Doorways

Saturday, March 26, 2022

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.

Field Trip Conversations

Friday, March 25, 2022

“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?”

A Bubble

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
Thursday, March 24, 2022

Mending Mi Broken Corazón

“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!

Red glitter glue resembles blood. Oof.

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.

Not too shabby.

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.

Finished! It still has a weak spot, but there’s no Beskar steel at Michael’s.

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.

March 23, 2022

Thunderstorm

Monday, March 21, 2022

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.

Beating the Sunday Blues

Sunday, March 20, 2022
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

Another (Sleepless)Saturday Morning

Saturday, March 19, 2022

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.

A walk?

It’s still dark. Too cold.

So, wear a jacket.

I’m going to they gym in a while.

Laundry?

Too loud.

Another cup of coffee?

Maybe later.

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.

Online Course Dropout

Friday, March 18, 2022

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.

Welcome to the $1.00 Pyramid!

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.

Thursday, March 17, 2022