The Casting Dock

Category — random life and thoughts

even my own mom likes him better.

So the other day I was having one of my classically morbid spells, guilting my husband into getting on top of scheduling this colonoscopy that he’s been dragging his heels on. I was being all I don’t want to raise this child alone and he was all ok, ok, I know (code for just stop nagging me. I already know I need to do it and I feel bad that I’ve put it off this long, but it’s a pain).

In the midst of my morbid moment, I told him, You know if something did happen to one of us, I’d be easier to replace than you would. Oh course he chuckled in his gracious way, just like he does when I insist (genuinely too, not for show) that he’s a better person than I am, and refuted me like always.

I was relaying this conversation to my mom for some reason the other day. Initially she was all over him about the colonoscopy…this coming from the woman who just had surgery last summer to remove a pre-cancerous growth on her colon…Oh he’s gotta do it. You tell him, he better get it done soon. Polyps grow quickly you know. You tell him I said so…

Then I move along to the second part of the conversation…So I told him, “You know, if something did happen to one of us, I would be easier to replace than you would” and she immediately jumps in, no pause even for me to relay Jerome’s sweet refute. Oh definitely. I agree with you, she says.

I chuckled to myself and tried to reframe it back to her in a playful way that would make her feel that motherly guilt for knocking her own child, like the time back in college when she told me I “had a more womanly figure now” and I reframed it to say that my own mother called me fat. That one worked. This one? Not so much.

Thanks mom, so you’re saying that I would be easy to replace? And again with the immediacy and total seriousness she responds, Oh yes. And then she starts on a little rant about how there are so few good men out there and so many of them are just selfish and there are so many nice, lovely single women but no solid men and I should be so grateful that I was lucky enough to find Jerome in college and just what a sweetheart he is and do I know how good I have it and all that jazz.

I was listening while licking my wounds and reflecting on the fact that I am certainly not my mother’s favorite. And I wasn’t even beat out by one of her other children.

Jerome, you little snake.

She’s so precious though. I just can’t hold it against her.

Besides, she’s right.

March 19, 2013   3 Comments

November blues

November has been a crazy month.
With the election, holidays, professional development days at work, an overnight field trip with the fifth grade at my school, hurricane Sandy, and an out-of-state wedding, I have not been in my school for a full five day work week all month. While the extra, unexpected days off are always welcome, I definitely feel thrown out of my routine.

It has been an unsettled month for me.
My thoughts are all jumbled up and I oftentimes have just not felt like myself.
Being the analyzer than I am, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all the different factors that have played into this sense of unsettling. And there are a lot. Some work stuff, some personal stuff, some situational stuff (I really do hate the cold), etc. But they all still feel like isolated pieces to a puzzle I have yet to solve.

We have done lots of fun things this month with lots of fabulous people (a wedding in Ohio; Thanksgiving split between family and friends, between Massachusetts and Maine; birthday celebrations; theater performances, etc.),
but still, I have not felt like myself.
I think this happens sometimes.
A natural cycle of ups and downs.
The downs certainly make you appreciate the ups more.
And there is always a lesson or two in the process.

Anyhow, in the midst of this unsettling, one thing keeps ringing true over and over again:
I am so unbelievably grateful for this guy.

He listens when I am needing to process; he brings me flowers to cheer me up; he does all the cooking and cleaning on days when I am feeling down; he makes me laugh when laughter feels far off.
His eyes and his actions echo his words.
Clearly and consistently.

He is a gem of a human being and I am so grateful for the last four years spent with him.

This year we had the rare treat of spending Thanksgiving morning just the two of us. A leisurely breakfast, Christmas lists organized for family, a pleasant run on my favorite route.
It was the best six hours of my month.

I was glad to close the book on November yesterday. Here’s too a cheer-filled December!

December 2, 2012   3 Comments

doesn’t matter if it’s about you; it’s still about me. somehow.

I think about this a lot.
About how we are crazy self-centered creatures.
Our perverse minds spin circumstances wholly unrelated to us to somehow be a reflection on us. Someone else’s achievements feel like indictments of our own. We can feel defensive, self-conscious, or jealous. Even when that achievement has literally nothing to do with us. Our weirdly self-centered nature makes it feel like it does.

My kids at school do this all the time. I say to Jimmy, I just love the way you are quietly sitting criss cross with your eyes on me and all of a sudden Ben yells out, I’m sitting quietly too! In recognizing Jimmy, I am not saying anything negative to Ben. In fact, I’m not saying anything at all to Ben and yet he feels the immediate need to make a case for himself.

And someone else’s failures, once again wholly unrelated to us, can be encouraging or at the very least relieving to us. As if by comparison our own egos were at stake and ultimately spared.

We are crazy self-centered.
Abundant social psychological terms describe it, but truly we make everything about ourselves. Even situations that literally have nothing to do with us.

I know it’s a natural human impulse.
And there’s nothing wrong with impulse.
But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we recognized that impulse at first light and redirected it–redirected it to the person who is actually the subject of the circumstance in question, not ourselves.

Taking joy in others’ achievements and offering support in moments of failure.
Complete, genuine joy; selfless, whole-heart support.
I know some people are quite good at this, but I often wonder how many people offer truly selfless joy and support, without first thinking of the implications for themselves.

No comparison. No reflection on ourselves.

I just think that’d be divine.

 

October 5, 2012   No Comments

stuff.

I don’t like stuff.
Like material stuff.
There’s just too much of it.
Too many options, too many constant upgrades, just too much stuff.

I am not a stuff person.
I feel stifled by stuff, like it muddles my mind right alongside my physical space.

Jerry and I live in a tiny 500 square foot apartment (shown here from literally one end to the other).

And we do so for many reasons: it’s cheap (I can’t pass up a good deal), I love the location, it’s cheap, I hate to move, it’s cheap, etc. But one main incentive for me is that such a small space does not accommodate the accumulation of stuff.

The larger the space, the more stuff you find to fill it.
No, thank you.

Whenever my pack rat mother asks us if we want to lug some miscellaneous item back from Texas, my first line of defense is simply that we have nowhere to put it. Literally. Our kitchen cabinets, meager as they are, are completely full. They would not, could not house one more mug. Under the bed, full. Under the dresser and the nightstand and the bathroom sink, full. The closets, full. Shelves stuck behind doors, full.  Windowsills, full.

We are at max capacity.

But if I think about it, we’ve been here over two years now and in those two years, we have certainly brought far more in than we have sent out. Somehow we have slowly, despite my best efforts, been accumulating more stuff. Unnecessary, mind-cluttering stuff.

The table, the ottoman, and our dresser–the three flat surfaces in this joint, much to my husband’s chagrin, become storage centers for piles of stuff. Mail, magazines, books for work, scarves, just stuff. Corners start stacking up with miscellaneous boxes and bags. Chairs are re-purposed as staging sites. The backs, the seats, the spaces underneath, anywhere I can put more stuff.

And it’s starting to give me a twitch.

Not only is my apartment perpetually dirty (no one to blame there but myself),
it is also becoming perpetually cluttered.

My plan for these next four weeks is four trash bags, one per week, full of stuff being shipped outta here. Goodwill, the trash, I don’t even care where, just out of here. If I haven’t used it or worn it in the last year, there’s no real point in keeping it around.

Too much material stuff; too little mental peace.

And a bed that hasn’t even been made yet. For shame!

September 22, 2012   3 Comments