grown ups are like that....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

15 minutes by Kelly Myers

My dear friend Kelly Myers took on Sarah Cedeno's writing challenge! Please take a minute to read and comment on her guest post, below. She is a great writer and should really start a blog, too. My response to the challenge is here.
I've got a school bus coming home in 15 minutes bringing me 3 rowdy, excited-to-play-in-the-snow seven year olds. Here's all that 15 minutes will get you.

My desk. It's huge, heavy, wooden, and it was FREE!! We got it from an associate of Dennis' who was pulling up stakes and abandoning his office with furniture inside. He just couldn't take it with him. Why yes, I'd love that big, wooden professional desk with oodles of drawers. I sit at my desk in the "living room" of my house. I can't imagine people before me living in this cozy ranch house using this as their only living room. Thankfully, they added on to the house in the 80's and put on a huge family room. This room has never been our "living room." We call it the "front room." I used to have my office in here. Just a desk and some other random furniture that rarely got used. Then it had 3 babies' cribs in it. Much different! Someone go back in time and tell that pregnancy crazed hormonal lady that painting the walls a deep, deep red would take about 13 coats of paint and aggravate her husband to no end. Once the cribs moved out, the room was our therapy room. We added a kid height school table and chairs. My son had 3 years of in-home therapy here - ABA, speech and OT. Fabulous ladies who loved my son and his siblings just as much as we do came here. They became part of our family. Once the kids started school full-time, my old "desk" came back in the room. I was just a ramshackle piece of MDF board with folding table legs attached. Some homemade make-do on a budget piece of furniture that we whipped up back in college, when we were still babies. This new, fancy, free desk makes me feel grown-up.

I don't have time to talk about all the drawers. This desk has drawers for miles. I love them and reorganize them with glee on a regular basis.

Up on top, we've got a big ole' box of tissues. Then, a cordless phone and charging station. Then, one of my set of two speakers, for requisite rocking out while I pay the bills. I've got my tiny purple iPod shuffle charging away reminding me that I haven't been to the gym since before Christmas. A pencil with a broken tip. I was going to sharpen it this morning, but decided to leave it for one of the kids to sharpen because they get such a thrill out of the electric pencil sharpener. Under my monitor sits 5 cash envelopes that came from the bank. They've got Christmas money inside for each of my 4 kids plus Dennis and I - all from my great-grandma who will turn 102 years old in just 6 weeks. She saved all her life so she'd never have to go without. The envelopes have handwritten names of all us scrawled on there by her daughter - my great aunt. She's in her 80's and I'm sure she never imagined her mother would live so long. We sometimes worry about my great-aunt and my grandpa (her brother) and their worsening health conditions. No one in their 80's expects to be outlived by their 102 year old mother.

Damn, the school bus is here. Hmm. It would suck to stop in the middle of a story.

Little people are home and they've been reshuffled. Dennis shoveled the whole driveway, the boys are playing in the snow, and Gillian is reading a book. I ate a bowl of turkey chili. Aren't you a better person for knowing that?

Back to the desk. Under my monitor is a sensory skin brush. The OT gave it to me over a month ago. We don't use it too often, but it sits there waiting to be pressed into service. Then, there sits the sparkling blue box, covered in faux jems. Hidden inside the little tin box is a tiny, colorized photo of Joseph Gordon Levitt. Hi Joe! Tech tools include my wireless keyboard and mouse, and my headphone used for quieter rocking out. Nearby, my mousepad is guarded by my Dexter bobblehead, bloody knife and all. My kids asked a bunch of questions when he came home. Am I warping their sensibilities? I hope so, just a little. Gillian ran off and got her Hello Kitty bobblehead and plopped it next to mine. She said they could be buddies. A serial killer and a Japanese cartoon character, besties? Of course they could be, Gillian.

Over towards the other side of my desk I've got a quart sized mason jar full of a hundred slivers of plastic. We cut up our credit cards over a year ago and I've kept the carnage hanging around. I like the visual reminder that we're being frugal and that paying bills is actually fun now. It's a game to see how much we can save and how much debt we can pay off. Tucked inside the jar is a mini American flag that the boys and I got when we welcomed the WWII Veterans home from their trip to DC last October. The grownups cried that day. Can't wait to go do it again.

Beyond that sits 3 unopened Pinewood Derby Car kits. We haven't even started them and the derby is in 8 days. No problem. Last year Doug's car beat out the other 5 boys in his age group. He couldn't have been more thrilled. Eric cried that day. He cried a big, ugly, snotty cry that lasted too long and embarrassed the heck out of me. He hates to lose. Perched at the very edge of my desk is a new-to-me metal sculpture of flowers - might be cherry blossoms. I found it at the local Savers goodwill shop and I had a coupon. It made me think of Springtime, and now I don't want to put it away and "save" it for a spring day. Why wait?

I've already evangelized today about my ScanSnap pro on my Facebook page. Gillian wandered past my desk today when she got off the bus and whined a tiny bit. She was disappointed to see some of her schoolwork from yesterday in the recycle bin, that crafty, observant girl. I told her - don't worry. Not only did I read it, I thought it was so cool that I scanned it in and emailed it to Dad so that he would read it, too. She and I talked about how I'd save the file until she was a teenager and we smiled about it.

Don't forget that thin layer of dust covering the back few inches of the whole desk. Once in a while I blow really hard and watch it scoot away and fall behind the desk. Ha, Ha. I'm Betty Homemaker. I don't look at the dust, too often, though. I like to look out the window. Yesterday and today I've been watching the birdfeeders. I've seen house finches, starlings, chickadees, male and female downy woodpeckers and yesterday we saw a giant red-headed woodpecker. This is the biggest window in the house and I love the view. The school bus pulls away at 7:30am each day and I get to watch the sunrise over the neighbors trees while I check my email in the morning.

Now I think the boys are finally wet and cold and about ready to come back in from the snow. That was probably about 45 minutes if you subtract out my chili break. Phew! Thanks for visiting my office.

Thanks Kelly!

Friday, January 6, 2012

45 Minutes

This is a writing exercise that I learned about from Sarah at copyright1982. It is a bit different from most of the pieces I write here, but I thought it would be fun to mix things up a bit.

Here is the prompt (Originally from an article by John Smolens in The Writer) taken directly from Sarah's post which you can find here:

1. Focus on where you write (45 minutes).

Write for a minimum of 45 minutes, describing where you are as you write, how you are writing (using pencil and paper, computer, etc.) and why you have chosen this particular time of day to write, Simply describe your physical location, what about it makes you comfortable–or uncomfortable.


Start, 9:25 am, January 6th, 2011.

Here I go. I'm a little nervous that I don't have the complete details of the prompt, but I'm too eager (always a problem for me) to get started. I don't have a subscription to The Writer, so I'm going on just what she posted at her blog.

In any case, I suppose I'll start by describing where I am and any random thoughts that enter my mind as I go.

I'm in my study with orange walls, three aloe vera plants, a conch shell, a jade plant, and some other succulent plant that I have no name for. I'm listening to "Falling Slowly" on my ipod which is making me feel melancholy.

There is a plate in front of me with LOTS of crumbs from the early morning tortilla chip snack I just had. Who does this? Who eats chips at nine am? I do, I suppose.

Right now I'm fighting the urge to clean up the mess on my desk. Notepads, a pea green binder, and some advil (kept close in case this week's migraine makes a return), some mini-wallet size pictures of the kids that I need to send out, and a hand out from the speech therapist.

Ok, ok, I'm moving on with the exercise. . . in the little cubby hole right above my computer screen is a collection of little crystals and gem stones. My favorite is a flat, transparent opal. It isn't sparkly like most opals you see in jewelry. Instead the color is luminous and liquid, and I often hold it in my hand when I am day dreaming. It has a particular name, this type of opal, but if I look it up now I'll just get distracted.

The room is cold. The heater just kicked on, so I'm hopeful it will warm up a bit. Besides, the sun is shining brightly, and that will help warm things up, too.

Here's another favorite nick-knack that sits in one of my many little desk top cubby holes: It is a candle shaped like a cupcake. The "frosting" is pink and sparkly, and there is a fake candy mint on top and fake little gumdrops around the edge. I seriously love this candle. I've never burned it, because it would break my heart to watch it melt.

It still smells like incense in here. Santa left some incense in my stocking, so I've been burning it in the morning when I meditate. I'm still not sure if I like it or not. The scent is heavy and reminds me of my college days and dorm rooms and late nights and stale cigarettes.

Van Morrison has come on the ipod now: "Into the Mystic." I think Van is the only artist that I can listen to over and over and over and never get sick of his songs. I used to think this about my beloved Cowboy Junkies, but after a while I do get a little bored with them. Unless, of course, I'm listening to the Trinity Session. Should I post some videos with this blog later when I spell check? We'll see.

Twenty minutes left. I'm starting to think that this will end up being a really, really boring post.

There are two desks is in my study. The one I sit at now is a computer desk. It's "Mission Style" with a dark chocolate stain. I pretty much love it. The other desk, behind me and to the left, is a large teacher's desk a friend's father gave to me. I use it for my crafts and projects. Well, I am not actually very crafty, but I like to pretend I am. I have a large box from Big Lots that contains hundreds of pieces of scrap paper, though I don't use it for scrap books. I use it to make homemade cards and little hand sewn books. I usually don't make time to cultivate this craft.

The phone is sitting here, just in case. I'm expecting an important call, and I have the feeling that the phone will ring right in the middle of this exercise or when I get in the shower. Oops, I guess that means that I've just admitted to not having taken a shower yet. I'll get to it.

I keep looking over at the peach wing backed chair just to my left by the open closet door. It is covered with a piano blanket that I bought about sixteen years ago now. It looks old fashioned and eclectic, all reds and golds and muted greens with fringe rimming the edges. It would be great to say that I picked it up at an antique store and that the owner told me a wildly romantic story about the famous pianist who once owned it. But I can't. It would also be cool if I could tell you that I found it in my grandma's attic buried under dusty quilts and old photos in an ancient steamer truck. But neither of these stories are true. I bought it at J.C. Penny. I thought it would add some flair to my boring grad school apartment. And you know what? It did add flair. It really is pretty.

Ten more minutes.

It is still freezing in here, and I would love a cup of tea to warm my bones. I suppose I can wait ten more minutes.

On the wall above my computer is a framed collage of pictures that my mother made for my grandmother in the 1970s. There are lots of great pictures of my family. My two favorites: 1) A head shot, from the side, of me at about three years old. I'm wearing a simple, white Easter bonnet, and my face is raised to the sun. My eyes are closed and I have a little, gentle smile on my face. 2) A picture of my childhood dog, Prince, as a puppy. He is a white puff ball (he's a Samoyed) under our Christmas tree. A disembodied hand (probably my father's) holds a ball in front of him. The hand is sightly blurry as if the person holding it was waving it up and down just as the picture was snapped.

I just realized that I have five candles in this room. I am an obsessive candle burner. Except, of course, the cupcake. I pick it up and sniff it. It really does smell like vanilla cake! It is even sitting in a little foil cupcake tin that one could easily pull away if you wanted to take a bite. I'm now thinking that I want to spend some time on-line shopping for more cupcake candles. Maybe they make them in other scents and colors. Chocolate with peanut butter frosting, perhaps? Red velvet with cream cheese frosting, maybe?

Now I'm hungry.

Stop, 10:10 am, January 6, 2011.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Big Things

This post was going to be about my New Year's resolutions, but then I remembered that in 2010 a psychic told me that 2011 would be "My Year." She said that "Big Things" were coming my way, and that I would have a stellar twelve months to look forward to. So instead of talking about what I plan to do in the year to come, I want to look back at 2011. . .
I visited my amazing mother, who I miss so very much, in Idaho.

I saw my adored sister and sweet and treasured childhood friend in Missouri.

I saw my beautiful cousin marry the love of her life in Colorado.

I stood at the edge of the ocean in Prince Edward Island and climbed mountains in Vermont.

I saw Broadway shows and ate New York cheesecake at midnight in Times Square with two of the most wonderful and dear women I know.

I met new friends, grew closer to old ones, and dreamed of those who have passed on.

I laughed at birthday celebrations and wept at funerals and held the hands of those working through grief and pain.

I lost my last grandparent, my cherished and beloved grandmother.

I became an aunt again (A niece!).

I gathered with my soul sisters to share our dreams and turn the wheel of the year together.

I celebrated ten years of motherhood and cried thinking about how fast it all went.

I had some of my work published in a new book as well as in a couple of my favorite literary journals.

I mended a rift with an old, dear friend, and sent quiet blessings and love to those no longer in my life.

I had food on my table in abundance and clothes on my back.

I had a warm house to share with my brilliant and handsome husband of fourteen years and the family we created together.

Big Things? No, but I'd say that overall 2011 was filled with love, good fortune, and, most of all, good people.

My wish for you this new year. . .
I wish you an abundance of love, a surplus of happiness, and a bounty of peace. May the Spirit (however it is shown to you) shine on you and in you and bring you a thousand blessings.

May 2012 bring you Peace, Love, Light, and Joy.