TRASH

New Year’s Eve. 2018.

So much to think about and ponder upon and yet, I remember the old wives’ tale about sweeping. Don’t sweep on New Year’s Day or you’ll sweep someone out of your life. I don’t want to review memories and stories and sweep them back into my memories. And so I find myself not wanting to become all maudlin and auld lang syne-ish. I’d like tomorrow to be just another day, albeit wonderful as I will be surrounded by many of my favorite people, and make the best of it and try to leave the world a little better place at sunset than I found it at sunrise–just as I hope to do for the other 364 days of 2019.

“This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

My Mama sang these words out more days than not, challenging us to find joy in each day and not take a single one for granted. She especially loved to remind us of this when we got down in the dumps.

With four children born in a nine year period, there were a lot of those days when at least one person needed that reminder.

So as I wish you all a Happy New Year, I offer you Mama’s greeting–Happy Everyday! And in keeping with my New Year’s Eve tradition, I share with you my Word for 2019.

TRASH

When I realized this morning what today is, I realized I hadn’t chosen a word yet, and I even thought about not choosing one. It was then that the word TRASH came to me.

Ummm, say what?

I wondered if it was an acronym for something that I was supposed to learn from. Truth…..Trust…..Respect…..ummmm, I don’t know. That didn’t feel right.

I thought about the literal trash that we put out by the curb every week and how it gets picked up by people who are too often under appreciated and who show up. We don’t always notice that they show up, but we sure do if they miss us, don’t we? I want to be present and notice the folks who show up. I don’t want to take them for granted. I also want to be that person who shows up for other folks.  For the big things and the small and all those in between.

I thought about the “trash pandas.” We have quite a few around here, as we live backed up to woods. One might say, and I have, that we invaded their home. We have some who come up and snack on this or that and they seem to think cat food is some kind of fine dining. Over this holiday season, the littles and I have had a basket of water, Gatorade, seasonal snack cakes, and chips in a basket for the people who deliver packages over the year. (The world’s best elves I call them.)  One night when I was locking up rather late, I noticed the basket was still on the porch. I saw two empty plastic cellophane wrappers on the porch next to the basket. I immediately just KNEW what had happened. Some little trash panda/raccoon had come up and discovered our little treasure trove and rushed back to invite a friend to join her. And together they’d shared a little joy…..and a lot of sugar.

I want to be like that little trash panda. I want to go and find someone to share in the treasures I come across. Joy multiplied, sorrows divided–that was something else my Mama talked about a lot. And y’all knows there’s a lot of joy in some Little Debbies and Oatmeal Pies.

I thought about the trash we come across in our day to dailies–and how important it is to make sure we put it in the trash can and get rid of it. Sitting something to the side with the intention to get rid of it can create quite the mess. Every night my Mama bagged up the bag from the small trash can under the kitchen sink and toted it to the bin outside. She was always wary of the critters (ants) that might come in after it if she didn’t. Not taking out the trash just created more trouble to deal with. In the days to come I want to remember to make the effort and take the steps to get rid of refuse when I come across it–let it go. Get rid of the trash. From within and without. Everything in its place and trash out the door and out of my heart.

As I was thinking on this word, I Googled the definition. And this is what I found.

trash
/traSH/
noun
1.NORTH AMERICAN
discarded matter; refuse.
synonyms: garbage, refuse, waste, litter, junk, debris, detritus, rubbish
“the subway entrance was blocked with trash”

verb
verb: trash; 3rd person present: trashes; past tense: trashed; past participle: trashed; gerund or present participle: trashing
1.INFORMAL•NORTH AMERICAN
damage or wreck.
“my apartment’s been totally trashed”
synonyms: wreck, ruin, destroy, wreak havoc on, devastate; More
2.strip (sugar cane) of its outer leaves to ripen it faster.

I read along thinking yeah, yeah, yeah, no surprises here until I came to the second definition of trash as a verb. “Strip of its outer leaves to ripen it faster.”

Yes.

I want to strip those outer toughened layers, let go of the mask that hides authenticity, and leave myself opening to ripening, blossoming, and growing.

I am not sure why this word came to mind this morning. Maybe it was because I was out walking Miss Sophie and appreciating and breathing in the beauty of the morning and breathing out a quiet amen. Maybe it was because I was listening or because I had let go of the pressure of figuring out a word.

Whatever the reason, this is my word. It’s the word I need for the coming days. It’s the word I need for living and letting go.

And I thought I’d share it just in case you need it too.

Love to all. Don’t forget to put out the trash.

And as my Mama said, happy everyday!

raccoon in trash can

Photo by Steve from washington, dc, usa [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The Eighth Day of Christmas

On the eighth day of Christmas…..

House_number_8

By SeppVei (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

eight things that I pondered on today as I was cooking the black-eyed peas and collard greens.

1–This is the last full year my oldest will be in college.  ACK! How did that even happen?  Too fast, y’all.  It’s all too fast.

2–This is a Leap Year.  So all those folks who, on December 26, said that there were 365 days until next Christmas were all wrong.  And many had no idea.  It seems like the older I get the quicker these Leap Years sneak up on me.

3–Even years.  This is an even year.  And I can’t remember if I like even years or odd years better.  Is it weird to have a preference?  Never mind.  Don’t answer that.

4–It’s good to have people.  So when you don’t have macaroni and cheese and you need some and you know your little people are tired of your recipe, one of your other people might step up and say, “Hey I have a great recipe–would you like for me to try making it?”  (It was a success, by the way.) Or when you are struggling with something but maybe no one or only a few know, someone out of the blue asks others to hold you in the light without your ever saying anything.  People are good to know and have and love.

5–Hallmark Christmas movies are addictive.  And I’m addicted.  Now I am very sad, because I am pretty sure they are done showing them.  Dear Hallmark, please start a Christmas movie channel.  Some of us need the magic and loveliness all year long.  I will subscribe.  I promise. Thank you, and Happy Everyday.  (P. S. Does Candace Cameron Bure’ live with you on site? She seems to be in a lot of your movies these days.  Just curious.)  

6–Eating at the Pizza Place on New Year’s Night is a tradition I could get used to.  Very much so.  Not packed, good food, happy children, happy grownups, and the staff are wonderful, beautiful people–and we can never be around those folks too much.  A great start to 2016.

7–As soon as the New Year arrived, Cooter, whose birthday is still several weeks away, started asking, “Can I just go ahead and say ‘I’m 9?'”  He is my baby boy.  NOOOOO. No, you may not say you are 9 yet.  Not even one day before you actually turn 9 may you say that.  Just stop.  I have all the emotions to work through before that day gets here.

8–I told myself I would not focus on the loss of our beloved coffeeshop/church/hangout/missional, fair-trade coffeehouse before the New Year.  I wanted to celebrate the holidays and then let my heart grieve.   Today the New Year arrived, and it hit me that the time has come to close the door on the hope of it staying open as it stands now and prepare to say goodbye.  The pain of losing it is real and hard and never so clear as when we pulled up to the Pizza Place down the row from the coffeeshop, and the lights were not on in the shop.  I had forgotten it would be closed today for New Year’s, so to see it closed and no one there and to know that THERE WAS NO COFFEE brewing today–something inside of me broke.  This will be a year of hard things and getting through them and walking with others who are also struggling.  But we will get through them.  Together.

Wishing you all a Happy Welcome to this New Year!  And that you get the year right the very first time you have to write a check.  (Does anyone even write checks anymore besides me?)

Love to all.

 

In the Interest of Full Disclosure–a tidbit or two or twenty

A few things I thought I’d share in the interest of full disclosure…..and looking for kindred spirits.

*I love grits.  I do.  The only thing is whenever I eat them, it never fails that I find a “grit” or two somewhere on my person later in the day.  I’m not messy with them, and I honestly don’t know how it happens, but it does.  Same thing with pancakes.  No matter how careful I am, there will be a dot of syrup found on me somewhere later on.  *sigh* Color me five years old.

*No matter how much money I might win in the lottery, which I do not play, I will never stop shopping at the GW Boutique.  I love my bargains.  They are really addictive.  And I can buy things from there and the Hospice Thrift Shop without stressing over where they were made.  I am supporting a whole different group from the ones who may or may not have been ethical making them.  And that makes me glad.

*Granny squares make me ecstatically happy.  I love them.  All shapes and sizes and colors.  I don’t know if it’s the name–reminding me of my Granny (would I love them as much if they were grumpy great-uncle squares?)–or if it’s the beauty and intriguing ways they can be put together.  No matter, Granny square techniques dominate my Pinterest boards, and I have big dreams of making a fantastic Granny square blanket and bag and jacket for my very own self.  I haven’t started yet, but one day…..

*Speaking of Granny squares, I have taken to rescuing handmade crocheted and knitted blankets and things from the GW Boutique.  I found a beautiful crocheted stocking around Christmas at the Hospice Thrift Shop for 59 cents. Joy abounds.  I cannot stand leaving them there when I KNOW how much time and energy and love went into making them.  I suppose I was inspired by Lisa Leonard of Lisa Leonard Designs, who has shared pictures of her home and patio area with some gorgeous “found treasure” blankets thrown across a loveseat or porch swing.  I love the whimsy.  I made quite the haul about three weeks ago. I found a purple Granny square blanket and Every Single Square was from a different design.  Gorgeous.  The next one was mostly white with a different colored row or two in the middle of each square.  Perhaps my favorite though is the off green and yellow one.  It was owned by a sweet little old lady who had gold carpet and doilies on the back on her sofa.  She poured tea promptly at four, and had soup and crackers for supper every night.  She wore a housecoat and slippers around her house, and she read poetry in the morning with her toast and homemade peach jam and her parakeet on her shoulder.  Oops, sorry.  I got lost in my imagination there.  All of that story came from the smell of the blanket.  Even after I washed it well, it still has a hint of mothballs and “old” smell.  And I adore it.

*That’s a another thing.  I love “old” smells.  I love the smell of liniment and mothballs and cedar.  They all bring back such memories.  As a matter of fact, I love the smell of the liniment so much that I have to work to remember not everyone does and not use it when I’m going to be out. in. public.

*I love “ugly” pillowcases.  I would prefer for none of mine to match actually.  I don’t know when this love started, but when my great Aunt passed on almost four years ago, I acquired some of her old pillowcases.  One in particular is a 70’s looking floral print.  Oh my stars.  But it brings me such happiness to see it.  Strange, I know.  Moving on.

*The quickest way to my heart is to love my children.  The fastest way to get “off my birthday list” is to hurt one of my young’uns.  That’s pretty much it.  Hurt one of them and we are through.  Be kind or help one of them, I’ll love you for life.

*I wash my kitchen towels separately.  From everything.  I do not want them comingling with anything else.  (And yes, I’m pretty much OCD, I think we’ve already established that.)  It’s just how I do.

*I smell my books.  I love the old book smell.  I am in hog heaven at an old book sale.  I worked in a small 1 1/2 room library all through high school and oh, the smells of all those books!  Such happiness.  This is probably why it is rare for me to purchase a book on Kindle.  You can’t sniff a tablet.  Well, you can, but folks would look at you funny.  Because they don’t when you sniff books.  Ahem.  Ah well.

*I get Pre-Grocery Shopping Tension Syndrome.  I worry I will get the squeaky buggy.  Or have something stuck to its tire causing it to thump all through the store.  Inevitably, my worry is usually founded, and I’m stuck. For the entire length of the shopping trip.

*Socks are the bane of my existence.  If I could invent disposable socks without adversely affecting the environment, I so would.  TOMORROW.  I don’t know what happens here–I guess the same thing that happens in a majority of homes–somehow one loses its way between the dirty clothes pile and exiting the dryer.  What on earth.  And here’s the thing–I’m afraid to throw the survivor out because I JUST KNOW the lost one will return or be found inside a pair of pants long forgotten on the floor of a closet (ahem) and then it will be alone.  Not that this has happened at any point in my sock-washing career–well maybe once or twice–but still.  The odds are against it.  And still I collect lost socks in a basket.  A big basket.  *sigh*

*I cannot go to bed at night with dirty feet.  I usually shower at night, but on the odd occasion when I cannot–feet must be washed somehow.  Don’t know where that came from, just is.

*Growing up I could not go to sleep without some light on.  Now I can’t sleep if there is a light on at all.  Not an interesting fact or anything, just something I felt like sharing.

*I am the reason there is that question in italics underneath where you sign in to your different accounts on-line.  Forgot your password?  Why yes, yes I have.  Thank you for not phrasing it “Forgot your password AGAIN?”  Here is my e-mail.  Yes thank you.  Now I will create another one that I will promptly forget as well.  I like to keep myself guessing.  It’s fun.  Or not.  I have good intentions about writing them all down somewhere, but well, no.  Hasn’t happened yet.

*My Mama and Daddy gave me nicknames that it is likely I am the only one who remembers.  This makes me glad and sad at the same time.

*I am not a pretty crier.  No, I do not watch myself in the mirror as I cry.  I just take the horrified looks on the faces of those around me as a sign that perhaps it’s not a good look for me.

*I have strong opinions and views on certain things in this world.  Others I don’t know enough to form an educated let alone strong opinion about.  Here’s the thing.  On those situations about which I have a strong opinion, I feel like my thoughts are well-founded and that I can back them up.  But I don’t always express them. I’m getting better but still I frustrate myself with this.  It’s that whole “not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings” thing, and so I sit and do not argue with someone whose short-sighted and narrow-minded (in my own opinion) views are randomly attacking groups and populations and interest groups left and right.  I look forward to the day when we can all express our thoughts in an environment of mutual respect and consideration.

*I write for two reasons (other than my Mama told me to).  First, so my children will know who I am.  Second, so they can read and know who our people were.  It means a lot when others read it, and I am overjoyed to hear thoughts shared about something or other that I have written.  But bottom line, I’m writing for my little people.  So our stories will last.  I only wish I’d been able to get more of Mama and Daddy’s stories written down.

*I wish I’d taken more pictures of me with my folks.  If you are lucky enough to still have those you love with you, step out from behind the camera every now and then and take a picture of yourself with them.  Don’t always be the photographer.  Don’t use the excuse that you don’t like the way you look in pictures.  It doesn’t help your feelings once they are gone.

*You can never have too many books.  Or yarn.  Or people to care about.  Or hugs.  Just in case you were wondering.  Nope.  Uh huh.  Doesn’t matter.  You just can’t.

Thanks for letting me share my innermost “stuff” and if you find we have something in common, I’d love to hear about it.  If not, it’s okay.  That’s another thing life has taught me.  We don’t have to be alike to be friends.

Love to all.

Miscellaneous Meanderings

So it’s Saturday.  And maybe it’s because it’s a new month or I’m tired or allergies or I’m just getting old, I cannot focus today.  So here’s a peek at what I’ve thought about or done today.

Our princess had an extra ballet and tap practice today.  It’s recital season and we are so close, so the class needed an extra practice.  Their sweet teacher made time in her day to meet with them for this special practice, so it was the least we could do to make time in ours.

Last year our girl made it through the recital with her same old tap and ballet shoes.  Then when fall rolled around, I went to get her new ones.  And her feet had grown.  THREE.  WHOLE.  SIZES.  Oh my land.  Now you know that didn’t all happen in the two months she was off.  Just write “Bad Mama” on my forehead with a Sharpie and feed me to those other dance Mamas who make sure their ballerina’s hair is just perfect and that their leotard and skirts match and that there are no runs in their tights.  Every single week.  For ten months.  *sigh*  I have asked her recently if her shoes fit, and she says yes.  I’m taking her word for it at this point.  I just don’t have it in me to schedule a trip to buy new shoes and rough up the bottoms before the recital.  One day she can tell her therapist all about this.  Or her podiatrist.  I’m sorry, baby girl.

pic of breakdown

So one of my oldest and dearest posted this on my page today.  I cannot tell you in words how great it is to have friends who knows me so well, and who will love me through the dark times, but do not hesitate to call me on my junk too.  Mama was good at that.  I’m glad I have friends and family who are looking out.  Love you girl.  And yeah, today was one of those days.  When just the idea that you need to actually go and find and put on a pair of pants and shirt exhausts you, well, yeah.  Where I am today.  (I know, I know, shine don’t whine.)

Nevertheless I took our princess to find a bathing suit that isn’t gaping or revealing or you know, whatever.  She is very tall for her age, with a long torso. So trying to find a one-piece that is long enough but doesn’t gape all over is a hard task.  We were in the dressing room and we found one that seemed okay.  It was not her traditional pink choice, rather it was orange and grey, but she seemed to like it.  She twisted her sweet eight year old face up as she looked in the three way mirror and said, “Well, it’s okay, but I need to ask the fashion expert.”  I said, “Who?” She replied, turning this way and that, hands on and off hips, “You know, Baba (her big sister).  She does her hair every. single. day.  She’s the fashion EXPERT.”  So she asked me to take a picture of her and text it to her sister to ask her if it was okay.  When Aub found out about it, she was genuinely pleased and all smiles.  “Wow,” she said.  Wow, indeed.  Siblings getting along at any given moment–parenting win.

Right now the princess is in the tub.  She has somehow gotten the idea that she should leave the shampoo in her hair for three minutes.  I figured this out because she will randomly call out, loudly, “Has it been three minutes?” (Whaaaat?) In the beginning she would call out, “Tell me when it’s been three minutes,” but either I’m losing my hearing (a possibility), my selective hearing has kicked in (a greater possibility), or she’s just not calling that out anymore (?????).  Still I hear her holler, “Has it been THREE MINUTES?”  And one of us, usually me or Aub, will shrug and holler back, “Yes.”  Don’t judge people.  It’s shampoo, it’s not that serious.  A better Mama would put a clock in there or set the timer or maybe explain that the three minutes are not necessary (though she’d probably argue with me on that point).  Some days you just have to pick the mountains you’re gonna climb.  This ain’t one of them.

Last night I was walking through our front yard and our neighbor was out wrapping up his yardwork.  His son just graduated as well.  I asked him when his son heads out for college.  Turns out, it will be around the same time that my girl goes.  I said, “It will be mighty quiet around here.”  He nodded.  “Yeah.”  He paused.  And then laughed.  “I’m looking forward to it.”  I laughed too, pointed at this yard, and said, “You’re not kidding me.  I’ve seen him out here working and pushing that mower.  It’s about to be all yours to do.  Just like I’m losing my babysitter.”   He nodded and said, “Yeah, I think I’m gonna get me a riding lawn mower.”  That really cracked me up.  How many of us moved away from home and returned to find the ‘rents had upgraded?  Yeah, me too.

When I returned home today from ballet practice and errands, I found the stack of mail had been brought in.  Bills–check.  Junk mail–check.  College brochure for Aub–check.  (Side note:  I’m really quite sad that all these colleges think she’s a rising senior–I’ve got another year of weeding through their sales pitches.)  Package from Amazon–ch–wait.  I am pretty good at remembering when I’ve ordered something from them.  I know my memory is suffering, but books I KNOW.  I opened it up, and much to my surprise, it was a book that my cousin had mentioned to me.  Whoo hoo.  She is a love.  What a treat!  I look forward to reading this one.  Oh y’all, my stack of books to read!  In my dreams I hire a housekeeper and a cook and somehow still educate the littles and find time to curl up with my favorite blanket du jour and read, read, read.  This one’s going to the top of the list.  Thank you and much love.

My surprise in the mail from my sweet cousin

My surprise in the mail from my sweet cousin

Whenever I have stepped outside today I’ve been greeted by the sweet smell of gardenia.  It was sent to me by a dear friend who is overseas to remember my Mama.  After a few days its leaves started turning colors.  I panicked.  Another good friend who is a Master Gardener told me to call the company.  They promptly sent me another one.  And the same thing happened.  Y’all, I’m not like my Master Gardener friend, but I don’t usually kill every plant I get.  She took them under her loving care and just look.  Gorgeous.  The first one has recuperated from a bad case of being rootbound, and the second one is on its way back. (for the record, rootbound–not my fault)  Aren’t they beautiful?  They just fill me with peace.  And that smell…..second only to a tea olive.  I am thankful for my friend who sent them, and for my friend who used her gifts and talents (she is THE Mrs. Greenthumb) generously and rescued these babies.  And this is not the first time she has saved the day–and a plant or two.  Thank y’all–I think of you both everytime I see those beautiful blooms and green leaves.

These fill me with such a peace

These fill me with such a peace

So it’s Saturday.  Another week is about to begin, as well as another month.  The longest day of the year will be upon us before we know it.  Time passes so much more quickly than it did when I was small.  I just want to reach out and stop the hourglass, turn it on its side and balance it where it is for just a few minutes, and take a moment to breathe.  And think.  And dream.  And yes, read.

But I’m not in charge and that’s not how life goes.  So for now, I’ll say goodnight and Happy Weekend.  I’m off to hug the children and find myself a quiet corner and open a book.  Tonight I’m thankful for the extraordinary ordinary of my everyday.  As my friend Baddest Mother Ever would reframe it–tomorrow I GET to do it all again.  And that’ll do for a Saturday.