A Chip Off the Old Mug

As I was cleaning up the kitchen after supper tonight, I was thinking about my chipped mug.  It’s one of my favorites.  Cooter used it, it was in the sink, my cast iron skilled slipped, and there you go.

The story of How My Mug Got Chipped.

But it’s one of my favorites so I am going to make it work for me.  Then I started thinking about the one that belonged to my Great Aunt.  Nothing fancy just elegant like she was, and so I wanted to have it.  Unfortunately someone put it in the microwave and it didn’t like it very much, so there’s a crack in it.

At the time, I was devastated.  That was one of those times when I could hear my Mama’s voice. “It’s a thing.  Things are replaceable.  People aren’t.”

She’s right.  But the mug wasn’t going to be easy to replace either so I put it on a shelf near the table where we eat because I can’t let go.  Not yet.

I started wondering (I think a lot when I do the dishes…..or I phone a friend, both things help me pass the time without really thinking about how much time I spend cleaning up after meals) if there was something wrong with me that I can get so sentimental OVER A MUG.  After coming to the clear conclusion that of course there is nothing wrong with that (ahem), I wondered if there’s something I could DO with these mugs.  I mean, the law of averages pretty much states that I will have more chipped mugs in my possession as the years go by.

Might as well be prepared.

After the kitchen was done (okay, mostly) I sat down and decided to click on Pinterest just, you know, to check and see if anyone had given any thought to my predicament.

ALL THE BROKEN MUG PROJECTS, Y’ALL.

I AM NOT CRAZY.  I AM NOT ALONE.

So many ideas of things to do with chipped or broken or without a handle mugs.  It was a bit overwhelming, a little out there, and very encouraging that I’m not the only one who can’t let go.

Because honestly, our mug collection can tell some stories, people.  And some of them are worth telling again.

Tonight I’m giving a shout out to Pinterest.  It’s another happy place for me.  I have even grown to appreciate that when I arrive, they have a whole new set of ideas for me to look at, based on what I’ve pinned before–“Picked for You.”  Well, aren’t you thoughtful?  Thank you, Pinterest.

As for the rest of you mug hoarders, much love.  I get it.  You are in good company.  Let’s sit and enjoy our coffee or tea together and share a toast to the mugs and the stories behind them.  (But let’s don’t clink them together, no need to go crazy and risk any more cracks and chips, y’all.)

Love to all.

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My poor “Thistle Farms” mug right after it was chipped before I washed it with my tears. Just kidding. I used a washrag. It’s all clean now. And sitting waiting to get the verdict on what comes next.

 

Sometimes a Cigar is More than a Cigar

A double guillotine-style cutter, used for cut...

A double guillotine-style cutter, used for cutting the tip of a cigar, next to two hand-rolled H. Upmann Coronas Major cigars, one inside its storage tube and one outside. The “Made in Cuba” label (see “Cuban cigars” section) is visible on the lower tube. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the midst of tackling Mt. Washmore and using my Psychology degree on a ten week old puppy AND two children–wait, make that three–and doing all the things that Monday brings to be done, I had hopes of doing something out of the ordinary.  Like finish a painting that Mess Cat is pretty much convinced I will never finish, I am sure.  Or working on a new crocheting project.  Or, I don’t know, maybe reading one of the bajillion books I have waiting on me.  ALL OF THEM guaranteed to be excellent.

But instead I unloaded the dishwasher and took care of vet appointments and math lessons and thought about how I really don’t have the time to do these things I’d really like to.

And then I heard him.

“You don’t have the time or you don’t make the time?”

It was my Daddy this time.  Yeah, I’ve heard him say this before.  A time or two.  Or ten.

He was right then just as he is now.

Because in truth, there are a million little moments each day that I piddle.  I don’t focus, I let myself get distracted.  I spend five minutes on Facebook, ten on Pinterest (pinning ideas I rarely make time to try), and fifteen clicking this and that on the Internet until I’ve almost forgotten what I sat down to look up to begin with.

And there you go, a half hour that could have been spent focused on a book I want to read or crocheting a little bit more on my project.  Or sorting through things in the littles’ rooms. *sigh*  But that’s an entirely different thing all together.

Daddy once told me a story.   Two men were sitting in a restaurant bar, and the first guy says to the second, “Hey man, let me buy you a drink?”  The second guy says, “No, I’m good.  Thanks.”  First guy: “Aww, c’mon, man, just one drink.”  Second guy: “No really, thanks anyway.”  A couple of minutes later the first guy tries again, “Let me buy you that drink now, okay?”  The second guy shakes his head and says, “No, I don’t drink.”  First guy: “Well why not?”  Second guy, after thinking for a minute, replies, “Because I just had a cigar.”  The first guy stops for a second and then says, “Just had a cigar? What does that have to do with anything?”

Exactly.

It’s just an excuse.  And when you’re looking for a reason, for an excuse, a cigar is as good as any other.

Daddy and I used to talk about our cigars and what other folks used as their cigars.  “I don’t have time” is used a lot.  But here’s the deal.  If I really wanted to, if I focused, I could make time and get to read some on my book du jour.  Or I could plan it out to take my crocheting with me and work on it in the doctor’s offices or dance room waiting areas instead of pulling out my phone and cruising through other people’s business.  Or people watching–again, other people’s business.

But instead, I say I don’t have time.

That’s my cigar.

My friends, it is time I “quit smoking” and making excuses.  It’s time I quit tossing out, “Well we’re too busy” or “Maybe when things get back to normal” or “My house just isn’t up to par yet” and let those all go.  For good.  I want to do these things that I enjoy.  And my life doesn’t make them prohibitive; my not “making” time to do them does.

I am not sure I’m ready for Technology free Tuesday just yet, but I think I’m going to try to make my mind a cigar-free zone and see what I can make time to do.  No excuses.

The only thing standing between these things I want to do and me is ME.

A Walk, A Wave, and Whimsy

While I had the sewing machine out yesterday, working on my little cowboy’s handkerchiefs, I decided to try a quick project I saw on Pinterest. The pinner said she had a long-sleeved shirt that was too snug, so she split it down the front and center and made it into a lightweight spring/summer jacket. It looked really cute, and as she advertised it as no-sew, I thought I’d give it a try.  After all, I’ve been cutting with scissors since first grade, right?

I had a moss green shirt that was roomy and fairly cute that I got when shopping with the crew and a couple of friends at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago.  I decided to give it a try. Yesterday I pulled it out and decided to add some non-matchy ribbon for a bit of whimsy. (I just love that word–thank you Mr. Bob Goff!) It was a quick job and I was pleased with the result. Just right for throwing on when the breeze picks up or our Georgia spring decides to go into hiding once again.

As it was last night…..after several days of being housebound with my sick littles, I decided to go for an after supper walk. As I stepped out on the porch, I realized my “new” jacket would be just the right thing.

My whimsical jacket

My whimsical jacket

Success!  A Pinterest project I had completed and could use.

The weather was gorgeous, the walk was calming, and my mind wandered.  I was really pleased with the jacket, the weight was just right.  “And I like the length of these sleeves,” I thought.  “This is just the right length for Mama.  And this color–she would have loved this color.”  It was then that it hit me, Mama would have loved this jacket, and I would have given it to her.  Oh if only I could…..

The last three years, Mama was not able to shop as she once was able to.  Between staying with Daddy and taking care of my great Aunt and our cousin, she was very busy, and she left Daddy by himself or with someone else only for the most necessary of things.  I tried to help out by getting groceries some and keeping my eye out for a shirt or a pair of pants or the like that she was in need of.  She made a comment last year that she hadn’t been shopping for more than just a few groceries in a couple of years.

So it was that we talked her into a trip to the “GW Boutique.”  She was like a kid in a candy store.  It took something she was never fond of–clothes shopping for herself–and paired it with a passion of hers–getting a bargain.  She came away with some things she really loved.  She was abundantly joyful.  When she was with us at Christmas, she was tickled with the gifts we had upcycled for her and for each other from GW.  “You’ve done so well,” she said, almost in awe.  That was high praise indeed.  A treasured memory.

I’ve been told that there will be moments that the grief hits like a tidal wave.  Well, having lived it more than once, yes, I know that is true.  But knowing that something can happen does not fully prepare you for the actual happening.  I think the first time this reality hit was when I had to go to Target to get something for one of the littles.  It was one of my first ventures out after she died.   As I walked in I found myself in that mode of shopping with that extra eye–the eye of looking for something Mama could use or wear.  And it hit me…..I would have to de-program myself.

The next tidal wave hit when I went for my yearly appointment.  Ahem.  Never any fun, and as you do, I had to update my information.  And there, midway down the page, the words that made my hand freeze and my mind lock up for a good two minutes: “Emergency Contact.”  My Mama has been my emergency contact for as long as I could fill out that line on a form myself.  In school, in college, in grad school, at work, every doctor I’ve ever been to…..even when we moved to Japan, for they had to have information about where we would evacuate to, should the need arise.  I no longer had an emergency contact.  The sense of loss and being lost was overwhelming.

There has been one other time when the grief snuck up on me.  Aub had had her senior pictures done, and we were figuring out what shots to order.  As I sat down to place the order on our photographer’s website, once again I froze.   My mind had automatically gone to the “family count” of folks who get pictures…..and Mama and Daddy were always first on the list.  Truth?  I shut down the computer and haven’t placed the order yet.  (My apologies to our photographer–we do love you!  It’s not you, it’s me…..)

I guess you could say I handled this wave of grief on my walk a little better?  At least my feet kept moving.  I finished my walk watching the sun set behind the trees.  I tugged the jacket close and wondered how many more times over the years this loss of Mama, of Daddy, of so many others–how many more times will I be caught off guard?

Tonight I am thankful for my Mama, who taught me how to be thrifty and to love walks in the evenings.  I am thankful for my family and friends who are with me, who laugh and listen to my stories and are patient through my “situational” (I hope) attention and focus disorder.  I am happy to have tackled a Pinterest project and come out with a completed, usable project.  Most of all, I am thankful for my Mama who was full of whimsy and encouraged us to live a life full of whimsy ourselves.  Yeah, I think she would have loved that mismatched ribbon…..it’s just for fun after all.