Heavy Downpour

On the Jacksons 1981 album Triumph, Michael Jackson croons five haunting words.  As a child, I would croon along with Michael because I loved the way he sang those words. 35 years later, those words hold so much meaning.  I wish I could tell my 13 year old self to listen to the words and understand the meaning.

As I type this, Southern California is soaking in it’s fifth rainstorm within 3 weeks. For a drought plague state, this is a miracle weather pattern.  For the past 4 days I have had a wonderful visit with one of my oldest and dearest friends and her daughter.  We hadn’t seen each other in 5 years which for some may seem like no big deal, but for us it is huge.  In 5 years she became immersed in her life and I in mine.  Like groundhogs, we both popped up one day and realized we needed to correct this.  So for 4 days we became young girls again while our children rolled their eyes and lovingly mocked us for talking about the 1900’s.  It was magical.  We even spent a day at the Magic Kingdom to sort of freeze frame a special memory for ourselves and our children.

In four days, 5 years melted away.  The grey in our hair became wizened highlights. The wrinkles on our faces were laugh lines.  The extra weight became a cloak of comfort and pride.  We were young girls in women bodies remembering our past and embracing our present while dreaming of the future.  We dragged the children to our alma mater to share the magic of that time with them.  While we reminisced about dorm shenanigans, roommates, jobs, and campus politics, our children were in disbelief at our revelations.  They clutched their collective pearls upon hearing they had to share a bathroom with a floor of people.  My word!

Well, my friend left and the rain began to fall.  The rain is like the tears that should fall because of the loss of time.  With the tragedy of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’ untimely death, it’s best to understand that time does not wait for anyone.  Hug your loved ones close and live like tomorrow will never come.  Don’t be foolish, but be wise with your time.

winter-solstice

The air is getting chilly

The fire is burning bright

The days are pretty short

Never-ending is the night.

Christmas is ’round the corner

Days of staying in

Loads of crunchy, sweetened carbs

Kills dreams of being thin.

People raging war

Against you for not greeting right

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa

Humanity is not shining bright.

Buy, buy, buy, shop, shop, shop

Gimme, gimme, please

Once December is over

Everyone falls to their knees

To detox from the season.

Thank goodness that is done.

Until 365 days later

We again celebrate the sun.

 

 
apple-varieties

(This poem is inspired by a story one of my elders shared with me about the alibi of one of his neighbors.)

I was standin’ on the corner

cuttin’ the skin off an apple.

Along came that no good

Jimmy B.

He was hot about sumptin’

But I paid him no nevermind.

I just kept on cuttin’ the skin off my apple.

He talked about kickin’ my ass

And puttin’ me down in the groun’.

Hell, he did call me out my name,

but I paid him no nevermind

‘Cuz I was cutting on my apple.

Then…

Then…

He shamed my momma.

Then…

Then…

He started running right into my knife.

But I paid him no nevermind.

Downton Abbey

Breaking Bad

Mad Men

6 Feet Under

Lost

Fraiser

A Different World

Seinfield

Limitless

Yesterday I had a conversation with a woman that left me speechless which is a pretty rare state of being. We were both milling about the kitsche toy section of a particular store when she broke the silence.

“It’s hard to buy for children who have everything.”

“Tell me about,” I murmured as I rejected simple toys knowing if I bought them they would end up pushed aside in favor of computer games.

“I just bought my nephew an accordion. We’re Italian so it has significance,” she continued.

“That’s nice, ” I replied because my mother taught me manners.

“Do you know what my nephew got when he was two from his grandfather?” She asked. I knew it was rhetorical, so I  didn’t engage in the guessing. I  shrugged. “A 1965 Ford Mustang he had….”

I ignored the rest of the description because I was waiting to hear her say it was a model, a toy, or a picture. After my initial shock I realized she meant that a two year old was gifted a car. Well, where can you go from there? No wonder she was trying to explain to a complete stranger why the accordion had cultural significance. She was preparing her explanation for the child.

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For the past month, a cold had infiltrated our household.  First my oldest got hit with it.  He was down for the count for a couple of days.  Next my youngest got hit with it.  He was knocked out for a few days.  There was a day of overlap which left me with a day where I didn’t have to take them to their lessons which was a small blessing.  As the younger residents were coughing, sneezing, and feeling poorly, I doubled my efforts at keeping myself well.  I was hitting the gym with ferocity and keeping my diet as clean as possible.  Later my husband started complaining of a sore throat.

Now in the scheme of things, my husband hardly ever gets sick.  So, if he’s taking off a day of work and wandering around the house in a robe, you know things have gone seriously sideways.  So I knocked on wood and figured the reason why I was still healthy was because I was a beast at keeping the germ-fairy at bay.  As an elementary school teacher for nearly 20 years, I felt as if I had been exposed to every germ known to man, so I must have a constitution made of steel.  In my zeal, I hit the gym like a madwoman, munched my fruits/vegetables, gobbled herbal supplements like jellybeans, and embraced my good health like a warm blanket.  That was my folly.

As the family embraced their recovery like precious flowers, I fell down the mountain of health like a skier out of control.  What should I blame?  The germy gym?  That extended sweat session in the sauna?  Wet hair?  Kissing and embracing the sick with abandon because I had a constitution of steel?  Who know?  Who cares?  The end result remains the same.  So as I cough up part of a lung as I type this, I know I’m slowly crawling back to a state of better health.

schooling-here-are-just-a-few-things-i-really-love-uj6le1-clipart

It is expected in my household to teach the basic subject matters that are taught in the classroom.  Reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, art, etc. are all addressed in my homeschool curriculum.  My boys have a book bag, books, pencil boxes, protractors, compasses, calculators, rulers, etc.. We start our school day after everyone has had their breakfast.  Being self starters, my sons have been known to get up and get started on their studies before I get out of bed.  Some days, we may end early or we let the schoolwork drag through the day.

There have been times I’ve found a subject, idea, or concept that was more important than the book learning I had planned, so I go with the wind and find a truly wonderful teachable moment.  It is in these moments the true learning happens.  Children learn best through experience.  Book learning has its place, but the learning that engages the child’s imagination and experience lasts forever. A child may forget how to calculate the speed of a wave, but they will never forget a lesson that sparks their interest.

For example, today my sons had a quiz on oceanography.  One son was working on his algebra while the other was working on fractions.  Feeling under the weather, I was not the usual taskmaster, but it was a joy watching them work like a well-oiled machine.  During a lull, the youngest wanted to work on an engineering project which focuses on different types of circuits.  With my permission, their eyes lit up and suddenly they were in overdrive with their engagement.  Listening to them work out the circuit and explain to me the purpose was a joy.  In that joy I found comfort that I was teaching the whole child.  Their interest  stimulated learning.

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Today I enjoyed the company of four ladies for afternoon tea.  A friend of mine loves to host seasonal tea parties.  Her parties always include delicious foods she spends days preparing, exotic teas, crafts, games, and stimulating adult conversation.  Most of us are teachers, so there is a fair amount of shop talk that peppers the conversation.  But overall, we talk about everything from television, politics, our families, etc..

As an introvert, I have to motivate myself to leave my house on a Sunday (football) afternoon to socialize.  I know I would enjoy myself once I warm up, so the self-motivating pep talk always wins me over.  Without fail, I’m enjoying the company, food, and atmosphere.  Without fail, the conversation is the draw.  It’s good to exchange ideas and listen to others expound on issues I entertain as I listen to talk radio or my podcasts.

Today was no different.  The ages ranged from 30 to 80.  We came from different ethnic and racial identities.   Three generations were represented.  We talked about the ills of society.  We lamented over the cancer that was eroding our world. We drank tea, ate calorie rich foods, and solved the world’s problems in two hours.  That’s progress.

My lips are moving

Words are forming

You nod your head 

I believe you heard me.

My heart grows lighter

My inner smile widens

You shake your head

I believe you understand me.

Deeply I inhale,

Gather my thoughts

And you break the peace

With broken glass

Sounding like words

Cutting deep

I thought you understood me.

My blood drips from wounds 
Your words inflicted . 

And all this time

I thought you heard me.

Dear Busybody,

I know it was bothering you that I was not putting my soap on the conveyor belt like everyone else.  I know you felt the need to put a second divider on the conveyor belt to leave me a foot of space for me to put down my purchase.  Yes, I saw you, but I didn’t feel like putting my one item down.  Actually, the waves of anxiety rolling off you was amusing.  You wanted me to conform and be like everyone else, but I’m not like everyone else.  I believe the conveyor belt is for people with many items to purchase. Holding the soap keeps my hands from fidgeting in irritation because the lines are long, the checker is slow, and the woman in front of me could’ve let me get in front with my one item since she had purchased about a hundred items.  Holding my soap kept me off my phone.  I like to stay focused during this time of year where the crowds offer the perfect cover for thieves and con-men.

Watching you yell out to the young cashier that the next group of items on the conveyor belt belonged to you was also entertaining.  I guessed you figured I was too dense to speak up before the cashier grabbed your box of crackers.  I had to shut you down with a well-crafted line peppered with annoyance and amusement.  Don’t worry, lady, I got this.

Well, I hope my desire to hold my soap didn’t ruin your evening.  I hope your retelling of the rude woman who was curt with you for trying to be helpful makes you look grand to your hand-wringing friends.  The incident just gave me something to write about on my blog.  For that, I thank you!

Sincerely,

The Soap Hugger