Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Tunnel Moments

Dear Diary,

On the verge again.

Moments away from the worst winter storm of the season. 
Goody for afternoon rush hour!

A phone call away from knowing if my first day of work is tomorrow or the next day.  Yes, I am newly employed until June. 


I read Tessa Hardiman's blog today and I loved her analogy of Tunnel Moments, referring to the state of mind of an athlete prior to entering the arena (via the tunnel). As a stage performer, I could appreciate her definition of tunnel moments, which has given me some food for thought.

But my tunnel moments evoke a different image.

When I first read her title I was thinking about tunnels, as in driving-out-west-through-the-mountains kind of tunnels.  As a kid from the Midwest, where tunnels were something I dug every winter in the drifts of snow piled against the house, I loved going through mountain tunnels on vacations, and couldn't wait until the next one came along.

Am I the only one who feels this way?  (Yes, present tense, feels.  I am still a kid a heart!)
Driving along in the bright sunshine only to be suddenly engulfed in darkness, sunglasses removed and headlights switched on; and sometimes Dad would comply with my deep desire to hear the car horn reverberate through the cavern before rolling out into the open road and sunshine again.

Why the thrill?  I can only guess it is the change of scenery, if only for a moment.
It is knowing that, once entombed, there is sunshine at the other end, and that the darkness is only a temporary blindness for which we have tools to overcome, and from which there is recovery. 

Tunnel moments.
Temporary darkness for which we have the tools to overcome,
with anticipation of the light we know is there,
and are in constant motion to attain.

Dr. Phil, eat your heart out.

Now that I am at the end of this post, the snow has arrived (with gusto), and I got the phone call. (I start tomorrow.)

I know of people going through their own tunnels right now.  I pray they find the tools to get through it, knowing there is a light at the end!

The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. Ps 118:37

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow Day!

Dear Diary,

The kids got their wish.
The teachers got their wish.

They didn't even have to wear their pajamas inside out and backwards.
They didn't have to put a spoon under their pillow.
And they didn't have to put an ice cube in their toilet.

Somewhere, some kid did a snow dance for God.

And *poof* the superintendent of schools robocalls a few thousand households last evening to tell us school is cancelled today.  Due to the snow that was predicted, but didn't really come.

Admittedly, some of the Midwest are on their second snow day.  So there was some precedent in this system. But we didn't deserve even one day. 

So, we got three inches.  Big deal.  The roads are fine, there is no ice or high winds.
We got a gift.  We've been waiting all winter for this gift. 

Not to work on projects. 
Not to work on speeches or worksheets.
Not to attend practices.

Just to be.

I understand, some working families are put out by snow days, especially ones that, perhaps, were called prematurely.  But as for me, I say

Thank you, Mr. Superintendent.
And thank you, God!


Friday, February 15, 2013

A Beauty-filled Season

Dear Diary,
I have a round magnifying mirror suctioned to my vanity mirror in the master bath.  Because of my membership in the aforementioned blurry vision club, I need it to see where I am putting my eyeliner. Hopefully on my eyes.

It is not pleasant to look into my unnaturally magnified reflection. 
What is the tendency? 
To look at all my beautiful attributes?  No. 
To observe all of my flaws and imperfections.

Yet if I refuse to look into the mirror, if I choose to remain blurry eyed to the flaws, my beautiful attributes will eventually become marred with the grotesque, like weeds choking a garden.

But if I take the time (and steel myself) to confront the offending defects, I can choose to do something about them. (Could someone hand me my tweezers?) 

This is how I observe Lent. 
For me it's an examination of self. 
A close and up-personal exam. 
An honest, ugly, bare-all one. 
A repentant and remorseful one.

Because only by weeding out the uglies can my best self be revealed.
My best actions, words, and thoughts can come forth.
My Christian life and light can shine brighter.

Have a beauty-filled season,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Whole Lotta Nuthin'

Dear Diary,

I am breaking away from my Downton Abbey Season 2 marathon to write.  (Mary: just tell him you love him; and Mrs. Bates: you are a nasty, nasty woman!)  Thanks to Hulu for making my viewing much easier since the library only gave me three days.
It’s fun to despise the despicable chaps and become endeared to the misguided but lovable ones.  And boy, there is not a dull moment in Downton!  I usually want to speak in my refined British accent after watching, too.  Oh, and I l-o-v-e Maggie Smith’s character! 

OK, now I am gushing.  On to other things.
I enjoy this time of writing.  It is a great outlet for me.  My initial intention with this blog was to write my life comments for my family-- my girls and hubby, mainly.  But as my posts increased, my ears (and heart) would perk up when I would hear an occasional comment from my friends and extended family who are also reading what I write.  I have tried to tell myself it’s the act of writing that is satisfying me.  But that is a lie.  It’s knowing there are others who are reading the words that truly satisfies me. 

What good is putting a note in a bottle if no one ever reads it? Or paint on canvas?  Or musical notes onto a staff?
Not all of my writing is meant to be shared.  I have diaries from my growing years that I am happy no one else will read, at least while I am alive.  I believe I practiced scrawling my anticipated married name on a few pages even before there was a proposal!

Even though I have yearnings to sit and write, I don’t always know what to say.  I have a few thoughts on topics scribbled on paper but they don’t always "take off" the moment I have time to expound. 
Such is today.  Since my last post I have been swamped with time consuming activities, Downton being one of them.  Housework, not so much.

In the midst of the chaos, I have been longing to sit and do this.  To write.  But I don’t have anything in particular to say today. 
So I guess I’m done. 
And I thank you for reading this anyway.
And I'm sorry I made you read to the end before you knew I wasn't writing anything.  That's a couple of minutes you could have spent on Facebook. 

Better luck next time,


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

One of THOSE Parents

Dear Diary,
I'm actually surprised this scenario hasn't happened sooner.  At least to my knowledge.

I guess the delay stems from my deep desire to not bring attention to myself.  (Actually, I secretly like attention, but only if it's positive. You know, the isn't she cute/smart/funny, or boy I wish I could be more like her, kind of attention.  It's the negative, brow furrowing attention I shun.)

I am talking about embarrassing my kids.  I'm not one of those parents who deliberately embarrasses their kids in front of their friends.  I am too genteel for that.  Especially if they are new friends.  However, I have no problem singing to the radio while driving carpool if they are old friends.

But I won't go around talking about my kids' skin problems or do my Super Grover impersonation in front of their friends just for kicks.  Some parents might do that.  My brother for instance.  But not I.

So the other day I was informed by my freshman daughter I was needed to drive home not one, but four additional friends from school.   Upper classman.   And three of the four were boys.
Hmmmm.  Interesting. 

If I were one of those parents, I could have used that pent up time in the car to really make my daughter (and her friends) uncomfortable. 

I imagine some mortifying conversation starters like this: 
* So, you guys got girlfriends? 
* Do any of you go to church? 
* Don't you think my daughter is talented/smart/cute? 
* You wanna be my friend on Facebook? 
* Are you looking to make an extra buck? 'Cuz I could use some help shoveling my driveway.

That's just the tip of the iceberg.

But that is not me. 
I want to be a cool mom.  Or at least a nice mom. 
Outgoing, without being in-your-face. 
Showing interest, without the inquisition.

With all the friends deposited safely-- and seemingly without embarrassment-- at their destination, my daughter admitted she had "warned" at least one of the boys ahead of time about me and what I "might say."


Innocent, little me?  Tame, conscientious, ever-mindful me? 

I was surprised. Though I always knew it, up till now, my kids had never admitted to my face that I had the potential for embarrassment.

Yet, perhaps even more surprising was that I felt somewhat flattered.  I felt validated as a mom of teenagers.  So I do have a little edge.  Just enough to make my offspring a little paranoid.

I admit that feels kind of good. 
And I've only just started.

Rockin' the boat,

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fab Finishes

Dear Diary,

I mentioned to my oldest daughter the subject of my Fun Firsts post of yesterday.  Being the sensible one, she asked, "Why are you writing about that?"  I told her that's what I mostly write about:  useless, random stuff.  

She then reminded me of an incident she still remembers. 
"See that pen over there?" She points across the room to her bookcase. 
I didn't really see it (probably because of my hyperopia status; see It's a *Small* Problem), but to amuse her I said "sure."  She said, "That is the first pen I've ever used that has completely run out of ink.  I was saving it but you threw it away.  I had to fish it out of the garbage can!"

Wow.  She got such satisfaction out of finishing the use of that pen.  I knew then that I had to follow up Fun Firsts with this post, Fab Finishes!

So here are some items in which I relish the finish, perhaps because it is such a rare occurrence, or because I can't stand the sight of it any longer and am glad to get rid of it.

The latter thought, for me, is the half-eaten boxes of cereal in the pantry.  They have been sitting around because, well, no one really likes them.  Usually it is a new flavor of an old standby, which everyone has tried but no one cares for. They prefer the original.  (Like a Part IV of any movie series.  Never as good as the first three.)  So, only out of obligation, M-O-M eats those cereals (since I paid good money for it, dag nab it)!  And it is a relief to finally throw away the empty boxes of Honey Kix and Vanilla Cookie Crisp and get back to my Multi-Bran Chex.

Besides pens and stale cereal, what are some other triumphant finishes?

That 10-year-old tub of petroleum jelly.  Come on.  Admit you have one somewhere in your linen closet or medicine cabinet!  Takes a long time for those to go bad.  I don't think I've ever seen the bottom of one of those plastic tubs.

Lip balm.  My daughter claims she can never finish one before she loses it or it gets old and gross.  I, however, don't have that problem.  But it is momentous -- on a small scale -- to finally reach the end of that tube. (And you get the fun first of starting a new one!)

Economy sized mouth wash.  Especially when I don't like the flavor. Well, why do they make it purple if it isn't going to taste like grape soda?

Jigsaw puzzles.  That last piece.  The silent kudos to self when it snaps into place.  Satisfied sigh.

I could start a discussion on those things I dread to finish, like the toilet paper roll ('cuz now I gotta replace it) or the milk ('cuz now I gotta go all the way down to the fridge in the basement to replenish it).  But I'll save that discussion for another time.

What are some more fab finishes?