Ten Years Gone

“Then as it was, then again it will be
And though the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea
Blind stars of fortune, each have several rays
On the wings of maybe, down in birds of prey
Kind of makes me feel sometimes, didn’t have to grow
But as the eagle leaves the nest, it’s got so far to go”
— Led Zeppelin in Ten Years Gone

There’s a Tamara-shaped hole in New Jersey that is ten-years-old now.

This blog? Is now seven-years-old.

It’s funny, but not so funny, that the three year difference in there was a dry spell. I don’t remember writing a single thing I loved, except maybe parts of our wedding program. And I didn’t take many photos either. WHY? It was California.

I must have been crazy, except I wasn’t.

It’s funny how we lose our ways, and find our ways, and lose our ways, again, in depths we never considered, only to find our ways, again, in heights we never imagined. I don’t even know what I sat here to say, about ten years out of New Jersey and into the next great adventure. And ten years into one adventure after another great adventure after another after another.

Like Alice tumbling, falling, tumbling, falling, down the rabbit hole.

And I don’t even know what to say about ten years out of New Jersey. What do I have to show for it? Everything. And nothing. If you ask me on a different day, or even during a different HOUR, my answer will be different. Everything. Nothing.

Yesterday I cried for 30 minutes. It was my first real cry in months and enough to induce a headache. I was crying because I was so lost. And I was so found. All in one week. It’s like everything and nothing. The truth is: THIS IS SO HARD. Sometimes.

There are things people say I make look easy – like childbirth and photography. Parenting and working. And really? REALLY? I feel like I have band-aids covering my body. I feel like I’ve just been through a battle, only to still be facing a giant war.

This morning I said to someone, “God, you look amazing and I look like I just woke up.” (she did and I had) Yet someone said to me, three minutes after that, “God you look amazing.” I hope someone then said it to her. It occurred to me that the meanest person in my life – the bully – is me. Instead of smiling and saying “thank you,” I had to blurt out, “Thank you. Wow. I honestly feel like I look awful, awful and how wonderful it is that I don’t.” How wonderful it is that maybe, I never did.

Battle scars and all.

If it looks easy, it’s because I put a bow, clean hair, some mascara, a coat, and a hat on it. Oh, and probably coconut oil.

That’s the story of everything. Oh, and how I’m sensitive to changes – when they’re not talked about. When they’re talked about, but without answers. When the Sweet Valley Twins books started being terrible – and going from stories of learning about the Holocaust – to stories about Jessica having a crush on a boy at camp but not wanting him to see her because she was sick and looked awful. (the horrors!) And when we all four had a cough and cold for over a month. The doctors couldn’t be clear with us. What was it? What had changed? Was it us? Or the world? Or our changing reactions to a changing world?

When everyone stopped personal blogging, and stopping visiting here – one by one.

When people stopped reading my consistent personal writing.

When our attention spans changed. Was it us? Was it the world?

I didn’t stop. No, never. I did dry up a bit, knowing full well the dam would break again and I wouldn’t be able to contain it.

ten years gone

I’m still finding my way. I stumble. I do stupid things. I get rejections (ALL THE TIME). I can’t always bounce back from them. I’m sensitive to the changes. I haven’t been doing this long enough to know what it means. When things are slow, I panic. When things are fast, I panic for a different reason. When things are slower than I’ve ever seen them, all I want is for you to tell me you’ve seen it slower – and you’ve seen it bounce back. Better than before. That you’ve seen ME bounce back.

Better than before.

All I really want is for you to hold me, tell me I have pretty hair, and give me $30,000 and ice cream with sprinkles.

So Happy Ten Years to me, and Happy Seven Years to this blog!

We’re all in this together and that’s never changed for me. I come here for so many different reasons – some financial, some emotional, and mostly – both. Fimotional? I hope you can see the heart and soul through my missteps and triumphs.

I’ll leave you with a last story. When we were house hunting, we first saw another house that we liked enough to look at twice. Ultimately I couldn’t see myself there at all, and not even close. Soon after, we found and fell in love with this house.

ten years gone

I love this house and it’s still changing, and I love it even more. I know struggle, though. I say, “You wait your whole life for a house but is this my dream? Can I see half or whole parts of my dreams? Am I having an existential crisis, like I do whenever anything gets too heady?” (YES) These are pieces of dreams, but sometimes the big picture looks shoddy or it has missing roof pieces in the beginning. Sometimes in the middle too. The faucet sprays backwards, but oh, look at the LOVE here.

The carpet is hideous, but hey, we’ll cover that too.

We’re all building works in progress. Ten years gone, but ten years here.

I’m so very here.

20 Questions & Songs For a Rainy Day

Although it may not be rainy where you are, the cold rain here even has Athena down in the dumps!

20 questions

This is a real-time picture! I looked behind me at the sad dog, took this grainy photo, emailed it to myself, and provided it here to show you what the cold rain does to us around here. Let’s hope it’s better on all the plants and trees.

20 questions

Couldn’t you just hug my dog? Yesterday when I was pulling out of the school parking lot, with my windows down, I was blasting a little gem (video below). It took me back in time, the same way Lisa’s blog did yesterday with this meme. It reminded me of a simpler time of blogging, which wasn’t that long ago. It was when Elaine used to do Old School Blogging link ups that we could link up posts with. It was a great way to get to know each other, and to write about ourselves.

Isn’t that why we blog?

It’s definitely why I started. So I’m going “back in time” today. Feel free to write your own! Please! Oh, and I didn’t do the full 30 questions because I tend to talk too much. And I hope you enjoy my musical answers. They just seemed to fit!

1 – Do you have a lucky number and why is it lucky? I’ve always favored four. My brother thinks I made it up (in middle school) because that’s how many boys I liked at once. While not far off, it was because I had had three boyfriends and then one for good luck. I like even numbers more than odd numbers. So it just stuck. Four has been my lucky number since then..

..but I don’t like four boys at once anymore, or ever.

2 – Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen one? No. And, yes. Which makes no sense. Here’s my story: I was babysitting one of my favorite families. The older boy was only a few years younger than me but still needed a sitter because both kids had a seizure disorder, and the younger one was a handful. We would usually put the little one to bed and then stay up late watching “Star Wars” together until the parents came home. One night we finally got him in bed and we were standing in the old, creaky hallway of this very old house and we BOTH saw a little boy run across the hallway in FRONT of us.

“Bobby, get in bed!” We yelled in unison at the little brother who should have been in bed BEHIND us. Guess what? He WAS in bed, behind us. And even if he was faking sleep, he still couldn’t have gotten there in so little time. It was FREAKY.

3 – What kind of music do you like most and what is the last song you downloaded? I don’t think I could ever answer that thoroughly enough because it’s like with movies – I tend to favor dramatic ones with huge climaxes that make you feel a lot. That said, I love pretty much every genre of anything, as long as it makes me feel. And that range is WIDE. I haven’t fallen in love with jazz or country yet, but there’s time still. As for the last song I downloaded, here’s another song for a rainy day:

This one is SO me.

4 – Do you play any instruments? If not, what instrument would you like to learn? I played piano twice in my youth and I was GOOD, but I stopped. I can still play by ear but it’s a big mental block. Piano is my answer for everything.

5 – Which personality trait of yours is your most favorite? Least favorite? I love that I’m intense and dreamy. I hate that I can accidentally shut off my emotions, and then they bottle and spiral out of control and they’re too much, too STRONG.

6 – What is the furthest you have traveled from where you live? Didn’t you know I went to Alaska?? I still think about it every day and dream about it nearly every night. All the things I’ve done, and all the things I should have done there.

7 – If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do? I actually answered this one for a linkup not to long ago. I wrote, “Stop crime, travel free, creep around.” I’d like to think less emphasis on creeping around? I’m no creep.

8 – If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would buy? A latte! And home renovations/mortgage type stuff.

9 – When you go to the movies, do you get popcorn or candy? If candy, which kind? For just me, I only get popcorn. I love it. I know it’s awful there but we have a local theater that uses REAL BUTTER. It’s so magical! Almost like stovetop.

10 – Speaking of movies, what is the last one you saw in a theater? I have a song for that!

11 – What were your best and worst subjects in high school? English was my best and math was my worst. And that was really funny when it came time for college placement exams, and I only did average with English, but scored so high on the math exam that I placed out of college level math and never had to take it! I took computer science instead. To this day, the only math I’ve done since then is (poorly) helping Scarlet with her homework. And yet, I’m a math genius apparently!?

12 – What were the mascot and colors of your high school? We were the Roxbury Gaels. And I think we were blue and gold?

13 – What time is your alarm clock set for and what sound does it make (buzzer, radio, a particular song)? I haven’t used an alarm clock in at least ten years, but I would totally set it to this, if I had to use one:

14 – Are you an early bird or a night owl? Has that changed with age? I’m both! And yes, it has changed with age. I was always a night owl until my 20’s and then I got sleepy at night. Now, I am horrified by early morning but I thrive so well there. I think my ideal sleeping time is 11-8. When left to my own devices, I sleep until nine. With kids? It’s like 12-7, unless I pass out on the couch around 8-10, OR find myself wide awake at 5:00am. I just never know. I can find magic in the night, and even more magic in the morning. I love daylight, but I love alone time too. Whenever I can get that!

15 – If you were only allowed to have one type of dessert for the rest of your life, what would you choose? Ice cream. It’s so versatile. And there are enough flavors to keep me satisfied for life, and then I’d just make my own!

16 – Have you or would you ever skydive or bungee jump? It’s not a plaguing issue for me to skydive, but I suppose I’d rather do that than bungee jump. I’d love to feel like I’m flying. I love any chance to feel like I’m flying.

17 – Do you frequently remember your dreams? What is the last dream you recall? YES. They’re deep. So deep. Like this one last week – For well over a decade, I’ve had some variation of the dream in which I have final exams coming up for classes I forgot to attend, and certainly didn’t study for. (do you??) In last night’s dream, I ran into a girl at a store and realized with a start that I knew her from a class I had stopped attending. For the first time in history, IN THE DREAM, I stopped for a minute and thought, “Well, hey. I guess Rutgers took my money and realized I forgot about my courses, but WHO CARES?? I’m self-made, I use my journalism major, and people pay me. Who needs those classes anyway??”This is a startling development for my plaguing nightmare! I also always have and always will dream about this guy:

18 – Who is the last person you actually called (no texting!)? What was your conversation about? Don’t get too excited! We called Cassidy’s mom on our way to Connecticut over the weekend to wish Grandpa Ernie a belated Happy Birthday.

19 – Are you a hugger? Other than spouses or children, who is the last person you hugged? I have hugged friends and clients over the last few days, and people who are both friends and clients. I AM a hugger, but it’s weird and on my own terms, so it can look like I’m decidedly not one. If I can get out of the weirdness of my own.. weirdness, I’d never let you go!

20 – Using the first letter of your first name, list the following- all beginning with that letter.

Food – Toffee! (tomatoes)
Drink – Toffee Coffee! My sources says that doesn’t exist, even though it does, so.. Tomato Juice! (I don’t even like tomatoes)
Item of Clothing – Tankini (obvs)
Something in the bathroom – Toothpaste
Something in the kitchen – Toaster, baby
A city – Taipei.. is that one?
A movie – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (oh, dear)
A Book – Treasure Island

The End! A medal for you if you read all of that.