of oranges sprinkled with salt sticky sweet juice dribbling down a chin of memories well lived some uneventful bursting with simplicity some saved for savoring later when the mood strikes of time held on an analog clock holding still in good times or bad placeholders for stealing moments to write contemplate create of stories interwoven across miles initiating laughter provoking thoughts ideas resonating with souls unleashing frustration distraction confusion affirming realities and struggles inspiring hope and kindness through shared Words
I have a hard time sleeping. My pillow is old. I forget to buy a new one because a new pillow isn’t something I think about adding to my shopping list. I remember around 1:45 a.m., the first of my sleepless fits flopping back and forth between being wide awake and wishful sleeping. I tell my brain that it’s okay to go back to sleep, the alarm is set to do its job. And if I accidentally sleep in, the world. Will. Not. Stop.
This afternoon, I went to Target for some odds and ends. A pillow! I wrote it, (finally) onto my list. I already dislike shopping and I haven’t been in the mood to research pillows. Some were on sale, but the shelves were bare of those. Honestly, I don’t care how much it is, but manage to steer away from a $99 pillow. So much for not caring. I find one that I hope will work. It’s not like you can try it on. If I don’t like it, I’m certain someone else will gladly take it from me.
I also wound up with a pair of jeans. I know Target clothes never fit me well, but I try these on. Surprisingly, I like how they fit. But I may change my mind tomorrow. I’ll sleep on my new pillow tonight. In the morning, I’ll wear my new jeans. If for some reason they don’t fit like they did in the dressing room, at least those can be returned. What in the world possessed me to purchase two of the hardest things to shop for on the same day?
finds us dodging each other bumping almost shoulder to shoulder stepping over a wet towel or bunched up pajamas if it's a bad morning, we'll argue if it's a good morning, we'll argue a little less "clean up the toothpaste worms from the sink" I remind her for the hundredth time "I KNOW!" she snatches the brush before I can get to it so I plug in the hair dryer instead I decide to let the exasperation and tone roll off not. worth. it. I wear my thick-skinned fur coat 24/7 grit my teeth, breathe in, breathe out and carry on with my morning "this eye looks good but why is this eye just NOT working?!" a white washcloth smudges off a crooked layer of eyeliner along with a few tears she doesn't want me to see I lean in, mascara wand trying to make some magic happen for my own eyes I don't have time to smudge it off "how? how can you put on mascara without opening your mouth?" I continue applying my face she continues applying hers, sneaking a glance at my expertise with a mascara wand "I've been doing this longer than you've been alive" she leans in with her own wand mouth wide open satisfied, she steps back I look at our reflection and try not to think about the days I braided her hair in front of this mirror and she'd want to help with my makeup
I’ve had two days of what I like to call “work vacations.” They’re still work, but off campus. Friday, our middle school students competed in our district’s annual reading competition. We have a list of selected middle grade books the students read through the year. We take a team, or two, or three, depending on how many are interested and the sizes of our campuses. In a double elimination tournament style of questions about books, these kids take the competition seriously. Students have a great time meeting peers from other schools and we enjoy watching them show their stuff. And they know those books inside and out.
Today, we had an off-site team meeting. We caught up with colleagues, discussed end of the year procedures, participated in team-building activities, and had time to work on those odds and ends that tend to get left for the last minute. Instead of a rushed thirty minute lunch, we were able to go to a sit-down restaurant to enjoy a meal. Unfortunately, the day ended with a retirement announcement. On the other hand, I’m happy when people step into their next chapters, or even stories, in life. Such is the stuff of an approaching end of the school year.
At the end of April, I’m attending our annual library conference. The last two have been virtual and almost as exhausting. I like to think I have a plan set up for all of the sessions I want to attend and schedule back-up sessions for those that get full. This year, I may just schedule some re-charge time in my hotel room. It’s usually go, go, and go hard for about three days. It’s hard to skip the author lines and rush from one session to another. This is my kind of theme park.
I’m fortunate to have these types of days. A break from work, but still work. Something different that helps me re-charge and continue learning. Having time to eat lunch is also a bonus.
When you get there, go to the right. It’s in the back on the right. Second shelf. Behind the French onion dip, stacked on top of the leftover rice. Blank stare. Right, left, turn around? Top? Bottom? Confusion ensues. It’s in there, it won’t jump out at you. You have to search for it. Even more confusion. If it isn’t in front, why is there such apprehension to move something out of the way? I clean out the fridge every Sunday, so there’s nothing that has grown fuzzy enough to grow teeth and bite.
Okay, let’s try this: Find the milk. Go south. Stop. Too far. Go north a shelf. Now go east. Move that container, bingo! You found the queso!
Is it me or do other people have to help someone navigate the fridge or pantry? Google Fridge Maps should be a thing.
I found a great book, The Art of Making Memories, at a Free Little Library I pass on one of my walking routes. It’s by Meik Wiking, a happiness expert. In one section of the book, he discusses the “doorway effect.” You know, those times you walk into a room and completely forget why you went there in the first place. It’s not that we’re getting older, or are having a dumb moment, it’s our brain doing what our brains do. We often go on autopilot and in doing so, once we enter another room, it interrupts our thinking and switches us over to what we normally do in said rooms.
Wiking says, “the idea is that the act of walking through the doorway makes the brain believe that a new scene has begun and that there is no need for memories from the old scene.” It’s good to know there’s a real name for this and there isn’t anything wrong with me. I’ve relayed this random tidbit of information to several people and they have sighed with relief. “So it’s not me!” No, it’s not you.
Now I’m wondering if the same phenomenon applies online. Surely it does. With a plethora of tabs open in my browser, I go to one and forget what I intended to do or search. Anyone else have that problem? Or I get on my phone to open a certain app, swipe through a page, and forget “where” I’m going. Sigh… Seems to me this also happens with online environments. My brain is just doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s not me.
“I won’t be able to read this summer. I’m going to India.”
“My dad wants to take me to California. Why California?”
“I’ll read and work on next year’s books. I want to win the competition.”
“I won’t be able to do anything. I’ll be helping with a crying baby all summer.”
“Can you just let us hang out in the library and we can skip the rest of our classes? Please?”
“I didn’t bring my instrument today so I won’t be able to practice, it’s just the last part of 7th period and 8th period, please?”
“Sorry, you got a rule-following librarian. When we come back from a field trip, you have to go back to class. The one time I break a rule, I get in trouble. I have to return the Suburban anyway, so we won’t be able to hang out.”
“Can I call my mom to see if she’ll have time to pick me up in time for her ultrasound?”
“Sure, use my office.”
Sighs all the way around. There’s a class reading in the library with one of my favorite teachers when we enter, ambient music playing in the background. I missed out on a lesson with them today. The girls reluctantly gather their backpacks. I take my time writing their passes.
“Thanks for participating. I’m glad you had fun. See you next Thursday for book club and have a great weekend.”
The others leave and S comes to the circulation desk. “I think they’re already at the ultrasound, no one is picking up. It’s okay though, I didn’t think I’d be able to make it anyway.” Her eyes say otherwise. “Can I get my pass, please?”
wafted toward me this morning out of nowhere empty street no kids playing backyards seemed bare, still from where did this little bubble appear without others trailing behind? one shimmery rainbow glistening bubble floating in the air is it Glinda coming to pay me a visit grant me some wishes? promise I won’t cheat no asking for three more wishes but seriously, here I am a grown woman looking for Glinda the Good Witch in her puffy pink ball gown crowned in her sparkling tiara waving that magic wand contemplating three hopeful wishes that floated along in a single bubble until somewhere it popped
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”Neil Gaiman
A few weeks ago, I wrote about an online craft retreat I paid for, attended over Zoom, and didn’t skip. It was what my heart needed. What my life needed. A little productive distraction doing something completely out of my comfort zone. After all, I credit myself with art skills of a third grader, if that. I’m not that great. I’ve read about creativity and doing something other than what you already do to express yourself. You get more ideas and it helps your craft. In my case, writing. My thoughts on that are on the March 7th post, Building Creative Stromboli.
Life, as it’s currently happening, competes with craft projects. I needed to allow the clay piece to dry over a few days. It did. I moved it to another location, to keep it safe. It wasn’t safe enough. I knocked it over and it broke in three pieces. I didn’t throw my adult tantrum. I picked up the pieces, sighed, and mumbled, “Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. I can make another one.”
My son reminded me about the Mandalorian’s helmet. Beskar steel was used to mend it when it was broken. It became part of the helmet, part of him. It was much stronger, reinforced at the weak points, part of the art it once was making it into something new. Holding on to its originality. He took a look at my broken project after I mentioned I’d probably throw it away or glue it together with Tacky glue so it wouldn’t be too obvious.
“You know Mom, if it’s obvious, then it makes it that much better. You can see what it was supposed to be, but if you use something else, like glitter glue, it will be different and it becomes part of what you want it to be.” Whoa. Nerds beget nerds, but I can’t take credit for this one. And, hello, glitter!
Determined to paint the thing, I repaired it, first with almost dried out craft glue (it had been that long since I’d used it), then with almost empty tubes of glitter glue. I used the paint from the craft kit and got it painted. Lesson(s) learned: you do need to use good paint brushes. And have a good idea of the colors you choose. Maybe practice on another surface ahead of time. Almost dried glue applied with a toothpick doesn’t create a strong bond. Red glitter glue looks like blood.
I worked at my end of the kitchen table, covering it with poster board I use and re-use for making messes. I noticed random sketches from our beginning-of-the-pandemic flurry of craft projects to keep us busy. I haphazardly painted, knowing this isn’t something I’ll be holding on to much longer. I wanted it finished along with the experience of painting something other than walls. By that, I mean a fresh coat of interior house paint, nothing interesting or fancy like a mural. I worked quickly because ‘tween wanted to take over.
I worked in phases and finished it. I made plenty of mistakes, but my intention was the experience more than the end product. It got me thinking. If we mess up on something, no need to toss it. We keep what’s good. Aren’t we human art works? Our bodies mend themselves with new cells to heal wounds. Our lives mend themselves with experiences we live through to figure things out. Sometimes we can’t start over, but we can mend. We can use what we have to put things back together. We may not use glitter glue or Beskar steel, but whatever we choose makes us unique. There is beauty in the art of being human and it’s supposed to be there.
Today, our dead trees came down.
Gave them a year to grow.
I might have cried a little.