Tag: using my time wisely

Fruition : the point at which a plan or project is realized

Sunday I bring my work to the Fourth Wall Gallery! I am looking forward to seeing all my pieces for “Never Enough Time” in a beautiful Gallery.

Strange how time flies, I say this all the time. But time never stops surprising me. There are a few ceremonial blank pages left in my largest notebook. I am pleased with my Note Books, my paintings and drawings. My WHOLE art show fit in my car! A whole year of my life packaged up. There is Never Enough Time, except sometimes, there is enough time to do the things we want, enough space to devour, enough oxygen to breath. To the last breath, all in sync. Coloring books, pens, blocks, toy cars, a toy shark, and a “Sound Storybook Treasury” surround me. Yesterday Fiona and I went to a children’s book reading at the bookstore that I and The Book Reader enjoyed most. I think I’m gonna make my deadlines, even my Book, “Nap Time Paintings, Motherhood from the Eyes of an Artist.” I can’t wait until I see my new book. It’s gonna be so cool.

Mendocino Forever

Mendocino. I love it here, the sea air, birds, foggy skies, I want to live here. The tall cypress trees, ocean cliffs, sea lions, it’s the best. I can see a life for Alan, Jack, Fiona, and me here. A peaceful life, no more long commutes, no more traffic jams, no heart attack at fifty, leave the rat race once and for all. That’s my goal. Today we will go to Russian Gulch state park, which I did a little research and found out that this spot was partly named in honor of the Russian Fur trappers from early 1800’s who founded Fort Ross (up the road ways)

“This settlement [Ross] has been organized through the initiative of the Company. Its purpose is to establish a [Russian] settlement there or in some other place not occupied by Europeans, and to introduce agriculture there by planting hemp, flax and all manner of garden produce; they also wish to introduce livestock breeding in the outlying areas, both horses and cattle, hoping that the favorable climate, which is almost identical to the rest of California, and the friendly reception on the part of the indigenous people, will assist in its success.” (Wikipedia)
— From an 1813 report to Emperor Alexander from the Russian American Company Council, concerning trade with California and the establishment of Fort Ross

I found this bit of history so interesting, especially considering our relationship with Russia, Europe, and settlers in general. I’ve been trying to convince Alan that we should sell everything and relocate to Mendocino. I can write and paint, he can work for the fire department. Kids can learn about the land.

Russian Gulch beach sits under the Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge, an open-spandrel deck arch bridge. Jack, Fiona, Alan and I hike up a trail running on a bluff under the bridge. The structure is beautiful and  strong. Jack and I walk ahead, Jack jumps over branches and watches out for poison oak. I am impressed, I’ve taught him well. We get down to our beach spot. The air is ice cold, the sky blue but the foggy wind still rips though us on the beach. Jack eats a bunch of chips, Fiona eats her sandwich. They want to play in the water, I tell them it’s too cold. I finally let them. They run to a trickling stream that runs out to the ocean, both get wet, come back, sit on chairs, cover up with beach towels. Jack and Fiona shiver and have goose bumps. They don’t last long before they need to go sit in the car, Alan takes the first shift. I put on my Irish sweater and sit on the beach, finish my glass of wine. Listen to the click of the tires,  hum the rubber makes on the concrete on the bridge above. Shadows cast on the sand, dank and cold at the base of the supports. I imagine the rugged men and women trading on this shore, weathered hands and faces. On the rocks, little purple wild flowers grow, tiny perfect succulents. I take in as much as I can before I need to go back to the car and trade places with Alan.

We stay at the vacation home all day on July Fourth, no Mendocino parade this year, no fireworks. I haven’t read the news since we left on Friday. I need this. To escape. To watch wild turkeys and their babies eat bugs in the field and cross the street. To listen to the birds. To get away from the freeway, all the electricity. To get away from consumption of worries, toys, T.V., news, gas, arguments, stress, the hustle and bustle. Get away from the unimportant things. Consume the fresh air instead. Nature, doing less. Consuming less. Three-year olds are messy. They love to watch T.V. Jack says “Mommy” over and over until I say, “Yes Jack”. Even when I give him direct eye contact. Sea birds sing all morning, sky foggy and cold. Packing needs to be done. Trash needs to be picked up. Time to get back on the road and back the freeway. I want to get away from cars and freeways and airports and runways forever.

I Love You Babies Over and Over Again

I cradled Jacks wet body in my arms, his head relaxed with a smile, his hair damp on his forehead. I moved him around in the water, swoosh, swoosh. I couldn’t feel my own body, I couldn’t tell if the water was warm or cold. My feet didn’t send any messages about the bottom, was it soft and muddy or firm. Were there reeds or rocks? We moved down the river as the sun moved down behind the trees creating shadows on the surface of the sepia colored water. When the water became opaque from the disappearing light I woke up.

Now I’m on my second cup of coffee, it’s 6:38AM, Jack and Fiona still asleep. I have a case of melancholia this morning, maybe a bit of sentimentality. Dog, baby, the Lego creations Jack made yesterday, they make me so sad to look at them, feeling the loss already. I feel the day they no longer play with sweet little toys, they’ve grown up so fast already and it hasn’t even been two years. They’re still babies, but they’re almost like little kids. It’s going by so fast, one day moves into the next without a still moment. I’m stuck on the freeway on a stretch of road that always has traffic but today it’s clear, I look at the odometer and I’m going 80MPH in a 55MPH zone, my car swerving into the next lane, I take my foot off the accelerator, I slow down. But it happens again, over and over, where is the traffic? Why is there no traffic? I need to slow down, I need time to slow down. But it doesn’t and it won’t.

Yesterday as I sat on the couch with the babies, all caught up with my chores, painting, and writing (to my surprise because I was so tired) I felt totally relaxed. I thought about how I could be if I had nothing else pulling me, if I just took care of the babies, the household. I could be with them all the time, have lots of energy, not be stressed. But then I thought that’s total bullshit. I would still be stressed and probably depressed if I had no sense of self, something other than being a mom and wife. I don’t think I could survive like that, unless I was born with a totally different composition. But I wasn’t. I feel like every decision I make counts. Time is so precious. People often say they worry about me, I don’t think anyone needs to worry about me. I wonder how they live a stress free life though. Are they so less stressed? Do they have things so much more together than I do? Do they not have any conflicting emotions?

I’ve always been like this, a deep thinker, a tortured soul. Am I the only one who at just twenty months of their children’s lives is already lamenting the day they are grown or the day I am dead? I doubt it, but maybe other people wouldn’t offer it up, put their emotions, worries, and fears outside their own heads.

My heart is starting to beat faster, maybe I’ve drank too much coffee now! It still sounds quiet in the nursery, but its 7:08AM and they will be up soon. Bottles ready, time to make some breakfast for Jack and Fiona. I love the moment every morning when I open their bedroom door and say, “Good Morning Babies” and that makes me cry too because that is a fleeting thing. It won’t be long until they are out of their cribs and can get up and out of their room on their own. Their need of me will become less and less. Today I will relish in it, our morning routine. “I love you babies.” I will say over and over again.

Watching the Sycamore tree grow

I’m sitting here at my kitchen table looking out the window at the giant Sycamore tree, full of leaves fluttering in the wind. I’ve been watching this tree grow for eight years. I was training for the Folsom Olympic length triathlon the year the Sycamore was planted. I would ride my bike up the steep hill, seeing the Sycamore as I approached the top. My legs would be weak and my skin salty from sweat. I felt strong that year. It was right before I received the diagnosis of “Infertile” and six months before my mom died. The tree started growing in a five gallon bucket to what it is now, HUGE. Things have changed so much since then. Now it’s late July  and within a month the leaves will begin to turn orange. Fall is always an exciting time, it reminds me of my anticipation about a new painting class or about obsessing over projects I want to start. I  looked forward to critiques and meeting new artists. I have a collection of work in folders and frames from all the semesters of classes I’ve taken for the past eight years I’ve lived in this house. Many of those semesters I felt I was living a double life, trying to get pregnant and start a family, never talking about it to anyone. Consumed with “next steps” on the road of fertility treatments. When that wasn’t taking over my entire existence I focused on developing my portfolio to get into grad school. Sometimes I would also be training for a 10K.  I’ve been working on something, some kind of major project all these years. Last year I didn’t take a class, but felt like I was in school with my six month old twins. I read all the books about development I could and taught the babies everything I was learning. I had to learn all about Fiona’s hearing loss and how to teach her language. I was also busy working on myself, going to therapy, healing from all the trauma I had been through and becoming “Me” again with my new responsibility. Now Jack and Fiona are enjoying spending more time with other kids away from home. In the fall they will be at Early Start three mornings a week. (Fiona’s school for hearing loss, vision loss, and mobility issues) Jack gets to go too, as a sibling. I’m done with therapy for now. I want to take an art class but I looked through every school and art center’s catalogue in my area and found nothing. I am ready to connect with my art life outside these four walls. But maybe it’s not time yet. I will miss that new class feeling this fall and meeting people. I always feel like I need to have a plan, to accomplish something, finish something. Maybe I need restraints and restrictions, somewhere or someone to be accountable to and now that’s me. Life is different today for me than it was when that tree was planted, I’m different now, but I still want to learn and grow. I am learning and growing as a mom though. Jack and Fiona just woke up from their nap. I change their diapers and for now, I will enjoy lunch with my biggest project. We eat quesadillas, three bean salad, raspberries, apples, and chocolate chips. I turn on the wiggles and we sing while we finish our lunch. Next we play, I read Dear Zoo, and later we will take Billy for a walk and continue watching the sycamore tree grow a little bigger and the leaves turn orange.

Little Tikes Half Dome and watch out for needles!

Oh god, I have cramps. But I put together the Little Tikes Half Dome all by myself! Jack and Fiona have been little monkeys lately so I got them something they can get a good climb on! “It was so easy to put together even a housewife can do it” I say as I accomplish the task. They mastered the climb up and down faster than I anticipated, which kind of sucks because it won’t stay challenging for long. Another $140 bucks! I had a feeling we should have just gone for the real deal playset and let them grow into it but I got scared with the 3+ or the WARNING CHOKING HAZARD! I hope at least we get a good year out of the thing.

jackhalfdome

Yesterday we visited a new park, by the community center in San Rafael. It’s a beautiful park and has a cool little kiddie area. There is a large homeless population here. They sleep on the grass during the day. A lady behind us was taking pictures of herself and talking to someone on the phone at the same time, “I look fucken’ fat” she kept saying. “Oh here’s a good one.” I wondered who the pictures were for. Some type of down and out escort service? A boyfriend in jail?  As we walked into the park we passed by some men. They had a radio playing Reggae and one guy dressed like a sculpture of colorful rags was playing a guitar. I looked at them in acknowledgement, was going to smile, but when I saw their faces I turned and looked away. I had this strange feeling that they weren’t too friendly to women. I don’t know why I got that feeling, I just did.

fionahalfdome

As the babies played in the little structures and in the wood chips I was scared they might find something, like a needle or drugs and put it in their mouth. I kept looking to make sure I didn’t see anything. I think I’m permanently damaged. I was on a backpacking trip at Coast Camp in Pt. Reyes, another one of my FAVORITE places. It was the night of the fullest moon I had ever seen. We decided to trip on the beach. We were running through the sand laughing and having fun when and I stepped down and my foot landed right next to a hypodermic needle.  It was so disturbing, heightened by the state of our minds. Tony and I asked these questions to each other, “Was someone shooting up? Was it waste from a hospital?” Ever since then I’m hyper alert about people leaving drugs laying around and since Jack and Fiona put everything in their mouths it’s kind of scary. I don’t think I’ll be back to that park again.

jackfionabottomhalfdome

The way the mind works! I think I’ll use today as a studio day. I haven’t gone to Yoga since Monday. I was planning on going today but I don’t really like going the first day of my cycle. I think my time would be better used painting and taking a hot bath!