Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Accidentally-Take-Your-Twins-to-Work Day

Well, when we goof, we goof pretty big.

The girls were going to the library today. spend time reading there while Mom worked. Until we pulled in the parking lot and discovered that the hours had changed and that today, today, mind you, not yesterday or tomorrow, it didn’t open until 11 a.m. Two hours to kill.

So, they came with me to the church where I am Parish Assistant, greeted the rector and proceeded to giggle their way into the Parish Hall.

I promise you, they are 18 and college-bound, but they sounded like 6-year-olds. At least they were sounding like happy 6-year-olds, and I know I will miss those giggly moments. Before they took off for the library at opening time, I asked if they’d guest blog for me, and they graciously accepted.

[Kelsey writes]

The markers are sprawled across the table. Nearby, a notebook sits, just waiting to be colored. And my sister takes advantage of this, idly drawing circles and squares and triangles. Now, contrary to this image, we are adults. But from time to time, my sister and I venture back to explore memories of childhood.

Today, for instance, we were originally going to go to the library. That changed when the hours read 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Disappointed, Kacey and I accompanied Mom to work, where the day became known as “Accidentally-Take-Your-Twins-to-Work Day”.


In any case, Kacey and I found ourselves faced with a question: What to do? When I asked this aloud, Kacey immediately pulled out 18 markers from her bag. She, at last, came prepared. I soon joined her in coloring. We made Mom a sign reading “This is a sign from God” to put in her office. We also hovered around Mom in her office, playing with the Post-it™ notes (I tried to put one on her back, but she caught me.)

It’s moments like this that make me miss being a kid.

[Kacey writes]

To add to my sister’s thoughts, I’m gonna miss being a kid with her. We’re going our separate ways for college, she for English and I for psychology. No doubt the two subjects are linked. (both require exhausting term papers), but there is a difference there, enough to make us step back into our similar twindentities.

It’s a bizarre sensation – to have finally grown enough to be independent. As the feeling often goes, little kids want to be big kids, and big kids want to be little kids. That would explain our childish delight in a case of markers, and more excitement in scented markers. At the same time, we relish the opportunities to pull out our inner child; how much longer will it be until we are paying our own bills and raising our own families?

Not long, that’s for sure.

As I have nearly run out of space in my notebook, and as my drawing begs to be colored, I want to thank Mom for allowing us to color in and out of the lines.

[Kelsey adds]

Yes – thanks, Mom! And may you always fill a blank page (never let it defy you!)

We love you.

I love you two, too.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

the bathroom light is out ...

the bathroom light is out...meaning I have to get a new fluorescent tube.

the kitchen faucet is dripping....meaning we either have to get a new set or figure out how to repair a single-lever combination faucet.

dave's car needed new tires and wipers before inspection...meaning, well, we had to get them.


as they all say, it's always something. anyone out there have a day when nothing went awry, nothing needed fixing, nothing spilled?

Well, I don't believe you.

Life is a mish-mosh of good, bad, and indifferent, occasionally punctuated by chaotic. Sometimes the bad gets very. very bad, and no one wants to joke about it or even make cheerful injunctions about how it will all be all right.

No, when in the middle of catastrophe, you want to exercise your right to feel miserable. Good for you.

When things are good you want to cheer, and not feel guilty because everyone else isn't in the same party mood you are. Understandable, but please hold the good thought for the guy next to you.

And when life is indifferent, when you're in the bottom-most rut of the same old grind, chances are you're not appreciating how good you've really got it.

Yes, there's always some thing going on, going wrong, going left when you want it to go right. Let's just count our blessings that we're at least going somewhere. That we're alive enough to kick up a fuss that things aren't perfect. That things are going well enough for us to be only annoyed by the stuff that's going wrong, not overwhelmed.

And even if you're feeling overwhelmed right now, breathe. Take heart. There is a tomorrow. Your foot (figurative, at least) will go down in front of the other, and you will move out of your current situation.

After all, not only is something always needing fixing; something's always getting fixed.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Buzy, Buzy, Buzy

Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay okay. So it’s been a while. Do you have any idea what I’ve had to do lately?

Twins’ graduation. College orientation with a writing retreat (personal) for me. Meeting Kaye Barley – an adventure all unto itself. Only trouble is she is no longer my-friend-Kaye-in-Boone-whom-I’ve-never-met. Graduation party. Fourth of July party. Daughters visiting with SOs in tow. Finishing final revisions on one ms (DONE). Adding another layer into another ms (still working). Cutting lines into concrete slab to make faux flagstone – it looks great, and I don’t care if you do laugh! Moving roses and other assorted flowers and shrubs. Work. Play. Run around. Hop up and down.

Okay, so I really don’t have more to do than some of you (LJ Sellers comes to mind. I don’t know anyone who works as hard as she seems to. Reading her statuses challenges me to do more.) I figured I owed it to all 7 of my readers – 7 is a lucky number, right? – to come back and add to Blackwater. Trouble is, my focus tonight is still diffused. Which, I guess, is better than defused.

I think it comes from living with so many people. I only partly refer to the live people I’m living with.

See, half of our kids are at home, the other three are permanently or almost permanently away. Two more join that status in August. But just because they are absent from the house doesn’t make them absent from your heart, or your brain. Trying to keep my arms wrapped around them long-distance means keeping my brain engaged in the important parts of their lives. I’m pleased to say our kids enjoy talking with us and letting us know what’s happening. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Such involvement, however, becomes entanglement, even with the best of intentions.

Then there are all those imaginary people crowding my brain, too. The lady doctor who returned home with her boats. The man who is dying of cancer but wants to save his town. The eccentric magnate who writes commercial jingles. The sisters in the aftermath of their mother’s funeral. The funeral director. The five sisters taking one last road trip. The writer with Alzheimer’s who is not ready to reveal it.

Not to mention the characters I read or watch on the screen. So many lives, real, unreal. There are times when I’m not sure whose life I’m actually living. Ever get up in the morning depressed because your friend is going through a rough patch, only to realize your ‘friend’ is a character in your own or someone else’s book? It’s disconcerting.

I find myself staring at my image in the mirror carrying on conversations (and I am so witty!) with people whose lives are manipulated by the whims of people no more God-like than I am (just more successful). I am, in fact, losing track of whose lives are real and whose are fiction. Who I know and who I make up. The fact that I know the people I make up more thoroughly than those who are real amplifies the issue.

So please, forgive me when I hide away and don’t post on my blog. I’ll return when I regain my focus. If I’m missing, I’m probably having animated dialogue with someone in the mirror, trying to remember where I know them from.

A Piece of Ceiling from the Sky and other strange words

This piece also appears in my blog at Sunoasis.

A piece of ceiling from the sky….

I thought it was a nonsensical phrase when it entered my head, but I liked it. I sat here, trying to think of a way to use it. It actually didn’t take long.

Falling sky. Chicken Little. A piece of ceiling from the sky looks like a piece of plaster dropping like a stone kite from above…. what might cause that? A sonic boom.

A sonic boom while I’m standing in the field with my father and sister.

My sister. My sister with whom I argue constantly. You’d think nine empty years between us would prevent that, but no.

An argument with her that ended in my slamming the bathroom door behind me.


“Come back in here,’ spoken in a deadly quiet voice. She is so melodramatic.

I peek around the door and follow the point of her finger.

The bathtub is filled with old plaster dropped off the lathe of our farmhouse ceiling. A hole 30 inches across gapes at me from overhead. A piece, all right, many pieces then.

Pieces of ceiling from the sky.

I haven’t thought of that in ages.