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Dec. 27th, 2010

regal

Like a blind bull in a china shop

I have a problem with being on time.
Also with organization.
Furthermore, I am not good at "getting things done," decorating, shopping, shopping with crowds, loud-crowded-anxious-frantic-shopping, going to the post office, nor planning ahead (unless forced. I do well at work, but only because it is absolutely required, and this year I'm failing because the standard got moved three weeks ahead of where it's been for ... forever, so, fail).

Additionally, and I apologize for any repetition because I may have mentioned this here before, I love Advent. Advent: the season of waiting. Waiting is, like, my speciality. My calling in life. I hate it, but I'm good at it, and here it is, the holiday of it! I feel like I should get a special badge to wear. A whole extra month celebrating me! Coming after an intense two week kick off of The Fortnight of Erica!

For these diverse reasons, I can't get behind this whole "starting Christmas the day after Thanksgiving" thing that the rest of the country seems mired in. Poor country! Poor culture! How I pity thee! Trapped in Christmas far too early and for far too long! Alas, I refuse to join you.

Instead, I got out that Advent wreath and those candles I bought on sale last year. After reading about it on Conversion Diary, I found the best idea ever and got out all my Christmas children's books, secular and religious alike, and wrapped them in tissue paper so we could open one each night of Advent for our bed time story. And you know what? Advent was awesome. We told the story and told the story and told the story again. My children, Emma especially with all her addiction to words, could not have been more prepared for Christmas. They practiced filling up their waiting with anticipation and hope and story telling and thought and ritual and scripture and it was very good.

On the other hand, now that we are three days after Christmas, everyone else seems to be quite ready to be done with the holiday and I ... am not. We didn't set up our trees until 5 or 6 days before Christmas and I am certainly not ready to see them go yet. We didn't start listening to Christmas music in earnest until about then either, come to think about it. Just when the local radio stations are abandoning it all, I'm ready to tune in at last. I have just now remembered what it is I wanted for Christmas (two or three good ideas have come to me just today! Oh well! Too late for all those people pestering me for ideas!). I am certainly not ready to stop hanging out with my lovely family who make me feel so incredibly loved each and every time I'm with them. We have not played every game or tried out every new gift yet. I haven't even made all the Christmas cookies I wanted to make.

And when would I possibly have had time and energy to do any of that in December when I was teaching and working like mad, just trying to keep my head above water like normal? Forgive me, country. I am out of step with you again, knocking over the knick-knacks and making a mess of the way you do things.


Ah well. Stubbornly, regardless of how clumsy and odd we wind up being, we're just going to go on celebrating Christmas, while everyone else takes it down and boxes it up and professes relief to see it go. Not us. We waited so long for you, Christ, and your mass, your birthday. We waited for you. We ARE waiting for you. Surely we shall celebrate you more than the few days my distraction and exhaustion and disorganization and tardiness allowed you so far.

Dec. 25th, 2010

regal

12:01 on Christmas morning

My husband went to midnight mass which is his family tradition, but I am worried about him being there all alone, so I am not smugly in bed, enjoying my protestant tradition of going to bed at a reasonable hour on Christmas Eve since our children will not sleep-in until a reasonable hour on Christmas day and there are not likely going to be many naps tomorrow given the cooking committments we've made.

What if he's sad?
What if he's lonely?
What if being at the midnight mass all by himself causes an on-rush of grief from missing his mom, missing his uncle Joe, missing all the many people in his family who have gone before and the closeness they seemed to have had back in the day that he yearns for so much?
What if that happens and he is all alone and that sends him deeper into a hole of misery?
What if he has one of those nights, and God doesn't show up for him?
Or, what if God does show up, but he's so caught in grief that he can't lift up his eyes to the hills from whence cometh his help?
What if?

...

..

Well, thank you, fair internets, now that I've typed it out I feel a bit ridiculous. He would tell me that he's a big boy all grown up and can cope just fine on his own, thank you very much, and really, he can. Also, God will meet him in one way or another, I certainly do not subscribe to that branch of Christianity which believes God has vacated the Catholic church, so it's not like the Holy Spirit won't be there too. Really, I SHOULD just go to bed.

But perhaps not smugly.
If you read this, merry Christmas.

Nov. 28th, 2010

regal

Update: Why

The reason I haven't been posting here goes like this.

Partly all the laptops at our house up and died, so to be on a computer here, you have to fight your way past the knee-high, daily-reconsituting, pile of junk in the back room to get to the 10 year old mac. The room has neither a/c nor heat, and there's usually extra crap on the one chair and a huge pile of papers that I don't want to look at on the desk, so I don't go there unless I absolutely have to. Don't send me e'mail. The end.

But wait. Partly it's because I have children in pre-school or looking to be in pre-school next year and that has to be paid for, so I'm tutoring a lot after school, which means I don't get home before 5:15 or 5:30 most nights now. Also, our health care costs went way up this year in all kinds of fun ways, so, tutoring. I get home late, and I'm tired from the extra working on top of the working. Really tired. Perhaps I've mentioned how teaching can sometimes be tiring? But my problem is that I teach lavishly without sanity or self care, I teach rashly, I expend myself when I teach, I leap about and wave my arms and draw large things on the board and read books over dramatically and tell extra stories and care far too much. Then I come home work hard to parent parent parent. We get those kids in bed by 7:45 or 8:00 and most nights I can barely see straight and then I look at my husband and almost collapse from the guilt because what about him, people? What. about. him. Hence, no posting.

Of course, there's my new medication. I'm on meds that have reduced my migraines by half, which is good and ok at the same time. The good thing is that they're down to 4 or 5 a month from their 9 per month high. The bad news is that 4 or 5 per month is the point at which I went in to get them reduced. During the treatment process, they increased in both severity and frequency, so, boo-yah, we've cut them back to sort of the starting place. I think. Kind of. The other good news, though, is that the meds also push them later and later into the afternoon. That's really good for me being a functioning human who participates in her life, and I really appreciate it. The side effect though is sleepiness and tiredness, and while I fight it all pretty well, it definitely is there, lurking about the edges of my life, claiming me.

Finally, this year at work has been unusual. They built a new building! They finished it in October! They wanted us to pack and move with no days off to do so in the middle of the school year! Planning for moving, making floor plans, labeling furniture, having moving meetings, packing my room, unpacking my room, on top of just doing my normal, leaping about, arm waving, dramatic reading, story telling sort of job that I do has not left me with any leisure time at work for the occasional post. I used to have extra planning time at work due to a really messed up scheduling situation. They have taken care of that on top of everything else, and now there are not two extra minutes to rub together. So, there's very little post sneaking in my work day so far this year.

So, pretty much, that's how I've been. Busy. Tired. Often overwhelmed. Computer-less. It's boring to write about these things.

I brought my computer home this weekend to work on Christmas presents and some work for the play this week at school, I'm rested after a long weekend, and the move is finally over at school. Tomorrow the insanity picks up again. I wonder if I can do better?

How are you?

Aug. 20th, 2010

regal

Afraid of My Own Thinking

I couldn't fall asleep last night, what with the thinking thinking thinking, and now I'm afraid to try it again.

There's so much sorrow and sadness and lack and need and tragedy and wrong and there is so little I can do about any of it, but knowing that does not seem to stop my brain from thinking thinking thinking about all of it and wishing and praying that it would not be so.

In my perfect world your husband was cured, your Daddy didn't die, your parents didn't listen and fed you when they said to let you starve or drown because you weren't wanted any more.
In my perfect world your child lived, your marriage flourished, your parenting was whole and shining and reflected back to you in the shining faces of your children and spouse day after day until the telling of it seemed almost stale it was so repetitively sparkley.
In my perfect world your free will was so honored and respected that you never caved to the court of public opinion just to find purchase in the comfort of community, and yet all of truth was laid out so clearly before you that you could not help but see it and dance, or sing, or paint, or bake it, or whatever you were called to do with truth to celebrate truth best.
In my perfect world you were protected, perfected, and not one migraine or back ache or nerve pain or arthritic joint or cancerous cell dared even look at you or me or anyone because the very concept of their existence or the existence of anything like them was inconceivable.
In my perfect world my home is built of pink stone and old wood on a forested island surrounded by nature and oddly separated from everything by sparkling blue water, set apart in silence to honor the call of the loon and the sough of the wind in the branches above. Yet still, in spite of all that, you and everyone else easily find your way there for lunch or dinner or even breakfast at an alarmingly frequent rate, as it suits you, yes, yet often enough to also suit me, which I must warn you is very often.
In my perfect world a lot of dessert is consumed, but that is ok because we enjoy swimming or hiking or running it off so very very much that we are never not once infuriated by every moment that working out takes us away from time we could be spending reading or writing or knitting or baking or cooking or rocking in a hammock or doing just about any other thing that falls into the category labeled "interesting" or "lovely."
In my perfect world I see my sisters at least once a week and my parents even more often and summer vacation never ends and yet there are still children to teach because teaching is fun, so we wouldn't want to entirely give that up, now, would we?

There.
There, brain.
I have written it all down, perhaps a bit obliquely, but there it all is.
God has it, the internet has it, let it go.
Let me sleep.
There.

Aug. 17th, 2010

regal

Aw, What the Heck. Let's Vent a Little. Let's Reach for a Little Clarity.

I mean, I'm awake at 4:30 a.m., have been for an hour, seems the right thing to do.

Oh, why?

Well.
Let's see.

Migraine Saturday, took drugs. New daily drugs I'm taking means the muscle relaxant which is now necessary to control migraine / tension headache (turns out I have a "dual diagnosis" ! so. much. FUN!) hangs on much longer, so my dizzy, sleepy, stoned reaction to the meds now lasts long into the day after the headache. Sunday afternoon I crash hard for a mega afternoon nap. Result? I don't sleep well Sunday night. Sleep is totally jacked up. Seriously, night mares, that feeling like I never actually fall asleep, yuckness. Monday I wake up with a wee tiny headache, but it doesn't feel like a migraine, it just feels like a "you didn't sleep well" headache. But my body, why should it pass up the opportunity to accellerate any headache into the full blown deal? Let's go all out every chance we can get! So, Monday: Migraine / tension headache. I treated it, stayed awake for all my tutoring and the lovely dinner invitation we got from our new neighbors who we moved in across the street ( YES! AWESOME! They are relatives of friends! And can they ever cook!) and then crashed not long after the kids. So, now I'm awake and sprightly at 3:30 in the morning because, hey! 8 hours of sleep! Time to get going! Sure, by this afternoon when I need to get something accomplished, I'll be a mess again, but what does that matter?

Meh, it's a boring topic, but thanks for letting me spew, internet. I'm frustrated. I have a chronic health condition and I don't know how to handle it.

The way God seems to want me to handle it is with worship, which is not a bad way, so while I've been putting in a taped request for perscription refills and reading the internet and typing with one part of my brain, the other part of my brain has been replaying over an over a new song from the worship set at church, mostly just the refrain since I haven't memorized the verses yet:

You are still good,
You are still God,
You have been good to me.
You are still good,
You are still God,
You are still good to me.

Which is just ... true. It doesn't answer the nitty gritty "how" of how I should better deal with the stupid migraines or the transitory upset to my sleep patterns that they and the medication for them are wreaking upon me, but maybe that's not the point.

Maybe the point is, even the migraines are small compared with eternal truth.
Maybe when I stand on a ridge of time in heaven and look back on these small years on the shore of my life, they will seem so small and barely there that I will struggle to remember them.
Maybe I will only look at them fondly and never remember nights when I wake up at the wrong time or days when I head pounds.
I will only see little girls who want me to finally cut their hair for the first time today and how I still don't want to but will because, really, when your hair hits your butt crack, that's awkward on the toilet and it's time. I will see her in a purple flower girl dress kneeling beside a stone fountain looking like a woodland fairy with flowers in her hair. I will see a little boy laying on the floor with a car in his hand watching its movement so intently as he provides the soundtrack to its racing. I will see a woman and her husband laying on the bed laughing with each other, or just checking in and figuring out that the other one was hurting and didn't even know why, but together they could figure it out and try something to make it feel a little better because that's what loving each other is supposed to look like. I will see friends and family everywhere, swirling around us, us tangled up with them like puppies, and I will smile and smile to look back on these years.
The goodness will shine so hard that the dark dross of these aching heads won't be noticeable.
I am sure of it.

You are still good,
You are still God,
You have been good to me.
You are still good,
You are still God,
You are still good to me.

Aug. 12th, 2010

regal

Ahhhh ... Good. So, That Only Took Me Seven Years

Six?
Five?
Four?

Realization: I am no longer single, without children, living overseas.

Wow, Erica! YOU ARE AWESOME WITH THE QUICK UP-TAKES! Way to go on applying that brain power! Excellent.

Let's pause for a moment of personal preening. I know, you're impressed. I brush my hair back behind my shoulder and attempt to look modest and hide my smile of self-satisfaction at knowing that you've noticed my brilliance once again. I stand up a little straighter, adjust my posture, take a deep sigh and savor the moment. It helps calm my brain stem and all the new neurons I've just been manufacturing in my brain rush to build a new connection with all this awesomeness.

So, yeah. I am no longer single, without children, living overseas. Which explains, see, WHY my summers are SO FREAKIN' BUSY! They didn't use to be!
ch!
Every year school winds down and summer comes at me and there is this expectation in my head that "ahhhh! life is going to come to a screeching halt and I will be able to catch my breath! I will be able to do things! Things that I want to do! And things that I meant to do! And things that I NEED to do ! And things that I otherwise never have time for! Things will be accomplished in a great wave of accomplishment! Friends will be invited over and hung-out-with whom I normally can't make my schedule work with, and the basement will get cleaned out, and I will spend every day in the back yard by the kiddie pool with the kids and paint paintings and draw and do everything and nothing all at once and it? Shall be awesome."

The thing is, when I was single and living overseas, summers were kind of like that. School ended, and then we all had a big official somewhat stiff school party about it, and then we had a real party with our actual friends about it, and then we all frantically cleaned our houses and packed and didn't know how we were ever going to get it all done for Lord's sake and rushed about like chickens with our heads cut off and didn't get but two hours of sleep a night but that was ok because then? We would all get on planes and fly for 14 hours until we got "home." To other places where our day to day lives didn't exist. Where there were no basements belonging to us and nothing we particularly had to do except all the things we wanted or hadn't had time for. We would see all those friends we hadn't been able to see in our foreign homes and hang out with them. We would do all the shopping and crafting and painting and hanging out by the pool that we otherwise never had time for in our day to day lives, and we could because our day to day lives had come to a screeching halt and been utterly abandoned.

I didn't realize it until last night, but even up until this summer, I still expected summer to be like that.
But, I am no longer single, without children, living overseas.
So, how can it be?
I don't leave my life in June and return to it in August. I stay in my life. I keep living above my basement. And even if I didn't, there are three people who travel with me now. So, even if I were to leave all the trimmings and trappings behind me, I would have to keep bringing them and their concerns and distractions along with me. Summers just can't be the same any more.
They aren't.
They are so, So, SO BUSY!

Aug. 6th, 2010

regal

HEY! I Got Two Comments for Posting!

I also got my glasses improved. Not 100%, but probably 90%, so, yay!
Also, my sister Jane is in town, so, yay!
And it's Friday and I'm done with my summer school teaching, so, YAY!
regal

Nothing.

My glasses slide down my nose all the time.
All.
The.
Time.

I know.
I should post about my vacation, my AWESOME vacation, where in I got to see Carlin, and Jenny, and Ontario, and Toronto, and I went to Deer Iland which I've decided WILL exist in heaven, so when I get to heaven, I think I'll just go there, and that's where you will be able to find me, there, at Deer Iland, staying there for millenia, painting and wandering around and hosting dinner parties every night and learning stone and wood craft. I might keep a llama or two to help me haul things around without damaging the paths. I have plans.

But, no.
All I really have is that my glasses are falling down my nose and I don't know how to fix it without bruising the backs of my ears.
Advice?
The people at Lens Crafters are crabby about this. They want me to spend over $200 on a fresh eye exam which I probably need but don't want to pay for. Then they want me to spend over $$200 on another pair of glasses. The last time I did that I got glasses that were more stylish and lighter but the lenses were smaller and I couldn't see as much and then the nose grippy balancy thing fell off because they were so fragile and then I couldn't wear them any more and I'm not paying $200 per year for new glasses. I like these. I just don't want them to fall down my nose.

I should be at home right now but I just finished cleaning out my room at school from the class I taught here all week with my glasses sliding down my nose and sitting at the end of it like I'm some school marm which, wait, I AM SOME SCHOOL MARM which is not sexy. Probaby my husband won't ever have sex with me again. (which is not true. He is awesome like that. Sorry. TMI, I know. But Married Sex does not get enough credit in this world, and I am here to bring it back.) I enjoyed my class but hated my glasses and I want to go get them fixed but I should be home giving my husband a break.

I should call him.
Amy says I should go to Walmart because the glasses people there are nicer but I hate Walmart. Still.
I hate these glasses.

Ugh.

Hey!
Look!
I just posted something!
Go me!

Jul. 5th, 2010

regal

Someday, You May Not Have Him Yet

Someday you will tower over me
and speak your frustration and disdain and humor
to the top of my head.

Someday your football will be regulation sized
and used for throwing, catching,
and inspiring the tackling of others.

Someday acres of hair
will cover the perfect smoothness
of your still-new skin.

Someday your solid-chubby limbs
will stretch beyond what skin and muscle can contain
and become a jumble of bone and joint,
angle and lines colliding,
tripping and stumbling you
as you collide against yourself
in an effort to move down a straight path.

Someday affection between you and me
may be something secret,
rejected by every surface expression of your being and yet
yearned for by your heart,
so that although I offer it freely still
you will accept it only from behind a facade of begrudging annoyance
or rage.

Someday you will only fall asleep alone,
or hope to fall asleep with another.

Someday,
Someday will claim you,
but Someday may not have you yet.

Today you crawled eagerly up the bed
and curled your small self contentedly against me,
your pint-sized football clutched like a security-blanket in your arms,
your smooth, solid-chubby legs draped over my knees,
your head slowly sweating under by chin,
and to the quiet sound of your own nuk-sucking,
fell asleep swaddled in my affection
and the whispers of my love.

Today the rhythm of your breaths
were three to one of mine
as they pulled me towards sleep with you.

Today is one more memory I will keep
against the day when Someday comes.

When Someday comes and says that you are someone else,
Someday may be right,
But I will remember,
Today is true as well.
regal

Connections Across the Decades

Sleeping four-year-old-girl in your car seat,
weary from fire works, s'mores,
and staying up too late with cousins and grandparents,
your head slumped over impossibly far onto your chest,

Don't worry.
Don't wake up.
I will carry you inside.

I remember what it is
to ride home in the star-spangled darkness
along strangely familiar roads now cast in deepest night,
following the forbidden treat of staying up too late
to sample the rare wine of extended company with loved family and friends.

I remember eyes growing heavy,
joints loosening over the bumps and through the turns of a driving car,
along the course of my parents' conversation up front,
looking up at the passing darkness and stars
until I finally fall asleep in the back seat.

I remember pulling to a stop at the lights of home,
sometimes genuinely asleep and coming to,
sometimes ... not, and just pretending,
because being lifted and carried in a parent's strong arms,
being allowed for one night the gentle status of helpless infant once again
was such
a
luxury.
Who could resist it?

Don't worry, four-year-old girl, asleep in your car seat,
pretend, or not,
I will carry you in as long as I can.
I pretended too.
I will pretend with you.
When I carry you in
and lay you in bed,
When you roll over away from me,
and I make sure your blankies are tucked in your arms,
When I pull up your covers
and kiss your perfect, soft cheek,
and tell you once more that I love you so, so much,
I will do all these things for you
and I will do them for myself
who was the same
long long ago
and far, far away,
asleep
in the dark
in the car.

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