Tuesday tidbits

The house is starting to feel like we live here. Moving is hard, of course. I wasn’t expecting anything else. I had forgotten how much of a pain it is to figure out what goes where. Eight and a half years ago, I moved into the old house; six months or so later, Xander moved in. We’ve been settled in for a long time, and we were pretty entrenched. I’m going to spend a day and a half at the end of this week finishing up the old house, at least to the extent I can. I will then spend all weekend finding space for everything I moved from the old house. I will be very glad to just be in one house. Being halfway between one and the other has been frustrating, so it’s time to just be done, accept that we are moving into another stage of life, and let it go.

We had a good life there; we’ll have a good life here. We already do. We’re enjoying the neighborhood. We’re both much closer to work. Katja likes the playground and already has other little kids to try to follow around. Nyx seems to like the new yard, especially since she has more room to run. I’m building habits to keep the yards clean and weeded. I’m even enjoying not having a working dryer yet. It has been a while since I dried clothes on the line, and there are certain benefits, like less static and the fact that my skirt doesn’t curl up at the hem.

The only constant is change. I know that. I’ve seen that. Every time I get settled, something changes. I adapt, just as we all do, and it always ends up fine. I’m feeling a little better about this change. The past few changes have been extremely stressful for me, but this one has been a little easier mentally. Well, except for the sleep deprivation, but that’s to be expected, too. I know there will be more changes coming. Xander’s work requires him, at least, to move next year. I’m not exactly looking forward to that, but since we’ve just moved and sorted out what we need and what we don’t, the next move could be easier. I know now that we can do this even when we’re working and sick and stressed. We’ll be okay.

Other than the move, there isn’t much useful going on in my head. I have bits and pieces of stories that won’t go anywhere until the house is more settled and I have time in the mornings and evenings. Katja will be eleven months old in three days, so we should really start planning some kind of birthday party. We’re also going to work on her Halloween costume, which should be fun. It’s all little stuff right now. I won’t start working on anything big for a while, not until all of the boxes are either unpacked or stored. At that point I’ll be able to get more things done; right now I’m treading water. Luckily I’ve always rather enjoyed treading water. It’s comfortable for a while, and it lets me catch my breath.

Tuesday tidbits

I’m hunkering down for the next two weeks. We’re moving a lot of the house this weekend and the rest of it next weekend. I’m packing every morning and every evening. I’m trying to make sure everything is done, but I keep feeling like I’m being overwhelmed by boxes and boxes of books. I knew we had a lot of books, but I didn’t realize we had this many, somehow, and every time I think I’ve made a dent, I look at the bookcases in the garage and realize I still have a long way to go.

I’m tired. I feel like my brain is staggering along. I’m not sleeping really well right now, which is something of a pain. I love getting Katja up in the morning, though, and spending evenings with her. I’m taking a long weekend, taking an extra day, and I’ll really enjoy spending that time with her. She’s an amazingly neat little person, and she is definitely developing her own brand of humor. She’s curious and fascinated by everything around her, and I’m finding a lot of joy in watching her figure out the world. I’m incidentally trying to make sure the world doesn’t do her any damage, too, but that’s part of life, and I am trying very hard to not be too worried about it.

One of the nice things about the move is that we can set the house to be very close to cord-free from the beginning. One room will be the study, and that will have all of the electronics. The rest of the house won’t need cords except for things like lamps. We’ll also be able to baby-proof the cupboards more easily than we can in the current place. I won’t bother baby-proofing things that I don’t worry about, like the tupperware cabinet, but I will be much happier when I don’t have to worry about her yanking out the pizza stone. She hasn’t actually found it yet, but I worry.

I think this is a good move. I hope everything goes smoothly. I’m going to enjoy a lot of things about the new house, not the least of which is the park across the street. Nyx and I can go on walks or runs in the morning, and when I have time between getting home and picking up Xander, Katja and I can hang out in the park. It’s an older neighborhood, but I think we’ll be happy there. It feels comfortable to me, and hopefully the people there will be kind to us.

Xander is very busy, since a new semester just started, but he still manages to create beautiful art like this: I have a lot of his art on my computer so when the day gets too stressful, I can look at something beautiful for a few minutes and have energy to come back to my job. I am far from artistic, but his combination of color and mathematical ability blows me away.

I am reading three different books at the moment, two that are somewhat slow-moving and one that is, essentially, fluff. I’m also about halfway through this month’s Funny Times. What I read at any particular moment depends on my mood and my level of exhaustion, so I like having options. I have four more books that I will get to eventually. One nice thing about packing all of the books is that I am revisiting some that I meant to read at some point and then forgot we owned, so I will be able to catch up on those once I unpack all of the books.

I am learning to do what I can every day, knowing that there will be more the next day. I am learning to just go to sleep at the end of the day and try not to fret too much about what still needs to be done. I’m not very good at either of those things yet, but I am working hard on focusing on the next thing instead of something happening next year. In flying, the most important thing is the next thing. I think I would do well to remember that.

Tuesday tidbits

I think that the fact that an elected official can be so scientifically illiterate as to say that women who are legitimately raped don’t have to worry about it because their bodies will take care of any pregnancy is depressing. I’m not sure which is worse, that this guy got elected at all or that our schools did such a bad job of educating him in the first place. This is why  we need solid scientific education, not creationism or intelligent design. We need people to understand some basic facts by the time they graduate high school, and clearly this man doesn’t get it. I’m very angry that he said this, but other people have written more about it and better than I can manage, so I will leave them to it.

We’re moving soon, so I’m packing a lot of boxes. Packing books is fine. Packing other things, like our various wine glasses and some pieces that people gave us that make me smile, are harder. I know they’ll come out of boxes again soon, but we’ve been here for eight and a half years. We have history in this house. I learned a lot, grew up, became a wife, became a mother, and learned to laugh a lot more. It’s a good thing that we’re moving, but it isn’t necessarily easy.

Katja has learned to crawl. She is terribly excited about everything and doesn’t want to take naps. I’m hoping that she’ll get back to napping eventually, but for the moment she only sleeps during the day if she’s in her carseat and the car is actually moving. The rest of the day she wants to explore everything. I love that she is so curious and energetic. It’s neat to watch her learn.

Xander and I each got a tattoo last weekend. It’s a set of Borromean rings; mine is on my left foot. I’ll post a picture once it’s all healed up, but it’s a little tender at the moment and hasn’t quite settled down. It’s a good representation of our little family – three rings that can’t be taken apart but which are not actually linked. If you take any one ring away, the other two are not connected. I don’t know how to explain it better, but the tattoo makes me happy. It didn’t hurt much on part of the foot, but above my big toe, basically between my big toe and my ankle, hurt a lot. Xander said I made very funny faces. I didn’t swear, exactly, but the word “FFFFFUDGE!” came out of my mouth at one point. The tattoo artist did an excellent job. Apparently circles are extremely difficult, but he made them work.

I keep trying to figure out how to start a series of adoption posts, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually.

Tuesday tidbits

Last weekend we got to go to a wedding. The bride and groom looked incredibly happy, and we think they are a very good match. It’s nice to be able to be really joyful at an event like that. The reception was great fun. They had excellent food, the wine flowed freely, and the DJ did a good job. One of the other people there decided that she really enjoyed Katja, so they spent a lot of time on the dance floor. Katja loved it; music is one of her favorite things. She slept a lot on Sunday to make up for all of the excitement. I took a nap, too!

I’ve been running in the mornings. I like spring and fall because the temperature variations aren’t as extreme as the rest of the year. Summer is hard for me because even in the mornings it can be quite warm, and winter, of course, brings frozen temperatures and the possibility of sliding on ice. It has been quite warm in the mornings, but it’s still nice to be able to go out and run, even if I come back dripping sweat. I’m walking at lunch, too, which keeps me on a more even emotional keel. I usually walk with a couple of friends, but if they are busy, I put on headphones and walk to music on Pandora. I like being able to let my brain not engage for a little while.

We’re almost to finalization of Katja’s adoption. I know that, at this point, it will happen, but I can’t help worrying that something will go wrong. I think that worry will hold right up until we’re done, and then I will be hugely relieved. There’s an underlying tension for me regarding this whole process that won’t go away until it’s completely finalized. She is our daughter, no question, but it’s hard to completely let go of all of the worries that have come along with this whole process. I want there to be no question, either emotionally or legally, that she is part of our family. Once that is done, I can relax.

Tomorrow is the summer solstice. That means that the sun will start rising a little later every day. I think that means that we might get to sleep in a little more on weekends; both the dog and the baby seem to wake up based on how bright the rooms get.

My habit forming exercises seem to be going well. I’m not chewing my fingernails anymore, but I have to keep them trimmed or the temptation is there. I’m eating differently and exercising more. I don’t know if the habits will hold when I’m under stress, but I’m hoping to be able to get them settled enough in my brain that I don’t think about doing them; they are just routine.

I’m looking forward to a good hike this weekend. Another wedding, too, but this is for people we don’t know as well, so it isn’t quite as exciting. I’m sure it will be nice, though.

Tuesday tidbits

Last weekend I did something new, at least for me. I started with a chicken and a bunch of vegetables and I ended up with soup.

Xander usually makes soup stock in huge batches. He makes really good stock and we have a lot frozen so whenever we want to make soup, we can. This time, though, since I was starting with a whole chicken, I made my own stock.

I cooked the chicken in the cast iron Dutch Oven given to us by Xander’s mother. I love it! I didn’t do anything too fancy, just rubbed the chicken with cayenne under the skin so there would be a little bit of heat. I learned from the last time I tried to take meat of a chicken; this time I stuck it in the refrigerator for a few hours so I could skip the finger-burning part. I took all the meat off the carcass, fed the skin to the dog, and put the bones and giblets into a stockpot and covered them with water. I added a lot of bay leaves, some peppercorns, celery ends from the freezer, garlic, and various other things that looked good, and then I let it cook for a long time until it tasted right. I then added the chicken and sausage, the onions, carrots, and potatoes, and cooked them for a while. Once they were mostly done, I added the celery and mushrooms and cooked it all just a little while longer. I put in various seasonings, too, but I don’t really remember what at this point.

I like cooking from recipes. I like the rhythm, knowing what comes next, how it will all come out in the end. Cooking without a recipe feels a little bit like walking a tightrope without a net (I do know how that feels, though the tightrope wasn’t very far off the ground, at least!). I worry about screwing things up or ruining food. I’m getting more confident, I guess, or more comfortable in the kitchen, because this time I figured it was soup, and as long as I didn’t completely overdo anything, it would be fine. It is, too. It tastes good and has texture. I had fun puttering around, tasting, adjusting, and playing with it.

I made something all by myself. I feel like a little kid, saying that with such pride, but I really am happy about it.

Tuesday tidbits

We had a really great weekend, and Katja got to go on her first road trip.

Apparently Katja travels very well. She fussed a little when she got put into her carseat, but she settled down fast and went to sleep. We had to wake her up to be changed and fed. She seemed to enjoy meeting everyone, even though there were a lot of new people.

I was very happy to be able to catch up a little with people who matter to me. These are big-F family, people who have become Family because they are important to me and vice versa. We also got to see quite a few people in Xander’s family, which was nice, and they were all happy to meet Katja. My dad happened to be in the Bay Area during our visit, so we got to see him. I also got to meet one of the other IndieInk editors. None of us live very close to each other, so it was neat to actually be int he same room as one of them. Hopefully she wasn’t too overwhelmed. (Hi, Grace!) My godmother and her husband came, too, and they brought a beautiful, colorful quilt for Katja. It’s on the back of the couch in her room right now, and she often just stares at it, fascinated. I’ll be using it as one of her tummy time blankets soon since she likes the pattern so much.

We didn’t get quite enough sleep, but we managed to avoid getting crabby. I got to go running one morning, which is much easier when there’s some humidity and it isn’t freezing. I love running near the ocean. It’s much easier to run there than it is in the desert. My mouth doesn’t get dry, it’s easier to breathe, and my toes don’t go numb. It was pretty funny that I didn’t see anyone else out on the sidewalks or on a bike, but I suppose 6 AM on a Sunday is not prime time for exercise for most people.

It was a busy weekend, but I came back feeling refreshed and reminded of all of the wonderful people we are lucky enough to have in our life. We will try to get down more often to keep those connections strong.

Tuesday tidbits

It’s 3:15 AM as I write this. I have a mostly-asleep baby on my lap; if she falls asleep completely, I will attempt to put her back in bed. She’s been up off and on since about 1:15, though, and ended up getting sick, so I’m not expecting that the remainder of the night will be restful.

That is surprisingly all right with me.

I value my sleep highly, but I have found that I don’t mind getting up for this purpose, anyway. Much of that comfort is that I get to go to bed early (thanks to Xander) which makes it much more bearable. Partly, though, it’s the contemplative feeling I get at weird hours of the morning. There aren’t any distractions, just a very small person who needs food. I like the relative silence and darkness. I enjoy being able to finish a thought without jumping to the next or having several ideas vying for attention.

I won’t make this a habit once Katja is sleeping all night, but for the moment, strange as it sounds, broken sleep is somewhat restful.

Other good things this week:
• I ran three days as planned. One of those days was in 24 degree cold, and, other than a numbed toe, it went fine.
• My estranged sister may be back in my life. I have tentative hope that this will work, and it makes me very happy.
• We got to see my older brother over the weekend. We don’t see him much, but we really enjoy his company. Katja liked him immediately.
• My birthday is in less than a week and I get to spend it with friends.
• I baked bread this weekend. It’s a very satisfying activity, and it always makes the house smell good.

I’m off to attempt to put Katja back to bed so I can get a little more sleep. I hope you have a great week!