Privilege Blog

A Time For Frozen Peas, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:33am

Well hello there.

Feels like it’s been a while. Oh, luckily, my posts show up. I haven’t stopped blogging, nor do I intend to. But in all honesty I’ve been quite fragmented lately.

Do you know the feeling? The state where someone tells you they disagree with a statement you apparently made, and you don’t even remember the conversation? Much less if you believe what you ostensibly said?

Like that. Fragmented.

Modern life takes us so far from the Zen ideal of mindfulness. Sometimes I’m all out of mind, but the world, my body, and my voice don’t seem to notice. I keep going, as one does. We live like credits to a sitcom where a cartoon figure of the heroine leaps from vignette to vignette, trailing sparkle dust, events fading in and out in 3-second increments. That ping, ping, ping of the soundtrack.

In this moment, I believe I am fully here.

Hello there. I will take the blinking of the cursor as a stand-in for your nods. I’ll sigh, audibly. I’ll look at the veins on the back of my hands, and hear the birds through my open back door.

My son’s graduation took an enormous amount of focus and attention. So many factors at play, so many different planes of behavior and feeling and input to manage. I believe I’m only now re-grouping.

Hello there.

I’ve read a lot lately about will power, how it’s not a virtue but a physical capacity. Kind of like adrenaline, we can use it up. And when the will is depleted, we’re left gesturing at those things we ought to grasp.

Gestures are pretend actions. Unrealized but initiated intents. If you start, finish. This is my mantra for the week to come.

I want you to know how much I appreciate every single person reading out there. We all have our lives. You may be Republican or Democrat, religious or not, live in New York or Texas or Montana or Glasgow. Or Canada or Brisbane. I hope you won’t mind if I take courage from you. Take inspiration in remembering that you’re all out there doing what needs done, and I should do the same. Sometimes we have to collect ourselves before we can push on. Too much unconsidered forward causes us to shed tiles like a rocket ship on a Florida morning.

None of this is an emergency, or even a complaint. More like a lesson spoken to myself. It’s the weekend. I plan to go nowhere, to eat eggs and frozen peas, those foodstuffs that endure to surface in times of need. I am collecting myself, and finding some fragments out there on your front steps.

Have a wonderful day. Tomorrow too. And after that, as we return to work. I plan to focus. Today I focus on the sprouting weeds in my gravel paths and recorded television episodes. Have you seen Girls? Mothers of 20-year olds must. Tomorrow, I’ll focus on tomorrow. And Monday, on doing a good job. Picking up pieces to bring them with me forward.

69 Responses

  1. As I approach “a certain age,” that lack of focus sometimes concerns me. I think I took inertia more for granted in my youth, and now am more aware of when I am coasting.

    It does me good to read your words, of gesturing when we ought to grasp. This is normal. Someone I respect shares these feelings. We are not losing it, merely misplacing it for a day or two. Trust that it will turn up, this focus. Breathe, rest, cut ourselves some slack.

    Thanks, Lisa.

    1. You’re welcome. It seems that many of us feel this, and also are uncomfortable that we feel it. Hmm.

  2. I often lose focus ans will power. Rest (as much as it takes) helps. Nourish your soul as well as your body, and you’ll find yourself soon, I hope.

  3. someone recently left a nasty comment on my blog (what’s new right?) saying i called myself a deep thinker. i seriously had a good laugh b/c i know i would have never said that b/c i don’t consider myself a deep thinker. people can really mess with our heads if we let them. i’m just now learning to deal with the negative. and one thing for sure i’ve learned is that i don’t want to be around it. it saps me, drains me. i too will be using peas today but mine will be a bag on my aching toes!
    have a wonderful one lisa.

  4. With your regrouping will come renewed focus. Try not to look too long at the “wildlife” near the side of your road. Know that we love you!

  5. I’ve been watching “Girls.” It’s better than VEEP.
    I’m glad I’m the mother of Boys.

    I’m sure my boys are blundering around screwing things up for themselves; I’m happy not to know about it.

    I can tell that I’m old because sometimes when I go read the discussion about it on Slate they bring up things that I didn’t even consider.

  6. I’m taking this summer to re-group too. Re-focus on me and what I really want to be important in my life. And for the record, I totally made an omelet two nights ago when I was in the middle of a very blue week with peas and feta cheese. Crazy delish!


  7. Oh yes, I do indeed know that feeling. And I was very interested to read that willpower can get all used up – summer, with my sons and their friends and my friends in and out of the house for over three months, use up every tiny bit of willpower and any other sort of power that I have. What a good idea to collect ourselves and focus. Enjoy your eggs and frozen peas – wonderful comfort foods!

  8. Had all those feelings exactly, being the age I am. If you want a profound read about how one perceives the past vs. the facts, read Julian Barnes’ wonderful short novel, “The Sense of an Ending,” which won the Booker Prize. Man oh man do I relate to the conundrum of different parties remembering past events with a very different perspective. We’re all with you, perceived or real.

  9. Honestly, the highlight of my week is getting away from the computer and puttering around in the garden. It clears my head after the massive amount of time spent in front of a monitor.
    I admire all bloggers who can keep up with a daily dose of not just posting, but commenting.
    I hope that you have a relaxing weekend in your garden and thAt you take the time to relax, with a good book and a cup of tea, and take your mind off work for a while.

  10. I think the planets are out of alignment or something. Everyone I talk to feels “off”. I do as well. I hope you have a cozy weekend at home. So nice to go nowhere.

  11. I find life very complicated now and with less energy than I used to have it’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed and forget things. Or put another way, unfocused!

    This weekend I’m trying to finish a few projects, and focusing on one thing at a time. This is to make up for last weekend when I slept, watched TV and browsed on the internet.

  12. You might have the Cobbly Mobbly. A weekend at home is typically not sufficient to recover from this malady. You need a cheaty day off in the middle of the week to do anything you please.

    1. @Donna @ Rock the Silver,

      My mother often used the term “cobbly mobbly.” Tonight I decided to look it up on the internet and see if it is a real term and if so, where it came from. This is the only reference I found!

  13. At such points I either go dancing or sleep until my neurons fire again – or whatever it is they do. It’s perfectly normal to need time for aftereffects of any kind. Enjoy your diffuseness!

  14. Here I am. Nodding back at you. I believe will power can be depleted. Some years ago, NPR did a story about an ordinary young man altered by the Iraq war. He was traumatized, dishonorably discharged, committed crimes, was jailed, before someone noticed that something was wrong with him. As he got legal and medical help, he became enough of a cause célèbre to be interviewed from jail by a representative of the aforementioned NPR. The interviewer asked, “Ar some point during all that went unfairly wrong in your life, why did you not object or ask for help? He answered quietly, “I was too depleted.” In our country, that seems to often *demand* a smile, happiness, optimism, story arcs with positive outcomes, I remember that young man. We have limits that can be pushed, resources that can be drained; sometimes finding the strength to recharge can in itself be a heroic act. I wish you a quiet, restorative weekend. (Excuse errors. On my iPhone.)

  15. You will be “together” soon, no doubt! I am glad you don’t need to peas to cool a hurt ankle. That’s how we use frozen peas.
    Enjoy your “down-tempo”-time.
    Mr Paula and I have a agenda where we list all our events. I cherish every day/evening that comes with no event. Horray!

  16. I will tell you, as a 20-something, I cannot relate to Girls. Only the past two episodes (Warehouse Party) and now that Adam is more with Hanna(h?) have had relatable situations and dialogue. Maybe I just wasn’t as all over the place as they were five-six years ago. Who knows. Still an awesome show.

  17. Oh Lisa, welcome to my world!! Fragmented is such a lovely term.
    Seems with age I have lost most of my focus, it takes great effort to conjure it up and I’m just too tired!
    Fortunately I’m not in charge of anything earth shattering. Just going with the flow….

  18. Hey! One of us is not out there “doing what needs to be done” because I’m mostly retired. One day, if the creek don’t rise, you do get some ease.

    And you can always get some peas. Here is the link to an astonishingly good soup (from Great Soups of France), Potage Purée St. Germain, dead easy and so good it makes people weep: Uses exactly the petit pois on your bag.;postID=4196119349358542248

  19. Pulling irons out of the fire can be daunting, like walking knee-deep in peanut butter, you just have to do what you have to do to get through. : l

  20. Oh Lisa, my gosh, you were just P-rading with your children one [ONE!] week ago! That plus 2 probably-miserable, cross-country flights. Plus putting together several blog posts in the interim. Plus you probably went straight back to work on top of such stratospheric stimuli. If you weren’t on stimulus/response overload by now, you’d be scary. Hello there, back.

    The idea of binging on TV always appeals when I hit that place. I LOVE to get all by myself, turn off ALL bells and ringers for phone/internet, darken the room, set my pillows just so, rest the remote in my lap, and find a channel that’s running Law & Order for 48 hours, and don’t even move.

    Yessssss to frozen peas, sturdies and artsies are fluent in the variations, my favorites being Pea and lettuce salad, Pea and chicken salad, Pea and apple salad, Pea and mushroom salad, Frozen peas stirred into takeout/canned soup, Mashed Pea and onion dip for chips…..

    Enjoy your dormancy, see you on the other side!

  21. Don’t think of it so much as “lack of focus” so much as “the ability to do nothing”. It is okay to do nothing sometimes. You do plenty when it is asked of you, and often when it isn’t. Doing nothing is an excellent skill that is just as important as being productive…it allows you time to recharge, rest, think about crazy and imaginative things that inspire. I grew up in the midwest and had no clue how to do nothing until much later in life, when I realised that it was something to be cultivated.

  22. You’ll ride out this fragmentation and be steadier after some rest.
    It’s OK to be fragmented, experience and study this feeling
    I think it’s natures way of telling us to slow down….
    weeding the paths cannot be rushed so I am betting you will enjoy the work.
    Take care Lisa

  23. I think the graduations of those we love can be more mentally and emotionally draining than our own, in some senses. Last week I cheered as my fiance and brother walked across their own separate stages and somehow both of those moments seemed bigger in some ways than when I did it.

    Enjoy the frozen peas. I may join you in that!

  24. So glad that you know we’re nodding even when we’re not there in real time. Have a lovely weekend.

  25. Nodding here and trying to remain focussed. I count on your posts! And it’s good to know that others are out there as well counting on your posts as well. And yes, fragmented is a good explanation for a lot of things.

  26. My word for things is scattered rather than fragmented, but I suspect I know too intimately the feeling you describe though I went searching for frozen peas to add to a crab salad and realized that we were OUT!

  27. In my family, we use frozen peas when you have a sprain or pulled muscle as bags of them work much better than large ice cubes. (The was-band even used frozen peas as “ice” when he had his snip-snip surgery.) So, when I saw the headline I was expecting to read about some physical injury. How seemingly fitting that you are using frozen peas to heal and mend the fragments of life then. It just struck me how every now and then we need to “de-frag” our computers and that I guess we should also do the same with our lives. I hope your frozen peas work as well for you as they have always worked for my sprained ankles.

  28. Lisa, Thank you. My fragmentation has lasted the better part of a year. It is just now starting to congeal into something.
    Hang in there scooter, it is bound to be a bumpy ride, but well worth it. Life is about change,eggs and frozen peas.:)
    With great affection,

  29. Dear Lisa,
    My refrigerator is never without a carton of eggs or a package of frozen peas, for the very reasons you write here. How comforting they are: easy to cook, soft and easy to eat, and so like “home.” God speed, dear one. Reggie

  30. I regularly deplete myself too Lisa and I am learning to pace myself better. I have friends who are like energizer bunnies (or so it appears) but I find I feel better when I give myself permission on a semi-regular basis to have little marathons of recorded shows and comfort food, tucked in to my cosy bed. One of the privileges of the empty nest and maturing age. Your weekend sounds wonderful………….just what you need. Much love XO

  31. I seem to have spent the last few weeks driving up and down the motorway to London and today am zapped out!! HB is snoozing on the sofa,time for me to join him me thinks.

    Hope you have had a restful weekend also,time to recharge the batteries.Ida

  32. Cheers from Canada! This is my first reply to your blog, which I enjoy.

    I appreciate your blog and enjoy the forum you provide so that others can share like experiences over things. Not all topics relate to me but many things do.

    Personally taking two months off myself to regroup and deal with the family issues of moving my 89 year old Mum to an easier location from the small island she lives on to the mainland. Regrouping works. Family ‘stuff’ comes up and one deals with it.

    During down time I am making lists of things I have avoided and I am reading ‘The Tools’- just started it.

    As for comfort foods, in Canada we have a lot of British traditions and a favourite of many are mushy peas, served warm with a penny’s worth of butter mixed in. Excellent! Another old boarding school favourite from Vancouver Island days are beans on toast. Tasty, healthy comfort that appeals to traditionally frugal Canadian pockets and tums.

    Lastly, I wanted to share that your postings and the reader comments on money and inheritance are keen and spot on. It is a whole new world out there and I have enjoyed these.

    Cheers and thanks again.

    1. Welcome to the comments. A wonderful group of civilized, kind, thoughtful, and intelligent people. I hope your mother is happy in her new spot.

  33. Take time to recharge. It’s a healthy thing to do…so is enjoying the comfort of eggs and frozen peas…items which are always in our fridge. :)

  34. As I live a very organized and scheduled life, I have saved one day in the week for simply doing nothing. I can do it. I need it.
    You need it too : )

  35. Thank you for the honest, well-put, and humorous discourse you offer on your blog…your words make the glue that holds my pieces together a little stronger. We’re all just trying to survive, right? No matter who we are.

    Red wine helps too :)

  36. This weekend is the first weekend in about 8 where we are not away or involved in wedding preparations. I am just beginning to reacquaint myself with my art room and my writing. It feels wonderful.

    I am addicted to Girls. So reminiscent of those years of finding myself and changing myself every time someone expressed an opinion. Though thinks it would be more true to life is she was a blogger – how could she not be??

  37. Lisa this is a great post. I hope you are having a fine weekend and enjoying the quiet time. I love the idea of you having some re-focus time, frozen peas and all.
    I’m having a sit back and take stock moment too, planning to observe it all and take it in over the summer.
    I have finally realized that avoiding cynicism is the key to happiness and that it strengthens the will to avoid it.
    Bless you Lisa and thanks for writing here!

  38. Privilege,

    I related to your recent post. I, too am “fragmented” at the moment and the example you provided mirrors my experience. I seemed to have diminshed this dreadful grip at sunset on Saturday evening when I decided to clean and wash down my two outdoor patio decks. When I finished the chore, I sprayed my entire body, head to toe with the hose, went inside, took a nice shower and then watched an old Audrey Hepburn movie. Magic . . . I feel better!

  39. You are so not alone Lisa…’fragmented’ seems to be my middle name lately…maybe it should be Fragmantina…just to spice things up a bit, especially since it looks as if she’s going to be hanging around for a bit…alas, there’s nothing to be done about it…she does as she pleases!
    But…I love do the word ‘mindfulness’, and think it will be a lovely weapon to assist in skeddadling her Fragmentedness back from whence she came!

    Frozen peas are the best…used to feed them to my little goldfish Duke! Hope they offered a bit of chloroform filled calm to your weekend of re-groupment!
    xo J~

  40. Lisa, I think you stress too much instead of simply enjoying the moment, like your son’s graduation for example. You had already done everything you could possibly do, the time had come to see how happy he is, and how happy everyone else is, that he made it out of college successfully. I’m always fragmented, I live this way. Mostly because I take on so much more than I should. But when, in spite of all odds to the contrary, I succeed I am always overjoyed and spiritually lifted. You amaze me with all your God-given gifts, look up – way up…then stop and smell the roses.

  41. Your fragments will re-anneal, I have no doubt, as you are a resourceful and talented woman. We are of the same generation; I have been refiguring my life for the last couple of months. The big changes will not come to fruition for a few more months , but now that all the decisions are made, we are excited for the NEXT thing. Let the fragments speak to you and you will know what to do.

  42. I think we all need time to step away, rest, and refocus our energies. For me, as we are in the hustle and bustle of the last week of school, I know that there is a restful period just ahead. We always take the first few days to just vegetate.

  43. oh, but you do have focus. One of the certainties in my life is that you will post on Saturday morning. It is something I always look forward to. I say that takes focus. Now if you could help me find my pedometer. Somehow I can’t find it anywhere.

  44. It’s so interesting to read this Lisa, I was starting to think this time of year is just my wander-lust time, but maybe it goes for everyone. I find myself feeling very restless and really looking at my life plan at this time of the year for some reason and feeling the need to just sit and think. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

    xo Mary Jo

    1. Well I can guarantee you have more focus and drive than the heroines of Girls, so that’s something…

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