Rain

It rained… finally. It has been a long summer of very little rain and lots of watering of plants. We were out walking about a half mile from home when it hit. Not a hard rain, but a drenching rain. The sort of rain that once you make up your mind you are going to get wet and there is no way around that (“not like you are made of spun sugar” my mother would say), you can enjoy it.

As we walked back to the house, and I gave up cleaning off my glasses, I tried to remember the last time I had walked in the rain to the point of soaked…not the quick dash into Target or the quick walk from my car to work… but just walking in the rain like you see small kids do. Feeling the rain on my face. Feeling my t-shirt grow heavier the wetter it got, letting  my toes squish in my wet shoes and socks… just being totally in the rain.

Sometimes I forget how centering being immersed in nature can be… I probably need to walk in the rain more often.

 

Mean Voices in your Head

We all have them, right? Those niggling and sometimes much louder Mean Voices (MV) that say, you can’t do that! Are you nuts? Of course that person is mad at you; you had to have done something to them. You really shouldn’t try that, you are too much of a chicken and really don’t have the ability. Good lord that top makes you look like the Michelin Tire Man… take that off! You know… those voices.  They are probably the worst when we are teenagers, trying to find ourselves and how we fit. But MV unfortunately never really go away.

Mine are really loud right now. And I hate that. I keep trying to flick them away…that isn’t working out so well. At least not yet.

My second class in the MLS starts August 25th and as is my nature, I am reading some of the required readings early. To get a feel for the class, to get an idea how this one is organized, and I think need to learn some software but I am at a frozen impasse on which to pick and use. What if I pick wrong? I had hoped calm some fears. Unfortunately, it seems to be doing the opposite. The MV are loud and doubting. So much new information to process, trying to figure out where to find the time to make it happen (not sleeping well, so maybe there is a time slot there), trying to juggle All The Things and making mental mountains out of molehills.

And then there is orientation tomorrow. I am excited to meet the department and maybe some classmates, as the degree is all online, this might be my one opportunity to do so over the next few years. But the MV are making a chorus of what if they ask you your focus (public, academic, research), like you have a clue on that! You are so old to be doing this… sure we can call in non-traditional but we all know what that means right? What in the world are you going to wear… And on and on.

In my saner moments, I take a deep breath. And remember ace up my sleeve is that I have done out of my comfort zone things before…many times, I know that the MV will hush as I take the first steps forward and I just need to focus on the little wee Nice Voice that says, Dude! you, rock star you, you GOT this and I love your hair! And a bit more sleep… that might be a good idea too. 🙂

Dustin

Yesterday was Sunday. And every Sunday I go to the store and do the shopping for the week. On good weeks when I plan well, this is the only trip I need to make… on non-organized weeks I find myself there every other day.

Feeling good about my planning, I got in the check-out line and realized my coupons were at home. I made a joke to the cashier and he smiled and said there was always next time. As he scanned and bagged, I noticed he was getting very quiet and his smile had left his face. He was still scanning my items quite productively but he wasn’t there mentally.

I’m sorry, he said, my head is not here. I seem to be double bagging things that don’t need bagged and not doing it to the ones that need it.

I told him it was early in the day, no worries.

He started to quietly cry while continuing to scan and bag my groceries. He said, I broke down earlier today and I thought I was over that. I smiled gently and said, I picture a box in my head and I put whatever it is in there and shut the lid until I have the right time to deal with it. He wiped at the tears. I continued to put bags in my cart.

He found a mental finger hold and pulled himself back. I’m so sorry, so sorry I did that, he told me. I didn’t see a thing, Dustin. He handed me my receipt and more coupons. I made a small joke about adding these to my stack at home and made him smile.

I’ve thought about him on and off since then. You never know what someone is going through or dealing with … all we can do is be kind and send off good thoughts and prayers and hope they land at the feet of the person struggling. Hang in there, Dustin. You got this.

 

Music in my head

Approximately 96.2% of the time when I wake up, there is a song in my head. Sometimes I can trace it back to something (listening to a new song I like 900 times in a row) or something a dream triggered. Sometimes it is crazy random… Like the Girl Scout song I learned in camp six life times ago or the theme to Sesame Street. More often than not there is a song. I have wondered if this is normal…but part of me thinks it is just me normal than universally normal.

Most of the time it fades by the time I have coffee and a shower… Some days… those very unfortunate days, it becomes an ear worm. No amount of radio listening in the drive to work, or iPod playing at work will change the outcome … I am destined to have a day of “Angel of the Morning” or “Ring of Fire” play in my head All Day Long.

This morning I woke and had an idea for a post on dreams… And it is in there still … starting to find a shape… but the phrase Sleep to Dream would not leave my head… no music… I knew the song, I could sort of picture it … but no tune, no more lyrics… Just that… I googled and that was not satisfying, I didn’t have enough parameters for a good search. Today was crazy, as days will be, driving home I mulled it again, in the same way you try to get that piece of corn out from between your back two teeth. Nothing.

I finally found a moment to sit. Just sit. And I finally pulled out the rest of it from the vast archives of my mind. Listening to the song again, made no sense at all in the path my mind was taking for the dream post… And yet two things hit me 1) the lyrics in their own right are powerful 2) 1997 isn’t ten years ago 🙂

I got my feet on the ground, And I don’t go to sleep to dream ~Fiona Apple

Hannah’s Bench

There are probably 3-4 Pokestops close to our house. Not a lot in the way of interesting Pokemon to capture but you can replenish supplies fairly easily. When we first started to play and were walking around the neighborhood, we kept noticing things that had been there for 6+ years but we had never really looked at before.

One was a bench by the trail system that is used constantly by walkers, runners, bikers and quite a few dogs. As we drew closer to the bench and thought to take a small sit, we noticed a name plate with a picture and memorial dates. Who was Hannah? my son asked. I didn’t know. We sat there a moment and noticed a tree in a pot next to the bench. It has been Summer in the Midwest with No Rain Hot here for three weeks… that tree looked at us with much sadness and despair.

When we got home, we filled some water jugs and went back to water the tree. In the last few weeks, a few times a week we fill up a milk jug and take it with us when we walk to replenish our Pokemon supplies and water what we have come to think of as Hannah’s tree. I noticed last night it has buds on it.

I did find out about Hannah and what happened that someone would want a bench in her honor. Tragic accident that in reading all the memories that friends and family wrote, caused a domino effect of loss in many lives.  A lovely young lady, who touched many lives.

I hope Hannah’s tree blooms this summer, in her memory and so others smile when they walk by.

Oh… You’re Back

Our middle school is 6th , 7th , and 8th. Beginning 7th grade, the child said, I want to be in Band. And I said, I don’t think you can, think you need to join in 6th grade… if you want to join you need to hunt down the director and see what you need to do to make it happen.  And then I smugly went back to doing what I was doing, knowing THAT was not going to happen. Two days later he is back, he has spoken to her, has a name of a person he can get lesson with over the summer and for $50 I can rent a baritone for the summer for him to use and practice. He tests the first week of school and if he passes, he is in. I was impressed both with her setting the solid expectations and him actually following through. And slightly stunned, if truth be told.

We now enter into our 3rd season of High School Band. It is a world I had no idea even existed. And except for one small reason, I am so very glad he found and joined this tribe. It helped him make the switch from middle school to high school. By the time first day of classes rolled around his freshman year, he had already spent 135+ hours with 300 kids he would see in the rabbit mazes of the halls. He could head nod to juniors and seniors, he fit. Band, I learned, is like a family… you cannot pick on my brother; I however can pick on my brother. Makes it handy as a freshman finding their way. He has grown as a person and a musician. He has experienced euphoria and disappointment and has come out the better for both.

However, we have this small problem every year at this time. The infestation. My great nemesis … turf. Season runs from about mid-July to mid-November. In this time period, I sweep, mop, vacuum and pick up by hand more turf in my home that you can ever imagine. I step on it in the kitchen on the tile floor. I find it on the couch or in the carpet. Once I even found it in what I thought were my clean sheets! I have threatened to save it during the season and give it back to the band directors at the last pot luck dinner. The above picture is what I discovered when I went into his bathroom. WHY IS THERE TURF IN THE SINK, I yelled. At least it isn’t on the floor, was the reply. Sigh.

Don’t be That Guy

I am probably going to need a new category for this one… like maybe soapbox ranting…

Manners matter. Respect matters.

My drive to and from work takes me by a cemetery. It is a lovely sprawling old cemetery with winding paths and large beautiful trees. It is also an active cemetery. Probably at least 4 times a month in my either going to or coming from work, a funeral procession is traveling to that location. And I stop. And a great deal of the time the people in front of me have stopped and the people behind me stop and we sit. Perhaps people in the stopped cars are quietly paying respects or reflecting on losses in their own lives or even checking email … but we stop.

Because honestly, how long does it take 2 minutes? 5 minutes? I am sure that the wait is longer in the drive thru line at Starbucks.

And that quiet show of respect, that stopping for the person who has died and for those people in mourning, it means something to those people in those cars in the somber parade. It means you care in a small way about your fellow humans and what they are going through. It can boost them up for that final moment at the grave site.

So you weasel-faced, slime-filled, jerk-a-saurus, who honk your horn for us to move or pull out and fly around us gunning the engine, tires squealing…I have no patience for your  horrid manners and myopic view of life.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou

Telephobia

That might be me, not so much a fear… but an extreme dislike. I can normally think of about 10,000 things I would rather do than talk on the phone. For instance cleaning the oven or sorting socks. Grocery shopping or ironing. I would probably call someone rather than scrub my bathtubs, but that is probably where the line is drawn.

I’d be happy to write you a snail mail letter. Or perhaps send a text. Even an email. But please don’t make me pick up the phone and call.

The irony being that the above picture… yeah that is part of my desk at work. And oddly I don’t mind calling the participants or answering their calls and questions. I tend to I put on a costume of Helpful Person on the Phone with them. Bless their hearts, they have even complimented me to my boss over and over again about helpful and nice I am. Apparently, the costume is working!

IRL, I have been putting off a call I don’t want to make for 13 hours and 36 minutes…38 minutes. Now that I think about it… I may need to sort my socks.

Saving for Tilly

I don’t know who Tilly is. I have never known who Tilly is/was. But growing up, that was the saying, “Don’t save (fill in the blank) for Tilly.

And it is good advice. Don’t get me wrong, you should save for a rainy day and have back up plans. (Let’s be honest, my back up plans have back up plans). But if someone gives you something…use it; enjoy it. I have friends to whom I have given pretty candles and they take it, sniff it and say “oh this is too pretty to burn!” What? It is a candle; that is its purpose in life. Burn it and enjoy it.

A million years ago (give or take a few days), my mother worked for the Council on Aging as a case worker. She would visit people in their homes and help them make the decision if they could safely continue to live in their home or other options needed to be explored. She would sit and get to know them, explore their houses with them to see what might be able to be adapted to allow them to safely stay in their home for longer. There was one woman in her late 80s who opened up the drawers in her dresser. The bottom two drawers were full of nightgowns that had been given to her over the years as gifts but were “too pretty to wear for every day”.  She was essentially saving the nightgowns for Tilly.

Here is the other reason not to save for Tilly. And it is selfish. I have cleaned out my share of houses that people have lived in for very large parts of their lives. All were normal homes… not talking the hoarders nightmare of TV land (and IRL because I have seen those too), but normal lived in homes. They had so many things in them that tend to paralyze the Cleaner with indecision. Keep? Recycle? Trash? Endless decisions. Exhausting decisions. There were things I wanted to keep for the memories (see the fork at top of the post) and things I thought I should keep for the memories (shirt my mother made for my first day of first grade that might actually fit my left arm these days). And it is a very difficult process, doable but difficult… and it becomes even harder when you find the Tilly Stash.  Those precious things that the person was saving for just the right time, just the right moment… and were never used or enjoyed.

Plan for tomorrow, but live in today. Tilly (whoever she is) would want that.

Escape

As a family, we have done four escape rooms. The one in Paris was our first; we didn’t make it out. We have since done them in Fort Wayne, Chicago and Pigeon Forge…and have been much more successful at these locations. The first time you don’t really know what to expect. When we did the first one, this type of experience was unheard of in the states except for in major cities. Now they are springing up all over the place. One of the first things I check when we go on vacation… is there an escape room nearby we can do?

I think what we didn’t understand in the first one (besides what to expect) is that the three of us have strengths and to let the person who is good at that part… do it. If not, it becomes a “too many cooks making a stew”. One of us has really nimble fingers and is great at working locks and hieroglyphic puzzles. One of us is strong spatially and can see things that are not quite right; false bottoms, openings for new rooms, things that just look off. One of us is super good at reasoning, the slot A in tab B type of stuff, remembering things and any math that is involved (yes, you guessed this is NOT me!).

What we also have learned as a group: we over think things. There was one room we had the code to get out… and yet we didn’t think we did so we kept hunting. There was one room that we had a yellow and red thing to find an orange clue; and a red and blue thing to find a purple clue. We made a yellow and blue thing (out of the first two things) to find a green clue… but that didn’t work because you just really needed to just find the yellow and blue thing… again… made it too hard.

These have been good for our family. It makes us work together as a whole and appreciate the strengths we each bring to the table. It has been funny and frustrating and I think we learn something about ourselves and each other with every single room we have done.