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9.30.2014

AND, REPEAT!

One of those epiphany, ah-ha, grand sink-in thoughts struck me quite poignantly last week while free thinking on a run.  What led me to this monumental thought about life in my timeline was musing about routine.  So many things in my life are repetitive and routine.  Just like yours. 

Certain repetitions and routines I choose - I purposely do them over and over again, day after day after day.  And, I like and/or love them.  I eat oatmeal everyday.  I drink coffee every day.  I talk to God everyday.  I think about our kids/grandkids and my family everyday and pray for them.  I eat peanut butter and an apple everyday.  I run and walk every day.  I go outside to spend time there everyday.  I send my husband a picture of myself everyday when he is at work.

Other repetitious routines I do because it's part of responsibility.  But I do them over and over again, day after day after day.  I make dinner.  I pack my lunch for work.  I go to work.  I go through the mail.  I put away clothes.  I straighten things up.  I peruse my surroundings to keep ahead of chaos in home improvement projects, in long term goals, in maintenance and care of things in my care.

Then, in the category of my grand sink-in thought last week, prompted by my feet methodically hitting the pavement in repetition, there is work.  My running gait highlighted the fact that theoretically I may have 19-20 more years to work at my job.  That thought was not one that fit in the category of routines I choose.  Work takes up a huge chunk of our day, our week, our year and really, our life.  To summarize the timeline of life;  birth-no work-work-work-work-work-work-work-no work-death. 

As I thought about the consuming repetition of work, and the longevity of it, I felt a bit sad and overwhelmed.  This particular consuming repetition had quite a long time left on replay.  Which, was much like the Disney ride and its mind numbing "It's A Small World After All" song that plays over and over and over while taking you through its mind numbing repetitious ride!!

I wanted off that ride and wanted that song to shut up!  What was I going to do to change that looping play list in the next 20 years?  How about in the next year?  My repetition of certain things needed to change. 

9.24.2014

LOST AND FOUND CHANGE


In the past 24 hours I found .46 cents.  That seemingly small and insignificant coin was found over two runs and a walk.  Retirement here I come!

Yesterday while running at 6:30 a.m. I found a dime, a nickel and penny grouped together where the street and curb meet.  It was mixed in with leaves and yucky indeterminable street debris. I spotted the dime, stopped to pick it up and found the nickel and penny in close proximity. I was feeling giddy from my found treasure.

Where to put it though as I had no pockets.  It's a bit uncomfortable to hold several coins in your fingers while running.  Between the looseness of my sports bra [don't really need one at all!] and my small four lane of a highway chest, I couldn't put it in my bra.  It would have entered, blown through the wide open cleavage lane through my shirt and landed back on the street where I had found it.  Not an option. My next best choice was to stick the .16 cents in my glove as far up the fingers as possible.  I carried my captured coins home that way.  And, I smiled the remainder of the run.  Simple pleasures are undeniably the best.

Just a couple days earlier I had spotted another nickel in the street on a brisk morning run.  As I stopped to pick it up [I hadn't found any coins in a couple of weeks - I was having a dry spell!] I smiled big.  Returning to an upright position, my eyes met an older lady out walking her dog.  I got so excited about my find that I held it high and hollered with excitement to her, "I found money!"  She laughed, congratulated me and then said, "Now get back to running!"  I liked her spunk and sass.

The second part of my .46 cents was found last night when I went for a walk.  It was a lone quarter laying  not quite to the mid point of the street.  I wondered how that quarter had found a resting lost place there.  It seemed that God, in His quiet language of found money that He uses with me, was reinforcing that He had me covered, He was there.  My count was up to .41 cents. Those coins had left me feeling rich and loved.

Twice in the same day I threw my heavenly found change in the basket just inside the back door.  It's where I collect the change I find when out on runs and walks.  It is a visual basket of God's assurances.

While on a different route for my run this morning I caught a glimpse of something shiny out of the corner of my left eye.  Sometimes though, with a closer look, it's just a beer top, a washer or some other doo dad .  I stopped to bend in closer to investigate.  Really I leaned in because my vision isn't so great from a distance!  There it was - a new shiny nickel.  I could hear the adding machine noise tally up the found money count in the past 24 hours to .46 cents.   I clutched it in my fingers and continued on. 

I wondered why it was that God thought I needed three separate reminders in a 24 hour period.  What was I not seeing?  What was ahead of me that I would need to recollect these small God moments, that I would need to draw from? 

Inside my purse, held in my wallet, is a small amount of loose change - change from cash transactions of this or that.  I have access to loose change daily.  There are nickels and dimes and quarters and pennies inside my wallet. They though are not the same as my found basket of coins.  The ones in my purse I deserved, they were expected and due me.  The ones I found, I did nothing to deserve or earn them.

Sometimes when running I think and do nothing else. Just think.  My thoughts are too big to do much else.  Other times on a run I think lighter and peruse the street in front of me.  Maybe I find them only if my radar is up.  Maybe they are there all the time but I just don't take the time to see them.

For as observant as a person as I am, what other things have I missed all around me because I was consumed with certain things?

9.22.2014

NAILED TO THE WALL OF MY HEART, and causing me to run a few more miles:)



I really don't have a bunch of loves.  My repertoire of things that rev my engine, juice me up, or nail a decree right to wall of my heart are few and far between.  It's not that I don't get excited or things don't ever reach me. It's just not things that are the letters of love that speak to the language of Nancy.

Because of that fact, buying a gift for me is probably horrific. No, it is mystifiably hard.  What do you buy someone who just doesn't really want or have a desire for things?  People who are close to me usually acknowledge their struggle.  A few even over acknowledge my simplistic un-gift loving self by either not buying me a gift (which is a gift to me), or giving me something that they know I will use - like a container of old fashioned oatmeal [one of my favorites in life since I eat it every day].  Those rare few who really get me know that it's words I truly love.  They are the best gift you could ever gift me with.

Adding your own verbiage to a Hallmark standard is far more gratifying to me than a present in a box.  To find that path to my heart, though I really have little I want, takes a lot of love and thought. How do you nail it with someone who just doesn't get a buzz over gifts?

I didn't check the mail like normal when Friday night rolled around and I entered the house from work.  Friday night marks the end of another work week and sometimes my normal routines fall to the way side.  It wasn't a night of have tos, but a relaxed if-I-want-to flow.  It's that pauseable period of time where your mind and body adjusts to the end of five days of work rush and transitions to another pace.  I was there.

When the mail was finally retrieved from the front porch it included a small box.  I recognized the return address, the handwriting, the style of wrapping paper that held the contents of the box.  It wasn't my birthday, my anniversary or a monumental anything.  In spite of nothing, my daughter had mailed me something in a small rectangular box.  

I knew by the shape of it, and by running my finger over the bottom of the box, it had a lid.  That lid gave away the box's contents immediately.  Before I even unwrapped it, I was moved to tears. This is what was underneath the wrapping paper.  She added her own verbage to the box of my favorite dark chocolate sea salted caramels.

 I stood still and let the magnitude of her gift wash over me.  Thought not a big flashy gift, it was a purposeful know you and wanted to meet a desire you had kind of gift. She had heard me tell her in random conversation over the past few weeks that I had a hankering for one of these puppies.  It wasn't a big conversation, just words tucked in around various other subjects.  She heard.  She knew.  She loved.  She took the time to buy 6 dark chocolate sea salted caramels and mail them to her mom who lived 4 1/2 hours away.  There was no reason.  It was just because she loved me and wanted to show me in a nail the decree to the wall of my heart kind of way.

Over and over I said out loud, "Look at what she did for me!  She listened to obscure words, made a mental note.  She knows me like we know the look of the street we live on - a familiarity and soul sitting way.  Look what she did for me!"  It came out mixed with tears.  How could 6 pieces of chocolate with a hand made note taped to a box mean so very much?

I texted her the pics above with my acknowledgement of the bigness of what she did for me - that she nailed me.  Her gift and deliberateness to deliver something so simple in such a powerful way had swept my heart, "OMG!  I cried and smiled and keep smiling that you did such a sweet and special thing:)  But, there are two slots in the box open:)  LOL  I love you!  You made my day!  Thank you love.   Why you love so big I do not know:)"    Her response, "I only bought six!  You're welcome!  I love you!  I love you SO!" 

Sugar wasn't the real gift.  Deliberate love delivered in a small rectangular box was.

9.19.2014

NO WHITE AFTER LABOR DAY - a modern day lie


Today I said who cares to the fashion rule of wearing "no white"  after Labor Day!  Mr. Blackwell or whoever touted this bogus fashion scare [as though it were brought down from Mt. Sinai on a stone tablet as the 11th commandment], I rebuke you.  Your ban, designed to keep us from wearing white pants, skirts, dresses, or shoes on the lower half of our bodies post Labor Day, will not be adhered to by me.  I'm hoping to start a movement.
 
On this day, September 19th, 18 days post Labor Day with weather of 75 degrees and sun, I pulled on my white pants and felt good about it.  When do I ever really listen to the masses?  Why would I let some illogical tradition hold me hostage?  I do not care if it is really wrong, somewhat wrong, or only a perceived wrong to break the white after Labor Day rule. I was doing it and feeling great about it
 

I snapped this picture today and sent it to my daughter with a text, "Look at me saying who the hell cares about the fashion rule of no white after Labor Day!  Snow is white and it comes after Labor Day."  I had hoped to engage the "Hannah rage" over ridiculous things like fashion rules and boundaries.  They are hot buttons for her.  She went through a phase growing up where she purposely wore mismatched clothes.  She declared the philosophy of matching was stupid and purely made up by someone.  Instead of fashion rage over the white rule, her reply was, "You look cute!"  I was looking for her camaraderie in my rebelliousness of the white fashion rule. I got cute instead of her pithiness.
 
My point though, snow is white and it comes AFTER Labor day so why the ban on wearing white?  White really is the absence of color. Bright colors seem more ostentatious than does white. The greatest misfortune that might befall those white-wearing-misfits after Labor Day is possibly dirt and stains.  And why tell me, are we "allowed" to wear white shirts, scarves, and even "winter white" [a creamier version of white white] post Labor Day to Memorial Day but not white shoes or pants or dresses?  That is the dumbest thing ever!

I'm just not one that can do things that don't seem reasonable, true or even legit.  That includes abiding by the no white after Labor Day rule/suggestion/lie.  Do you want to join my movement for fashion white freedom?

9.18.2014

THE MOTIVATING EFFECT OF STATED EXPECTATIONS


I like to put my expectation for something right out there for the other person to see.  This is what I expect from you regarding this.  Sometimes I am very blunt and use words to lay out the cards.  Other times, I use body language, confidence, and probably an air to convey what I expect.

My daughter used to say growing up that I intimidate people.  Not purposefully do I.  It's taken me some years to see what maybe others might see.  I don't view it as intimidation, but rather a standard that I expect.  I honestly am not even consciously aware that I give off that vibe. It seems a bit strange to me that I seem to hold both the intimidation card and the approachable tell all card as well.  They seem incongruent to each other.  Maybe not.

I was in conversation with a friend recently.  She stated that though I have this draw a line in the sand, don't mess with me overly independent and confident way, I do occasionally succumb to people who do not tow the line as I think they should or met my standard.  I let them off the hook.  She is correct. The name "Nancy" literally means "full of grace".  That too is undeniably part of me as well.  I can most times look past the action to the heart.

No doubt any contractor who has ever been in my employ has had a healthy fear of me.  Any car repair shop.  Any customer service department.  I'm not mean.  I'm not rude.  Between my vibe and my words they come to know I mean what I say and I say what I mean.  They know clearly what my expectation from them is.  I expect THIS and no less.  I don't want the waters to be unclear for anyone.  That is the best way to have conflict later.  Clear expectations leave nothing to chance and minimize hurt and conflict.

Today I dropped off the jeep to the car repair shop across from my office.  I was clear with them the problem, what I thought might be wrong, and what I needed them to do.  Sometimes when you are a woman, in certain situations, men assume you don't know shit.  I threw out some lingo just to let them know my expectation came from knowledge so I EXPECTED it done right.  I highly doubted they would cheat me, I just clearly wanted the expected standard out on the table - that I trust you to do an excellent job.

We hired a 27 year old contractor to re-do our bathroom.  I think my husband had some serious doubts about Barclay.  After he was late multiple times in coming by the house BEFORE he even started the job, Doug checked out.  I quit responding to his multitude of apologies and reasons why he was late or had to change days or times.  When he would song and dance me while apologizing for not showing up, I would simply not say a word.  My silence spoke a message, made him nervously talk even more to make up for my lack of words.  My message came through crystal clear eventually though.  He finally got it that my standard was you mean what you say and say what you mean.  He stopped that behavior with me and began to be more conscious of his word to me.  And, if he couldn't be there when he said, he called me.  Lateness does not fly with me.  Follow through is a marker of what you're made of.

After getting his estimate and dealing with him in the steps leading up to start date of the project, Barclay stated his standard procedure was a percentage of the cost paid up front (most do) with the balance paid when the work was completed in full.  In all actuality, I think he knew he was on trial with me because of the numerous times he was late or begged off for this or that reason. Barclay didn't know Doug had pretty much written him off.  I was hoping this young man would not prove me wrong.  I would have to eat crow with Doug if he did.  I looked past Barclay's fault and saw his talent and his heart.  I was sure if I keep the standard clear and before him it would be ok in the long run.

He did not ask me for any money down.  My husband laughs and wonders what form of intimidation I pulled on him for the guy NOT to ask for one dime up front.  I tell him it's a vibe I give off.  Barclay completely finished the total bathroom gut and rebuild as of 5 days ago.  The day he finished I offered to pay the project in full. 

I was so impressed with his quality of work, I had already planted the seed for another large project I wanted him to tackle.  He came to know I was a person of my word and in response to my offer to pay the bill he said, "I'll be by later this week with the bill and an estimate and thoughts about the kitchen."  He was a great contractor, a clean freak, did amazingly impeccable perfectionist work, and became someone who ultimately delivered exactly to the expectation I had laid out.  Thankfully I didn't have to eat crow after all:)

Nothing though is more frustrating than when an expectation is not met. Especially when the expectation is so clear one assumed it didn't need to be verbally re-enforced. You don't want me to have to address you with that issue.  If I do, you best have Bactine to douse your wounds when I am done.  Standard is here.  You are there.  Then I'll love you into doing and being the person I know you can be!

9.17.2014

QUIET IS WHEN I CAN REALLY HEAR

I need more time to think.  Though I think deep a great deal of the time, and pretty much never turn my mind off, that's not exactly the kind of thinking I need more of.  That kind of thinking can be done during things and fit in around things. It's a night light that's always on in me.

What I really need, and seem to run short of, are stretches of alone, uninterrupted time which are necessary to shake my mental screen blank and let it refill with ideas, creativity or inspiration. Those regular blocks of quiet to create, mull, and ultimately get inspired are like internal sun to me. They prime my pump.  And unfortunately, they just aren't there like they used to be.  That frustrates me.  I've yet to figure out how to get back to those periods that gave me space to create.

There is no other way for words to come than for me to be still.  Without pools of quiet time to think and write, the thoughts don't flow, the ideas feel forced and rushed.  I cannot release all those swirling thoughts without quiet.  Quiet is when I can really really hear.  I miss hearing like that.

It is paramount to getting started painting a room when you really only have an hour to get it done. Not allotting enough time or doing the prep work will cause the room to not get painted in its entirety or with any level of quality.  Those regular spaces of quiet, alone and unhurriedness are like seed and fertilizer on bare ground.  That is where I find my thoughts, my words, my next 1000 words to write.

I need a sabbatical.  A friend of mine has her doctorate in Italian studies language something or other. It's above my IQ line definitely. How she can even connect to me is still a mystery!  I'm not a very buttoned up person.  She is.   She is also a tenured professor who is currently on a year sabbatical.  Now mind you she is not doing nothing and merely lazing around.  She is taking time to write pieces for publication and give lectures at all sorts of universities and venues.  I want to do that too, though not the lecture part, or Italian part.  Ok, maybe stand up comedy I would like to do.   But, I would like the designated time to pursue interests that get crowded out by our "jobs" and regular life.
 
Unless I take FMLA (family medical leave act) for a real medical reason, there is no sabbaticals in my line of work. And, I don't want any more MEDICAL anything!! We all need quiet time, time to pursue with a present mind things that are not "our regular work routine".  Why should ministry, education, and research fields be some of the few with that luxury and sabbatical norm? 

I understand reclusive people.  Probably I could be one if not forced to interact from time to time.  Most would probably see me as a total extrovert because I am anything BUT shy.  I can be real, to the point, assertive and take charge.  I truly have a love of people.  But in all reality, I desperately need and prefer quiet and some solitude.  That is where my engine can hum, my mind can explore and I can create.  My reclusive tendencies are why I don't have a desire to go to dinner with colleagues that I'm not close with.  I don't want to waste any quiet time with people I don't have a deep relationship with!  Just ask my dear friend Big D, I will say no to going and doing things as quickly and easily as you just took a breath and blinked.

It has taken me hours of fragmented time just to pull my thoughts into this post.  That is my case in point.  Who do I submit my sabbatical request papers to?

9.16.2014

ME VS THE COLD = 0/1

Every year I have a contest.  It's only with myself though.  I see how late in the fall I can wait before I turn the furnace on.  There is a considerable measure of this contest that is completely and totally out of my control - how early it gets cold. The only part I do control is how fast I will cave to the cold by firing up my furnace.  I like some space between AC, open windows, and then furnace season. It's part of my tough and cheap personality.
 
This year, the earliest year of a furnace turn on I can remember in my adult life, I turned the furnace on Friday, September 12th.  It was 62 degrees in the house and I was miserable.  This was not a winning year in my contest!
 
I'm just not one that likes to get cold, unlike my brother-in-law Kent who frolics with pure unadulterated joy at snow and cold.  If it involves outdoors in winter, he is there doing it without a complaint.  It's a sickness I believe he has, but I choose to love him in spite of his one big snow loving downfall.
 
Cold bothers me.  It affects my hands, my ears, my breathing while running, and limits the amount of time I REALLY want to spend outside.  Which makes me angry ultimately because the outdoors is usually always where I would rather be. Once thoroughly chilled from a run, a walk, a drive in a cold car, the span of space from my car to a store, or sitting in a too cool restaurant, I am cold to my core.  Once cold in my core, I cannot get warmed back up.  It's a miserable feeling.
 
Those of you who know me well, also know that I am not a fan of heavy clothes or tons of layers.  My philosophy is; less is better in just about every area, clothes included.  I am also definitely not wired like my sister Jeanne at all.  She wears 4 shirts, a sweater,  scarf, boots, coat, hat and gloves from October 1st through May 30th.  She even transports her slippers to social events at other peoples' houses so her feet are warm.  I get hot, bothered, constrained, panicked and claustrophobic just looking at all her layers!  I gotta be me and free!!
 
That's exactly why I hate winter so much I think.  There is a measure of bound-ness that comes with.  Driving is restricted, it requires more time to get anywhere, one needs to wear more clothes, it's light less hours a day, and the sky and snow feel closed in on me.  I go out in it anyway - to breath fresh air, to feel nature in its extreme state, to feel a bit wild, and to have the world all to myself as others hibernate inside. 
 
I pay for it with a cold to the core chill that hangs on for hours.  It's seriously miserable.  That damn extreme core chilling that will face me later is the detrimental de-motivation I have to push through to make myself want to go outside in winter.
 
It's not a matter of more clothes [yes I can hear you in the peanut gallery chastising me to bundle up more].   I will refer you to earlier paragraphs on why that is not an option either.  Having tried more layers a time or two, I can say it just doesn't abate the core chill either.  Quite frankly I think I am NOT programmed for cold.   I though am programmed for shorts, flip flops, a long sleeved shirt if need be and 60-75 degrees.
 
I had to force myself out to run at 6:15 a.m. this morning with temps at 39 degrees.  I had quite a lot of self talk as I climbed the stairs to change my clothes after sipping a bit of coffee before running....
 
[I walked in the bedroom looking for the warmer running clothes that were draped over the hamper.... I thought about how cold I would be later, about how tired I was, about whether I wanted to risk the fact that I would have enough energy to run AFTER work instead of before.  I momentarily laid back on the bed contemplating who was going to win this battle to go out in the cold.  If I didn't go do it I would be angry at myself around 9 a.m. while sitting at my desk for not following through.  If I didn't go out and run in the cold I was NOT helping myself get reacquainted and toughened up to the cold.  You will feel better knowing you just did it in spite of how you FELT!]
 
That's all it took.  I threw on my clothes and shoes.  As quick as I could, as though the air was a jump into an unheated pool, I opened the door and ran down the street.  I just wanted to get it over with.  Mind over cold.  I was practicing for the long months of winter that were being slowly ushered in.  I was a frog in boiling water but with cold .... hoping that if I just made myself go out in it daily it would bother me less and less.  I seem to go through this cold metamorphosis yearly.  Had I forgotten that?
 
Everything really is temporary.  Including cold, which I hate.  My dad told me recently, in response to my complaining about the cold, that complaining doesn't do any good.  I told him it gets it out of me!
 

9.12.2014

A "KEY" ISSUE


I have issues with cold.  My hands don't work properly if exposed to cold temps.  It's a syndrome which I share with my son-in-law. Cold causes them to get bright red, creates pain and immobilizes their use. They honestly become like kitten paws that can only bat and not grip.  All small motor skills are halted until they can regain a normal temperature.  There is not one damn thing can I do about it but wait for it to abate or prevent it from occurring by keeping them out of the cold.

Just a few mornings ago I left the house for an early morning run.  It was cool enough to cause my hand/wrist issue to flare up.  I decided at 56 degrees to NOT wear gloves with my shorts and sleeveless shirt.  Since August was barely over, and I was new to the neighborhood, I feared the neighbors would wonder what the hell is with the lady that runs all the time wearing gloves before there is even frost on the ground!  I also feared they would snap a picture and post it to the neighborhood Face Book wall - they are brutal with one another on it!  I locked the front door behind me as Doug was still asleep. 

On the run back I began to realize unlocking the front door would be an issue, though confident I would find a way to maneuver it.  My hands and wrists were rendered immobilized from the cold as I walked up the sidewalk to the front porch.  I tried holding the key firmly between my right thumb and index finger.  It fell through my fingers, bounced off the porch and landed in the landscaping.  I laughed and shook my head....[relax, you'll get back in the house....]

The second attempt I was able to keep the key between my fingers by utilizing my other non gripable hand to aid in holding the key.  I powerlessly wiggled instead of pushing it into the key hole. Pushing takes small motor skills and power, I had neither.  I felt a bit exhausted from that exercise in pawishness.  I tried turning the key, but unfortunately I didn't have enough small motor grip strength power to budge it.  [This damn lock is hard to open when you have human hands and impossible with paws! I rambled to myself....]

I tried over and over from every angle.  I tried turning it with my left hand, my right hand, my left gripping my right, my right gripping my left.  I wrestled, swore a few times, laughed, got angry and wasted 15 minutes with still no entry into the house.  A small amount of panic crept in.... [Great, I can see in the house but can't get in it!  I have to go to the bathroom!!!]  Sifting through various and assorted cockamamie ideas that came in my head, I looked around to see if there was anyone on the street, driving by, walking a dog who could help me.  NO ONE!  [Maybe I should walk over to Chris and Mary's and see if one of them can come unlock my door.  Geez Nancy, that is so lame.  Maybe I should ring the doorbell hoping to wake up Doug to let me back in.  No, no I can't do that.  That's exactly why I locked the door so he could sleep and be safe.]

Maybe, I wondered while parallel thinking about my next course of action to unlock the door, this is what old, old age holds. I didn't like it!  My mind said this is easy as pie, but my hands would not follow through.  If there came a time when my inability to simply turn the key in a door was not just a temporary condition, I would not make peace with those limitations!  I would go down fighting I vowed. 

After swearing a few more times, I giggled over the fact that a key was involved in this whole debacle.  Did key situations run in my family?  Right after my first husband and I separated, and he moved out, I locked myself out of the house.  With no one else to call and after sitting on my front step for over an hour pissed as hell that I had no choice but to call him, he drove over to let me in.  When single, I locked myself out of my house yet again. I had to call my eldest sister to drive to my house, hoist me up by shoving my ass through a window after I popped the screen out.  I've locked my keys in the car probably a half dozen times in my adult life.  Back in 1979 I dropped my parents hotel room key in the hotel's outdoor swimming pool.  My father made me dive in that pool with air temps in the 60's and water temps ready to induce immediate hypothermia to retrieve it.  I also broke the ignition key of my dad's mustang off IN the ignition while in high school.  And, when I was a Realtor I twice locked the keys in my car when out showing clients houses. 

But mostly I giggled because my maternal grandmother, as Altzheimers deepened in her, had an obsession with keys and locking doors.  It was a fixation that was magnified by disease.  I feared the same for myself standing at my own front door with my own "key" situation.  Just call me Neva June!

After all those thoughts, the inability to get in the house, frustration over my hands not operating, being out of options, not wanting to wake up Doug as he was so low on sleep to begin with, I started to cry as I rang the door bell.  I rang it twice when I saw Doug pulling on a shirt at the top of the stairs. 

He could see me through the side light by the door.  As he opened the door he saw me crying, pulled me inside and held me close as I sniffed my story of immobilized hands and wrists.  [Why am I crying?!  This isn't the end of the world, just a temporary frustrating inconvenience.].  He took both my hands in his and began to rub them to warm them back up.  "I need to fix that lock baby.  Don't cry.  I can't have you getting stuck outside."  With his words I was ok again.  He was all about making my life better, easier, and showing me how much he loved me.  He would fix my "key" issue with ease.  Just a few years back he had unlocked my heart as well.


9.10.2014

RUN FORREST RUN!

an excerpt from Ditching Dogma and Getting to Graceland [Setting My Crazy Loose]
 
.....I thought long and hard about those things that none of us speak of.  Things we keep locked up deep inside our hearts and shove to the far recessed corners of our mind. I wondered if others had such crevices, caves or deep channels that led to their own locked chambers. 
 
My tunnels were polished smooth from the many years of travels there.  I knew right where my coffee can was buried with my hidden treasure inside.  And, like Gollum [Sméagol] from "Lord of the Rings", I both loved it with a consuming fire and hated what it had done to me.  The ecstasy could be dizzying and other times, the devastation threatened to overtake me.
 
The Mark Twain quote before me pulled back its arrow and hit my secret place dead on....Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.  I hated Twain's wisdom.  I hated my inability to demand all or nothing.  For allowing myself to be second string rather than first.  I hated that I had chosen to just keep waiting.  I pretty much hated that though I knew something in my head, I could not seemingly will my heart to follow.
 
I spent my whole life outrunning a broken heart.  It can break a person you know.  I decided years and years ago that I would keep running so it would not break me.  Maybe I was like Forrest Gump in the scene where he just starts running and doesn't stop until one day he just does.  Sometimes when our insides are breaking we create a frenetic disciplined way of life to combat the chaos we really feel.  We order everything around us except the one thing we cannot. Quite possibly that was me.
 
I hated that I felt, that I didn't get to feel, that I felt too much, that I wanted to stop feeling. 
 
I'm thinking we are not made to carry those kinds of secrets.  To live with those types of unresolved passions.  To try to outrun heartache. 
 
I pushed him once again from my mind - like performing surgery on my soul.  It's hard to omit something that is just a part of you.  I tried once again to relegate him to his hidden allotted space just to save myself.  This time I would make him stay there.  This time I would run harder and faster.  This time I would not travel the deep passages. 
 
Who was I kidding.  Despite my resolve, even as I declared it in my head, I would travel back.  I was an addict.  It wasn't to alcohol or drugs or pornography.  It wasn't to sugar, chocolate, cigarettes, over eating.  . . . . . . . . . .  One day it would be different.  Somehow.

9.08.2014

YOU MIGHT BE SCANDINAVIAN IF YOUR FOOD MATCHES YOUR SKIN


I live in a very Scandinavian community - Swedes and Finnes mostly. Since most of us don't know world geography well, there are 5 countries (give or take one in debate) that comprise Scandinavia. They are; Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Norway, Sweden and Denmark share similar languages. The Finnish language is likewise similar to them. Whereas the Icelandic language is what the Vikings used to speak.  A pop quiz will be given later.  

 
It would seem post World War II, at the height of the manufacturing boom across parts of America, Scandinavians flocked to this community for their highly sought after trade skills. Though it seems an odd sort of place to emigrate to, I'm told it was a very progressive area and gave many the chance to earn significantly more money than they could have in Scandinavia. Those big shifts in ethnic moves from across the world created a very marked Scandinavian community here.
 
We have a Swedish-American health system, a Swedish-American hospital, several Swedish-American retirement homes, just to name a few. There is a look here - a distinct dividing line of all those Scandinavian and the rest of us who are not from that specific region of the world.
 
I love cemeteries. They are tranquil places to me that tell a story. Not far from my house is a very large cemetery -Scandinavia Cemetery. I walk in it quite regularly. Its big trees, plant life and great care of the resting place of the deceased strike a chord of harmony and peace for me. I escape real life there, but only temporarily unlike its inhabitants!  The Scandinavia touch is not only apparent by the name of the cemetery (though it was not originally named that or owned by Scandinavians), but clearly evident if you take a walk through the cemetery by many of the last names adorning the headstones.
 
We are all something. Our people group is not the defining thing about us, but more a directional marker of certain things about us. Those things are sometimes physical characteristics, names, skin color or tones, body builds, belief systems and even places we migrate to live. Communities take certain characteristics of those groups on as well - as evidenced here with the Scandinavians. Or similarly like where I grew up - in the heart of the Amish and Mennonites.

The Scandinavia region gives host to a definitive look. Here, though not geographically close to that originating region, you can clearly see the pale, translucent smooth skinned Scandinavian gene pool! It could be that skin is a result of the hundreds of years of living where it's cold and without sun for large parts of the year! They tend to have lean bodies, beautiful unwrinkled skin, and a certain bone structure to their faces. The aging men all seem to have white well manicured beards. They appear highly creative, structured, hard working and intellectual.  In saying that I sound like I have them locked  in a laboratory observing and documenting their behaviors for research.  No Scandinavians are being held against their will!  I am though a people scientist and find it very interesting as an outsider here.
 
I was also totally unfamiliar with what those from Scandinavia ate until moving here. Absolut Vodka is made in Sweden. I thanked them for my glass over the weekend. Yet another reason I have come to love the Scandinavians and their contribution to the world! 

A lot of their traditional food is white or pale colored; potatoes, turnips, cabbage, pancakes, pickled fish, bread, dumplings, pastries, milk. Though I like all those things, I prefer vivid colors of vegetables and have a lactose intolerance.  Probably would let my fellow Scandies down (if I were one) with my preference for food.  I am presently seeking a whole people group to align myself with that does not allow the consumption of raisins as part of their ethnic fare.
 
There are several Scandinavian restaurants here as well if you have a hankering for mostly pale colored foods and pickled odds and ends. I haven't had that hankering yet! I'm checking YELP's review of them right now.