Friday, February 26, 2010

I Feel Dirty

Made with white meat pieces of humanely farm raised chickens.
Breaded with whole grain goodness.
Containing no trans fats, obscure corn products or unrecognizable ingredients.
Served by a loving mother with a side of steamed sweet peas.

I still feel dirty.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Kind of Able Are You?

Are you uncomfortable?  Or are you trying to get comfortable?  Both states put you in a place where you are not feeling your best but it's really about the activity involved.  Are you fixed or moving?  Lost and crying or lost but searching? 

"I'm uncomfortable," she says to me.  But then she doesn't move an inch.  She stays exactly where she is and doesn't make a change!  Now we're just talking about a couch here people but seriously...that's an easy one!  What good is it to know you're not happy if you have no plan to get happy?  Wouldn't it be easier to just not know?   

We all just want to be comfortable...on our couch, in our skin, in our marriage, in our job, with our finances, in our faith.  Comfortable.  Simple.

"I'm not comfortable yet, but I'm working on it," I say to myself about quite a few things in my life these days.  I stand up in front of a little cooking club every week and talk about the Point of everything and I'm still struggling with my relationship to food.  I'm liable to get myself in trouble for this one, but I'm struggling with women lately and how much work they are, but I haven't given up on them.  Spiritually, I'm struggling with a Practice that feels so much like practice that I'm wondering when the real game starts.  Uncomfortable, but active.  The struggle at least moves me somewhere.  That's what determines what kind of "able" I am.

So what are you?  Are you uncomfortable or are you getting comfortable?  Are you going to stay how you are or will you make a change?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Time for Company Again

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~
It's a relief, really.  To think that I am not always responsible for these mournings that arrive at my door.  My part is to respond, to accommodate, to entertain, to treat each guest honorably.  I did not create them but I am to house them for a time and shape my actions.  Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in because I am comfortable in my space and my task is to show them how it is with me and then to say good-bye when they leave...because this is not their residence, they do not come to stay.  

Some guests may leave their mark, use up all of my amenities, take more service out of my rooms than I thought I had to give.  Some guests joyously return often and stay long and every knock at my door is answered with the hope that it is they that stand there and wait to be let in.

I got a knock on my door yesterday from a guest that arrived far ahead of schedule.  I was cleared out.  Emptied.  But thrilled and excited to greet this unexpected arrival.  Grateful for this coming, but awake all night thinking about the best way to entertain my thoughts.  Am I being cleared out for some new delight?  I will not close my door.  I will not tell the world I have no space for guests.  In my house, uncertainty does not come to stay and doubt does not reside for long.

This being human is a guest house.      

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Fun and Games

I am a self diagnosed Olympics addict!  Volleyball and diving in August or skiing and sledding in February, I love it all.  For the next 2 weeks I will be parked in front of the television getting my money's worth out of the check I send to the satellite company every month, watching every minute of TV coverage.  I don't care which event it is, I don't care which country is the favorite or who is racing down the track...I'll be watching it.  I regularly cry at those short pieces the networks put together on scenery, event history, athlete's personal stories...they destroy me, I weep at all of it.  I watch every single televised medal ceremony and I'm simply overcome with pride for all the medal winners.  I am getting goosebumps right now just thinking about it.  I actually need tissues to get through the parade of nations.  Pathetic.  I know. 

I have now watched the Opening Ceremonies, all 4+ hours of it, twice.  When I watched it with my girls, they really got into the spirit.  Minnie was particularly fascinated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  After they marched across the ice carrying the flag, she marched around the corner and came back dressed as one of them yelling, "Mounty!  Mounty!"

Not to be outdone, Mona got her grove on with an aboriginal dance complete with headdress.

Marge decided, in a last minute effort to not be left out of the action, to don her winter gear and Mommy's sunglasses and channel the super cool, pink haired styling of Freestyle Skier Shannon Bahrke.

I love the Olympic Games!  Love!  This will not be the last you hear from me on this topic!  Love!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

He Let Me Down...Again.

Sometimes you're just sitting there and a song comes on (go here if you need to hear it, but it's not necessary for what I need to say)...and it makes you think...and then you well up just a bit in the middle, of course...and then you realize something...

Loving me is a lot of work.  I'm prone to jumping to conclusions, fits of screaming, flying off the handle, leaping without looking, rushing in, living on the verge...blahblahblah...a lot of work.  He's amazing at the job of loving me though, this man I share my life with.  He never fails to let me down...just when I need him to.

I didn't know I needed him to be my parachute.  He knew.  Nearly 15 years ago he looked right into me one day and told me he knew how I was and that he was exactly what I was looking for.  He knew it was going to be a ride.  He knew he was looking for that kind of ride.  He knew he had wide enough arms to open up and let me down.  He knew.  

His hand in all of this is amazing because he doesn't stop me from jumping.  He just lets me down.  Slower.  With his words, and his patience, and his confidence and the joy I know he gets from the ride sometimes, he lets me down and makes the descent go slower.  Slower so I can take time to get my bearings when I'm frantic.  Slower so I can get a good look at the view when I'm too busy to see how beautiful it all is.  Slower so I can relax into it and not have to brace for impact.  Slower so I can have time to right myself before the ground rushes up to meet me.  Slower so I'm not going to crash and when I do finally come down I can hit the ground running.

I'm likely to keep jumping.  That's how I am.  And he knows it.  And he loves me still.  And when I'm not still, he'll open up and be my parachute so he can let me down again.

Thank you Love.  Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Shining Moment

I am solo a lot these days because the Father does much traveling.  It has been snowing for 2 days.  There are 3 small girls in my house that have been cooped up and are tired of me, each other, everything.  I cleaned up 4 different types of bodily fluids from the kitchen floor today.  I've been checking my email every 5 minutes way too much all day because I need to be reminded that there actually is life out there.  Every 6 minutes I have to pin down the baby and wipe the faucet of snot from her hands and face.  Every 7 minutes I have to remind Mona to cover her mouth as she coughs into my face.  We have 8 inches more snow right now than we did when the Father plowed the driveway this morning.  In 9 minutes I can begin the bedtime routine and this horrible day will finally be over.

My shining moment........

...will pass, when at 10 minutes after eight o'clock I will be opening the Merlot.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Wanna Be Pastured

So last week, I threw off the chains of a restricted blogging topic and declared myself a "Free Range Chick." As it turns out, I may have to revise that proclamation.  I was finishing up a fabulous food book last night and found myself reading about chickens.  To paraphrase Michael Pollan, "Free Range" doesn't necessarily mean the chicken is free from its cage.  Many industrial meat producers offer their chickens little more than a dirt yard where nothing grows dooming them to live out their life that lasts only long enough for the chicken to get so fat it can barely walk, in a tiny yard filled wing to wing with a bunch of other fat, free range chicks with nothing to cluck about but the size of their breasts, while they step in chicken shit over and over again.

That sounds so much like my life.  So much.

So, although this middle bit of my life feels very "Free Range" at times, what I want to be is "Pastured."  Not to be confused with "  Put out to pasture"   which is a very different thing indeed and not something I'm ready for at all.

Being classified as a "Pastured Chick" would mean, by loose definition, that:

I have daily access to seasonal fresh vegetation and grass.  There have been times in my life where I have had daily access to grass...not that I partook of it of course, Dad.  Seriously.  Pastured means I don't have to partake of the grass daily, but it's there if I want it.  And so is the spinach, arugula and purslane. 

I live in an environment that includes diverse populations.  Which for chickens might mean horses and goats, but for me would surly include strange and wonderful creatures like Buddhists, Republicans, choral musicians, Hollywood Godfathers and stylists with body art.

I am allowed to act like a chicken and to do what comes naturally.  Read: Do what comes naturally.  Not: Only behave the way chickens are supposed to behave.  What's natural for me today, was certainly not natural for me 10 years ago and may not be natural when I'm 40.  

I am invited, and expected, to enrich the pasture in which I live, by the things I leave behind.  I have always felt that the crap I dish out to the people around me was enriching, but being "pastured" would make it official.

I may be a "Free Range Chick" but I wanna be "Pastured."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Top 10 for 2010

Seems like everybody's got a Top 10 these days.  Top 10 colors for Spring!  Top 10 foods that are good for your heart!  Top 10 destinations for your next family holiday...Oprah's got them, Dave's always had one, heck even Weight Watchers has a Top 10 list this year.  After all, it is the new year and what a perfect year to obsess about tens.

So I thought I'd get myself one.  I thought about my favorite recipes, books, wines, organizing products, smart ass comments...but every time I sat down to work on my list... Every. Single. Time.  My lap was taken over by aliens (of course I mean my beautiful children who deserve my attention during their waking hours) and the only list I could come up with was:

Top 10 Maddening Truths of Motherhood

1.  No matter where you are going or how fast you are traveling THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU MOVING MORE SLOWLY THAN YOU ARE MOVING!

2.  Yelling "Don't touch that!" in the general direction of a child/husband is actually the best way to get them to touch that!

3.  The normally scheduled time for typical daily activities no longer applies to your life.  You will eat when you are not hungry.  You will be forced to try and sleep when you are not tired.  You will be forced to stay awake when you are exhausted.  You will make yourself pee when you don't have to because you just might be able to eek out a tiny little bit that might help you sit in your airline seat for a little bit longer with a baby who will surely fall asleep before the flight is over and you won't be able to wiggle a finger for fear of waking said child let alone get up to go to the bathroom on your 3 hour flight.  Normal times no longer apply.

4.  They can't always get what they want and it won't help if they keep on asking, but don't bother asking them to stop.  They will continue to ask over and over and over and over and over and it will succeed in driving you over the verge, because you can't always get what you want either and it won't help if you keep on asking.

5.  The devilish power of the telephone will take on a whole new meaning.  If your children are playing quietly in the other room, as soon as it rings they will be in your face asking you a question.  If your children are getting along and playing a game together, as soon as it rings they will be screaming at each other.  If your children are finally gathered at the table together for a family dinner, as soon as it rings the milk will be spilled.  If your children are away and you are missing them, as soon as it rings you'll feel better.

6.  If you ever walk away from a 2 year old eating yogurt you will be sorry.

7.  Someone always needs help with something: Mommy I can't reach that; Mommy, I need a drink; Mommy, I can't find the spinner for this game; Mommy, this book has a rip, will you fix it now; Mommy, I'm awake now;  Mommy, my flashlight needs new batteries; Mommy, I need help consequently, you will have trouble finishing what you've started.

8.  *see #7

9.  *see #7

10.  *see #7

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I love a girl who can speak her mind! Ask 2 year old Minnie what she thinks of her banana smoothie and she'll tell you!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm More of a Free Range Chick

Oh my god I'm so sick of writing about organizing!  Somewhere around #15 or so, the middle bit of course, the list that originally seemed like a good idea, turned into a ball and chain that had me day after day declaring myself more organized and more put together than the rest of the "I can't find my butt with my own two hands, let alone my cell phone"  world.

That was so not my intention.

Confession:  Last month's collection of themed posts was really more about my feelings of inadequacy than my skills in the area of keeping my clutter under control.  I've never posted daily for a month before and wanted to try it, but I was finding myself slightly concerned that I wouldn't be able to think of something worthy/interesting enough to get my fingers flashing over the keyboard every single day.  So I set myself up for a series on a topic about which I have already spoken and written extensively.  Cop out.  Lame.  Duly noted, thank you.

What really happened, was during all of this time there were so many things I wanted to run to my computer and post about but then realized that my organizing tip had already posted for the day and following good blogging advice that I received in the early stages, that "no self respecting blogger posts more than once in a day, it's self serving, excessive, indulgent, blahblahblah..." I realized whatever I had to say was going to have to wait. *shaking fist wildly*

So here I was, sitting up here on my organizational high horse offering tip after tip so that you all might learn a little something about controlling clutter, but what really happened was I learned a little something about myself.  Funny how that happens.  It turns out I'm more of a free range chick...don't fence me in with set topics, schedules and auto-posts...noted again, thank you.  I'm not sure what TheMiddleBit is: advice column; mommy blog; stream of conciousness rantings of a cooped up girl in the middle of her life, in the middle of the country, in the middle of winter, in the middle of finding her passion in the middle of another show on PBS that babysits my children while I peck away at the keyboard...but after this month I know what TheMiddleBit is not.  It is not me cataloging my superiority, and that's kinda how it started to feel.  But I digress...

So I'm going to try very hard not to spill it all out in the next few days but I can honestly say that the ups and downs of January have given me enough material to keep me going for a while, assuaging the deepest fears of a rookie blogger that I'll run out of things to say, and shoving back the thought that creeps in every so often "Now that I've got you here, what the heck am I going to do with you?"

Stay tuned for more information about how during the frigid, cloud covered month of January, I officially became a criminal (haven't even told my husband about this one yet, should be interesting), let my child go to school with the worst bedhead I have ever seen because she thought it looked good, started seeing a unconventional doctor who turned out to be the best thing for my pain, unwisely combined champagne with the new Wii, cried crocodile tears at the annual GYN appointment, heard a poem by an 11th century mystic that changed my 21st century life and had a karmic moment that involved a lost cell phone a mad dash to the mail box, my butt slamming into the driveway and the rear tire of my mini-van.

Thank you for sticking with me.