multi-tasking

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Yesterday I took the fifth exam in this seven exam stretch, and it was certainly the hardest one to prepare for, and not particularly fun to take. I felt very good about my preparation levels and recall ability on about 90% of the test, but the other 10% was a big, flustery mess and I ran out of time at the end, and will likely have to retake it. I was a little frustrated afterwards, but I brushed it off and am ready to dive into the next one. I’m telling myself these last two should be easier, and willing myself to find the energy and the stamina to get through them.

I really, really miss writing here. I wish I could be some sort of super woman and find the time to continue to post regularly in this space. There are many, many things I’d like to be doing right now other than test prep, but I’m forcing myself to really focus on the basics right now. We are trying to continue to eat well, exercise when we are able, spend time with the girls, catch up occasionally with friends and the laundry and the bills. I’ve gotten really good at studying while doing other things – flashcards at the park, during soccer games, at ballet class. E and I work side by side on our test problems, and occasionally she calls out a few flashcards for me. We are making it work, but sometimes just barely. Sometimes I’m just so tired and my head is so full that the words that come out of my mouth don’t make sense and everyone laughs. Sometimes I start to write a post like this and I’m just so exhausted I don’t even know how to neatly tie up the ending. I should just let it be that. This is what it is, and I’m giving my all at reading and walking at the same time.

the most beautiful day of the year

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Monday night, when we were sitting down to a late dinner together, I started to tell you a story before you cut me off. You asked if I was going to really start our anniversary dinner date with a reference to NPR (yes, I was) and so it seems fitting to start this anniversary letter to you (on the actual day) with another public radio reference. I was listening to an interview last week with one of the organizers of The Great Forest Park Balloon Race, and he was talking about what a miserable event it used to be many years ago. It was held in November, and the weather was always terrible and no one wanted to participate. So they asked the local weather service for the most beautiful day of the year, and they told him it was the 23rd of September. The race was moved to the closest weekend to that date in September and it’s been a roaring success ever since.

I smiled when I heard that part of the story because it affirmed what I’ve always thought to be true. When faced with choosing the a date to get married, we chose the most beautiful. Then I laughed when I remembered the other thing we soon found out about our wedding date. We went to the bookstore to pick up a travel guide about the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean to visit for our honeymoon and we soon discovered that most were closed or very, very inexpensive to visit in late September. It didn’t take us too long to figure it out. In 2000, the date associated with the largest amount of hurricane destruction was September 23rd. We had simultaneously selected the most beautiful and the most turbulent day to get married. We stuck with the date and started planning our honeymoon in Canada.

I know you thought it was a little weird that I picked out an anniversary card that had rain on the front of it, and two people standing under an umbrella. It seems a little strange to equate love and marriage with a rainstorm, at least on the a day when you are supposed to be celebrating another year of marital bliss. But as soon as I saw that card I knew it was perfect. This has been a tough, tough year. Intense loss and grief, stumbling through the holidays, dealing with some pretty intense stress at work, surgery that left me unable to walk or drive, and now so much of our free time I spend surrounded by notebooks and exam materials. There have been a lot of rough storms – it’s just been a turbulent year.

It’s also been our best year, I think. When I’m so absolutely worn out and ready to throw in the towel, you walk by and encourage me to keep going, and to make whatever I’m working on a little bigger and better. You send me off to each exam by telling me you’ve got this, and then I do. You’ve (literally) carried me more this year than any other. Not the romantic carrying across thresholds, but the real carrying – up stairs, down stairs, to the car, the doctor, the toilet. You’ve carried other loads so that I can run a little longer, work a little harder, study a little more. You’ve carried that umbrella – it’s what you do. It’s what we do, and we’ve done it better this year than we’ve ever done it before.

I love you, and I’m so grateful for that beautiful, turbulent day we picked so many years ago.

extra curricular, in pictures

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F’s been talking about soccer / dance / violin for ages now, but as I mentioned before, I underestimated her excitement about embarking on these new adventures. She walked right into her ballet class on Saturday morning and stood on the spot that was front and center. When the class lined up to do anything, she was first in line, immediately behind the instructor. For forty-five minutes she followed every single instruction, curved fingers and elbows, tapped (and didn’t tap) as instructed.

I haven’t seen as much of her violin work yet – in those early days they are learning how to hold a violin, the parts of the violin, and most importantly, how not to break it. So far it appears to still be intact, so that’s success. F’s anxious to move on to making some real music.

F has not been into soccer practice so much. I’ve heard she spends about as much time sulking on the sidelines, digging in the dirt. Practice is just an hour, once a week, but her days are long and she’s tired and hungry. Plus her dad is helping to coach, so there’s a formula for head butting right there. But the game? Oh, she loved her game. She still wakes up and talks about it with me. She loved playing goalie, throwing herself on the ball as it got near her. And she’s a talker -positioning herself perfectly for incoming balls - I’m open! I’m open! But what she really wants to do? Score.

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