Monday, January 23, 2006


A flock of robins flies over the house, red breasts glowing in sunset's salmon light. A ladybug wanders across my windowpane until I capture it gently and let it out into the fresh day. I deliberately overdo it, digging in the wet ground to get some bulbs and plants in, pruning roses and grape vines, clearing out the collapsed arbor, weeding. My arms are bare so the sun can caress pale skin. It feels like spring, actually, feels like an Oregon February, when the weather inexplicably clears for a pair of weeks and teases us with the promise of endlessly good weather ... soon. I hope we get this in February too. This is day two of blue sky, soft air and a glowing sense in the world that tomorrow we'll see big blooms and leaves open up. That would be bad, unfortunately. January, even the end of January, is too early. We'll see frost again, maybe tonight since the sky has misplaced its gray blanket.

The dogs basked together by the fence in sunlight, their fur gilded by warmth. The cats are on a killing spree, bringing in at least one vole a day, and blood stains the deck. Everyone is overdoing it. Spring fever, or more like spring festival, with the rushing about and the smiling and the anticipation of revelry.

So it comes as no surprise that I want to work on projects non-stop. But it's getting dark, and it's time to settle. I'll sit with a glass of wine that holds the memory of fresh fruit inside it, and try to remember the meaning of patience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Stress Muffin

I think I'm the main stressor in my husband's life. He claims to be mine, but he'll have to settle for the bronze at best. Ahead of him are:
My son, who ties him for the bronze. These past few weeks Orion has made great strides, and so he may be taken completely out of the running. But I doubt it. I'm his mom. I worry about his grades, college, the day he'll be on his own, succeeding enough in life that he's happy. Some days I worry about him surviving at all. So even when he's doing well, I'll still worry about him.
My house takes the silver. I love my house. I don't take good enough care of it. Sometimes the chores are overwhelming. It needs work, too. Mice are building nests, once-damp areas have the remnents of mold. It has slightly off-white carpet that hasn't looked good since a few months after we bought the place. I sometimes have the feeling the place is half-patched together at best. It's my duty to make it ship shape, and when I fall down on it, I have a lingering sense of failure and inadequacy. I have major things on my list to do, and the financial part of it falls to Rory. I recognize I'm creating a constant drain on him, and that he feels its his responsibility to provide the financial ability to do everything I hope to do in this house. It's not fair. We used to be fiscally equal partners, or close to, and I want to shoulder the burden of maintenance and upkeep of the house. It's not possible right now. Someday, I'll write a best selling novel and ... oh yes, baby, yes!
And the gold goes to: Money. Not the lack thereof because we're doing very well, but my budgeting of it and failures thereof. It's stressful for everyone. It was, once upon a time, less stressful when I could work more hours to indulge myself with or cover my mistakes. I don't mind living within a budget, I'm just crappy at it. I think I'm getting better, but it keeps getting away from me and bill paying time are the most stressful times of the month. It's my most critical job, one I'm lousy at. I used to be good at it. Maybe some focused energy here will save me a lot of stress, and give me a sense of pride. I'd really like to go back to school, and then to work again. Or sell a novel or three. Or do it all. Why not? Life is but a dream? Nah. Life is but a striving, and the fulfillment of dreams.