Hey, what happened to my garden?

By Mozzercork via Creative Commons

I’m reading quite a bit online lately from other bloggers about the state of blogging. They ask: What’s next? Why am I still doing this? Should I be making money and growing my following?

Some have closed their blogs. Others have renamed and relocated under new identities. Some have cut back on their posting frequency. Some have changed the focus of their sites.

Lately I’m regarding this site as I do my seasonal garden. It goes through cycles, from birth and the early excitement of new growth, to the steady maintenance of its peak season, to the realization that the peak is followed by a slide toward dormancy. I don’t know what I’m going to do next. What I do know is that my life today is nothing compared with what it was when I started this blog in May 2007. Back then I had hours to burn. I was lonely and bored.

Today, I am more like a sweating and exhausted gerbil on a squeaky treadmill. My blog always seems to be on the other side of the glass enclosure. I start a post and something else comes up. I hit save and click away or close the lid of the laptop.

My blog is not the only thing that suffers.

Last week? I  almost missed Girl from the West’s road test due to a misguided attempt to multi-task on a rainy Saturday.

And then, later on after she passed the road test, I could not take her to get her first, official driver’s license because I could not find her Social Security card.

After that, I took her shopping for her homecoming dress and accessories. When we came home, being the neurotic that I am, I quickly gathered up all the plastic bags and boxes and broke them all down and placed them in the recycling bin and trash can. I used one of the plastic bags to empty the cat litter pans.

A day later, Girl from the West notices that one of the items is not working properly and should be returned to the store. Except … the box is cut into pieces the bag is filled with cat poop and the receipt is buried under the aforementioned cat waste. Furthermore, the garbage and recycling trucks have already made their rounds. All of it is gone.

Needless to say, she is more than angry with me. I’m angry with me, too.

Does it sound lame to say I once was an organized person? I was. I had to be. It was part of my job to be an organized multi-tasker.  I was organized enough to complete the tiring, complicated paperwork process of international adoption.

When we crossed the threshold into our home as a family of four, my organization fell to the floor along with the sour-smelling clothes from that 13-hour flight. I have not been able to get that mojo back.

What I’ve learned is that being the mother of two children, including one whose work and school are 25 miles from my house,  has proved to be my breaking point.  What I’ve learned is that in my hope of finding my place in the world, which I thought was not the workplace but maybe at home, is now up in the air. I cannot go back to the cubicle world. Being a stay at home mom has not been a highly successful endeavor for me, either. I’m hoping to find a balance somewhere.

I’m not sure what has happened. Is it mid-life brain rot? Is it the stress of the economy?  Is it because I can’t accept the reality of my situation and I keep thinking if I do this, sign up for that, join this group, I’ll find the glue I need to bind it all together?

I’ll keep you posted.

It might be a while.

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Weather inside is frightful


By Bearn via Creative Commons

It is almost impossible to fathom how I earned that little black and white NaBloPoMo badge down on the right sidebar of this blog. That widget means I posted every day for a month in November 2008. Thirty posts in 30 days. I posted seven times this November.

Does it matter? My philosophy is post as often as you have something quality to share. That is now at odds with the conventional wisdom that in order for a blog to matter it must have traffic and be findable by search engines. My blog is now in competition with other things in my life. Where it once filled a void, it’s now moved near the bottom of my to-do list.

I’ve taken on quite a bit in the last few months. I’ve committed to things that are for the greater good. Except sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like I’m being crushed under the weight of responsibility and promises and commitments. I am determined to find a way to make it all work. There are other unfathomables right now:

I heard on the radio today callers bragging how they maybe worked three hours on Cyber Monday, devoting the rest of the paid work day to Christmas shopping online or gabbing on social media sites. I had a hard time swallowing this information given the number of people out of work right now, the number of people just in the last few weeks who’ve either lost medical coverage, had one of their utilities shut off or were forced to leave family and friends for a less-than-stellar job out of the state.

In some ways, the very idea of a day set aside for the pursuit of spending money is almost beyond my grasp. This will be our second Christmas under very tight budgetary constraints. Last year we were caught off guard and I was devastated. This year, I know how it will be and almost welcome it as an opportunity to put the holidays in proper perspective. I long for a simple, meaningful holiday that reflects the true nature of the season.

On the subject of jobs and tight budgets, we had a strange spectacle in our town that barely registered on most people’s radar screens but for those in the know, it was a seismic jolt. It’s unfathomable to me how two people can blow into our town  and convince another group of people, many of whom were the best and brightest in their field, to join what sounded like a fool’s errand.

Over the last few months I listened as former colleagues and friends wrestled with their decision to jump on board or walk away from this crazy scheme. Part of me — my heart, my pride — was sad and angry that I was not among those hand-picked to be a part of this wild idea. Another part — my gut — told me that to listen to these promises, to throw caution out the window was something I’d walked away from three years ago. I would not, could not go back to what I suspected would be more of the same.

In the end, those of us who stood back with our doubts and concerns watched the worst-case scenario play out. We felt for those who ultimately were duped or blinded by a crazy hope and desire to get back that which is lost. It’s one thing to hear the king is dead. It’s another to touch his rotting corpse.

While I survived the first round of the holiday season, I’m not sure I came out in one piece. The amount of anxiety that preceded this week was self-imposed for the most part in preparation for what I imagined to be a very stressful few days. I know I overindulged in food and drink in an effort to keep my mouth occupied and out of trouble and my vision blurred enough to avoid reality.

But damn you, Facebook, and your photo tagging that blasts though the fog of denial and thrusts the truth in my face.