Wednesday, March 31, 2010

an explanation and perhaps another apology


Again I will partially apologize for yesterday’s post.
I take it that some of you think I am unhappy from the text I got from my father this morning, reading:

Take Friday off. That’s the best weather day. Plenty of great days coming. Be happy.

I am not unhappy, I’m just trying to be honest.
Not call it a great day when it hasn’t been.
But I am trying to make the best of where I’m at.
Most of the time I do a decent job of it.

I think the issue that I was trying to explain yesterday was more about contentment than time.

See, I’ve got time.

More time than my husband at least.
He works as much as I do and goes to school.
When my workday finishes at 5, twice a week he’s just jumping into his other role as a student.
I have no right to complain.
My man is one hard worker, and I love him for it.

It’s in the comparisons that I gain some perspective.

I wasn’t trying to say that I have no time for myself and that I think all of that will change sometime soon.
I know it won’t.
In those terms I think I am at the peak season in terms of time for myself.
I am not one under the delusion that being a mother is a breeze.
I have been a live-in nanny and that was hard enough.
trust me, I know it will never get “easier” (better maybe, but not easier)

I get home close to 6 every day and I decide what to do –
What to cook, or not cook.
What to clean, or not clean.
What to do, or not do.

I can skip a meal and read if I wanted to.
Or I can choose to go to sleep before it gets dark if I had a migraine or for any other reason i can think of

My nights are mine for the most part and for that I can’t complain.

I’m not looking for a more selfish way to spend my time,
I’ve got that covered, most of the time…

It’s the sitting at a desk 10 hours a day that sometimes gets to me.

I don’t think another job, either working from home or motherhood would be easier.
I know neither would be,
however, I do think that part of me is just not cut out for this type of environment.

But that’s not to say that I can’t thrive where I'm at,
make the best of it and find contentment within the tiny little office I find myself sitting at day after day.
Because I can, and a lot of the time I do.

I just know that long-term, this is not where my heart lies.

So, don’t misunderstand my words as trying to make my life easier,
less busy, or bloated with more "me time"
because that’s not what I was trying to say at all.

my last post was more of a reminder to myself that peace isn’t found in the
sheer balance of circumstances or priorities

so when I feel tired and overwhelmed
I am not pushed to think that something else that would make me happier
or more complete.

Because it won’t
I know it won’t
I’ve tried.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the dilemma


I cannot imagine being a corporate working mother.
I can barely manage myself sans kids with an office job that keeps me tied up for 10 hours a day.
Sometimes life can be hectic and I try my best to figure out how to fit everything else in.
The rest of my life outside of work must fit into my close-quartered evenings
and it’s hard
and it makes me sad

It’s hard to fit in everything I need to do with all the extras that I want to do.
I want to work out, but I need to make dinner.
I want to blog, but I need to pay bills and open mail and create budgets.
I want to veg out, but I need to do dishes and laundry.
I want to finish {this amazing book} I’m reading, but I have to shower and get ready for tomorrow…

Nights are too short.
And sometimes, on nights like tonight I seriously feel like crying.

And now, with Spring coming…
somehow it’s gotten even harder.

Knowing that the next few days are supposed to be the sunniest and warmest that we’ve had so far, kills me.
I most likely will not get to enjoy it until the weekend and I hate that.

But I am an adult, and part of being an adult means that I do things although I may not want to.
It means I should do what I do without complaining, but it’s just so hard.

This blog has been rather whiny lately.
I am sorry for that.
I never intended for this space to become my soapbox to moan about life.
Because in reality, my life is not all bad.

I have friends at work,
and we work hard, and long, but we do have fun on occasion while doing it.
And besides the part where I don’t take a break for lunch and sit in a god-aweful office with no windows, it’s really not that bad.

Maybe I just have spring fever.
Maybe I need to sit in my car and eat my lunch just to get away from my desk.
Maybe I need to take a walk around the parking lot even when I’m wearing high heels.

I think I just need a change.
Just a little one.

See, I think I keep waiting for this life changing event that will turn my world upside down
when all I really need is a little change to flip-flop my attitude.

I thought working out would do it for me,
And although I feel really good because of it, it is not the thing that’s going to, in the end, change me.

I will not become an optimist by doing P90X.
I will not suddenly love my long twice-daily commute because I’m doing yoga.
And I will not suddenly find contentment by trying to find that perfect balance of work and home life.

I think somehow it goes far deeper.
And as I’m trying to wade the muddy waters of my life as I know it now,
Actually, I don’t think balance is much of the point at all.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Pretty much sums up my dilemma, and the solution I think…

Friday, March 26, 2010

it's been two years since our last vacation


lately i have been thinking a lot about travel
the ocean
new, foreign places
warm weather
extended periods of time with self-imposed bans on
 phones, work, email, facebook

i grew up going on at least one beachy vacation a year
sometimes two
most of the time we went to my grandparent's condo in florida
and although we were surrounded by the elderly
who snipped at us when we didn't shower off before jumping into the pool
as they walked back
and forth 
in the pool
their daily aerobic excersise
talking about where they were going for the early bird special
for dinner
before even having lunch

and although these weren't the most exciting vacations in the world
guess where i have a hankering to go
nana's house in palm beach
that's where

two year's ago curtis and i got to borrow the condo for our first time
as just the two of us
we weren't expecting much
we'd been there many times before
we thought we knew the town
and didn't care that we'd be surrounded by those over 80
we just wanted to get away
without breaking the bank

but when we got there
we decided that we would find new beaches
 new restaurants
new cities
and for the first time
nana's condo didn't feel like nana's condo
but our little hideaway from the world

late afternoon naps after mornings at the beach
packed lunches
afternoons at the pool reading until dusk
dressing up at night to explore new places
no phonecalls
no email
no meetings to make

it has been almost two years since our last vacation
we are months away from being out of debt and just can't
justify taking away from that goal to pay for an excursion
at the beach
although i want to
boy do i want to

but then my wiser half reminds me that we will go somewhere sometime
i will see the ocean again

maybe as soon as november

my cousin just got engaged
he lives in charleston, sc
he is having a thanksgiving weekend wedding
we want to go
we really need to go
but it is an expensive time to travel
we are brainstorming ways to make it work and still
uphold our pay-off-debt schedule

i think i need it
that foamy, blue expanse to look forward to
even though it is months and months away

i think i could hold out until november if i had to

although i may not get my ocean retreat until november
we are planning a few small weekend escapes from now until then

in april we are going to toronto for a long weekend
we will visit some of my favorite relatives
and enjoy a string of days with family in a city we love

then in the summer i will take curtis to nyc
he has never been and that is unacceptable
i haven't been for years either
so we will plan a trip to visit friends and see the city with adult eyes
we will celebrate the finishing of a lovely lady's phd,
and meeting up a myriad of family and friends we know that call the big apple home

hopefully in the autumn we will finally get down to d.c to
see curtis' sisters' family's new house

and inevitably there will be a roadtrip to chicago in there somewhere
once curtis' parents move
whether it's in the fall, winter or for new year's
i have a feeling we'll be in chicago at sooner than we think

and as fun all these trips sound to me
none wash me with that feeling of relaxation
where i can exhale
open a book
enjoy alone time
and really unwind

that is the feeling that i need right now

so until i can sit on the sand and burn my shoulders
i will dream about the sound of the seagulls
and packed sandwiches
eaten with salty fingers
to the sound of the ocean

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

another kind of normal


What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stop and stare?"
--W.H. Davies

I read {this}
and it literally hurts me to think I spend day upon day
hours linked like paper chains
over and over
at a desk
in a room with no windows
missing the sunshine
and the cloudy fog that suspends itself over
almost-spring days like it does today.

I am a city girl.
A suburb girl at the very least,
yet when I read this, and
I ache for nature and long walks and puddles and little fingers that pick up
leaves and rocks and everything.

I ache for mid-week days that allow for walks before the light is out for the night
for seeing the sunshine in my kitchen
for cooking before the day is nearly done.
for so many things that I could list like a liturgy
I could write them out with a tired hand.
maybe I will.
maybe I will to understand what I have to look forward to

onday I will be able to open a book at a time other than 15 minutes before bed
I will be able to sip coffee from something other than a styrofoam cup
I’ll have the chance to write with the sun reflecting off my windowsill
words that mean something to me
words that don’t suck me dry and leave me for crust at the end of the day
burnt, stale, cold crust of a life.

I should make a list
put ink to paper to remember
when oneday comes and the monotony of some new life
leaves me feeling the way I do now,
I can remember
the way I feel right now and all
the things I’m waiting to do.

*Curtis will read this and say this is my depression speaking. 
I say I'm just ready for another kind of normal.



I don’t want to get out of bed, I whined as Curtis stood across the hallway ironing his pants.

Jess, that’s a sign of depression, he responded. Are you depressed? he asked

Of course not, I retorted. I’m just tired.

But do you realize that you’ve worn all black for the past three days?

Uh, yeah, I guess I have, I responded, smirking at the thought that he even noticed what I wore when we’re both headed to work in a blur of early mornings.

I’m just happy I fit back into some of my skinny pants, and these ones just happen to be black.

I’m not depressed, I’m just ready for spring, I think to myself.

Saturday, March 20, 2010



The peace and beauty of a spring day
had descended upon the earth
like a benediction.
-Kate Chopin

This week has been infinitely better than last – minus the day of puking, but I don’t even care because last week was so horrible, in comparison, this week has been a breeze.

The week flew by and by Friday, I felt a sense of accomplishment. It was a good week and although it feels good to have it behind me, all was not lost in the last seven days.

I can’t complain. Although I know the weekend will feel too short and I will return to work on Monday wishing I had just one. more. day. off. Boy do I love my weekends. I usually start the countdown on Monday. pathetic, yes, i know.

Today is the first day of spring and I am ready for the season’s change.

I’m ready for skirts and bare legs, for sipping coffee on the sun porch, for grilling out and reading books in the backyard as my feet soak in the kiddie pool. I’m getting excited just thinking about warmer weather and evenings around the fire pit and smores and freckles.

I’m ready, how about you?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

a sweet surprise

I don’t want to really talk about last Saturday. Some days are better left as a distant memory.
It wasn’t the best day in the life of our marriage.
I was in a mood, which put Curtis in a mood and before we knew it there were tears far out of proportion to the situation and hurt feelings that could have been prevented and just a whole lot of grumpiness.

However, one nice thing to come out of Saturday was a sweet surprise from my dear husband.
A sweet surprise when I least expected it...or deserved it.

See, part of our “disagreement” (aka...nice word for fight) started while we were at Bed Bath & Beyond that morning.
I will spare you the messy details, but suffice it to say, we got into it on the way out, after having a leisurely, and quite pleasant, meander through the store.
It was during that first trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond of the day that I spotted “the bedding I never knew I always wanted.”


So we left, upset, annoyed at each other and stubborn (me being the stubborn one, of course). We got all the way home and to make a long story short, turned around and headed back to Bed, Bath & Beyond for our second trip of the morning. I stayed in the car as Curtis ran in to pick something up and came out with a bag heavier and bigger than it should have been.

I was still upset from before.

“Just look in the bag,” he prodded.

“I don’t want to,” I retorted.

“Oh, just do it.”


And what to my surprise was in the bag, but the small item he went in for and the bedding I had been drooling over.

“Take it back,” I huffed.

“Why?” he questioned, “you loved it an hour ago.”

“I don’t care. We don’t need it and you didn’t even use a coupon. We could’ve saved 20 bucks.”

I can’t remember how the conversation ended, but what I did know as that we drove out of the Bed, Bath & Beyond parking lot for the second time of the day, with bedding snug in the back seat, and nerves a little quieter.

After deciding that we were going to keep the bedding, I went on a hunt to find a coupon. After a trip to my grandmother’s house (unrelated, but producing a coupon, or two) I met my mom who also bore coupons in hand, and we descended on Bed, Bath & Beyond for a third time in a day. Curtis refused to go back out of principle. I didn’t care, I wanted my discount.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I ended up walking out that third time, having spent more money than I had saved, but couldn’t wait to get home to beautify our bed and show my generous husband.

Let me just say, I loved our old bedding. I bought it with my hard earned money a few months before our wedding. It was from Pottery Barn and was ex-pensive...more than I should have spent. But I loved it and made the splurge. A wedding gift to us. The problem was, it had a stark white background and over time, it started to turn dingy and unappealing. Then the thin, soft cotton started to rip, then I got waterproof mascara on it. And before long, it looked just plain gross. 

It was coming time to give it up, but we were trying to hold out as long as possible, in an effort not to spend the extra money. That is, until Saturday...

Here is the before and after for your reference…tell me what you think.



I happen to love it. It matches our walls, the sheets we already own, and goes well with the rest of the aesthetic of our house.

Saturday may not have been the best day in the history of our marriage, but by the end of the day we had forgotten all about our rough morning and fell into bed surrounded by the crisp feel and fresh smell of a new duvet (that Curtis just happened to say smelled of gasoline – it didn’t, but i wasn't going to let that turn into another argument!).

The whole situation was just a gracious reminder that a kind gesture can cover a multitude of unpleasant feelings and our marriage is made up of more than a few petty arguments on a Saturday morning.

*here are more pictures for your enjoyment:

...ahhhhh, i can't wait to go to bed tonight.

the email chain

I get a lot of emails during the course of a day.

For example, Tuesday I was home sick with a migraine that left me vomiting into a trash can while still in bed.

When I finally got up at about 1:30, I opened my work laptop to see over 85 unread emails staring back at me.


Needless to say, my days are filled with emailing, mostly uninteresting, work related jargon.


Until yesterday…


I got the best email I have quite possible ever read.

So good, that I had to share…


It all started when I emailed my husband to see if he wanted to go to my parents for a little St. Patty's day dinner.

He told me he really didn't want to because:

a.)     He had "things" to do, and

b.)    He already ate corned beef and cabbage at work at 9 in the morning.

(things to do meaning "working" on his desktop computer")


I responded:


Do it for me : ) because you love me more than your silly desktop computer!

I didn't get to eat corned beef at 9am and my mom makes it yummy.

I don't even get to see the sunshine all day – be a darling and be my date!


To which he responded:


fine, but make it for 7:30 so I have some time


To which I responded:


That's too late – maybe 6:30 or so – you can play on your computer after dumdum


To which he responded:


your a computer!


To which I responded:


you love me more than your computer…right?

Sometimes I wonder…

You're getting a bit obsessive!


To which he responded (wait, this is the best part!):



Marked by patters of repeated behavior, for example:

                1.) painting your nails more than once a day

                2.) refusing to watch any television show that is not "reality"

                3.) interest in celebrities lives starring in the reality shows

                4.) hitting the "read" button on your Google reader, even though you didn't "read" it

                5.) marking things off of your to-do list, and then making a new list because the previous one had things marked off

                    and is no longer a "to-do"

                6.) checking facbook status updates before bed, then again when you wake up.


:-) My sudden interest in my desktop computer that has only been for a few days is not obsessive, and it is allowing me to realize how little "free time" I have that is truly "free." :-(


To which I responded:


You're adorable …can I turn this into a blog post?!


And ps – I haven't painted my nails in weeks! ha


To which, finally, he responded:


yes you may.


Then I responded:


Thank you kind sir.


Man, do I love this guy. Not only was he willing to waste valuable working time in this hilarious back and forth with me, he allows me to blog about it! I love my life and my crazy, computer-obsessed husband!


*These emails were taken directly from our email chain and not a word was removed. I hope you enjoyed as much as I did!

Monday, March 15, 2010

de ja vue



I have been the biggest blog slacker in the world.
It’s been well over a week – 10 days to be exact and the longer I let it go, the easier it is to let it go.
And that’s bad, and not what I intended to do and now I’m feeling like it’s hard to catch up.
So I won’t.

I think I’m having de ja vue.

I don’t know where to start or what to tell you...

I’ve had a few exceptionally busy weeks at work, the kind of busy where I almost slump over in my car on the way home out of pure exhaustion. I keep the radio turned off in an effort to regroup and and enjoy the silence. And once I’m home, I crash. If not sleeping, I'm being a vegetable on the couch in front of useless nighttime tv. It’s pathetic, really it is and I’m sick of work affecting my mood and my time at home and my life so much.

Home-cooked meals have been few but have lasted us for days…last weekend I made an asian meal for friends that resulted in a TON of homemade vegetable fried rice, that I forced Curtis to eat for more than one meal. Then one night late last week I felt inspired to make a Mediterranean feast of falafel, tabouli, hummos, baba ganouj, cucumber, red onion and cherry tomato salad, Israeli couscous, and of course, pita for just the two of us. Needless to say, it was too much food for two and we ended up eating it for a few days. But it was all healthy stuff, so guilt-free. That was the same night we started P90X back up. P90X, then a mediterranean feast...what could be better?

Tonight we came home and i started dinner while Curtis cleaned the bathroom for guests coming tomorrow night. I made baked eggplant parm and whole wheat spaghetti and had it all ready to go into the oven when our workout was 30 minutes from being over. So we worked out, i stuck the eggplant in the oven and ran to take a shower. My timing was impeccable and i came down, with just enough time to boil the pasta. We didn't eat at 6, not even 7, but at 8:00 we had a lovely dinner, eaten as our abs and legs quivered and it was delightful.

Now Curtis is watching some guy movie as i sit and type and think about making a decaf cappuccino.

He told me i had to blog this week. he said it makes him sad to check my blog everyday and see that i hadn't written. he may be the only one, but i love him for it.

Here's what's on my to do list for the week:

  • Work less (or at least try to be less stressed and not let work affect my homelife – which I did not do a good job of last week – sorry husband)
  • Catch up on my google reader (I’ve let it hit the 1,000 unread post mark and that's only because it's stopped counting)
  • Read Corinthians (I’ve read all the way through Romans and now I’m really inspired to finish)
  • Continue with P90X (we started it back up again late last week and now we’re committed to doing it as many nights as we can without killing ourselves)
  • Make time to knit (this is such a good stress reliever for me and I haven’t sat down to do it since Christmas-time)
  • Find some Spanish recipes (we’ve been invited to a couples cooking night at a friend’s house in a couple weeks and the theme is Spanish cuisine. So, although we cook a lot of Mexican, Spanish is another beast altogether, so I must make a trip to the library or do some research online in the next week or so…or, suggestions welcome from you if you have any – I know some of you out there are foodies!)
  • Tidy up the rest of my house for friends tomorrow night (it's the first time a few of them have been over and it would be nice if I could give them the tour sans embarrassment)
  • Blog about the little splurge that we made this weekend (and how my husband is so good to be - so much better than I deserve to be treated when I'm in a funk)
So, until i get around to blogging again, which hopefully isn't 10 days from now (it won't be, I promise), I will be enjoying Spring Forward, although the the older I get the more my body is affected by the time change. But I won't complain because I love the extra hours of sunlight. If only the rain would go away...

Friday, March 5, 2010

the makeup of our mornings

I drove to work this morning heavy-eyed
willing myself to stay awake as cars lulled on pavement in the aftermath of the week.

I should start drinking coffee before my morning commute, I think to myself.

This feeling of weight, heaviness, mere exhaustion
caffeine helps a bit, a night’s worth of deep sleep only masks the bare-boned tiredness I feel.

What am I going to do when we have a child? I scare myself with these thoughts of plain overwhelming.

The office was warm this morning. In my jean skirt and bare legs under boots.
It’s supposed to hit 40 degrees this weekend.

I sulk to the kitchen with my other under-rested companions
we fill mugs, add milk or cream or sugar,
let tea bags  steep in hot water and honey and lemon
and then meander back to desks in silence

we sip and stir and watch steam rise as we take the first to the last swigs of coffee
before long meeting up for second cups and ice water and eventually lunch.

These are our mornings. Our shared monotony.

Shared exhaustion until caffeine flows through veins and we begin to chat
and work and write and waste time between computer clicks and meetings and meals.

We are all overwhelmed, but I think I am more unsettled than the rest.

Looking forward to the next thing, whenever it will come.
Not another job, but a life change. Probably, hopefully, motherhood.

I want to drink coffee at my kitchen table, in front of the window, in slippers.

I want many other things, far different than the look of my mornings now.

But for now, they are what they are, and at least there is coffee.

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