Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grabbing The Funny Feels

My dear life mate Rick said to me recently that I should start blogging again. He brought it up because we've been in a cycle of annoyance with The Brood, and the ever-changing moods and 'tudes and general winter-time orneriness. I speak of One Member In Particular, and his name starts with a "Ph" and ends with a high-pitched screech.
I wearily nodded and said yeah you're right, I guess. Just not feeling the humor in it right now.
He insisted we have to reclaim the humor! Must grab the funny feels! Learn to laugh again at the madness!
Maybe I'll start today.
Like I used to do, in ye olde good days, with a stream-of-consciousness, yeah that should work. Phoenix narrates his entire life anyway. There is not a moment when he is not talking, even during supposedly silent, solitary activities. It is a constant, running chatter full of challenges and attitude and devil-may-care. It goes like this, as he plays a motorcycle game online:

"Watch out boy, it's me, na na na na na,  look who came out to play! Oh yeah! You're going down! Hey I just died. I did not see that coming. It's going to go DOWN . Charge! This is awesome. *break for whistling serenade* Break it-break it-break it! Take that, number 4. Ooh, you're right, I came to the right place. I just went down that hill?! Coooool... EPIC... woohoo! Woohoo dun-na-na-na-na, na-na-na, going foot first, yeah check me out. Stealin! Number 4's gonna be cool *break for evil laugh* Huh?! All these are about farms? This is a tiny little place. Man I was having fun there. Charge! Welcome to the game. Dun-na-na-na *break for evil laugh* It's going straight down people. Cooool. This is awesome! *break for whistling* *break for evil laugh*"

The formula is that I leave this right here, and when I come back and re-read it, I will snicker and get misty-eyed and think of the good ole days. Deal?

"Cool!!! *evil laugh* I'm standing on the streets, ready to laugh, suckers!"

Good lord when is February over.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

To the tune of Muskrat Love

Greetings erstwhile readers!
That's the song that should be playing as I log in to my blog and look around. Or some other really old kitschy tune from some other time. What has happened here? It's feeling stale and dated.
I wonder if my stories have dried up for the moment.
Someone near to me suggested I start writing again, as though I willfully called a halt to the living-out-loud. I feel like the demands on my time are very real - and yet I surely also spin away hours doing other activities.
I write and delete and close the page and move on.
It is, after all, February.
I am weak in February. I could research the fact of this and ascribe it to my stars and Mercury rising or falling or hovering in retrograde. I could grimace and slowly shake my head while smirking "seasonal affective disorder." I could blame responsibility for sucking the marrow and energy from my small bones.
Instead I own it in my head and wallow and chain-read. You know? Like a junkie, I stack books and series to never stop for a moment to think in February. I fall into my favorite worlds and live there for as long as the books last. I walk along my bookshelves and wait for friends to signal me. I go for fantasy and battle and world-ending or world-saving or some really good magic. There are no light reads, no chick lit or beach reads. I want heavy immersion. Weighty issues please and maybe they don't get resolved by the end.
Meanwhile in real life...
Sure, I am present. After all, I sat on a bench for an hour yesterday and conversed with friends. Even got a little worked up over some current events.
My toes were bitten by the cold.
My eyes could meet your glance.
My heart can still pound a bit.
But it does so from a distance and the watcher that is me is removed from immediacy.
I need a buffer in February. I am figuring things out in February.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fresh Year

In the new year we can slough off old skin
old desires
tired grudges
spent struggles

We endeavor to start fresh, our kind
We sparkle at the thought
of doing better, becoming truer
Stripping life to the essentials

We long to grasp substance, and feel our hearts tremble
Steep in the marrow of life
And we each see an image in the clouds
A separate vision
A glimmer of possibility
That makes our particular race worth running

Hello, fresh year
Let's play hide and seek

BL
1/4/15

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dreamcatchers and Dreamkillers

What a loaded title. I'm so emo lately, all dramatic and building titles in my head all the livelong day. I dash notes on a small pad when I'm at stoplights. I scribble titles on the back of receipts and pile them in the dreamcatcher pocket of my purse. Do you have one of these in your purse? It can hold all manner of things, now that I think of it. Business cards of beautiful shops. Titles that sound like candy on your tongue. Coupons to enjoy a lovely lunch. Lines to a story that will move the world. You know, just little things like that. 

On the next Maury! Dreamcatchers and Dreamkillers

Does there have to be a small death to enable a dream? Do we kill a choice to gain a decision? 
I'm still thinking about the evolution of a life. Welcome to my den - where the discussions of purpose and intent, wishing and dreaming and being are all on the table. My Dad used to say - Be a thinker! Think new thoughts, figure out what you believe!
I think he laid a spell in that direction, like I can only move through life Being a Thinker. He has trapped me, and you are trapped with me.

Friends are dreamcatchers or dreamkillers.

We all know them - the Catchers hear you out and love what you are about. They don't seek to be practical or narrate the bottom line. These people can become your Muse, because you will think of them when you are feeling creative and lighter than air. Their open-hearted support makes you continue when even you yourself are mired in practicality and thinking all-too-much about the bottom line.
Suddenly you think of a Catcher in your life and you are on track. You know that if someone believes in you, you can do it. This feeling will not be measured - it is the feeling that inspires and lights the fire and energizes you to Be Yourself.
It will urge and lead you to redecorate a room, to start a business, to paint a new color, to run with scissors, to keep on writing.

Be a dreamcatcher.

There are too many who are not; they cannot get on board with the dreamers. They do not understand how you could possibly succeed when they do not see value. Don't think of them. They deflate your purpose with their doubt. 

Figure out what you believe - about yourself and about your purpose. Move in that direction.

With love to all my dreamcatchers and muses. 
(Dreamkillers? Ain't nobody got time.)


Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Ish Wish Dish

Wishes are funny things.

Sometimes small and simple, other times deep and underlying yearnings. Some wishes are easily satisfied, with a matter of time. Then there are wishes I think we all carry for life, running under the surface of us, either hidden or on our sleeve. I used to wish every day, in my head and under my breath, to just be able to finish a hot meal. Ditto for every parent of small kids, I'm sure.

I carry the lifetime wish of worldwide exploration and the current of gypsy-like tendencies skims in my blood. It's always pushed down, and always overcome by practicality and reasonable decision-making. That wish doesn't die, but it aches a bit with the passing of years, and is accompanied by a gulping swallow as I soothe it with false promises. So too the aching wish for my dad, and his return to me. That one has a different ache, a kind of twisting in the gut, coupled with regret for the times he is missing. That wish pricks tears no matter when it comes to mind.

Yesterday I wished that I could snuggle under a throw that did not smell of dog. But the mission of the kids is to leave every throw out for the dog to burrow under - they wish for the dog's comfort. I wish I could wash a throw, and then a have a chance to burrow myself in it while it is fresh.

Today I am doing and not wishing, for wishes are silly things on this day. They are not real on this day. They live in beams of sunlight, and move on the breath of newborn babe. They shine like a new copper penny under a foot's worth of fountain water.

Hold onto your wishes; throw them away occasionally.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month!

Writerly people unite and commit to writing a set amount of words per day, for the entire month of November, and I'm participating. Yes, I'm already behind, because even though many moms claim to stay up at night to write, I am not that person. See previous VBI post. Without the right amount sleep I would have to be committed.
So I'm carving out time and probably not doing some household things that ought to be done. But also not doing some time-wasting things that could be left undone. I think it's going to even out.
But I decided that even if I am behind all month, I will still be ahead of where I was, if I didn't participate. Right?
Let's do this.
Do it with me!

NaNoWriMo details and interesting info here: http://nanowrimo.org

Monday, September 22, 2014

Thank you, white rice

"Maybe you had to work late, or had too many errands and not enough time. One way or the other, the day simply disappeared, somehow, and now the dinner hour is approaching too quickly for comfort." 
-  back of Instant White Rice box

It's like the white rice writers are in my head. That is exactly what has happened. Every. Single. Day.
It's a white rice affirmation, after a long day. Soothing me, saying the white rice understands, go ahead, put that water on to boil... white rice will be there for you.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Muscadine Memories

My Mom has spoken of it often, shaking her head and twitching her mouth - "They are just ornery. That is a Nicholls thing. They like to do stuff just to be contrary." My grandmother, having married into the scene confirms it: "Pure Nicholls." I hear the family stories and laugh at them, I see the contrariness and the scampy grin on some of my own kids.
I never realized it of myself - though the childhood nickname "Beth-a-mule" should have been a clue.
But this week, a friend and I were watching our kids play at the playground. They ran up with some muscadine grapes they had found along the woods, and the smell as they bit into the juicy grapes brought a story to mind.

Mrs. Whitaker has lived beside my Mom for almost 40 years. She was old when I was a kid; she is really old now. The smell of muscadines reminded me of the many times I would belly-crawl across the dirt lane into her yard, intent on raiding her grapevines. But like many old ladies, her usual pastime was sitting at the window, watching everyone and everything she could see. And out in the country, there is not much to see. So, a little ragamuffin neighbor kid crawling to her vines was pretty obvious.
"Git on outta there! Stay out from my grapes!" She would stand on her stoop, in a flowered housedress and not wearing her teeth. She may or may not have held a broom every time, but in my mind she was a witchy character. She had a large facial mole, after all. I would hightail it back across to our yard and race around the barn, out of sight.

If the petty thievery was frequent, she would speak to my Mom about it. And about me climbing in her tree. My other favorite spot - Mrs. Whitaker's perfect climbing tree for a climb-loving girl. It was a great magnolia that grew right along the road, so I could clamber up and look out over the fields, and up and down the road. Of course I was sneaky about that too - how did she see me when I was climbing on the far side of her tree? The woman was uncanny. "Git on outta my tree! I won't have you breaking the branches out! Ye'll ruin the blooms."

As I regaled my friend with this Tale of a Country Child, I started giggling. "Oh my gosh!" I squeaked,  "I was so ornery! My granddad had acres and acres that I could roam, and I insisted on eating that lady's grapes and climbing in her tree! For years." My mouth dropped open and I stared at her. I burst out laughing - "I must have done that just to be contrary."
Hello, Nicholls.
Thank you, granddaddy Jehu.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rule-mongerer

I follow the rules
play oh so fair
I'm careful with hearts
I stay in the lines

I follow statistics and lines on a graph
There's safety in answers
A haven in words

Sure weight in a conscience
anchor to soul
Guidelines to lead me
Compass for life

But watch me I'm spinning
and staring bemused
With robot precision truly confused

For the world offers options
"Tread where you like"
I can't play well with those
who
have
no
care

BL
9.19.14
Ever find yourself wondering when the level playing-field disappeared? When the rules changed? In school, in life, in relationships, in everything? I have to know what leg to stand on, havetohavetohaveto, or it is trouble-city. Rule-mongerer.

Friday, September 5, 2014

After The Great Migration

And now in the waning time of the Great Migration, she gathered her wits and herself about her and she set out to become human again.
Or something like that.
Ya'll, we have been in the process of buying, selling and moving forever and now I can breathe again.
I was one serious ball of a hot mess for months! It is no small thing to move six people, and I did not even begin to fathom the monstrous task this would be. Sure, I said, no problem, I said, we moved 7 times in 8 years, I said. And we did. Just the two of us, and then one teensy weensy baby Cole on the last 3 moves. Not selling & buying each time. Not showing a home, managing deadlines, or reviewing inspection reports and disclosure statements all while managing the Life And Times of 1600 Children. They are exponential. You know this now.
And now I am becoming human again. Or trying to. On the way to settling down and settling in, you can be assured that there have been some VBI's (Very Bad Incidents, thank you Susan for the perfect phrasing!). In fact, there was one yesterday, which leads me to this long, awkward Hi, I'm Back To Blogging post.

Today's topic, and yesterday's debacle is entitled:

Chemicals, Hormones and Wailing, Oh My!
I heard you snicker. I don't even need to go on, I know. But we are a sisterhood, and we too have daughters, and lord help us all someone should have told us the absolute unruliness that is the female temperament, at all times and days, not depending on the weather or on sleep patterns or even on Grown-Up Drink consumption. Nope, this uncontrollable force of nature needs no help from impending periods or sleep-deprived nights. It strikes at will. It strikes in complete anonymity. And that, my friends, is why they are called VBI's.
The root of this incident started with the beginning of the school year 3 weeks ago. Sweet Phoenix had a very rough start to 1st grade, having switched to a new school, and having recently turned six... which is code for "He doesn't read yet, he's young for this grade." (That is a whole other post in itself, tied into the fizzling out of the VBI. Can you wait?!)
Phoenix cried the first two weeks of school. There were many hugs and pep-talks and parental conferences, much daily encouragement and perhaps some ice cream rewards and chocolate bars for the days when there was NOT crying. Also, much discussion on ages and learning and the range from A-Z that you get with 4 kids.
This week, the 1st grade room mom sent out the schedule of volunteer dates for us to sign up. I was Mommy-On-The-Spot and snagged the Sight Word duty, which luckily falls on my morning off. Our county requires a background check, and mandatory child abuse reporter training before volunteering. I jumped through all the hoops, my morning was miraculously clear and I was ready to go.
You know the feeling, all the stars aligned - back on my game, getting into a familiar role, settling into the new school, being there for my little guy during a tough time.
But it was not to be. Oh no. A county backlog in background checks led to "me no be found." I typed my name in three times, three ways. Last name only. First and last name. First, maiden, last. Nada. And then I confidently walked up to the front desk, handed them my email printout from the online training and asked to sign in.
You know that confident feeling, the feeling of a mom who has volunteered weekly in elementary school for 8 years, and who knows she is not a convict or child abuser, and certainly all these good people know it and by God they need volunteers here every day, they need us here! But oh no. They did not have approval to let me in until I was in the system, free and proven clear of any and all brushes with The Law.

In a rush of emotion my voice wobbled out at Ms. Nice Front Desk: But they are expecting me in class, and my son is expecting me, and he didn't even want to come to school and I promised him I was coming to do sight words, and he got on the bus without crying and you are telling me I will not be allowed and I was told to bring my email confirmation in case of backlog, and just the other day when I was getting my daughter from the clinic someone here let a mom in just for her daughter's birthday and SHE wasn't in the system and she argued and someone let her go back there for something trivial like cupcakes, and I am here for sight words, a weekly thing, sight words, weekly???? Sniffle. Sniff. Reassuring and apologetic rhetoric from Ms. Nice Front Desk, coupled with alarm over who may have let another mom back for cupcakes, which is certainly Not Allowed. Absolutely no leniency for me. A tear pricked my eyelids and I made a hasty departure. My hand may have smacked the door bar a tad hard as I pushed my way out.

I stood at the van. I breathed deeply and tried to stop the stupid tears. I decided I was not letting this stand, that Phoenix was waiting for me and by God they were going to know they were stopping the career of an 8-Year Volunteer Mom.

Did I mention that to get into our schools you have to ring a buzzer and speak into a camera intercom? Yeah. So I buzzed that buzzer and heard the hesitant "Can I help you?" and replied "I need to speak with someone about this."
I strode in determinedly, and spoke firmly, but wobbly and my lips did that quirky "I'm-not-crying" thing - "My son is having a very difficult year and I am here to help. I have filled out the county forms every year, and been approved every year. What can I do to get in the system?" More apologies. No results. A hasty, less-noisy exit from me, and the flood gates opened. I can't decide which was louder, the crying or the cursing as I drove home. I had my heart on my sleeve and my temper in my mouth and I was burning with righteous fury. But did I just sit down and have some tea, and a good cry? No! I drafted an email to the Principal, to Phoenix's teacher, to Fulton County and to the good Lord Himself and THEN I called the school and requested that Ms. Front Desk please go and tell my son and his teacher that I was not able to come in. I deleted the email to the Principal as my better judgment slowly returned. I stormed around the house breathing like a bellows, tears running down like water. Oh people it was a s-c-e-n-e.
Hours, it took. Hours to calm down and by that time I was so tired of myself and felt so ridiculous that I hid in my room as though the whole town had seen this VBI. And still, at the least thought of Phoenix waiting for me to arrive, I would lose my grip again. (Susan didn't you already name this Mama Bear Syndrome?!)

This whole sordid tale over a simple refusal to allow volunteering that day. Another day I may have shrugged and been off to get 10 other things done on my list. Temporary emotional insanity, hello.

On a walk that evening, I wondered if that is what a nervous breakdown feels like. Then I laughed, out loud, because wouldn't that be a pickle? How would everything get done?

Today I am composing apologetic words for my return to the school next week. Nice. To add another layer, Ms. Nice Front Desk has hometown connections - her Dad is from LDubs! Her aunt is Patty Swain, who has taught school in Washington forever! Her dad has retired, and is now working part-time for B.E. Singleton, a local Washington business, the owners of which were my grandparents best friends! Too many exclamations!! The over-excitement is overwhelming.... here we go again...
Happy freaky Friday ya'll.

You're welcome.