Friday, July 29, 2005

Mother-Daughter Conversation

A conversation with my youngest daughter (written with my apologies to Irish men everywhere)...

We were riding along, listening to a Van Morrison "talking song". Here's how it went:

Daughter: Why does he talk like that?

Mom: He's Irish, that's his accent.

Daughter: I want to marry an Irish man.

Mom: Irish men have hot tempers.

Daughter: Is Daddy Irish?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Captured Moment

(Written a year ago as a journaling exercise. Silly me, I should have pulled it out for Father's Day. Seems I'm always a day late and a dollar short!)

My father and I are trying to get the window air conditioner pried loose so they can bring it in for service. He and Mom have been trying to get it loose by themselves. Had I not called and interrupted them, they would still be working on it, just the two of them, stubborn old souls who do not yet know they are not as young and strong as they used to be. Dad is outside the window in the heat, bearing the bulk of the load. We are both working quietly and intently--stabbing and gouging at the caulk that holds the unit to the window frame. We have one side loosened and have already tried "man-handling" the unit by jerking on it, hoping the caulk will magically release its grip on the air conditioner. But that has not happened.

The trick is to get enough of the caulk pulled away and then to grab the tail and pull it up like one long piece of string. Dad does not complain. He does mention that the caulking must have been very cheap since he used so much of it and says he has told Mom he will not caulk it again when they re-install the repaired air conditioner unit. And we laugh, because we both know he will have to seal it so that no lizards get into the house and "get" Mom.

We've loosened it and my father takes the heavy end and together we move slowly down the hall. I am walking backwards and he is concerned about me running into something and asks if I am okay. I am concerned for him. The load is not too heavy for him but it is a load and I can hear the measured sound of his breath as we get closer to the car.

Having loaded the air conditioner into the car, I watch my father go back into the house and I know that he is seventy years old; he can't be Superman anymore; and I don't want to lose my father.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Bits and Pieces

I haven't been hiding, just busy, and without much to say. The quote is from a friend who occasionally has to remind me that it's okay for me to be human.

I am always glad for the reminder. It's exhausting, being the strong one all the time!

Saw this over at emerging sideways, bobbi's blog (link in sidebar). I liked it and printed it up for my journal.

Lagniappe (for what it's worth)-- Ayekah (link in previous post) asked me to respond to another meme about what is on my nightstand. I will not say anything more than this about what is on my nightstand: If anyone is interested, there might be enough dust on there to create a scrawny man.

Just curious-- Any of you ever eaten yellow meated watermelon? It is almost the same as a red melon, but it is yellow. I like them because more often than not, you will get a good tasting melon. I bought one this afternoon from a guy who came through selling both kinds. It was not that good, unfortunately.

Anyway, if I had a digital camera, I would have posted a photo of the melon in all its yellow glory. For a minute, I seriously considered slicing off a thin piece and scanning it, but that could have made a terrible mess so I decided to do the mature thing and keep the melon off the scanner!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Monday Meme

Tagged by Ayekah, over at The Soul Sings:

What I was doing 10 years ago: I was 7 months shy of turning forty, my kids were 11, 7, and goodness, where did the time go? (I don't know what I was doing.)

What I was doing 5 years ago: I was working part-time at a local sporting goods store. My husband was between jobs, we had some financial issues, and I was learning to graciously receive help from others.

What I was doing yesterday: Yesterday, that's easy! I was driving through a part of Louisiana known as Acadiana. These were a few of the things I saw: Rice growing on one side of the road, sugarcane on the other, a dead alligator in the road, palmetto bushes (trees?) growing beside the marsh, the Intracoastal canal, the Mermentau River, and last but not least, a poor turtle, lying on his back in the middle of the road.

5 snacks I enjoy: Boiled cookies, Snicker's bars, M&M cookies, Bold Chex mix, peanut M&Ms

5 songs I know all the lyrics to: probably several "churchy songs", Twinkle, Twinkle, Little memory is terrible, and I can't sing anyway, so why would I need to remember song lyrics??

5 things I would do with a 100 million: A million what? Oh, dollars? First, I'd get some professional advice on what to do with it, second, I'd pay off all our bills, then I'd help some family members, I'd help a few organizations that have helped me, I'd share anonymously with a few friends, I'd invest, and I'd probably try to be pretty tight-lipped about it all.

5 locations to which I would like to run: the woods, Colorado, quiet places, rural places, almost anywhere, I am always game for a trip

5 bad habits I have: chewing my fingernails, thinking too much, eating mindlessly, wasting time, sitting around too much

5 things I like doing: Reading, writing, thinking, I liked traveling when it was all payed for (sales contests won by my husband), I like watching people (am I boring, or what?)

5 things I would never wear: an itsy-btsy, teeny-weenie yellow polka-dot bikini, stilletto heels, really short hair, wool, anything I deem to be too froo-froo

5 T.V. shows I like: Monk, those CSI shows, though they make me mad because they are so obviously unrealistic, I mean, come on, don't their computers ever freeze up, or lose all their information? I don't watch much T.V. anymore.

5 biggest joys of the moment: the feeling that I might survive this life, improving relationships with my three kids, summertime

5 favorite toys: those fake riding horses held up on a frame with four springs, so you felt like you were riding a horse, roller skates, swings, bicycle, oh, you mean, currently? Uh, my computer?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Oh My Goodness

I have not always loved old books in the same way that I love new books. But lately, due to budget considerations, I have acquired the habit of checking out the used books for sale section at our library, have taken to poking around in used bookstores, and find myself going to goodwill stores just to see if anyone has donated any interesting books.

Maybe it is because I myself am getting older, but my opinion now is that there is something endearing about a well-used book. It has a history that new books do not yet have, especially if previous readers have left their marks in the way of notes in the margins or highlighted lines. I am sorry to say that this used book had no such markings. It is in pristine condition, save for the intimate and concerned note on the flyleaf.
I was slightly embarassed to come across this note, to know that B obviously did not read the book L gave him.

I bought the book, and brought it home. I plan to read it. I plan to highlight passages that speak to me. And I will continue to wonder if L is still praying for B, or if B might one day find the peace and love that L spoke of.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Trivial Fluff Post for the Day

Back when I was still in school, in Typography class, we were required to design our own font. That's when the cracked font, "Pull Up Yer Britches", was born. In the end (bad pun intended--sorry!), the font never quite made it to the end stage of development because I ended up using a font concentrating on the other end of the body by putting cute little caps on letters I had designed little heads for and stretched out the letters to resemble bodies and calling the font "ALL CAPPED OUT".

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a copy of the "ALL CAPPED OUT" font at the moment. It turned out okay, the font did. Nothing extraordinary, but enough to get me out of the class with an A, so I was, of course, pleased as punch in the end.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Meeting the Events of Life Graciously

(Can Be Such A Pain in the Butt)

I used to be the sort of perpetually sunny person who always said things could be worse. I’ve been thinking about that, and I am wondering, was I perpetually sunny because I was not an orphan with AIDS in Africa? Was I perpetually sunny because I was not born crippled, or blind, or deaf? Was I, like the Pharisees, saying thank you God that I was not born like one of them, one of those sinners? That’s nothing--to be happy, or sunny, or grateful, simply because of the storms that have not come into your life.

What happens when things do get worse? What happens when a child disappoints you, or the marriage gets a little stale, or you face financial shortcomings, and you lose privileges you always thought of as rights, such as health insurance? I’ll tell you what happens. You keep getting knocked down, and yet you keep insisting things could be worse, and the next thing you know, things have gotten worse, and your sunny disposition has gone to hell in a hand basket. I reacted by feeling sorry for myself, started poking my head out from under the rubble and saying you know, things could be better. I spent several years bemoaning how bad things were—waiting—hoping—praying--for things to just get better.

But I am slowly coming to realize that it really doesn't matter if things are "better" or "worse". I already have, or will be given, what I need to get through the day. And I am grateful, not because of the tragedy that has not touched me, and not because the tragedies that have touched me have been resolved. I am grateful because I have seen that whatever situation I find myself in, I have been provided exactly what I need at exactly the time I have needed it. I am grateful for the faithfulness of the unseen hand that steadies my equilibrium, both in the sunshine, and in the darkness.

There are a couple of other things I have learned (again) that have been helpful in changing my attitude. One is that we all suffer, in one way or the other. Am I so great that I would be exempt from suffering? No. I know this would seem painfully obvious, but in the midst of my pity party, I could see no one's pain but my own.

The other thing is the reminder that no one is expected to man the battle stations 24/7. I can take the time to rest if I need to when the battle get too intense. I can do what is necessary to take care of me.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Butt Ugly Journal

Limited quanity! Order yours now!!

I've been working on a journal for a friend of mine, and I got this brilliant idea for a company name and theme. This is a rough rendition of what I had in mind. Some of the letters still need a little work. What do you think?

I know, I know, I think I am so funny!! The pages are not high art or anything, but they are similar to what I do in my own journal.

And my friend has been wanting to journal more. I thought if she had an ugly book of quotes, it might inspire her to write something.

I've got gobs of quotes collected from here and there and everywhere.

Some offer good advice....

Some are plain silly...

Some are thought-provoking....

You can see I am not the neatest painter (and not an artist by any stretch of the imagination). That green spot is not supposed to be there.

Oh well, off to bed with me. I need my rest because I'm pretty sure I'd better keep my day job!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Catching My Breath

I've been gone (real, real gone...anyone familiar with that Van Morrison song?).

While I was gone,
Captainwow wrote a little piece about how we hide the weird parts of ourselves, and another friend and I have been pondering the value of our "strangeness" factors. There is a line in "Song of Being a Child" (Peter Handke) that has always struck me with its obvious truth, about how the child "didn't put on a face when photographed". When does it begin to happen that we learn to put on a face when photographed, and eventually forget to take off that face?

"Song of Being a Child" has lots of other interesting lines too, by the way. It's not a real easy song to listen to, at least not the version I've heard (Van Morrison/The Philospher's Stone). I'm not sure what the song, or the musings of Captainwow have to do with my absence. Okay, I am rambling here, aren't I?

Anyway, metaphorically speaking, I have been away, climbing a steep hill. I don't know that I will ever share specific details here. I don't know that it is necessary (and there is also the issue of respecting the privacy of another). Think of a time when you climbed a steep hill you did not really want to have to climb, and remember the bittersweet feeling of surviving and knowing
you did about as well as could be expected under less than ideal circumstances. That's where I am at right now.

Things have worked out. Not perfectly, but well enough, and I find myself standing at the top of the hill, peering down into a hole. I am relieved and grateful, but also slightly overwhelmed from the climb.

Other tidbits:

It occurs to me that these images probably would work better with the black and white reversed.

I need to update my links list.

Questions answered:

Captainwow, you asked about the bridge in one of my New Orleans pictures. I don't know what bridge it is! If you go over it, it will take you to the city of Gretna. Does that help?

Camille, no, I do not speak French. There are Cajun French expressions I am vaguely familiar with, but other than that, no parleis vous frances (and I bet I did not spell that right!)

Ayekah, okay, I'm baaaack!!!

(And if anybody else has asked a question that I have ignored, ask again. It's entirely possible that I'll wake up and answer it!)