(Not So) Alarming

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

I have always set two alarms. One for 5:30 a.m. and one for 6:15 a.m. I figured out the latest I can get up, fly by the seat of my pants on a jeans and school t-shirt day, is 6:30 a.m. I have to skip my morning pages, although I don’t like doing that, scald my throat glugging my coffee, sweep in whatever food fits into my lunch bag, and get going. I can make it to work on time and look (mostly) normal. This isn’t ideal, but having tried it a few times, it’s acceptable.

Recently, I’ve (sort of) given up my morning alarm clock. Most nights I still toss and turn, but it’s been so much better. What has worked is setting the alarm for that latest possible jump out of bed our you’ll be so late time. My I’ve-hit-the-snooze-button-for-an-entire-hour-it’s-time-to-suck-it-up-and-get-out-of-bed-already time. One alarm. 6:30 a.m. I wake up at 5:00 and sometimes go back to sleep. I wake up at 5:15 and sometimes go back to sleep. I wake up at 5:50 and decide not to go back to sleep. It’s almost like I’m hitting the snooze button without the annoyance of an alarm clock beeping. Except it is annoying. But it isn’t a heart stopping I’m going to rip that thing out of the wall annoying.

If I start tossing and turning in the middle of the night, rather than counting the number of hours of sleep I haven’t had, I tell myself I can “sleep in” until 6:30. All will be well with the world. On most days, I wake up a little past 5:30 and get up without any snooze button calculations. I turn off the alarm so it doesn’t wake my husband while I’m getting ready, even though he has an amazing ability to sleep through it. This is a much calmer process. I’ve finally learned how to wake up without an alarm. Sort of.

Red Velvet Cake

SOLSC Day 28

Time! Stay still for a little while. Well, you did last spring, or so it seemed. I’m the one who needs to stand still. I’m the one who needs to slow down. I’m the one who needs to stretch out moments I have, to enjoy them, be present. It’s not your job to stand still. That’s on me. And I haven’t been doing it well. Ever.

For today, the plan is baking a cake with S. From scratch. Red velvet with cream cheese icing, her favorite. Laundry can wait until tomorrow, but baking a cake can’t. Social media doesn’t care if I show up. Neither does my messy bedroom.

Time, I apologize for fussing at you. For saying you aren’t enough. You don’t change. While we’re here, can you tell me why we humans think we need to slay the day? As if it’s something that needs slaughtering. Why can’t we just enjoy it? Like a slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.

You are enough. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m not doing enough. I rarely do enough. I’m doing too much.

No More Challenges Challenge

It’s so easy to click a button, enter my email address and sign up for another challenge. Then they pile up on me. Something sabotages any progress I make (ahem, me!) and then my plans get derailed and it’s hard to jump back in. Because I have too many train tracks in front of me. I don’t know which one is the right track, off track, on or off a beaten path, or flat out hitting a dead end.

Planner challenge. Yoga challenge. Scripture reading. Prayer pledge. Drink half your weight in ounces-of water-per day. Run the year in miles. Exercise every day. No spending for a week. Read a (picture) book a day. Read a book a week. Sugar. No sugar. Fasting-but did I sign up for the 12, 14, or 16 hours? What the heck, put some cream in that coffee and just give me a cinnamon roll already! Oh, but didn’t I sign up for the no-carbs challenge or was that last month because it’s already February and I might have put that one on my list, but I messed up two days in when El Panadero, pulled out a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies and the kids insisted on homemade pizza for dinner. On the same day. And I didn’t eat a salad.

Walk every day challenge. Then we get the random once every 12 years legit snow day and I’m a cold weather wimp, so I don’t think I walked farther than the length of the couch that day. Dry January. But there was that snow day and I added a little brandy to my Mexican hot chocolate. And the one day I bought the cute little “single” serve bottles of Prosecco.

Well, at least I’m doing well with my planner. Until the third week of the month when I had a wacky week that was busier than the whole month put together and I just left a bunch of blank calendar squares. Do I go back and fill them in? But WHY? Seriously!

Okay, well, there’s the Morning Pages. And those were going really well until, surprisingly, AFTER we had to start working on campus again. My usual commute became my time to get some writing in before logging in to work from home. I have, for the most part, kept those up. Three pages of random nonsense to help me make sense of things first thing in the morning. I’m on year 2, week 17. Sure, I’ve skipped some days here and there, but out of all of the challenges so far, this one I’ve managed to tame.

What else did I sign up for? Something on Shut Up and Write! I missed, already, the prompt for the day and the first day isn’t quite over yet. But it’s also day 1 of the February Yoga with Adriene calendar. I completed up to day 22 or so of the January “challenge” until, once again, life just caught up to me. Which is a good thing. I’m getting better about letting things go and a teensy bit better about thinking twice before I sign up for something else. That’s the easy part. Showing up is the hardest. Unless you count the mindless trigger fingers entering my email address. Anyone want to join a “No Challenge Challenge?”

We Eat Here, Too

We got a good deal for our table 
from a guy right down the street. 
He even delivered it for us. 
It's solid and if you bang your knee against 
the inside frame just under the table top
you'll swear you hate the thing. 
The top needs refinishing, but kids, 
so we'll leave it. 
And we have left it that way, 
scratched and stained,
losing  a little color each day.
They protest when we discuss a new finish
I protest at the work it will take 
only to have it scuffed and smeared with, 
life. 
I fuss at everyone who doesn't use a coaster, 
but why bother? 
The kids say it adds character. 
And it does.
There's space for 6 or 8 or 12 or more, 
we've stopped counting. 
We manage to squeeze ourselves in 
when friends and family visit. 
Taking turns sitting at the table, 
much like we did at Nana's. 
It's held up well.
Sophia's first birthday, the first big event
It's hosted countless others
Visits from Mom and Dad along with Dad's pile of newspapers, 
notes, pens, reading glasses, 
mugs of his piping hot coffee 
and a small mountain of Mom's tamales.
Halloween parties
Tortilla making lessons
A birthday candle lined with Tacky Glue, 
sprinkled with gold glitter and sequins.
My best friend's graduation party.
Homemade pizzas--
so many homemade pizzas.
Writing sticks of all shapes and colors
Spilled bowls of Cheerios
5 layer Play-Doh cakes
Mixology experiments: 
Mexican martinis, 
wine-usually red, 
blackberry margaritas, 
strawberry mojitos, 
and the good anniversary crystal 
bubbling with cheap champagne.
An almost empty wine glass, a red ornament,
and a red pear gnawed with a little kid’s bite 
protesting “Mommy I didn’t like it!”
adorns the end of a 
"fancy" Christmas dinner. 
That night we used a tablecloth.
Snow days with pancake breakfasts.
Piles of papers that needed grading.
Homework--
the kids' and mine.
Hours of graduate school assignments
Science fair and craft projects
LEGO builds and chatter
Family game nights
A thick smear of blue paint from a 
Halloween costume making session
and nail polish drips I couldn't remove.
Gingerbread house building parties 
that stopped because we outgrew the table and 
got so darned busy taking kids to 
holiday related school activities.
GNO get togethers
where we all sit around and color,
jars of colored pencils, pens, and markers 
snaking down the center of the table.
Pandemic teaching
Online Sunday night meetings 
with family across the miles.
Writing 
every morning, 
at least three pages, 
with a coffee mug by my side.
Asking for and giving grace.
They say home is where the heart is.
Ours gather around this table
where we live and breathe,
hope and dream.
And sometimes,
we eat here, too.