Monday, May 30, 2011

We've Come A Long Way

Our bedroom is right off the kitchen ~ not necessarily the way I would design a house but it is particularly nice when we have overnight guests and I want to get up quietly to put the coffee on. This photo is a close-up of the kitchen window I can see from my side of the bed, and it's a good way to see what's going on outside before my feet hit the floor ~

At four o'clock this morning that window was lit up. First there was the thunder, then the lightning, then the sound of pounding rain. My first thought was how the twenty plants I just planted might be taking the storm. This morning I could see they were grateful for the drink. We have been working on getting plants to grow near the house for four years. Finally we found things that will grow in the shadiest bed close to the deck ~

The space between the steps and the sunniest flowerbed is filling in nicely ~

It is getting harder and harder to recognize what started out as a barren hill between the steps and the woods ~

Overall, we've come a long way from where we started ~

And really, can I ask for more than that?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More My Speed

I tried a different yoga class last evening, at a community center just three and a half miles from my house. The class was all women my age, and the teacher emphasized going at our own pace and making modifications when needed. My body still feels like it has been through a workout, but it feels okay with that. There is no class next week, but for the four weeks after that I know where I will be at 4:45 on Tuesday afternoons. In between I will practice on my own. So that was good ~ and today we had sunshine for the second day in a row. There are things blooming in my garden, like flox that were past their bloom when I planted them last summer ~

Johnny Jump-ups from a friend and Sweet Woodruff from my old house ~

Winter pansies that really did survive the winter ~

Chocolate Chip Carpet Bugle, which is a name I just love ~

Wild roses that a friend generously shared ~

And a low holly bush that looks like it might get berries this year ~

Today I renewed my teaching certificate for five more years. I thought I would, yet I kept waiting for something to happen so I wouldn't need to. I went in person to get some things straightened out, and she said it will only be two to three weeks before I get the new certificate in the mail. This means I am certified to teach; it also means that my background check is up to date, which is necessary for a variety of jobs. This is one more way to keep all my options open ~

Friday, May 20, 2011

Yoga? Really?


I attended a yoga class Wednesday evening. It was a small group, led by a quick-talking, high-energy teacher. I didn't remember yoga being so fast paced, although I know a lot depends on the style of the teacher.

I didn't hate it. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it.

My body didn't like it. My hands and feet cramped up. My legs and shoulders ached. My lower back hurt.

At the end of the class I told the teacher that I want to get back into yoga for the sake of my body. She told me that my body is tight. I agreed.

Tight. Inflexible. And in need of yoga.

I have put this off for a long time because I knew once I made the commitment to go I would follow through. That's something about myself that I can't easily change. Once I know that something is true I have to act on it.

So I'm "in." It took every ounce of persuasion I had to make myself go to that first class, but each time will get easier. I will explore other options for classes and see what other teachers have to offer.

My body isn't happy about being put in those positions, but it really doesn't have any say in the matter. This is for my own good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wanted: Personal GPS

This weekend I spoke with someone about my son's graduation. They said to me, "So, what will you do now?"

This person has known me my whole life and what they asked has been on my mind for three days.

My first thought: Have you not been paying attention for the last four years while I have applied for dozens of jobs and talked at length about the work I want to do?

My second thought: Have I not been clear about what I want for the next stage in my life?

I have spent hours thinking about my second question. I have carefully considered the last forty years of my life, decisions I have made, and the path that got me to where I am today.

My house has been quiet. The weather has been cold and rainy. I have had uninterrupted time to think.

I came to the conclusion that I have lost my bearings.

I took the thought one step further and asked why....

Tonight it occurred to me that I have always found my bearings based on the positions of the people around me, or I did until four years ago. That was when I set out to do the work I wanted to do, to get the type of job I wanted because I finally had the flexibility and time to do that.

And I have hit roadblocks at every turn. Repeatedly I have been denied interviews, and when given interviews I have not been offered positions.

Some people have suggested that I needed time... to know myself better, to get stronger, to rest and regroup. I have done all that and will continue to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I feel ready.

Some people have suggested that the job I am destined to do does not yet exist... and I believe that may be true. Three years ago I designed a job, at the request of a mentor. She took my creation and folded the tasks into the job of someone already in her employ. Since then I have applied for a variety of positions that were newly created, and I even interviewed for three of them. Each time I have come up short.

Here is the most interesting thought I had today: While there were other people in my life to consider, I made things happen. I fell in love and quit college and moved away and started a family and went back to school and fashioned a career that worked around everyone else's needs.

So why is it that nothing will fall into place now that I am the only person I have to consider? Could I be on the wrong track? Do I need more information? Should I just continue to wait?

I do not have answers for those questions. Believe me when I say I have asked the universe and am awaiting a response.

I have made two decisions: I will expand the range of jobs that I will consider, and I will start taking a yoga class. I think the decisions might be related.

On the first point, I wonder if I have been too restrictive in the jobs that I consider. I might be preemptively disqualifying myself and miss opportunities before I know what they fully entail. I am going to correct that.

On the second point, two weeks ago I told my doctor that I am not happy with the mid-life shape of my midsection. She suggested yoga. We've talked about this before and I haven't followed through on my own. I found a local center that offers drop-in classes and plan to attend a session tomorrow. Yoga may also help me become more flexible, in my body and my mind.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Graduation Weekend

So we had quite the weekend! There will be family photos to share later, but for now here is a "snapshot" of our four days in Boston. We spent a lot of time on the "T" and at times the view out the window was amazing~

Friday morning the Boston Garden was all lit up for Northeastern~

And everything was ready for the ceremony~

Proud parents looked on~

While 3200 happy graduates tossed beach balls~

Cheers to our special graduate, on the right in white~

There were tulips in bloom in the Boston Gardens~

And flowering trees to enhance the skyline~

Wedding cake from August made the trip back to Boston~

And to top it all off the Boston Bruins swept the Philadelphia Flyers~

The weekend was everything we hoped it would be.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


In two days my youngest child will graduate from college. I have been anticipating this day for twenty-three years.

There have been times in my life when I have enjoyed the anticipation before an event more than I have enjoyed the event itself. I have no reason to expect this to be one of those times, but that gives you an idea of how much I like the feeling of anticipation. I like it a lot.

The most wonderful thing about T's graduation is that it holds as much excitement as the graduations of my other two children. Each one chose their own path, and each one excelled at what they chose to do. Ken and I were the support system while they found their way, made decisions, learned from mistakes, and celebrated successes.

By the time my children left for college they were independent adults. They had the skills they needed to live in the world and the ability to take care of themselves. When they stopped holding on, I had to let go.

So this week has not been hard because I had to let go. There has been an element of sadness because it's the end of another era for our family. I have been trying to think of what I can compare it to...and today it occurred to me that the feeling is similar to what I felt when I knew I wouldn't have any more babies. At the time we had three healthy children, and the youngest was starting school; I was starting my first full-time teaching job; and it was time for our family to move into the next stage. I knew it was the right time ~ for me, for my family. There was still a twinge of sadness because I felt immeasurable joy with the birth of each of my children.

Just as I have felt joy at each of their graduations. I have always cheered the loudest and clapped the longest, and I know that will be true at the Boston Garden on Friday.

That doesn't mean that I don't feel a twinge of sadness that this is the college graduation of my youngest child, that this era in our family is over. The smiles will overshadow the tears, and memories will be stored for future reference.

The journey continues....