Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Destructor Rides Again

I am exhausted, my back hurts and my hands are covered in paint. I am lying in bed, hoping (at 1am) that the baby does not wake up for a third time since 9. THis is after hubby took her on a drive, Grammy rocked her and I nursed her two or three times.

Baby S was wild today--her day included picking up as many tools as she could get her hands on, trying to turn on the air compressor, getting a hold of a plain paintbrush and painting furiously in the sky, eating an ice cream cone on the lawn, playing in the mulch, pulling dogs' hair, trips to four stores, and not a single nap over 30 minutes. Maybe this is why putting her to bed was much like wrestling a hippo for his last snack.

We have been painting and re-doing the living room, adding a fireplace, adding trim, pulling up the floor etc etc for a WEEK. I am exhausted, and I can't wait to have a living room. I can see the light and it is GOOD!!! However, we have one more day of back-breaking labor ahead, and I am worried about our master carpenter, (aka, "father in law") who is pushing 70 and has been on his feet working his tuchus off for all of this. I am grateful, and I say it constantly, but still amazed that anyone might do this for us. I can't wait to take a great big deep breath in the living room when it's all over.

In the meantime I am teaching lessons. I haven't been in to the census this week--what's the point? I net about 9 bucks an hour and might get an hour or two in TOPS before they send me home for lack of work. Eh. I could be painting.

I am hearing some voices today--some voices that I'm fat, that I have failed at singing, etc. Where do those come from ? They really blow. I just saw a few things about jobs coming up for other singers. It made me sad. Even though I love my life right now. It's so hard to miss my passion.

A lot of sadness hit me this week. I cried over my friend who passed away a few years ago. This hadn't happened for a while, but struck me thinking about the recent death of her father and how few of her relationships were just about love. My heart used to feel such a pull for her to finally find happiness, peace....and sometimes thinking of her death feels like a death of my own.
I also felt so sad for my sister who doesn't speak to me. I know what it feels like to hold a niece in your arms. It's so wonderful, indescribable, and special. And my daughter is such a funny, crazy joy. little Destructor. And she will never know that--as if she someday decided to talk to me again, the baby will no longer be baby.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dreams, Futures, Houses


What a summer! My husband's parents are here now, working their knuckles to the bone as we re-do the last big room on the first floor. We are moments away from a whole new house, and doing all this work while hubby is working full time and I am teaching and doing what few hours I can before the census completely closes up shop.

My dreams have been very interesting lately--probably affected by the storms and the sounds of the whole pack of dogs we now have pacing through the house and barking at 2am thunder. I had a reocurring dream, a dream of being judged, though it slips my mind now....maybe influenced by my new fondness of reality shows where people display their talents and are judged for them. My dreams are not anxious, but certainly filled with a fair amount of pressure.

Do we all give ourselves this much pressure? I wonder what it feels like for a whole week to go by where I don't lament not having a singing job or weighing too much. I wonder.

In the meantime I am happy. I love seeing my husband. I love his stiff adaptability. He won't let me talk him into a darn thing, but he adapts, he changes and bends. And I am in love with the baby these days. She is sleeping next to me now, sweetly, but in the day she is clever, problem-solving, on the go. She imitates my painting and picks up tools (or tries to) and always seems to have an agenda. I like her spirit, her biting confidence. Speaking of biting, she is on a fourth tooth and has had a diaper rash that actually bled this week. Ugh. It is so hard to imagine this innocent little thing in pain.

Funny to think that some day my whole life, all of my choices, will be scrutinized to explain who she is. My insecurities, my relationship with my husband, my compulsive food behavior, and even my constant love for her--all of that will somehow be described as developmentally important for her. Someday she will know my first name, and it will feel weird to say it, since she calls me mom. Someday she will ask me (in one way or another) if I believe in her, and it will be incredibly important. Someday she may fight with her dad, since they're so similar, and then fight to establish her independence with me. Someday she will call me from college. Someday she will be able to eat off of a plate.

She is 10 months old tomorrow. 10 months. It's amazing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Old People and Young People

It's been a very active few weeks--work at the census, teaching 10 students now, and visits from my mother and hubby's parents. It doesn't really get busier. To top it off, baby S is getting a new tooth or two, and so I am sleep deprived and kind of strangely groggy. We are rushing to get the house together, to finish the living room, to finish the front yard, the porch, and somehow not take that account balance below $0. Tall order!

Father's day was sooo hard--an extra visitor including parents from both side and a cousin and his wife, a baseball game, a big cookout, gifts, love all around, and one crazy cranky baby. Ahhhh. I fell into bed, half crying, holding my head. I loved getting hubby a gift I knew he'd love. That part was fantastic. I know he was touched by the whole day. He thanked me for it, something he's not always good at, despite my barking at him before bed. He is surprisingly good to me sometimes.

I was thinking the other day that in New York, almost all of my friends, acquaintances, colleagues and such fell into the age range of 25-45. With truly few exceptions! This is not the case in Iowa. In fact, as I just joined a weight loss group of all women aged .....mmmm...80 and up? I feel the transition is complete. I spend my day with a kid who's not even a year yet! THen I teach teenagers for part of my day. The other part is spent doing a census job which employs predominantly retired folks, or at least semi-retired, and then perhaps, maybe I might run into someone my age at something social. Even our neighbors are at least 30 years my senior.

It is still fun--on both sides, I enjoy the funny things about teenagers...and octogenarians, but it's lonely too. Part of me misses a life filled with peers. I think it's good for me. I think generally it's good for people to be reminded of who they were, who they will be. I think being ageist (whether that means hating kids or fearing the elderly) is common and seldom discussed. But of course, there's a lot bigger cultural divide to conquer.

Baby S is so big. She crawls, she says the dogs' names, she says mama and sometimes dada though not always to us. She plays the piano (kind of) and dances when she hears music, and seems to have a sense of humor. She's so fun. I can't wait to know her better.

There are some things happening I find scary--some financial confusion. Some cloudiness in what's happening in our future. I hope we get a little time--maybe a few weeks, where we can just sit in our living room and feel incredibly grateful for our baby and not have to worry about a surprise bill that we can't pay or a job we might lose or never being able to sing again, you know? Actually, I'd like 6 months of that.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Go Eat a Ricecake


It's been so rainy the last few days, though I can't imagine hating rain. I guess as a former Arizona girl, rain means good things. It means growth and quenched thirst, and the end of droughts. It reminds me of being 8 years old, and splashing in the warm rain in my parents' driveways with the other neighborhood kids. It means bare feet and mornings where you get to sleep in.

This morning I played in the church band (piano). The band was basically 4 guys between 18 and 22 years old, with interesting piercings and t-shirts I find too tight, and too cool. I felt a little old and dowdy, like I used to feel walking through the village or Chelsea in New York City. I always felt old, fat and clean walking down those streets. I learned a new odd term..."outro". They used it to describe the instrumental music at the end of the song...you know, it's logical. You've got an intro and an outro. But I've had 20 years of formal music training now. So.....to me it's a postlude. Also, they didn't tune their instruments to the piano. VERY unmusical. They are kind boys, but you know when you have to answer to someone's leadership when you do something better than they do? Hard to do. It took me meditating & praying before beginning to get into the right space.

I finished the day by eating 3 rice cakes with lunchmeat on them after 10pm. It's a bummer, as it was a day of what I'd call "clean eating", but I know I'm having huge anxiety about a mysterious mortgage bill. I think we're going to be fine--that it's just an error--but until it's fixed, I'm going to panic a little. God forgive me, I love to panic. Hubby walked in the bedroom last night just past midnight (having just gotten home from work) and announced to me that we just got a bill stating that our mortgage was going up by 130 dollars a month. And then he said we could talk about it tomorrow morning. DID HE JUST MEET ME? I tossed and turned before coming out to freak out, look at the bill, and then stay awake for the next two hours, trying to figure out what was going on. When the baby woke up to nurse at 3:30am my fate was sealed. Pure exhaustion was imminent.

The baby falling asleep in my arms is such a great feeling. Her little body is so soft--her face so beautiful. I can't imagine anything making you feel like that. Like heaven in your lap. Like everything will be fine. The opposite feeling is when you're exhausted and she gets up at 4am to nurse...YEP.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Flies on Me


Today, like almost every day, I took the dogs and the baby on a walk. The dogs are a pain to walk. If I don't curse at them at least once, I think of it as a "great walk". If I don't say, "I'm going to give you away when I get home", it was not too bad.

I have figured out that the appearance of the four of us is striking to other people. Hubby calls it "the family circus" when he sees me head out, and I often get comments like, "How's the fabulous four doing today?" or "You've got your hands full, huh?" usually by people grinning at me in this way that makes me think, "I must look like I'm about to fall over from the stress of this walk."

Hubby has said to me that although he'll take a walk with me occasionally, he will not take both of the dogs. And my visiting mom just told me yesterday (for the 4th or 5th time) that although she's looking forward to taking the baby out, she doesn't want to take the dogs (and is that ok?)

All of this implies to me that what I try to do everyday with all three of them is too much. Is it? I mean, yes, it would be nice to have a relaxing walk, but taking the dogs out means they're easier to deal with the rest of the day. They also love it more than anything!

And this reminds me of my whole life. Can I say that? When people visited me in New York, they would always say, "I had a good time, but boy I would not want to do that every day." I never knew what they were talking about. Seems like if no one had ever said it, I wouldn't have understood the source of the occasional breakdown. And now, watching the baby all day, working a part time job, teaching out of my home, I am pretty overwhelmed. But I want more. And as long as hubby can put up with the occasional break down, I'm good. I am happy when busy, I guess. I guess some voice inside me says, "you never got an opera job sitting on the couch."

Speaking of the couch, I had my husband take some "before" pictures of me. I got in a pair of shorts and a sports bra and had him take pictures of me from all 3 angles. And today I spent 30 minutes or so staring down these pictures wanting to cry. I look at these and don't just see a few things I would fix....unfortunately I see a failure. I'm not sure how to look at them differently. I am just hoping the hard work I'm doing daily now is paying off, and that next year at this time, those will be truly "before" pictures. My body has changed in such a negative way with the baby. I weigh about 5 pounds less than when I got pregnant now, but still have so much weight around my middle I want to throw up. I look like the picture of "unhealthy" to me.

Alright, I'd like to end on a more positive note. Everything changes in a moment. There are all these moments that pass by, like, one of those luggage carousels, where you don't know what's going to pop out of the top. And so you can be miserable....and then *pop* you got a job with an opera company for the first time in 3 years. You can *pop* find out your two best friends were just in an accident, and lose your friend. You can *pop* meet the love of your life and not even know it's him. You can *pop* finally do the thing you always longed for.

I suppose that's why I keep moving. Why there's no flies on me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Beginning at the Beginning

I have tried to do some bloggin' a few times in the past few days, only to be met with a note that blogger was down. It's pretty annoying since I am already a little lacking in the "motivation" department when it comes to blogging these days.

Maybe this is because I don't have a lot to complain about.

I think the biggest thing running through my mind right now is how not be insane. Insanity, as you may have heard, is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Now, I know that insanity can also be identified by someone throwing candy and giggling as they sing songs to you on the subway, but the definition I most identify with is the first one. Do I do the same thing and expect things to change?

I have done so many auditions that there is a fair amount of "auto pilot". I recently had a student ask me if she could hit a high B in an audition. She didn't know. Since I have only been her teacher for a month or so, I simply said, "here are my rules: if you can hit the B five times in a row, you can probably do it in an audition." But for myself, I know exactly the feeling of "this is something I can sing in an audition" as opposed to "this is something I will only sing in practice". I am clean, careful, and I don't take my chances anymore. Maybe that hurts me, I'm not sure. So now I'm re-thinking that. I am re-thinking the way the audition feels. I am looking for the new, uncomfortable aspect of it. I walk in to the audition, and everything is the same--the smell, the feel of my folder, the forms, the headshots, the auditors, the other people there. My makeup is the same, and so are my jokes.

But my life is entirely different. After an audition I breastfeed a baby in the car across the street. I take my husband to dinner. I immediately forget what transpired. And honestly, it gives me a little hope.

I have been losing weight again this week. I am on a new program, The Rosedale Diet, and I feel anxious and angry. I hate not eating sugar. But I also feel clean and clear. In a moment I called someone about the need to have sugar. I was weak and I just wanted to talk to her about how I felt. My old friend reminded me that I have to begin at the beginning. And although I know I've put the time in, I know I've got a world of experience...it's also refreshing to think that I can have as many DAY ONEs as I need. Today is day one, and maybe tomorrow will be too.

After all, Baby S is always on Day One. Without a drum solo behind her, she stood without any help this week, by herself. She played the piano by herself. She drank apple juice. Everything's new. And this could be every audition I do. Day One.