Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Moves Along

This summer I am growing beans, onions, a giant bowl of mixed herbs, carrots, mixed spring greens, broccoli and strawberries up on my decks. In the abandoned illegal dumping lot next to our condo, I have randomly chucked sunflowers, more beans and onions, and a few cherry tomatoes to compete with the black eyed Susan seeds I threw out there a few years ago. So for a few months the weedy backlot becomes pretty, before the Kudzu crawls over everything.

It's easier than you think to grow stuff in the middle of the city. The cranky old curmudgeon who owns the urban brownlot next to us has no idea that some of my other neighbors are now farming his unused land outright, putting out rows of produce that put my small unstructured efforts to shame. Next up for me: Pumpkins. There will be a pumpkin patch back there with the abandoned electronics, rotting trailers, and occasional homeless folk getting a night away from the shelter.

I like raising stuff downtown, especially the kids. The picture at the top of this entry is Diana playing in the water element at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. While we don't have a yard, I don't think the girls are lacking for it. We go to the park and the museum almost every weekend. Next weekend I am driving them out to the middle of nowhere to visit my Grandfather, and they can play on a small farm.

I have no idea how the idea of cities being sterile came to be; ours is verdant, lush, and if anything, overrun with greenery and twisting vines. This year flash floods have town new gulleys wherever they could, changing the slope of the land and spreading thin layers of silt across some roads that had to be cleaned. You can hear chickens in the morning, and count all kinds of bees and insects at all times of day. Giant trees are far more common here than in the suburbs. When you come to visit, we will share our green food with you, and you can watch the children grow, and relax; it's much too hot to do anything else.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Summer 2009

It's summer now, and after weeks of rain the Atlanta sun is on steaming the hell out of everything.

The husband had sinus surgery just before Memorial Day weekend, and spends most of his days fighting horrible headaches as he heals up. The doctors went in and also re-arranged the bones of his skull around his nose, correcting a deviated septum. After observing the pain and discomfort of healing, neither of us can believe that people elect to have nose jobs voluntarily. He still has plastic plates up in there, holding things together until the bone mends. This causes a whistle at night while he rests, and sometimes I have to sleep in our spare room. We're both impatient for him to feel better, to mend, but we knew going in that he would have a long, slow recovery. That's why he took the summer off from law school.

The girls are growing just fine; Dot jumps around and makes up stories and pretends to cook. Diana is walking now, and beginning to speak. They both have Winn's skin coloring, blue eyes and light brown hair, but that's where all similarity ends. Dot eyes are almond shaped and her hair straight. Diana's eyes are big and round and her hair curls in fat baby ringlets. The girls keep us running all weekend, every weekend. They are bundles of energy that left undirected would be incredibly destructive.

We visit museums, we visit parks, we visit the library. We pretend picnics, we feed the stuffed animals, we read stories. We collapse at night on weekdays, and on weekends raise our fists in silent joyous triumph after they're in bed by 8:30. I can't believe I ever thought I would be able to do this on my own.

Even with two active parents, I still sometimes need help; thank goodness we chose Tony and Andrew as godparents. Seriously, without them, the house would at times cease to function. Andrew was there to pick up Winn from surgery, and they've picked up the girls or babysat on the spot a great number of times.

This is all I can think of to wrote about tonight. I'm trying to get back nto the habit, and it isn't easy. Things might be rather bland over here until I can regain my knack. I suppose at this point I'm really writing for myself now, a kind of public diary I use for reference.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Bigger Cycle

Hey, I'm over on Big Oven. Come on over and join; I like it there, but unless other people come out to play, I don't have faith in my stick-to-it-iveness.

It's been 10 years since I first started blogging, and 20 years now that I've been online. For the first time I find myself wandering around, trying to find my digital tribe. These things were so effortless before; the BBS, then gopher, then pine, then the real internet, hatching out so slowly in the early nineties that you could run into casual acquaintances even states away - Mat, for instance, has essentially been running with the same digital crowd ever since he was in high school, even thought none of them lived in the same area until the past 3 or 4 years.

Livejournal was so good for me, in so many ways. Now that it's past I find myself grasping - everyone's over on Facebook, I missed the birth of Virgil's son because I can't make myself join. Even the husband joined facebook last year, and he's never been accused of being a digital pioneer, or even settler. I keep futzing around with new layout plans for this page, and can't commit. I need a few days to get things straight again, but with two kids and a high stress job, who has the time?

The truth is I'm not on Facebook because I feel like everyone is on facebook, and therefore I need to search out The Next Big Thing. Ironic that I'm typing this on good 'ol blogger, eh? Maybe retro is the new internet trendy...nah, it's just me creeping around the edges again. I miss you guys. Remind me to write more often. Or maybe I should just go over to image-only posts. Words seem so wasteful anymore.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Not all the days are best

Not All the Days Are Best.

It's been a year since I last posted, but I'm back, just as I said I would be. The past few posts have been very positive, and very true. But there's no way to get around pointing out in this update that last year was difficult.

Financially, we began to really struggle. Yes, the market crashed, but that wasn't our undoing. We hadn't adequately understood the expenses of a second child, probably just because I was ready and wanted Diana so badly. Our expenses severely outpaced our income. Without help from the husband's parents, we wouldn't be able to cover the monthly daycare bill, which is half my take home pay. Then there are the tremendous medical bills - from having the baby, from discovering Dot has asthma, from my yearly bout of bronchitis, from the baby catching RSV, from the husband's sinus and allergy problems. We had to take out a mortgage on the house to remain solvent.

Sara moved out west, and then to Memphis, and completely dropped out of contact. Abby distanced herself as well, and there was no exchange of holiday or birthday presents.

There were no vacations this year, not even to watch Tony and Andrew get married in Canada. DragonCon was again subsidized by the husband's mother. I cried and cried about missing the wedding, about failing to plan for the year correctly, about my hair falling out after the pregnancy, and about my relationships falling apart with my sisters. My big project at work had its funding slashed as the company lost money. I had come back from maternity leave part-time early to help with its launch, only to be told days before that everything was being rethought. At least I and my co-workers still have jobs; the sacrifice of a year's raise and most of our budget was enough to keep us going.

So last year will always be for me, The Year I Started Taking Zoloft. Without the medication, I couldn't sleep, cried all the time, and could barely function at work. I'm a better mom, worker, and marriage partner on the drug.

The anti-depressant stops the hypergraphia though. On Zoloft I have watched my personal writing output dwindle, and then nearly dry up. I plan to start this blog again to cope with that loss, to try to build the writing muscle up again, to give myself some creative outlet. I hope it works.

After such a long spell of stress, things started to get better this year after our income tax refund came in. Of course, then there was a traffic accident, and the husband's *other* ear drum ruptured, and now there will be sinus surgery, and I've got to ask the in-laws for help again with daycare in the fall. But on the whole we're doing OK compared to most. I'll play catch-up with more posts here later.

I've missed this venue. Typing again on Blogger feels like coming home.