Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poem Thursday -

This poem was on The Writer's Almanac a couple of days ago. I only spent a few minutes this morning, but I couldn't find much of a bio on Sharon Bryan. I did find this link to a couple of other poem.


by Sharon Bryan

Middle age refers more
to landscape than to time:
it's as if you'd reached

the top of a hill
and could see all the way
to the end of your life,

so you know without a doubt
that it has an end—
not that it will have,

but that it does have,
if only in outline—
so for the first time

you can see your life whole,
beginning and end not far
from where you stand,

the horizon in the distance—
the view makes you weep,
but it also has the beauty

of symmetry, like the earth
seen from space: you can't help
but admire it from afar,

especially now, while it's simple
to re-enter whenever you choose,
lying down in your life,

waking up to it
just as you always have—
except that the details resonate

by virtue of being contained,
as your own words
coming back to you

define the landscape,
remind you that it won't go on
like this forever.

"Foreseeing" by Sharon Bryan, from Flying Blind. © Sarabande Books, 1996

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

School Projects

Yesterday J10 turned in one of those do-at-home school projects. It was an Arthurian shield. We worked on it last week.

I hate school projects. Hate them.

Honestly. It looked like shit. I love my son more than anything in the world. Love him. The kid can't draw. And that's OK. I'm OK with that. That is not my issue here. I have two -- other parents and me.

Other Parents

There are two fourth grade classes in our school. The other class turned their shields in last week and they are proudly displayed in the hallway at school. So I had a chance to check them out. I don' know what instructions the other teacher sent home but the sheet I got specifically said children were to do their own artwork and it was to be drawn -- not printed off the computer. Some of those shields looked like mummy and dada had called up a local ad agency and hired an art director. I don't really care what they are teaching their kid. I care that my son's work, that already is, shall we say, lacking, has to hang up next to the professional's stuff. Or at least something that was done by an adult. Saturday while he was working on his shield he started saying things like, "this looks horrible" and "i can't draw." Yeah, I said all the stuff I thought I should about doing your own work, even if drawing isn't your thing, you are so good at other things, etc. etc. etc. But it really cranks me that he's not on a fair playing field and he's to young to really understand that. So he's left feeling inadequate. I wish those parents realized what they were doing to the kids that are following the rules.


So. We're working on the project Saturday. He has to draw four things on the shield. We've made shield, divided it into four sections, he's put his motto on it, drawn one of the illustrations, has three left. We are leaving in two hours. He has to have it done before we leave.

I sit at the table with him. We talk about what he'll draw to illustrate his hobbies, his future plans. After finding every possible excuse not to start (I need water, I need to go to the bathroom) he finally starts working. But it's all "I can't do this." "I don't know what to do." etc. etc. etc.

Forty-five minutes in my patience is gone. The husband is sitting on the couch watching t.v., surfing the internet and interjecting positive reinforcement statements like, "get to work!" "stop screwing around" etc. etc. etc.

Finally I lose it. I'm saying things things like "hurry UP!" "get to freaking work" my voice is getting louder and louder. my husband is chiming in, louder and louder. J10s face is clouding up, his eye's filling with tears. I finally pull this one out - "Do you think I LIKE my job? Do you? Do you think I like going to work every day? I HATE it!!! But I have to. There are things in life you HAVE to do. No one likes working! But we all have to! NOW GET THIS DONE!!"

The whole time I am saying this I am thinking this "what the F@ck is wrong with you? why are you setting him up to think he has to hate his life? to hate working? to not find something fulfilling? WHY ARE YOU YELLING???"

J10 bursts into tears, yells "you always yell at me! you guys make me feel HORRIBLE"

And he's right. I was making him feel horrible.

He grabbed a marker and started coloring and of course totally screwed up what he was working on and then he really burst into tears.

The worst thing was? It was like looking in a mirror. Everything about J10 and his approach to this project is me. me me me. the lack of belief in himself, the procrastination, the doubt, everything. As soon as I was done ranting at him and looked him in the eye it hit me. hard. i knew how he was feeling because i had felt it a million times. i still do.

I took a deep breath. Told him we could fix it. Cut out a new piece of posterboard, glued it over the ruined section so you couldn't even see it, the whole time telling him I was sorry, that nothing is life is not fixable (which actually isn't true, bu we'll get to that later in life I guess -- some things you can' do over, some things are not repairable), that we could fix it, that I understood.

So, yeah, I calmed down, we ended up having fun. sort of. and finishing the project. I feel horrible still though. I don't know how to help him, not with the big things, like changing his attitude and how he feels about himself. I hope I can help him figure some of that out sooner than I did. That's all I'm hoping for.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Perfect Post

Sometime during the night I wrote the perfect post. It was lyrical, precise, elegant. It described how I’ve been feeling perfectly – in about six or eight sentences. I should have gotten up and written it down but I was half asleep.

Maybe I was dreaming.

I remembered it mid-morning, somewhere between the relay games and sno-cones during field day at school. Not the exact words, but that it had happened. That I had put words together in my head that were just right, just the way I wanted.

At 10:00 a.m. I couldn’t remember a single sentence.

Maybe I’m a different person at 3:00 a.m. than I am during the day.

Maybe it’s that there isn’t any noise then. There isn’t anyone needing me. I’m not feeling pushed and pulled and wanted or taken for granted. I’m not awake enough to let self-pity sneak in or to remember what it was I was worrying about when I fell asleep.

Maybe 3:00 a.m. is when I believe in myself the most.

Maybe I’m just dreaming.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poem Thursday

Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton, 'We are All Writing God's Poem'

by Barbara Crooker

Today, the sky's the soft blue of a work shirt washed
a thousand times. The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step. On the interstate listening
to NPR, I heard a Hubble scientist
say, "The universe is not only stranger than we
think, it's stranger than we can think." I think
I've driven into spring, as the woods revive
with a loud shout, redbud trees, their gaudy
scarves flung over bark's bare limbs. Barely doing
sixty, I pass a tractor trailer called Glory Bound,
and aren't we just? Just yesterday,
I read Li Po: "There is no end of things
in the heart," but it seems like things
are always ending—vacation or childhood,
relationships, stores going out of business,
like the one that sold jeans that really fit—
And where do we fit in? How can we get up
in the morning, knowing what we do? But we do,
put one foot after the other, open the window,
make coffee, watch the steam curl up
and disappear. At night, the scent of phlox curls
in the open window, while the sky turns red violet,
lavender, thistle, a box of spilled crayons.
The moon spills its milk on the black tabletop
for the thousandth time.

This Scares Me

OK. I've been meaning to post for weeks and I can't seem to get back here. Or get to your blogs either. My boss sent me this video this morning and it really scares me.

I don't know why I feel compelled to post it. The longer you watch it the scarier it is. That the congregation is cheering him on, that they probably think he's been filled with the spirit. That he can imitate his preacher so well. That even though he's not actually preaching he's getting the same inflections he sees every week -- it's just an act for him. How often is it just an act?

That his parents think this is ok -- I don't know what they really think, but I'm assuming they either think it is adorable, a blessing, a sign, or all of those, I don't know. It creeps me out.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

life is to short to wear stupid pants

I need some type of warning device that goes off whenever I begin to ask my husband this question:

"Does this look OK?"

Maybe a big red flashing light in my room or some sort of bracelet I could wear that would shock me when I look to him for fashion advice.

This morning as I was dressing for church I pulled on a pair of black cropped pants from last summer, a new sweater with 3/4 length sleeves and a pair of black patent flats. Hmmmm. I wasn't really sure it was working. But I was close to running late. The man was still in bed (yeah, his platform bed) and I handed him his glasses and uttered those fateful words, "Do these shoes work?"

"Yeah," he says. And it's always with this little lift in his voice -- like he's trying to be really helpful or something.

I'm such an idiot.

Actually, I don't think it was that bad. But about half way through the second service at church (I'm in the choir so usually end up in both services, for at least part of the service) my mind was wandering and I was eyeing the outfits on the 500 women out there in the congregation. I had already deeply examined the women in choir during sound check. I do not advice entering a church in the south unless you are feeling quite fine about your appearance 'cuz the southern girls? They can dress. My confidence in my outfit, or maybe I should say my reluctant decision to wear my outfit, was fading.

So I'm up there singing Palm Sunday type songs for the third time and I'm totally thinking about clothes. I know. I'm thinking about my stupid pants and that really I hated them all last summer and I think I had sworn to get rid of them. And then I had an epiphany, right there in church, up on stage, in front of 800 people.

Life is to short to wear stupid pants.

Why didn't I just get rid of them last year when I started hating them? Cuz they still fit? I mean, really, I'm not even sure I'm supposed to be wearing cropped pants. Isn't there some kind of age rule or something about them? I'm not good at this. I don't know. But I can tell you this -- I really hate those pants.

So I came home and threw them in the bag for Goodwill. Good riddance I say. Life is to short.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Dog is Pissed

and other reasons I've been gone for a month

Sam, our 11 year old mutt, has a little behavior problem. When she's upset with us she pees on our bed. I know. It's nice. It started about six or seven months ago. I called the vet and they said they thought it was behavioral. She was randomly peeing on my husband's side of the bed.

About a month ago my husband built himself a platform bed. Yeah, I'm going to blog about this soon, I'm sure. So now my husband sleeps in a bed above me and I have the king all to myself and can I tell you? It's so freaking awesome. More on the whys of this later.

So right after he moved into his new bed she peed on his blankets when he left them on the floor (why are his blankets on the floor instead of his bed? I wish I knew). We think she was mad at him for not being in a place where she could sleep with him.

My mom visited for eight days. She spent the first seven nights at a hotel, but the last night she slept at our house (and I was out of town -- yeah, my husband was mad). Well, my dog was so worn out, as were the rest of us, by my mom's visit she peed on the bed my mom was sleeping in WHILE MY MOM WAS IN THE BED. No kidding. That's how freaked out, nervous and worn out this family is when my mom visits.

Last Saturday we packed up the kids and went to the beach for spring break. We got home Thursday, picked up the dogs from the kennel, and Sam has peed twice on our beds. Yes, we are ready to kill her.

Today I'm trying to catch up on laundry -- which includes all the bedding.

I opened my Reader today and there were 1000+ posts in it. 1,000. I'm a little behind. Of course I cleared it out and am starting over with reading.

It's been crazy busy. Plus it's spring in middle Georgia and honestly it's kind of mesmerizing. You just want to be outside and you kind of walk around in a haze, taking it all in.

My six year old turned seven, my mom visited, I had a girls trip to Atlanta for the quilting Shop Hop, I spent six days at the beach with my family and played seven or eight games of mini-golf.

I have lots to post about -- my husbands new bed (did I mention it's awesome?) the wisteria, my son's obsession with mini-golf, my reaching the end of the rope with my kitchen (I think) Facebook (OK every blogger ends up blogging about FB eventually).

I've missed writing, I've missed reading. I've missed all of you.