Category Archives: Relationships

Despre viața împlinită (The Stoics revisited)

Standard

“Se întâmplă un lucru curios atunci când cei deprinși cu o viață luxoasă ajung să fie greu de mulțumit. În loc să deplângă pierderea capacității de a se bucura de lucrurile simple, aceștia se mândresc cu handicapul nou dobândit, din cauza căruia nu mai pot fi satisfăcuți decât de <<ce e mai bun>>.”

W.B. Irvine, Ghid pentru o viață împlinită, Ed. Seneca 2017, p. 184

“Dar mulți cititori moderni vor fi uimiți chiar și după această explicație: <<De ce să întâmpinăm deschis disconfortul minor în viața noastră, când ne putem bucura de confort total?>> Ca răspuns la această întrebare, Musonius Rufus scoate în evidență cel puțin trei beneficii ale actelor de disconfort voluntar.

În primul rând, acestea ne călesc (…) împotriva nenorocului ce ne-ar putea vizita în viitor. Când nu cunoaștem disconfortul, suntem vulnerabili și cresc șansele să trăim un șoc când ne confruntăm cu durerea și lipsurile, experiențe de care e sigur că vom avea cu toții parte mai devreme sau mai târziu. (…)

Al doilea beneficiu al exercițiului vizează prezentul. Persoana care experimentează frecvent disconfortul minor va căpăta încredere în fața disconfortului major, așa încât perspectiva neplăcerilor majore ale viitorului nu va fi niciodată o sursă de anxietate în prezent. Se antrenează, cum ar spune Musonius Rufus, pentru a fi curajos. (…)

În al treilea rând, practica disconfortului voluntar ne ajută să apreciem mai bine ceea ce avem deja.

W.B. Irvine, Ghid pentru o viață împlinită, Ed. Seneca 2017, pp. 118-119.

 

 

 

O carte

Standard

lumina slabă a unui felinar picură coniac pe o mână de frunze lucioase

în rest, doar glasul răguşit şi distant al unui radiou străbate bezna

bezna asta groasă şi caldă ca o plăcintă apetisantă cu cremă,

sâmburele de dinăuntrul pralinei e rotund şi tare

mi se rostogoleşte în gură, în jurul limbii,

ca odinioară săruturile tale lacome.

cum se schimbă dragostea,

nimic mai eliberator

decât pierderea ei.

mă aşez acum

cu o carte pe

pe întuneric

şi o pipăi,

doar o pipăi

coperta ei

m-a atins

în locul

acela

acela

tainic

gata.

ga-

ta.

Revisiting the Stoics

Standard

Well, you know what they say, some things never change. Anxious, dissatisfied, relationship not going well? So what else is new?

I’ve recently come across the following, from Epictetus:

“There are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power.” (…)

“Within our power are opinion, aim, desire, aversion, and, in one word, whatever affairs are our own. Beyond our power are body, property, reputation, office, and, in one word, whatever are not properly our own affairs.” (…)

“Remember, then, that if you attribute freedom to things by nature dependent, and take what belongs to others for your own, you will be hindered, you will lament, you will be disturbed, you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you take for your own only that which is your own, and view what belongs to others just as it really is, then no one will ever compel you, no one will restrict you, you will find fault with no one, you will accuse no one, you will do nothing against your will; no one will hurt you, you will not have an enemy, nor will you suffer any harm.” (…)

– from Enchiridion I

And also, this:

“When I see anyone anxious, I say, what does this man want? Unless he wanted something or other not in his power, how could he still be anxious?  A musician, for instance, feels no anxiety while he is singing by himself; but when he appears upon a stage he does, even if his voice be ever so good, or he plays ever so well. For what he wishes is not only to sing well, but likewise to gain applause. But this is not in his own power.”

– from Discourses, On Anxiety.


Source: W. Ferraiolo, Stoic Counsel for Interpersonal Relations

Walk, sadness, walk!

Standard

I took my sadness for a walk.

I walked it right out of the park, past the tram stops and onto

the streets flooded with the slow, hesitant steps of old age.

 

I walked and walked and walked it out of my body.

Then I walked some more with it like one walks with a walking stick

until it got blunt.

 

Popov the Clown died yesterday.

Popov the Clown used to say, ‘as long as you have somewhere to go,

you’ll live another day.

But when you don’t know where you’re going tomorrow, you’re nearing

death.’

 

So I walked. Walked my sadness. Showed it the way.

And after just about enough walking,

I felt invigorated and could stand again.

 

So I set it free like a helium balloon and said, ‘Go now.

Go

make the trees red. My eyes have cried enough.’

 

It’s late. It’s November.

A tiny airplane inches forward across the spotless blue sky.

And the sun bathing my face is a thing of beauty.

The Trees That Wanted To Travel

Standard

… A PARABLE

Do you know the story about the trees that wanted to travel?

These were young, tall,  beautiful, trees, and they were able to see very far away. The horizons they saw looked so sunny and pleasantly warm, and appealing. So the trees wondered if not maybe in those lands, far, far away, there was no winter, and they might not have to lose their proud, glorious leavage and maybe they didn’t have to sleep through an entire cold, bleak season only to wake to the same old corn fields.

So they started dreaming about the faraway lands with shimmering white brooks and friendly flowers and strange squirrels. They wondered what it would be like to be caressed and tickled by those flowers, put to sleep by the incessant giggles of those sweet, funny squirrels. Each spring, when the earth thawed, they would begin to stretch and move and try to take at least one step towards the faraway horizons they so longed for.  They tried to lift their roots like a shy bride lifts her train on her way out of the church, they tried to drag their dusty bark a little closer to their dream.  They were never successful.  They prayed and prayed, night after night in the lonely wind, they cried tears of jelly, they implored Heaven.

“Wait a little”, Heaven said. Each time, their prayers were heard, and yet, Heaven said, each time, “Wait a little”.

They asked older trees about it:  “How come you are so at peace? Can you not see the lovely horizons?”, they would ask. But the old trees were wise and rarely spoke. “We have a different journey”, they said, and then looked around to their fruits with their inner seeds, as they lay scattered around on the ground, bathing in their forefathers’ shade.

“They are just sad, too sad to leave their seeds alone, too frightened”, the young trees thought. “They have wasted their entire energy in bearing fruit, and now they can no longer leave, they can no longer reach the horizon. But we, why should we also waste our precious sap on those heavy round things that burden our branches and tie us down?”

Little by little, the young trees became depressed. They simply wanted to travel, they wanted to be free, to move to different places, not to be burdened with fruit, because fruit, they felt, brings responsibility, and responsibility brings sadness, and sadness stops one from moving.

“After all, look what happened to the old trees”, they thought.

They were young, they were so young and full of life and did not want to wait anymore.

“We are taller than the old ones, and our sight is better. They do not know how wonderful the horizons are, but we do, and we want to go!  Wind, will you help us?”

“Of course, said the wind, I will help you.”

“Oh, how great!”, rejoiced the young trees.  “So do it, do it now!”

“But the time is not right!”, said the Wind, astonished.  “Because you have no flowers yet, and no fruit, and there is no seed to carry”.

“It makes no difference, to us”, said the trees, “oh, please, please, mighty Wind, start up a storm and pull us from our roots and transport us, through the stars, towards the gleaming horizons!”

“But then the old trees will be gone too”, said the wind.  “And I cannot take them against their will.  What shall we do?”

“Make a tornado, said the youngsters, take only us, the old ones are sullen and gray and rarely talk. We want to be alone, free from them, too.”

So the wind said “Ok” and started up a tornado, and uprooted many of the young trees, and they were transported through the sky, at incredible speeds, and through the stars, and fell on the horizon.  They fell flat on their backs, and the earth was hard and coarse and it hurt a little, but “no matter”, they said, “how wonderful that we have arrived”.  So they rejoiced.

But after a while, they got thirsty.

“Mighty Rain”, they pleaded, “will you help us?”

“Of course I will help you”, Rain said.

“Then give us a little water!”

“But the time is not right”, Rain said astonished, “because your roots are not in the ground and cannot garner my water.”

“No matter”, said the trees, “oh, please, will you sprinkle us with a little water!”

“Ok”, said the rain, and sprayed them with nourishing water. But they were still on their backs, and pretty soon after, the sun came out again. After all, this horizon was always sunny and without winter. And they had no roots. They struggled and crept, but they could no longer stay erect on their own. But they couldn’t complain. The scenery, the landscape, the sun and the soil, everything was so new to them, and so interesting. So they were contented. Thirsty but contented.

But then one of them caught rot on the side he was lying on, the side that never saw the sun anymore, and got really sick. They nurtured it from afar, but they were very young, and did not know of the cures of the old. So their friend withered away, little by little, and eventually, with a pleading whimper, he died. The other trees became very sad, and worried that they might catch the disease too. They started trying to avoid touching each other, they kept their branches only to themselves, and didn’t reach out anymore. Pretty soon they also stopped speaking, and pretty soon they forgot how to speak altogether. People started coming to the site where the trees had rained down and hauling  them in their carriages to their stoves.

“How poetical”, the other trees thought, “here we are needed, we make warmth for these nice people.”

But soon there was nothing left from them but ashes.

And so, one by one, the trees died. Only one was left in the field, a tall, beautiful, young tree, who began to wonder about the journey.

“Was it the right thing, should I have stayed back home?” These were the questions that his mind fretted with. Here he was on a lovely horizon, but he was, once again, stuck and lonely.  And his roots nearly rotted away like all the others.

Just then, a forester came, and saw the beautiful tree, how knotless his wood was, and how neat.  “What a wonderful kitchen table I could make from this one”, he said to himself, but the sound immediately woke up the tree, and he replied: “Please, don’t, don’t chop me apart”, the tree said, suddenly remembering his forgotten language. “Please help me up on my feet, I mean on my roots, and I will be a beautiful tree for you, I will adorn your yard or your forest, and I will give you shade and pleasant smells all year long.”

“But the soil here is not suited for you”, the forester said.

“Oh, but it is, I will grow and flourish… how can it not be?”

“Well, said the man scratching his head, I simply have never seen any tree quite like you in these parts, I do not know if you can grow here, and you are also so weak…”

“Oh, please try” mighty Man, “plant me please, and nourish my soil, and I will be your pride.”

“Ok”, said the man, and he did. And the tree had a hard time at first, but then he grew and flourished. He felt a little stronger. He was so grateful to the man, and he felt so lucky indeed, that he didn’t dare to remind him of his dream, to travel the world. He decided to stay this time, even though he missed the corn fields, he missed giving his shade to them and he even missed sleeping during winter. But how could he make the journey back? Back to himself? “There is no way”, he resigned himself to the thought. And thus, because he had promised the man, he spread his roots and even bore fruit and he watched his seeds get carried by the Wind to distant places, and watered by the Rain, and he watched his offspring grow at the hem of his shade and he watched them bear fruit of their own, and spread their seeds.  And he got old, very old, and very wise, because the man was a good master, and did not cut him down.

But then in the end, as he watched his offspring create first a bush, then a grove, then a whole forest whose end he could not perceive, as he watched it spread his seed further and further away to fill the horizon, it occurred to him.

“I understand now”, he whispered, now that he rarely ever spoke anymore. “I understand the old trees now. I understand their journey, for they travelled too. And so have I, since I first arrived here.  I have travelled back to myself, after all.”

And the real journey after the storm was this:  they bore fruit, and seed of their own type, and then the Wind would say, “Very well, I will help you when the time is right”, and carry their seed to proper fertile soil, and then the Rain would say, “Very well, I will help you when the time is right”, and water their seed, and a twig would grow out of it, and then that twig would become a tree and spread its seed to fertile soil, and the men would say, “Very well, I will help you, because the soil is right”, and nurture the soil and gather the fruits and plant their seeds and so on until the horizon was reached.

And now, he understood Heaven, when Heaven said “Wait a little”.

Why Women Love (Great) Shoes

Standard

Well, gentlemen, this is a little counter-intuitive, but let’s face it. Ever since we were 4 months old, lying on our backs and able to focus our beautiful eyes for the very first time, what did we perceive? OUR FEET.

I know, I know, you were also perceptive during that time – which is why you still like big breasts… But we women are a little different. More sophisticated, if you like.

Lying in our cribs, playing with our hands and feet in an intelligent manner, we noticed something special. Besides breastfeeding us, our mothers also bought us pretty socks with endearing animal heads on them, cute little baby shoes in polka dots or stripes, and let’s admit it, they were marvelous. Great playing companions.

From the moment we started taking our first wobbly steps around the house, what did we hear?

“WATCH. WHERE. YOU’RE. GOING.”

Now you tell me how we could have done that without glancing intensely at our shoes… ahm, feet.

And later, when you marry us and put us forever in charge of hauling food supplies, pushing prams, walking the dog, texting angrily and generally taking care of your imperial needs, we are so downtrodden and hunchbacked under responsibilities that we actually forget to look up while walking. 😉 So what – pray tell – is the thing that catches our eye most often?

That’s right. OUR SHOES.

Small wonder that they become our best friends. The only thing worst than a tooth-ache is a shoe-ache. Blisters. Big ugly red feet, raw with wounds. So stop obsessing about how many we have and indulge us. Because when your wife, mother of 2-3-4-whatever, goes out of the house now, she rarely has time to look at her face in the mirror. Her face has become inconsequential. But whether she wants it or not, whether she plans it or not, she always-always sees her shoes. It’s inevitable.

And truth be told, I have received far more compliments for my shoes lately than for any other accomplishment! They’re just so visible. People stop to compliment your children, and you know that’s, well, the polite thing to do even though they hate your brats. But people compliment you on your shoes… – now you just know THAT’s for real!

Shoes can be playful or sad, the talk of the neighborhood or just plain. They can be youthful, classic or elegant, comfortable or uptight, vivid and bold or conformist and conventional. Shoes are statements we make everyday.

Shoes are the colors of horizons we would like to see: blue, yellow, orange, dark red or green. Shoes are the toys we never had, or the toys we loved and remember. Shoes are the zillion different personalities we go through from one day to the next. Shoes are great indicators of our hormone levels.

Shoes are quirky and sentimental. Shoes can be loud and funny. Shoes can shine like the sun on a rainy day. Great shoes can combat winter depression. Which is why I went to Italy and bought myself a pair of the softest leather boots the color of ripe quinces. The color of shrill outrage and of the sun.

DSC_0743

These shoes are made for walking…

 

Come on ladies, keep walking (in your own shoes)!  🙂 And show me the snazziest ones! Show me a shoe near you!

... and what is what they do...

… and walk is what they do…

 

My book is out!

Standard

Are you familiar with CreateSpace? The website that lets you create, edit, publish and sell your own creative work? Well, I’ve tried it, and as it happens, I have a new book out.

It’s called Acid EROSion – The poetry of wounds still raw.

The page layout in the interior of the book is pretty lame, (I basically just wanted to dip my finger into the sea and get it over with, since I never would have finished it otherwise) but it only costs a few bucks, too, so check it out!

http://www.amazon.de/Acid-EROSion-Ms-Andreea-Sepi/dp/1479159468/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350384969&sr=8-1 (if you’re in Germany, Europe)

http://www.amazon.com/Acid-EROSion-Ms-Andreea-Sepi/dp/1479159468/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350384884&sr=8-1&keywords=acid+EROSion (if you’re overseas).

Let me know what you think, and please don’t slit your wrists after reading it! 😛 Writing IS therapy.

Lessons to my 15-year-old self

Standard

Yesterday was International Day of the Girl Child.

A 14-year old gets shot in Pakistan for having the most normal of opinions; girls across parts of Africa and Asia  have their genitalia mutilated and are forced into abusive marriages. Lots of girls don’t even make it into the world, they get “terminated” before birth because apparently they’re “not worth it”. Here in the Western world, we have it easy by comparison. Still, there are a few things I would like to tell my 15-year-old self if I could go back in time:

1. Find out what you’re both passionate about and good at, and stay the course. Remain focused. Don’t feel guilty for wanting it.

2. Don’t believe in fairy tales, movie scripts, and classical gender roles so much. Cut your own path.

3. Don’t feel guilty for being different (or better) – celebrate it! Be honest and assertive about your needs – it’s your right.

4. Be yourself. You might lose a few “friends”, but you’ll make new ones who are better for you; they will love the true you, not some mask, and they will share your ideas. That’s 10,000 times more fulfilling and you won’t waste precious energy pretending.

5. Family is important, for support. But be careful who you marry. A lot of early love is self-suggestion. Marrying the wrong guy can put an end to your dreams. But dreams can rise again from their own ashes. More importantly, don’t allow your hormones to put an end to your self-esteem.

6. Laugh a lot, don’t take it so seriously and give freely to others. That’s the best recipe for avoiding depression. Some will take advantage, but you have the strength to move on.

7. Cut down on that perfectionism. You don’t have to be perfect at all times. You’re allowed to make mistakes. And you definitely don’t have to be nice to everybody under every circumstance. If you feel your resources are dwindling – allow yourself time to replenish, too.

Sexist much?

Standard

It all started out as a harmless chat about motorcycles. He bragged about his, I bragged about my husband’s. Then he said that’s too easy, he does off-road, ’cause riding on tarmac is for 60 year olds. I said I’d be glad to pass on this very useful piece of information, but don’t put ideas into my husband’s head, I don’t want him to croak and leave me alone with two mouths to feed (that is basically his contribution to our children’s education at this point).

“You women murder men’s freedom, that’s the truth of it”, he said. ” You bury us, both metaphorically and literally speaking.”

“Damn right we bury you”, I replied. “What would you prefer? That we let you rot in a ditch?” 😛

Haha. Seriously, who is killing whose freedom here? I’m a girl but I am as footloose as any man, I love my freedom, my mobility, my time, my privacy, and my independence just as much as any hairy fellow. All I dream about is to see the world, to meet the people, to do the deeds. Perhaps I’d like to ride that bike myself once in a while; heck, maybe I’d like to take it for a ride and never come back. And let you eat my dust. But I have to be a responsible mother. Somebody has to be.

See, if you’re a woman, you don’t really have a choice. I mean, you do, but it’s ten zillion times tougher on you, because there is that thing called biology. Biology never forgives. If you’re a woman, you are almost required to have kids. Because without them, you will not feel fulfilled in your higher calling. Because without them you will feel like an empty, useless shell that shrivels up like a raisin and dies pointless and alone. Or so you think. If you do not think that, don’t worry, the 10,000 other women around you will devote their every living moment to convincing you. There is an arduous competition going on among women and it concerns procreation and kids. And the thing is, even if what you like is your peace and quiet, your time for creative intellectual impulses such as reading, writing, studying, or your career, or your research, or your travels, once you have kids, you will find that you love them more. You won’t be able to help it. You will eventually love them more than any other living being on this planet. You will give up your freedoms and your pleasures for their sake and you might even engage in propagating the silly competition. So you sacrifice.

Men always complain about what clingers we are. Damn right we cling! What else is there to do when we’re practically jobless, financially dependent, and no longer enjoy any mobility or freedom of your own?! When our brain is jello after raising a couple of rowdy youngsters and trying to do a good job of it, too. Let me tell you, freedom lovers. Raising kids is like applying heat to firecrackers. They keep exploding in your hand. And we get the burns. Yeah, yeah, yeah… Tough women take your freedom away, weak women are clingers. You basically want to conquer but not have to govern – just pillage a little. Oh, but in the meantime we should wait patiently for your return. In case you ever return.

Let me get this straight: we should be independent and strong enough to face hardship alone (oh, generous master!) yet delicate and feminine, smart, sexy, tender and mother-like, relaxed and understanding,  but at the same time willing to fall for the likes of you???

Ahm… Do you not see the flaw in this scenario?

All in a day’s work. A mother’s day

Standard

Woke up at 6:46 a.m. from a bad dream. Stumbled into the bathroom, then into the kitchen to prepare my daughter’s baby formula. Did that, took care that it doesn’t get too cold. Then laid out the clothes I was going to wear for the day (clothes – what an euphemism for jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt). My daughter started whining, I took her out of the kids’ room and bottle-fed her. Then we cuddled for a few minutes. Then took her into the bathroom, changed her diaper and her clothes and entertained her. Came back out, set her down and let her walk around the house a little. She walks like a little duck. Or a penguin. In the meantime, went back into the kitchen and warmed up the milk for my son’s cereal, took the garbage out into the stairway (they’re collecting the recyclables tomorrow, but my bag was already full), put the laundry into the washing machine and set it to “schnell waschen, extra spülen“. My daughter was getting vocal.

7:08 a.m. Decided to go wake up my son, but got startled by his very presence in the hallway. He frowned and scolded me how come I hadn’t woken him up too. I guess we got off on the wrong foot this morning. He’s not his usual cooperative self. I ask him nicely to go to the bathroom, pee, wash his face and put some clothes on. He doesn’t care. I beg. He prefers to draw a bit first. I kindly allow that and go take a sip of water (the first for the day). Then I open the windows of my room, take the pillow out into the fresh morning air. It’s already rather nippy. Go by his room again to do the same there. He’s still not dressed. I kindly put up with this for a while, but when 40 minutes have elapsed and he is still half-naked and starting to sneeze (he doesn’t have an ounce of fat on his body, he’s a bag of bones), I lose it and I snap. I yell some sort of menace at him, about not going to the kindergarten at all if he keeps this up, which throws him into a fit of rage. We make up for the next 10 minutes, amid sobs. It is 10 to 8 by now.

I heave my daughter into her chair (she’ll soon be too heavy for me to carry) and feed her her regular breakfast (the bottle of formula was barely enough to quench her thirst). As opposed to her brother, she’s a voracious eater;  if she didn’t occasionally need to sleep, I bet she’d be eating ’round the clock.

Go figure. And they both came out of me.

OK, 8:10 a.m. and we’re finally ready to go. Oh, wait, something wasn’t quite right in his shoe (the sock got rumpled) so he takes it out again. I’m pleading. He puts it back on, slings his rucksack on his shoulders. We go out of the house (hallelujah!) and get into the car. We drive downhill to the kindergarten, suddenly he’s a different person – mature. He insists to do everything himself, all I have to do is drop him off at the door. Checked. Back in the car, heading for the supermarket.

8:32 a.m. and the parking lot at the supermarket is already full. How many other moms are out there, I wonder? Finally find a slot. Unclench a shopping cart, pick up my daughter from her car seat, put her in the cart. Start pushing.

Push. It’s what I had to do when they were born, it’s what I am condemned to do for at least 18 more years, I guess. So I push. Sisyphus had it easy, I tell you. These old clunkers need some oiling. I push with all my might and the cart barely inches forward. Besides, the supermarket is uphill from the parking lot. Great thinking, guys. You couldn’t level it some more? It’s tough to get in, it’s tough when you come out, full of bags of fruit and meat and packages, and all that inertia that comes with the weight – it’s so great to maneuver that cart downhill back to your car… But it will take me the better part of the next hour to reach that point.

10:00 a.m. Finally made it back home, unpacked for like 15 minutes while my daughter was screaming desperately for grapes. Get her undressed, wash the frigging grapes and give them to her. She quiets down, the munchies gone for the time being. I hurry into my room to check my e-mails. And indeed, one of my customers wants an urgent review of a translation. Thank God it’s very short. I do it, double check and hit “send”. In the meanwhile, my daughter has cleared out half of the CD shelf.

10:20 a.m. I notice in dismay that the letter I was supposed to mail today got left behind and is still on my desk. Uh-oh. Pack the letter into my purse, put on my daughter’s shoes and jacket again, and hoist her into the car once more.  Drive, park, take her out, carry her 200 yards, come back, buckle up, drive back home. 10:55. The sun is beginning to shine, so we remain outdoors. Get her stroller and go for … well, a stroll.  I enjoy a brief 10 minutes of glorious peace, as she walks on her own in the church square, wobbling and plucking flowers.

11.35 a.m. Come back. More uphill pushing is in order. Warm up her meal, feed her, change her, put her to bed.

12:00 – noon. Phew… My turn! I breathe for 5 minutes, then quickly stuff my face. The laundry is still in the washing machine, but I don’t have time for it now. I check my e-mails, the press, tidy up the place a little, prepare some documents for printing and try to catch a glimpse of the Obama-Romney debate (taped earlier). Oh, brother. I don’t have time for this. I write a blog, make a few necessary phone calls.  Do a little reading. Hang the clothes out to dry. Time flies.

14:30. She wakes up, we cuddle, she wants her soother, I hide it from her and we play. She keeps sneezing. I get her dressed in a hurry, to go pick up my oldest from the kindergarten. The moment he sees me he asks if I have something for him. He means sweets. Sure I do, but I’m not that stupid to hand them over just like that. Heck, that’s the heavy artillery. I can’t afford to dispense with that weapon yet. He quickly puts on his shoes, packs his bag, and comes running up the stairs. Then I deliver. We chat on the way home and I do some more of that – yes, you guessed correctly  – lovely uphill pushing.

It’s not even 3 p.m. and I feel as if it should be evening already. It’s also quite dark outside. My son’s best friend is out of town, but he’s in a good mood nevertheless. He plays nicely with his sister and I get a short break. Then he wants to watch cartoons. He does – 4 episodes of Barbapapa. I take the opportunity to feed him some spaghetti. His sister wants to eat again (she ate on the way home from the kindergarten, too!). I give them fruits. I wash the dishes. I prepare dinner. I play with them some, I argue with them some. We look at books, it feels like forever.

Nope. Not forever. Just 17:02. I am ready for a sitcom. Gosh, is this me?! I check my e-mails again, I put another load of baby clothes into the washing machine. I take the kids downstairs where my printer is, because I really need to print those documents pronto. They have toys there and I ask them to play quietly on their own for a while. It only partly works.

6 o’clock. Some more cartoons. Some more dinner. Some more playing, reading and explaining. Then they play with closed doors for over 30 minutes, quiet as mice. I am very proud of them and very happy. Prepare some more documents.

Seven thirty p.m. Time to start preparing for bed. I air the rooms one more time, ask my son to tidy up theirs a bit, which he always does so brilliantly. I have a feeling he takes pride in his tidying.  Lucky me. We eat supper (long story), I wash my daughter, brush her teeth and put on her pajamas. I whisper a short prayer to her angel in her ear, kiss her, caress her and lay her down to sleep. My son and I now have to resort to sign language until she’s fast asleep. I am just about to get him into the shower when she starts screaming. My guess is, either she has a cold and can’t breathe right (all that sneezing, remember?) or she’s too hot. Thank Goodness it’s the latter. I cradle her for a few minutes, her eyelids close and she’s asleep again.

Back to the shower. Then he has to brush his teeth. I dart out for a second. I come back and he has already made himself all snugly-woogly in my bed, blanket pulled up to his chin. He wants his daily story. I make something up about a green zipper which opens onto a magical world, we talk a little about the past day, about tomorrow, try to remember all we have to do in the morning. It’s library day at the kindergarten tomorrow. That means one extra bag to schlep. He asks to go to his bed and we say goodnight.  It’s 21:00.

I turn on the hot water faucet in the bathtub, sprinkle salts and perfumed oils in it. Until it fills up, I fill out some more paperwork, dash downstairs and print it out. I’m back. But now the water’s too hot. While I wait, I also clean up the bathroom shelves and floor – yes, with toilet paper!!! Stop being so surprised!!! My husband never wonders how come the bathroom is clean all the time, he only wonders how come we’re always out of toilet paper. He’s so intrigued by how much I supposedly wipe my ass. He should put a sock in it! (not my ass, his complaining 😛 ). Anyway, he’s away on business now. And I am finally soaking. The downside of taking a bath, however, is that you have to clean the bathtub afterwards. And blow-dry your hair. Or at least mine.

10:30 p.m. Done for the day. Started writing this blog. Couldn’t help it.

11.45 p.m. Finished writing this blog. Plans for the future? Whisper a prayer and crash in my sweet soft bed. Hopes for the future? That my kids stay healthy and that I get a good night’s sleep.

I’m going to need it tomorrow.

Which reminds me, have I set the alarm?