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.
Spring’s second day brings a storm. Just like that, didn’t even have time to completely let it in. I rush out the door, vowing to squeeze in a quick walk before the rain comes down. If it decides not to stand us up. The air is heavy and thick with humidity, the scent of rain wafts around me. I remember when I’d run away from storms, and now I’m walking out the door to possibly meet one.
I’m listening to my audiobook, but thunder rumbles and growls, distracting me from the story. No point in trying to listen. Large storm filled raindrops plop ahead of me. I quicken my pace. I can probably make it home without getting drenched. My husband, always a storm tracker, but not never a storm chaser sends me a message. “I’m near the Little Free Library, not too far,” I reply. “There’s lightning, I’m coming to get you.”
So much for my walk, I’ll do some yoga later. My husband paces from one room to another, phone in hand, like an expectant father waiting for the sky to deliver. Sure enough, sheets of heavy rain start coming down, the wind picking up and slamming the windows wet. I sit down to write, I’m feeling a poem today. About the weather.
The rain has stopped, and the sun stands tall, saluting as the rain exits. I notice, but work with words stirring up in my head, until…
“At around 6:01 pm the national weather service reported a tornado on the ground near Jarrell…” my husband reads from his phone.
I keep writing.
He continues, “A confirmed tornado was reported over the I-35 flyover…” Not far from where my son works.
“He probably didn’t even notice,” I mumble.
“Call him to see if he’s okay.”
“I’m writing, you have your phone in your hand, you call him.”
He didn’t say it, but he was planning to go back to the radar that lives on his phone. He calls to check. “Are you okay?”
Nope, he didn’t, notice. Just a gust of wind and loss of power. Going home early.
We watch the news replay. It was right there. Close call, too close. It went right over his building.
“Are we going to die? We should totally go coffin shopping. I want my coffin to be long, the taller the coffin, the taller people think you are,” ‘tween interjects.
And, as quickly as those sheets of rain came down, the sun came out, and the storm went by, my words disappeared with them.
It's spring today Had to double check A brightening sun teases me through the window as I write It's still cold outside, but it doesn't have winter's bite I'm cutting short my morning puttering Got a lot done yesterday so I could enjoy the whole of today I typically get the Sunday blues on Saturday night lamenting a long list of Still Needs To Get Done Before Monday Back to work Monday A back to work rain in the forecast Monday Today, I'm going out to play with a spring in my step a taste for the end of May
It’s another Saturday morning. I’m supposed to be sleeping in. I should be sleeping in. Sleep has a hate-hate relationship with me. I have a love-hate relationship with it. Love it, but hate it because I don’t ever seem to get enough. I try, but my body won’t have it. So, I should be sleeping.
Instead, I got up at 5:30. If I keep my eyes closed and take long deep breaths, I can go back to sleep. Nope. Not working. Maybe if I go to the bathroom, I won’t think about going while I’m trying to go back to sleep and that might help. I grab at the air in front of me, remembering my opened suitcase is still at the foot of the bed and I left my shoes somewhere on my right. I make it there and back to bed.
Breathe in, breathe out. What do I need to do today? What’s one more for-me thing I can squeeze in before Monday’s bleary-eyed wake up call to go back to work? I should be sleeping, but my brain is chatting, loudly. And it has jumped on my chest wanting to ponder the universe like a toddler freshly awake, yanking me out of bed. Wanting to play. Wanting pancakes. Just five more minutes…
Nope. Not having it. Body is done with sleep even though it didn’t need as much as I wanted to give it. I get up. The house rests in the deep silence of morning. Still dark outside. Cold. I make my coffee, adding extra cinnamon. I pop a slice of sourdough bread from my favorite bakery into the toaster. Put away last night’s clean dishes while the last bit of coffee gurgles into my cup. I get to my end of the kitchen table, my make-shift writing space. I open my notebook and start my daily three pages of writing. Not usually anything good, just a space to let out all of those thoughts that dragged me out of bed.
What do I do with the rest of the morning? No one is up to start demanding things for me. Not even the dog wants to be let out.
It’s still dark. Too cold.
So, wear a jacket.
I’m going to they gym in a while.
Another cup of coffee?
Go back to bed, then.
I’m not sleepy.
I hear cars in the distance, the neighborhood yawns awake. The sky starts to blink open, morning light appears out of nowhere. I’m dressed for the gym so I’m not tempted to stay home.
I’m not a morning person, but these few hours were nice today. When I try to get some early quiet time, it backfires, so I’ve stopped trying. Sleep got me out of bed early today so I could play with a little bit of me time.
I blame my problem on doom-scrolling. I get sucked in to free online courses. It’s quick and easy to sign up. Writing workshops. Craft courses. One on hand stitched journals. Modern calligraphy, which isn’t real calligraphy, just building letters with brush pens. I signed up for one on using herbs to make tinctures, teas, and syrups to flavor boozy or non-boozy beverages. I actually “attended” that one. There was a 30 day yoga challenge. I completed the first one in January of 2020 even though I’ve signed up for them since 2018.
Don’t even get me started on webinars. I have attended some for work where I’ve listened to some great authors speak about their books. These are for professional development, so I add them to my calendar. I sign up for them because I usually get a link to the re-play in case I miss them. I mostly miss them. I typically remember to “attend” when the email with said link makes it into my inbox. Do I go back to watch the replays? Nope. There are goodies buried deep inside though, so if it’s a big time author, I have to force myself to dig in.
I tend to do better if I have to pay for them. I know, that’s stupid. I’m a Cheapie McCheaperson and I’m not taking advantage of the freebies. In February, I did pay for a craft session with one of my favorite blogger artists I found on Instagram years ago. I don’t live in Arizona to attend her live workshops, so this was the next best thing. I LOVED it. I received a kit for five craft projects, put it on my calendar, told everyone I wasn’t doing anything but crafting all day, and enjoyed myself and the company.
Pandemic teaching made it worse. I’ve limited myself to signing up for free courses unless I know it’s absolutely something my life needs. Becoming a hoarder of free online courses is not something I want as part of my bio. I blame Pinterest for that. Electronic hoarding. Where’s Marie Kondo when you need her? I do need to think about the course, its objectives, and the time I need to spend on it before flooding my inbox with reminders and links to replays that will expire or wind up in my virtual wastebasket. Better yet, if I don’t sign up then go back to look for it, that’s a good indication of something worthwhile.
I went back to that first freebie modern calligraphy course last month during some of our snow days. I got through the first two of fourteen days practicing up and down strokes. I was on a roll. I have unlimited access to the instructional videos and all of the supplies I need. Dropping out again, I’ve decided to work on it when I can between now and the end of the school year.
Better yet, I’ll save it for summer break. I’ll have time to fill my days with all kinds of courses I’ve skipped. Yeah, my own summer school.
This is a take on the popular game show, The $10,000 Pyramid, where one person gives clues to a partner. The answer is in the form of a category. 30 seconds are on the clock for each round. Can you figure out these categories?
Round 1: Time change. Rest. Cleaning. Sleeping. Trip. Fun. Friends. Reading. Long walks. Birds chirping.
Round 2: Writing. Revising. Posting. Commenting. Daily. Difficult. Topics. Meeting. Orange.
Round 3: Coffee. Water. Darkness. Sleep. Lavender. Eye pillow. Cold room. Advil.
Round 4: Kiddie gate. Petting. Blanket. Kennel. Outside. Carrot. Treat. Sniffing. Chunk of rawhide.
Round 5: Text thread. 1:00. Lunch. Where. Kids. No kids. Two kids. Hey! Chilling. Pop. Fizz. Cheers.
Round 6: Bike. 20 minutes. Okay. Safe. Dad. Need. Man. Hands. Take. Crystal. From. Ground. Must. Have. Crystal. Hungry. Crackers. Only crackers. Oh, by the way…
Round 7: Marshmallows. Cereal. Rainbows. Blue diamonds. Green. Fruit. Flavors. Shiny. Gold. Trap.
Round 8: Pineapples. Welsh. Corgi. Center. Not. Crazy. Pizza. About. Pastries. Pineapple. Pineapple. Pineapple.
Round 9: New. Friend. Visit. Conversation. Meeting. Parent. Bedroom tour. Snacks. Junk food. Reeses. Clue #4. Hi. Barking.
Round 10: Dread. Last hurrah. Catching up. Groceries. Laundry. Menus. Calendar. Next week. Count down. Summer. Sigh. Enjoy. One more day. Chill out.
How did you do? Get answers here.
The 'tween is helping with dinner burgers Hubster is cooking I'm playing with a craft project Clean-up is mine for tonight A chunk of lettuce flies from 'tween's hands and the discussion quickly goes to the three second rule "I didn't see that" I say, "It's okay," 'tween says "the wet pieces may or may not have been on the floor, it's not like someone's feet were there and we don't talk about Bruno..." Noooo! not that song again! I've had some bubbly today, I don't care dinner is cooked it's spring break I had friend time this afternoon I'll skip the lettuce It's still spring break and I'm trying not to care too much Life goes on with or without lettuce on a burger
“If I could shake the crushing weight of expectations
Would that free some room up for joy
Or relaxation, or simple pleasure?”Lin-Manuel Miranda, Surface Pressure, from Disney’s Encanto
One thing I don’t like about myself is I have HAS-Happiness Avoidance Syndrome. I completely made that up, but I think I have it nonetheless. You won’t find it on WebMD or HealthLine, but I know it’s real. I don’t know why I have it. I try to get rid of it. I’ve read books, lots of them, on the topic. I’ve tried all kinds of happiness “Kool-Aid” from the best happiness experts and gurus.
However, some of the people who claim to have all their happy ducks in a row are millionaires. And the happy drinks they offer are laced with toxic positivity and a huge dose of privilege. I work hard to be positive and to see the glass as half full, which I discussed a few days ago, but then again, what’s in the glass? I prefer reality. No amount of positivity is going to completely turn something horrid into something not so horrid. What helps in those situations are a lot of people helping me through those times because you have to ride through them. If something’s awful, it’s awful, there’s no need to pretend it isn’t.
How did I become this way? Is it being a (mostly) rule following first born? Is it the high expectations I load onto my shoulders? Is it nature or nurture? I often have to tell myself not to fret about certain things.
Case in point: This weekend. I’m fretting about ordering dinner. What can I share with my ‘tween who will either have the appetite of a gnat or a full grown man? I’ve been sharing meals with my kids for almost two decades. Why? The damn budget. I hate wasting food. My husband orders whatever he wants, plus extra sides and a drink without blinking. Why do I have to second guess everything and tally the bill before we even order? I’m usually hungry and since we don’t eat out more than once a week (which I think is too much), might as well enjoy a good meal I don’t have to cook, right?
If I do share, ‘tween devours the double sized portion and I’m stuck scrounging up leftover fries or half a chicken strip with the breading gnawed off. If I don’t share, we wind up with too much food. The thing is, we can afford it. We don’t go to overly pricey restaurants and we order what’s reasonable. Everyone else is happy, so why do I do this to myself?
Is it first-born perfectionism? I’ve had to play adult before I became one. I helped younger siblings with homework. Cooked some meals when my parents were at work. I did lots of sibling-sitting while I was in high school. I’m not the only one. It’s the default when you grow up with two parents working. I don’t know if this is the reason or not and I’m certainly not blaming my parents. That’s how it was.
Thanks to Disney, I have Surface Pressure from Encanto playing in the back of my mind. Often. The song annoys me. It isn’t pleasant. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and hurts my ears. And yet, it’s fitting. Isn’t that what HAS does though? It’s annoying. It’s unpleasant. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth and hurts your ears. And thoughts. And everyone around you. Everyone around me. I’m working on it, but it’s hard. That’s reality. It’s self-inflicted. I’m trying to stop.
I don’t know what’s it’s like being a HAS-not. Happiness ebbs and flows. That’s okay. We can’t be happy all of the time, otherwise, we wouldn’t know there’s a difference between anything else.
This morning, I emphatically ordered avocado toast and a cappuccino. It was delicious and I enjoyed every bite of it. I didn’t share a meal with ‘tween and it felt good. Then I ordered a concha, my favorite Mexican pastry, to bring home for tomorrow morning. Might as well. We were in San Antonio and found a bougie Mexican panadería. I’m a sucker for conchas. I will be happy when I have it with my cafecito in the morning. Or at least the second half of it. I happily ate some on the way home.