Monday, August 27, 2012

I found my pen!

Dear Readers,

This is Jungle Mama signing in once again.  I lost my pen somewhere in the chaos of the jungle and have only just now found it again.  Okay, so I found it a little while ago but it's only taken me this long to get up the nerve to use it again.

It is funny that while I was away and the blog remained dormant and dusty so many of my friends and family would ask if I was still blogging or would request I not put a particular incident into my blog.  Honestly, it was comments like these which would make my hand twitch and my grip slacken.  For reasons only in my head I assumed those same friends and family would take an interest in this blog to the point of being dedicated readers and if I found out they hadn't touched the page in over two years I'm sure my pens least worries would be the twitching.  Instead it would have found itself at the bottom of an Amsterdam canal  buddying up with a rusty bike wheel.  It's hard to avoid that mental trap as a blogger.  Regardless of who reads this blog, let alone this very post, I have taken up the pen for my own personal journey.  Those of you who choose to join me are welcome.  The river boat is large enough for all!

Now that the hard part is over I must jump the next hurdle; an honest to goodness post.  After all these years what do I write about?  Do I pick up where I left off?  Let's see... how old were those little monkeys back then?  Do I need to mention that we've moved back to the states?  Yes, the years in the Netherlands are over and memories are slowly fading in the fog of dusk.  Are our lives as interesting now that we're your standard suburb family?  What about all those other blog topics I'd love to start?  Maybe I'll ditch the jungle and start an entirely new blog which doesn't even mention my personal life or those of my family.  Gasp!  The thought!  Nah, I'll remain true to my family and continue to speculate on their future and humiliate their present.

At any rate, I feel there is much need for some reorganization of the blog and its links so perhaps I'll busy my time with those aspects for a while.  Always easy to procrastinate one way or another.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Things they wouldn't learn in the states...

Tonight as we sat at the dinner table my child suddenly blurting out, "Oh!  This is jonge kaas!"  We were cutting up long slices of some delicious Dutch cheese fresh from the local deli for an after-spaghetti snack.  But what impressed me most was not that we had taught her this interesting fact, but that this information was given to her in the local classroom.  "They told us to touch it and taste it and told us what type of cheese it was."  Even down to goat cheese.  No, I wouldn't be surprised if she came home and told me about wine tasting next week.  At any rate, it impressed me that our children have gotten something very different out of this culture already, even if it is only knowing the difference between young cheese and old cheese.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Italy . . .

That one word simply does not describe the life that resides in that beautiful land.  Yet I will not gloss over the love that I have for that simple word.  Forever more will it hold an armload of warm feelings and rushes of pleasurable memories all within it's brief utterance.  Never have I been to a place as that which has given me such a place to belong in.  We fit each other perfectly and I will not pass into the after lands without having visited it again.  I find myself dreaming daily of my own villa in the hills which I can visit multiple times a year.  Sigh . . . why not every day?  My children would follow me.  Daily they voice their own versions of the same desire.  "Mommy, wouldn't it be nice if Italy was in the Netherlands?"  "Mommy, the sun was nicer in Italy." "In Italy . . . " and the list is endless.  My husband has voiced more than once the desirable positions he could attain in Italy.  Yet for some reason I hear that voice we've all been trained to listen to.  You all know it.  The one that seems to talk to you in the voice of your mother, "Wake up child and stop dreaming.  Welcome to the real world."  Well, there's this song I've heard from a favorite artist that claims there is no such thing as the real world.  Some of you may know it.  I realize now that I have experienced the awakening you expect you will find upon traveling Europe.  It is nothing I expected it to be.  It is like falling in love for the first time and tasting a new flavor that upon first touching your tongue you had an urge to dislike, but realize it's possibly the best thing it's ever touched before and then find yourself making that flavor linger on your tongue longer than it can possibly stay.

It is here that I beg of you to answer me one question.  Would you prefer that I lavish you with the intimate details of my view on this world experience or that I gloss it over and compress it into a quick and quiet travel diary?

You know you've only one answer, but you must answer anyway.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Behind on blog posts? Me? Never!

I had to laugh over Holy's comment on my last blog post.  Yes, I'm afraid I'm dreadfully behind on my blog posts, dear.  Touring Europe, you ask?  I will be painfully coy and admit that I have been doing a bit of traveling through the continent.  Sigh . . . .  and LOVING it!

Between visits from parents, visits from friends, children's vacation, and family vacation I'm afraid this blog has not seen it's proper use, but I promise to fill you in on all the best details.  Eventually.  ;)  Many posts are half written things that could probably get plopped into the blog just as they are and you'd enjoy them, but because I'm a neat freak I MUST have all my lines straight before you see my thoughts.  Please be patient with me.  I'm working on the photos and posting them to Flickr slowly but surely and the kids are still out of school and suffering from rainy summer day syndrome (several days in a row).   Sigh . . . I'm not so loving it!

Oh . . . another thing.  That Cat is expecting a litter any day now!  Catherine says, "But, Mommy, she's only a teenager."  The conversation I just about went into . . . Sigh . . . not so sure if I'm loving it or not yet.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shifting Simulacrums

I have rounded the bend and seen the sun rise from a new horizon.  Or could it be the horizon has always been the same and yet I have not yet taken it in from this perspective?  It may be that the overseas move has finally started to work it's magic on my mind, but I will not be so grand as to admit this chosen adventure has had an affect on me.  Though this one thing I will admit, things have changed.

In an effort to pull myself out of a pit of self-pity and descending depression I turned to what reason I had maintained and attempted the age old cure: exercise.  What better way to feel better about yourself and get some energy back but by working off those extra pounds accumulated by sitting on the couch in front of the English BBC channel in an attempt to avoid the foreign not-so-niceties and popping bon-bon's to console my guilty conscience.  Yes, my conscience was still capable of producing guilt which is a quality I am proud to admit I possess an abundance of.  Without that forcing me to face reason in the eye I may never have lifted a foot again.

Is there not an ideal life we all imagine ourselves living?  Even a life we may "show" others we are living?  There was a point in these last few weeks in which my mind came out of those lofty clouds and realized I was nowhere near that life I'd imagined creating for myself, my family.  I served up a good helping of humble pie and sat back to watch a film clip of my past revealing embarrassing lies to myself.  Yes, I had thought I was on the road to this "reality" but at some point I had disengaged the gears and was coasting with the navigation system set on scramble.  Fortunately, somewhere along my journey I looked out the window and witnessed a bit of scenery I did not like the looks of.  In the blink of an eye I witnessed my children growing without me.  I was missing moments which could have been spent on the playground or dancing barefoot on the living room floor to sweet little voices singing princess songs.  Suddenly I understood the looks on the faces of crouched and wrinkled faces who watched us as we passed them by in hurry to get to the next "must-get-it-done" place.  They gazed at my children with a look of longing, a longing which could only be for the days they had once spent with their own small and beautiful children who'd now grown and possibly even moved to a far away land.  I was living in the midst of those moments and not enjoying them to their full capacity.  Would I one day be resting my weary legs on a park bench and watch a young frazzled mother rushing her children along and have the thought cross my mind "if only I'd spent that time enjoying their innocence and youth more" or would it be possible for me to watch that woman pass by and recall more happy moments than can be recalled singularly but blur themselves into years of happiness with my many young children?

Strangely enough it was not the fresh and frequent trips to the playground or living room ballroom or even the loss of over 20lbs which made me realize my life vessel had finally found the proper detour and I was in the midst of transformation.  It was the easy transition into a portion of lifestyle I've only dreamed possible of those I most admire.  There is a particular type of friend with whom I have always held the most respect for and this friend (plural) often has many qualities to be admired.  Shamefully I admit most of which I had once found myself, if not equal to, on the path to perfecting.  But one thing never ceased to amaze me and placed these women on a pedestal at least one step above mine if not lifting them into the clouded realm reserved for goddesses.  What could this unreachable quality possibly be?  I will admit that it could even be interpreted that the woman of Proverbs 31 accomplished the same task (verse 15), the one verse which I would shake my head at and loose hope at ever being able to achieve.  Okay, let me be more honest and tell you that I'd shake my head at that Proverbs woman and convince myself that she was a tad overzealous in her endeavors, at least when it came to that particular passage.  What needed to be done in a day could always be done at a sane hour of the day, namely after all the sweet dreams you could squeeze out of the night had been exhausted.

The transition happened with a clarity of vision and rational thinking, so was too smooth of a decision.  It dawned on me that the exercise I needed to achieve each day was not being met due to time constraints and conflicts of interest during the day (one of those being the extra playtime moments).  It stood to reason that if I could just wake up an extra 30-40 minutes earlier in the morning I could go for a brisk morning jog in the sweet spring sunrise and still have enough time to shower and get the kids ready for school.  I had motivation enough to pull me away from those sweet moments of sleep the first few mornings and that is when the sunrise shown down on me.  I had rounded the bend.  Suddenly I have turned into a person I had once deemed if not impossible to become, at least insanely fanatic (the thought I used to convince myself I was not in need of such regime or in my less than finer moments that I tried to convince myself I could never achieve it even if I eventually wanted to). 

It is an accomplishment that even if it does not produce the results desired (an extra 20lbs shaved off my figure) it has already given me the vision of a foreign sunrise which will never be forgotten.  Once an accomplishment as monumental as this has been hurdled, the next hurdle will look less daunting.  In addition, I feel great.  It seems the fresh morning air has not only boosted my confidence but also my immunity and energy.  Now I can catch up on all those other Proverbs verses . . . sigh . . . well at least get the house mostly clean and the essentials bought for a tasty meal for my family, Italian style, tonight.