Chasing Contentment

Saturday, June 30

We all went to see "Ratatouille" today, and Eliza sat through the entire movie... you know, the way a three-year-old sits through a movie a little at a time in each person's lap. We have just all had a lovely day.

And tomorrow, we're going to church. (And then in the afternoon, I have to go to work. But I'm not going to think about that today.) Today, we're having fun.

(Oh... and Val commented on my previous post about tattoos & asked if I got one. I didn't. I did some research and discovered that some people can have reactions to the ink as late as five years after the application. And as my friend, Linda, says, my body will react badly to pretty much anything. So I found an online store that sells good temporary tatts, and I bought a few of those to play with. And I got a really groovy one for when we go to the beach in July.)

Now, I've gotta go convince Eliza to take a bath. Then, in another 30 minutes, we'll have to convince her to get out. It's always something with her.

[  posted by Chel on Saturday, June 30, 2007  ]

Friday, June 29

For the first time in forever, I've made some new pieces of jewelry, and I remember how much I enjoy the process. Here are some pictures of the results of this week.
This bracelet is made with pink and purple mother of pearl shells with a sterling toggle.
This necklace has a prayer box pendant that I think is really great.

And this is my funky bracelet for the week. It's got colored glass beads and lampwork bubble beads with a way cool sterling pendant and bug dangle.

I also made a very groovy ankle bracelet for the summer, but it fell behind the shoe case in my closet this morning, so no pictures yet. One of my weekend projects will be to move that so I can get the bracelet.

If I had any business sense at all, I'd figure out how to promote my jewelry website and sell more jewelry than I give away (my current business model).

[  posted by Chel on Friday, June 29, 2007  ]

Thursday, June 28

We're all watching the Astros (Biggio's chasing 3000), and everyone but me is playing Pokemon Yahtzee. I'm going to have to go join them soon so I'll quit bidding on vintage buttons on Ebay. I do wish I had all of the buttons my Gran must have had from all of her years of sewing. Old buttons make the grooviest jewelry!

I got two freelance writing stories, which was good for my ego. And I'm working to do more creative things in the evenings to try to feed that creative need.

And now... I hear Yahtzee calling me. ... Or maybe one more button bid...

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, June 28, 2007  ]

Tuesday, June 26

Mandy and I have had such fun buying matching outfits for the girls. Princess Olivia is at the top, and Pouty Princess Eliza is lounging on her sofa-throne.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, June 26, 2007  ]

We're going a little Harry Potter crazy in our house these days. Mike and I keep swapping theories about what will happen in the next book. I've got my ideal scenario, and I've got my next theory and so on. And we keep comparing who we think will die. We can hardly wait.

I've got a sitter coming the Friday night of the opening of the new movie, and I've taken off the Monday after the book comes out (we're headed to the beach that weekend & I won't get to read the book until we get back on Sunday... what lousy planning was that on my part?). Mike and I have agreed that he can have the book during the days while I'm at work, but it's mine as soon as I get home.

I can just hardly wait. This may be the pinaccle of my summer. I am such a dork.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, June 26, 2007  ]

Sunday, June 24

Today is our official one year anniversary here in Florida.

On the way home from picking up the boys at the airport yesterday, Griff told me that he wished we still lived in Louisiana. And Griff's friend, Will, told Mike last week that he wished Mike hadn't gotten his doctorate because if he hadn't, we'd still live there. So there's still some adjusting for all of us to do.

Now, on the flip side, Eliza has stopped referring to this house as her 'new house,' and I consider that a big step in the right direction. She's young enough that she won't remember our time in Louisiana, and this will always be home to her. The rest of us will get there.

I told Griff yesterday that this first year here was about us getting our bearings, about us getting settled. This next year is going to be our year to shine, to figure out what we love about Florida and what Florida loves about us.

I've got a list of 101 Things to do in 1001 Days, and I think what we need is a list of things to do in our second year in Florida. So here goes...

Chel's Second Year in Florida Lovin' It List
1. Find a church and immerse ourselves in it.
2. Pick a favorite pizza place.
3. Plant a lime tree.
4. Get Mike to fix the flag hanger, so I can fly the flag.
5. Take a beading class.
6. Take several yoga classes.
7. Frequent the downtown farmer's market so we can eat healthier.
8. Do more things together as a family... see more movies, play putt-putt, go to the park. (Griff's suggestion)
9. Find a family we could be friends with... for all of us. (Mike's suggestion)
10. Go to the library more. I'd like to join a book club... maybe find or start one for Griff, too. (Griff's suggestion)
11. Fix a patio-type thing for Mike's grill next to the back porch.
12. Attend all of the local festivals, outdoor concerts, and the like that we can.
13. Develop a monthly ritual for the four of us.
14. Volunteer.
15. Find ways to make our home greener.
16. Find a job I don't hate.

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, June 24, 2007  ]

Friday, June 22

My boys will be coming home tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to seeing them. Of course, all of my big plans for my week alone didn't come to fruition. I was going to clean the house, do some beading, read a book, watch some chick flicks, make some cards to send to friends...

But not so much. One night I played online... one night I watched SVU reruns on USA, and then last night I was so tired after being awake with Eliza the night before that I went to sleep early. And I'm guessing I won't manage to fit all of those things in tonight after she goes to bed.

But Griff and his friend have had a really good time, and Mike seems to be enjoying his time, as well. I'm glad we did this.

But I'm even happier that they're coming home tomorrow.

[  posted by Chel on Friday, June 22, 2007  ]

Thursday, June 21

At some point, I'm going to learn to be careful what I wish for... or even what I tease about doing. Because I just might get my wish, only not in the way I wanted.

I prayed for a job doing something different in a place where Christianity wasn't the norm so I could be of use to God. I got my wish with this particular job. I just didn't know getting my wish would make me so miserable.

And I've been teasing that I was going to quit this week while Mike was gone and just stay home and watch "Dora" all day with Eliza. Turns out, I'm staying home and watching tv all day with Eliza... because she was up throwing up last night, running a fever.

Dosing out Motrin and washing sheets not so much my plan. Figures, doesn't it?

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, June 21, 2007  ]

Wednesday, June 20

A year ago this week, we were all staying with Mandy and Josh waiting for the van to get fixed, so we could make the trip here to Florida. It was a long, stressful week in which the bright spot was Mandy and Josh's hospitality.

This week, they're hosting us again. Well, some of us. Griff and Mike flew back there yesterday and are spending the week visiting with friends. They got to meet Olivia yesterday, and Josh said Griff played with Olivia just great.

I got an email today from Griff's friend's mom...
Michele - Griff is with us and we are having a great time. It is sooo good to see them together again. We ate at Picadilly for lunch today and Griff was so happy. They are presently watching "Bridge to Terabithia." And then off to baseball practice. I promised snow cones on the way! It's like he and Will were never separated. Thanks again for letting him stay with us. D

I cannot express how happy that makes me. Now, it makes me cry...wish we weren't all separated - both my little family and our family and friends...wish I were there, too... wish things weren't so hard here. But in the end, this trip was for Griff, and I know it's doing him good.

Our new habit in the mornings is for Mike to tell me on my way out the door, "don't quit today." It's a half-teasing, half-truthful request. This morning, I checked my email to see if Josh had sent photos of Griff and Olivia (he hadn't... having too much fun playing with them, I guess) and was delighted to find an email from Mike... reminding me not to quit to day. It made me smile.

I assured him I would go in tomorrow but could not promise to stay. Now that I've got a memo in my file about something I did wrong (apparently, the mythical 'permanent record' exists in my new company) along with a formal complaint about me, the company may decide to let me go. If they'd go ahead with it, Eliza and I could spend the rest of the week watching "Dora" in our jammies. I'd be okay with that.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, June 20, 2007  ]

Sunday, June 17

Today, our Griffin is 9 years old. It is so hard for me to believe that so many years have passed since he first joined our little family. He is astounding to me... so much like both me and his daddy. I am deeply, humbly grateful for him.

He was two (maybe three) when this picture was taken at a football game by one of Mike's students, and it's one of my all-time favorites of him. At that time, we still thought it would always be just the three of us (little did we know!).

He is smart and inquisitive... kind and sensitive... funny and interesting. I am delighted to say I actually enjoy him, not simply because he is mine but also because he is who he is.

Happy Birthday, Griffman.

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, June 17, 2007  ]

Saturday, June 16

I've always said I wanted a tattoo, but I've never been brave enough to get one. Mandy and I once even went as far as to go to the tatt place, but the wait was too long, and I'm not a patient girl.

But now that we've moved, I think about it more often, and I told Mike I'm going to get one next week while he and Griff are in Louisiana. Mike likes to bring up the fact that my body reacts badly to ... well, most everything ... and that of all people who shouldn't get a tatt, it's me. So in an effort to be patient, I ordered a bunch of groovy temporary tatts to appease my longings.

Now, of course, when my handsome voice of reason isn't in my house any longer next week... while he's seeing people I wish I was seeing and eating at restaurants I wish I was eating at ... I might just lapse into a general lack of reason and quit my job and get a groovy tattoo. And then Eliza and I will spend a few lovely days watching "Dora."

No wonder Mike seems a little leery of leaving me and Eliza alone next week.

[  posted by Chel on Saturday, June 16, 2007  ]

Friday, June 15

It's been a busy week here...

Last Sunday afternoon, we finally found a Wii and bought it for Griff for his birthday. Pretty much, we've spent all week working to find time to play. I swear, I hate video games, but this thing is addictive. We're all playing. I'm playing so much that I've got Wii ankle from stepping into my swing on Wii baseball (Mike's got Wii elbow from playing too much Wii tennis)... how embarrassing is that?! But we've had a good time!

On the job front, I had the interview for the administrative assistant position at my company, and I didn't get it (I didn't actually have any experience in that particular division), but the vice president did call me today and tell me that she was going to keep my resume and recommend me if something else came up in her area, which I thought was good.

I also got called today for a group interview (which is a nutty concept) for a community relations position at a local community college. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to go because 'community relations' seems to be code for 'admissions counselor,' and I'm not that bad off at work now.

And I can honestly say that I now have two work friends, and that's progress. It makes me smile to realize that I've met really neat people who seem to really like me.

This Sunday, Griff turns nine, and I can hardly believe he's that old! We've got the cousins this weekend for the celebration, and I suppose I should go make dinner for all of us.

Or I could get in line to play the winner of this Wii baseball game.

[  posted by Chel on Friday, June 15, 2007  ]

Tuesday, June 12

Today was such a better day at work. Most of it, admittedly, has to do with my mindset. Now, the new mindset that made me happier isn't necessarily one that Mike agrees with, but for now, I'm okay with that.

I got information on how to cash in my 403(b), and while I know that isn't a great plan due to all of the penalties and all, but it is comforting to know it's an option. There's something nice about having options, even if they're far-fetched and penalty-ridden.

But with that option in my back pocket and with a bunch of applications submitted over the weekend, I've decided that if something pushes me too much (or that one really annoying man calls me yet again to yell at me), I'll just quit. Sure, there are flaws with the theory, but it made my day easier. And I'll take whatever I can at this point.

And, in the legitimately good category, I posted for another job within the company, and I have an interview for it tomorrow. So we'll all say a little prayer for that, and we'll keep that penalty-laden option just in case.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, June 12, 2007  ]

Monday, June 11

For the first time in my life, I called in sick... when I wasn't.

I just couldn't face going to work today. So I've stayed home, and I've applied for jobs and found out that it really is a bad move to cash out my 403(b) (though I'm still considering it). I've rested and played. And it's been really nice.

Now, tomorrow, I won't want to go to work either. But I will. And I'll just keep praying God provides me with something else soon.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, June 11, 2007  ]

Thursday, June 7

We were alerted today at work of another meeting tomorrow and another round of goals and deadlines that I'm quite sure I cannot meet without working obscene hours between now and next Thursday. I told Mike tonight that we need to discuss what I will do... at this point, I'm seriously looking at needing to make a conscious decision about how I will proceed.

I either decide to do what it takes - including working all of the necessary hours - to get the job done the way management wants it done or I have to decide to do what I can while working as hard as I can for as many hours as are feasible for my family.

And because Mike would prefer to addres everything by not addressing it, and I'm too tired at the moment to push the issue, we're watching the season finale of "House" on TiVo instead. Maybe after it's over.

Mike has been pretty fabulous with all of this, though, I have to admit. When I was finally able to admit that neither God nor I was angry in this (let's hope I'm right on the God not being angry with me thing), I was able to ask Mike to pray for us when I couldn't. And each night, he said a prayer over me, for me. And that was precious beyond words.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, June 07, 2007  ]

Wednesday, June 6

Griff and I are listening to a little Jimmy Buffet ("Math Suks" and "I Will Play for Gumbo," thanks to iTunes) while he reads (a new book by the Fonz), and I think about how to say what's going on here.

I'm doing better these days. Many thanks to those sweet people who left a comment or who emailed me to see how things were. I had a wide array of friends tell me that they thought it was okay to be mad at God, as long as I was honest with Him about it. And I was honest... with God, with Mike, with those of you who've been reading here.

My job isn't any better. But I've come to some important realizations about that. First, I am good at several portions of the job itself. And with time, I could become good at the other areas, too. But I personally have more than 200 cases, and I honestly cannot handle the load. I tend to focus on the quality of my work, while the company's looking for quantity. And I'm finding that I don't adjust to that very well.

I also don't thrive in an environment where all of the motivation is laced with a little fear. And there's a lot of that.

So, I do realize now that maybe it's less that I'm failing at this job and maybe more simply that this job and I aren't so much compatible.

And... yep, here it is... I'm not angry with God any longer. After I decided that, I did think that maybe God was mad at me. And I couldn't figure out why. Much like Job, I did some yelling and crying, trying to figure out what I did wrong. But when I was telling Mike about how God was mad at me, he asked me if God was mad at a friend of mine who is having marital difficulties.

Of course, not! Oh, yeah. The Chel double standard. Ok, so maybe God's not mad at me. So if I'm not mad at God and He's not mad at God, where does that leave me? To be honest, I don't know. I'm not happy with this current situation. But I'm honest about it, and I'm willing to say that God has plans I cannot envision. And I'm willing to give this life over to Him, whatever that means.

Now, I'm not trying to say that I don't have this perpetual headache or these icky morning butterflies in my tummy every morning as I leave for work when everyone else is my house is still in bed. And I'm not saying that my tears have dried, but at least maybe I can accept them better.

Now, I've got to take my tired tush (I gave blood at work today & I always get really tired after) to bed while Mike watches the Astros. (Go 'Stros)

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, June 06, 2007  ]