that my hormones have been wonky for the past two years. There is no other way for me to explain the marriage of my perfect health, my “beautiful uterus” (in the fertility doctor’s own words) and my 4 back-to-back miscarriages. And yet, every time I have my hormones checked, the doctors tell me that they are normal. My theory is that maybe my body just doesn’t conform to typical standards and the typical “normal” just isn’t normal for me. Or maybe my hormones have made me so crazy that I think I know what the hell that I’m taking about with zero medical schooling under my belt. All I know is that I am feeling great.

Maybe now I can get back to my writing and start enjoying the living of my life again. Although I have to say, I’m viewing menopause in a terrifying new light. Can I just stop getting older please?

Monday Musing

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I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness. And about individuality. And how hard it is to be able to be yourself in a world that is ready and waiting to cut you down with harsh words and ugliness. I have been thinking about my child and her struggle with her own self-expression, her fearlessness, her sensitive nature and the world we live in where people teach their kids curse words because they think its funny. Or laugh when their kids insult someone because they just can’t believe they did it.

We are all fighting a great battle nowadays. That battle is trying to be ourselves. Trying to not be judged. I thought that teaching my kids kindness and caring would be enough. Now I wonder if I need to help them build a mental armor before I send them out there without me.