Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring update

It has once again been a while since I've written, and for that I am sorry.  I'm doing a lot better since the last time I wrote, although I haven't resolved much.  I have taken on some big projects, some of which may or may not come to fruition, but at least I have something to focus my time and energy.  They are, in no particular order:

1. I'm making a quilt (together with my sister) for my good friend who is about to have her first baby.  It's my first real quilting effort, but it is a strip quilt and is turning out, so far, to be pretty easy.

2. I'm working on vacation plans for the summer.  Our good friends are traveling with us to Italy for 3 weeks, then returning home with my husband while I stay another 3 weeks with my husband's family.  While our friends are visiting, we plan to take a week-long trip somewhere in Europe - top contenders right now are Provence, Corsica, or Greece (Kalymnos, I think).  After the others leave, the kids and I will likely go to London to visit some friends.  I'm a bit nervous traveling on my own, but my husband's Aunt is going to London around that time, so we will probably be able accompany them at least one way.  I will be traveling back to the US by myself with the kids.  I'm very nervous about that.

3. I'm still working on all my racing plans, and enjoying it.  I'm taking 4 days off from running right now to rest my aching joints, but training has been going very well so far.  I have my half-marathon on June 8, and I'm tentatively planning a sprint triathlon the last weekend of May.  I haven't really been able to bike much, so that's been a bit harder to train for, but I've been swimming and running a lot.  Depending on how things go this summer, I will consider training for a marathon in December (the same one I was training for when I broke my finger.)  I'm still up 5-10 pounds over my previous weight (and more like 10-15 from my ideal weight), but I am feeling a lot better for all this exercise.

4. Climbing!  We've been climbing again (conveniently right after we cancelled our membership at the climbing gym).  We brought the kids to the gym and they generally had a good time.  The height of the walls there is a bit intimidating for them, and when the gym is crowded it's just about impossible for the kids to climb (and less pleasant for the adults, too).  So ... I'm dreaming of building a climbing wall in our garage!  My husband is trying to be very realistic about how much work it will be and how long it will take, but it makes me happy just to have a dream.  If all goes well, it will be awesome.

5. My husband is leaving tomorrow on a week-long ski trip to Norway.  I'm pretty jealous of it.  It won't change my day-to-day life all that much, since I do the vast majority of the housework and child care, but he has been on many, many, many more outings than I have since the kids have been born.  In fact, I've been on only one overnight trip without my husband since the kids were born, and that was a pretty sad 3-day backpacking trip two years ago with friends who were not all that into it.  SO!  I'm hoping to do a longer, more challenging trip later this summer with my sister.  We're thinking of doing a 3-4 day trip along the Tahoe Rim Trail.  The timing is not so great, because it will be hot and there wasn't much snow this year, so I'm a bit worried about water availability on the trail, but it is nice just to have a general plan.

So that's where I am.  I also had great news for some of the work I'm doing for my husband's company, which was a huge relief, considering how much time I've spent on it this spring.

Anyway, I just spent way too much of my available time writing this email so ... I have to go work on a quilt!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I have had such a rough day.  I don't know if writing about it will make things better or not, but here goes.

I planned a visit to a friend from my old job who has moved several hours away to a really isolated agricultural town in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley.  She just had her second child a couple months ago, and I've never even met the first one, who is 2.5 years old.  As it happened, I didn't meet him today either, since he was at daycare, but that's ok.  It was a miserable, boring, hot drive, but I has the chance to stopp at the cemetery where my father is buried, which is only about 15 minutes from their town so it was a nice opportunity.  I haven't been there since I was pregnant, I'm pretty sure.  Being there made me sadder than I expected.  I really miss my dad sometimes.

I stopped in to ask about having my dad's remains moved to a cemetery that's closer to us, as my mom regrets that he is so far away, but the information I got made it seem like it won't be possible.  The move would be at our cost (the original burial was either free or low cost because my dad was a veteran of WWII), and it requires notarized signatures of all living children.  My dad was not close to a few of his kids from his first marriage, especially his adopted son who stayed with his mother after my dad got divorced shortly after the adoption.  I think I've met my adopted half-brother only once, when I was a child.  While I doubt any of my half-siblings would be petty enough to refuse a signature, I can't imagine they would be bending over backwards to get it taken care of, either, especially since it requires a notary.  That plus the cost pretty much means it won't be happening.

Off to my friend's house, and she looks great.  She's the type of person who sees the silver lining in everything.  But I can tell pretty quickly she's unhappy with her current situation.  She's terribly isolated in the town where she lives, I don't think she has any friends.  She has been working until the birth of her second son, but she reviews school meal programs, so she mostly works from home or travels to school sites alone, and has no coworkers that are geographically close by (when I worked with her, we both worked at the main state office in Sacramento, but when her husband got a job as a veterinarian in that town, she was lucky enough to find that job opening within our same department that allowed her to continue working).  The main blow was when she told me about her niece - I've never met her sister-in-law, but I've heard a lot about their family.  They had identical twin girls who survived twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and then got pregnant again immediately after their birth and had another little girl within a year.  I always enjoyed hearing stories about the three girls, but I discovered that since I last spoke to my friend last summer, one of the twins was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and passed away just a few months ago at the age of 5.  I was completely shocked and saddened by the news, as I had thought often of my friend's extended family.  I never met her, but I still can't believe she is gone.

And then a lot of petty little things are just getting me down.  A friend from my book club has decided to reschedule several of our activities to days that work better for her, even though I can't make it and I'm the one who organized the outings in the first place.  When I asked her nicely if she would consider proposing a wider range of dates, she said she was only proposing dates that were convenient for her, and I don't see how I can do anything about it without sounding totally passive aggressive or controlling.

And my mother ... oh dear, my mother.  I'm at a loss for words.  I'm really tired of dealing with a mentally ill person who ... sigh, I don't even know where to start.  She is exhausting.  She called me at least 12 times today and left a series of messages, each more desperate than the one before, all about how she needs me and needs help and needs this and needs that.  I am reaching the end of my rope with her.  I couldn't find the strength to call her back today.

On my way home from my friend's house (another long, boring, hot 2-hour drive), I stopped at the post office to mail the second batch of cards for my sister's bridal shower, which I've spent many many hours working on this week.  A postal worker was gathering the mail, and I handed them to her.  She handed them back and informed me that since they're not completely flat (I glued a small fabric flower to each card) they require an extra 21 cents.  I had dropped a whole bunch in the mailbox yesterday without knowing that.  And they don't have return addresses.  So I don't know what is going to happen to those cards that I spent so much time and money on.  And I have no idea of knowing who will get invitations now and who won't.  It's such a huge mess that I don't even want to think about it.  I think that was the point  when I really lost it.  I'm a mess.  I've spent the rest of the day crying.

My husband is leaving for a week-long ski vacation in Europe in a couple weeks.  I don't really know what to say about that either.

We just bought tickets to Italy for the summer, and I am already regretting the dates I picked.  I'll be staying three weeks longer than my husband and flying back with the kids alone.  I'm not really sure why I decided to do that.  I like my house.  I like being home.  I like my summer garden and my friends (except for a few from my book club at the moment).  I like my kids being in preschool and having time to run and swim.  I like my kids having their bikes and their toys and their swim lessons.  I like having a car and being able to go where I want.  I'm just ... it's too much to even think about right now.

So.  I'm trying to regain my perspective, but things look awfully shitty right now.