Birthdays! (and lots of other stuff)

My birthday was at the beginning of this month. I uploaded some pictures and was going to just post a quick post, but then some days passed and then some more days. I added some more pictures and thought of more things to write and it has just been languishing in my drafts folder. Things keep happening and so I think I’ll add a couple more pictures before I post, blah, blah, blah. I almost deleted the whole thing since now May is practically over and my bday was weeks ago, but since I bothering uploading the pix, I’m just going to post it!

May is a busy month for us. It is my birthday and then Mother’s Day and then my mom’s birthday and my dad’s birthday and Zander’s birthday. We also have a whole group of our work party friends who have May birthdays (and playgroup friends too!). May 12th was the 18th anniversary of my first date with my husband. May 16th was the fifteenth anniversary of my college graduation. I feel like I’m getting old! And, it is weird to think about how close that college student girl feels and also how very far away she feels. My parents both turned 60—I had a surprise party/healing ritual for my mom as part of our spring women’s retreat as well as a ceremony for our 12-year-old work party friend whose birthday was the same day. On Mother’s Day, we had a family memorial ceremony for my grandma. In the middle of all these celebrations, I’ve been wrapping up the school session (including grading almost 100 papers…split up in two batches of almost 50), preparing for the summer school session, plotting with Mark about him quitting his job, trying to help motherbabies breastfeed happily, trying to stick with some kind of homeschool “schedule” for my kids (using the term extremely loosely). Oh yeah, and my tiny little sweet daughter also had major dental work under general anesthesia last Tuesday. One of my Facebook friends pointed out that no wonder I’ve been feeling taxed. Yeah, duh. I don’t know why I can’t extend myself that grace. Instead, I’ve been berating myself at various intervals about my “inability” to handle it all. I’ve also been planning our big trip to California. $2300 later and WAY too many hours thinking, checking, and strategizing, I ended up with five plane tickets and we’re going. We decided to to go ahead and make a full vacation out of it—Disneyland, tourmaline mining, Legoland, and Pismo Beach! My grandma’s committal service (which I am planning and facilitating) and her celebration of life luncheon is in Fresno in the middle of our trip.

This week as I tried to finish those last bleeping papers, I found out that I’d made a mistake with our plane tickets—having a p.m. flight from San Diego to Fresno rather than the a.m. flight I thought we had. I almost lost it. Flipped out. I’m serious. I felt like I had officially exceeded my actual ability to cope and that I may possibly break down in some way. More. Than. Humanly. Possible. To. Handle. As it was, we made the semi-bizarre choice toΒ just buy some new tickets that restored the “rightful” a.m. flight schedule. These middle-of-the-journey tickets were only $68 each and we decided it was really a fairly trivial amount and we should just do it. We’re taking our family of five to CA with carry-on luggage only and we’re packing like a boss! Seriously, we’re rocking this thing.

Oh, and just this afternoon I also finished my twelfth class for my D.Min degree. I’ve got about 14 left, plus my dissertation. I have three in progress and signed up for two more to start during the summer session. How do I do it?!?!? Heck if I know. πŸ˜‰ Maybe it is time to feel impressed at my own capacities again rather than mad at myself for not getting more done, for being “behind,” for staying up too late, for taking too long to return phone calls, for leaving some emails unanswered and books unreviewed, for being sometimes short-tempered, for screwing up a.m. and p.m., for not getting around to the blog posts I’d hoped to write, for not keeping up with requests for new sculptures, for not having a birthday surprise of some kind for my dad too, and for never feeling “finished” enough to rest.

Here is what I originally swiped from my Facebook to share about my birthday:

Uh oh. I spent the first 8 minutes of my 35th year still working on these dang bibliographies. This has been my worst/least productive grading stint yet (the CA trip planning/purchasing ate up my usual “free” day). I’m determined to have a FREE day tomorrow (okay, technically, today, but it doesn’t count until I go to bed!)–I’m going to wallow around in books and listen to guided meditations (you know, with the three kids climbing on me!) and plan rituals and celebrations and not do anything I don’t feel like doing πŸ™‚

It is SO flipping hard to focus on grading these bibliographies when my brain is turning over Disneyland plans, hotel reservations, car rental, and also finding just the *right* stuff for my grandma’s memorial service. The good news is that I have some really rocking students this session and they make some of the grading easy!

Later update:

Thirty-four years ago I was born! As my birthday present to myself, I DID manage to finish grading the last bibliographies and I’m taking the day off to hang around and wallow in books. I think I might do a tech-off day (or, at least, a class-off day!) Oh, and I bought two tiny little Japanese dolls for myself at Goodwill too. I do birthdays right!

When I wake up and hear rainfall on my birthday I always feel like the planet is wishing me a happy birthday too (there was a heavy rainstorm the day I was born). Alaina told me I should have a cake with “nonnie babies” on it. On my actual birthday, my mom took me to a tea room in a neighboring town for a birthday lunch and then I came home with three kinds of tea and the kids and I had a tea party! (in many ways an excuse to eat sugar cubes and this involves sort of obsessive negotiation over them rather than just enjoying ourselves!) I asked the boys if they would play with Alaina so I could have an easier time getting ready to go. After about ten minutes, Lann said, “whew, she’s pretty much like an energy tick.” I rolled! I love having a nine-year-old and a toddler. So much different and easier than having a toddler and a preschooler was.

Okay, so here is a gallery of the pictures I meant to post on several occasions, plus some more I just added in today:

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