Monday, April 26, 2010

Focus on One Drop

Living in the moment is easier said than done, but it's a great goal. I've read that "now" is the knife edge between "past" and "future," so living in the moment relieves us of regrets that dwell in the remembered past and anxieties that lurk in the imagined future of our mind.

Today, I have spent the morning replaying things in my head, as well as writing ideas for the future. Today, I have had trouble living in the moment. I wonder why we do this to ourselves? Maybe, it is an escape from the realizations that we can't change the past and that we can't let the past change us.

The funny thing is that the scope of our regrets and worries doesn't have to be great in order to throw us off balance. For instance, my befuddlement today has to do with regretting that my teacher aid job ended unexpectedly last Thursday when the child moved to another district and with wondering how I'm going to finally get my garden tilled and planted if it keeps raining for the coming weeks.

What can I do to change either of those things? I can't (and don't want to) tell people where to live and when to move, and last time I checked, I'm not in charge of the weather. These days, I don't put a lot of stock in worrying about things I cannot change. At least, I try to not spend too much time letting things out of my control pick at my brain. That is not always as easy to do as it is to think, though. . . so, here I sit, trying to write out my emotions and render them less powerful by capturing them in words.

After plenty of writing, lots of backspacing, more writing, and even more backspacing, my conclusion is this:

Focus on one drop.
That's all, a single drop.

Friday, April 23, 2010

But, Mom, I Am NOT Sleepy. . .

Heehee! Who would've guessed that Star Wars could be so relaxing and soothing? Lulled him right to sleep, considering he was NOT sleepy :-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Work-- I Could Sit and Watch It for Hours

Fascinating stuff, this work.

I could sit and watch it for hours.

Well, for real, I am lazy in a way. Once I get started, I can scrub or file or brush or sand with the best of them. I'm just not very motivated to begin these tasks unless I am on the clock. If you are paying me, then I want work to do. I want the time to fly, want to see physical results, want to keep moving. I detest having to hunt for work to keep busy when I'm on the clock, but that's exactly what I will do.

In the interest of aiding bored employees everywhere, I'm willing to share my list of "go-to" cleaning projects. Mind you, these should not be used at home unless you have already read every book in the house, surfed the available television channels forty-three times, called friends and family just to chat, and painted murals on both of your big toenails. However, free time at work and free time at home are two totally different things. Free time at work can be a curse if, like me, you grew up thinking time on the clock should be time spent actually working for your employer. These are some little, but time-consuming, tasks I either did myself or thought about doing to pass the time when I worked at a daycare when my kids were younger:
  • Have you ever noticed the metal thresholds at the bottom of a doorway? Have you ever noticed that some of them have grooves? Dirt collects in those grooves, and it isn't easily swept away. Use a butter knife or other narrow straight edge to scrape the compacted dirt out of each of those grooves. Who else is going to do this? Besides, the satisfaction factor is fairly high, too, when you get finished and see the sparkling metal instead of grunge.
  • Does your workplace have hard plastic chairs? How many ink and pencil marks, along with various other dark spots, do you think you'll find on those? You'd be amazed. Those chairs have most likely had plenty of wipe-downs, but grunge that requires a bit of scrubbing likes to stick to that plastic. Your scrubbing will be noted and appreciated, and once again, the satisfaction factor is fairly high because you will be able to see almost instant results.
  • Table legs are another potentially worthwhile busy-work project. Everyone wipes off the top of tables, but how often do they have the time to give the legs a good scrub?
  • Straighten a supply closet or drawer. Notice I didn't use the term "clean out" for this one? That might make for an unfortunate misinterpretation of my advice! Seriously, though, the next time your boss needs a box of paperclips, she is going to be happy that she can find them in the supply closet instead of having to run to the office supply store (which might be what happened those last four times she desperately needed paperclips, explaining why you found a dozen boxes in said closet, LOL).
  • Are there frequently used appliances or tools that aren't claimed by any particular department but used by everyone? You can almost bet that when no one claims them, no one cleans them, either. Cleaning can make something like a ten year old pencil sharpener look brand new, and who doesn't like using "new" tools?
And now, I have absolutely reached my limit of lazy time for today. There are weeds to be trimmed along the edge of sidewalk, and there are clothes to be sorted into laundry piles. Guess I had better get to work!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Fly on the Wall

I could do it. I know I could.
I could happily spend a great deal of my life being a "fly on the wall."

I'm nosy, that's what I am.

I love to know what other people are saying to each other.
In the case of these two, when they are smiling and getting along well, I probably should know what they are saying to each other :-)

Yep, I could be a fly on the wall, listening to anythings and nothings and all!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Working at Gary's Pace This Weekend

Yes, SpongeBob SquarePants has forever changed my thinking when it comes to saying the word "snail." It's all because I like his meowing pet snail, Gary. How can I not think "Gary" whenever I see a snail?

I think SpongeBob and Gary might work faster than I have done this weekend, though.

Here's to lazy spring weekends :-)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April Is Full of Pretty Surprises

Green leaves, that's all I noticed about this bush last fall. . .didn't have any idea that it would bloom so prettily in the spring!

April is full of such pretty little surprises when your backyard is new to you. . . but you know what? I'd be willing to bet there will be surprises every single spring, simply because nature's extravagance can't be taken in and measured fully at any one sitting. Seems to me, there will always be little details suddenly popping into my line of sight after years of escaping my observation.

This pretty, blooming bush is the big surprise this year, but there are little surprises and delights that are gaining my notice. For instance, the pale green leaves emerging from the oak tree were surprisingly frail and wispy looking to me. Oak leaves in the summer and fall are so leathery and thick looking. This year I knew where two oak trees were, and so now I know what their infant leaves look like. Surely, in four decades, I've been around oak trees in the spring. . . but this time, interest and proximity came together. Oh, and let's not forget about the poplar leaves. How is it that I had never noticed the way those leaves seem to spring from a tulip-y looking bud overnight, waving themselves proudly?

April, April, I do love you more each year!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Give Peas a Chance

If you know me, you probably know that I have what might be called the opposite of a green thumb. Patterns in leaves speak to me, but the actual growing of leaves leaves me dumb. Delicate colors in blossoms catch my eye, but the actual taking care of those blossoming plants seems to elude my vision. Growth and renewal are fodder for my thoughts, but the actual providing of fertilizer for growing plants escapes my mind.

Given that I know me fairly well after 44 years, I was not surprised to find that the peas I planted on St. Patrick's Day had not sprouted. I checked after a day, not because I expected them to be up, but because I thought it was the right thing to do. No peas. I checked after two or three days, expecting to maybe see a tiny tip of green breaking the surface. No peas. I checked after one week, checked after two weeks, and then again a day later. No peas, no peas, and no peas.

After a long weekend (well, not long enough, but it was a five day "spring break"), I decided to check those pots and figure out what to plant in them that wouldn't need constant watering. Obviously, as my mother had pointed out, the soil in a container dries out very quickly. Plants in containers need watering fairly often, which is to say they need watering more often than I remember to water them.

Obviously, no one told the peas they needed watering, because here they are! Obviously, no one told the peas that I was expecting them to arrive much sooner than they did. Obviously, I need to do a little more meditating on letting things happen in their own sweet time!

How do you teach yourself patience? It seems to be a lifelong lesson for me. I can look back over the decades and see the progression of this trait. In fact, I see it in terms of decades. The single digits and teens don't really count. I was impatient then, but who isn't? In my twenties, I really didn't put a name to my impatience. I remember wishing for things to hurry up and happen when I wanted them to happen, but I don't think it ever crossed my mind that I was being impatient. In my thirties, I started to realize how impatient I can be at times, but this fleeting recognition was followed by immediate distraction. . . why would you want to draw attention to your own shortcomings and then have to face them?

The funny thing about my forties is that impatience is just another state of being, one I can observe in myself, one I can try to change gradually. Heehee, it's tough, being impatient with yourself for not being able to give up being impatient! My husband, the one who never met a glass that wasn't half empty, insists that he and I are waaaaay past middle age, so you'd think the reality of aging would make me even more impatient to fix my faults while there's still time. Nope. It's taken me forty-some years to "get" that most things don't happen overnight. Changing yourself is bound to be a gradual process, a slow walk through the sticky but sweet molasses of self-realization. It's not terrible, and can be very tasty. . . but it takes time. There's no point in rushing, no point in stressing.

So, give peas (and self-realization) a chance.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Where Else Would You Play Basketball, Anyway?

There has to be a clever meaning in this picture. I just know it says something about Kentucky, growing up in basketball country, and growing up in the country. Where else, but in Kentucky, would you find a couple of kids dribbling their basketballs on the bed of a wagon?

These two aren't growing up in Kentucky, basketball is a newfound game instead of bloodsport, and wagons are just another flat spot to them. . . but the scene says so much to their mother, this Kentucky born and raised chick.

We didn't grow up on a big farm, but we were surrounded by farmers AND our mother's gardens were gigantic. We had a few beef cattle, a few pigs, a bunch of chickens, and lots of room to explore. I think all three of us consider ourselves "country." Whether Soupie and Bubby think I count as "country" is another story, we've got our differences in those regards.

Still, I can tell you about a wagon. A wagon can be for stacking square bales or for hauling firewood. A wagon can be stacked with sticks of tobacco or filled with corn you've picked by hand. A wagon is a useful piece of equipment. . . and a perfect place to play! If the wagon has sides, then you've got to pretend it is a ship or a train. If the sides are off, then it can be a barge floating down an imaginary river of weeds. It can be a stage for belting out "Country Roads" and "Let Me Be There." It can be almost any backdrop for your adventures, and somehow, it is special. Somehow, that flat expanse of wood raised off the ground is more intriguing than any regular patch of ground or piece of concrete. All the better for a basketball court of dreams, don't ya think?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Oh, the Possibilities...

Don't you love the possibilities?
Don't you love the feeling of digging through a big box of paints?
Don't you love light pinks and dark pinks and bright pinks?
Don't you love splashes of orange-yellow and yellow-orange?
Don't you love a twining green vine and springtime green leaves?
Don't you love a dusting of pearly golds and whites?

Don't I wish I knew exactly what to paint on those boxes?
Don't I love the thinking about the possibilities even more than the actual painting?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

So, Can You Do This?

Of course, you can. Maybe, the question shouldn't be "Can you do this?". Maybe, the question should be "Can you stand to look at someone else do this?".

I'm pretty sure Kate has no problem doing this, as well as a wide assortment of look-at-me-cross-my-eyes-this-way tricks. I'm also fairly certain that she has no problem looking at pictures of herself doing these tricks that make me cringe!

Oh, I don't worry that her eyes will get stuck that way. I know some people believe that old wives' tale, but that isn't what makes me cringe. I cringe because it's freaky weird to look into your seven year old's sweet face and see that eye-less eyeball where you know a beautiful light blue eye should be, ya know? Another freaky favorite of hers is the cross-your-eyes-then-make-one-eye-zip-to-the-outer-corner-by-itself dealio. . . yikes!