I am a sucker for old stuff. Buildings, art, furniture, books, anything with a history of its own. So when I read about a new exhibit opening at the Saco Museum, I knew I’d have to see it, pronto!
A week ago my younger daughter brought home a permission slip from school. Her Family and Consumer Science class (FACS), the modern-day equivalent of Home Ec, was offering a take-home activity for interested students. The chance to have a baby! Not a real one, of course, this would be pretend. But unlike the flour sacks or eggs of yore, these kids would be getting something better. A 21st century SIM BABY!
I am writing today to get something off of my chest, as well as my head and shoulders. Meet Kiwi.
When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade. We’ve all heard the phrase. But how many times do we put it into practice? Do we throw our hands in the air when things go sour, or do we use those hands to take action? Lord knows I fall short of the mark; I’ll be the first to complain when I feel like c-r-a-p. But occasionally I manage to make use of what the Big Guy has given me. And these times, above all else, are the true triumphs of my life.
I am someone who has been dealt both a fabulous as well as difficult hand, not unlike most people. Although blessed beyond measure with an amazing family and friends, fed, clothed and most days happy, I struggle with a disease that often has no rhyme or reason. When I was diagnosed with Meniere’s 6 years ago and put on a salt free diet, I thought okay. I will deal. But that acceptance quickly dissolved into anger, frustration and resentment. I felt as though I’d been cursed. Thankfully, instead of giving up and accepting LIFE WOULD SUCK, I sucked it up and spit it out. I already had the skills to solve the problem, I just had to DO IT. And thus this blog and its twin (The Daily Dish) were born.
When my dog Max died a month ago, it was like I’d aged 10 years overnight. My world seemed fractured. I knew before he passed how much his loss would eventually affect me, when it came, but until it actually happened I’d never have expected its depth. In the past weeks I’ve tried to figure out where to go from here. It can never be the same, but should we get another dog? We tried. I’ll spare you the gory details, suffice it to say, we adopted an adult dog who was with us a mere night before return, leaving me to accept we’ll have to get a puppy if we get another dog at all. My kids & their safety, no matter what, come first.
Do you ever feel like you’re trying to squeeze a cantaloupe into a coffee mug? No matter how hard you try to make it fit, it ends up exploding in your face, sending seeds and soggy pulp everywhere. So you clean it up. And try again. and again. Regardless of how impossible the task is, you don’t give up. Friends, I’m here to tell you to PUT THE F*CKING FRUIT DOWN ALREADY. Sometimes it isn’t meant to be. And other times, you can’t see the answer staring you in the face b/c you’re too covered in melon guts.
The past few weeks have been like that. Trying to shove a big ole melon into a tiny glass. I spent hours glued to Petfinder. Checking Craigslist. Cruising websites looking for the PERFECT DOG. But you know what? He’s dead. Gone. I know, I know. Cut myself some slack already, but it’s true. I was so intent on finding the way out of my grief, I failed to see what I was doing wasn’t helping. It just made me miss Max more.
Two nights ago, I found the answer. I guess I shouldn’t fault myself for checking Craigslist obsessively, b/c that’s where I found it. I saw a post about a puppy and automatically clicked it. But it wasn’t about re-homing said puppy (and trust me, this whole ‘re-homing’ business & its accompanying fees is another blog post altogether) but rather about finding this puppy a SITTER. Hmmm. If you can hear the gears turning, then BOY ARE YOU RIGHT. This person has a young puppy and needs to find someone to watch said puppy during the week while they are away at work. Said puppy is cute, and small, and furry, and loving and Oh By the way, You get paid to watch the puppy. CHA-CHING!
As someone who is home full time, needs money and is in desperate need of dog, I wiped the melon pulp from my face and replied. And guess what? They wrote me back. And said I sound perfect. And you know what? I wrote them back and hopefully this (now clean and illuminated) soul sitting before you will be squeezing lemons and soon, making lemonade. With a puppy on her lap.
It’s amazing how a day away from things can give perspective. Severed from my electrical umbilical cord, I AM A WHOLE NEW PERSON. Well not really, but it did allow me to put a day’s distance between me & THE DISH.
Part of the reason I had to stay off the computer was so I wouldn’t cave. B/c part of me just doesn’t want to stop doing The Daily Dish. Day in and day out. Forever and ever. Amen. This *part* of me is stubborn. It doesn’t care about ME. It is devoted to others. Their well-being. Their welfare. Their nutritional goals. SCREW YOU, it says. I call it Utilitarian Me, after John Stuart Mill. This part of me is always super determined. Disciplined. Moral. And now. ANGRY.
It is hard giving something up. Doubly so, when a part of you reeeeaaaaalllly doesn’t want to. Even if it’s bad for you or drives you crazy or makes you smell. Which isn’t my case, really, but you catch my drift. The Daily Dish is a good thing – a great thing, even. But it isn’t good for me right now. I am already juggling too much between the website, the kitchen, and my life. And now that summer’s fast approaching, I have been spending an exorbitant amount of time stressing over how I will get everything done with BOTH daughters at home. I shouldn’t be worried about any of that. I should be thinking of all the fun we’ll be having over the next few months. The beautiful weather. The hot days full of adventures and memories and time together. Instead I am thinking about the stupid website.
My daughters are, and have always been, my first priority. I gave up my career to stay home full time and I’ve never regretted it. I should feel no obligation to maintain a website I created out of the goodness of my own heart. And yet, I do. OF COURSE YOU KNOW I DO. But WHY? When I do it for no pay and it is becoming too taxing for words, that’s a bad thing. Lately I’ve felt like a fox in a trap, wondering whether I’ll have to chew off my own leg to save myself. My urge to maintain the status quo is almost too strong for my own good.
For now, it’s necessary to take a break. The website will remain as it’s been. I am not taking it down. I have avoided even changing it from the Memorial Day page, for fear I’ll CAVE. For the past year and a half, some part of my brain, sometimes all of it, has been consumed with this website. It’s like a baby. I literally gave birth to it, and it has been my passion. Developing recipes, deciding what to make, how to make it. What to work on, what to drop. I was already crazy about food and photography, but you put them together and I AM INSANE. When I was sick, I kept going. Doing anything dizzy is not a lot of fun. But still I did it, because I felt others were counting on me. When I went on vacation, I worried about my readers. Would they be okay? Would they be cheating? I thought more about them than I did myself.
I cannot tell you how liberating it is, after all these months, to taste FREEDOM. I spent 8 hours today cleaning my house. And even though I despise cleaning, today it felt good. No website. No recipe. As I scrubbed toilets, I thought about how SPARKLING THEY WERE. As I vacuumed, I thought how wondrous a machine a vacuum is, and how glad I am to have one. As my back ached while I bent over mopping the last floor of the house, I thanked GOD that I was finished. I wasn’t preoccupied with getting THE DISH done so I could take pictures while the light was good. Or having to orchestrate cooking of THE DISH so that it would conveniently coincide w/ mealtime. I didn’t have to think about any of that. Now my house is clean. And NOT ONLY THAT. BUT my priorities are straight, and summer is almost here.
So please don’t be sad. I want you all to know that this isn’t the end – it’s really, truly, the beginning. I have the next 3 months w/ my girls. I am SO EXCITED!! We will have so much fun together, and I will be blogging here about it all, sharing everything w/ you, my friends. In the fall, my daughters will BOTH be going off to school. And then – the fun BEGINS. The start of a real adventure for me. I’ve spent the past 8 years at home, being here for my family. Loving them, taking care of them, making everyone else a priority. For good bad & or UGLY, I’ve done it all. But come September, it’s Christy Time. IT’S ALL ME. And then anything is possible. Stay tuned. B/c come what may, I promise, it’ll be fun.