Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sorry I couldn't make it. I was stuck in a book.

Have you ever gotten stuck in a book?  Been so completely engrossed that all you wanted to do was stay home and read?  I am a reader and a half. Reading is serious business.  I don't know who I would be if not for my books, which I think I may have mentioned in a blog or two before.

Some people just randomly read when they feel like it.  Or they read to fall asleep at night.  Or they only read a certain author, or a certain genre.  They read because they feel like they are supposed to, or because occasionally it helps them escape. They are casual readers.  A lot of people don't read at all.  Which has never made sense to me. But to each their own.

I know that there are certain books that I do just read.  They take me a few days. I don't really think about them until it is time to go to bed and relax before sleep.  They're time fillers.  They fill my need to read.  And that is exactly what reading is to me.  A need. 

Then, there are the books that take over your life.  The books that make you have a complete disregard for getting up in the morning.  The ones that make it so even when you are supposed to be doing something like, oh, watching your child play baseball, you're reading on your phone.  That same book is the one that keeps you in the hammock long after you have to pee and then also makes you forget that you should probably eat something.  When you do finally eat something you eat and read, often sitting up in bed, balancing your book and your food.  That kind of book can make you forget the cup of coffee, forget the hair appointment, forget anything you may have been supposed to do, because you are stuck in the book.  

That happened to me this past weekend.  The third book in a trilogy that I have been waiting for well over a year to read came out on Tuesday. I didn't even bother to start it because I knew it was going to suck me in. I recently reread the first two, and the same thing happened with those, and it was the second time I had read them (it was the All Soul's Trilogy by Deborah Harkness in case you are curious).  I started the third book on Thursday and read every chance I got.  Finally, yesterday after baseball, I just committed to finishing.  Josh left to go to his parents and I told him I was going to stay and read.  Rare for me lately because I feel like all I do is work and baseball.  

I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning finishing my book.  And today I'm STILL stuck in it.  I don't want to start another book because I'm not quite ready to be done with that one yet.  It's still holding on.  

I read this quote by Rosemarie Urquico a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. It's much longer than this so I won't post it all but my favorite part is the part where she says "You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you".  I haven't always been with someone who understands this.  I have never dated a reader, which is odd when you think about it.  I still don't have a reader, what I do have is someone who has a healthy respect for the reader that I am.  

Yesterday I felt guilty for reading all day.  For not making dinner, for not cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming the floor.  I felt guilty for not going with him to his mom and dads.  I shouldn't have and I'm not sure when I'm going to realize that he accepts the reader in me.  No matter how many times we move, and have to move my million boxes of books, he isn't going to ask me to get rid of them.  When I say I need 10 more minutes he is going to understand that could mean anything, from an hour to four.  When I spend a ridiculous amount of money on books, or have to get a new Kindle because mine won't hold a charge anymore, there is no question, no complaining, no nothing.  He understands that reading is as much a part of me as my brown hair and brown eyes or my smile.  

I don't think I really understood until yesterday why he understood this the way he does.  When he came home he told me that his mom asked where I was and he told her that I was at home reading a book I'd been waiting forever for. Her response was "Oh, okay, what is she reading?".  Only the child of a reader understands the need to read, and respect the reader.  It's just one more lesson I'll never forget.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Goodbye World. I'm Off to the Cabin,

There is no denying that the beach is my happy place.  I have always said that the beach makes me feel at peace, and inspires epiphanies.  I don't ever want to live outside of driving distance of the beach it would make me not happy, at all.

Here's the thing though.  These past couple of months the cabin has also become my happy place.  Granted, in a completely different way, but still a happy place.  When I'm at the cabin I feel more myself then anyplace else.  The rest of the world can't intrude on your time at the cabin.  Everyone else is more at ease at the cabin too.  It's a place of calm and relaxing.  You can do a whole bunch of stuff, or absolutely nothing, and it doesn't matter.  The nap couches are there for use whether it be morning, afternoon or evening.  And the happy hour spot by the river just gets happier and happier the longer you sit there.  And it doesn't always have to do with the amount of alcohol you're drinking.

The cabin inspires it's own epiphanies.  The cabin makes you want to be better, and live more simple.  The cabin makes you question why you put up with the craziness of regular day to day life, day in and day out.  I suppose that could be a negative thing about the cabin too.  Not for me. That cabin quality certainly helps you remember what your priorities should be.

The cabin also connects me to my roots.  It's funny because that's something that I never really understood until this year.  Maybe it has something to do with being in my 30's, up until May, the last time I was there I was 27, and rather self absorbed.  That's something that never makes the "Things that are different in your 30's than they were in your 20's".

The first night spent in the cabin was 40 years ago this month, on my dad's birthday.  My dad's family, parents and grandparents, built the cabin.  A journal has been kept since that first night and I have a habit of getting sucked into reading them each time I'm there. The first journal was missing until my parents were there in May when mom found it under the kitchen sink? Much screaming!  When I was there with Josh and PJ in June I realized that the past 40 years of family history is contained in six spiral notebooks. The journals were a place to record the whether and cabin progress at first and then at some point in my childhood they turned into the place where you told stories of what happened while you were there, and sometimes divulged the latest reason for escape.

My dad spent his teenage years there "picnicking" with his high school girlfriends (when I read that passage I couldn't believe how naive my grandmother was). My parents had their honeymoon at the cabin. I took my first steps there. From what I have been told , my brother was conceived there.  Almost every childhood vacation was spent there.  I can remember my dad getting off work and piling us all into the car at bedtime to start the drive so we could sleep the whole way there.  I spent my first honeymoon at the cabin, five months pregnant with PJ. PJ's dad fished for the first time there.  Josh and I made some important life decisions while happy houring into the wee morning hours and Josh taught PJ how to fish. Plus, a million other stories. Anyone who has ever visited the cabin has their own.  And those of us to have spent a lot of time there have thousands.

There isn't a person in my family that doesn't feel some sort of reverence for the cabin.  I also don't know anyone who has ever been to the cabin that doesn't understand and feel it's importance.  There is no denying that the cabin is magical.  The souls of all of the people that have touched the cabin that are no longer with us, and all of the laughter and tears and memories that live in the walls, fill it with the kind of magic can only be found just off of Highway 2, about 20 miles West of Leavenworth.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Should Anyone Here Object to Me Changing My Mind... Just Hold Your Peace

What is it about the permanence of being married?  I know, better than most, that marriage is not permanent. and yet, here I am, a year later thinking that marriage really isn't as bad as I've made it out to be this past year.  I remember getting married the second time and thinking that, after the first time, there was no way I could fail.  I knew what was wrong with the first one and I thought that it would be different the second time around.  The problem with that philosophy is that I was working under the assumption that since I learned my first time around he did too.  Leaving was hard for me because I just KNEW that I wasn't going to fail this time.  I stuck it out way longer than I should have and gave way more concessions than any person should give, just so I didn't fail at this marriage thing.   As I have said before, everything happens for a reason, I don't care how cliche it is.

I have spent the last year talking about all of the reasons that it is unnecessary to get married, to anyone who would listen. I spent a good half an hour one day talking to the girl at the tanning salon about why getting married is completely ridiculous.  You don't have to be married to be committed to each other for the rest of your lives.  When you get married it screws up your taxes.  Marriage is a way for the government to be involved in your personal relationships. Blah, blah, blah.

The thing is, I'm not wrong.  You DON'T need to be married to be committed to someone else, forever.  It does mess up your taxes when you're in a certain tax bracket and don't have a bunch of write-off's. Unfortunately, we live in a society where the government invades your personal relationships regardless of whether your married or not, so although that is valid, it's also inevitable.

Now, there are a couple of practical reasons to get married too.  Unless we are married, or registered domestic partners, I can't get medical information in the case of an emergency, nor can I make any medical decisions.  And that goes both ways.  At this point in our lives the first call would be to our mothers because they are our next of kin, at least until our kids turn 18. And what if something happens when our kids are 18? Should they be the first call? Probably not.  We're just roommates. Which sucks, and is kind of harsh, but that is how the government, and by extension, the medical establishments, see us.  Roommates. Tax benefits do happen eventually  so that goes in the pro's column of this list. It's also easier financially with bank accounts, and insurance, and buying a house, if you are married.

Then there are the impractical, emotional, "awwww" reasons to get married.  Because you love someone.  Because there is no way that you want to hear anyone else's voice before you go to sleep at night. Because they are your best friend.  Because they accept you for who you are and don't try and change you.  Because you both change anyway to help fit into each others hearts and lives.  Because you depend on them more than you have ever depended on anyone. Because they are your partner in everything already. Because the idea of calling him husband and being called his wife makes you warm and fuzzy. Because you respect each others thoughts, opinions and decisions. Because you would rather sit around doing nothing with that person than be doing something with anyone else. Because there is no dividing line down the center of the bed, cuddling is always necessary.  Because when you think of spending the rest of your life with someone that isn't him you realize you would rather just spend it alone.

Let's not confuse marriage with a wedding.  All girls want a wedding.  The dress and the flowers and people and the party.  Don't get me wrong, so do I, and after waiting 19 years I feel as though we deserve one.  I had a wedding Pinterest board even when I didn't want to get married, just because some ideas are so cool and some dresses are so pretty that you just need to save them someplace (don't go look for it. It's private). However, a wedding doesn't make a marriage.  I would be happy in a summer dress with our families around and no party if that's what had to happen.

What I want is the marriage, the partnership, the permanence that we have both waited so long for. I'm willing to wait until we're both ready.  And even if both of us are never ready at the same time, neither of us is going anywhere and we know it. Which, really, makes the entire thing that much better.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why Is It So Hard To Simply Simplify?

One of the best things about being happy with yourself and your relationships is that it makes it easier to see what is making you unhappy.  When you know that your partner, and your friends, and your family, and your self aren't the root of your misery that pretty much leaves one thing. Your career.  

When someone makes the statement that they need to simplify it is usually for some selfless reason.  Like reducing their carbon footprint by not having as many things or saving money so they can stay home with their kids. The more time I spend at the cabin, or at the beach, the more time I spend wishing for something a little more simple.  When I spend two, four, six, heck ten days, completely unplugged it makes me wonder why I can't simply simplify.

When I say that I want to simplify I don't mean sell my stuff and reduce the clutter in my house.  I want to simplify my life so that I can spend more time unplugged.  I want to get a job that I don't hate.  When I think about the fact that I can't take any sort of pay cut without significantly changing the way that I live, it makes me want to change the way that I live so that I can take a significant pay cut.

I would love to live in a 800 square foot house, blocks from the beach, working a job that I don't hate.  I would love to make people coffee, or serve them drinks and burgers on the beach.  Granted I would love to do that more if I were the proprietor of the coffee/restaurant.  I want to deal with people who don't hate me because I make them follow the rules and pay their rent.  I want to be able to walk to the beach and relax.  I want to be able to wear long flowing skirts, do yoga, wear a hoop in my nose and dye a chunk of my hair pink.  I might not actually do those things, but I want to be able to.  How cool would it be to actually be that eccentric woman that you admire when you see her happily walking down the street?

That all sounds like stuff I should have done in my 20's.  But I didn't.  When I was in my 20's I was being a mom and a wife and figuring out how to support my family.  My friend Veronica blogged about the Quarter Life Crisis today and as I was reading and appreciating her blog, I think about my quarter life crisis, which consisted of realizing that I didn't get to have my 20's in the normal way.  Now that I am 30 something I should be able to live how I want.  A little more free and a little more careless and a little less stressed.

It should be a whole lot easier to realize the dream of living a more simple, happier, life than it is to get stuck in the hell that is the middle class 9-5 job that you hate.  I want to be one of those people that totally boycotts corporate America.  I want to remember what it's like to be creative and to make things with my hands and my imagination.  Somewhere in the hell that is my black and white, number saturated career, I don't even remember what creativity is.  I can't plan a resident event anymore when I used to be the queen of planning parties.  Heck at one point I wanted to plan weddings and sell wedding dresses.  The entire time I was in middle and high school I wanted to be an interior designer. I couldn't do that now without a huge lifestyle  and mindset change that would reconnect me to the creativity that I lost somewhere along the way.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be poor and struggle day in and day out.  I just don't want to have to work so hard at a job I hate, that my friends are worried is going to give me a aneurysm, in order to make ends meet.  I want to have the freedom that being less stressed allows.  Even if that doesn't realize itself in the beach dream it's going to have to realize itself soon.  Very, very soon.  In some form or another.