With Nana and Papa

With Nana and Papa
Family Times at Flathead Lake

Monday, May 23, 2016

Still on Snow Tires, Still May

Went to get the snow tires replaced today and found out that the regular tires were worn down so far as to render them useless, so just rotated the snow tires and kept them on, pushing a purchase of all-weather tires out until October-ish.  An apt metaphor for May: I'm late to a task, then I completely bungle the task, and blunder on with inappropriate tools and knowledge hoping that a future self can cope!

The kids are in their final week of school, Aden is handling exam stress with aplomb, and the boys seem less anxious than usual. Perhaps they all passed their anxiety to me during the night, a kind of perverse osmosis by which mom soaks up all of the nervous vibes in the house?  Is that why I jump out of bed with a sense of bizarre urgency each time 5:30am rolls around, but am ready to collapse by dinner?

I have to quit this brief post to call my parents - long overdue - but I want to sign off by wishing all the teachers out there good luck with end-of-school tasks and requirements. Can't wait to hear the good baby news from the Massachusetts Clavs and still hoping to arrange summer visits with the Chicago clan. Sending good third-trimester vibes to Katie in Dallas and looking forward to Bill and Connie's visit soon, with more baseball games and the start of swim season. Hang on to your hats, we're almost out of May!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Needing Earth Frequency

The lapse between my posts must indicate the madness that consumed our house for the past two weeks. Prepping and plotting for William's thirteenth birthday, starting up summer swim, writing papers and attending class at Regis - all good stuff but time-consuming. Even the cats were crazy, running sprints from one hallway to another, crashing into walls and making spectacular, leaping fails from the couch to the piano that landed them sprawled in the wine rack.

I made a birthday scrapbook for William out of letters and photos from friends and extended family. The idea was borrowed from a dear friend who made a book for her son - now graduating from high school. I loved the idea of giving my kids something to refer to as they enter their teens - words of wisdom and support that tell the kids they are never alone. Aden keeps her book by her bed, and William slept with his last night.

The downside of scrapbooking (aside from my lack of experience and finesse with any artistic endeavor) is that I was forced to stare down the eye of the storm of Time, which has transformed my "football baby" (so-called because he would stop crying in the "football" hold) into a teenager and my friend's children from fifth-grade leaders to high school graduates. The rapid passage of time takes my breath and raises my heart rate, alerts me to the folds of skin under my chin and the white hairs in my eyebrows.

A dear friend heard me out on the subject, and alerted me to the fact that "earth time" is different than "people time," so one technique for maintaining sanity in crazy May is to go outside. "Stare at clouds, watch the sky," she said. "Take a walk on the greenbelt or just lie on the lawn."  The frequency (hertz) of earth is slower than the frequency of a human, and the effect of absorbing this lower beat is akin to meditation (which I've been sleeping through in recent weeks).

So, I'm making time for a walk today, and plotting a day-long escape for the family in which we saunter, sit, and take in the beautiful, slow heartbeat of the outside. A fitting end to a wild month.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Month of May-hem

Baseball, band concerts, Big Serve, book group,
church mission meetings, graduation parties,
homework,  housecleaning, finals prep,
schoolwork, swim practices.

Cats gallop through hallways
Hitting walls, crazing carpets.
Like us, they burn with
Spring fever.

Eight more squares of school
On the calendar, which radiates
red-letter days. Ends and beginnings,
Infant stages and seasons.

May-hem swallows us whole,
Spits us out in first week of June,
Mashed and mangled,
Lying prone in the sun.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Progenitor Art and Literary Journal, Hooray!

Last night I had the honor and privilege of reading from my story, "The Things They Leave Behind" at the Progenitor launch party. The Arapahoe Community College students and their advisers put together a beautiful journal, and I hope Aden and Daniel appreciated all of the hard work and talent that the students demonstrated.

I was happy to have the kids there to watch me read; it was my first 'reading' for an audience other than my classmates or family. The further I get along this writing journey, the more I realize two things: 1. I love it, and 2. I need to work harder.

Reading the really good stuff - fiction, non-fiction, young adult, journalism - makes me realize that I've been not only busy but intellectually lazy in my pursuit of writing.   After exposure to some real talent, I think that I can and must do better. I don't have the genius, but I can get farther with some old-fashioned elbow grease.

Speaking of hard work and talent, here's the link to the Progenitor online: writerstudio.wix.com/progenitor2016, and here's the link to my story, which is based on several border trips I have taken with friends: http://writerstudio.wix.com/progenitor2016#!the-things-they-leave-behind/bzuuu. The part about the immigrants revealing themselves to help a group of strangers . . . is true.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Quoting Ani DiFranco

Love this from the May issue of Sun Magazine. Mark Leviton interviewed singer Ani DiFranco - here's the briefest of excerpts:

"We internalize the culture and underestimate our own power. It's easy, for women especially, just to plug along and feel conflicted and incapable and alienated. But once you begin to recognize your own truths, then you can find words to speak them. And once you speak, you find that you are not alone. All it takes is for one person to come out and say, "Me, too," and then bingo! The alienation is gone. But you have to practice tuning out the noise of the culture to hear the messages transmitted from your gut and your heart. You have to become like a bird-watcher and be vigilant and develop the skills to spot and name the quick flash of awareness in yourself. When nobody else seems to have seen what you saw, you have to be able to say with confidence, "That was a scarlet tanager. I know it!"  (p. 9)