and be happy.

Finally! Some time to sit down and write! Life lately has been a bit of a whirlwind. I don’t know that it has actually been that busy, but it has taken up a lot of mental energy, so writing has been on the back burner.

First, the house. The house thing has been running pretty smoothly, all in all. The trouble with buying a foreclosure is that there are a kazillion third parties to go through, and silly little addendums to sign, one after another. Addendum to the last addendum, that kind of thing. Just a lot of "oh, sure, we’ll give you what you want, but first sign away all your rights, kthnx." Apparently the bank we are working with is actually really accomodating, so we’re feeling really blessed about the whole process. We got our 5k in grant money, we have financing for sure, we are locked in at a very low interest rate, we are getting reimbursed for things we assumed we’d have to pay for. It’s really working out for us so far. We were supposed to close on Friday, but that got pushed to today, and now it looks like it’ll be (at the earliest) late this week or Monday. I’m actually hoping for Monday because then our first mortgage payment will be due in April instead of March. Extra money for garden!
So, the delays have been a little frustrating, but I’m keeping perspective because we’ve really had a very smooth ride otherwise. Plus, it gives me more time to pack and sort and clean this house. I’m going to miss it, but I’ve been more eager than anything to start fresh. I yearn for the space and functionality of the new house, and don’t get me started on my dream garden… I will always look back at this house as our first, the place where Jeff and I started our life together, the place where Vera was born… it’s a good warm home that we made. But, I’m so ready for this. Plus, we’ll be in a neighborhood with other kids, two parks in walking distance- so different even though it’s only a few blocks away. It’s a good place to have our family. Plus, I plan on planting Vera’s placenta under the blueberry tree (or the lilac bush, I can’t decide.), so I’m excited for it to have a home. It’s weird too, because I had planned on planting it and the lilac bush in this yard ages ago, but never got around to it for some reason. The lilac bush is just kind of sad looking in a pot next to the rats. I never understood why I didn’t just plant the thing until this house came through. 
Packing has been good- cleansing. I’m donating lots of things I just never see or use, and it feels good. It’s funny, too, how everything looks like such a wreck and yet it’s all still completely baby proof and somewhat comfortable. In my new house I will have a space for my art table- the one that was my grandpas when he was a designer. He designed the first Xerox machine, and I like to think it was done on that table. Anyway, having separate spaces for things like art, sewing, music, office, etc. is really fun to think about. Maybe I’ll actually start playing my banjo and painting again.

Speaking of painting… Jeff’s grandma died this past week. We spent this Saturday at the funeral and helped to clean out her apartment. She was a good friend, and I’m going to miss her a lot. This death struck me in a strange way. I’ve never been so close to someone that old. She was so lovely in so many ways. We bonded instantly over art and philosophy and politics. We would visit her every month or two and almost always had trouble leaving and would stand at the door talking for another hour. She made me feel so welcome, never too young or like I wasn’t really part of the family. She was my friend. Anyway, it was her time and I’m not really sad about her passing, thankfully. All of us felt that way. But, when the funeral ended and we walked by her to say goodbye, I just cried. I don’t really mourn her passing, I’m just going to miss her. I’m so honored to have been able to get to know her. It was just hard to let her go.
I’m also kind of a rookie. I mean, I don’t know if death gets any easier the more contact you have with it. I just haven’t lost that many people. All four of my grandparents are alive, and I lost my great grandma a couple of years ago at the age of 107. I really believe that death is just another part of life and that there is nothing to fear. I don’t believe in hell, I believe we have spirits, I am a big believer in the recycling of energy and connectedness of all things, I’m not worried. I guess it just is still unknown and final in some ways, in addition to the fact that most of us are raised with this notion of heaven and hell, which of course induces some worry whenever the death topic comes up. I hope that I can raise Vera to think about death in a healthy and accepting way.
I inherited all of grandma’s art supplies, which feels like an honor and now I feel like I have a duty to get back into it. We also inherited some of her paintings, which are stunning. I’ll post pictures soon.

Exercising has been really good. It feels natural and invigorating. I have lost weight, and just discovered today that I fit into most of my old pants again! Some I will NEVER fit into again, and am not sure how I ever did in the first place, and some just show the way in which my body is different now, and I can’t really pull it off. I’m feeling a lot better about myself though, and I have hopes that I’m on the path to being a really healthy person, both inside and out. The new house will have space in the basement for exercise, too, so I plan on getting a used eliptical or bike and doing lots of yoga with all that floor space. My heart feels stronger now, and working out feels good. I can see why people get addicted to it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about body image, women, pregnancy, etc. I went out with some momma friends of mine the other day, and they all got to talking about stretch marks and empty skin and stuff. It’s good to hear about other women’s worries and thoughts about it- it’s certainly validating. There were a couple of non-moms there too, who were just sort of politely listening. It was interesting though, the turn that the conversation took. One woman, who was by far the thinnest and most fit, is young and beautiful and managed to escape her 4 pregnancies without one single mark. However, she was clearly the most frustrated with her body (at least in that moment), and I found myself feeling really grateful for all my imperfections and what they’ve taught me. I think, in many ways, what I went through in my immediate post-partum body crisis was a big lesson in humility and gratitude. I did not escape pregnancy unscathed, but now I think about my body in a less shallow way. I view it in a more realistic way, as a precious vessel that can take many shapes. I don’t tend to whine about it (except occasionally to Jeff), and I’ve found that I can be encouraging to other women. One of my reflections about my body is that at every stage of my life, er, at least teenage/young adult life, I could always find something to be critical about. Then, when that time had passed and the 16 year old body became 20 year old body and so on, I would look back and find those complaints to be foolish and self-absorbed. I just assume that about myself now, whenever I hear a complaint surfacing. I’m just wrong. As long as I am healthy and happy, I should be grateful. That’s it. I just want to reject that kind of thinking in my life.
Anyway, next to the thin, fit woman, was a much larger woman who (as far as I knew) was not a momma. As the thin one complained, the large one rolled her eyes and shortly afterwards left the gathering. I felt self-conscious about all that had been said in her presence. I don’t know what she thought of us, but I feel like it’s probably safe to assume that she thought the conversation was a bit trivial. I can’t deny anyone their own issues, or say that they are wrong to feel any way about things. We all go through what we go through, and I can’t judge it because I don’t know what lesson it has for us. I guess my feeling is, though, that we have done each other a gross disservice by allowing ourselves to be held to an unrealistic and, in many ways, unhealthy standard. I hope to help combat this in my life.
Have you ever met one of those women who were just so beautiful? There are two in particular that I can think of. One I knew when I was a kid. She babysat for us sometimes. She had a thick build and big lips. She had the most lovely singing voice and I remember just wanting to be her when I grew up. She was so enchanting. Then there is this woman I met in highschool. She has long dreadlocks, never wears makeup, doesn’t shave a thing… She doesn’t even wear deoderant, but she smells somewhat spiced- like mild incense and herself. These two women stood out to me when examining this issue. I think it’s because they defy conventional beauty, and yet are some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever encountered. I think part of it is that they are both really wonderful and kind and creative people, more than your average person. I hope that in my life I become better able to find real beauty- for my own sake and for the sake of my daughters.

Okay, until next time. I guess this will have to be in a couple of installments. Back to packing!

Quote of the day:
"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." -Anne Frank


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