Sunday, December 2, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

Whew! What a year!

This February Ben and I won the “Cutest Newlyweds of the Southeast” contest for the ninth year in a row, even though we have only been married for seven years – guess they really love us! LOL! Congrats to us, Shmoopie!

This summer we enrolled Norah in Spanish camp, and while she is still struggling with the subjunctive tense, we believe that with a little more practice, she will be ready for the AP Spanish Exam in the spring. She will be a little behind the rest of her age group, but like they say, better late than never!

We tried to find a summer camp for Chris, but as we looked through the local offerings, we saw that nothing really fit with his personality and skill level, so we started our own in our on-site rec center. We had such a great time hosting a dozen area children as we learned how to build our own jet packs and develop other means of both simulated and actual flight. As we developed the curriculum for the school, we actually received a call from a Marvel representative who came to take notes for the final edits of this summer’s blockbuster hit, The Avengers. If you watch the credits, you’ll see us mentioned, and a big family photograph of us with the Iron Man suit right above the MPAA seal. Good times.

As if this weren’t enough, in October I received a call from Martha Stewart, requesting to photograph my home (I am known for my interior decorating, although usually the interest is just regional, rather than national), and man was I quaking in my UGGs! I mean, that lady is just about the QUEEN of decorating! We had also just finished our yearly kitchen remodel just a few weeks prior, so I was still finding plaster dust in the crevices of the shelves in the cabinet where I keep my collection of seasonal cake plates. Imagine if Martha had seen that! How embarrassing!

But the photo shoot went off without a hitch, and we actually made the cover two months in a row (“I just love what you’ve done with ecru too much to limit you to one month!” is what Martha said, and who were we to contradict her? LOL!). That same month we adopted our fantastic rescue dog Gunther. We got his DNA tested and it turns out he is descended from dogs kept by the royal families of France, Spain, Belgium AND the Netherlands! Who knew! He is doing agility and herding training, and he is quickly advancing through the levels of flyball championship – time to start saving those frequent flyer miles and searching for dog-friendly accommodations in New York City for the National Championship early next year! What a crazy puppy. He brings so much warmth and love into our lives.

This Christmas I am soooo busy, sewing and canning and baking and gutting the three back bedrooms in order to create that art and writing studio that I’ve always wanted. I have an agent and buyer for my novel even though it isn’t written yet, so after New Year’s I really need to get busy! LOL! The publisher sent me a stack of a dozen different possibilities for the cover art, and man, there is so much talent out there! It is so hard to decide!

At the end of the year, I am glad to look back and see such an average, happy year. Some years you do so much you can hardly remember it, but this year we really took it slow and just let it all sink in. These are the golden years, after all, and there’s no point in living life if you can’t stop and smell the heirloom roses that we just planted all along the front fence of our estate. Even though it’s freezing outside, they just won’t stop blooming! LOL!
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

The Nash Family

Friday, November 30, 2012

If my husband had a #Tumblr hashtag

When you clicked on it you would see

An adorable photo of him standing in front of the stove cooking scrambled eggs, a plate for him and one for each of the kids #barefoot in the kitchen

Action shot of playing drums in the bar. Low light. Hard to see but it's him, squee!

He is tired and falls asleep in the chair in front of Parks & Recreation episodes on AutoPlay #long day

GIF of him rocking out to Alice in the cab of his truck, not knowing he's being filmed #OMGHilarious

He tosses Norah high in the air and catches her again; she giggles and laughs, her mouth wide open, eyes wide open to the wonderful world #baby girl #awesome dad

Screenshot of his dinner #meat #cheese #mustard

Screenshot of cute texts from him during the workday #sigh #perfect

GIF of him giving the thumbs-up on the way out of a meeting #rockstar

His eyes when he sees me and he's glad to be home #Whither Thou Goest

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Actual Thanks This Time

Thanks to the magical transformative power of writing about things, I feel a million times better about all the things I was complaining about in my last post. I thought about taking it down -- because, let's face it, it's a downer -- but it was an authentic expression of the moment, so it stays.

With that being said, this week I have been able to let go of a lot of those terrible grinding grievances and to let go of a whole barrow full of shoulds, so that every day I have only a few goals instead of a million, and it makes things much better.

To be honest, I think part of what is going on is a good old-fashioned midlife crisis, although I seem to be starting just a little early. I can tell that I am not doing the things that I am meant to do, and so I have to change my course in some way, just a little bit every day. It's time to take up my weapons and go into battle again -- battle for ambition, and future, and fulfillment, and even fight for the self and all of these things that get put on ice when you have little babies. But now it's time to stand up and do the lady version of "be a man" and actually go after the things that I want.

Scary, bewildering, exhilarating. Like a second iteration of adolescence. But I'm set up better for reinvention now than I ever have been, because this time around I know why I have to do these things. I see my reasons every day:

Monday, November 19, 2012


This year Thanksgiving comes at a difficult time. I am in the midst of a fairly adolescent, self-centered pity party, which doesn't go very well with the overall spirit of giving thanks. I held off the pity party for as long as I could -- really, I did -- but I am powerless to it now and I just have to let the waves crash over my head until things start looking better again.

It's been a year of shit. I can say in all honesty that right now there is not one single part of my life that is going well. Well, okay, maybe that isn't true. My friendships bring me a lot of comfort, so that is good. I have good friends. All the rest of it -- family, love, work, money, spirituality, art, home, car, health, fitness, blah blah blah, all the rest of it is slowly worsening over time and there are no changes on the horizon.

Part of what brings me to this gridlock is that I am horrifically busy, all the time. So I don't have a lot of time to sit around making plans to make things better, and I can't incorporate a new habit ("Hang out with friends! Go for a walk!") to cheer myself up. Instead I spend all my time trying to catch up on work, and I never quite hit the mark. Things like housekeeping I only do in my downtime, which comes up about once a week. Well, just reprioritize! say the advice columns. But unless I can cut things like "feed the children" and "take a shower," I don't have any room for shifting priorities either.

The biggest difficulty in the midst of this poor-me scenario is that I am losing my faith. This pains me more than anything else, because faith has brought me through so many difficult things in my life. It's like losing a friend. It is losing a friend. I try to pray and talk to God and believe that I will not always be this sad, but then I feel like an idiot for hoping.

I haven't lost faith that God exists. I know God is real. I know it with my bones. What I have lost is the sense that God is benevolent. At so many points this year, he has left gifts on my doorstep, and when I go outside and tear the paper off, it's a steaming mound of dog shit inside. But because it is a gift from God, I have to say thanks. So thanks. Thanks for three layoffs in eight months. Thanks that I can't lose weight no matter what I do. Thanks for a hair-trigger temper that requires me to use all my energy just to avoid screaming on a daily basis. Thanks for multiple health crises. Thanks for loneliness. Thanks for crushing responsibility. Thanks for mounting debt. Thanks for the carrot-on-a-stick of more contract work, held out 60, 90, 120 days in the future. Thanks for medical, dental, and vision insurance when I can't afford the copays. Thanks for the only thing to say being "just hold on for a while longer." Thanks for all the things that I can't talk about here that make it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Thanks for dismantling my support system stick by stick until there is nothing left but a few friends who I don't want to overload.

I can say that something good about this year is that I have stopped looking for meaning in my suffering and hard times. I know that there is no meaning in it. It's like roulette. God enjoys watching people twist and turn and strive and suffer and die, and I am just in his focus for some reason right now. Maybe he likes the foot-stamping temper tantrums I have. Maybe he likes seeing my cry and scream whenever I am alone in the car.

I won't stop praying, because about once a week I believe that my life could be better than it is. I feel God's presence in these tiny slivers, like sunlight through venetian blinds, but it disappears as quickly as it arrives, and in between I gather more "challenges" until I can hardly hear his voice anyway. Every month is supposed to be a little better than the one before but instead it just gets a little bit worse. I was holding on for November, but now I'm holding on for April, and by the time I get to February, I am sure I will be holding on for July, or August, or 2056.

I think it's time to just raze the internal landscape until it's burnt stubble, and just start again. Give up all hope, all expectation, all sense that things might be better. Live in the fact that they aren't, and won't be. And find a way to give thanks in the middle of the burnt forest anyway.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Christian Name

Lately in the news, in town, on Facebook, in the air there is a war brewing. The war is over the name Christian. Who is one, and what does it mean, and what does it look like from the outside, and what does it look like from the inside?

I overheard a conversation among some Christians a few weeks ago while I was visiting friends. "I saw my nephew had posted something with profanity on Facebook, and I told him, 'I know we don't know each other well, but you need to get that down off your Facebook.'"

"Good for you," came the reply. "It's good that you were there to stand up for the truth."

I stopped what I was doing for a minute as what I had overheard sank in. I couldn't help wondering whether this kind of "Christian offensive" is really going to be useful in the long run. Would you pause and consider your actions prayerfully and carefully if someone you hardly knew came up and shook their finger in your face? It seems like at that point, the rightness and wrongness of the situation would almost be irrelevant. What would matter would be the emotions. The shock, the anger, and the defensiveness. The people who I had overheard were good people. They had good intentions. But in the name of Christianity they may have pushed some unnamed nephew even farther away from the Good News than he already might have been.

Let me offer this as an alternate tale that illustrates the same idea from a different angle. I met a good friend of mine while I was finishing up my graduate work. At the time, some older friends of mine were taking turns giving me a really hard time. There were lots of accusations, criticisms, blatant insults. I would not claim that I didn't play any part in the situation -- because I'm sure I did -- but the end result of all of it was that I was being bombarded with terrible messages about myself, and in the end I just had to stop listening to all of it, even though there might have been a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

My new friend met me in the TA office with a smile, and only minutes after our first conversation she listened to my dilemma and explained Eudamonia to me with excited hand gestures and diagrams drawn in highlighter on an index card. "Also, just don't talk to them when they call," she said. That one conversation set me freer than a thousand nights of meditation on my faults. She helped me change gears from negative anger and self-loathing to something more constructive, and from that I was able to rebuild my life in a new shape. The word succor explains what she provided to me there.

My friend is not a Christian. She does not profess a specific religious creed, and yet she lives by a personal code of integrity. She evaluates and reevaluates her actions in light of that code, and she does it without spilling her own personal journey all over the people around her. She has a calmness that allows other people to grow beside her, not at the same rate, not in the same way, but perhaps, after all, in the same direction.

When I am sick, the first thing my friend asks is if she can bring me some soup or other groceries. When I need a book or movie recommendation, she puts serious analytical thought into suggesting just the right obscure Netflix gem. She is a rare friend because she sees me as I actually am, with all my contradictions and faults, and she just sits with it all, neither embracing nor judging. She is willing to sit. And wait.

Her patience has played a large part in my own spiritual journey. Whether she knew it or meant it or not, her life example has brought me closer to Christ; the ministry of her friendship has allowed me to see past the bitter, bean-counting relationships -- and religions -- of my past into a future where friends just share space and time because they want to.

She doesn't profess a Christian creed with her voice, but who acts more in keeping with the example of Christ? The righteous Christian who dispenses unasked-for advice to her sulking nephew, or my agnostic/atheist friend who sits with me in all my ragged glory-mess?

When I was breaking with my earlier faith community I came across some commentary on YouTube by Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens. The two men were witty, succinct, efficient in their criticisms of my former church, and I couldn't argue with the veracity of anything they said. Far from turning me to an atheist, their clear concision allowed me to let go of the contorted doctrines I had been wringing to death in my hands, and allowed me to consider that grace, not perfection, might just be the key to a Christian life, after all.

So this means that my own Christian walk, bumbling and stagger-about though it might be, has been informed in part by a little group of agnostics and atheists -- not just those who I have mentioned here but others as well. The quality about them that has made their words and actions ring so true -- and the reason I can hear the Holy Spirit echo in their words -- is that they say their piece and then sit quietly. They explain their view, and then they get down off the soapbox and give someone else a turn. They listen as well as they speak; perhaps they listen better than they speak. They know how much to say, and how much not to say, and when to say or not say it.

What if a Christian could do this same thing?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Five Years Old!

Five years after the worst-and-best day of my life, when my son was born two months early, I am happy to find that the bad memories fade, and the good ones are brighter.

I mean, look at him! I love him so much.

He has taught me so much more than I have ever taught him. The lesson I am learning right now is slowing down to listen to him when he talks. 99% of the time, when he is whining, that is all he wants -- to be understood. Interestingly, this is also my life's ambition, and simultaneously one of the hardest things for me to do for someone else -- just listen and understand. It's strange to get to know your child and realize how similar the two of you are.

Today we went to the mall after school to meet with the cousins, and as we were getting out of the car Chris announced that he would keep on his birthday crown "so that everyone will recognize that it's my birthday." Usually he is hesitant to do anything that will call attention to himself, so I thought it was noteworthy. But to him it was just good sense. He's only had five (well, six) birthdays in his life, and probably only two that he can really remember. Best to savor the day, and make sure everyone knows that it is his own special day.

He has a way of becoming something, and then stopping, turning, and looking back at me to see if I have realized yet what he is. He learned his ABCs without me knowing, and just sang them to me one day. He uses bigger words than some of my college students can, and he only took seven months to grow before he was ready to be born and take on the world. I have the feeling that one day soon I will wake up and he will be grown, and doing something amazing with his life, and with his very specific talents, and he will turn back to see if I have noticed.

I am so excited to see what he will become.

Happy Birthday, Christopher!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Are You A Good Mother? Quiz

1. Give yourself 50 points for gestating or adopting, no matter what kind of pregnancy, birth, or adoption process you had.

2. Do you let your kids starve? If yes, give yourself zero points. If no, give yourself 25 points.

3. Are your kids happy more often than they are unhappy? If yes, give yourself 25 points. If not, give yourself 12 points.

4. How often do you make dinner from scratch? Give yourself 10 points for each day per week that you do.

5. How many enriching activities (museum trips, zoo visits, etc.) do you do with your kids every month? Give yourself 20 points for each.

6. What percentage of your children’s food is organic? Give yourself a point for every percentage point of their total diet.

7. Write your final score on a piece of paper and go into the bathroom.

8. Tear up that fucking piece of paper and flush it down the toilet.

9. Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat after me: “I am a good mother because I care about whether or not I am a good mother.”

10. DONE! :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Thoughts: Soul Cathedral

The church I attend is plain, simple, and full of Grace. Wide windows connect the worshiper to the outdoors as the songs and prayers are lifted up. The unaffected, plain nature of the pastor and congregation give a sense of community.

Even in this beautiful setting, though, it is hard not to see the shadow of the ornate Catholic cathedral peeking out from behind the simple furnishings of the Lutheran sanctuary. You can see that the two are related. In fact, the more time goes on, the more I begin to see, paradoxically, the genius of Catholicism. It really does draw the whole self in – body, mind and spirit. How it maintains its membership once the whole self has been drawn in is a much more problematic question, but the initial wooing of the soul is really quite delightful.

So I am left with fragments of memory – incense, creaking pews, the shining golden monstrance, Ubi Caritas and holy water and the high cathedral altar. If there is one emotion-feeling that I miss, it is the quiet hush of prayer, congregants kneeling down, light filtering in through a stained glass window. The smell of old wood and furniture polish and candles, maybe a trace of leftover incense from the day before, hanging in the air. The hushed, whispering tones of those who dare to speak because they must. The sense that this place and time are sacred. What does a post-Catholic do with these bittersweet impressions, somehow too large and unwieldy for the scrapbook?

An answer begins to show itself as I study the plainness and lack of ornamentation around me every Sunday morning. When the twisting, turning mental circles of Catholicism slow down (and stop!), and I can accept grace on the basis of faith instead of perfect performance of ritual, the question changes from “Will I be able to end up in heaven?” to “What should I do now on earth?” Without the ritual requirements there is time -- and energy -- to live a holy life now.

If the Catholic cathedral succeeds in drawing the attention of the soul upwards and outwards, the Lutheran sanctuary I see every week succeeds in drawing it back down to the people, asking questions about how to show the inclusive nature of God’s love to everyone, not just those who share the same creed and beliefs. I take comfort in the workaday nature of the new faith I am learning, because of this focus on the practical, tangible elements of a spiritual life. Less time is spent defining its legalistic boundaries and differentiating itself from other denominations, so more time is available for a vibrant, joyful Christian life.

The real genius of this smaller, simpler way begins to poke through like a chick pecking its way out of an egg: this faith can sustain me without the grandeur of cathedrals, without the “smells and bells,” because I have the spiritual energy to build a cathedral with my own life, and prepare a tabernacle in my own heart. George Fox, who is credited with being the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers), famously said, “Let your life speak.” This idea has just as much relevance in 2012 as it did in the 1600s. Without a Cathedral to proclaim the grandeur of God, it is left to me to do so with my own life and service.

Now, when I think of the old Catholic furniture that I miss, I can compare it to a visit to a "living history" site like Colonial Williamsburg. I am not ashamed of having the old places in my history, and I enjoy thinking about them, reading about them, strolling through the streets and shops and turning the old objects over in my hands, watching the light reflect off their polished surfaces. But at the end of the day, I do not live there anymore. Instead, the great Cathedral begins to take shape within me.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Growing Pains

Yesterday Chris was being a pain around the house, and I took him out for some "Mommy - Christopher Time" which is what we call it when just he and I go out without Norah and Ben. Right now he is going through some challenges because his body and his emotions are very much appropriate for his age, but his brain is leaping ahead of both of them, analyzing, finding patterns, experimenting, and taking on frightening amounts of vocabulary and scientific principles. There is a mismatch there, and while it has always been there in one way or another, now it is becoming more noticeable to him, and he hates the fact that his brain is somewhat "held back" by his age and size.

He has articulated as much to me, which is another sign that his brain is jumping wildly into the future -- he says things like "I am a big boy, but I am still smaller than some big kids, but I am NOT a baby, and I want to be in charge of the things that I do, and grown-ups always tell me what to do. I am frustrated at being a kid." Yesterday, Norah was having a 2 year-old temper tantrum because she wanted to do something her way, but her way was dangerous. Chris came up and patted her on the back and said, "I know what it's like to be frustrated at being a kid, Norah." So, at least we have empathy on lock-down?

I totally get it. I had almost the exact same frustrations, although I remember it hitting me when I was more like 8 or 9 rather than 4. I hated things that were meant for kids, and I never wanted the same things that other people my age wanted. Chris wants (needs?) desperately to be in charge of something, but he just doesn't have quite enough experience for me to really let him loose on anything major. So I let him be in charge of little things wherever I can, and I am always trying to think of new ways to let him "take the reins." I basically need the 4 year-old equivalent of that thing when you are 14 or 15 and your dad lets you drive the car for a few hundred feet down an empty country road. But what might that 4 year-old equivalent be? I have no idea.

When we arrived home after our field trip (unhurried trip through the ice cream shop/toy store), I had a moment of momgrief. Not long ago at all -- just a few months -- every time we went out for Mommy - Christopher time, Chris would say, "Since it's Mommy - Christopher time, you can carry me!" When he was younger he loved this aspect of M-C time, because Norah spent her first 18 months pretty much in my arms, so he loved having some of that space to himself. Today, almost-five and so much taller than he was even at the beginning of the summer, he didn't say that, and the fresh, baby-bright quality to his voice was gone as well, flown off in the wind. He is taller and gangly, and moody, feeling the corners of his ever-expanding self bumping against the edges of the space the world has hollowed out for him. He is chafing at its boundaries.

My mom-heart aches because I can't fix it all by carrying him to and from the car on an errand anymore, and because I know that feeling, of knowing that everyone around you just sees a child when they look at you, but inside your mind and heart you are twenty feet tall, an invincible universal spirit. They don't understand it, and they won't, for at least fifteen or twenty more years. Being Chris's mom shifts from being his protector and nurturer to being his advocate, like a lawyer for his spirit, making my arguments and presenting evidence, but in the end it is not up to me who wins the case. The force is strong with this one, though. It delights and terrifies me as I see him now in his nascent stage, this seething, electrical ball of potential, shooting off sparks in every direction, sulking in the backseat as we pull up into the driveway.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I watched Jane Eyre today

Okay, so I admit that I bought it for Fassbender, who broods appropriately as Rochester and also bears a resemblance to my own beautiful husband, which makes him even more compelling on the screen. But in the end I was won over again by Mia Wasikowska’s Jane, who is the best Jane I have ever seen, and is the closest in spirit to the Jane that you read when you read the real novel. Jane in the book feels something for Rochester and yet fights it, gives herself sort of “anti-pep talks” in which she teaches herself not to hope, not to be attached, not to expect anything. It is the way she has lived her whole life, and she keeps herself in check even in a very compromising situation.
So why, sitting back at naptime and enjoying the lovely Blu-Ray version of this great film, did I find myself 


as Jane runs back to Thornfield from the tiny church, ripping off her wedding dress, buttoning up in her greys again and putting her impassive face back on?

Rome has been tugging at my heart lately, in that same old siren-ish way that she has, the little mental land mines she has planted in the past 30 years exploding like tiny fireworks in my head at key moments, keeping me tied to her no matter how far I run over the windblown moors, my name echoing across the hills as she calls out for me from her burned out castle.

I still love her, but it’s the muted love of old love, the way you care for someone who you never see anymore. As I climb out of the pit of illness and exhaustion brought on by clinging closely to her, as I see how much healthier I am each day since the last day that I saw her, how being far away makes me healthier, I feel a new wave of grief for the woman that I wanted to be, and more than that, the woman that I vowed to be, on my knees, kneeling in front of the altar as the blessing was pronounced over me:

Father, by your plan man and woman are united,
and married life has been established
as the one blessing that was not forfeited by original sin
or washed away in the flood.
Look with love upon this woman, your daughter,
now joined to her husband in marriage.
She asks your blessing.
Give her the grace of love and peace.
May she always follow the example of the holy women
whose praises are sung in the scriptures.

It is a strange blessing because it was only for me, not for Ben; the priest explained it in his tiny office full of fish tanks as he said it was an anachronism; a prayer left over from the times when a married woman’s life was hard, when she could very well die, when she would have a child every year and become old and tired quickly from scrubbing floors and nursing ten or twelve children, half of whom would live and half of whom would die. Looking at my own decline in health as I answered the call of my vocation I cannot help but think the prayer was not only appropriate but desperately needed.

I was crying on the wingback chair in front of this film because this blessing which very well may have sustained me through two bouts of postpartum darkness, a premature child, and the gaining and losing of fifty pounds over and over again, this is a blessing that I have to turn my back on as I walk away from the church. She helped to cause my illness but she gave me the salve to smooth over it as well; is that not love? It is not.

My love for my husband is deeper now than it was on that day when we married. It is true when they say that love deepens over time; it is not a separate thing anymore, it is part of my body. It’s in my bones. It is my bones. I dare to see it as a thing separate from the priest’s hands held over us, Rome’s hard-won benediction.

I look back over my shoulder like Lot’s wife and it confounds me, this thing I left behind. It is a beautiful angel and a monster all at once. It tried to kill me, and it tried to save me. I wanted to be that wife, the one that knelt down and took the blessing that would make me invincible through life’s danger. I wanted to be her with all my heart. But Ben never wanted me to be her; he only wants me, happy, healthy, and together with him for the rest of our lives. Unlike Jane I have this to lean into as I walk away.

When I decided to save myself and cut the cord, to decide that I had individual worth, that my health mattered to me not just because I was needed by others but because I was needed by myself, the first wire popped like a violin string wound too tight, and the rest rose and fell and broke as well, like the old grainy movie of a suspension bridge collapsing. The water rushes over it but the wreckage is still there. My heart is at the bottom of the river.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Adrenal Fatigue Update!

I thought I would take a minute to post an update on the Adrenal Fatigue recovery which has been going on for almost a year now. I think I have finally turned a corner toward steadily improving. Of course, there are supposed to be lots of setbacks, so I am not going to overdo anything right now, but for this moment, and for a few solid weeks now, I have the following good news to talk about:

-I have done yard work without collapsing afterwards
-I have been doing some strength training
-I have had a more steady positive mood overall (takes less time to get out of the dumps if I get in them)
-Good afternoon energy levels (although I need a break sometimes)
-Being nicer to the kids (I think?) Less overwhelm, less frustration, less of that awful panicky feeling when the house is a mess and both of them are screaming, etc.

I think that these things are due to lifestyle changes:

-Sleeping at night (who knew??)
-Limiting my work to certain hours so that I have time for other things (this is super hard. More on this later.)
-Hacking my to-do lists down to almost nothing, on purpose
-Cutting back on energy-draining things
-Asking for help when the problem arises instead of when I have exhausted myself from trying to fix things without any help
-Going on vacation (ok so this isn't really a "lifestyle," although it would be awesome if it were, but the mental state of being on vacation -- being very much away from work at times -- is getting more important to me)
-Avoiding all wheat and dairy, always. Whenever I try to bend the rule, I end up feeling awful. Not worth it.

Some bonus effects are that now that I have limited my work hours, I get to hang out on the sofa with husband more often, which I like! I hired someone to come and clean my house a few times, which felt very strange and aristocratic and weird at first -- I was raised that you basically don't hire anyone to do *anything* you could do yourself -- but after seeing the results, I think it's worth it to have someone come as often as possible, when I can afford it. And it's really not that extravagantly expensive. About the cost of a night out with Ben.

I have discovered that I have some traits in common with workaholics (as in, I am probably a workaholic, although I am pretty ready to let it go, so maybe I'm not quite a *raging* workaholic... we'll see how it plays out. Anyway. Hush. I can quit whenever I want to... I totally have it under control...)

Overall, I feel cautiously positive about these changes. I know how quickly things can turn around, either for better or for worse, so I know I have to stick with my lifestyle changes and prioritize health and sanity.

It's hard to end a positive post with a kicky punch, but hey. It's nice to be able to do things without being constantly worried about running out of energy. So yay! :D

Monday, July 30, 2012

Darcy and Elizabeth... a few years later.

"Have you seen my favorite writing quill? I have to write to my Aunt."

"Really? She still expects to hear from you, after all this time? After the way she scorned our three sons for 'polluting the shades of Pemberley'?

"She is my Aunt, nonetheless, and I am a very loyal--"

"Very loyal companion, blah blah blah. Yes, yes, I know. Believe me, I know."

"I don't know why you are so sour just because you have to deal with one aging aunt of mine."

"Lady Catherine is more than just an aging aunt, my dear, and you know that as well as I do."

"Well, yes, but she did lend us her carriage when ours broke last winter, and the carriage-mender sick with dropsy."

"I still say we could have hired one from town, to avoid being beholden to your aunt."

"Yes, but if you will recall, the driver from town once tracked mud into our front hallway and kicked the dog out of his way, and my good opinion once lost---"

"Your 'good opinion once lost is lost forever.' YES. WE KNOW."

"You know, I should never have overcome the inferior circumstances of your birth and married you."

"Well, I shouldn't have forgotten that you were the last man on earth I could ever be prevailed upon to marry."


"I'm going for a walk."

"Have the driver take you to town, if that's where you're going."

"No, I'm very fond of walking."


"Oh, no. I'm not going anywhere. Here come Bingley and Jane, down the lane."

"Pfft. Happy as larks."

"They make me sick. It has to be an act. They stare at each other like puppies. After ten years and ten children."

"Well, you know what, their oldest boy looks like a monkey."

"I believe he does. You know, I misjudged you. We're so much alike after all."

"I love, I love, I love that about you."

"And like you always say, 'I knew you would do me good in some way. I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you.'"

"What did you say?"

"I... I mean... isn't it about to rain? Look out there..."


"No! I.. I just, I was talking to Jane and she said it, and I just... I always prefer to remember the time that you and I were... walking in the moors, and you said to me that it was just like when we were children, and..."

"Heathcliff, too?!?? You said that was over YEARS ago."

"I just saw him in the village and we just had tea and dinner at his inn. Nothing happened."

"At the inn???!? And I suppose Rochester just happened to be strolling through town as well??"

"Well, no, I saw him in Brighton."

"In Brighton?"

"Last April. With my aunt."

"That was supposed to be a trip to have a new summer dress made, not to go... gallvanting around the countryside with that half-mad libertine."

"Well, at least he knows how to treat a lady."

"And what, pray tell, is THAT supposed to mean?!?"

"Well, let's just say he never let his aunt force me to play the pianoforte."

"I bet he didn't have to force you to do much of anything, did he."

"Excuse me?"

"He'll lock you in the attic, you know. But, then, you'd probably like that."

"No, you're the one who would like that. Sitting here writing letters all day..."

"I do not have the talent of easily conversing with strangers."

"Gee, really?"

"What do you want me to say? You knew I was like this when you married me."

"Well, for starters, how about this -- why don't you ever take me anywhere interesting?"

"What, is it time for another trip to Brighton?"

"No, it's time for another trip to Rosings. I already wrote a letter to tell your Aunt you were coming."

"You wouldn't."

"I haven't sent it yet, but I will if you don't back off about Brighton, right now. And you know what? You're lucky I don't ask you what you were doing while I was gone."

"For your information, I was off saving your sister from ruin. Again."



"Kitty has gone a little wild since Wickham has been out to sea, hasn't she. I just..."

"I... don't cry. Look, it's all arranged now. No one will know she tried to run off with the butcher."

"Oh, I think that cat's out of the bag, don't you?"

"I'd say so. Ha!"

"Why are you staring at me?"

"You know, you're very pretty when you laugh. Even when you've been crying."

"Don't try to sweet-talk me, Darcy. I know your ways..."

"Come on, I know what you need."

"A big glass of that nasty wine your gardener makes?"

"Our gardener, and no, that's not what."

"What, then?"

"A visit home to see your family."

"Oh, Darcy, do you mean it?!?"

"I've grown my hair and sideburns extra long, so I won't even be able to hear your mother talk. Come on, let's go."

"You have bewitched me, body and soul."

"Hey, that's my line."

"Well, it's mine now. Or, at least it is until you die and it gets passed down to your next male heir."

"I love you, Elizabeth."

"And I love you."

"Is there any felicity in the world superior to this?"

"What did you say?!"