Wednesday, October 26, 2022

the back and forth.

Justin had to turn on the air conditioner again last night. 

It's October 26 - doesn't that mean the heater can stay on? Doesn't that mean we're fully in the throes of autumn (the best season)? Doesn't that mean there should be a distinct chill in the air, whether it's 6am or 4pm?

I've always lived in the "south." I put it in quotes, because now I live in North Carolina, and is that really the south? When you're born and raised in Louisiana, I can attest that when you move to North Carolina at the age of twenty-five, you're expecting it to be the North, as its name implies. 

But it still gets - and stays - hot here, for a lot of the year. We've all seen the memes that mention "first fall" and "fake winter" and the pits of hell that is summer. It really is true, that meme. I can't tell you how long I held out on turning on the heater, because I wanted to be really sure. It would dip into the 40s, but I'd put on a sweater and go about my day. A cool haze would set about the house at night, but we would put extra blankets on the bed. 

But one morning, I woke up, and as I crept down the creaking wooden stairs, I had had enough. I felt certain that, had I blown out any substantial volume of breath, it would have been visible in the dim morning light. So, I did it - I clicked on the heater. I waited for a moment, and there it was, the first-time-you-turn-on-the-heater-for-the-season smell. One of my favorite smells. I went to stand in front of the kitchen sink, with the blessed air vent at my feet, and I felt my toes tingle and thaw. It was bliss. 

For days, the heater stayed on. And for days, the temperatures stayed in a non-offensive range. Highs in the low 60s, lows in the mid-to-low 40s. The house felt comfortable, a temperate 72 degrees. The window panes were cool to the touch. I could wear a sweater all day, from school drop off to school pick up, and not break a sweat. 

But, slowly, the house felt warmer. Audible expressions of disgust (mine) happened when asking Alexa for the forecast. "Highs in the 70s," she would say. I knew I'd be peeling my sweater off during midday errands, too hot to continue wearing it, but reluctant to stop. I'd put a leg out of the covers when laying down with my kids as they fell asleep. I turned the fans up full blast. I tried to avoid it, I really did. 

But last night, there was no denying it. The air conditioner had to be turned back on. Defeat. I admit it.

Is this all a bit dramatic? Of course it is. 

But it's all part of the back and forth, the uncertainty, the changing on a pin that is expected in periods of flux. I like feeling firmly planted, in every way. Firmly planted on the ground, firmly planted in autumn, firmly planted in the cool weather season. But that's not how life is. So, we go back and forth. We change, we adapt, we adjust. We turn the heater on, even if it's turned off again the next day. We yield to the back and forth, because we have to.

We have periods of writing, of reading, of experiencing all the richness the arts have to offer. We have periods of survival, of falling into bed right when everyone else does, asleep nearly before head hits pillow. We have periods of social enrichment, of friends and conversations and feeling understood. We have periods of isolation, of hiding in our houses, servants to the chore list, the endless stream of needs and wants and seeming drudgery. We have periods of movement, of walks outside, of post-dinner soccer, of running and swinging and playing. We have periods where we must peel ourselves from the couch, out of bed, off of social media. 

But it's never forever, it always changes. 

The back and forth. 

And I, for one, and still learning how to swing with the changes, how to flow. 

But I will keep trying. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

sunday log four.

Thought you got rid of me, did you?

Hi, hello there, how are you? 

I am sitting downstairs in my living room. I need to clean up from dinner. I need to drink some water. I want to drink some coffee. I am texting with a friend. I am tired. I am looking forward to having a productive week. I need to do the dishes. I need to set the coffee pot for the morning. I need to plan some fun activities for this week. I need to pack. I need to... I need to... I need to...

There seems to be a lot volleying around in my mind this evening. 

There are Christmas decorations up in my house already. I am usually a strictly after Thanksgiving kind of decorator, but since we were not home for a lot of the Christmas season last year, we decided it was ok to break it out early this year.

I came here thinking that I had a lot to write about, and maybe I do, but it is all coming out in a weird, jumbled mess. So I think I will spare everyone and bid you all adieu. 

Good night. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

sunday log three.

Well, I am coming to you at 10:36 pm, but... better late than never, right?

Three Sundays in a row. I may well be on my way to forming a habit. 

I'm going to level with you right here - my leisure reading of late has been nearly nonexistent. I used to be a person who read, at the very least, a chapter of an actual, real life book nearly every single day. And now? I scroll various social media before passing out with my phone in my hand each night. How the mighty have fallen. 

Earlier today, however, I opened up and read an article in Smithsonian Magazine. Call it small, but it made me feel better about myself. 

Now, I just have to address the issue of how I have managed to be in the process of reading the same book since last. year.  I don't even really know what to say about that, other than... ugh. 

I know this is a short post, but really, I just need the accountability. So next time you see me, if I have a phone in my hand, do me a favor and hand me a book instead. 

Sunday, July 4, 2021

sunday log two | Pilates and commas.

Two Sundays in a row? This has to be some kind of record, right? All joking aside, I am very happy to have found my way here today. It's 6:30 in the morning, I am sipping coffee, and the morning light still has that blue tinge to it. It's the Fourth of July - we are going to grill hot dogs, slice a watermelon, play outside in the baby pool, and later on, we will make and enjoy angel food cake with strawberries and cool whip.

I hate to say it, but the last few days, I've been in a bad mood. I've been short-tempered, I've been withdrawn, I've just been... whiny. I know, everyone has these kinds of days, but I woke up this morning feeling tired of it. It is a goal of mine for July to be a very productive month, one in which my house is well maintained, I cook more nights a week than not, and I take care of my body by drinking lots of water, eating delicious and healthy food, and working out consistently. So far, my water consumption needs a reboot, I'm doing moderately well with food, and I've actually done really well with regard to workouts. I've been doing Pilates with The Balanced Life since 2017, but I held off on becoming a member, with access to the workout calendars and the whole collection of workout videos (and all of the other resources Robin supplies), until August of 2020. Since becoming a member in August of last year, I had yet to reach the milestone of "completing the calendar," that is, doing every workout scheduled for the month. In June, I did it, and I am really loving the way I feel. My body has changed so much in just that short month of real, true consistency. I am stronger, and my body just... feels better. More flexible. More... stable. I am really happy to have found Robin all of those years ago, searching on YouTube for "quick, effective Pilates workouts."

This post wasn't supposed to be about workouts. But then again, I'm not entirely sure what it was supposed to be about. I just kind of opened my laptop and started typing. And aside from possibly picking a topic other than Pilates, I probably could have used fewer commas. But, I am here. And that is an improvement.

Happy Fourth of July, from my better-mood-on-the-horizon, Pilates-and-comma-loving house, to yours. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

sunday log one.

Good morning, and happy Sunday! If you have read my blog for any length of time, you will likely be familiar with The Sunday Currently. Last I checked, I had completed 125 volumes of this particular series (!), and for a long time, it was a great joy in my life. However, things run their course, and, as they say, "all good things come to an end." This was true of The Sunday Currently. I even thought I was ending TSC when I wrote the 100th edition of it, but I eventually came back to revive it for another 25 volumes, because I loved the practice so very much. 

In the last couple of years, as I've sporadically revisited this space, you may have noticed me talking a lot about missing posting consistently, how I really wish I could start posting consistently again, and "remember the glory days of blogging in [insert any give year here]." Another theme I noticed when re-reading some old posts yesterday, was that I kept coming back to the idea that I would "always be a person who has a blog." I am fairly certain that is true. And, well, here I am today, in 2021. This blog has been written on since 2011. I had never really stopped to think about the fact that this blog has been going on for 10 years - but when I do think about it, I am filled with a very particular kind of pride, and definitely sentimentalism. 

With this milestone in mind, today I am bringing you (and myself, haha) the prospect of a vehicle through which to begin posting with regularity again - a Sunday post that goes up every week, sharing tidbits and miniutia of everyday life. Thoughts and feelings and things I love. This will not exactly be the rebirth of The Sunday Currently, but rather, The Sunday Currently's.... second cousin? I don't know. They will be related, but they will not be identical. One week it might just be a scenario where I open the blogging window and let words pour out (kind of like today). Another week it may be a categorized list of thoughts and snippets of everyday life, like the TSC posts of yore. Another week yet, it might be a collection of photographs, and perhaps some ramblings about those photographs. It all remains to be seen. 

I am unsure if the excitement is adequate in its translation from my fingertips through the screen to you, but suffice it to say, I am thrilled and immensely looking forward to having a consistent place to call my writing home for the foreseeable future. I hope you share my excitement a little bit, dear readers. After all, we've now been in a relationship for 10 years. And that is something. 

See siddathornton's first post here

See the beginning of siddathornton's very first series here.

[Editor's Note - it is not lost on me that this blog needs a facelift. It will be forthcoming.]

Monday, April 26, 2021

in the spirit of brevity.

My kids are watching Masha and the Bear and enjoying a fruit plate while soup simmers on our stovetop, so it felt like the right time for another (what feels like) yearly update here. Here is where I'm going to talk about missing the blogging glory days of 2011-2014...  I really do miss it. There were so many people that I was able to connect with, build a sense of community with, and share ideas with. And of course, the writing itself was always cathartic, renewing. In the last few years, my writing practice has waxed and waned, existing mostly in the ink and paper universe. But, there is something in writing here, in sharing the kind of words that only seem to come when I am typing into this little box on the internet. Every time I write here, I feel a kind of resolve, a kind of contract with myself... "I will write on my blog more. I will share. I will just open the browser and type something as often as I can." A quick check of the dates will expose my lack of dedication to this idea. But who knows... maybe this time will be different?

A lot has been going on since I last wrote here. I opened a business, which is so fun. I have forever searched for a creative outlet like this, and it feels so good to be here. Soon, I will have a website, and eventually, an Etsy store. I also have plans to soon return to work as an occupational therapist. During the early stages of the pandemic, the hospital I was doing PRN for had a drop in census to prepare for the surge (as many hospitals did), and I was no longer needed in the capacity I used to be. Additionally, Justin needed more flexibility in his schedule in case he had to work more hours to cover an increased patient load. Now that the bulk of that is - blessedly, thankfully - behind us, I am really excited to return to work. I am still in the very early beginning stages of that process, but I am happy that it is in motion. 

Other than that, we have just been growing and changing as a family, in all of the expected ways. Activities, learning, outings, and travel have slowly started happening more frequently as the world opens up a bit, and we have more such things on the horizon. 

I also started reading the Outlander series, and though I am reading at a snail's pace, I am loving it so very much. A trip to Scotland is hopefully in my very distant future. I am currently about 2/3 of the way through the second novel, Dragonfly in Amber. I watched the show with Justin last year, and was deeply moved. It's so great to get to experience it all over again through the written word. 

As usual, there is a lot more I could say, but in the spirit of brevity, I will end this here. I sincerely hope to return sooner than months from now, but I suppose only time will tell..

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

a post.

I'm writing to you from the couch. It's a dark and rainy summer afternoon. 

There are only two things I like about summer: crepe myrtles and thunderstorms, and I was lucky enough to experience both today. 

A lot has been happening in my life recently, and I feel like I'm in a period of flux, of transition, and if you know me, you know I royally suck at transitions. I can prepare, I can meditate on it, I can make nearly-tangible plans. It doesn't matter. If things are changing around me, I feel like the mental depiction of a cat thrown into bath water. 

A member of my family passed away as spring was turning into summer this year. A combination of factors keep me from being present, something that makes things feel unfinished. 

Opportunities and ideas and creativity have been swirling around in our house this year. Unable to travel, we sit tethered to our home, and the ideas come, bringing with them excitement and hope and at times, overwhelm. My thoughts feel jumbled, and I am working daily to disentangle the good stuff from the chaos. 

But aside from that and other things, I know that... 

... both ice cream and cereal taste better from coffee mugs. 

... writing daily - even just a little bit, even a tiny scribble in the margins of a planner - is transformative. 

... working out daily - even if only for ten minutes - is also transformative in ways I wasn't previously aware of. Pilates is my favorite, followed by barre. What's yours? 

... there is value in being as direct as possible. I am a sugar-coater to my core, but I am working on saying things and expressing my opinions more plainly. I think sometimes I give off the impression that I have no opinion, but that couldn't be further from the truth. 

... it is important to get outside. Despite being, in Jack Dawson's words, "kind of an indoor girl," I can't quite describe the benefits I feel from walking outside for a little while. As a mother of two children, I recognize the benefit to them as well. 

... I will always come back here, to this place, to this holder of memories. And every time I return, the inspiration is there, waiting for me, like an old, time-worn friend. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

the sunday currently, volume 125.

reading a mish-mash of things right now. I don't usually like to read more than one book at a time, but I am in a reading rut... and I'm really just trying to get a little reading done here and there before I'm back in the swing of regularly reading. Selections currently include the following: Slightly South of Simple, by Kristy Woodson Harvey, Atomic Habits, by James Clear, Me, by Elton John, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling, and A Simplified Life, by Emily Ley. I know. That is a ridiculous amount of books to claim to be reading. I don't like it any more than you do. Like I said, I'm ready for the reading bug to bite me again. 
writing futile to-do lists in my planner, in my head, and in my phone. Much like my current ridiculous reading list, my writing has been scattered, distracted, and frankly, ineffective. I need to get some organization and simplification going. I'm really just spinning my wheels at this point. 
listening to my February 2020 playlist on Spotify. The boys and I often listen to the same few songs around the house, and we have slowly built up a good collection. I added some other familiar favorites, mixed in with some new (to me) songs from familiar artists, and I like to think I have a nice little mix going. 
thinking that baby/child sleep in one of the most difficult parenting things for me. Planning to get my guys back on a better schedule in the coming week. Thank goodness for Taking Cara Babies - her advice has really helped me! 
smelling like Warm Vanilla Sugar lately, and I love it. After a holiday season filled with Twisted Peppermint, it's nice to return to something a little more subdued. 
wishing I didn't have to make such a conscious effort to drink water each day. If only coffee counted as water, I would be one well-hydrated person. 
hoping I can get myself together and have a pleasantly productive week ahead. I need a week of productivity for my personal well-being, as well as for crossing some long-awaited items off of my to-do list. Plus, my house needs some attention. I can do this. And I will feel so much better if I get my house (and life) in order. Dramatic, I know. 
wearing workout clothes. After I tap out this blog post, I'm going to do a HIIT workout. I've been doing workout videos on YouTube, which I love. Justin and I are also talking about joining the YMCA near our house again, which I am really excited about. They have Body Pump classes, as well as some other classes I haven't yet tried. The truth is, I really love going to the gym and look forward to getting back into it soon. 
loving my life, despite my productivity dry spell this week. I have a lot to be thankful for, and that it not lost on me. Being able to be home with my boys from day to day is a huge blessing and opportunity. I have greatly enjoyed this uninterrupted time with them since Grayson was born. 
wanting another cup of coffee. I won't tell you how many I've had already. It's really just been that kind of week, where I could never drink enough coffee. Unfortunately, my energy to coffee ratio seems to be deficient this week, for some reason, and that is a sad state of affairs indeed. 
needing... well, isn't it obvious? More coffee and more productivity. Can someone send either of these things my way? Thanks a lot. 'Preciate ya. 
feeling proud of myself for one thing I have been succeeding at - I have worked out every day of February so far. My main personal goal for February is to work out every day, even if it's just a little bit, and I already feel a lot better. I need to work on further cleaning up my diet (though I have been cooking a LOT more, which I am also proud of), but I feel like I'm off to a good start with getting more active. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

more about music.

Tonight, I am working on continuing education for my upcoming license renewals, and along with chugging away with that, I am listening to music on Spotify. This is something I have been doing in the late evenings recently, after putting my younger child to bed and getting ready for bed myself (while Luke watches Captain Marvel with Justin), and I have to say, I quite like this little routine. 

The truth is, I absolutely love music. I know in years past I have written about this on my blog, but  I'll say again that music transports me, transforms me. My favorite songs echo through time and remind me of former versions of myself, younger ones, inexperienced ones, carefree - yes - but with so much good, so much depth, to come (I now realize, obviously). 

Tonight's melodic transportation came by way of "Why Am I the One," by fun. Those first few notes played, and I was instantly transported back to Gulf Shores, in a condo on the beach. September 2012. My bachelorette party. We had all risen from bed, and the familiar scrape of pots and pans and utensils and the drip-drip-gurgle-drip of coffee were the soundtrack to the morning, until someone - I don't know who - turned on some music. 

I danced around to this song while eating a plate of scrambled eggs, surrounded by my best friends and my sister, and I will never forget it. 

And that's all there really is to the memory. And I am thankful for it. 

Thank you. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

on making time to write.

I am currently drinking coffee and (accidentally) eating a couple pieces of the candy I bought yesterday for the Trick-or-Treaters tomorrow. Muffled light seeps into the kitchen from the laundry room - every other light is off downstairs. And even though I feel like I would rather be in bed snoozing during this (usually small) window of time when both of my children are asleep for nap time, I am writing.

It's so easy to scroll Instagram in these moments, isn't it? To escape out of our own lives for a bit, to see what others are up to, to see what leggings and boots and coats our favorite "influencers" are pushing. To watch story after story after story.

I get it, I really do. But I have to make a change.

I used to have a lot of time to devote to reading and writing. It was one of the main things I did each day, and looking back on it now, I know that is because reading and writing bring me a joy that is life-enhancing. Give me a well-worn library book, give me the latest issue (or perhaps an unread issue from months back, as is the case lately), give me a notebook open to a fresh page alongside a pen, give me an open laptop. These are my people.

I noticed a large shift when I went to grad school. And then another large shift when my first child was born. And then another shift when my second child was born. The common denominator in all of these scenarios? Less time.

A long time ago, one of my favorite YouTubers said that once she had her daughter, it taught her invaluable time management skills. Being pre-child at that time myself, I was like, "Yeah, ok, whatever. Having a kid really can't be that time consuming, you're just doing your normal life with someone in tow."

Let me just go ahead and say that is inaccurate, and let me just go ahead and insert my foot into my mouth.

Life is changed by having children. Priorities shift wildly. Hobbies and interests that are not iron clad are thrown to the wind. There is the birth of the child, yes, but there is also the birth of you after that child. A rebirth. You become new, and your new self has different responsibilities, and even though it sounds trite, it is enormous in a way that is unimaginable before you find yourself in these exhausting-challenging-rewarding-glorious trenches.

My children have absolutely taught me an encyclopedia-set-sized amount on time management. I have succeeded some days, I have failed miserably other days. Sometimes I don't brush my teeth until after lunch. Sometimes (like today) I wear pajamas all day, even though there is someone coming over to my house. Sometimes tears are shed (by both parties) when one of my children refuses to nap. But sometimes, I throw things into a crock pot and let dinner simmer all day long, filling the house with delicious, comforting aromas. Sometimes I fold all of the laundry and even put it away. Sometimes - sometimes, but not often enough - I sit down to read and write.

I am so happy that is how I chose to spend this gloomy, drizzly nap time today. Sipping coffee, tapping the laptop keyboard, letting the thoughts flow. Thank you.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

from the floor of a bedroom, part two.

Good morning from Lake Norman. 

Yesterday, Justin, the boys, & I went out for Saturday morning coffee. When it was time to return home, we decided to just keep driving, & this is where we ended up. It has afforded us an impromptu visit with family, as well as a respite from daily life in our own little bubble. 

Life lately has consisted of adhering to nap times, drinking inordinate amounts of coffee, having hummus & crackers with my two-and-a-half-year-old, & trying to squeeze in some sleep here & there. We are currently making our way through the four month sleep regression. I phrase it in that way because I truly believe that this particular developmental milestone demands that you simply survive. Sure, I've read the books, I follow the sleep experts on Instagram (and watch their stories religiously)... but somehow, we are still met with a bit of a challenge in this department right now. 

I won't sugar coat it - it's hard. And unfortunately, I am one of those particular individuals who are grumpy when they lack sleep. 

But, it won't last forever, and we will persevere. 

I'm making it sound far too dramatic, but that's what happens on little sleep & a lot of coffee. 

I was chatting with a friend yesterday via text, and she remarked that maybe, one day, we would look back on this time in our lives and miss it. 

I replied that I thought we certainly would. After all, despite the challenges of our daily lives, there is an overarching tone of joy, of purpose. From moment to moment, hour to hour, I find myself already missing it. The whole-face smile of a four month old baby, the stories told by a nearly-three-year-old, punctuated by the question, "Ee-mem-er?" On two hours' sleep or twelve, nothing could be sweeter, nothing could be more significant. 

the back and forth.

Justin had to turn on the air conditioner again last night.  It's October 26 - doesn't that mean the heater can stay on? Doesn't...