Coffee and ideas bouncing off the walls.
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Grab a cuppa Joe and fall into a seat. Here you may find the latest news, a bit of gossip, a rant, or a movie review. You'll definitely see what makes me tick.
|I want to help out at Doodle’s school this year, but there are too many choices! If I were politically minded, I’d jump on that co-chair of the Shakespeare committee no one seems to want. Why not, I wonder? Because putting on a play is, like, um, work? I’d be happy to give all three of the required lectures to each fifth grade class but defer the thespianism to someone more qualified, like the gym teacher.
And everyone knows it takes an entire cadre of professional educators to herd a cackle of cavorting tweens—such a responsibility is not without risks. Yes, I can see the little pluckers now--the territorial strut, the self-conscious preening, the head-bobbing and the scratching at the ground, both sexes pretending to ignore the other--the dead look in their eyes as the once-vain female and the once-macho male have their gullets stuffed with the same, dead language their ancestors were force-fed and pretended to enjoy.
But co-chair of such a prestigious committee might well be the stepping stone to—dare I utter inner fires most passionate?—I must—
PTA President. There. I said it. Are you happy now? Yes, Ms. LiberalZen’s wildest dreams involve coffee klatching to indoctrinate ur children into the socialist agenda. “Box tops”, “wrapping paper” “book swap” (code words so secret even we don’t know what they mean. Except “book swap”—that’s obviously commie.)
It’s all that damn Jeannie C. Riley’s fault. And Tom T. Hall. (My mom adored him.) I had “Harper Valley PTA” in my head all day yesterday, which is one reason I volunteer for nothing more arduous than making change for a 20—the ADD. Now I can do just about anything I set my mind to, despite my many physical and mental handicaps, but in my hierarchy of needs, at the moment, expending my precious, dwindling energy on nothing more than a vanity status rates somewhere between “full body wax” and “full body wax by monkey.”
*which reminds me, so cute--old, but cute*
Anyway, back to ME< ME<ME!
Dealing with an undiagnosed malady that causes seizures “of the snide kind” as well as the seizures of the sidewinder kind—makes me self-conscious and anxious in social situations. I like to stay in the background with my mouth shut, brewing coffee, makin’ copies. So when I blank out and forget what I said ten seconds before, or forget the name of the teacher I've know for three years, I only have to explain my embarrassment to one person. It's hard to edit my thoughts, so I have to edit my words.
How do you “get through” social situations? If I can find one common denominator, all is well. It's the small talk to get to that point which annoys me, for some reason. I want to cut through the bullshit, but it seems a necessary evil to get through. There has to be a secret to making conversation--what's yours?
|Remember "back in the day" when we went to public school? If I can remember that far back, it seems I started first grade with one of those fat pencils and a writing pad with wide dotted lines. Every year thereafter--a pencil and a notebook. As you might expect, this went on for 12 long years. We didn't need to purchase any actual textbooks until high school.
A few weeks ago, I bought 80 dollars worth of school supplies for a second grader. WHERE IS MY TAX MONEY GOING? Why can't the little snot-nosed brats share their crayons like we did? Why do I have to pay for glue sticks? And wipes, and hand sanitizer, and it goes on. I can only assume the post-it-notes and highlighters are for the late-night test cramming.
I can see it now. "If Fiona had 7 apples, 3 more than Shrek, how many did Donkey eat?"
"I don't know--hand me a Fruit Roll-Up; we're going to be here all night."
If one listens to my daughter, she has learned exactly nothing so far. All she can remember about any day is PE. I bet they spend their time writing on each other with the washable markers, then using the handwipes to remove the evidence.
And we didn't care about high fashion in second grade either. Personally, I didn't feel the burning need to have name-brand apparel until high school. Alas, media saturation ensures my 7 year old wants Sketchers on her feet and every available overpriced shape of rubber band known to childrendom. Five bucks here and there adds up to fifty bucks worth of plastic on her arm.
The worst part of all this is I sound just like my parents. But you will NOT see me wearing socks and flip flops. I'm much too young for such Prufrockianisms.
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|I suppose children these days really are tech-savvy. My great-niece is a star! Only a week old and has her own blog!
She's such a beautiful little doll. She'll be in the hospital at least 3 more months. So far her mom and dad are handling it very well. Prayers, good juju, happy thoughts, and donations welcome. (Money or blood. We don't ask for much, eh?)
Grandpa (my step-father) was moved out of ICU to a step-down unit, the sepsis is resolving, although the confusion/concussion remains. He's a tough old bird. We're not too worried about him because he's already working the nurses and arguing with the docs. As a veteran of WWII, his medical bills are covered for the most part. We're more concerned about the mental health of the unlucky medical professionals who have to listen to his war stories and deal with his bullshit. Ten pounds of candy is a nice bribe, don't you think?
Have a great weekend with your family!
|If you're a friend from WDC, please send your handle with your friend request on Facebook. I keep getting these beautiful women wanting to be my friends, and I have no idea who they are.
Probably random fishing, but I've accidentally said "no" before when I didn't recognize the name.
Doodle is NOT ready for school; Mommy is NOT ready for summer to be over. We just got a damn pool and I'd like to use it until all my skin is caffe au lait, not just my back and arms. My scientific experiment says perhaps I should swim in it more and clean it less if that's really what I want. But the water is starting to get chilly.
I get anxious with the waning summer. Fall means death and cold and having to wear clothes. I'd rather have my tongue cut off than bear the sorrow of the season. Maybe I'll get one of them-there full spectrum lamps. Maybe I'll join an indoor pool.
Bitching is every so much more fun. At least I'll be online more. Ain't you the lucky ones?
What did you do this summer that was super-duper tripindicular? I wanna hear about it.
Love to my peeps,
|So we broke down and bought the child an above ground pool. (It's the law, you know--going from 100 degrees outside to 75 inside is especially hard on the immune system.) I have a bunch more justifications if you need them.
My friend Ravyn lied to me. It IS a lot of work, most especially when the only sunny flat spot is in the center of 4 fruit trees. We jump into the water to the irate chirping of birds holding the fort in the fig. I think they're getting used to the idea that we're sharing their bromine hole. I caught one sucking on a fig a foot from my head. Wish I had a camera; cheeky bastard.
I've been lazying about, working on the tan, summer cleaning, and whacking weeds. A drawing pad is always near for the stray idea or illegible blueprint. Doodle is quite content to swim and craft, read and swim. Not only does she not use the "b" word (bored), but her new mantra has become: "We're so lucky."
Aho! From the mouths of grateful babes.
Or, as my husband and I quote from our cultural and culinary guru: "What's the opposite of suck? Unsuck? This doesn't suck." ~Anthony Bordain
Staycation is easy these days. All I have to worry about is cleaning figs out of the pool when I forget to put the cover on. It's like being at the beach except no one tracks sand in the house, and it's much, much cheaper. Which leaves money for my next project--a stone pathway to the pool and a circular brick pad for the pool.
You didn't think I was finished restoring Eden, did you?
|Doodle wanted to share some of her writing with you guys. I told her I write stories and poems and she said, "That's easy!" Here's her fave:
I run like a cheetah.
I jump like a bull frog.
I am as fun as a kitten.
I am as great as a soccer player.
I am as weird as a bug.
I am Dari.
L+O+V+E = Love
When I get the printer working I'll scan it to show you her lovely artwork.
| Ok, I found a way to check your beat for plagiarism:
It seems all my songs are stolen from Mozart--Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Hey, at least I'm consistently kindergarten.
But how do you check your melody for plagiarism? I'm working on a song, and it sounds so familiar that I'm worried I could be stealing it. "Speak my holy name". I don't care what the songtapper says, no child would have the life experience to sing this song. One must have been Baptist, acquainted with Jazz history, or a heroin addict to add soul to the opening notes.
This is intentional: I think Pagans need more intense music. We've got Buddhist oms, Amish chants, English chants, Celtic chants, and other assorted mournful chants in minor keys. B-O-R-I-N-G. I mean it's all good for meditation and zoning out on a roaring fire, but where's the "joyful noise"? You can liven it up with a djembe, but at some point we're going to need new music for the new age instead of stealing English pub songs and listening to synthetic quivering asteroids.
We need the funk. Got have that funk!
No big secret: I was raised Baptist. But not nearly Baptist enough. I longed to go to a black church where people FELT the spirit of the Lord! There wasn't one nearby. Why didn't my peeps rock it out? (My neighbor sang with a guitar once--it was the talk for weeks.)They were so against popular culture that we kids were strongly urged-armed into attending a bonfire in the church parking lot. I begrudgingly tossed my beloved Shawn Cassidy poster into the flames. Because he was an "idol".
My still bears the scorch marks of my church's betrayal. (And Cassidy's career went down in flames shortly thereafter. But I had nothing, I tell you, nothing to do with that.
The church left me behind--teens were to sit in on the main sermon--normally about husbands and wives--hardly relevant. We had yearly outings and "Christian Rock", which today has so many genres of its own is virtually indistinguishable from non-Christian genres. I think that's totally awesome! But back in the day it had zero relevance to my real world. (Striper, anyone? ) When my hormones without release and my questions without answers spiraled out of control, I left that backstabbing group of adults mainly there to absolve themselves of Saturday night sins while passing judgement on the lesser. As a poor kid who rode the church bus, I definitely qualified as lesser. As a kid, I overheard a lot of infighting. My Sunday school "assistant-teaching" slowly tapered off, and I left for good at 14. The pastor with whom I had a connection had gone, and I didn't really like the new one. I found out years later he was imprisoned for molesting a girl in my class.
Either my hormones had perfect timing, or angels were watching over me. (Or maybe it was Shawn!} *swoon*
More recently, I left another backstabbing, hypocritical group of zealots calling itself a church. My idealism now fully shattered, I finally gave up my rose colored glasses and removed my peace sign. Surprise, surprise, every religious organization has political bickering, passing the buck, whining--generally a bunch of hypocritical adults acting like 5 year olds. We're stupid humans.
It's been 30 years, though, and I'm not giving up without a fight this time. I have answered the questions and can help others answer their own. I have given up my faux armour, so there's nothing left to do but come out swinging. With words, of course; because one should teach by example. And if "Pagan" is ever to become a clean word, we have to confront our own assholes, clean our own house, cast out the beams (or are they motes?) in our own eyes. So mote it be!
I wasn't old enough or wise enough to change my first church. Won't know if I'm strong enough to change this one until I step up and lead, eh?
|Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it's time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you've had too much of this life, well hang on
'Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. Don't throw your hand. Oh, no. Don't throw your hand
If you feel like you're alone, no, no, no, you are not alone
Kimmie woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning after sleeping most of the day yesterday. I ran out of meds, and when I went to the store to pick them up, noticed my credit card was missing. Called Eric in a panic, he "didn't have time" to put it back where it belongs. This small hitch in my day led to 15 minutes of bawling my eyes out. I obviously need those fucking pills.
So I went back to the house and got the cc. Another 10 minutes of crying on the steering wheel--out of freaking nowhere, for no apparent reason. When I finished the errands, I went to Micky D's as a treat, then checked on my neighbor. She's a genteel southern woman who hides her alcoholism until she has to stay in the hospital for a week. Another neighbor mentioned she wasn't eating again, so I took her a sandwich. Don't think I won't check on her to make sure she ate it.
Nothing like remembering other people have it much worse to knock that ungrateful wince off your face and get you moving.
Okay, I'm still not ready to tackle the mowing, but I am slowly recovering my thankfulness. The happiness may have to wait until the drugs take affect. Until then, please enjoy part of the passage that got me through high school without committing suicide.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
How oft we throw it off and think,-'Enough,
Enough of life in so much!-here's a cause
For rupture; herein we must break with Life,
Or be ourselves unworthy; here we are wronged,
Maimed, spoiled for aspiration; farewell Life!'
-And so, as froward babes, we hide our eyes
And think all ended.-Then, Life calls to us,
In some transformed, apocryphal, new voice,
Above us, or below us, or around . .
Perhaps we name it Nature's voice, or Love's,
Tricking ourselves, because we are more ashamed
So own our compensations than our griefs:
Still, Life's voice!-still, we make our peace with Life.
|Yesterday was Doodle's school play. Momma the dolt wrote down the wrong time, so we took her out for ice cream after dinner.
Because of this, Wacky Wednesday was Wacky Thursday for first graders. We went through all the junk I'd given her from the 80's and dressed her this morning in lace gloves, bangles, beads, and taffeta. What a flashback. I remember wearing those stupid gloves thinking I was so cool.
She looks much cuter.
The deck is coming along; we still haven't decided on a patio set. So many choices. But we do have tons of flowers in all the pots I could find that sort of match each other. I think the furniture and a rug will tie it all together. If you're in Northern VA on the 12th, stop on by for the party! It's also Eric's 50th birthday. I bought him something totally romantic--a new desk chair. Hey, we're frugal people.
On the WTF front, May was as strange as they come. I found out things about friends and acquaintances I never knew before. Just when I had almost convinced myself that everyone has skeletons in their closet and to stop judging myself by some imaginary standard of supermom perfection, the universe puts a giant exclamation point on my musings.
One friend slept with my ex-husband less than a month after we were married. My sister said she'd disown the person. I figure it was 20 years ago and we weren't right for each other anyway. It still hurt like a mutha. I wasn't sure whether to forgive her or slap her in the face. I'm still not.
A leading member of the church is (or was?) addicted to painkillers.
A neighbor used to beat his kids when he was drunk.
Another friend, a hardcore Bible thumper, cheated on her husband for SIX years while reminding me at every opportunity that I was "going to hell because I wasn't saved." Talk about hypocritical.
A friend's husband is a cocaine addict. He's almost 60.
Now, multiply this by the number of times I've heard from these same people that smoking (anything) is bad and you'll have the degree of smug satisfaction I feel right about now. At least my addictions are out in the open; I don't hide them. In fact, I don't hide much because it isn't in my nature, which is how I got the reputation as a bad girl. Now that it's all in perspective, I deserve a fucking tiara.
How dare you judge me when you need a bungee cord to keep your closet door closed!
I usually hate losing my disillusions, but this time I can walk tall. Realizing other people have sins (major and minor) helps me keep mine in perspective. I am a damn good mother and if that's all that's written on my grave, then I'm happy. Keep your stones in a pile at your feet until you're sinless, people.
So dear reader, walk proud today. Be who you are and don't let anyone tell you that you're doing wrong. That's between your conscience and your God to figure out.
The deck was finished yesterday around 3. We immediately grabbed the chairs and had a sit. We both gravitate toward the peach and pear; it's shady and secluded and feels like a tree house. Eric even put his teeny little grill up there and we had us some ribs. Now we're on to the decorating stage. Little money; big plans.
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|A supremely proud mother shows off the First Place cake in the school Mayfest cake decorating contest (creative category, K-1 division.)
She’s aced that category, two years in a row, but next year, grade 2-3 division brings actually challenges—no help from mother except in baking. Understandable. They don’t want a lawsuit for endangering children with fire.
I allowed her to do most of the decorating. I strung the buoys, touched up the worst spots on the icing, cut and placed the jello, slit the Dots, and somehow made the pier stand up long enough to be judged. She did the rest. The neighbor kids were here earlier in the day, and I set them all to making implements as well.
They had all kinds of strange things going on. An air powered marshmallow submersible car, and a Twizzler bridge for Swedish fish are two that I remember. They were thrilled to play with their food and I was thrilled to unload a few pounds of sugar.
Doodle is the best kid in the world, and I love to help her in any way I can, which is usually in the creativity department.
In the responsibility department, I am a complete loser. In the shuffle of all the grand celebration chaos Sunday, my Iphone fell out of the van somewhere between here and West by God Virginia.
So the sagging soggy beach cake stayed in the fridge and no one sung me Happy Birthday. My night ended in tossing trash from that car like a cartoon tornado but no shiny yellow case.
And that’s when my husband threatened to divorce me if I don’t find that phone. I suppose I knew it would come to this one day, since he wouldn’t let me touch his hard drive until we were married. I am still not allowed access to any remotes, cameras, or other devices sporting batteries or cords. But two can play this game—my hair is staying short until he gives me back my hair dryer.
I admit I’m a bit scatterbrained and forget things. But it’s only a possession. I didn’t endanger my child—she won’t die if she can’t play a game while waiting in line at Red Lobster. Anyway, I’m convinced it’s in theravyn ’s yard. When I find it, I’m blocking him from calling me just for spite.
I have been very careful with that phone as it reminds me when to take my medicine. I may even love that phone as much as he obviously does; it has my entire life within it and I’ll need to start over again with a different system if I don’t find it. When do I get to mourn my beloved accessory?
So it’s my fault. But I’m still picking door number three—cosmic intervention. See, Davey forgot to to bring his charger and I didn’t learn how to drill as planned. You can’t lose a cell phone if you have no fingers, right?
You can lose your illusions, but I’m quite content with mine.
|At the start of summer, my entire life both speeds up and slows down. There's a race to the end of the school year and all the accompanying activities. This weekend is Beltane at church, Mayfest at school, my birthday and my anniversary. Plus Davey will be working on the basement; he's going to show me how to use a cordless drill. (I'm electric tool-ophobic.) Since Doodle is eager to hold onto her cake-making crown, something has to give. And since the ritual is an hour and a half away, that something is church.
I'm sort of dreading it, but eager too. Last year it took all week to make one practice cake and one cake for the contest. Last year the theme was jungle; this year it is beach. Not much difference in the cakes because we're going for half ocean as opposed to half river. And no plastic toys because she freaked that someone else got her littlest pet shop monkey in the cake walk. On the bright side, we have fifty bucks worth of candy to consume either way.
I asked Eric if he got me a present; he laughed. I reminded him that it was also our anniversary. He got quiet. I could see the gears turning in his head. More than likely I'll get a kiss and a GC to Elizabeth Arden. I keep telling him other spas are cheaper and less snotty. I swear they make me feel like a field hand when I go in there. Replay the scene from "The Truth about Cats and Dogs" where Garafalo gets a makeover. "What's your skin regimen?" My skin regimen? You mean swiping my face with Doodle's used washcloth as I run out the door? Good dope and Ivory soap? Me no speaky cosmetics.
Usually by now we've paid for a beach or lake house but all our friends are undecided. Guess we'll be doing a bunch of long weekends, which is fine with me. It actually costs more in the long run but it also stretches the relaxation factor. And then there's the parties and picnics and BBQs for any holiday and no reason at all. We already grill most nights; we "pergolate" on the front patio with a frosty fruity and the whole 'hood stops by to say hello. With a deck my poor stove will feel unloved. Too damn bad.
In three days I will be 44. Last year I felt 65, but this year I feel 30. Time to start over and do what I want for a change. That means going back to school--when I decide what I want to be when I grow up. Right now being a mom is great, but I'm getting antsy to go back to work. Time flies rearing kids and I don't want to watch her graduate and realize I have no skills. But what skills does one need to program a GPS and drive a motorhome? Have fun at college sweetie; we'll send you a postcard from the Grand Canyon.
Fast or slow, I'm moving forward. It feels freaking fabulous.
What have you always wanted to do? No better time than now.
|Doodle was overwhelmed yesterday when she won the fundraising contest at church for selling the most flowers. Fifty bucks is a lot of money for a 7 year old, so we agreed she should donate it back to the youth group. She has no concept of how much it really is, anyway. The cool part was that she won.
I love to see her face when she excels, but hate to see her disappointed. That's normal for a mom. Can't shield her from the hurt for much longer, and I hate that. I hate having conversations about mean kids, bad men, and stranger danger. I hate seeing her face fall when someone refuses a play date, or another kid is mean to her. How do you steel a kid to normal life? She's entirely too sensitive (I was also, and still am to some degree.)
Eric and I take different tracks. I explain how she should ignore the idiots and become friends with people who care about her. He just tells her to stop crying. Like that helps. I suppose that's the difference between men and women? Or my husband just doesn't get kids--that's more likely.
I vaguely remember a phrase a few years ago to use in bully situations and I've forgotten it. If anyone has strategies to grow thick skin, I'd love that formula. We are also considering the possibility that allergies are contributing to her behavior. I know I'm a whiny bitch when snot is running down the back of my throat and I can barely breathe.
Can't wait until the flowers arrive. We're so behind in planting this year--a few pansies and that's it. But the azaleas are magnificent, the strawberries are taking over the front garden, and the peonies are almost ready to open. Everything is about a week early this year, and I'm so ready for summer since spring has been a bit crazy. It's awesome to see the perennials we planted before our wedding 8 years ago coming back gangbusters. And Grandma's long stemmed roses are raring to go--I gave the first rose of the year to my sister from Texas as a symbol of her blooming and opening to the possibilities. She's thinking of moving back home and I'm not above a bit of symbolic manipulation.
It would be awesome to have all my family in one spot. We hung out Saturday night and had a blast. There's something calming in knowing two strong, beautiful women will always have your back, no matter what, merely because you share the same mother. They lift me up; they complete me in a way no man can. I'm so grateful to have them in my life and I couldn't have done better if I'd handpicked them myself.
Together, there's not a thing we can't do.
Remember that when you want to strangle your little brother. Ten, twenty, thirty years down the road you'll be crying on his shoulder. So give him a hug today even if you want to knock his block off.
|Doodle is going to the White House next month. I so want to be a chaperone but I'm deathly afraid of driving a mile north into DC, mostly due to getting lost there when I was an insurance adjuster. I also have a problem riding buses and the metro---that's because I have the unique ability to get lost 2 blocks from home. Give me a compass and a map in the middle of nowhere and I'll sketch an elevation map on my way home. Add buildings and one-way streets and you might as well ask me to drive a unicycle in a Spanish bull run. Yeah, I have a GPS, which would probably get me there, but unfortunately it doesn't come with a valium dispenser.
The fifth grade got to see the Chinese terracotta warriors at the Museum of Natural History. Now that's something I'd dope myself up to go see. Plus, I know exactly where the building is, although parking is still a nightmare.
On the writing front, I've got 3 or 4 poems and one story in the works. I was going to work on the story today (it's a modern interpretation of the Kore/Hades myth) since I got caught up with Best of Rising Stars, but the rain is gone and I'm itching to get back outside. I'm so very close to being finished I just can't stand it.
What better way to spend Earth Day than outside in nature? Enjoy the beauty beyond your door today!
|Admit it—you have notebooks full of snippets of poetry, character traits, and literary equations sure to spur the next literary movement while putting millions in your Swiss account. If you don’t have such an implement, by all means acquire one posthaste. The Virginia lottery assure us, “Ya gotta play to win.”
Listen to the middle aged mom—write it down now, because you will forget it. First it will be your brother’s birthday, then your own wedding day. (I forgot mine last year. It happens to fall on my birthday.)
Then one fateful morning you’ll dig arthritic fingers deep into the crevices of your mind for the color of your first bike and *poof* -it’s gone. Multiply that by all the brilliant adages, late-night philosophy sessions, diamond-clear images of spring days at the creek, and the tingle of your first kiss. You’re left with a memory complex resembling swiss cheese.
And this is why I have not one, but eight notebooks at the moment. Firstly, I’m disorganized (might as well come out with it—I have ADD) —and secondly, at my age it’s important to get it down quickly. For me, sitting at a computer means work—and writing is a creative outlet. I prefer to be outside, or in a relaxed position with no distractions.
If you’re like me, reading through old notebooks gives one not so much the sense of who I was at that time but the pages pasted haphazardly on the wall in “A Beautiful Mind.” I have absolutely no idea what some of those ramblings meant. Some entries are a mixture of Russian and English written in Cyrillic. I guess it was my way of hiding stuff from my husband at the time but now I’ve forgotten the alphabet. One day I’ll decipher it.
Ah, but there’s some neat stuff in my insane writings, too. Ideas for stories and articles. Correlations for possible metaphors. Observations of innocence, beauty, pain, and uncertainty. How can I organize these—to weed out the invasive thoughts that have slowly crept over the surface of my brain, like the ivy which has consumed my yard?
The same way I’m dealing with the ivy—one root, one shoot, one stringer at a time. It’s time consuming. It’s back breaking, and I go to bed each night completely exhausted, but proud to be accomplishing something—anything.
Some call me insane. Some call me obsessive. Some call me selfish. But in my life at this time I need to pull the ivy and lay down the ground cover I’ve always wanted. I deserve it. I deserve a nice house with a deck, and I’m willing to stretch my muscles to achieve it. The same should be true of my writing.
So I’m going through my notebooks and using whatever I find as the inspiration for something. I need to write more, edit more. Even if I add to the scribblings, making sense of my past or changing it into complete fiction will give me a sense of closure and satisfaction.
As satisfied as I feel each evening as I pull off my work gloves, surveying the enormous nests of vine, the honeysuckle secured at even spaces on the fence, the line of freed daffodils struggling to arise, the scalloped flower beds hugging fruit trees, awaiting color and mulch. Dandelion and grass only grow outside the shade of the tulip poplar, so dirt pervades but for the remaining jungle of small trees and weeds at the back fenceline where wood is stacked four deep.
When you walk into the back yard on the right side of the house, a spare piece of wooden fencing hides a 20x20 pile of junk from street view. We have 2 weeks to get rid of it. Then a rose bush arches left into a tree that bears white flowers, creating an arbor. A few pieces of stone leading through the pet cemetery suggest a path to the grape arbor, where the top screen has collapsed, creating a sharp hazard. (But there ain’t no ivy underneath it. ) And the back right is still the mulch/stick pile, long overdue for another bin or two or three to contain the compost process.
One month ago we had a yard overgrown with ivy, and now we have a barren back yard—my husband jokes I should feel right at home with our trailer park yard-- but it is full of possibility. Every night I plop on the hammock chair in the middle of an empty concrete slab under the deck I picture in my mind—the deck that will be built near my birthday. Very, very soon all my hard work will pay off.
I sure won’t forget my anniversary this year (May 2)—too much to celebrate.
|(or, Grandma was right.)
The more clear-headed I become, the more organized I become, and the less stressed I become. To me, it seems it should be the opposite. If I'm more organized, shouldn't each little speck of mud on the floor drive me into a tizzy? Because I'm working my ass off here juggling all those tasks that "normal" people (whoever the hell they are!) find easy. But no. The house can be spotless and when Eric drags in something undesirable, I bite my tongue and wipe it up. A month ago I would have whined and bemoaned my slave status. A year ago I would have clutched my breast and swooned, falling to the floor dramatically in histrionics. And I would still have been invisible.
What a difference a year and a handful of drugs makes.
It. Was. The. Ritalin.
Yeah, I have more energy. Hello, they don't call it "speed" for nothing! But more than that, I can multitask and make decisions. You don't realize how much you rely on those abilities until they dissolve into the ether. For example, the kitchen table was chaos for two days when I ran out of meds. I had neither the energy nor the brainpower to decide what went where, and in what order I should pick up items and return them to their homes (if I could remember where that was.) Just no clue where to even start. As you might expect this makes me feel like a complete idiot. Such a simple task, yet it might as well have been disassembling a jet fighter. The next day, I went to get a cup of coffee, and on the way, picked up most of the items in one handful, put them in their happy homes, and sat back down with my delicious cup of steaming brew with a clean table. In under five minutes. Without being conscious of my cleaning--it was automatic. As it damn well should be at my age.
Why or how this works I cannot tell you--it just does.
The thing that really gets my goat is that no one in my household understands my malady. Even with a clear diagnosis of ADD, my husband continues to assume I'm lazy. Even when he's seen me in panic mode, depressed mode, and too keyed up to talk mode. Not the most neat man himself, I must clean up after him when I can barely handle my own life at the moment. And we won't get into the bad habits I'm teaching my daughter by example. How can I make her clean her room when my own is in shambles?
I wish, oh how I wish, I'd listened to my Grandma. Grandmas know absolutely everything. You know, "a stitch in time saves nine" and all those other aphorisms extolling the virtues of putting things back in their proper places immediately. Course Grammy didn't have a Wii and forty-leven games spilling out of the tower that only holds twenty. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to chop wood every day and heat my food on a wood stove. Life really was simpler, if more physically difficult back then. Still, she was right. Put the shit back immediately and you won't be overwhelmed with stacks and stacks and stacks.
Sounds so simple, doesn't it?
I promise it will become more simple. I have friends to help--like Davey. He organized our shed so that it not only holds three times as much stuff, but the most used tools are hanging on the walls right where you can reach them. No more using a brick to pound in a stake--because we own 4 hammers which now reside in their proper place. I have my "gumption" back (for lack of a better word) and if it takes a couple trips to the Container Store and building my own bookshelves, then that's what I'll do. Because I ain't crazy no more, and I sure ain't goin' back there again.