Planning for solitude

Friday is the first day of the two week period I’ll have here in Athens without anyone else.  Aaron is taking the girls back to Vermont and I will stay here to finish my writing course.  This morning while writing in my journal for the first time a quite a while, I started thinking about plans for these two weeks.  So many possibilities,  but I don’t want to set the bar too high in terms of what I want to do, because inevitably it will be too much.  In my mind, by the end of the two weeks, I will have completely cleaned out the basement and created my own little corner down there, purged and deep cleaned the entire house, read half a dozen novels, cooked myself healthy gourmet meals, taken long walks when the weather is cool, gone to the movies every other night with my friends, caught up on some sewing projects, and built a deck. (The last one is a joke, of course, but that is how motivated I was feeling this morning.)

What is realistic?  What is a woman to do with two weeks to herself for the first time in a dozen years? Do I make a plan or do I let it all just happen?  Tips are most welcome (from the handful of people who read this) 🙂


Litterbox demons.

We are having a kitty cat lavatory issue in our house.  Beatrice, our pleasantly plump long-haired Calico, has decided that the floor of the basement is a much better place to pee than her litter box. Great, right?  We’ve cleaned up the basement and will call the vet and make sure she’s okay and doesn’t have a bladder or urinary tract infection or something worse.  This litter box aversion has happened several times before and our vet says it can be connected to the chubbier, long-haired cats who may not be able to reach their lady parts to cleanse them properly.  We are working on it, but in the meantime, I sure am glad I’m taking a class that keeps me out of the house all day.  And at least we’re not dealing with fleas, mice,  bats or other vermin.

I did some of my own research to see if any internet wisdom popped up on this.  I forgot to mention before that the scent is 100 times worse when we turn on the central air.  In fact, that scent is so strong we are wondering if perhaps we are giving Beatrice a little much credit for the smell, because the a/c one is disgustingly powerful, like a dozen tomcats whizzed directly on the airconditioning unit.  Why all the cat pee sharing?  Because I have to share one of the best pieces of internet cat pee wisdom I came across.

You are welcome in advance for the laugh you are about to experience:


I live in a top floor apartment, the bathroom is small (maybe 10m2) the walls and floor of the bathroom are marble. The celing is suspended and above it is the air conditioning unit and a void. I own no cats their are no cats in the flat below. The smell is overpowering when door left closed for few hours. No other room is effected. Its not the drains, tried sealing them all with sticky tape and same smell appears just as strongly. At my wits end with it!! Driving me to tears as think its health hazard to me little boy! Please help!!


The answer may be strange, but bad overpowering smells as you have described suggest the presence of demons in the area.

It’s not my water.

Well, this is ridiculous.  Where did ten days go since my last post?  I’m not even posting enough for the Post-A-Week project, let along Post-A-Day.   The past few weeks have sucked the juice right out of me. I have written articles, I have graded work, I have read books for the class I started today,  I have had major job alterations, I have driven from Vermont to upstate New York to Maryland and to Ohio without anyone to spell me, I have single parented, I have worried about my parents, my kids, my pets, snakes, wasps, my out-of-shape body, my house in Ohio and my house in Vermont.  It’s as if every time I open my purse frogs jump out.

I keep worrying about how to get everything done that I tell myself I should do. I so much want the people in my life to be healthy and happy.  There are some things I want to let go of, things that just aren’t my water (that’s what the folks in my Peace Corps village in Niger said when something wasn’t their concern or business). I’m not sure what these things are yet, but today,  I feel like there is a little more space opening up in my life, and it’s going to present itself in a whole new way, and it’s time to shed some of the heaviness I’ve been carrying – the physical, the mental and the emotional.

I didn’t think I’d be happy to be away from Vermont and back here in Ohio to take this four-week full-time writing course, but surprise!  It feels okay.  Good, even.  I had allowed my mind to get too crowded the last few weeks in Vermont and I couldn’t make myself relax for even a minute.

So much of what I worry about is not my water.  This I must remember.


One of my favorite songs from the Peace Corps is Johnny Clegg and Juluka doing “Scatterlings of Africa.”  I’m  far away from that now but if I think about it too much my longing and sadness to jump back to that time will overcome me and I won’t be able to do what I’m doing, which is writing, writing, writing articles.   I like this new direction, the freelance writing, very much, but there’s a crunch happening right now.  I haven’t head writing deadlines since grad school, so it’s been a while.

Currently I’m a writing instructor, a freelance writer and a soon-to-be full time graduate student for four weeks this summer, and next week brings deadlines for all three.  Twelve articles to write, grade reporting and other administrative stuff for school, and two books to read and take notes on by Mon. June 20.  And I’m single parenting.  And trying to enjoy the lake, which I am, usually.  And attempting not to ignore the girls, which I am, sometimes.

There are big things beyond these commitments that I need to think about, the less tangible issues of life that jump out of my purse when I all I meant to do was grab my wallet.

I’d like to to be calm…collected…zen-like until this all passes, and to work steadily and thoughtfully, without allowing myself to get distracted too much, but my head is kind of filled with scatterlings.

Cosi fan Tutte

Today the girls were introduced to opera at Sugarbush Ski Resort.  Interesting, n’est-ce pas?  We met our friends from Athens, Susan and Joe, who also have a place in Vermont, and watched an open rehearsal for 1.5 hours.  We all have girls and all the girls were wonderful.  Charlotte was especially excellent during the rehearsal – we were proud.

We came home and Aaron and our brother-in-law Steve put the dock and the summer is on its way.  All in all, a pretty okay day.