Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Love this quote.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

--the inscription on the wall of Mother Teresa's orphanage in Calcutta

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A new name for a new year

My sister Kate is a brilliant artist. She can draw something funny, or tender, or heartbreaking, or evocative, or abstract. She has created beautiful and clever pieces of art since she was tiny, and I have always been a fanatical fan.

I have had the distinct privilege of convincing her to bring to life an idea of mine--an idea for my blog, along with my new title. She is responsible for the clever, humorous, cheerful and brilliantly executed portrayal of my idea--which you now see on my header!

So--introducing the new title: LuLu.

A little background might be good.

When my mom was pregnant with me, she enjoyed the idea of naming me Charlotte or perhaps Hannah. When I was born, however, it was immediately clear (how?) that I was not Charlotte, and not Hannah. My dad suggested they name me after my aunt--Rachel--and after a phone call to her, I was given my rightful name.

My nickname, Rae, was a natural off-shoot of Rachel, given that it was what our great-grandmother, Anna Rebecca, was called for short; it was also my aunt's nickname. It fits us to a "T". With all these Rachels and Raes, you can imagine there would be a little bit of confusion. Enter Lulu.

When I was about 4 years old, standing in the kitchen in the house in North Carolina laughing with my mom, I said something silly, and she laughed and said, "Oh, you little Lulu." I was in hysterics. I loved it.

It stuck. When reunions rolled around, it seemed only natural to differentiate between me and my aunt by calling me the darling nickname of Lulu. And it became as natural to me as Rae and Rachel. I might even go as far as to say that Lulu is the name that makes me feel most a part of my family--immediate and extended. It sums up, for me, all the happier things about myself--my silly side, my soft side, my motherly side.

*As a fun sidenote, the name means "warrior". That can't hurt!

Not to say that the name change suggests I didn't like Creative Catharsis. I was just ready to change it. I like that Lulu leaves it open to whatever I write--not just creative writing or venting.

So: Into the new year I go!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Change is in the air.....

Pretty soon, a big change is coming to my blog!

My blog will no longer be called Creative Catharsis....I think that the purpose of my blog has changed, and I'm tired of the mouthful that is that name. (Basically, I am boring myself.) I'm working towards something simpler, and something

Just you wait! ("Just you wait, 'Enry 'Iggins, just you wait!" Name that musical...)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


May I tell you a little bit about my sister? She's on my mind today. She, her wonderful husband, and her beautiful four little girls, will be coming to visit on Sunday, and they will stay for Christmas and the New Year. It's going to be chaos, and I am BEYOND excited!

If you know Abby, you really can't help but love her. She is generously friendly, and always interested--interested in people, places, progress.

This may not sound like a really great compliment, but--she is useful. I like to refer to her as a researcher. If I call her and say, "Abby, such-and-such happened and I'm wondering what could be the reason", she is Googling in no time, or drawing upon her pre-existing wealth of knowledge, hammering out an answer, sometimes long after I've given up.

Abby is also an incredibly good listener. When she listens, you can feel that she is patient and will allow you to emote until you are blue in the face. Then she is first, compassionate. Second, practical. And third, determined. So that whatever issue you were venting about has suddenly become not an issue, but a plan of action.

When we are together, we lift each other up. Our more-mundane mothering duties become less burdensome. We are joyful in our labors. We laugh until we cry. Or we cry until we laugh. :)

Abby is resistant when people call her Superwoman, which happens quite often. (You'd call her that if you knew her, too...) She feels that it conveys some idea of being unattainable or above the rest, and she doesn't care for that at all. But when I call her Superwoman, what I am really thinking is that she
stretches. When she doesn't want to, she does it anyway. When she is tired, she keeps going. Despite the fact that she already has four little souls depending upon her for their health and happiness, she stretches, so as to gather more into her large circle. (At this point, I'm thinking perhaps I should call her Elastigirl?)

She walks to the library, to the post office, to the park--with her four girls, who she home-schools. When people stare at her stupidly because she has two babies in a double stroller, one held close to her in a baby carrier and one walking alongside, she smiles and stares right back, happy and unabashed.

She sits in the doorway of her daughters' bedroom each night to read to them and sing to them as they drift off. At first they are restless, but she is still, and then they are asleep.

Although Abby is my older sister, she is vulnerable enough (and humble enough) that she will call me and cry if she needs to. And because I learned it from her, I can listen and help her come up with a plan of action that will dry her tears and help her be hopeful again.

Abby played the soundtrack of my formative years. When I was 5 and she was 8, she sat at the piano, practicing primary songs while I laid under the piano bench, staring at her calves and picking on her; she played on, unperturbed. When I was 10 and she was 13, she played romantic songs that I could sing to--songs that made me dream and feel grown-up and beautiful. (Les Mis, anyone? Phantom of the Opera?) And tested me on my knowledge of TV show intro songs. (I was good, really good.) And when I was 15 and she was 18, she played Gershwin and Debussy and Chopin in the livingroom while I laid on the couch, listening, crying and daydreaming and finally letting go. When I listen to the music she played during all my growing-up years, I can see her playing, and she isn't far away.

Abby, whatever drove me to write this particular post today, as unrefined and unedited as the writing is, I just want you to know that I love you--and how I love you.
(The woman herself...)Her beautiful work:
(As my grandma would say, "You do good work, honey....")

And her biggest fan, this man

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sinus Surgery: So easy, even a caveman could do it?

Sometimes we have to do really crappy things to get to the non-crappy stuff. Today Phill had sinus surgery (really crappy) so that he can breathe freely (non-crappy).

It was a multi-faceted approach. They righted his deviated septum, the result of a volleyball injury (back of someone's head + Phill's nose) more than a decade old. They removed a huge (in the doctor's words) bone spur. And they cleaned out his sinuses.

I was grateful to have my dear friend Sarah and my other dear friend Ciera helping me with babysitting/picking up Reed from school, so that I was able to go to the hospital alone to pick up Phill. When I saw him, the first thing that came to me was, and please forgive me because I think my husband is incredibly attractive, THIS guy:
With a stint in each nostril, his nose was (as he would say) like a two-car garage. His eyes were closed, and his ridiculously long eyelashes were plastered to his cheeks, splayed out for me to ogle and envy. Under his nose is a sort of gauze moustache. I said, "You look sexy." I don't think he believed me.

True to form, he cracked jokes while we got him ready to go home. He continued cracking jokes, and actually, hasn't really stopped. Phill is a lover and a joker by nature....and apparently, percocet only enhances these qualities. He is a good patient, although I have to be quite bossy. (It's good for me. Hones my assertiveness skills.)

So now here I sit, my dishes finally done (dear dishes: i hate you. never come back. not-sincerely, rae.), my floor vacuumed, my children asleep and my husband rests, wheezing away with his musical nose, finally getting some Zzz's after his prehistoric day.

One thing I would like to add, in teeny-tiny print because I am still feeling sheepish about it? Do not schedule a carpet cleaning the same day your husband has surgery. Dumb idea, okay? Just....stupid. There is no time for things such as that on days such as these.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Cuz every little gonna be alright...."

Here is what Phill tells me when I cry like I did last night, discouraged to the point of distraction:

One thing at a time.

He says it gently, with kindness in his eyes, and his hand going through my hair, and it works like a charm. Takes me from 10 to 1 in no time, every time.

So today, I am addressing one thing at a time. Right now, I am thinking about the distractions I have (cleaning house, running errands, paying bills) and the distractions I give myself (the computer.....the computer. THE COMPUTER). And I realize that much of the stretched-too-thin feelings I have could be dissipated if I focused on what needed to be done--when it needed to be done. Free myself from distraction, from the things that tend to get me feeling like I am unavailable.

So, sweet friends, today I am not going to look at Google Reader, Facebook, or my email until my children are in bed.

Maybe I'll be really extreme and even turn off the computer.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

WHOA is me....

I just would like to say that this is how I feel today:
And I would also like to say, because oh MAN am I feeling it today:
I am longing for the days when the carpet is not used as a toilet by anyone.
I am so mentally/emotionally tired that even writing this post is taking a painful amount of brain cells.
Today was just in my face. Just WHOA. WHOA there.....steady.
I will sob with joy the first time the kids go more than 30 minutes without some fight about something.
If I still have all my hair by the time I am 27, I will be pleasantly shocked.

And lastly.....
Oh, how I love my children. How they exhaust and challenge and stretch my patience, causing me to have to grow in the most uncomfortable inconvenient ways....and oh, how I love them for it.
And tonight when I finished helping Reed finish his homework (last minute, at 9:00p.m., because we enable each other's slacking tendencies), and he called to me from his room when I was IN THE BATHROOM FOR CRYING OUT LOUD and I was so tired and so done that I barked out, "WHAT! I AM IN THE BATHROOM!" and he answered, "Thank you for helping me with my homework".....I almost cried from shame.

It's just that today is one of those days--one of those days when I am weary. So for now, I'm just letting the water works come. It's all good....this too shall pass, within me there is a peacefulness that cannot be disturbed, I am not this feeling, yada yada yada. Sometimes I just need to cry like a baby. And blog like a baby.
*Dear Foleys, thank you for the use of your darling baby in this totally self-piteous post. For the record, he is the cutest crying baby ever--WAY cuter than when I'M crying. :)