February 29: Leap Day

February 29. Our odd little calendar balancing act. I feel as if I ought to commemorate it in some way. Today is leap day. Rather than take a day away from a 31 month here and there to give February 30 all year round, it gets only 28, but every four years it gets this unusual and special friend. I know it has to do with equinoxes and whatnot, but still. It does seem that it wouldn’t be difficult to let February have 30 days and maybe March and July could share one of their 31s or something, and become 30s, and it wouldn’t mess things up too terribly. Oh well, what do I know. It’s weird, but I always see this day as kind of green and kind of red. February is always red to me, mainly because of Valentine’s Day. Yet Leap Day seems green to me, mainly because of frogs. I associate it with frogs because of the leaping. It could just as well be some lords, but I don’t see them, I see frogs. Okay, I’ll stop.

I still want to move to Australia. I think about it periodically, go look up immigration rules and whatnot, but it’s a pipe dream I know.

My littlest dear is developing language skills so rapidly. Every day she takes it a step further. She can basically communicate nearly anything she wants to. Her words are vividly clear. Mainly at this point she leaves out determiners and prepositions, although sometimes they are there. For instance, she just took her doll to knock on Milla’s bedroom door, and she said, “Baby knock Lala’s door.”  She calls Milla Lala. She can say Milla. She sometimes calls her Mimi. She also sometimes calls her Mimi Lala.  She can say, “Milla.” Then she calls her Lala. I think she likes calling her Lala. We’ve taken to calling her Lala too. It’s sweet.

I found my diary from when Milla was this age. Isabel is quite similar to her sister. She loves counting and referring to things in twos. In my diary I read that Milla, who called her breastfeeding “Milky,” said she had “two milkies,” which meant my two breasts. She would tell me this all the time, just like Isabel now tells me all the time that I have one “Maa maa.” This is what she calls breastfeeding. Maa maa. It sounds like a sheep’s baa baa. I’m Mama and the boobs are Maa maa. Cutie.

Tomorrow is a big day for baby. She starts preschool in the morning, which she’ll go to every Thursday for four hours. Then later in the day she has her first swimming lesson. I expect all will be fun.

I’ve been personal training. It kicks my ass. There is no other way to describe it. I’ve been doing it a month now and I don’t notice that my body is any different. I don’t feel fitter. However I’m able to do many of the exercises with more ease, so the muscles must be strengthening. My trainer pushes me hard. Really hard. He has way more faith in my abilities than I do. He pushes me until my muscles are basically at fail. We do many different strengthening and cardio exercises for the full hour. I vibrate for hours afterwards. Tomorrow I have to go and then go to baby swimming lessons in the evening. I hope I can manage. I expect baby swimming lessons will be low key.

In any case, this is my update to no one. I don’t understand the urge to post goings on in my life in this manner. I have a private diary, but of course I won’t share what I say there here. No.

Time to go take Milla to get a bus pass. Fun stuff.

Four Years

Four years ago I wrote a post on this blog on Valentine’s Day, and I was happy, at least happyish (if you’re interested, view it here).  I was sitting at the desk in my own house, the one I remodeled by myself into a cozy home for myself, my darling girl, and my animals.  Three of those animals lay beside me on the floor as I wrote. Milla played in the next room, and I wrote my strange post about the history of Valentine’s Day, examining it from an angle I think few have.

In any case, here I am four years later, and I barely recognize that person. Three days after that Valentine’s Day in 2008 I met the man who would become Isabel’s father.  During the months that followed I lost all of my animals.  A year later I was living in New York and barely pregnant.  A year after that I was back in Oregon, changed, somewhat obliterated. Since then it has been a rebuilding of the self, but as if with sand, one grain at a time. I barely even registered Valentine’s Day this year. Oh yeah, I thought the night before. Go to the store and buy the girls something small, and so I did. No rumination. No examination.  Nothing, really, except that I did remember the post four years ago and went back and read it, surprised at myself. I’d forgotten that I made Valentine’s Day presents with Milla, not only that year, but at all.

So much of the time then I was working to force myself to live in the moment. So much of the time now I am, but I feel like most of me is missing. I learned some hard lessons, with the result that I will never choose wrong again–I know that unequivocally. But I have to wonder at what price? Is there something to being in the cave and not knowing? Does not knowing really kill you? I can’t answer that. I must not forget that I was painfully, achingly, desperately lonely a lot of the time then, in a way I’m simply not now. Is it because I’ve stopped being lonely, or simply accepted that aloneness is a function of the human condition? Really accepted it? I don’t know.

I feel like a person who saw a river and jumped in to swim across to climb the mountain on the other side, but had no idea the dangers inherent in the enterprise. I thought I was prepared. I did what I thought would make the journey safe and doable. Yet during the crossing I was sucked into an undertow, and I nearly drowned. I bashed my head and body on rocks. I lost all the possessions I had tried to take with me. Finally, the river spit me out and cast me unconscious on the opposite shore, lying on the beach naked with grains of sand in my hair and my eyes, my body bloodied and scraped; beaten, but not broken. Gradually I dragged myself to my knees and crawled further inland. I waited, then stood. I walked ahead. I killed animals and ate them, making clothing from their hides, something I never would have done on the other side of the river. I kept going. I did not look back until a long time later, and when I did, I was up the side of the mountain, and there in the valley below was the river, appearing so serene, winding off toward the horizon. I was there, I think, and now I am here.

I know this metaphor is cliche’, but it fits. I feel like I’m still climbing the mountain, but I don’t even know what it was I’m trying to get to, except the pinnacle, and I wonder whether any of it was worth it. If I ever had to cross a river again, the journey would be very different. I wouldn’t even start at the same bank. I would take different tools. I might even choose a different river. I learned, but now I don’t know why.

I’ve spoken to my counselor about this, whether it is better to just stay in the cave. She reminds me that staying in the cave would result in making the same ill-fated choices, and of the reasons why making different choices will be better. Perhaps she is right. But sometimes I miss feeling the contentment I felt that Valentine’s Day, even if it was often countered with hideous, pitiable lows. Maybe there isn’t any better, there just is. That was how it was. This is how it is. Each has positives and negatives. In any case, I can’t change what has gone before so I might as well settle into how things are, which means that instead of a quippy, interesting post like the one I wrote 4 years ago, I write this.

Who is Someone?

I don’t like it when people are secretive about who they are, at least when they are following me.  So who are you, Someone? Someone’s email address is yawsimon33@yahoo.com.  I know that much.  Why would anyone want to stalk my blog without admitting who they are?  I have some sociopaths in my past who have stalked me before.  They can’t get a life and so they bother me electronically periodically.  I also suspect a person I know through work, and a previous client.  Creepy. There is something creepy and weird about stalkers who won’t admit who they are, yet want to know what I am up to.  Guess what? weird stalker.  I don’t write about you.  I don’t give a damn about you. Yeah, I don’t like it that you are too chicken shit to own up to your identity, but beyond that, you don’t mean anything in the scheme of things.  So go ahead and read my blog.  More power to you.

Bipedal Sun Brain

I’m trying not to be grouchy. I’m trying not to react to a coworker who, in his own fear spiral, lashed out at me yesterday. I’m trying not to scream at the workers next door who decided to vibrate my house this morning at 7:15 a.m. with their power tools.  I’m trying.  It’s not working so well.  I lay in bed this morning thinking of all sorts of responses to the coworker.  I even began drafting an email in my head, but I reminded myself that I did not want to get sucked into his thing.  Still not satisfying.  I asked the workers next door to close the windows to the house so that it wasn’t so obnoxiously loud, and they did.   Now I can hear the noise, but it isn’t vibrating my house. My little one is next door playing in her bedroom, talking to her toys.  This squelches some of the grumpiness. Mainly it’s just this damn grey weather.  We had sun for a few days and I started feeling normal again, but then the last two days, we have this droopy, cloud on the ground, grey colorlessness, and my bitterness returns.  For someone of Scandinavian descent, I certainly don’t manage winter well.  I have often wondered whether humans were meant to live in such weather.  If we evolved in the deserts of Africa, maybe our brains are designed for that sort of light. Of course at that time we also moved an average of 12 miles per day, on our own legs.  Now it’s lucky if we move 1000 feet in one day on our own legs. Bipedal sun brains. Anyway, the grouchy isn’t completely gone; it’s beaten back for a while. Baby is coming to see me. That should help.

Dolly and Steve, What Have You Done to Your Faces?

Dear Steve Martin and Dolly Parton,

Your age would have looked better than whatever it is you have done to your faces. You both have always managed to present an aura of self-possession through which the surgeries have exposed a fissure, a dissonance.  It’s a shock, frankly. There are other entertainment figures who, if they were to undergo such drastic and obvious alterations, it would seem in character with the person they have presented to the public over the years. But not you.

It’s ironic too, that on some level you were seeking to pass as youthful, with that sort of attractiveness, and in your bizarre caricatures, you have made yourself even more noticeable, but not for the reasons you sought. The attractiveness of your age would have been enough. Having spent years watching you, we would have understood the grace it takes to remain public and mature.

In any case, you surprised me. You under met my expectations. I do hope on a personal level that the extraordinary surgeries have helped you to understand how little important what you desired was to who you are.