10 February 2012

Life. No fast lane.

I've been wanting to write lately, but feeling blocked by the usual: too much to catch up on, not sure where to start, only egocentric and nongeneralizable things to say. That feeling of wanting to write, though, is quantitatively different than the feeling I've had for most of my two months of silence. Most of that time, through the holidays and into the new year, I felt a pretty deep desire to partially hibernate from the digital world. I've been less active on Facebook, again silent (after a brief period of activity) on Twitter, making an effort to leave the computer untouched in the evenings at home. I'm as aware of and conflicted about my online presence and the ramifications of "screen time" as any thinking adult in Our Moderne Times, and I think my hiatus of sorts is a manifestation of the leery side of my digital identity.

A parallel, if equally esoteric and equally unoriginal, analysis is that happiness has rendered me mute. Blogging has historically been for me a way to work things out, a means to find a way to handle the negative, see a problem from a different perspective, reason my way out of a challenge. In the space I'm in now, blogging to share that I'm here, I'm happy, I'm doing stuff, feels self-indulgent and dull. I understand how to frame a post about a problem. It's not clear to me how to frame a post that's an update or an observation. I'm not the person who can in that Seinfeldian way make nothing into something.

I've written this post before, though, and I keep coming back to write it again because I do miss the frequent practice of writing. I'd like to try to find the point of interest in the mundane, or at least find a way to make it seem as though the broader point of interest is there because life is not actually mundane for me, it just seems to me that my life has become mundane as observed by others.

I offer for now, the cop-out, a bulleted list of the past couple of months of happenings, things that have been all manner of things to me—interesting, exciting, scary, fun, productive, creative, sad, happy. All those things that make a life:
  • Best Christmas to date with Maddie and Riley, including instructions to Santa to have the reindeer enter through the back door.
  • A cat! We have a cat! His name is Hubble, he's six years old, he's black with yellow eyes, and he adores Maddie.
  • Trees! We have trees! We had a pear tree and an apple tree planted in our front yard. Someday, we'll even have pears and apples.
  • Work. I have the same job. It has ups and downs. Lately, it has more downs than ups. I can't really say more.
  • My birthday! I turned 40. I had a huge, crazy party that was ridiculously fun. So far, 40 is freakin' awesome. I think my use of the phrase "freakin' awesome" is an indicator of my advancing age.
  • The beach. I went to the beach for a couple of kid-free nights. Fires, reading, hiking, eating, games, pajamas, amazing.
  • Las Vegas. I went to Las Vegas for a few kid-free nights. Cirque du Soleil, Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, jogging on the strip, zip-lining, hot-tubbing, amazing.
  • Joshua Bell. I saw him in concert again. He's the real deal. Perfect seats, unreal performance.
  • Running. I've been running up a storm. I've got my sights on a half marathon at the end of May, and maybe even one as soon as mid-April.
  • Skiing. The kids are in ski lessons for the second year in a row. We're one weekend into four Saturdays of this. Riley is more enthusiastic than Maddie, but both had fun last weekend and seem ready for more tomorrow.
  • Piano. Maddie and Riley are four weeks into their first round of piano lessons. No one seems overly wowed by playing the piano, but I'm glad they are getting the exposure.
  • Harry Potter. M&R are officially obsessed with Harry Potter. We're halfway through book three. It's a real joy to read them books that I love and find they they love them, too.
  • My Kindle. I got a Kindle for Christmas. Much to my surprise, I am completely devoted to it. I [heart] my Kindle.
  • Mexico. I'm gearing up for a trip to Mexico, a repeat of the trip I took to Mexico around this time last year. CANNOT WAIT.
  • Au pair. Having an au pair is the best thing I've ever done for our family. It's a huge gift to me, and a huge gift to Maddie and Riley. Anyone who is interested in getting an au pair, I'd be happy to tell you what it is about the experience that's so fantastically great. Life-changing, truly.
  • Our house. I continue to love our house and feel fine about being a homeowner again. We are all capable of change.
That list does not include one item that seems worthy of more than a bullet point, although I do not know how to talk about it. I am still dating the same guy. It's totally great. He's totally great. Greatness! The only negative about our relationship is that we don't see each other nearly enough. We're working on that, but it's a long, slow process. We both have jobs, we both have kids, and we don't want to force things where it comes to the family blending process. But we're starting to test those waters and look for ways to spend family time—not just dating time—together. It's a very easy, affirming relationship we have. There are no hidden agendas or crazy emotional upheavals. We're two very busy adults with a lot of logistical complications and the willingness to talk about stuff and figure it out as best we can. We just wish we had the chance to do that more.

I realize that my description of our relationship sounds rather passionless, and that's what I mean about not knowing how to talk about it. The easiest way to explain it is that he makes me feel the way I felt when I was with John. Maybe that seems creepy or weird, which is why I hesitate to describe it that way, but it's true. I said to him (Must come up with nickname! Will go with T for now.) the other day that I could remember so clearly how I felt when John and I moved in together. I felt like I'd won the lottery; I was so excited to go home every day and find John! There! In our apartment! EVERY DAY!!! That thrill never wore off. I get the same thrill now, just not daily. More like twice a week in a good week. But I'll take the thrill when I can get it.

So that is the briefest of views into life right now. It's Friday night, I'm going to head home for a movie and quesadillas with the kids, then pack up an epic amount of stuff to take up the mountain for skiing tomorrow. May the rest of you be enjoying such unremarkable times.


Supa Dupa Fresh said...

I'm glad for you.

Amber said...

Ditto. Super happy for you!

Christie said...

What they said.

todd said...

so happy for you, snick! you deserve to be happy.

(another) karen said...

Great to hear from you! Even greater to hear things are going so well.

Happy New Year!

Jody said...

Happy to hear you are so happy!

A side question: do you think the Harry Potter books would be ok for a 6 year old who scares easily? Like super easily? I think I probably have to wait a while, but I'm so eager to share them with him!!

Snickollet said...

@Jody: Hard to say on Harry Potter with one who scares easily. I'm guessing it would be a little overwhelming, but the first book is much more tame than the subsequent ones, so perhaps it's worth a shot?

Betty M said...

I think it is great to hear things are all ( work aside) going well. I never think this type of post is dull.

Betty M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellen said...

Jody...the first Harry Potter might be okay, but I'd hold the later ones for a while...they get more intense as you go along and they're clearly targeting an older juvenile audience. I wouldn't read them to a six year old (even a non-super sensitive one).

ellie said...

So happy for you Snick. General chatter blog posts are nice too!

Jody, personally I wouldn't (and don't) do HP with such young kids. They're truly meant for older ones -- at least ten to start. (originally, the author never ever meant them for kids: she wrote for an adult audience, but after endless rejections the only house tha would take them was a children's publisher).

Sadia said...

You sound so happy and whole. Hooray!

I understand the feeling that writing about happy seems mundane and self-congratulatory, but for what it's worth, I think most of your readers have come to care about you, although drawn in by your writing.

Linda said...

Your happiness comes out in the words you have written. The smile on your heart is shining through. I'm happy for you.

django's mommy said...

Very very happy to see this update from you!

Megan said...

Ditto the above (caveat: did not read all comments, am assuming they're like "yea!" and "you go girl!" and the like).

Also, I'm so happy to have a fellow Kindle adorer. I just love, love, love it. I've read more books since having it. It's so damn convenient and easy to hold.

Aimee said...

But sometimes, the everyday mundane stuff is where the good stuff is. Don't get me wrong, big events/items are great! But the day-to-day living and growing are pretty wonderful. So happy for you! As a previous poster said, your readers are anxious to read anything you write. We care for you and are happy for your happiness.

Alayna said...

Like everyone else, I am so, so happy that you are happy! You richly deserve it. :) I hope skiing is fun tomorrow. Missed you on my run this morning!

tree town gal said...

So happy to read this update, Snick. Yep, the mundane can be wonderful.

My 8 yr old is very empathetic. I warned her about Potter - I told her she wasn't ready even if all her friends have read it. I found her in her room crying out her eyes because she was upset that Harry was not being respectful or nice enough to Dobie. I swear to you - I think book #2. I told her right there and then - back away from the Potter and literally grabbed from the shelf Betsy & Tacy, The Penderwicks, and A Wrinkle in Time. Phew. Got to judge the HP series based on your own child, I think.

julie said...

glad you are back. i love your writing...

carosgram said...

I don't do facebook or twitter and so here is the only place I find out how things are in your world. So glad to see that you are finding your way with some peace and joy.

Lyndsay said...

Smiling as I read this - happy for your happiness Snick!

OTRgirl said...

It's wonderful to hear how you're doing and I'm so happy to hear how well things are going.

I SO relate to this post though. Being in a phase of life where much is going well, it's easy to enjoy it and very hard to find a little kernel around which to shape a blog post. It feels difficult to make happiness interesting.

Why is that? Why is suffering the uniter more than happiness?

(musing) Perhaps in suffering we feel alone and so finding out we're not is helpful, but in happiness, we have no such lack and therefore less need. On the flip side, if we aren't happy, then reading about it makes us feel even more alone?

Anyway, that's all tangential. I like to read about your happiness! I'm glad the relationship is going well. What I hear in how you describe it is that it feels real and alive and durable. Great for a lifetime, perhaps not as apt for a cliche romance novel.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy you've found such a wonderful guy. That is just a beautiful, beautiful thing.


liz said...

So happy to hear that you are happy. It is a good thing, and a thing I like to read about.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

This post makes me happy.

Mizasiwa said...

Im so happy to read bullet points!! No matter how mundane you think your updates are they are an inspiration to me... Really it sound slike you have reached a good point in your life and that is great!!! I hope you and the kids have a great Valentines day!