Tag Archives: connections

Prompt

Sometimes there is so much going on in my brain that I’m sure what to write on my blog. What is appropriate, what is interesting, what I feel like dealing with in written words.

I recently came across a prompt project: http://www.reverb10.com/

Each day they have a different reflecting-over-the-past-year prompt. Here is today’s, followed by my response.

December 15 – 5 Minutes

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

(Author: Patti Digh)

Five minutes to remember 2010. The biggest memory is getting pregnant and carrying little Raspberry around for much of the year. I remember telling different people, friends, family, co-workers. It is amazing how excited everyone gets when you start talking about a baby. I took a home pregnancy test one morning when David had already left for work. I took a photo of the positive response and showed it to him that night after we’d put the kids to bed.

36 weeks pregnant...

In 2010 my grandfather passed away, a sad reminder of the cyclical nature of life. He was ill and had been struggling. Luckily David and I went to see my grand parents in January, so we had spent some time with him when he was feeling pretty well. Never enough time.

With Grandpa and Grandma in January

Mentioning the midwest reminds me of the way I began 2010 – by totalling David’s car. We were driving from Chicago to Detroit (the WORST idea we’ve ever had in winter – and we are smart folks!). David suggested I drive a bit because the road was clear and there was no snow. After about 5 minutes of driving, the road suddenly covered in ice and we were the final car in a huge pile up. The tow truck driver took photos it was so many cars. We were completely shook up, we spent the night in a weird Ramada in Western Michigan, and the next day rented a car to drive to Detroit and then PA. David kindly did all the driving. And we agreed never to drive to the Midwest in winter again.

We are very lucky

And that’s 5 minutes of memories. It is interesting to see what comes up – life, death, fear.

Last year I made a 2009 photo album of our best photos from the year. It was mostly the kids, some of me and of David. I plan to do it every year, in part because it is nice to have a tangible memory, and I love looking through the hundreds of photos we take each year, remember everything from ice skating, to planting our garden, to swimming with cousins, to going back to school, to ice skating again.

This year will be full of such different memories. But I love looking back.

Internet Fame

So a few months ago I made a super simple and cute bias tape bag (I found the pattern online here). I sent a photo to the blog and now it’s on their site.

In other crafty news, I’ve become DESPERATE to nest. We painted the boys’ room (for Nathan and the Raspberry) but it needs curtains. Meanwhile, our entire house is in chaos from redoing the kitchen (which has turned into work in pretty much every room – “while you are here, can you guys…”), so I should probably focus on tidying up and arranging things so we can walk from room to room.

BFF

I just read an article that, with some alterations of name and location, I feel like I could have written.

It is called MWF seeks BFF. Girl moves to a new city for Boy. They Get Married. She feels like she has no friends there.

Sigh.

I so not mean this as offense to any people in Reading/Berks County who are my friends. I do have friends here. But not Friends. Not yet.

Without school or a full-time job, I’m not spending huge amounts of time with anyone. I don’t have a yoga community or a Jewish community here (yet, I’m working on it). Besides David, who I don’t count as a friend because he is the ultimate friend, my closest friend is around 60 and a man. And I love them both (in different ways, obviously) but still.

I need some ladies.

UPDATE: David said this post will offend my lower-case friends. That isn’t what I mean at all. I hope all of my friends become Friends. We just aren’t there yet. It takes time. And I’m shy.

Singing

David and I are spending Thanksgiving weekend in NY with his parents, and today we are going into the city to sing Georgian music at a workshop lead by Carl Linich of Kavkasia.

David introduced me to Georgian music (among other freaky types of music). My first response was, “I like Georgian Music. The Indigo Girls are my favorite!” David’s response was probably something like, “oh, I didn’t know the Indigo Girls sang Georgian Folk Music,” confusing me with his combination of sarcasm and sincerity.

The first Georgian song I learned, here sung by Carl and his sons:

We haven’t been singing in a while, and singing is getting more and more difficult as Raspberry pushes upward into my diaphragm and lungs. I have barely been able to keep up with my favorite Georgian duo, holding now-gasping sing-a-longs with the Indigo Girls.

I miss singing. It is hard to be sad or angry when you are singing (unless singing along with Alanis or Pink or something, which I don’t usually do). Singing in a group, whether during Shabbat services, Sacred Harp sing-a-longs, or choir practice, builds community effortlessly.

I’m excited to introduce Raspberry to Georgian Music. And everything else.

Just Ask

Important lesson learned: People loved to be asked to help, to volunteer, to contribute.

Kids loves to volunteer to pass out papers, to write on the board, to collect papers, to hold the door, to help another kid. Few that I’ve met have the initiative to offer help (maybe this is a developmental milestone hit later? must look into that), but any time I ask for volunteers, I usually have more than I need before I even announce what the volunteering is for!

Adults also love to help but need to be asked. People who are new to the organization, community, family, etc want to be involved and supportive but often don’t know what to do.  Small projects work well and then that volunteer starts to see how the systems work and they either continue to volunteer or begin taking initiative.

This revelation is not earth shattering. You may even be reading this thinking, Yes, Vicki, all you have to do is ask. I’ve been telling you that for years. (Yes, Mom, you are right again).

But for a small, shy woman, asking is the hardest part. It is easier to for me to do everything myself rather than ask for help. But I see that the community cannot continue on my shoulders (or the shoulders of the taking-initiative few) alone; I don’t want it to. That is the whole point of community.

Though it is a little early or late, my new year’s resolution is to ASK.

Verfremdungseffekt

I remember learning about Brecht in college Theatre History class. I loved how Brecht told stories and I loved this word: Verfremdungseffekt. Mistranslated as the Alienation Effect, I prefer the concept of distancing to alienating. It describes the way you feel when you are watching the play and suddenly the scene shifts and the character sings directly to the audience. You feel pulled out, distanced, from the story, but still connected.

Our professor gave us the example of the way we feel when we return home from college for the first time. The story of our family and our hometown continues but we have changed and suddenly, we are singing directly to ourselves inspite of the ongoing story.

I still feel distanced when I return home and I struggle with it. I am a very different person from the me at 18 when I drove to Indian with my parents. I am a very different person from the me who drove to Pennsylvania 5 years later. And I am even a different person from the me who visited last summer.

There are the obvious differences between my story and the story of the family and my hometown, but that isn’t it. So I’m pregnant, so my parents have moved, so parts of the city have changed. That makes a bit of a difference, but the real difference is deeper, and I don’t know that I really understand it.

I feel like I can’t go home again. My home isn’t Pensacola anymore. My family has expanded (and will continue to) and I feel incomplete without David (not in the co-dependent way, but in the balanced way). I feel incomplete without my stepkids.

I never felt so happy to get back to Reading. Not because I dislike my family or hometown, or even because I like Reading so much. But this is where home is. Now.

Wide World

This article, from a favorite NY Times Blog, Motherlode, moved me to tears.

I am on a precipice, between doing what I want all the time and full-time parenthood, between youth and maturity, between changing the world and being someone’s world.

I read this article of a young woman who travels the world and settles down in Nepal, building a loving, healthy orphanage and school there, as a parent. I realized that as I was reading. There was a time when I’d read about young women like her, who travel and change lives, and feel inspired, jealous, and everything in between. I wanted to be that girl.

And now I read it and think, without planning to think it, “What inspiring parents who raise a daughter who can go and do. I hope I have the courage to give my children the confidence and values so they too will go out and make a huge difference in the world, whether in this community or across the world.” But only if it is truly what they want. I don’t want them to live my dreams for me.

I mourn a little bit for the me who will not, at least for a long time, travel the world and save the children and live all of these idealistic dreams.

At the same time, I smile because I am growing up and moving on. As hard as it is, as much as I hate growing up and seeing the truth about the world and about people, it is time.

Funny when it hits me.