This past weekend we went to Normandy for a church retreat – to Forges-les-Eaux. It was a lot of fun. There was this old structure in place that I erroneously took for a sheep shearing centre -
especially with the word “mouton” written on top, which means “sheep”
and a big wheel that looked like a horizontal loom.
Makes sense right?
Actually – it was not for sheep, it was for apples. The “mouton” is a technical name. This is used for … actually I have no idea what they do with the apples here . . .
but over here they turn that huge stone wheel, which presses the apples into juice. (This should all be in the passé, actually, since they have more modern methods now). And that’s how they made the Normandy cider – the alcoholic (bubbly, I think) apple cider that comes principally from Normandy and Brittany.
That’s one little glimpse from our trip. I’ll share more photos next week.
I have hit the threshold, guys. I have reached the limit of my capacity that I’m able to do without scaling back (and therefore letting people? myself? down). In fact, I’ve tipped the scales. I’m over the threshold – all the juice squeezed out like all those apples. Each morning (freshly fueled with coffee) I think – no, no. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. I can stick to what I’ve agreed to. I can do it all. And each night, the stretched out, throbbing, lumpy pieces of flesh that were once me protest that something has to go.
(I just wrote with a few metaphors, anthropomorphism, synecdoche and imagery – oh yes, I did).
Okay, let me tell you what’s going on. Well . . . this is really just for myself, because I still have trouble believing that it has come to this and I can’t do it all. You can skim til I get to the point.
In the area of writing:
I have stepped it up on my blog, promising four categories of posts a week (Faith, Food, France, Family). I’m very excited about that, and to this end my blog is being redesigned. But because my blog is being redesigned, I’m researching exactly what I want and trying to communicate it to the designer (to varying degrees of success).
My editor is almost finished with the memoir and I have to start implementing changes. The good news is that there are no major re-writes. The bad news is that I need to go through again, from start to finish and make small changes for coherency. I also need to start communicating with her and the designer for layout, cover design and marketing.
The anthology that I contributed to is coming out soon. I’ll let you know. It’s going to be an amazing support for mothers who are grieving – losses ranging from infertility to losing a grown child. But I’ve been contributing final edits, final thoughts, etc.
I’m starting to contribute regularly to Queen Latifah’s website. Nothing set in stone yet, but there will be another recipe coming out soon. I don’t have to do that, but it makes me feel important. (Okay, I’m laughing at myself here – feel free to join in).
There are two more anthologies I’ve either submitted to and am waiting to hear, or am working on finishing up a piece. Of course I don’t have to do that either, but it’s hard to scale back when you have amazing opportunities.
In the area of teaching:
As I have for the past four years, I teach five classes in the home for children in the area – up to grade six. One class is Monday after school (Gabriel attends, the others hang out in their rooms). Two are on Wednesday in between my own kids’ activities. And two are Saturday morning. This requires some preparation, and – of course – actually cleaning my house.
I have just added on two days a week teaching at a private bilingual school nearby – tutoring one-on-one. Eventually, I’ll have enough students for it to be two full days, but for now, it’s just a couple to start out with.
The thing is, this is WAY out of my league. We’re out of basic ESL and have walked into literary analysis. My first day, I couldn’t even fake my way through my own ignorance. But with the help of friends (Angie, Katie) I now have a list of literary devices. And I can actually figure out what the WWI poems are talking about. And I can sort of identify the literary devices in the poem. This is going to take major work, however. I need to read every single thing they are and come to sessions prepared.
This also means the only two days I don’t teach are Friday and Sunday (and not even every Sunday because sometimes we teach kids class at church).
In the area of church:
We will continue our Friday Bible discussions at our house (with a meal). We do like that. But, you know, I need to cook and clean. And how can I say no when a sweet friend wants me to teach her the Bible because she trusts me? I can’t, because I’m so honored and I love to do it. So there are those little meetings to squeeze in.
My faith posts involve a lot of study and prayer, so it’s more work than my usual posts just taking pictures of the dog.
And then there is that little extra involvement that comes with being part of a family of God, as opposed to a church you attend once a week. (I’ve experienced both).
In the area of family, house, dog:
The kids each have 2-3 activities per week. Most of that is on Wednesday when there is no school (the day goes from 9 to 6). There’s also Tuesday evening, making Thursday the only day when there is no rushing around after school. And then there’s Saturday afternoon. Their homework is starting to become demanding, and we’ve no added on music theory and instruments to the daily mix of fun.
The dog needs his daily runs. My husband has picked up the pace now that I’m working more, but he will also have to travel. The hedges need to be trimmed, fertilizer put in – you know, stuff like that. However, we only have Saturday and Sunday afternoon to do it (and that is in between music and dance and other activities).
And you know laundry … especially when there is a reluctant night-time potty trainer. Daily sheets?
You know why I’m last, right? I’m the mom?
Anyway, I don’t even know what to say here. So I won’t.
Except that I can’t even joke anymore about the carpal tunnel that I’m ignoring. If I don’t slow down, I’ll need to go to the physical therapist.
For one thing, my next post will be next Thursday so I can rest my hands. And? The bottom line is, I don’t have time to read other people’s blogs anymore and that makes me feel so guilty.
Except for the first week of blogging when I thought the world would flock to my brilliance, I learned the hard way that we’re all talented and we all work hard, and if I want recognition so does everyone else. Part of blogging is sharing and reading and supporting. And I can no longer do that – not in the way I want to. Not in the form of following my netvibes account and systematically reading all the people who read me.
I know I have readers who don’t have blogs – who don’t read me because I read them back. There are even gracious souls who have a blog and who don’t expect me to read theirs. But I cannot blame any one of you who wants to stop reading my blog because I cannot support yours (except maybe a handful, from time to time). I understand you – I think it’s fair.
But as for me, I don’t want to give up writing just because I no longer have enough time to support everyone else. It’s selfish, but I write for me and it brings me so much joy. I’m going to keep blogging and doing what I can to be a friend, but I’ve got to let go of the guilt and the pressure.
I’ve reached my threshold.