Thursday, April 28, 2011

Coming Out the Ying Yang

I went to a counselor today, which has been on the back burner of my mind under "stuff I want to do and don't want to do". Also in this category is the audition in Minnesota. I have done little to prepare--except practice, and I have no idea what I'm singing. I have avoided calling a pianist yet (the audition is a week from tomorrow) because as soon as I talk to a pianist, I am really doing this audition.

THis week Baby S has used the baby potty, in its place of honor on our living room floor, twice. It's like a mini miracle, honestly. She hasn't even questioned it. It happened after so many promptings that I am not sure which times she actually peed, but the important thing is that wen spent a few hours without a diaper on and the only pee ended up in the potty! Maybe this will mean potty trained by two years old? Yay!

I sat in the counselor's office this morning feeling pretty calm. It felt very medical, the insurance, the "intake forms" and then the occasional psychological questions, "do you feel like killing yourself now?" and "do you see things that aren't there?" The psychologist is skinny, what am I going to do with that? After a lifetime of bristling with fear and mistrust of very skinny people, I just settle in with some form of recognition. There is no rescue here. I will not suddenly be a different person, my problems will not be gone.

But I am also having some hope. I want something new, something different. And most of all, I want to stop the feeling that I am battling myself. I want to be on the same me? I am tired of looking in mirrors or at scales and feeling a strong sense of anger, of hatred, of disapproval. All I want right now is to believe I'm not going to die in two years, or that people look at me with pity. I don't want her to give that to me. I want God to find me here, doing what I said I would. I want Him to give me the miracle I've been praying for for some time. That's not too much to ask right?

I gardened for hours today, and am transforming the property. I planted lettuce, peas, radishes and squash. YUM! I smile every time I see my first tulip, which turned out to be purple! How divine.

Hmmm...maybe that's what's happening now. I am planting hope, planting the possibility of healing, waiting for something unexpected to come up.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Planning and More Planning

Before I write anything else, I want to tell anyone reading that hubby returned to the store yesterday to find that they completely re-priced the trashcans. We think they must have accidentally underpriced them the first time, or put the wrong sign up? We're not sure, but either way, they are more than twice the price now! This makes me love the trash can even more, if that's possible.

I have an audition in 10 days. In another state. I have a lot of doubts about this audition. It's a general audition for a big company, and so far I think I'm about 0 for 40 with this kind of audition. Who gets roles from this? I'm not sure. But I haven't done one in a while, I'm rusty, and I'm going (also, I have a place to stay and it's a strangely convenient trip--so--I have no excuses.)

I am dreading the planning part, however. I am dreading moving students around and getting a car (always worth it to rent a new one) and making arrangements and getting a pianist and picking a piece. blech. I have, in fact, been neglecting the singing portion of my life. I need to practice and don't even know what piece I would pick for the audition! I haven't even started to memorize Katisha.

In addition, I am planning a recital for my students in June. I am hoping it will be entertaining and not too long. It seems like we are all over the place--arias, musical theater, random duets. Hopefully, that will keep things interested. I have no idea how not to lose money on this recital, but I want to give them a chance to perform, to get up and strut their stuff. I'd really like to see them sing by themselves and show off how they've grown. I'm eager to see who shines in this type of setting. I never had a teacher host a recital like this--so I don't really know how it works. It seems bad they have to pay for a pianist, but I can't come up with another possibility.

I am also planning visitors for the show in July, trying to figure out how and when we can finish our work on the upper floor of our house, and planning what we will do when and if hubby moves us out of this place. EEK.

Miraculously, we reported pretty close to all of my voice teaching income (everything we could find in my schedule) and still ended up with a refund (with hubby's salary) from taxes. This is SUCH good news. I accidentally typed "GOD news" just now, I'm not sure that wasn't better! so now we are planning how to get a jump on medical bills too!

whew. I'm exhausted writing all of that.

I suppose the weirdest thing is my baby planning. Eventually, I want a 2nd kid. Just two. But I don't want to until I've lost 65 pounds. So...I plan in my head....ok, if I lose the 65 by November, we could have a baby in July....etc etc. This part can't be planned so perfectly. This part I need to live one day at a time. I called a counselor yesterday to get what I feel is necessary to get over this hump and keep losing. It's horrifying, honestly. But I'm not so sure you can plan healing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reaching for Comfort

I am not sure if it's natural for a person to be in love with a trash can, but I am. Two days ago hubby and I made a 16 dollar impulse purchase of an electric trash can. It's sleek looking, silver, and it has a sensor--so you wave your hand over it, it opens, you drop trash in, it closes. THere are so many good things about this can. You never touch it--so it doesn't get dirty. The lid holds the trash bag in the can, so it doesn't fall. It seals shut, keeping the smell inside, and best of all--it is the wrong shape for the baby to get inside and take stuff out (also, she is intimidated by the "automatic close"). It's amazing what a little thing like that can do. I smile just looking over at it.

I'm sure I've written before about how often I tell my students to open their mouths. I don't know why this particular action is so elusive--why I tell them that and they say "ok" and then don't do it at all. Not even a little. I have developed standard things to say like "I should see your tongue" or "you should be able to swallow a bug". (I often think of the time I actually saw Marilyn Horne swallow a bug in a live performance, but I don't usually have time to tell them that story AND explain who Marilyn Horne is, which would be kind of heartbreaking anyways, because I wish they knew who she was). Anyhoo, the most common thing I say is:

If you're still comfortable, your mouth is not open enough.

Because if you're not used to doing something, and someone asks you to try it, it's never comfortable. That's the biggest clue for me in weight loss. Am I comfortable? Too much food. That's the old habit, right? The comfy spot. THe one we seek and seek and seek, and eventually it claims us. So we have to keep working against it.

THe baby rarely wants to be comfortable. I am sitting on the couch, and she is trying to straddle the window and a cardboard box. I am watching tv and she is banging on something as loudly as she can. I envy her, and hope to live vicariously through this state where comfortable is boring, and new is the THING. But I am not sure I can at this point. I occasionally wish I had some NEWness, but the further you get away from new (like say, moving to the midwest, and getting married and having a baby and living in a house) the better comfortable feels. Hmmm.

I have not wanted to write due to feeling a little depressed since Puerto Rico. I can't explain this--just a little down, a little overwhelmed, a little tired. Sick. Different. I am starting to sense, though, that there's only one way out of this.

I kept moving all day today. I did uncomfortable things. I worked out. I worked on scheduling an audition that I don't want to do. (sheesh, talk about uncomfortable, auditions are the WORST). I wrote down what I ate, and I said I'll just be uncomfortable today. I suppose that's the best way to do it--like what I say to my students: Just be uncomfortable right now. Open your mouth right now, make this funny gesture right now. And as soon as you walk out that door, you can be your normal self again. Sometimes it works on them.

And sometimes it works on me too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

11 Things I Love About Hubby

1. I love that hubby buys gifts for people he hardly knows.
2. I love that hubby gets really excited about any new business that opens up nearby
3. I love that hubby is really gifted at buying me clothes that I'll like.
4. I love that hubby cares about his own character, even when no one else notices.
5. I love that hubby is devoted to his job, even when he hates it. (not that this is always easy)
6. I love that hubby is loyal. He picks a team, a wife, a friend, a concept, and he stays with it.
7. I love that hubby listens when we argue. It may not seem like it at the time, but he is always willing to hear, and surprisingly, to change.
8. I love that hubby always smells good.
9. I love that hubby is not afraid of my getting better, is encouraging of my dreams, and is unthreatened by the goals of my childhood.
10. I love that hubby gets excited about things I will laugh over.
11. I love that Baby S and I have always been hubby's biggest dream.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Great and Small Things

I gardened today. I can't tell you how delightful it feels to sit outside in the sun, my hands up to my wrists in mud and worms, sticking stuff in the ground. I ripped up grass, a thankless job, put down weed barrier, ran my hands in the mulch and lovingly stroked my tulip plants, which came up from bulbs, just as I'd prayed they would, but haven't shown me flowers yet.

I am not sure what it is about gardening that makes me think about God. You know, there's an obvious part--nature, creation, etc. But there's a great unknown in the ground. There's trust down there. I suppose that's why there are so many of those mentions of "seeds" in the Bible,'s a little microcosm of trust. Here, God, I work in the sun, I move stuff around, I do my best, but at the end of the day, I can't do anything to make this plant grow. The tulips were especially amazing...plant them in November, cover them in snow, leaves, rain, sleet. Wait, do nothing, forget they're there, and then in Spring God pulls them up, strong and solid, and they show themselves. It's inspiring.

My friend Dari, who died a few years ago, unexpectedly, comes into my mind the whole time I'm gardening. She loved it. She was able to accomplish such beauty. And I can see why--her love for nature & decorating met perfectly in this hobby. She loved the sun on her skin, and the quiet, I think. It quiets the voices sometimes, that tell you you haven't done enough today, and you don't look good, and you need to work harder, etc's all just imagination in the garden. Sometimes I think she and I had so little in common. At the end she couldn't seem to get enough glamour, enough money, enough attention from men. But at the core, she and I shared some pretty major loves. And now I think I connect with her now more than anything when I am planting a brightly colored plant.

Hubby and I are worriers these days. We just don't know what's coming next. We don't know if we'll be staying, or leaving, or when, or how. We don't know if the next move will be financially saving or starving. And I'm not sure if I'm investing this garden for myself, or if the person who lives here next year will be the first to smile at a driveway full of tulips. . . so I'm just out there, trying to live in the blessing of the moment. Trying to get Baby S to not try and drink RoundUp. And, trying not to worry whether there'll be another little Baby next year. Three negative tests but something inside me says both, I don't believe them, and, do we get through this?

Just read yesterday:
In an interview with Bette Midler, her closing line is..."Plant lots of flowers, so when you take time to smell them, they'll be there." So well said.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back in the Thick of It

It's hardly possible in my mind that on Sunday we got up at 4am, rode terribly uncomfortable planes all day (man I miss the day when you could sometimes get half-full planes) got into a shuttle to our car, drove the car 5 HOURS to pick up the baby, crashed, woke up in the morning and drove 9 hours home with the baby and two dogs, taught a VOICE LESSON that night (ugh) and then taught more lessons today, after some cleaning and a baby who is being SO ANNOYING! She has hurt me several times. . . I am not sure if it's suppressed rage or what...and took TWO naps today. Wish I'd been able to.

Tomorrow and Thursday are chock full of lessons, I believe about 12 in all. And I haven't been able to recover from all of that driving....blech.

It is nice to get back into routine. We like our bed. We like our DVR'd tv shows, I like having all of my clothes as possibility, and I definitely find it easier to eat healthier at my own house.

Our last day was full of touristy things, and therefore maybe a bit easier. My favorite part was the discovery of a modern museum near the airport. We saw works (by Carribbean artists only) that were very fascinating, sometimes beautiful and thought provoking. I think it may have been a little too modern for hubby....but he looked at every work. he even commented when I asked. Mostly he worried about the very dangerous place we'd left the car though. Seems like everything in Puerto Rico worked like this: Read in (trusted) guide book that parking is free. Show up and find there is no parking lot. Finaally, after driving around, decide to park on the street 5 blocks away. Upon arrival at the destination, discover that everyone drives up over the curb and parks on the lawn. Didn't think to mention that, Lonely Planet? Whatever. We also did a fair amount of shopping, and finally, I had a lovely fresh meal of garlicky shrimp, beans, yucca mofongo and a mango rum drink. Nice. We got along well the whole trip. Only one (very) brief argument, and a few jabs, but mostly kisses and laughter, and sunburn. it was a great time for us to be alone again. I was impressed with my hubby's ability to be flexible, creative and to do things he'd never done. I knew it was hard, and he did it anyway. I had trouble not analyzing the trip with all I felt I "should have" done, but at the end of the day, it was more than good, it was necessary.

April is bringing a few major things to us. First, we are starting Baby S's potty training in more "full swing". I'd like to get her trained by her 2nd birthday...or maybe Christmas at the latest? I am a little afraid of what that might entail. I also have promised hubby to start seeing a counselor about my food and weight and body image issues. I hate the thought of it. It's the last thing I want to do, I think. But my struggles lately seem more and more painful. I take a step forward with each healthy choice and about 3 back two hours later. I am just so tired of walking backwards....

It's 45 degrees today. Not bad. My tulips are starting to poke through the ground .. . . ooooo....I can't wait. Two new students this week! Oy vey. Must focus on the plan. Change must come. Good change.

And then of course, there's the question of whether hubby's moving me out of here soon. Now I'm kind of wishing we were back in Puerto Rico :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Halfway Through Puerto Rico

It's been a while since I travelled. I am a world traveller--when I was single, I visited 4 continents and even stayed a while in one or two! I am "passable" in a few languages. All these are my "travel badges". But since meeting hubby, things have changed. Money and time need to be used for fixing houses, and the baby--well, that's no easy travel companion.

Since hubby got a new job just before the wedding, we never had a chance for a honeymoon, and Dad's gift to us was time at a time share. So in December I started saving, searching and planning. And we came up with Puerto Rico. It would be new for both of us--I had never been to the carribbean, and hubby had never flown over an ocean! But I forgot how hard this kind of thing is. First day, after crying about leaving the baby, we rushed to the Chicago airport at 6 am to discover our 9:45 plane was delayed 2 hours. Then 3. They would hold the plane for us, great, but would our luggage defiitely make it? We were exahusted, and after the 4th round of 20 questions, pretty bored. They did hold the plane, and we got in 15 minutes early to PR!

We drove a harrowing drive to a BEAUTIFUL time share--we love it. A 2 bedroom apartment with a kitchen(ette?) and 2 bathrooms, and a washer/dryer! 2 pools, and a close walk to a beach. However, we spent so much money that first day--eating in airports, paying tolls, and finally having our first dinner at a restaurant that was HUGELY expensive, merely because we couldn't get anywhere else.

Our first day here was lovely--we got a little lost trying to buy sandals, skyped the baby, and spent a few hours on a beach that seemed so remote it was like we discovered it! We ended the day by eating "local food" on a recommendation. I would describe it as grease with a little meat. Blech.

We have found PR to be gorgeous--it is warm and balmy, it hasn't rained once (though has predicted rain every day?) and a little pricey. We have not yet eaten for under $15, so the money's goin' quick.

Yesterday we took a ferry to a tiny island, a real adventure, and then once there we decided to eat lunch (pizza, for hubby) and shop for gifts. Unfortunately, we did not know that once you miss the cabs that wait at the ferry, you cannot get to the beaches. I sat down and cried. Stuck on an island I had planned out, 30 minutes from one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and no way to get there. It was hard--and I forgot travelling was like this--sometimes a high, sometimes a disappointment.

We re-assessed, where did we need to go and what did we need to see. We walked around, and collected sea glass, but it certainly just felt like we'd missed the boat....somewhat literally. We came home, had a nice dinner, and fell asleep watching Ghostbusters on cable. We tried to remember that we were here to enjoy each other just as much as the island, which actually has been the case. No fighting, no distractions, just remembering why we got hitched in the first place.

Hubby patiently waits right now for me to finish blogging so we can go to a new beach. EL CONVENTO. Let's hope for some snorkelling..... .