Odd Energy

It was the oddest thing, but yesterday I got a surge of energy.  I used it to take those ten minutes in a day that I have been denying myself to meditate.  It really is the most simple of things but so easy to put at the bottom of the list, even when I know it makes me feel better I still have issues making myself a priority in my day-if that makes sense.

After a frustrating session (you do get rusty on breaks) I did a few things around the house with a feeling of intention for starting and completing tasks. This carried over to communication; texts and emails were answered. Kudra even sent me a email about free online classes for a subject very near to my heart. And then I actually blogged! Holiday cards were addressed and laundry taken care of and in such purposeful way that it wasn’t like I just floated for one task to another.

Later I went to the gym, did my 10k steps on various equipment. I think I even got an endorphin rush.

I finished up the afternoon by “helping” my neighbor Meryl socialize her new (hopefully) puppy by going to a Starbuck’s and pretty much asking people to come pet the puppy while I sipped on a holiday coffee.

IMG_2239.jpg

Imagine a person coming up to you and asking, “Would you do me a favor and pet this puppy?”

And I am wondering what caused the surge.  Could it be the meditation to the endorphin rush?  Maybe the healthy food?  Or maybe it was just the cute puppy above… All I know is it was an odd energy that I haven’t had in a while.

Then this morning I read an entry from one of the blogs I follow (and you should too). Liz mentioned that there was something in the cosmos that began three years ago, Winter 2012 and now it is coming to an end. And while that idea frightens me slightly, I am wondering if it will be a good thing for me.

In Winter of 2012 I was packing up our house and planning to move across country to a place I had never been. We knew for a few months it could happen, but we didn’t want to tell anyone until it was a sure thing.  I think that is where my habit of introversion took root.

After the move and some of the company we kept or rather did not keep, I felt my little shy, obedient side coming out and ruling more of my life. It has been struggle to find my voice again and my sass, but through some situations and people in the last year I have been able to get it back.  But really the last two months I have been feeling quite different.

I noticed I didn’t blog as much the last three years, which sucks because so many new things happened that I really did not record properly and I worry that I have lost those initial thoughts forever. I’m not going to make any big promises of blogging, but I want you to know the intention is there.

So I am hoping that this odd energy is maybe just a little Retro-Melly coming out to take a look around.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and enjoy the New Moon tonight.

People Seem to Smile More When I Wear Red Shoes

Today I decided to wear my red heels, I think it has been at least ten months since I wore them outside the soft ground of my bedroom.  Back ten months ago I wore them out to do errands.  It was a particularly dull, gray day-just the latest in the line of gray days.  There wasn’t a chance rain, it was just going to be dull, so I decided that instead of my usual boots or sneakers that I was going wear my bright red heels.  They were festive, Christmas was coming and most importantly they went with my outfit.

Now I’ll admit I intentionally used a shopping cart instead of my usual basket to keep me upright and not make a scene. They’re only two-inch heels but when your usual shoe choice is between flip-flops or sneakers, you get out of practice quickly with these things.

I carefully clacked around the store picking up the items on the list in my brain.  The sound of high heels on concrete always takes me back to when I had Day Care after school.  I could identify my mom’s stride up to a 100′ feet away down the hall when she came to get me.  They were heavy, determined steps; probably tired from the nine hours of getting up and down in those horrible early nineties heels.  I always feel like a fake grown up when I’m in heels, it could be because of all of the wobbling.

I shuffled around the store and it just seemed like people were nicer (in a store that is regularly quite cutthroat) and then people met my eye and smiled.  Once I unloaded my groceries into the car and I began the walk back to return the cart, a woman called out to me and said, “Here, Hon let me take that for you, I’m just heading in.”  I thanked her and as I turned to leave she said, “Look at you in those red shoes, you are just too cute.” I laughed and thanked her again and then said something about adding a little flair to errands.

And then I went home and I thought about what had just happened. It seemed like people had been nicer to me, smiled a little bit more in amusement, and engaged with me just because I wore red shoes.  How cool!   Footwear as a conversation starter, the possibilities were endless!

But, was it really the shoes?

Probably not.  I’m mean they’re cute, but they’re THAT cute. I think it was me, wearing the red shoes.  I’m sure I was more present because I was so focused on not falling flat on my face and making an ass of myself.  I probably made more eye contact to read where people were going, and I found myself smiling and then they smiled back.  It could be that I was smiling more because I was doing something a little different, something that was me.  I tend to hide me a lot these days from most people.  My husband and a few close friends still see me on a regular basis, and then new friends get little peeks now and again.

I’ve noticed since I moved here that I am not around as many people that outwardly express themselves (clothes, hair, tattoos, etc.), and that I don’t always feel comfortable doing it myself.  Which is pretty lame of me.  Maybe it was because I spent too much time with family when we first got here. They are pretty conservative (my cousin once apologize to me for a quarter inch of cleavage in the shirt she was wearing around the house, when it was just the two of us).  I say that the early exposure to the family (and only the family) might have shaped my willingness of expression because there are people here that have fun colors of hair, different stylized clothing, visible tattoos, and even the real rebels: the ones that wear red shoes. =P

People express themselves here and I need to get used to doing it again too.  I think (in part) I wore red shoes again today because I feel like I can’t express myself with words right now and I needed to let something out.

Lately a few personal situations in my family have come up that have challenged my default setting of politeness and only child compliancy.  I actually got a a chance to vocalize some of the feelings I had about a situation to one of the people involved, but I still held back a lot.  It’s not their fault I’ve spent most of my life biting my tongue with them, so I shouldn’t unload the lifetime worth of gripes into one conversation. But then something new happened, which made it pretty much impossible for me (maybe not for another person) to keep that dialogue open.  So pretty much I am having to take the high road and precede like everything is as it was, which is kind of the default setting in my family (I’m sure I’m not alone in this particular default with families).

I think I need to work on my communication skills, with everyone.  This blog has pretty much been abandoned for the last few years in part because of my shyness and discomfort with oversharing.  But I think it is helpful for working out thoughts in my head, keeping a timeline on what happens in my life, and it’s a way to share.  People seem to like me more when I don’t hide the goofiness that is me.

So… here’s hoping that I’ll pull out the red shoes again before Christmas.

In the Details

It appears that I have been very bad in mastering the art of detailed memories.  This poor thing has virtual tumbleweeds running across the screen and I haven’t really been able to pinpoint why or find a good excuse.  Was it because I moved away from my familiar surroundings and questioned whether I should use it as a chance to reinvent myself?  Was it that I did so much purging of my life before the move I didn’t really know where I put my words?  Was it because the internet seemed to be a much scarier place last year than the years before? Or was it that I really didn’t feel like talking?

Who knows.

All I can say is that regardless of the reason (or reasons) why it made it so difficult to get to my Create New Post page-it’s a damn shame.  In this land I am in of new people and new experiences I have not recorded the moments like I should.  And now there will certain things that I won’t be able to remember that I forgot, as odd as that may seem.  And while I am proponent of not documenting every moment or meal or my proof I was somewhere, sometimes you have to share a little bit.  I think that lack of sharing made me lose a few people, and I don’t mean followers here.

We just hit our two year mark of living here; when we arrived it was such a blur of moving, packing, finding a house, exploring, and getting to a new stage of normal.  Everything felt so much more intense, the decisions were all big or were things that would be ingrained into our daily life.  Things like where we would live, what furniture did we need, where could I find the right ingredients, or good produce (Trader Joe’s produce sucks beyond belief here). Going to a new part of town was nerve-wracking because I didn’t get how the city was structured or how my Garmin could fail me when I needed it the most.  And of course there was always the feeling of having to hold it all back, if I dared said anything bad or about the frustrations I had.  I would get a healthy wallop of “I told you so” or “what did you expect moving there?” from the people in my hometown (and I am not just talking about friends).  But on the different side of the coin some people I spoke to were going through some rough things and I didn’t feel comfortable sharing all the good things I experienced, so I kept my mouth shut on a few things that maybe I should’t have. I’m working on it.

Okay so enough on that, on to some fun detailed memory making.

I don’t remember if ever mentioned but the bulk of my cousins live near us.  I have 9 total, and 4 live within a half hour’s drive and two more frequently visit from a little further down the road.  They didn’t grow up getting to hang out with their cousins like the California bunch did, so I thought I would make up for some lost time and host a movie night.  Something I had offered to do last July and never got around to planning.  But Christmas with everyone went really well and I figured i would add to my New Year’s resolutions.

So last Friday four of my cousins (including one who just happened to be in from out of town), one cousin’s spouse, and one cousin’s fiancé (sans my cousin) came to the house.  I filled everyone with a vast amount of junk food and we watched The Royal Tenenbaums.  Originally I had planned to do Moonrise Kingdom, but I wasn’t sure what their Wes Anderson experience was-Tenebaums is a good gateway movie.  They all loved the film and really enjoyed the evening, I even heard Super Woman’s husband even say that it was like a mini-vacation.  Which as a hostess, is such an awesome compliment to hear.   I like our home to be relaxing and welcoming to our guests.

Since there were eight people in house that all needed to see the screen and our usual configuration does not allow for it, I got to do my un-official favorite hobby of furniture rearranging.  We have a sectional that latches in the middle, so I did this:

Movie Night seating

A more accommodating movie theatre seating arrangement.  We were in talks of throwing out the couch and getting a smaller one, but the Movie Night bought it some more time if it gets to be a regular thing.

Everyone was relaxed with their sodas, beers, or whiskey laughing and enjoying themselves.  But just when they thought they couldn’t take any more sugar I gave them each a Chocolate de Pot Creme.  Yeah, I am making those things again.  It got rave reviews.

Chocolate Pot de Creme

After the movie ended and the ramekins of chilled chocolate were licked clean, a few people parted to relieve the babysitter but a few stayed and we watched Stranger than Fiction. This led to into an interesting eleven-pm-coffee-fueled discussion.

I liked entertaining my cousins.  I had picked up one, we’ll call him Shade earlier and for the first time since we were twelve we got to hang out together before everyone came over.  With a family that size usually most of the conversations are group discussions with very limited one on one time.  We exchanged views on writing, creativity, food, societal theories, and of course modern media.  We have many differences, but we respected each other’s opinion and shared ideas.  Perhaps it was that conversation that gave me a little more courage to come back here to share and push the publish button.

Hello, Again

Hello Blog World! I haven’t written for the last couple of months for many reasons…

The first of which is that I have been a very, very busy bee.

The second was that I wasn’t really being The Novel Housewife, I was more like a project manager of sorts so my material for housewife subjects was scarce.

And the third reason was that for half of my absence I was keeping a big secret.  A secret that had reached its tentacles into almost every aspect of my life, so strategically omitting it seemed wrong.  The secret only spilled to the people I know in mid-December when everything became official and then the whirlwind of preparations began.

So what have I been up to…last month the husband and I moved across country to Charlotte, North Carolina.  An opportunity came up with his work and we went for it.  We sold the house, packed what we could into a POD, sold or gave away what we couldn’t, got an XL carrier for Bailey, and drove across country with a massive storm 24 hours behind us.  It was a emotionally freeing and frightening all at the same time.  I will dedicate some future posts to the various aspects of doing a move like this in a little more than 6 weeks, but while it was happening I couldn’t stop to analyze it and write it all down. I feared it would open a can of emotions I didn’t have time to deal with and I wanted to just be present. I did do some video diaries to chronicle some events but more so I could remember things that might get suppressed over time.

If you are on the actual blog page you might have noticed it looks a little different and a little empty.  I figured in a new city I would get a fresh start.  The old entires are still around and I will probably start slowly unlocking them once I have time to see if they are worth putting back up for all to see.  I changed the format because it didn’t seem right to have the flowers that were outside our SoCal home as a featured photo.  I will be playing around with the theme for the next couple of weeks until I find something that works.

I’ll fast forward to the Now part of the story and give you some flashbacks in the next couple of days. It will be like one of those movies that gives away the ending before you even know the story.   Right now I am sitting at my new desk in my new home office, which is in the den of the house we’re renting.   Up until last week this room was pretty much a walkthrough from the stairs to the kitchen.  We had four areas in the house that were furniture-less, now we just have three.  I found my last drops of sanity were going to evaporate if I didn’t have a space to sit down and write, so I made a day trip to IKEA and picked something out.  It seemed like most of things we sold or gave away were flat surfaces so I had nowhere to put my laptop that didn’t cramp up my neck.  Our dining room table was long over due for removal from our house (remnants of a past relationship), my desk didn’t fit in the POD but found a home with another writer, and various other tables were left behind for personal or logistical reasons.  So I had nowhere besides our bed or the couch to run off too.  Since it is shared space, I felt rushed.

desk in the den

It has been hard for me to nest here, since we are just renting I can’t do much and it has made me feel a little unsettled.  I feel guilty for even putting in a new nail in the wall to hang a picture, but I had to just mark a little bit or teritory.  Most of the decorating choices are not in line with my own tastes; nothing horrific, just more pastel and muted colors than I am used to, I’m trying to make it work.

There are actual seasons in North Carolina, something our SoCal skin has been deprived of but we are acclimating.  40 degrees used to be almost painful back in SoCal but now I can go out and hardly notice it.    It was 57 a few days back and I half debated wearing a skirt!  I know- we were spoiled. Spring is just getting underway here and we can’t wait to see the transformation.

This weekend was the first time we have been able to open the windows and let non-machine generated warm air in since we moved in.  Now we try to have the windows open wherever we can, this all-the-time heater thing is new and my sinuses hate it.  The is sun poking in and out here, it’s still warm but a storm is coming in this evening to save me from having to water the yard.  It has rained at least once a week since we have been here, it has already become normal to me.  I haven’t had to water once.  We have also had snow, but that’s a whole other post. =)

 

 

 

 

Mastering the Art of Detailed Memories

I finally got My Life in France by Julia Child a few weeks ago.  I picked it up on a Sunday afternoon and honestly had to force myself to put it down because I had read through a hundred pages in one sitting! And I still wanted to keep on going.  I did not grow up with Julia Child like a lot of people did, besides noticing her cookbook in my mom’s extensive recipe book collection I had no idea who she was.  I saw Julie & Julia a few years ago and enjoyed it, but I didn’t really feel the need to find out more about her until recently.  Since I have gotten into cooking more I have wanted to try some of her famous recipes and see what the big deal about French food is.  To be honest I haven’t really had any French meals before, not for lack of desire but because I never really hear anyone talk about a great French restaurant they had been to lately.  I’m sure there are wonderful French restaurants in SoCal but you hear people gushing more about certain Thai, Indian, Mexican, and Italian food restaurants out here.

So after I had finished the book in about four sittings, I handed it over to Honey who also has been thoroughly enjoying it and reading it way past his “bed time”.  What can I say it is an enjoyable book, it is almost a pleasure to read someone so happy and inspired by their surroundings.  The incredible thing is that it was “written” with her husband’s grand nephew in 2003, when she was in her 90’s.  With the excitement and detailed feelings you would have thought it was something that happened one or two years ago, not 55!  And you know how they were able to piece together the details? Letters, photographs, and date books.  Both Julia and her husband Paul had written faithfully to their families over the years and in great detail. That is how she could remember all of the little things, like what incredible meals she had on which occasions, what their first apartment was like in Paris, and all of the testing she had to do to make her recipes perfect. Paul use to take time out every week to write letters, and the weren’t little “how ya doings?” we’re talking about six page long letters.  Incredible! Letter writing is definitely a lost art, I hear kids don’t even write notes to each other in class now-they text.  Damn, I’m old.

This got me thinking about my own lack of commitment to writing down the daily stuff of my life, here and elsewhere.  I probably won’t end up being like Julia Child and publishing a memoir, but think of what memories she could have forgotten if she hadn’t written it down.  I know that I and all of the other people that have read and enjoyed her book, would have missed out on a great story.  And even just as an individual being able to go back and read something you wrote decades ago and be reminded of all of the little things that made things great (or not so great) enhances your memory of the experience.  So I’m going to start keeping a better record of what I’m up to, because though I might think it is just the daily happenings and not very interesting- in five years I might forget what the heck I was up to around this time in my life.

So here is what happened yesterday, I finally broke down and bought a book that I had wanted for years but always talked myself out of getting.

Don’t worry I’m not going to go all Julie Powell on you guys.

Touring the Gardens

I’ve been busy with school, the yard, and entertaining so my entries have been delayed and then eventually oudated.  I want to rectify this, so you all will be seeing multiple entries for the next few days.

First off let me start with the garden.  I have been wielding my ax again and the yard is looking better by the day.  Last week I took out a decrepit  Bird of Paradise (which I believed housed Aragog from Harry Potter) and two old palm stumps from many years ago.  Yesterday I removed the remaining two small palms and a few more rogue tree roots.  I also took out some establish weed beds and covered the ugly chain-linked fence with reed fencing. It ain’t perfect, but it is a vast improvement.  We had to put up chicken wire to protect the ground  from pawing cats and menacing birds, o now I know how to safely use wire cutters.  John has been terracing the slop from where the old patio was to make room for our growing vegetables.  We now have tomatoes cucumbers, pumpkins, various peppers, soy beans, and Ying Yang beans.   

I have been calling him Farmer John, which I think he secretly likes.  He has taken to (as we call it) “touring the gardens” twice a day.  Before he leaves for work he goes to the lower yard to see their growth from the day before and he makes sure no evil slugs have penetrated the copper halos around the seedlings.  It is also the first thing he does when he gets home from work (after hugging and kissing me hello-of course).  He finds the lower yard very soothing and it helps him to have good bookends to his workday, which makes me feel very accomplished in my landscaping.

The flowers have also been doing well even though the heat is steadily increasing around here to make summer.  John’s red roses, that were planted just a few months ago have bloomed, while my white roses still have yet to show a bud.  I still haven’t figured out how to dress up the patio area but for now it is a nice place to sit.  That is, if I can get John to sit still on the weekends. I want him to sit in the garden to relax and he wants to relax by digging more trenches for seeds.  What am I gonna do with that guy? 😉

Herbs on the patio

And Now Back to Your Normally Scheduled Housewife

I’m finally feeling better, a little slow but back in game. After not being able to work on the yard and being scared of the sinus agitation of cleaning the house I had some catching up to do.  I stayed away form the yard but attacked the house with vigor and efficiency, I think the house has now been decontaminated of germs and dust. Since I got my housewife groove back I went a little overboard the other day and made a meatloaf for dinner, baked cookies, curled my hair, and put on a cute 50’s style outfit.  Honey was pleased.  I need to get me some curlers so I can really get the look down.

With the sensitive sinuses I have negotiated having a post at my mom’s new apartment this weekend, instead of packing and cleaning out the old house.  This gives me an unprecedented advantage of putting things away in an orderly fashion and calmly explaining to my mother “there is not enough room”. I hope this will also help minimize any emotional ware I might get from the move.  I’ve moved out of that house three times before, but this time will be very different.  The distance from the situation will be give me energy to be a cheerleader for the new place.  And let’s be honest, the distance will also get me out of moving heavy furniture down odd shaped stairs. =P

In other news relating to this blog’s namesake, I have been working on the novel again.  I had dabbled in another story idea for a few weeks, something a little lighter (a love story), but I could still feel the pull of the original story I was working on.  I felt bad for abandoning my characters in the novel.  I could just imagine my heroine Angie rolling her eyes at me and as I sat down at my computer to work on homework or check facebook, instead of giving her something to do.  Now her eyes don’t roll quite as deep.

Hopefully by next week I will be back to normal energy so I  can get out of the house and back in the yard.