Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Ducks and Monkeys

Dear Diary,

I like having my little duckies in a neat row. 

I get deep satisfaction from those days when I can review my appointments and to-do list and systematically check off each item from those lists after its fulfillment.
  • Lunches bagged for three kids:  check
  • 7:30 band drop off:  check
  • Walk three miles: check
  • Side trip to peruse the clearance at Kohls: check
  • Various household duties:  check, check, check, aaaaand check
  • Pickup from volleyball practice: check
  • Fix dinner -- and make it nutritious: check(ish)
  • Bake zucchini bread: check
  • Carpool to high school evening meeting: check
There are always things accomplished in between the listed items, and sometimes they even get written down and checked off simultaneously, just for the superficial satisfaction of doing so.

It gives me the allusion that I am in control. 

The luxury of free time does exist, about an hour or so before bed. 
Usually it is nothing preplanned; just a part of my day when I don't follow a list. 

I can follow my own whim.

At dinner my husband will usually say, "Whatcha got planned for tonight?"
Not a thing! 
Yay me!
It is a time for me to relish a book, write in my Not-So-Secret Diary, or sit down to my crochet-and-TV nights that will start up as the weather turns colder. 

Heaven forbid I should have a ducky step outta line; an unpleasant little surprise during my day that disrupts the disciplined march/waddle of accomplishments.

A sick child,
a stressful phone call,
a sore back,
an empty jar of peanut butter.

I am a big girl.  I know not every day will be ideal.  I know that I am not in control.  (In fact, Twila Paris' song "God is in Control" has been blasted in my car or home many a frustrating day.)

I just really, really appreciate the days when life is good and my ducks are in a row.

I also realize how boring life would be if it was just a continuous line of ducks. Throw a monkey into the line and watch how lively and out of control it gets!

It's the monkeys that make me appreciate the ducks.

To my friends with too many monkeys right now, I feel your pain.  You can borrow my Twila Paris CD (how old-fashioned of me) or give me a call.  I will be happy to realign my ducks to accommodate your monkey.

Friday, August 23, 2013

What's So Striking About That?

Dear Diary,

I am having writer's block.  I haven't written in 9 days, and with the kids back to school and me unemployed, I'd think I'd be in writer's heaven. 

Not the case.

I tend to write about what strikes me.  I have an "aha" moment, scramble to write it down on a scratch pad before it escapes me, and then remain restless until I find the time to sit and write an entry about it.
I just haven't been struck lately.

I do have some "aha" moments and quirks that have been noteworthy, but they don't seem quite big enough to make the cut for an entire diary entry.  Here are some of them:

The sweater dress. 
Man, was I surrounded by those at my last school.  Young, svelte teachers looking smashing in their sweater dress and scarf, complete with boots and leggings.
I want one. 
I think I'm afraid of what will happen in the dressing room when I try one on. 
Perhaps I am better off in my capris and flats.

British Bands. 
How do they sing with no accent?

My eyebrows. 
Why are they disappearing from above my eyes and showing up under my chin?

The answering machine. 
A dreaded thing, really. 
It's not the listening for messages; it's the leaving messages. 
I really need to be on my best game when I leave a message. My ramblings can't be taken back. 
"So, I was hoping to catch you at home, and uh, yeah.....well, I'm around if you want to call me back-- but not between 1:00-3:30 or 6:00-8:30....So, you can call me back if you want -- or I can call you back when I can -- whatever....it's cool if you don't want to talk to me....I can send you a letter or just see you whenever....OK, have a good day!  Bye!  -- Oh, it's LJ by the way -- bye again!" 
I'm lucky not get cut off with a BEEEEEP in the middle of that award-winning speech.
Most cell phones have the delete option, thank goodness. 
But those house machines:  merciless.

Birds that fly into windows. 
Well, it is on my idea list, but I no longer remember why that struck me.

My attempt at running. 
It is so cool and hip to be a runner these days. 
At least all my running friends are cool and hip.
I want to be cool and hip. 
After a summer of trying, I guess I won't be cool and hip. 
It's too hard.

My preoccupation with license plates
Take me on a trip out of state and I get a nerdy preoccupation with all those plates on the interstate.  "Oh look, a plate from New Mexico!"  Such a rare sighting!  "Hey, that one says ILV CHOC !"
Trouble is when I get back home I am still reading plates for days afterward.  It's annoying to read only plates like X32 699 and BCK OFF while driving to the grocery store.  Where are all the people from Virginia and Kansas?  Not going to the grocery store here, that's for sure.

So I hope something strikes me soon. 
I'd like to do some writing while I have the time.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Efficient: A Bad Word?

Dear Diary,

As I continue to fill out job applications, touch up my resume, and prepare for interviews, I am reminded of all the adjectival words I need to have at my disposal, so that I can give glowing self-accolades to potential employers while simultaneously showing my humble side.

One such adjective is the word efficient. It does describe me well.  Throughout my adult years, I have always looked for the most efficient way of getting a job done. My days of church work come to mind, which included the menial --but worthwhile-- task of stuffing envelopes and preparing them for the mail.  I actually got a kick out of trying to find the quickest way to seal hundreds of letters in the least amount of time.  Let me tell you, licking a long row of envelope flaps spread out along the conference table is not the best way to do it.

This leads me to the question:  Is being efficient equal to being more productive, or more lazy?

Take my grocery list for example.  Occasionally I get strangers at the store oohing and aahing over it.  For years I wrote lists of items needed on a notepad, scribbling almost-legibly-most-of-the-time, and in no particular order.  Which got annoying at the store when the last item to scratch off the list was in aisle 2A and I was now in aisle 42Y.

One day, after writing "Worcestershire sauce" on the list, which was a lengthy process since spelling it is about as easy as pronouncing it, I'd had it.  I'd had it wasting time writing every item down every week. 

Who has time to write food words? 
Apparently not I at the time.

So I started typing a list.  I mentally took a walk through my most frequented grocery store and tried to group food items together and list them in accordance with the route that I walked.  So, since produce is first in the store, this is what I listed first.

Once the master list was typed and tweaked over the next weeks -- voila! -- personalized grocery list!

Now I just print out a sheet, hang it on my fridge with a highlighter next to it, and when we run out of applesauce--
pink highlighter and 2 seconds later I can move on to the important things in life.

Now I ask, is this productive or lazy? 

Efficient is what I'd call it.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Visiting Death and Shopping for Bargains

Dear Diary,

There is a reason the title of this post makes you scratch your head in wonder.  Let me explain.

This summer I had the honor of attending the visitation of someone dear to my church congregation.  Someone who had been a member of the church his whole life, and whose children and grandchildren still attend. 

Grief aside, "visiting" death is good for the heart and soul. 

It gives life to the senses, and gives the sensible a reality check ruler with which to measure life.
(And hopefully knocks some sense into the senseless.)

There is nothing more sobering than to look upon a bodily vessel, lovingly formed by the grace of God, which has now been emptied of its most valued contents.

After I left the visitation at my church, I drove across the street to my children's school, which was having its annual rummage sale.  I marveled as I wandered around the aisles of stuff that filled the gymnasium.

Here were the old discards,
the devalued,
the cheap, and
sometimes even dirty,
items of our lives.

While, across the street, the family of a man was celebrating the gift of his life. 
and eternally valued.

Never had the span of a street given me such a juxtaposition of life. 

It was weird being in that gymnasium, which I originally thought would bring on my usual bargain shopping buzz.

My heart, at that moment, much preferred the somber visitation room, which created a more meaningful buzz inside me -- one based on hope, peace and salvation.

Peace out,