REPORT A PROBLEM
May 1, 2010. A new month, a new beginning. May Day. May Pole. April Showers bring May flowers. Mother May I? Maybe yes, maybe no, maybe so. Mother's Day is in May. May used to be considered a spring month, but now we look so forward to the summer, and the May temperatures are mid-80s, which definitely feel like summer is here already, so we think it must be here. So, First day of May - off we go!
Rise and shine. Run to church. Worry about my mother. Leave early. Run home. Fix lunch. Entertain my daughter - grateful she has come to visit. Run to program rehearsal. Arrive late. I hate to be late. Run home. Find mom with earrings on and purse in her lap ready to go. She's expecting to go to evening church, but I know she's not strong enough yet. We have words about this, but I am right and deep down she knows it. I go to church. She stays home. When I get home we have popcorn. The evening ends.
I awaken each and every morning knowing the day holds glorious promise. Sometimes I walk into and through it and at the end I am thrilled by the moments that have passed. Sometimes the day, the hours, the minutes, get bogged down and turn to sludge, causing my feet to sink in the crud and my heart to beat hard to pull myself through and I lay down at the conclusion of the day totally exhausted and bereft of the light and motion the day began with. I pant out my prayer for a new beginning the next day.
A friend tells me she has a "need to write". I'm with her on that. It's a wonderful habit that happens in a variety of ways for me. Sometimes I write in my lovely leather-bound journal - a gift from my son and daughter-in-law. Sometimes in my spiral bound notebook, the cheap one a bought on sale with the school supplies. Sometimes I type straight into the 100 words website with no practice version done in advance. Whatever comes out gets typed. Most days writing is one of the very first things I do in the day.
My day usually begins by making coffee, then I read my devotional for the day, and then straight to my writing task. Writing's a necessity. It must warm me up to the day and the ups and downs that are before me. I don't know how it works or why it works but it works for me. Most of what I spew onto the early morning pages is not full of jewels or ideas that will one day find the light in some other form. Usually it's just the junk of day to day life that flows forth.
Sometimes my writing is happy, full of gratefulness. Sometimes it's my woe-is-me pity party. Sometimes my tunnel vision is all on someone or something apart from me. Who knows where these things come from or why, they just come. Every morning after my coffee and devotional there they are taunting me to pickup my pen and spew them forth - to fill up the page with pink or purple or green ink. So what good is all this? Who knows. But what would I be like if I didn't do this?
May 7th - so much going on: Son-in-law cut his leg while using a chainsaw; Gram has been in and out of the hospital and now has a suspected broken bone in her wrist; allergies continue to aggravate my sinuses and cause a miserable cough which wears out my voice; Home Health Nurse coming again today; Physical Therapist on hold until we see about results of Gram's wrist x-ray; Second-born daughter trying to move into new house/new city on Saturday; third-born son thinks I don't pay any attention to him; breathe in breathe out repeat!
Fridays are baby days. We get to have Casnoozle, my first grandbaby, with us for the whole day. It is such a joy. He's growing so fast. Has developed a personality of his own already. He's the cutest baby in the world, of course. I wouldn't be much of a grandmother if I thought otherwise, now would I. He's rolling over and starting to get ready to crawl. He sings with his mother, such a delight, and roars like a lion when he's up on all fours. Makes me smile every time I see him. The love of my life!
Mother's Day. 1. Church was good, accompanied an excellent solo, heard good sermon, Gram was oldest mother present - always a boon for her. 2. Had pleasant lunch with first-born and second-born daughters. Enjoyed the conversation and food. 3. Traveled to Charleston to help second-born daughter and son-in-law move out of first home. They're ready to step up in the world and are moving their careers and lives to the BIG city. 4. Had a chance to be with my son (third-born) and daughter-in-law, too.
All in all a lovely day!
Early morning rise - Gram's blood drawn so no breakfast first. We're both worn out after yesterday's activities. It was a great day, but exhausting for both of us. We're just not used to having such a full day. We're looking forward to a trip to the BIG city tomorrow to help second-born daughter unpack. It will be another full day, but there's always the next day to rest and relax, so we're excited to be going. Gram's doctor appt. went well. He thinks she's amazing at 94; I agree. So, we're good to go!
Ignite - I told myself, "Self," said I, "I want you to write every day. I want you to write your three morning pages and put 100 words together that you can publish every day." Self said, "OK, I'll try. "Self," said I, "Do more than try. Commit to producing 100 words each and every day. This is your first step." "OK," said Self. "I'll do it. Every day, no matter what!" "Great," said I. "Now that you've proven you can do that, continue to do so, and look for a contest prompt to work on. Begin by beginning. Do it now!"
I don't remember where I finished on farmville yesterday, but I remember the sweetest smile and giggle from my grandson.
I don't remember the last time I walked in the morning, but I remember tasting butter pecan ice cream.
I don't remember my last days at work, but I remember the frustration and aggravation being there.
I don't remember the last time with my sister, but I remember her warm smile and joyful laugh.
I don't remember ever being without music in my heart, but I remember how glorious I feel when singing.
Food, Glorious Food...I was in the grocery store when I noticed two men unloading a pallot of Krispy Kreme doughnuts onto a display table. They were fresh from the bakery! So how could I ignore them! I stood briefly entranced by their actions. In my mind I was thinking, "I could eat half a dozen in the car on the way home, so maybe I should buy 2 dozen so there will still be enough for later..." Coming out of my reverie I picked up one dozen, with a modicum of self-discipline. Impulse buys. Ain't they great? Doughnuts!!
Looking at these blank pages wondering what I could possibly write that isn't filled with frustration, stress, selfish feelings.
Looking at these blank pages, wondering what new thoughts will come into my mind, flowing down my arm and out my hand and pen.
Looking at these blank pages searching through the vague thoughts lurking in my brain for something new to write.
Looking at these blank pages waiting patiently for the synapses to fire and join in new ways to bring new phrases, sentences, paragraphs to fill these blank pages which stare back at me.
Time: time piece, time spent, time served, time wasted, take time, time tested, time on your hands, time keeper, egg timer, losing time, time management, time on task, time out corner, time to yourself, time to reflect.
Gram went back to sleep or she's trying to escape the evil side of me that comes out when she gets up too early. I really need to have this quiet time. It allows me to center myself, but it is totally selfish and makes me feel quite guilty.
However, here I am, so very in need of time.
Breathe in, breathe out, repeat. Take that deep slow breath in, close your eyes, and then let the air out oh so slowly. Slowly enough to allow the stress of the moment to exit your body with the air going out. Feel the tension release and your shoulders relax. Make a conscious effort to relax your muscles and notice the difference. Resume normal breathing and open your eyes. Recognize that whatever is causing the stress of this moment - day - hour - will pass. Keep breathing. Breathe in, breathe out, repeat.
Smile at someone - anyone. Nobody around? Then find a mirror and smile at yourself. Laugh at yourself. How ridiculous does it feel to look in the mirror and smile just for you? Don't let that ridiculous feeling stop you from smiling at yourself. When you smile at another person you benefit, and so do they. It's a way to help you deal with whatever turmoil or stress or unhappiness you may find lurking over your shoulder. Don't think about it, just do it!
I must be really stressed lately. So much going on - so many obligations and commitments that I find myself looking for the holes in the schedule so I can shut the door and close the blinds and just "be" for a few minutes. Dr.'s appointments, funeral, musical rehearsals, Gracenotes practice, Wednesday night church, middle daughter's master's degree convocation and celebration, driving in two unfamiliar cities, Gram is sick again - back to dr. Week ends with vocal performance - and then it all begins again. If I were sitting home with no place to go, would I be unhappy? Maybe so.
What am I putting up with today?
No time - no selfish time - no time without noise surrounding me. No time when I can get in the car and just run to the store or go window shopping or out to church by myself - no time because I am my mother's sole caretaker and we are at that place where she doesn't want to be left alone for long and she wants to be included - not left out or left behind. I can completely understand how she feels. Time is both an enemy and a luxury in our lives.
Three weeks from now we'll be at the beach, blissfully beginning our week of sun, sand, and food. My favorites! My favorite thing to do is sit with my feet at the water's edge, letting the waves wash over them, with a good book or a good friend, either will satisfy. And, of course, I always gain about four pounds in that week because all we do is sit on the beach or eat. When we come home there is always a day or two of sadness because everything is so ho-hum. But I'm grateful for the time we have.
He sleeps. I watch. He doesn't like being on his back, so he rolls to his right side. He bends his knees ever so slightly and crosses his ankles - a pose he lived in for nine months in his mommy's belly. His eyes move under serene lids as he dreams of green meadows and puppy dogs romping through the tall grass. He breaths - a soft coo - not so much a snore, but enough sound so I know he's all right, sleeping and at peace. I could sit wiling away the hour, watching, waiting, smiling, but chores call and he sleeps.
I was not paying attention to where I was walking, having my grandson in my arms, laughing with him as he grabbed onto my nose, so I clipped the edge of the vacuum cleaner with my toe. "Owee, Owee, Owee!!!" I wailed, much to the confusion of my grandson. Sitting him down, I flexed my toes, finding a great deal of pain doing so. I hobbled to a chair, waited for the immediate pain to subside, iced my foot and took advil. Today the swelling has gone down and it is a glorious shade of purple. Oh happy day!
A day filled with music. Church this morning: the usual hymns and choir anthem. The choir has grown over the past couple of years, so now we average 20-22 weekly. Really lovely for making good music.
Afternoon performance. I'm both looking forward with joy and anxious to get it over with. The music is wonderful, stirring, joyful. But it has awakened me often in the night, rolling through my mind, making it impossible to sleep. It will be a wonderful program.
Then back to my church for worship and choir practice. A day of music.
Pick up that pen and start writing. You are behind in your '100 words' so get busy. Think-think-think...I sound like Pooh Bear. Some days I sound more like Eyore. "Oh, dear. It's another day. Probably gonna rain. I'm gonna get wet," he says in his low, slow, monotone voice. But today I don't feel like Eyore. Not quite like Christopher Robin, either. More like Piglet. Happy to play, but still a little tentative about some things. Everyone is happy living and playing in the Hundred Acre Woods, where friends are friends forever and unconditional love abounds.
The last Tuesday in every month I play the piano for a group of elderly people who suffer from age-related dimentia. They love to sing the songs from decades ago - the songs of their youth. They sing with gusto, laugh and smile, as the magic of the music makes them remember better days. Two men in the group are navy veterans, who stand straight and proud of their service, as well they should. Several of the women were army wives, moving with their husbands and families at the whim of our national need. I am pleased to play for them.
Bug man came today. Sprayed my bench on the front porch so the carpenter bees won't drill anymore holes in it. What a mess they make! Sawdust everywhere! There's no doubt how they came by their name.
Beach is only days away! It's list-making time! My friend was bemoaning the fact that she waits until the last minute to pack for a trip. I do, too, but that's not only because I'm a terrible procrastinator. If I pack ahead of time, then I tend to have a meltdown hunting for something I already packed! Drives me crazy!
I have been reading a lot lately. I've gotten hooked on what they call "cozy" mysteries. They are strickly chick lit. but I am enjoying the relaxation of this kind of quick read. My next set of books have been ordered and shipped. I hope at least two of them arrive before we head to the beach. I like to take several books to choose from, just in case one is a dud or the mood just isn't right, then I'll have one or two others to choose from. Reading at the beach with my feet in the surf - heaven.
Down a pound today. Surely not due to anything I am doing. There is just not much to snack on in the house and it's been a week of alone time because my mother has been ill and has taken to her bed more than not. As peaceful as this makes the house - no TV - it also makes me more or less housebound right along with her. My prayers are for her to be pain free when she gets up. We can deal with asthma and lack of energy, but the pain is a defeater for both of us.
I have nothing to say today. My mother has become so very frail and I am attached to her at the hip, so here I sit, Memorial Day weekend, a beautiful Saturday, no invitations, no phone ringing, no reason to do anything except sit right here and have nothing to say. I hope I will feel better about all of this tomorrow, it being another day and all that hooya...Can't even seem to make this into 100 words. What a miserable way to be. But then, I have been told, everything is a choice in itself. Isn't that so?
Halfway though the day and only just starting to put pen to paper. Beginning to feel like we have turned the house into a nursing home. Gram asked this morning what she would be doing if she were in a nursing home. Depressing for both of us. I have promised not to put her in a home until I absolutely cannot deal with her situation myself.
Forget about that - just write. Maybe I will be able to use all these boxed in feelings in a character one day. But until then, leave them to stew and just write.
This is one of those mornings when I wish I had a box of doughnuts sitting beside my full coffee cup. It's funny, because some mornings I can accept, nay enjoy my bowl of cereal and milk intended to keep my cholesteral in check. But this is definitely not one of those mornings! This morning I feel a devil-may-care attitude welling up in me. Pushing up through the allergies and asthma I am currently trying to quell. I seem to be more tired this morning, so that makes me more susceptible to doughnut-itis, as it were. So - doughnuts, anyone?
The Tip Jar