I guess I'm lucky - my skin, which is always rather hard-wearing (let's be honest, I wash it once every day or, um, two, with whatever soap is to hand, and never take my makeup off before I go to bed, and it pretty much never does anything), survived two rounds of tamoxifen before it decided to return to high school. Amusingly, I first blamed it on being here in Charlottesville - three zits in two days (usually that would take months), and my whole forehead feels like a lunar mountain range, you know? I'm not amused. At some point, I realized that driving two hours south was a slightly less likely culprit than high doses of hormone drugs. Sigh.
I know those inane "your body is changing" books written by a childless male OB/GYN in 1955 always suggest that PMS and all its side effects would be more manageable if I quit eating chocolate, but I hope that whole gang knows what they can do with their unhelpful advice. I don't believe it, anyway.
I don't know whether the thyroid is helping. I feel much more exhausted than before, because of course I am not sleeping. And I have refused to exercise - probably a combination of PMS and cramps (timing is everything!), and it's too hot here for running to be tempting. Although it's a pretty area. So, jury still out on the synthroid. It must be helping, right? And when I start living on something other than grasshoppers and cheetos again, I am sure all will be well.
Also, having sampled the delicious pizza at the Mellow Mushroom with the DH the other night (he did come down to visit), I have decided I need to start making homemade pizza again (I used to do it reasonably often). I can use the same dough recipe, but this time I'm going to make the sauce from scratch: diced tomatoes (which I can buy canned in winter), basil, minced garlic, olive oil, and salt; and for the top, mozzarella, feta, and roasted red peppers, with maybe some oregano. Doesn't that sound perfect? And so simple I bet I could do the whole thing without a recipe (well, except for the dough). Ah, inspiration.
Of course, I've brought myself too near the kitchen and my will is too weak...I must share my latest discovery. Well, just one. I will spare you innocent people the whole gamut. No sane person would have not only read through all my insane house nonsense, but also followed the hyperlinks. But if somebody had, they would have seen this:
Tell me the copper stove at the top left is not the coolest stove you have ever seen. And where would a poor li'l DIYer who doesn't own, um, a television station ever find such a thing? Would you believe I have an answer for this? You would look here, as it happens.
And if you did, you would rapidly learn that it's a Chambers-brand gas stove, dating from about 1953. I am still very torn. That's 30 years later than my house was built. But, it's just the best stove ever, isn't it? I mean, the copper color is magnificent. It matches any color scheme and though the piece itself has an obvious vintage charm, the finish is completely timeless (I would be fine with a white or pastel enamel too, but the copper is just that much better).
And when I saw this gem, for sale in Washington, D.C., I think I literally stopped breathing temporarily. But...it's being offered for $1100. And it's unrefinished. So, um, even I can't make an argument that I should spend that much money on it. (I think I could see an argument for about $150 for a vintage stove and another $100 to have a plumber take a look at the lines and install it - that's not crazy, right?) But...wow. That's the stove. And it's in driving distance.
Anyway, I can't pretend that that's all that's been wandering through my head lately. I know both my DH and I have had real struggles with our faith recently. His quitting smoking and my PMS certainly explain respective recent bouts of depression, but that's not the whole story. It occurs to me, at times, that I ought to give myself permission to be taking things hard. I have a good job (and I was about to write, and I have my health!). But, my husband has been out of work for months and it's been really hard on him. And I don't know where he'll wind up, or with what sort of work, and what demands it may make on both of us. I have no idea whether we'll have kids or if so when, and only slightly more idea what more medical procedures I'll have to deal with in the coming months and years - whether I get pregnant or not.
I'm only 27, but thirty will be here before I know it and in the intervening two and a half years, I think I should find more of a notion of where I'm headed. That's enough time to let go of having kids, if that's what I need to do (right??), and to remember what it's like to have a worthwhile life. It's enough time to scrape together a purpose and stop feeling lost and sorry for myself. Of course, I know I'm not actually moving - not even crawling - in that direction now. What's the Chinese proverb? A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step? If I don't start, I'll never make any progress at all.
But I don't feel ready to own all the things that are wrong with my life spiritually, to be brutally honest about what things are my fault and what things I was powerless to change. To acknowledge that I might have been sliding backward throughout my twenties, and be less now than I ever have been. To throw out everything I'm doing and do something entirely different. And I'm angry at the idea (my idea) that I should have to. I just tried to put one foot in front of the other. I'm no saint, but I've tried to do the next good thing. In more cases than not, I think I have. How could I be so lost?
I actually opened my Magnificat today and read through the morning prayer, and some things from the previous days. I saw several things that struck me, that I thought I would share.
From a reflection for Sunday:
[T]he root of human wretchedness is loneliness, the absence of love - the fact that our personal existence is not embraced by a love that makes our existence "necessary."
That just seemed to sum it all up right there. And from the reading for today's morning prayer -
I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them.
You're not kidding.
Something struck me in Sunday Mass - I had just had a huge fight with my DH (over who was right about the directions to the church. Yes, I know. Hormones...), and so I was really emotional and feeling everything much more keenly than I ordinarily do. I thought I had long since sorted out my many issues with my father - my relationship with him is still a disaster, but that wasn't my choice. My choice was not to be angry any more. He chose to love his children conditionally, and to behave abominably to me (and my younger brother, in separate episodes), and he won't make the effort even to say that he's sorry, or to make the huge reach out to repair a ruin of a relationship. And I can't really do it for him and I have done all of the trying I really have in me. I continue to keep in contact with him, but it doesn't accomplish much. I'll do my part, but I can't make him willing to admit what's happened, and want to really rebuild.
But it occurred to me that when he failed me so completely, my path to peace was in recognizing (after a long while) that I didn't have a right to be angry, I had to live a good life no matter what he did, and I didn't need him to do anything in particular in order for me to be happy. And so I learned that he wasn't necessary to my life. It would be wonderful to be close to my father as I used to be. It would be wonderful if my DH knew the person who played such a huge role in my life, who features in so many of my stories, of whom he reminds me a great deal! But my father can barely manage to make eye contact with my DH. And a different world, in that respect, would be a better world - but I have to live in this one.
It occurs to me that my recent struggles with my faith have taken a rather similar turn. God let me down - he ignored my prayers, he dragged me onto a path that led nowhere, he left me lost, he scorned my substantial leap of faith, and I'm depressed and I so often feel alone and empty and unhappy. I could shake up my life enormously with a new project or direction to see whether a dramatic change would solve the problem. But that's sort of arbitrary and there's not much I really energetically want to do. So I wander aimlessly along. I think the two weeks in Charlottesville have been good - they've demonstrated, at least, that I don't suddenly hate going to daily Mass as long as it's in English. But it's not an entirely different world. And I guess I need to realize that it really has been a hard year, a hard few years; with many blessings, but with a lot of challenges too, of the kind that tend to strip away the strength I need to face the hard times, and that isolate me from other people and make me harder to love.
I've been toying with the idea of emailing a priest and asking for suggestions for a spiritual director. I don't know any local parish priests practically at all, which is ridiculous given how many Masses I attend (even though it's far fewer than it has been). I haven't gotten myself over the threshold and actually sent that email. But maybe I will.
On a less sad note, tomorrow is my DH's interview for this job. Friday night I dreamt he told me he'd gotten the job (probably because I talked to him about it right before I went to sleep). I'm really hopeful that this is what God has been preparing for us, that it will lead (it's a temporary job I think) to a position he'll love, in which he can use his gifts to do good work, and that will be a good situation for a family - even if it's only a family of two.
If you've a spare prayer, please ask whoever might listen for everything to fall into place with this one.
If you've borne with me this long, you deserve a medal - God bless you.
P.S. The landlord hasn't sent the lease papers back yet...wonder what that means.