Just Us, In The Dark

I have to type with just one hand. I’m propped up on two pillows, and a cushion under my left elbow. My phone is playing a continuous loop of white noise that sounds like torrential rain outside an open window.

In the crook of my left arm, sprawled across my body, warm and snoring, is my boy. We came to bed early, and of course he fussed as soon as I tried to sneak him down into his bassinet beside the bed. It’s frowned upon by certain circles, but most nights we both sleep better just as we are now – cuddled together in my bed. What an absurd notion that I would be oblivious to him while I sleep, that I might smother him and not know. I feel his every breath.

He giggles in his sleep, and resumes his usual noisy breathing. My heart is grabbed with ferocious love.

These long nights together have been like that a lot. I’ve groaned and wanted to hide when he has cried, and then scooped him up in my arms and watched him nurse, his little head outlined in gold by the night light glow, and wanted to freeze this moment forever. The nights are long and broken, but there is a magic to them.

Bringing my computer with me has been a recent thing, I needed to get some work done and my only chance is late at night or early in the morning. Most of the time though, it has been just us, in the dark.

It is at night when I hold him between my palms that I imagine the grown man he will become. When his tiny fingers grasp one of mine, I imagine what his adult hands will look like. I wonder what he will choose to do with them. Perhaps a horseman, a musician, a hard worker like his father. Perhaps not. I hope he will still hug his mama.

I wonder who else in the world is awake just like us, and I feel connected to all of those other mamas and their babies who are in the dark together. I wonder if they feel their baby breathing on their skin like I do now. Do they have the same urge to lean down and kiss that tiny hand that rests just under their collarbone?

And then I shut away those thoughts like closing the lid of a laptop, and I look down at him. I look until my eyes burn. I want him etched in my memories, this beautiful little boy. I look at him and I am so happy to be here with him. Just us, in the dark.

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The Unfollowing

I did an experiment. It might have been the single most important experiment I’ve ever done. This one feels less like a fad diet for my brain, and more like the start of significant change to my existence. Here’s how it went down. Continue reading

Things That I Am Learning Right Now

In case you didn’t hear the news, I’m expecting our first baby in April. Thanks, I appreciate the congratulations! We are excited. I’m at 33 weeks, which means we’re almost done, and what the hell is going on?

With the serious change in our lifestyle approaching faster than I care to acknowledge (seriously, where did the last 33 weeks go?), I’m noticing some information coming into my frazzled brain that was previously a) irrelevant; b) relevant, but not urgent; c) obvious to everybody but me; and d) not obvious, and nobody told me. Continue reading

The Morning After, and Dave Stamey

I almost wrote this entry into my handwritten journal, which I take such great pleasure in since I bought an el cheapo fountain pen off Amazon and some luxurious ink. For whatever reason, I felt like I wanted to share these thoughts with you today. They’re not profound or particularly interesting, but they’re in my head, and in a few minutes, they will be out in the world.

It’s a warm and fuzzy sort of morning. I’m still in my pyjamas, wearing slippers that a friend gifted me for my birthday, one of the Cowboy’s old shirts for warmth, and I’m tucked under a blanket in my favourite chair. Outside, it is raining, and the relief that comes with it is powerful. The summer has been uncharacteristically hot and dry this year, leaving our pastures bare and dusty and the fire risk utterly overwhelming. It is not just here in Washington. Continue reading

The Glamour of My Life Overwhelms Me

Henceforth, there will be no apologies or explanations for a gap in blogging. Who cares? Nobody. If you care, assume that I am busy working, sleeping, eating, and otherwise living, and you’re not missing anything.

I’m hiding in the house, which is relatively cool even though it is still stifling in here. Outside, the heat is draining. I attempted to suck it up and keep going, but after ten minutes under the baking glare, I had to hobble back to the shade, suck down another glass of iced tea, and admit that it’s just impossible to function.

My To Do list today is entirely unrealistic – unless I had got up at 4am and achieved most of the tasks during the cool of the morning. That would have been smart. Instead, I was deluded enough to think I could do manual chores like weeding the vegetable garden (seriously? I must have been drunk) and exercising two horses in 30+ degrees (celsius. I can’t do fahrenheit).

I ended up sucked into my computer. I trawled through the photos from Sort 4 the Cause from last weekend, and found just one acceptable image of myself and my horse (We got schooled, and I found a ton of holes in our dance moves). Then I watched youtube videos about how to crochet. I’m not sure why, except people keep tagging me in a post about crocheting an apron for collecting eggs, and I’ve never crocheted in my life. It sounds appealing.

Lately, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Slow Home Podcast, which changed my life last summer when they encouraged a screen-free bedroom experiment. Continue reading

To Do List

I’ve been gone for a while. Life got totally crazy for a while there, but it is beginning to feel vaguely under control. We took a brief trip back to the UK over the weekend, and the enforced time off from the farm and from work has given me a moment to pause, breathe, and think about my To Do List.

Part of my problem is that I can never remember what is in my brain from one five minutes to the next, so I live on lists and things that are written down. Not written down? Doesn’t exist. Doesn’t happen. Not important. A good To Do List is one of the staple means for me to function like a normal human being and not just sit in my chair playing Skyrim all day. A To Do List gives me structure, direction, and serves as my short term (and sometimes long term) memory.

I felt very proud of myself that I spent some time thinking about what I need to focus on when I got back from my trip, and I was all ready to construct a new list to keep me on track.

Except I can’t remember a single thing that I was going to write on that list.

A Late Night Post: Second Sight & my friend Sam

“You ever have that?” Cowboy asked, looking up from his spot on the couch. I hadn’t been paying attention, so I had to ask him to explain himself. “Where you dream about meeting somebody or something happening and then you meet them or it happens?”

“All the time,” I replied. “You know that.”

“Oh, that’s right,” he said, rolling his eyes at himself. “You have that Second Sight thing. And I really think that you do have that.” Continue reading

Forced Delete

This morning, I sat down with my computer and decided to make a lovely photo and video montage about our year in Washington to send back to my friends and family as a bit of a Christmas update. I was having trouble getting my video editor to talk to the videos that I wanted to use, and I wondered if moving the folder I wanted back to its default location would solve the problem.

I did a good old drag and drop. My media library is about 24GB. It was going to take a while, naturally.

I messed around with a few other things. I went back to check on the progress. The “preparing to move” window had vanished, so I assumed I’d had success. I went to try to construct my video again. Still no luck. I clicked around, and saw that the media library hadn’t actually moved. I did the good old drag and drop again. It moved immediately to the wrong folder. Whoops! Drag and drop again.

This time, something a bit weird happened. It asked if I wanted to replace the already existing file. I rashly said yes. It thought for a moment.

Then everything sort of… exploded. A few things froze. My video editor announced it could  now find media. My photo and video manager announced it could not find ANY. I tried to show it where the library was now located. “No, no,” Photos said. “There’s nothing there. And whatever that is that you dragged and dropped, we can’t talk to that. Terribly sorry.”

I panicked. I restarted. It was even worse when everything had rebooted. The treacherous media library was back where it was not supposed to be. There was nothing in the new location. And when I clicked on the media library to open it, assuming everything would be just as it was, Photos said it didn’t recognise it. Video said there was nothing there.

The only option it gave me was to use a different library. I wailed, spouted a string of expletives, and Cowboy peeked out from under his blanket to ask if he could help. No, of course he couldn’t fucking help. He doesn’t even know how to switch on this computer, let alone fix it when I’ve royally fucked up.

The moment of truth came when I checked the memory usage on the hard drive. The 24GB was reduced to a mere 1.36GB. I grabbed fistfuls of hair and cried. Photos, videos, precious records of our life this year that I had not yet managed to share with anybody back home, had just disintegrated. I had nothing left but what was still on my phone – which I had naturally just cleared because I had literally just transferred photos and videos to the computer. I had no way of rebuilding.

I am still hoping that InstaPort can salvage some kind of library from my Instagram account, but I started that process about an hour ago, and it said it might take up to two minutes. It is still blithely “processing”.

I took it as a sign that I needed to delete some stuff and start again. It was the only way to deal with the rage and horror of it all disappearing.

So, resignedly, I started a new Photo Library. Hidden in my Downloads folder were a few images and videos from our trip to Montana in the summer, but half of the trip has been deleted. There were a few photos that I just refuse to delete from my phone, and I’m glad to still have those. So much is gone. I had to sit and mourn for a moment.

I am just thankful beyond measure that I printed all of my pictures of Richard some months ago, feeling a need to have them in hard copy. I made a mental note to do that more often. Holding the little stack of square images, in a beautiful matt finish, made me think about how disconnected I am from my memories when they are stored in digital format. Seriously, this technology shit is supposed to make life easier and more convenient, but when my photos used to be in envelopes in my cupboard, I never worried about “losing” them.

I must be about to become that crazy old lady who harps on about the good old days, plugs a corded telephone back into the wall, and decides outdoor plumbing should make a comeback. Send help.

The Latest High

On Sunday night, the snow came down and coated our homestead in several inches. It has been utterly beautiful. I love the snow. I love the muffled, glittering quiet that comes with it. The traffic noise shrinks to almost nothing, the horses breathe steam into the cold air and stand quietly in the bright sun, and only Ruckus has endless energy to go leaping across the pristine white cotton lawn.

My chickens, who are recovering from the loss of two of the hens to hawk attacks recently, and who are comforted with the dashing new rooster, Allan-a-dale, hid in the hen house while the snow surrounded their run. Occasionally a brave individual would hop up to the pop door and examine the chances of going outside, Continue reading