dear god. literally, this has a bit of a prayer in it, for me..
one of the ways to be a practicing buddhist is to carry these questions in your head and apply them before you speak...
is this true? (HOLY BYRON KATIE REARS HER HEAD AGAIN!!)
is this kind?
is it neccessary?
each time you go to say something, this runs through first... every single time... dear lord, i have a lot of work to do to quiet my overly boisterous inner voice. goodgrief.
in the everlasting quest to figure out how to talk to my hubsJ and my kids in a way that does not involve shrieking and running with knives around the kitchen over and over again, i am struck by how much i say that is wasted on the audience...
so, short of saying nothing at all and running into some large-size troubles...I'm working on it. Try it. holy mother, I certainly am going to be quieter around my kids. How irritating it is to be constantly chirping, be careful... don't ...
i do realize after a while that i speak to the cherubic ones my body pushed out as if they were rough dogs on a bad day. . .
I don't see myself becoming a buddhist anytime soon, but I am starting to practice being the way I would like to be, in the hopes that it will rub off/in.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
dear god. literally, this has a bit of a prayer in it, for me..
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
My friend Sam came over today to help me look around the house and start thinking about prepping it for sale.
as if that weren't enough of a slam to the body... i also bought a power ranger costume for the boys but only one, as i am an idiot in need of meds.
big meds, preferably of the bottle of wine alone in the bath variety- although maybe the cabana boy of my dreams could come in handy today.
i'm doing laundry, washing floors, chalking up notepads, drinking coffee... and then putzing (without any double entendre)... an entire three hour putz happened today - wherein i vacuumed, coffee'd, etc. and then it was up, all of a sudden, over...
is there something wrong? am i in some sort of bizarro-world? alone, alone, alone, she cried.... for years, i have been craving this...
all that time? just to do some dishes?
Monday, September 27, 2010
so, when i find myself in times of trouble, i have this wee mantra type thing, at least lately it has morphed into this:
this is all there is. here, this sack of skin in which my bones and moving blood are housed, this breath... and that... what i can touch with my skin....
this is all there is... beyond this.... nothing.
this is where its at.
I'm breathing more steadily these days... my children are doing wonderfully.. picking up again on the biting, using 'ain't' as though it were an actual word, screaming and crying at the drop of the hat. My five year old HAS stopped hitting me, although sometimes I think I might like to go back to that than this rapidfire emotions thing...
so, this is where its at. . .
I'm on the lookout for cardinals.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I'm always swept up in a wave of 'like' things, as in, when I start ruminating on distraction, articles, influences, comments, etc. start flooding into my awareness, about 'distraction'. Think about blue elephants for a while and certainly you'll start seeing references to them all around. Saw a movie called The Blue Elephant last week and, while there is a battle scene at the end and a scary badguy elephant with red eyes, it is the new favorite of my two year old and I am a fan as well. anyhow. its good, i think i'm going to get it again from the library. the elephant's name is Khan Kluay... and my two year old says his name very precisely, and that is damn cool.
Hello? digress much?
this was supposed to be about enough. and i've lost my train...
there it is. so, the newest wave is enough, and less, and how to make a home in an urban setting which is what we would like - if we lived in a rural setting. apart from moving, which we may do, especially as hubsJ is completely wigged out by a rollerskating party that our family attended for the school. WOAH. who knew hubs J was so scared of our kid turning into a dark basement/fatty videogame junkie? who knew?!
(i've got NO problem with curvaceous adults, but do find it upsetting to see curvaceous children, hence the somewhat derogatory 'fatty'... not towards the kid itself but towards our whole culture which allows it...)
now the news is that we need to move to the country, learn to knit, cut our own wood for heat and slaughter our own chickens. . . all of us.
I might have a problem with the knitting as I tend to spend a lot of time on the computer and have a very finite need for scarves.
I could certainly make bread in this 'country' future of mine but I'm trying to be fairly reasonable with myself about what it is that I can actually achieve in this new move. I'm all about not shopping these days, feeling fabu about every day in which I actively do not spend any money. so there. except for the 60 bucks at target when i went in for the shaving cream that they were out of stock on... glbualgha.
this is what i am saying: we will move if we can sell our house. out to the country.
goats or sheep? what say you?
Posted by Kate Bowie at 1:19 PM
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Still Life with Coffee posted this beauty of a project and since my kids are both!! at school this morning, I thought I'd give it a whirl (ostensibly, so i could 'do it better' with them. wash... )
and so, spent my morning getting sort of messy and thinking about trees and how dropdead gorgeous they are, abstract or real, fully dressed or bare...
and then there was Karen Maezen Miller (i am not pandering, just happens this way, so get off my back you. me. )
it'll take me forever to link. but here's my fancy artwork for the day. i actually loved it, had to use real chalk instead of chalk pastels, because real chalk is what I pick up one thousand times per day. . . day 2 of hours alone. 3 hours, twice a week. only so much laundry in the world, then its clean and there is everything else.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
And therein lies a rub. I feel badly because someone else might feel badly or be disappointed in me. How does one enter into a life of peaceful awareness and an attempt at non-judgementalness and maintain that awareness in the face of what is 'wrong'? If there is no duality, how does one make change? if nothing is 'wrong' vs. 'right', how does one decide what to do with activism? or even (the more simple?) taking care of the kids in the neighborhood? We have a little boy (j) who comes to the door all the time to play. all the time, 8 am and 8 pm. And I let him in every day, as well as two of his sisters, and I feed them and I do what I can to let them be. We have discovered that the rule of three must need apply, three warnings and then go home, we'll try again tomorrow. The boy is too rough, very demanding, very loud, and doesn't have the innate sense of play to recognize that you can't play rough with the one in diapers. . . my five year old sometimes needs a break from this 'play'! its true, he even asks for a day off from j once in a while. really. and i give it.
IF I am not judging... and there is no wrong/right debate, whats the problem?
Where do you stand when your kids are potentially at risk? Am I really doing a mine vs. yours, with kids? Kids? !
What're my priorities for the world if I decide to ban this play? to stop feeding this brood?
I am trying to keep my eyes open wide, to pay attention to what is before me, surrounding me and how I am moving through it. I am confused.
I've read a book called Simplicity Parenting ( find your own link, i am flustered...) in the hopes that I can give or provide more quietude to C when he gets off the school trip, so there will be more balance in his space. Less wilderness of 'stay at your desk', less clutter, less noise, more running, more peace...
what, then, do I do with j? a being not at peace, not of quietude, interjected into what i egotistically think i am 'creating' in my home? what are my big pictures?
Do i invite the kids for dinner when there might not be enough ? what the hell is enough?
Posted by Kate Bowie at 1:55 PM
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Title purposeful. as in, post-... and as in, NEW. *edited newly, new post... all of the above..
Went to the retreat this weekend. Wish I could tell you how charged and changed I am, how marvelously miraculous and restorative it was. . .
I'm trying not to judge myself too harshly for not being utterly swept away in bliss. isn't that crazy? trying hard not to judge myself? for bliss? I'm not cool enough to be swept away?! oh nelly, some issues are a-surfacing... surprise surprise...
My issues, they were all my issues, all day, all the time.... I took my sister with my on a lovely whim and spent the morning thinking about how well KarenMaezenMiller's points would apply to HER... because clearly, I am a master at distraction and diversion...
It was a marvelously beautiful day. A seal was sunning himself between the white sailboat hulls and I watched him dunking his head in the water to cool off... that is pretty damn cool. Even got to see him slump himself off the edge and disappear beneath the ripples.
the day was not about mothering, and i was glad of it.. and only very slightly irritated by the complaints about tantrums at the end... not from the 'karenmaezenmiller' priestess, but from the other mothers...
and again, my issues cause my fidgets, and my lack of patience is almost legendary 'round these parts...
What I DID get from the day was this:
pay attention. pay attention.
pay attention. what you pay attention to will thrive. pay attention to what is beautiful and blissful...
(that seal is being well fed right now... see?)
don't 'add' to things. no judgement, no wish, no tension, no 'if only'... just see it for what it is, completely whole already... without your 'addition'...
hm. I think what made me not be swept was the realization that it was all things that i already know. it was. you know it all too, whoever you are... we all do.
we just forget it, in our rush to do whatever we all are doing all the time. sit down, watch your kids, keep your mouth closed when you don't need it... watch. look. pay attention. stop trying to change everything. let it be.
and on that note, go listen to the Beatles. because they DO say it best. . .
*KarenMaezenMiller offered me a refund on the retreat because of this post. Now I have shame. and i am not kidding.
but I am going to exhale, let it go and seek out the Beatles of my innersonglist. and hum it wildly while I walk to pick up C from school, in hopes that it makes everything balance in my tiny overly powerful head again.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Holy . REally, in one day, two whole conversations in which there was no phone involved and the kids were only minimally present. I cannot tell you how wildly stimulating it was. I'm all aflutter with things to think about and things to tell my husband about my day, and look. i'm even posting about it.
this must be what it is like to have kids in school. it must be what happens...
One of the conversations took place spontaneously in my very own living room and I am hoping I don't have to think about how messy it was for much longer. I'm thinking the horror is already starting to fade...
I'm leaving at supper tonight to go to my sister's house, for the second sleepover in two weeks. Last time it was for a wahoo night of her 40th birthday celebration... wonderful. This time it is so I can be closer to a retreat that I am attending all day tomorrow. I am going to a Mother's Plunge... I'm excited, full of anticipation, wondering what it will hold. A day of meditation, quietude, conversations. Without the first two, i might float out the window with the crazy of all that conversation. . . really, how much stimulation can a cave lichen take?
- along with the faltering bumblebee in autumn motif, i am also the cave lichen. I AM THE CAVE LICHEN.
think of me. think of how much I'm going to be thinking of you. . . all day... when i'm supposed to 'not' be thinking... dig?
i am fine with myself, lichen or not, and i am fine with the work i am doing, distraction or not, and i am working on it, this being fine thing. I HAVE to work on it, because it certainly is not a natural state of affairs so much . sometimes the work gets damn old, and quietude is less a choice than a move towards morbidity and distress and I think that has been where I've been living in terms of the school dilemma.
I am ready to move on.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
evidently, after so many days of nausea and self-annihalation, i look a little freaky.... hub J says I look like Joan Jett this morning, Monday he told me to go back inside and take off my pajamas before walking C to school. - good advice, by the way. Today is day 7 of the school year, after voting day school closures and so on ... and the classes have been split, C has a new teacher this morning who will stay through November when mrs.preggypants returns from maternity leave. there are 25 in his classroom and for some reason, I am wanting to rip my heart out today. Seriously, I am f'in miserable. I washed the floor in the bathroom while little E was running around the same floor in dirty shoes. I was Sca-reaming. oh yes, this is called rational, i believe. washing a floor, sneaker, awake child... what the hell? have i completely taken leave of my senses? I don't want to talk to anyone, i am staying in the house and feeling like shit all over the building because I am giving him less than the best. less.
less is more, you say ? ha. i believe it and yet, he doesn't seem ready to monastery it, yet... I, on the other hand, have been calling around to the nunneries with very serious intent. vacate. quiet. no trauma of the loss- sort. yesterday he was home because of primary voting and I was so damn relieved. . . my god, to have him in my clutches was fabulous. . . and he was subdued and fairly quietly playing for most of the day and now he is gone again. who the hell is going to get me through this trauma?
(thank you to the storytellers who've done this already... it is very good to hear you...same feelings, most of the time, it seems.... )
Thursday, September 9, 2010
not the issue.
1. I am in the public eye, all of a sudden. My own private life of homemom is suddenly on the front page, (not literally) in that, my anonymity is gone. The park, the grocery store, the all of it, is suddenly full of faces that I vaguely recognize, names that my son shouts out, bodies that he runs to see-around the corner and out of sight. . .
I am grotesque in my awkwardness and I can't hide in my house, in my neighborhood anymore.
2. Is it that I don't WANT to be involved in the school? I don't want to save anyone, change anything? is this a guilt of laze? I just want to move, get him safe and coddled in a warm and fuzzy kindergarten with a happy fat teacher who likes to play candyland while singing alphabet songs and then bring in cupcakes once a month?
3. How much of my issue is not being comfortable with the tremendous disparity of intellect in this new social situation? I don't even know whether to say 'class', 'intelligence', 'life expectations'... I don't know. . . its not money, that i do know, although sometimes that allows more flexibility around the hierarchy. . . Its a multigenerational poverty of spirit- what box does that fit in? hope is a strain here... expectations are very low. mygod, with kids? how. how. how.
4. Is it that I am done being valuable to them, at schoolage? Is my job, identity, as mother, the one I've just recently finally understood, over? I'm clearly grammatically losing my mind. I feel like I've just absorbed, in giving my son to the publicschool gods, the weight and impact of this job on my life. How am I ever going to absorb the loss of it? Its going to keep going and going. . .
I think I'm having an empty nest syndrome thing, except that I can't retire, don't want to get drunk by myself (yet) and can't tolerate the ever-rotating mailmen. . . so damn inconsistent...
Do I need to have more babies so that I can have more to do? By the by, you can do ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING with just one baby at home. anything.
but the toddler starts a half day preschool next week.
I am going to completely crack up.
AND i am so damn sad about it all. . . am i done? should i just curl up and die? hire some ditto to make snacks after school and just leave ?
Posted by Kate Bowie at 2:13 PM
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
*I apologize for my writing being so dull and without any flow these days. Its all in the larger details, I think.
The ParentTeacherOrg was quite mind-blowing. There were six of us, a teacher and a principal. pal. ple. pal, for sure.
In an hour, I thought at least a dozen times, Is he drunk? Why would they be drunk at this hour? why would they come here if they were drunk? Maybe she had a stroke....
I don't want to talk any more about it.
So hows this? Instead I will talk about the feeling of wild abandonment and shiftless guilt that I have about letting my kid go to school. It is day 3 today. THREE. (I am waiting for at least, EIGHT days, but maybe I'll pull him out tomorrow if I cannot stand it... ) This is nuts. I am not responsible. but I DO get to choose. I just didn't realize . . . so. so. many things.
He loves it, absolutely. Though he is so tired when he gets home I am basically unable to gleen a single piece of information from him that doesn't involve a Power Ranger. (I am assuming they are not watching Power Rangers at school... on second thought, maybe i should pick him up early today... )
My new animal analogy is a sad one, the ever faithful bumblebee, in Autumn. Plugging along, bumbling hopefully to the blossoms, batted down by a cold breeze, again and again. I am just wanting to stay down, these days. Feeling foolish every time I get back up and think it'll all be fine again... so embarassed by my own optimism.
but I don't know what else to do but keep getting up in the morning. look at a cookbook, do some laundry, walk to school, walk home, kiss my kid, miss my kid. They are so lovely, so quirky and so gross. and that is the truth.
Posted by Kate Bowie at 1:52 PM
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
seriously, have i mentioned feeling distanced from my own emotions ever? hmm.. well, this whole 'let him go' thing of sending my kid to kindergarten in a less-than-stellar-woodtoyFree environment is making me sick. My skin is all erupting with dryness and for me, with an unimaginably good history of skin, is totally teenangsty all over the place. I am constantly burping. I feel swollen and nauseous all the time. and i am NOT pregnant. at all.
My misdirection plan for dealing with the loss of my five year old to the wilds of public school is working. I am obsessed with the dryness, rescue remedying myself several times a day, and doing the laundry for the entire neighborhood. Without the reminder of the screaming two year old, I would not be eating.
Things are unraveling .
Tonight is the first PTO meeting . Should be pretty. I'm going to be the mutterer in the back.
look for me.
Posted by Kate Bowie at 3:28 PM
Monday, September 6, 2010
Its Labor Day here in these fabulously disUnited States... the day to celebrate the worker.
the hypocrisy in it is fairly astounding. (poor wages, poor health care, disappearing pensions, sugardaddy wallstreeters owning the govt. and playing with its money, etc, and so on...)
all that is left unsaid today, in favor of my taking the kids to a battleship, to see a tool of war, retired, out of action and turned into a museum for tangible proof of history. Although my five year old will see it as a backdrop for Power Ranger action, and my 2.5 year old will try to climb the cannons, believing them to be elephant trunks.
I think the guilt I feel for my son's possible Kindergarten hell is making my calm exterior skin peel off, like I took a bath in Elmer's and its slowly peeling off but I keep finding sections to pick at. A compulsion dream.
I don't really want to talk about it. I'm going outside. see ya.
Posted by Kate Bowie at 11:18 AM
Friday, September 3, 2010
Today C is having his first full day of school. There are now 40 children in his classroom and there is a second teacher. The principal is opening a new kindergarten classroom on Tuesday, after Labor Day weekend. I am giving the school ten whole days in which to fix it all and then we are going to have a gigantic family meeting about what to do... if something still needs to be done.
thats my update.
I took him, I put him in... he was nervous but really wanted to go. He is the most friendly, socially excitable boy that ever there was. He is going to have so much to talk about this weekend and I am looking forward to it and glad that we've got three days before we do this again.
Having three days to emotionally vomit helped this morning go very smoothly.
And behind it all lurks the idea of myself as a little Portuguese widow, wringing my hands behind the garden gate while my boy goes off to manhood. I might as well be sending him off to sea.
Where I live now and where I grew up, the little Portuguese women dress in black and carry rosaries and do frequently panic in public about family, storms, large dogs, etc. The one I grew up with was Mrs. Rego. One of her daughters lived across the street and another lived on the next street over and another lived in the next town and one, god forbid, lived in Canada. good lord.
I am she. She is me.
I am wringing my hands and wishing for a rosary and, albeit a bit more privately, panicking. . .
I'm sure I will make it through the day, but I might be blind or deaf, again.
Posted by Kate Bowie at 11:53 AM
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
SO, these are my inner dialogues these days...
me: I'm a New Englander, many generations over. . . so, the whole 'thrift is good' thing sings in my blood. I dream of pies that I make by hand and canning things and making all of our bedquilts.
However, I am a girl of the 1980's and 90's and I don't really know how to do any of this. I have made pies but find it sort of laborious and I don't really like to EAT them, to my husband's great chagrin. I don't can anything although I did make up a bunch of pickles this year. - which are languishing in the closet even now. I'm a bit afraid of exploding jars in the basement, the dark, dark basement which houses many spiders to keep me from the laundry machines. . . Quilts bigger than a 3 foot square are going to be a bit more than I can handle soon, I think.
Me, again: This whole thing of shifting 'back to the land' that becoming more self-sufficient (as all those crazy linkings are leading me to) will grant me is going to take a lot of shifting. I've got my Grammie's support but she is a memory and an idea now and I would really like to talk to her some more. . . I don't want her to be some schtick that I use to soothe my own imaginary wanderings. she would disparage that idea.
I'm getting very good at telling the boys to go outside, and not following them. very good. We have a posse of boys from the neighborhood who show up at just about every hour/any hour and they play without frontiers in our city backyard. . . and they all, in their utter city-kid-ness, 'i wish michael jackson was my dad' (yeah, i heard it, i did... can you BELIEVE how his 'image' has reformed since his death? holy mother)
these kids actually make me feel better about C going to school in this neighborhood. they have survived, they can read, they can talk... and they can play... maybe i have more choices.
What if all this 'back to the land' domestic fronteir-ing stuff is just prep to get me to homeschool? holy shit.
I've thought more about it in the past 35 hours than ever in my life. My poor kid, my poor, incredibly social public school kid. my poor me, my poor me, who was thinking i'd have soooo much time to myself this year. my poor country, run by politicians who are corporations, and not by humans who understand that ACTUAL diversity of economy makes education more difficult, and the struggling schools should be MORE highly funded/staffed because their work is ACTUALLY harder.
the american dream? my dream? public schools would actually be the popular, educated choice, not just a political or economical move.
36 kids. what the hell kind of learning is going to go on there? i'm sort of devastated. what kind of mother does this to her kid? why isn't everyone up in arms?
My grandmother would be too busy to deal with this. but she had trust in the teachers and in her kids not to mess around, and she just kept making her pies... and her home, and a backdrop for the brungup of a crew of six.
i love to say 'brungup'. say it with me.
keep the faith...
Posted by Kate Bowie at 2:13 PM