Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Most Negative Post I've Ever Written

The New Year is approaching. This is a time of....what?....of renewal?...of looking back?...of saying to yourself, "Why the hell am I here and when is this going to be over?"

There's just too much...too much stuff...too much to do...too much to accomplish, with not enough time to appreciate any of it.

Perhaps I can learn to simplify. The panic to simplifying is the ever-gnawing question, "But what if you're SUPPOSED to do this (or that or even the other thing) for the betterment of all of God's creation (or at least some of them).

I'm struggling here...and I have no right to.
I think I'm having a mid-life crisis, but I can't afford a new convertible.
I want to just watch for awhile, like the fly on the wall.
I want time to stop so that I can figure things out.
I don't want to let anyone down.
I think I understand my mother more today than I ever have before.

I want to live life to the fullest, but I don't know how to live each MOMENT to the fullest and in order to do the former, it makes sense that you have to be able to do the latter.

I always thought I'd be able to grow older with enthusiasm, but now I think I was wrong. All I can muster is growing older with confusionism.

Pray for me during this New Year and I'll pray for you.


Monday, December 20, 2010

The Storymatic

Dare I allow myself to embrace a dream come true without waiting for the bomb to drop?

We all have different reasons or even the same reasons for wanting children. Truth be told, the reason I wanted children the most is so that I would have people to play games with -I mean good old-fashioned games where the family sits around and shares some good laughs.

In my children's younger years, it was really tough to find a game that we could all enjoy - and getting John to even THINK about playing Candyland was a task too large to think about. Then came all of the video craziness and computer games and little gadgets which multiplied faster than I could master them...alas, my dream of family games came to an end.

I set my heart to enjoying all of the other wonderful reasons to have children.

Last night my dream came back to life. I picked up this game called, The Storymatic. I was really only going to use it as a prompt to write each day. Katie Rose also loves to write and I invited her to share this game with me. The chair by the floor to ceiling window is where I keep the "storybook". Anyone can play the game at any time.

This is how you play: pick two gold cards - on these two cards are prompts to help you create your main character. You then pick two copper cards...these help develop your story line. Once you have your cards, set the timer for 15 minutes and just write away, using whatever comes into your mind.

Back to last night...after dinner, Katie Rose suggested that we all play the game, using the same cards. I was skeptical because I didn't think anyone else would want to play...but I was wrong. The entire family wanted to play. The paper and pens were distributed and the timer was ready. The cards we all had to work with were: Gold (tattletale, alien disguised as a human) and Copper (Talent Show, unclaimed baggage). Go! For 15 solid minutes we all wrote furiously. Snickers and giggles could be heard once in a while. "How much time is left?" was asked a couple of times.

When the 15 minutes were up, we each had to read our stories aloud. Although we all had used the same prompts, the stories were vastly different. We laughed and we laughed and we laughed. Mickey could barely get through reading his story, he was laughing so hard.

I was very impressed by the education my children have been getting, thus far. Gracey's story was very well-developed with all of the parts included...conflict, rising action, a logical ending. Johnny's story used examples and flowery language. Katie used a lot of detail in her story. Mickey used the word "poo" a lot in his story, but there were parts of it that made sense. I used the word "queried" in my story and John wrote about a guy with a really big forehead.

I hope we do this again. It was great fun and I was able to see my children in a new way, through their imagination.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

And Snow It Begins

And Snow It Begins

The first thing I did when I saw the picture outside was smile...well...and giggle a little bit. (Don't tell anyone, because I am a snow-hater and it would ruin my reputation).

The first thing I though about was, "Who should I wake up first?" Something like the first snowfall of the season needs to be shared. Thinking again, I realized that this had the potential to be a very peaceful and beautiful morning all on my own. It dawned on me that Katie Rose and Mickey would want to put on their snow pants right away to go outside and play in it. (The snowpants are still buried in the closet with the rest of the winter stuff - much too much work for me first thing in the morning). John would just be upset because I woke him up early - after all, he's seen the first snow fall of the season a million times. Gracey....now Gracey would LOVE it with the additional benefit that she would take a look at it, appreciate it and go right back to bed, leaving me to bask in my peaceful morning.

I went into Gracey's dark room, told her I wanted her to see something, grabbed her hand, told her to close her eyes and led her upstairs to the main floor of the house, where floor-to-ceiling windows surround us. When we reached the family room, I instructed her to open her eyes.

She did not disappoint me. I think in her tired, sleepy, teenage way, she was delighted. She commented, "It's so nice," in her lilty, happy, little girl voice. We stood there, together, looking out at the snow for about one minute and fifteen seconds.

"Well...I'm going back to bed now," she stated.
"Okay...sweet dreams," I replied.

She went back downstairs to her room and I made my way to the kitchen to make coffee.

Life is good.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Reverb10 Prompt #1

I joined a group called Reverb10. I know I have to figure out how to put a button and stuff on my blog, but until I can get help from my daughter, I don't want to fall behind.

This is a group that follow prompts each day in December and use that prompt to creatively grow.

Dec. 1st prompt was to take your year (2010) and encapsulate it into one word and explain why you chose that word.

The word I chose is "unsettled" and I crafted this piece using stuff I had around the house. Now, I joined this group yesterday, the 2nd, and so I had to hurry and do the first prompt. It is a bit unfinished, but then again, so is my life, so it is very appropriate to describe my life in 2010.

Okay, well....that was fun. On to prompt #2 which asks us to create about what keeps us from "creating." I'm going to do a piece on the snooze button. But before that, I'm going to time myself making a rosary. :) I love my life.


Price Check on Tampons in Aisle 3!

While at work yesterday, I experienced on of the most embarrassing things ever. The more the situation escalated, the more I made it worse. Have you ever had one of those moments?

The front doorbell to school rang. As I looked at my monitor, I saw two men - one who was familiar (the Hot Lunch Delivery guy) and one who wasn't familiar, but didn't look scary or anything. I buzzed the door open and they walked in.

(There are times throughout my day at work when bells ring all over the place. Teachers, students, parents, and other people surround my desk, asking questions while the phone rings and the PA buzzes) All I can do is take one thing at a time in order. This was one of those moments.

The Hot Lunch Guy approached my desk first, so I took care of him. I signed his delivery sheet, exchanged some pleasantries and he was off.

I looked up to to the next guy and said, "Yes sir, what can I do for you?"
The guy said, "Well, I'm not a dude. I'm a woman, but that's okay. I hear that all the time."

MORTIFIED! That's what I felt. The world started spinning in circles. All I could do was lay my head on my desk and apologize over and over. I thought to myself, "I need to make this woman feel good. I need her to be happy with who she is. I need to let her know that I was the one in error, not her."

So I did what any other normal person would do. I jumped up, ran around the desk and took her into a great big bear hug that lasted for probably longer than was warranted. In that hug, I was trying to say how sorry I was and how insensitive I was and trying to let her see that it was just so crazy at my desk that I didn't pay attention.

I finally released her from my guilt hug. She asked the question that she came into the school to ask in the first place. "Where's the AA meeting?" (Well...for those of you who know my background, I was doubly honored to be hugging her, but embarrassed about my error and so maybe I was overcompensating a little bit. I told her that it was in the church basement and directed her on how to get there. At that frenzied moment, I realized that the meeting wasn't in the church basement; it was in the parish office basement. I had to be sure.

"Mary," I called to the adjoining office, "Where''s the AA meeting? In the church basement or the parish office basement?"
Mary can't hear over the noise, so she says, "What?!"
Mary comes out of her office. "What?"
"Where's the AA meeting? The church basement or the parish office basement?
She answers, "It's in the church office basement. She calmly gives my new friend the directions on how to get there.

I give my new friend one last hug and tell her she's beautiful and off she goes.

Here is the ever important, always-to-remember lesson of that 5 minute exchange...Look people in the eye. Know who you are talking to. Don't rely on what you think you know. Take the time to treat each human being as a creation of God. Take the time...time...time.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Plant in the Office

I'm not really the type of person that notices dead plants. They just aren't in my radar. That's why, when a coworker commented on the very sad looking plant in the corner of the front office at school, I simply acknowledged her noticings and went about my business.

An hour or so passed and another co-worker came by the desk and commented on the wilty-ness of the same plant. At that point I found it a little bit odd that I don't notice plants that are not doing their best. I, again, acknowledged my co-worker's noticings and again went about my business.

A third co-worker passed by and said, "That plant really needs to be watered. It looks very sad." I answered, "People keep coming by and saying that."

In that moment my scientific mind took over and I formulated a hypothesis and a theory...or at least a carefully-planned-out, secret, blind study that no one but me would know about. How many people would walk by that plant, comment on it, yet not do anything about it?

So far three different people had commented, yet not watered.

(Let's put aside, for the moment, the fact that I did nothing. I imagine people assume that because the plant is in my "jurisdiction", I have the care-giving responsibilities for it and they probably simply don't want to interfere in my jurisdiction. Aside from that potential reasoning, it's interesting to me that people do much "talking" but not so much "doing.")

I left work for the day. When I returned the next day, I found that the plant had miraculously been rejuvenated. The leaves were shiny and perky. Ugh! My experiment was over too soon. I barely got to do any data research and spread sheet calculations.

At lunch time, Vinnie walked in, went to the plant and said, "Ahhh. She looks much better than she did yesterday. Her leaves were all wilting and now they're perking up." Vinnie is a man who belongs to our parish and comes in each day to volunteer to serve the little kiddies hot lunch. He does it out of the kindness of his heart. He does not get paid, he is there each day - rain or shine, and he is one of those unsung heroes of our school that, like the plant, often goes unnoticed.

How fitting that he is the one who, more than likely, found a common ground with the plant and gave it the water it was thirsting for. How fitting that this man, this volunteer, took matters into his own hands and DID something about it, instead of just commenting on it.

Today, I challenge myself and you, to "do" something - don't plan it, don't get a committee together, don't talk to others about it, just "do" it because it needs to be done. Isn't that the kind of people we want to be?