Friday, December 19, 2014

TToT57: Injustice and General Mental Fuzziness

Poor, poor me. Will you indulge me in a little self-pity? I've had a free-flowing nose and general peakiness for a three days now (I know, I know, for all those who have experienced or are experiencing genuine illness, I am truly sorry for my egotism). I am sure it is just a cold, just as I am sure my inability to record myself for longer than twenty seconds on What's App has to do with (a lack of) finger stability, but these certainties make the situations no less tiresome and irritating.

And so, for the third night in a row, I am already in bed at 7:15, cold medicine in my system, hoping, hoping, hoping tonight will be the night I get a good night's sleep and turn this d*#n bug around. I'd better, because I'm due to sing tomorrow morning, and can't back out because I've been told there's a lack of my particular part at this particular sing-out. In other words, I asked for an out and was told "Um, no."

So, I'm not going to bother counting, but just list some thankfuls I can think of and hope the SGV will grant me mercy as I drowse with tissues stuffed in my nostrils.

In spite of Brian being sick as well, he is stepping up his game and taking the kids as much as he can.

It is officially the holidays. Maggie has school Monday and Tuesday, which I, as a person of Southern Christian origin, find this borderline blasphemous. So I've said, "Eff that, you're staying home to play with your grandparents!"

In spite of my weak and wasted state, I actually started holiday baking with the expectation that the heat will kill off all the germs. Right?

I've taken this bedridden opportunity to discover Serial, a podcast I keep hearing about. Really, the perfect thing for a cold. I'm on Episode Three, and it is positively riveting. No spoilers!

Let's see...I've discovered mincemeat actually contains no meat. I didn't know this fact. I was a bit put off by Lizzi's mincemeat pies dusted with powdered sugar until I read the "meat" was from fruit and nuts. So much better. I still think she should change her name to something like Amity Diggidge and don a hoop skirt.

Speaking of Facebook, I am thinking of starting a petition to get Lisa to join Facebook. She just needs to understand pseudonyms are acceptable (may I recommend this site).

And speaking of shoulds, I had an odd encounter this week.

I was at Goodwill, shopping for frames and nightstands while my daughter was at gymnastics (PT). My son loves the "play area," a semi-walled corner full of toys, and I will often drop him there and run off to shop for a minute or two before checking back. Well, on this occasion, I went to check back on him after finding the size frame I needed and passed two women looking at a artificial Christmas tree. As I watched Leo play, I realized I would need to blow my nose and so reached in my pocket for the tissues I have found need to keep handy.

After the fact, I placed my dirty tissue back in my coat pocket, and I noticed one of the women shopping for the Christmas tree staring at me. Not one to be cowed, I stared back (though puzzled). After several seconds, she said, "Most people find a private place to do that."

She went on to say, "We are thinking of buying this Christmas tree." I did not blow my nose on the tree, nor was I above the tree when I blew my nose. I would describe the tree as partially next to and behind me when I blew my nose. Highly irritated, I responded in a matching tone, "And I need to stand here to watch my son." With noticeable exasperation, she and her friend moved away with their tree.

Now if I were a person who acted out of love towards my fellow beings at all times, I would have been nicer. But I'm not. This episode reminded me that when someone shoulds me, my reaction is to say, "Watch me!" In this case, I wanted to blow my nose on her.

(In other words, if Lisa says, "Eff you, I won't join Facebook," I would understand.)

Fortunately, I have What's App, and Lizzi supported my actions and reactions, albeit explained in short bursts of (what I am can only imagine is) uncontrollable finger twitching. So I am thankful for What's App, self-understanding, and friends who feel the same.

Does that get me to ten? I'm not counting.

I understand there will be no HTML this week but we are linking on Facebook (Lisa). I don't see anything up yet, but I am going to bed. I'll link up tomorrow. Or sometime in the middle of night when I am tossing and turning.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

TToT56: Tis the Season for Glitter

It's been a good week. Butyet, the thankfuls are not flowing. Let's see:

1. Tree's up.

2. Most presents have been purchased.

3. They're also mostly wrapped.

4. After a strangely difficult order process, the holiday cards are in and addressed (mostly).

5. Leo has some new vocab: glitter glue. He loves the stuff. He's had too much fun with it and some popsicle stick stars this week.

6. Speaking of glitter, the highlight of my week was my discovery that glitter in a spray can is something that exists. Which leaves only one question: What can't be improved with a little gold glitter? Sarah and Leo, tree and apple.

7. Our old toybox was decrepit and tended to litter wood and wicker bits and pieces in its general area. I found a new one on someone else's curb. I painted it and recovered the top bench.
What you can't see are the scuffed bench and stained material in the 'before.'
8. As a result, I now own a staple gun, something I have wanted for some time.

9. I also now know how to cover buttons. Granted, it's not at all difficult, but I didn't know how to do it before.

10. This season is full to the brim with "sing-outs." Today, my chorus sang at the National Christmas Tree, on the Ellipse behind the White House. I admit to getting a kick out of singing in the shadow of the Washington Monument.

Red hat in the left-middle. Closed eyes. That's me. And yes, the National Christmas Tree es muy llame.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

TToT55: The Stripper and Me

Have you ever started a task and a little ways in realized you were crazy? I did this week. And I'm guessing in this retelling that you'll all realize I was crazy long before I came to the conclusion.

I have a high and probably far-too-generalized regard for that which is old. This is why I always end up in an old house, why my furniture consists of hand-me-downs (well, one reason), why I treasure ragged Tshirts. And then if it's pronounced old and highly valuable? I'll do a lot to keep it good enough shape to keep it going.

But that bit me in the ass this week.

If I have a pet peeve it when people paint over items like vent registers and grilles, lightswitch plates, or outlet covers. COME ON! It never looks nice, and it's just plain lazy. It takes all of 30 seconds to take one of those off and put it on again after painting. And the effect is so much better.

Rant over.

The former owners of our house were willing to pull out the screwdrivers for the lightswitch plates and the outlet covers but not for the vent grilles and registers (I just learned these terms, and I'm going to overuse them). So as I've been painting my house, I've been stuck with the choice of painting over these items again or buying new ones. And in the interest of saving money, I've just been painting over. That stopped this week.

I measured carefully, placed an Amazon order, and received a bunch of new ones that...did not fit.

So I gave in, faced the traffic, and hauled Leo, the old grilles and registers (grilles for the return vents, registers for the air that flows out), and myself to the Home Depot to buy new ones. And, unfortunately, worked with an employee who used the magic words: You know, you can't buy high quality ones like you have there. The new ones are much lighter. You should strip the paint off and spray paint them white again.

And you're all thinking, That cannot be worth the effort.

It's not.

I have no idea what inherent value a old, heavy vent grille or register has over a modern, lightweight one. I do know it is an enormous pain in the ass to strip paint out of all those teeny-tiny crevices using that nasty, nasty paint stripper (ha! got you with my title, didn't I?)  that eats through your plastic gloves and burns your skin, but once I got started I wasn't going to quit. I'd put down money on the stripper (ha!), I'd found use for all those stripping sponges I'd bought and not used years and years ago, and I was going to persevere.

My ten things are that the job is done. They're not all back up on the walls, but they've been stripped, they've been repainted, and the mess is cleaned up. That's ten, I promise.

I should just buy new screws, huh?

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

No Boundaries

I wasn't thinking of participating in the FTSF this time 'round. Nothing was coming to me, but then this afternoon happened. And I think it's fair to say, if there were a reality show about my life it would be called No Boundaries.

What mother hasn't complained about not being able to use the bathroom in peace? What mother hasn't written about those moments that she realizes she's fully invested in this mama-business, doing and saying things she never imagined doing or saying?

I had a couple of those moments today:

Some sort of mild digestive ailment hit my children today. My son woke up from his nap having fouled his diaper and sheet. I got him and his bed set to rights in time for the bus, the rush to gymnastics, the rush home, the rush to get supper on the know the drill.

I was sliding the tray of chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries (judge me, I don't care--that's Thursday nights after gymnastics), when I heard my daughter scream. I called to her to come to me, and she came with her coat and boots still on but her pants and panties around her knees. I pooped in my pants! she wailed.

Since she's five and long past her "accidents," I simply tried to calm her and walk her to the bathroom where I could get her cleaned up. As we moved, my two-year-old son followed closely behind in a crouch, pointing at my daughter's verynotclean rear end and shouting, Whoa! Whoa! (picture that as about three syllables per word) with great enthusiasm.

And, it was at that moment that I thought, I never pictured this part of motherhood. One so distraught, the other so entertained, and the subject? Poop.

Oh, and that was not the end of our digestive trials. Oh, no.

However, they did not dampen my children's appetite for chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries, and we had a perfectly pleasant supper with both of them earning a dig into the leftover Halloween candy bucket.

It was only after supper, after I'd washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen that I looked at my daughter with surprise. Where are your panties?

I didn't want to put any on.

Well, go put some on now.

OK, Mommy. 

And as she departed, she kissed me on my hiney.

And, at that moment I thought, I never pictured this part of motherhood. But it warmed me to my core.

with hosts Kristi and Stephanie

Friday, November 28, 2014

TToT54: American Thanksgiving Means Turkey and Shoppng...and House Painting?

We've stayed put this weekend. No travel, no exciting plans. So I did something I have never done on Thanksgiving Day--painted my living room gold. Well, part of it. I'm a little over halfway at this point.

Brian and I had this conversation Thanksgiving morning as I painted:
S: Your mother said something about maybe getting a ham instead of a turkey this year.
B (not really paying attention): I like ham.
S: Yeah, me too. I never can tell when she says something like that to me if she she's just speaking her thoughts aloud or if she wants me to weigh in and sway her in one direction or another. I went ahead and told her that I actually prefer ham.
B (suddenly alert): What? You don't want turkey on Thanksgiving?
S: Well, actually I mainly like the sides. But I prefer ham to turkey.
B: But you have to have turkey on Thanksgiving! 
I'm not convinced. I do like to have sweet potato souffle on Thanksgiving because it's basically pie filling pretending it belongs in the main course. I only allow myself to eat it once a year. But as far as other dishes, I don't hold too heavily with tradition. What does your family do?

You'll be glad to know my MIL served both. And I brought the sweet potatoes.

One and Two and Three (I'm counting the painting).

Four: I have asked for and will be granted the hambone and the turkey carcass. I can do a whole lot with those two.

Five. We have our tree! I am a sucker for all things Christmas and usually chomping at the bit (or "biting at the chomp," as Erin says on Facebook) for it by the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Six. Brian did not grumble even one tiny bit this year when I suggested that we get our tree this morning.

Seven. I got Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla and Cookies n Cream this evening. Sing it with me: "Blue Bell's the best ice cream in the country!" Might be what I miss most about TX. No, I miss my family a little more.

Eight. I avoided all shopping centers.

Nine: I did very little online shopping but found a present for my brother that makes me very excited.

Ten: Thanks to Brian and his Black Friday shopping, I am so close to being able to delete all my kids' apps off my phone and having room for my stuff again. I'm gonna upgrade my system and take all the pictures I want!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Medication and the Anxious Girl

I've sat on this post for ages. Part of me sees public airings of what is most personal as the ultimate exercise in self-pity and self-promotion (in myself; somehow I can admire it in others). But when I asked Brian to read it over last night and tell me whether to publish, his question was, "Who's your favorite blogger?" So following Glennon's lead of no shame and total honesty, here's my story of anxiety discovery.

In the spring of 2012, I had a new baby, my husband had recently lost his job under extremely suspicious circumstances (read all about that here), and we were struggling to meet the needs of our older child with developmental delays. At a postnatal check-up, I dutifully filled out the required checklists: yes, I cry more than usual; yes, I worry all the time; yes, things seems hopeless. I thought nothing of these answers. Come on, who wouldn't cry or worry or feel hopeless in our circumstances?

As the appointment wrapped up, the midwife brought the conversation around to my answers and oh, so gently suggested those words...postpartum depression...and medication.

I dismissed them. I was sure it was all circumstantial. Once we pulled out of the mess we'd found ourselves in, I'd feel better. And there was no way I was considering medication.

But I did agree to see someone, and then a team of someones, and then one day I carried home from an appointment an important, doctor-signed little slip of paper with the horrifying word sertraline on it. I looked at it for a few days before filling the prescription. And then I looked at the little orange bottle for a few days before taking a pill.

And then I felt better immediately.

I don't really get that. An effect from 25 mg within 24 hours? It may have been all in my head. But as Albus Dumbledore said, "Of course it's happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth would that mean it's not real?"

A week or so later I said to my mother on the phone, "I didn't know people lived like this."

I didn't know.

I didn't know that most people in the world didn't live in a perpetual state of worry.

I didn't know that most people didn't live in a constant state of mild panic.

I had no idea there was another way to live...until I felt different.

And life did get better for us. My husband got a job, and we moved. We settled in to a new home; we found excellent services for our daughter; we made a new life. And through it all, I managed with the help of medication. I took my little pill regularly. Or, regularly enough to get an effect (don't scold).

But I hated it. I hate taking pills. I hate the idea of the foreign chemicals in my body. And I hate admitting that I can't do it myself. I am strong and smart and extremely capable. Why THE HELL can't I manage my anxiety through sheer force of will?

So I quit. And I thought I was fine. I didn't feel depressed, after all. But I ignored the signs of anxiety: the need for things to be just so and the quick temper when they weren't, the constant drive to do, do, do and never sit still in the moment. Those are my signs (or some of them).

I feel like I was an unoriginal copy of a character whose story you've read in books. The one who quits taking meds because he or she is fine when everyone else on the planet knows he or she is not fine.

And I was not fine. Fortunately, unlike on TV or in books, nothing drastic happened. Just something embarrassing:

I am a member of a women's only barbershop chorus, and I was a new member last spring, fumbling my way through the music, finding every moment I could to practice my part so that I could actually participate in the weekly rehearsals. One week, we were practicing one of our more difficult pieces, Route 66, which is both jazzy and barbershop in style with an especially difficult baritone part (that's mine). And I got more and more frustrated. I couldn't keep up; I couldn't find my place; I wasn't sure of my notes in spite of being so sure of them in my practice at home.

My face burned, and I felt a cold sweat break out on my back. To my horror, my eyes started to fill, making everything in the room blurry. In fact, nothing in the room seemed quite clear. The room was spinning and my hearing was fuzzy, and I knew I had better sit out for a minute and get myself in control.

Instead, I began to sob. Ugly cry, really. I could only take huge, gulping gasps as tears poured down my face. Poor Betty thought she taking a break to rest her knee and suddenly found herself sitting next to the newest member of the chorus having a nervous breakdown. "," I managed to get out between gasps.

But I couldn't. I finally gave up and escaped the practice room in mortification. I was 38 years old; why on Earth could I not control myself?
I know why. Even in the moment, I knew, This is a panic attack. I knew for sure, for the first time, that that was what was happening to me.

And that I'd had dozens before.

All those symptoms were terribly, horribly familiar. I could bring to mind specific instances in which I had fallen to pieces taking a timed test, or when my parents were leaving for the evening, or when I realized I did not understand place value like everyone else (in college--yes, I don't think I really got it until my late 20s when I happened to observe a really gifted math teacher).

And, so when I next went to the doctor, I brought up the topic of medication. She said the most comforting words I've ever heard about it:

If you responded that quickly to medication, you have a chemical imbalance in your brain. You need medication.

It was my epiphany. I have a chemical imbalance. It's not that I lack will or follow-through. My brain just is simply not constructed to be notanxious. It needs assistance.

So I take my meds. Most days, unless I forget. But when I do, I go back.

Come link up your wants or needs post with Josie:

Friday, November 21, 2014

TToT53: Starting Year Number Two with Lots of Hand-Me-Downs

Last night, Brian came home with armloads of his father's dress clothes. (For those who don't follow, Brian's father died in August.) Ties, sport coats, suits, pants. I love "dress up" even if it's not me; Brian, not so much.

During the sorting and trying on, this conversation ensued:
B: Why do you say these pants are nicer than my pants?
S: Because they're wool, and high quality men's dress pants are made with wool.
B: Oh, yeah, you once wanted me to buy a pair of wool dress pants for $80 when I could have bought a pair of polyester ones for $30! Crazy!
This is the man I married. Now, whether size 42 dress pants can even be tailored (reconstructed?) to fit a size 34 waist is debatable. But we'll find out since tailoring is a whole lot cheaper than new pants (and what would Brian say if he saw the non-sale price of a pair of high quality men's dress pants?), and Brian hasn't gotten any new work clothes for a couple of years.

I am thankful for this man who makes me laugh.

I am thankful he let me sort the ties. Most of them are pretty out of style and were placed in the discard pile, but now I am thinking of making a Christmas tree skirt with them (is it wrong to make a Christmas decoration with a Jewish man's ties?). Or remaking the seat (it's broken) of an antique children's rocking chair someone gave us (a different one, Dyanne). What do you think? Maybe there are enough for both?

And I am thankful for a husband who is so finance-savvy that he got us each Five Free Dollars this week! Don't laugh. Every little bit counts.

Did you see the #lookleftrightnow tags last week? I love that kind of thing, and when I saw it I happened to be sitting at my desk (one of my favorite places in our house) that I had just straightened it up a little. Of all the fortuitousness! So, I brazenly asked Lizzi to tag me, and then Sandy graciously did too, and here was my pic.

Wait, I can't find it. Weird.

But just the night before, I had been sitting in a chair in my living room (the one soon to be decorated with swirls of pink nail polish and has since been recovered--yay, me!) and looked up and thought, "I love this view. I love what I am looking at and just how much personal stuff there is to see from this angle. I am so happy with the way this part of my home is decorated."

And here is that pic:

I love Stuff. My version of decorating is sensory overload. I'd make a terrible Buddhist. I love my worldly things.

So, there are the rest of my thankfuls. All the old furniture, the plants Brian keeps alive, the very apparent existence of our children through their creations and play. All the handmade stuff. The color (especially once I get around to painting the living room).

Oh, and to be greeted with this in the morning? Priceless.
Also note recovered chair. Yay, me again!

Your turn! Let's hear 'em!

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Friday, November 14, 2014

TToT52: That's One Whole Year, Friends!

If I recall correctly, some of my earliest TToT posts were about leaf raking and shoe polishing, and here I am, nearly a year later (I believe I had a couple of double TToT weekends), raking leaves and noticing scruffy toes.

One year, folks, one year of thankful posts! That makes 520 written thankfuls (or less since I know I fudged a few times, but still).

It's been worth it. After all, I became a cohost through a couple of well-placed hints (or a straightforward offer), and I've met some truly worthwhile people: cohosts, regulars, and the occasional drop-in. The TToT, and the way people choose to write it, really can give an interesting (though not full, Clark) insight into people's lives.

So, let's call that #1-#5 because that's huge, admit it.

And let's call that the leaf truck came by the first day #2 because my piles didn't have time to blow away.

And for #3, I'll call on the moment I discovered that I had chosen to make paper poppies on a highly appropriate day. I really didn't think about it being Veterans' Day (or Remembrance, if you're of the British persuasion, Lizzi) until I was nearly done. But aren't they pretty? And appropriate?

An off chance gave me the motivation to relocate the large plastic storage boxes in our basement. I happened to open the one labeled Sarah-College and beloved light blue Tshirt that my mother once threw away and my father once rescued and is far too thin to wear in public (and why would I advertise an insurance company?) but holds happy memories and the faintest traces of paint handprints. I wrote a whole post about it, and at the time, thought it was long gone. But it turns out I put it in this plastic tub (where it hardly belongs) when we moved in to this house.

If you ignore the open drawer, unmade bed, and clothes on the floor, I'll someday show you a picture of my 25-year-old sweatshirt.

Oh, and I finished a major project: this Advent calendar for my sister. It's a near replica of one made by my maternal grandmother in the mid 70s for our family. I remade one for my sister's family, and am nearly done with the one for my own.

The downside of my week was when I heard my daughter cry, "I spilled my beautiful nail polish!"

Words you do not want to hear, amiright?

Let's just say I dropped those hotpads and ran. To discover large bubble-gum-colored circles adorning the hand-me-down chair I recovered all by myself a few months ago. Not that it was particularly well-done, but all by myself.


So, are you ready for the thankfuls?

After I stripped off the cushion covers and poured all the nail polish remover in the house on the stains, I emailed our neighborhood listserv asking for more bottles. Two people showed up at the door with nail poish remover to donate to the cause.

Not one of us passed out from the fumes.

Even though the stains set, and there was no budging them, I did get the nail polish off the floor, the chair frame, and the lamp.

And when I went to the fabric store the next morning, I found the fabric I needed in stock and bought enough to remake the cushion covers for $20.

Now comes the remaking. Ugh.

And so, how was your week?

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

TToT51: Food and Frames and Not Freezing

I am thankful to be back in prose again. I won't pretend that my participation in OctPoWriMo was any more than half-hearted at best, but I did meet my goal, so there's that. The only haiku I will be writing for awhile is for Zoe's contest.

In addition, I am thankful for:
  • Vinegar and how it contributes to the flavor of collard and cabbage dishes
  • Pickled garlic (could have fit in the vinegar category but it deserves its own)
  • Chocolate cupcakes
  • Goodwill and its selection of used picture frames
  • Spray paint and how it makes old pictures frames look new
I am thankful for the balls at Dick's Sporting Goods (and the fun of composing that thankful). But, seriously, I don't know why I've never thought of a sporting goods store when it comes to indoor fun. I suspect Dick's will see quite a lot of Leo and me this winter.

I am always thankful for a husband who cares not for public opinion (a good model for me) and who values comfort over fashion in all weathers.

And even though we've seen so little of him these days in a super busy time at work, I am thankful that he brings home the bacon so I don't have to.

What are you thankful for?

P.S. Look! I made those badge-y things!

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Friday, October 31, 2014

TToT50: Halloween, Haiku, and Half of a Hundred

I was smart this year:
no headgear and no facegear;
we went for comfort

Cold autumn night calls
 for jackets over costumes 
and fire pits ablaze

Discarded costumes,
orange and black tossed away,
sticky ones abed

And, in other news, it's been a good week full of good weather and good adventures.

Focused, intentional
This requires careful planning
An artist at work

Purple and orange
and green in a yellow bowl;
beauty made me pause

Deconstructed gourd
brings loved one to mind, makes one
echo, damn squirrels!

Fifty thankfuls end
in twenty-eight verses;
two weeks to a year!

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

TToT49: Haikus are Getting Hard

I'm just not feelin' the TToT this week, you know? Not that it was a bad week; it was just an exhausting one. To borrow the word Christine borrowed, I was clobbered. Which makes me think of this:

Which, in turn, makes me think of a bruised and bloodied face. Which brings us back to clobbered.

But rest assured, no one bruised and bloodied me this week (at least, not literally). On the contrary, a strange change is taking place inside me. I seem to be burnishing up an seldom-used candlestick so I can let my scottian (see Clark's Doctrine) light shine.

In other words, I've been volunteering for things. Lots of things. And, as I understand these things have gone for time immemorial, if you send out the message to the universe that you're a willing volunteer, you'll be asked to do more and more and more.

And then you find yourself having to organize hoards of people you don't know, and host meetings at your house, and run around a hotel for 14 hours in high heels.

Let's just say these are not my natural inclinations, and I am finding myself in need of a significant resting-up period. And my feet still hurt.

Nevertheless, I'll stick with my haiku, and though they may end up difficult to interpret, they reflect the positives of my week.

To be a part of
something worthy, serving many--
I'm grateful for that.

A whole lot depends
on a worthy committee--
B, R, S, and A

Meetings, feedback forms,
Frantic trips to the PO.
My boy is patient.

Surprised and intrigued,
I hear leadership announce
temple inclusion

Annual Review
came and went without fanfare
That is a good thing

What's new is suspect
I don't hate the Common Core
Kids can subitize!

Varying sizes
Our thirty toenails adorned
in autumnal hue

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

TToT48: OctPoWriMo in Haiku, Take Three

Here I am sliding in at the last minute with my TToT post. The haiku continue with the ones I scribbled down on a car drive last night. It's been a busy week.

Mutsu and Sun Crisp
Green and with a touch of pink
Fill our bags, tummies

In cuffs, underwear,
bits of hay are discovered
long after the ride.

Braved traffic jams
for a brief fall afternoon:
swings, slides, candles, cake.
Playtime with cousins
reveals hidden social skills. 
Family comforts.

Mrs. Blimlimlim:
our new houseguest brings unease
as she conquers fears.

And what does shit mean?
Vocabulary develops
through circumstances.

(See my Facebook page for that one.)
Comfort can travel
across oceans, through the web
in modern frienship.

And a bonus this week, from The Dude, himself:

She gets lost in dreams
Singularly unaware
Not meaning to hurt

Illustrates my post from earlier this week perfectly, doesn't it?

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dreams of Daytime

I am a daydreamer. Always have been.

I remember the horror and embarrassment the night my third grade teacher called home to discuss my daydreaming propensity with my parents. In retrospect, I think Mrs. Vincent was too strict to have been a truly good teacher, but I think she was a good person and was genuinely concerned that I'd rather sit alone with my imagination than interact with classmates during free time. And that I never seemed to know the directions when it was time to start an assignment.

I never felt like I got my classmates. Or them me. I had friends with whom I dutifully interacted (and had fun sometimes), but the deepest, me-est part of me didn't seem to be the same as anyone else. So I kept my core hidden and visited as often as possible, sometimes on purpose but mostly slipping in unintentionally because my mind wasn't engaged elsewhere. I dreamed of my dolls secret lives and adventures when I was at school or asleep, of the conversations I would have with my favorite fictional characters when they popped off the page, of the feelings my furniture might have about me. Way would lead on to way until I could not begin to reconstruct the path my fantasies had taken.

Daydream by Leonid Afremov
Even to this day, I can't attend to a purely auditory source. That's probably just a smidge of an attention deficit, and likely why I never get much out of sermons. I solemnly resolve at the beginning of a lecture to focus, to attend, but then I am awakened by a question or an exclamation a minute later, and I discover I have no idea what has been said. One of my high school English teachers reported to my father at an open house that it always looked as if I wasn't paying attention, but when she'd ask me a question, I'd know the answer.

Can you imagine the inward sigh of relief on hearing this report? I can still feel that moment of frozen panic when being called on and having no memory of what had been asked. Hearing (or imagining) the quiet snickers or impatient shifts of posture of classmates recognizing that I had been daydreaming once again (I'd gone to school with the same core of people for years; they knew my propensities). Frantically searching my brain for a snippet of what had just been said to gain a clue as to what my answer should be. I guess by high school I'd developed that skill well enough for Mrs. Vurlicer.

To this day, I prefer tasks that don't require my full attention. Crafting, cooking, gardening. I like to work with my hands to leave my mind free to roam. Thoughts on relationships, real and fictional; fantastic or unlikely situations; alternate lives and realities. And too often: perseverating on my worries.

Last school year, my daughter's teachers approached us with their concerns about her intense daydreaming. They reported that even when they called her name she did not respond. And there it was: a flash of recognition and strengthening of the understanding between us that sometimes seems too tenuous. I am 38 years old, and I often awaken to the realization that my children are calling for me or my husband is repeating my name with annoyance, and I have been been tripping through my imagination for untold minutes, blocking out real life. It's a coping mechanism, true, but it's also a joy.

I once even lost a friend over this trait. But in true stubborn (and appropriate) form, I figured if she was willing to abandon me over daydreaming, she wasn't worth holding on to.

But I wonder (as I daydream): Is this typical? Does everyone do this to an extent? Tell me.

It's time! Join Josie's Two Shoes Tuesday 100th Anniversary!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

TToT47: OctPoWriMo in Haiku, Take Two

There is beauty in
busy-ness, intense mental
avoidance of pain.

have red tables, yellow chairs.
And now so do we.

What a tasty treat
the squirrels find our pumpkins.
Ha! These are fabric.

Chalk paint and elbow
grease yield similar-colored,
mismatch-ed nightstands.

The "remnants" bin draws
my eye and creates visions.
Or, new snack baggies.

Staunch believer in
holiday segregation:
only Halloween!)

Yet, wooed by need to
practice winter repertoire:
holiday singing

Intricate cutting,
gluey fingers, ornaments 
of Advent emerge.

So, once again a little OctPoWriMo and TToT combo. What'dya think? 


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