Sleep Wanderings

I had that dream again last night; the one where I’m in an underground shopping mall, or an enormous airport (sometimes a university campus, or a parking garage, or an unknown city). I’m trying to get where I need to be, but there are so many detours and stops, elevators and escalators, buildings and doors that are not where they are supposed to be. There are often other people in and out of the dream. I can spend, seemingly, a whole night trying to get where I’m going and never reach my destination. Last night, Oprah and Tina Fey were in my dream. I’m not sure why. I also had my car towed from the dream parking lot.

I know dreams like this are my brain’s way of trying to work something out. I’ve read that these dreams are often related to business or one’s work life — makes sense that I would have the dream on a Sunday night, as I subconsciously ponder the navigation of the work week ahead.

It’s unsettling, though, how often I wander in my sleep. In the dream I’m clear what I’m looking for, but on waking, that is gone, and I’m left feeling a little lost.

I hope whatever is happening there serves a purpose and helps me to figure out what I need to. Shopping with Oprah is not as fun as it might sound.

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Do All Bloggers Get Divorced?

Over dinner, my friend Trish and I were dishing about Dooce’s divorce. (That’s not even really how that went; Trish had just asked me if I’d heard that the biggest blogger ever had gotten divorced. I hadn’t.)

In an insta-minute, I recalled that another big blogger had gotten divorced. Or permanently separated. Or something.

And then, of course, there was the gag-worthy “conscious uncoupling” of this dubious online presence.

Still at dinner with Trish, I turned to her and said, rather un-calmly, “DO ALL BLOGGERS GET DIVORCED?!”

And we discussed it and yes, of course that’s silly, and I didn’t get divorced because I BLOGGED, of all things. Jeez.

But this, I think is true: writers sometimes have trouble with relationships. And sometimes writing is an outlet for a troubled relationship. A kind of therapy for people going through something they can’t work out in other ways. So if it’s a chicken–>egg thing, the egg may very well be before the chicken. See?

In any case, I’m in a wonderful relationship now. I have loved writing since I was four and could wrap my hand around a pencil. Discovering a quick and easy way to self-publish was such a gift for me — thank you, Internet, Al Gore, Easter Bunny and baby Jesus — me, never having the patience for the Self Addressed Stamped Envelope and the waiting for replies to hopeful manuscripts.

Blogging works for me. Always has*.  So yeah, I’m sure if you bumped into the ex somewhere and asked him if we divorced because I was a blogger, he’d give you a funny look. Tell him I said hi!


*Blogging since 2003. Writing online since the late 1990s. I’m old.


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Just a Word or Two about Where I’ve Been

It’s been a rough few years. Serious downs, terrifying times, a divorce, a lot of learning, and growing, much work done (mentally, emotionally, physically) and, at last, an upward trajectory of sublime happiness and love. I’m in a good place, now, but it’s startling how hard it was to get here. I have such appreciation for people who have gone through dramatic life changes. I’m forever changed and so grateful to those who helped me through what has been, so far, the darkest period of my life.

I share this only to say this: if you’re in the thick of that now, all those people who tell  you it will get better, who say, wait until morning; tomorrow is another day, who remind you that “this, too, shall pass,” are right. You’ll get through it. And no, you can’t go around it or under it — you have to go through it. And yeah, it’s going to suck. Sometimes you’re going to be miserable. Someone I barely knew during some of the worst of the awful days said to me, “some days, you’re going to want to just stay in bed and cry. Some days, that’s OK. Just do that. Don’t try to hold it in. Allow yourself to be sad. Let it out.”

He was right. I allowed myself to feel it all, as bad as it was. Just let it wash over me and looked it right in the eye. It was truly terrible. Then the sky began to clear. Something would be funny. A friend would need me. I’d do something with my kids. My spirit lifted and slowly, those little lifts started to run together and get more consistent. I started to believe I could be happy again. And then I was.

Moments of hope and encouragement came from unexpected sources. I’ll always be so grateful for those people, those moments, and that I managed to be open to receive those blessings as they came.

I don’t know how much writing I’ll do here but I felt I owed you all an update, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like writing. I feel like sharing, and I hope that if I can entertain, encourage, or otherwise help another person through being here, then it’s worth it.

I’ve missed this.

Posted in Getting Healthy | 7 Comments

Coming Up for Air

I’m over forty, but I’m taking swimming lessons. I mean, I know how to swim; my Granny taught me when I was a little one and I took the obligatory swim club lessons each summer till I was eight or so. But I never felt like a confident swimmer. I never quite got the mix of arms, legs, breathing, etc. down the way I wanted to. So in the doldrums of this past, never-ending winter, I signed up for private swim lessons at my gym.

It took awhile to get used to. A little terrifying, initially. My coach has been great. She’s always right there, encouraging me, gently correcting, offering tips and guidance, and pushing me to do just a little bit more. Finally, one evening in the pool, I relaxed. I found my pace. Everything fell into rhythm. I enjoyed the quiet, the utter unplugged space that the pool offers. No underwater iPhone or wifi here! It’s as inaccessible as I am at any time during the week. It’s utterly MY time, working for my health, for my body, for my peace of mind. It’s more rewarding than I’d imagined and I’m hopeful that I’ve now learned a new way to enjoy getting and staying fit with something I’ll be able to do for the rest of my life.


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Triple Cherry Pie and a Fresh Start

I made a couple of triple cherry pies over the weekend. The triple being fresh frozen sweet cherries, canned tart cherries, and dried cherries. (Yes, Liz, you can make this pie using canned cherries — I wanted to be sure.)

One I gave to my friend (who took the gorgeous photo above), and another I brought to another friend along with dinner (The Food Geek’s Tarragon Mac and Cheese — always a favorite.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about what pie represents for me. It’s obviously not just pie, but a stress reliever, a way I like to reward, honor, thank, or delight people. I like being good at something I can make with my hands, that is tangible (everything I do professionally, is not.)

I started baking pies when my son was heading to college. It was a half-empty nest occupation, meant to fill a hole that swelled when he left.

It became more than that; an outlet into something I could control and that gave me satisfaction, the joy that comes from pleasing others, and, of course, really great pie. It became important to me, and still is, although I bake far less frequently than I did at one time. I had to get through the lessons, the experiments, and the failures and that took a lot of pie baking, before now, when I’m reasonably confident and can turn out a fine pie when I put my mind to it.

I made, what I will forever refer to as the most perfect apple pie ever made, and rushing from oven to car to take it to a friend’s birthday dinner, I dropped it. Spectacularly. With witnesses, one, a neighbor’s young daughter, who immediately came over and wrapped her little arms around me and I started to cry.

It put me off baking pie for a couple of weeks. But I mourned it, as we do when what we’ve worked on, invested in, created with love and then inadvertently destroyed. And then I dried my tears, realized it wasn’t the end of the world — far from it — and enjoyed a lovely birthday dinner with some great friends.

I returned to pie baking with two triumphant cherry pies.

What’s the lesson here? Know of what you’re capable. Don’t stop doing what you love, just because you have the occasional misstep or complete failure. Pick yourself up, accept the hug, and get back to the business of being you. I’m working on that, a couple pies at a time.

Posted in Life of Pie | Tagged | 1 Comment