Friday, February 28, 2014

You Don't Have to read It, But I, Apparently, Had to Write It.

Wow!  Is this any way to run a blog?  Brag about your blogiversary and then disappear for the rest of the month?  Even though it's a short month, I mean come on!

For some reason,  it's been a mediocre month at best.  I've got to admit to being in kind of a slump the last few weeks.  I think it started with the two weeks everyone was sick.  That takes a lot out of a girl, and there seemed to be something depressing about this cold, anyway.  It made us all out of sorts and super cranky, as well as, you know, sick.  And just like my ear still hurts and feels a little like there's liquid in it-- gross, right?-- I still feel kind of cranky and out of sorts.  I feel bad about that, because really, it's been weeks, what's my problem? And then I feel worse, like all I need is to buck the hell up and stop being such a drag on the program.  Then all I want to do is sleep.  

We did enjoy our anniversary on Valentine's Day.  My son Justin took the girls out and we recreated our first date by getting a pizza and eating it from the coffee table while making wisecracks about what was on TV.  Yeah, we're a crazy couple, just try to keep up with us!  

But a couple of days later, I was right back to blah.  I've been waiting until I felt better to write, but since that hasn't actually happened, I decided to write anyway, and see if that helped.  In addition to feeling cranky, I've been feeling poor, and fat, and feeling those things makes me feel like I must be stupid, because those are thing you can fix, right?  But I haven't, so it must be me.  Perhaps you can now clearly picture me wallowing in self-doubt and self-pity the way pigs wallow in mud.  But I think pigs are happy when they wallow, and at best, I am just "meh."

With a new month on the horizon, I'm going to try to get on the other side of this.  I know it's up to me to do it.  And without digressing too much, I have to say that I find taking responsibility for the direction of one's life to be the central problem (though also, the central joy) of being an adult.  That's it right there, isn't it? When you know that you are responsible for all the choices you've made, and that all the choices you've made have brought you to your present state, sometimes you're proud of yourself, and feel lucky and smart. And sometimes, you just feel "meh."

Goodbye February 2014, it's been a slice. 

Image is from here. I should have read the article, and maybe I will soon, but for now, all I've done is borrow the image.

Monday, February 3, 2014

In Sickness and in Sickness

Last week, the whole family was sick with some kind of evil upper respiratory virus that included stomach complications. No need for gross detail, just allow "complications" convey what I mean here. The girls each ran fevers, had cruddy colds and suffered through hacking coughs, which kept them home from school for a few days. I am finishing up the virus myself, with an earache and laryngitis, but  Mike was hit the worst, by far.   Saturday evening, there was the all over ache of fever, accompanied by chills.  These were layered with a pounding headache, a sore throat, and sinus congestion.  By Sunday night, he was crawling to bed before dinner, saying "I have to try to sleep this off, so I can go in to work tomorrow."  By two a.m., he was experiencing those "complications," and dragging himself back to bed, stopping only long enough to email his boss to let him know that the trip downtown to work was not going to happen.  
He couldn't really eat on Monday, though he kept up a regimen of acetaminophen and tried to stay hydrated.  "I should feel better tomorrow," he said around five o'clock, before going to sleep only five hours before his regular bed time.  The sleeping part didn't go all that well, though, and the aches and pains persisted and were joined by a tremendous cough.  Rather than detail the rest of the week, I will just say that he felt like a pile of crap and couldn't really shake it.  He didn't even feel well enough to get himself to the doctor's office (when you feel like hell, public transportation is no small undertaking) until the end of the week.  Then, he was given antibiotics which finally set him on the road to recovery, as magic wonder drugs they are supposed to do. He went back to work today, though he was clearly dragging by the time he got home.

If I haven't lost you in the description of my husband's week of illness, you might at least be wondering why, in the name of all that's holy, I would devote such a long paragraph to such a thing.  It might just be that illness overwhelmed me this week.  Frankly, I got to a point this Saturday where the sound of anyone coughing made me want to hit myself in the head with a large hammer.  Among the four of us, the sputtering, stuttering, horking sound was constant, filling the apartment like a cacophonous piece of modern music composed to irritate and aggravate the listener.  Maybe, because I have been sick myself, I was just fascinated by the fact that someone could be sicker.

I can't actually remember when I've seen Mike this sick, even though we've certainly taken turns suffering through colds and stomach bugs.  And we both get migraines.  And of course, there were my two pregnancies, which, while not technically illnesses, offered him the chance to see me wretchedly ill and in tremendous pain. (Though he has said he did enjoy seeing me practically bite the head off the poor resident who tried, in vain, to administer an epidural while I was in labor with Delia. Or was it Fiona?  Funny how those episodes kind of run together.) I have been with him through some awfully invasive tests and a singularly harrowing trip to the emergency room, not to mention surgery in response to cancer. We've also waited (and worried) together for test results. It sounds like a lot of suffering, when you stack it up like that, and we have only just started to grow old-- him first of course, because I am his much younger wife...

This is the thing though, it's right out of the vows, right?  Sickness and health.  Richer and poorer.  As long as we both shall live.  Even when it seems like a lot more sickness and a lot less richer, we've gotten through it together.  This sick week was a reminder of that.  As he started to feel better this weekend, Mike put it well, "I wouldn't want to be sick with anyone but you, sweetie."  And even though I can't wait until the coughing stops, that goes double for me.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

It's My Blogiversary!

I guess that's what you call it, right?  I was off to a singularly inauspicious start one year ago today. Stats show 67 posts for the year, which is about one and a little-less-than-a-quarter each week.  Of course, I wasn't anywhere near that consistent.  The posts have come in clumps, bunches, fits and starts.

I remember thinking about starting a blog for months before I actually made myself put it together.  First, it took me a while to decide on a name-- I went through many possibilities, including "Extemporanea!" from a line in the Dorothy Parker poem I mentioned in this post, because I thought it would be so original.  Then I found out that it had already been used by other bloggers who may or may not have been fans of the Algonquin wits of the 1930's.  I moved on with a heavy sigh.  For a while, I considered "The Journal of Reduced Circumstances," but finally decided that it sounded too academic, and somehow, too Dickensian, to attract the readers I was hoping for.  One night, while I was reviewing possibilities during a routine bout of insomnia, "Ordinary Good Fortune" popped into my head, and kind of stuck.  It seemed to catch the every day aspects of life, and the more ethereal moments too.  I was hoping to touch on both in the blog.

The rest was just a matter of figuring out how to put it on the page.  How long was that process?  Well, let's just say that I had initially aimed for the start of the blog to coincide with the start of the year, but I'm writing about this blogiversary on February 1, 2014. So, you do the math--  if you want to, that is, because here on my blog, you don't have to do the math. (Unless you like math, and then, by all means, be my guest.)  

Have I fulfilled all of my blogging dreams and aspirations this year? Well, no, because blogging has turned out to be like all of the rest of the projects and undertakings and endeavors in my life:  not quite what I thought it would be.  I thought, for instance, that I would write more about cooking, with recipes included, but actually making the recipes intelligible, then taking pictures of actual food so that it looks somewhat appetizing were two tasks that have thus far proven themselves beyond my skill set. Ditto for craft projects. I may still do that kind of thing some day, because I would like to keep the blog going, and I hope that I will keep improving. 

But I'm not going to make either of us any promises today.  Instead, I'm just going to be happy that I've worked on this for a year, and that I like how a lot of the posts have turned out, and that many of you have commented and let me know that you liked them too.  That has meant a lot.  It has been extraordinary good fortune, in fact.

*I picked the "Celebrate" image. above, because it appears on a first class US postage stamp, which is just the kind of self-referential  "in-joke" I like to find when I read a blog regularly.  You're welcome.