All Inclusive

We left for home on a bright morning that bathed the sea and sky in complementary colors. It was a sad kind of sun. It was the brightest of blues.

IMG_4450 (3)Four days on a tiny Belizean island nine miles off the coast is not enough.

It was a gift to ourselves for our fortieth birthdays: My husband hit the wall in January and I will catch up in July. We chose a trip instead of a party. We chose each other.

Wind and waves blowing in from the mainland lasted almost our whole trip. The first and the last days were sunny. In between we lazed on the hammock in front of our bungalow, watched frigatebirds hover with menacing calm over the shallows and rode bikes one mile from end to end.

We ate eggs and hot sauce for breakfast, fried chicken and hot sauce for lunch, and fish and hot sauce for dinner.

It took me 40 years to realize how much I like hot sauce.

The drinks were made with Belizean rum or vodka. My husband drank every fruity option on the menu in contravention of the Man Code. He figured word was unlikely to get out since we were on an island with strangers and, anyway, it’s not like anyone reads this blog.

I asked our bartender for muddled jalapeno in my rum-based margaritas.

The sea air and the capsaicin was a balm for my tired skin, which has erupted in patches on my hands, legs and neck over the past few months. What I thought was an allergy I now know, through the miracle of a Belizean vacation,  is stress induced.

We left for home on a bright morning that bathed the sea and sky in complementary colors. It was a sad kind of sun. It was the brightest of blues.

I don’t know what to do with this newfound realization: I am so stressed out my skin is sloughing off in angry welts as part of the real-life zombification process that is 40. I don’t know how to take the lessons from a short and blustery vacation and apply them to the day-to-day in New England, where everything constantly changes.

I don’t know how to work less hard, to be less angry at everyone who gets in the way of my unrealized dreams, to look up from my smart phone to see my children.

But I know a great hot sauce.

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Catching Up

Introspection for me exists in the space between my fingers and the keyboard; it’s in the junction of my thumb and forefinger, where the pen sits comfortably as it bleeds blue on the page.

I feel so much older than I was last time I blogged. I have more wrinkles; I have less time.

It’s only been six years but, looking back, it strikes me as a harder half-dozen than I realized.

I took up journalism in that time. I woke up one morning as a stay-at-home mom and went to bed that night as a reporter. Apropos of nothing, I designed my own little local news website and started covering small-town New England staples like board of selectmen meetings and package store fires.

All I had to do was show up as a state trooper killed a questionably-armed man, and it turned out I had myself a portfolio.

It wasn’t long before I landed a job at a daily newspaper. I lasted about a year, then moved over to the state capitol to cover a legislative session. I took a step back from the daily grind several years ago into the world of weekly reporting for a free newspaper that covers a bunch of towns the larger papers no longer care about. It’s not glamorous, but it’s important.

There’s more than that, of course. I could write about it, but the story is more meandering than I want to be in my inaugural post. I’m going for pithy here. See, I’m a reporter now. My cadence has changed; it’s more staccato. I pick a theme and I stick to it. I can delve deeper in the next story.

On the cusp of my 40th year, some things remains the same. I still want words that flow into each other so prettily they make my ideas look better than they are.

Introspection for me exists in the space between my fingers and the keyboard; it’s in the junction of my thumb and forefinger, where the pen sits comfortably as it bleeds blue on the page. I don’t know myself as well when I’m not writing about my life.

A friend of mine reminded me of this as she redoubled her own blogging efforts recently. It came back to me suddenly: the sense of self, of community and of permanence that I found among so many others when I was a new mom blogging about things like endless car rides through rural Connecticut with a sleeping infant in the back seat.

The difference is, I had time back then. I must make time now.