June 30, 2009
Up, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 26
I went to see the children's movie, Up. It was highly entertaining, and somewhat like watching a parallel life.
Without giving the plot away, (yeah, I know it's a simple children's movie, but still... there is a plot) there comes a point when the main character must make a choice. You know how I've been about making choices lately.
Anyway, when the grumpy hero started throwing things out of his house to lighten up the load and achieve buoyancy, I leaned over and whispered to my movie-going friend, "Hey! I just did that!"
Emblematic, the house represents the sometimes immense baggage we carry around, and the legitimacy or illegitimacy of that carriage.
This includes the physical aspect of ownership: of things. As I mentioned last week, having less has given me an interesting sense of freedom. I’ve read that clutter can increase stress, and I now believe that it’s true.
Having more than you need is not going to make you happier… it just means more dusting.
I have also come to the conclusion that I do not really want to own anything.
At least not anything large and permanent, like a house.
What else do I not want to own?
I don’t want to own false grief.
I’m not happy about losing Jeff. I’m not angry, either.
I’m not questioning “why?”, because I know why, and I’m thankful.
I’m just lonely, and that’s where the present sadness comes from.
I don’t want to own false hope.
I want to have faith that where I am headed will someday make sense to me, and maybe to some others.
I don’t want to own the responsibility of false vision, knowing all that lies ahead.
I want to affirm that life’s adventure is a gift, gladly opening each day as such, marking the most memorable moments, good and bad, with rainbow hued ribbons.
I don’t want to own a false sense of security.
I want to believe with my whole soul that as paths change, they will continue to be clearly marked in my rearview mirror - under the direction of the only GPS necessary - GOD’s positioning system.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – (NIV)
In this issue: Balloons, Boy Scouts of America, Talking Dog Collars, Paradise Falls.
Now posted: Arrested, Humor, That's Random
You know how data can be skewed.
Just because the numbers say one thing doesn’t mean all the variables have been taken into consideration.
For example, the recent, “If you saw ME in a police car what would you think I got arrested for?” poll may have provided some interesting insight to how people view me. However, the variables weren’t necessarily clearly reflected in the answers.
To make this poll legitimate, I’d need to ask a few more pertinent questions. Was the responder…
1) just being humorous
2) just trying to be as outrageous as possible
3) just trying not to offend or
4) did they really think I’d do that?
Arrested: Here are the results of my peers:
a. Causing road rage by screaming out your window for people to “zipper merge”.
b. not paying a ticket
d. your license hair color not matching your current hair color
e. I’d guess that your car broke down and you needed a ride home. * (also under Exposed.)
a. gluing a coworker’s mouth closed because of continual unsanitary sneezing.
b. banging people’s head together because they have you asked to create a brand new presentation which will explain (in a different way) the same thing for the 10th time.
c. killing a “professional” acquaintance.
d. murdering a supposed “professional.”
a. I’d guess that your car broke down and you needed a ride home. Never would have crossed my mind that you were being arrested. Except for that flashing incident. Now if I had thought that you might have done that in front of the cop in order to get away with speeding and running red lights, then I might have thought you were arrested for good reason… but other than that, I would have figured that you just needed a ride home. And the cops would have to take you because of your history of stalking taxi drivers. Because your car broke down.
b. skinny dipping in a public pool
c. mopery – not sure what this means? Go ahead, look it up on Google.
a. listening to Barry Manilow and liking it!
b. I think you would get busted stealing music on the internet -- napstarish I guess
Strange, Sweet and Rather Random:
a. child abuse: refusing to hug your “adopted 16 year old nephew” because he hadn’t showered recently.
b. nothing, I would think you needed some help.
c. You were arrested for loving the LORD baby!
d. something involving mistaken identity, maybe you were standing next to a shoplifter
e. jewel thief? (green amethyst—lol)
June 24, 2009
Less, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 25
When is less more?
I’ve done this before. But this is the first time it’s ever been like this.
Throughout major turning points in my life I have experienced many frequent overwhelming irrational desires to sell everything, free myself, and move on. My last relocation was from Nashville to Michigan. Before that I fled from New York City to Nashville, before that I was driven to NYC from Massachusetts.
All this moving about concerned my parents and confused my friends. I could never truly justify my actions. I just knew I had to go, and I just knew when it was time.
I’ve been excruciatingly restless. It hasn’t been so much about not being able to pick a direction, as much as being well aware that there just wasn’t one. Still, I’ve so badly been wanting to break away, leave everything behind. Because that’s what I have always done. I’ve just been miserably waiting for that last little piece to fall into place – to show me clearly where I need to be.
Standing still for far too long, frustrated, I thought I’d get a jump on prepping for my next exodus. Last week’s moving sale encompassed everything I envisioned I would not be taking with me.
A full size freezer, 4 piece bedroom suite, baker’s rack, fire pit, meat smoker, computer desk, an extra tv, an extra stereo, an extra dvd player, an extra recliner, 1 bathroom cabinet fixture, 2 extra chairs, 3 extra lamps, 4 dozen cookbooks, and way too many chickens to ever fit into a smaller kitchen – because no matter where I might be headed, I doubt I’ll ever find a kitchen even close to the size of the one I have now.
Strangely, one week later, I’m already feeling… better - less restless.
Having less has become something more because it changed something.
There isn’t a single room in my home that hasn’t been altered by the sale of some item. I’ve restructured my living room, redesigned the den, opened up space in the master bedroom, uncluttered the home office, deleted an extra bathroom cabinet, and made the guest room more guest receptive.
It seems now that I have had a chance to review all this, that I may have been anticipating feeling one way which lead to misinterpreting the true message.
Even though I was sure it was what I wanted, I just didn’t feel the usual drive to leave. It turns out that what had been coiling within me had been a rather strong push to change. I can’t run off and pursue my heart, because it’s achingly anchored to staying here. I’m still not sure what or who I am waiting for, but I know that I really shouldn't leave, just yet.
There’s nothing less personal about the space Jeff and I shared. The memories didn’t walk out the door with the things I sold. The changes don’t diminish anything – but they’ve changed everything – my past, my present, and reassuringly, the way I feel about my future.
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
In this issue: Scroll Saws, Mezuzah Scrolls, Cultural Yard Sales, Culling Clutter, www.flamingoworld.com/retail
Now posted: Sacred Scroll
June 23, 2009
I know for a fact that grown men whimper. I don’t remember the first time I ever heard Jeff whimper, but I think it probably had something to do with some expensive Dale Earnhardt die-cast replicated racecar. I do remember one of the last times I heard it, though.
Kmart was closing down locations and somehow we found ourselves in Monroe, and at a nearly done-in store. The place was a disaster, and worse was watching people take things off shelves and drop them on the floor after looking at them. I was just about to drag him from the madhouse scene when we turned down an aisle with – gasp – tools!
“Oooooo,” he murmured, eyes wide. I don’t know how he saw it but stacked behind some really traumatized boxes was a brand new scroll saw with its own folding workbench. He dragged it out and inspected it very carefully for any signs that it might have been opened before. They he cautiously looked at the ”before and after” mark-down pricelist taped to the display.
“Oooooo,” he gasped, viewing the sign with wider eyes still. I could see dreamy dollar signs reflecting in his glazed over look. “How much?” I asked. “It was $215.00,” he marveled. “How much?” I asked. “It was already marked down once to $115.00,” he cooed.
“Jeff!” I snapped my fingers hoping to bring him back, but he was clearly already swirling into the “I don’t think I can live without this piece of equipment” abyss. “How much,” I asked again.
“$62.50,” he tentatively smiled as he loving patted the box. “I don’t know Jeff,” I hedged. “What would you use it for?” “Lots of things,” he insisted. “I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” I said trying to let him down easy, and knowing he would probably bow to my logic.
That’s when I heard it. The whimper. I was so surprised I stopped right in my tracks and turned to stare at him. The whimper came with a face I had never seen before. Eyes still foggy with scroll-lust, bottom lip tucked in under his teeth, one hand still touching the sacred saw, he barely shuffled away from the display. Then he whimpered again.
“Ok,” I said. “Throw it in the cart. “And quit smiling like that,” I grumbled. “You’re going to split your face wide open, and I don’t want to spend another night in the Emergency Room with you!”
So, that’s how the scroll saw came to live in the computer room closet. Jeff read the manual, but that’s as far as he got. His legs were giving out and we had other things to concentrate on. And that’s how the scroll saw ended up in my recent “moving” sale. It didn’t make it out of the closet until the second day of the sale because I had imagined it would be harder to retrieve than it turned out to be. I marked it at $50.00 thinking it was a fair price. I no longer had the box or the manual, but maybe someone would know what to do with it anyway.
A little after 3:00 pm on the last day, a young couple came in. “Hmmm,” the husband commented. “Honey, look at this!” “What is it?” she asked. “A scroll saw, just like the one I rented last week for $85.00. I could buy this one and we’d never have to rent one again.” “I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” she replied and moved on to look at other items. The fellow just stood there mesmerized.
Knowing I’d never use it and not wanting to struggle it back into the closet, I whispered to my cohort, “He can have it for $35.00.” Because she’s the outgoing one who has no problem dickering with yard sale customers, she announced my offer loudly from her perch near the cashbox, adding the key phrase, “It’s never been used!”
That’s when I heard it. The whimper. I laughed out loud, and then whispered to my friend, “That’s the same exact sound Jeff made when we bought that thing!” He looked at his wife beseechingly, and she slowly nodded her approval. As he stood there holding the saw, he told us that he and his wife were renovating their home. “Thank you so much. Thank you so much,” he kept repeating.
“Never been used,” my friend repeated as he headed out the door. “Her husband passed,” she called after him, stopping him on the threshold of exiting. I really thought he was going to cry as he turned to stare at me. “It will get put to good use,” he said in a quivering voice. “I promise it will get used.”
So what was that scroll saw really worth: $215.00, $115.00, $62.50, $50.00 or $35.00?
Making Jeff happy, which made me happy, which made that family happy: sacredly priceless.
I may have lost a little money on that deal, but I have blessedly gained another true insight into the non-coincidences of GOD’s careful plans.
GOD forgives us
the very second we sin,
but the consequences
are ours to keep.
aren’t always so forgiving.
is forgiving ourselves.
Confession takes courage,
so I give it admiration,
I can’t love you any less for it.
I can only love you more.
June 16, 2009
For The Birds, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 24
So, maybe you’ve noticed, but maybe you haven’t.
In my own weird little way I usually find a theme for each newsletter.
Sometimes the way I connect things can seem like a stretch, but that’s half the fun.
I like to pick out a key word or feeling then challenge myself by drawing unusual parallels.
I don’t have a huge storehouse of theme ideas.
And, it’s probably more accurate to say that the themes usually find me, anyway.
Like this week, nothing much was going on. Then I received an email about the Odwalla Tree Project, followed by an email about the Pathology Department Birdhouse fundraising auction, followed by another email alert about cell phone numbers going public, which is completely for the birds, and finally all of that reminded me about a fellow van-pooler’s near birdie incident.
So, that’s what you’re getting this week: sort of a "fly by the seat of the pants kinda thing."
In this issue: Pathology Department's Bird House Auction, Cell Phone National Do Not Call List, Odwalla Click to Plant a Tree in Michigan Program, Flying By The Seat of One's Pant.
Now posted: Flocking Reflux, Humor, That's Random.
June 09, 2009
Compliments, ME Newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 23
I have some tiny pieces of paper given to me in a high school class. Our assignment was to write one compliment about each class member on a separate piece of paper. The slips were collected and then distributed. Mostly, mine said I had nice eyes, and I was smart. At the time I was thrilled by the compliments. I’ve been getting some very different compliments lately. (Reference: Complimentary, Straight Up, Humor, That’s Random)
But here is the story I want to share this week….
When I get the chance to visit a friend a few towns over, we mostly sit in her kitchen and talk. Her 13-year-old autistic son has never really spoken to me except to say “hello,” usually only after being asked to do so. Once in a while he’ll approach me and repeat verbatim in a true announcer’s voice a commercial about a new video game he would like. She’s told me he has cognitive thoughts and speaks in sentences, but I've never seen it. I fondly remember the absolute joy in her voice when she told me that while they were driving around one day, he had said, “Look, mother. A new building.”
Getting ready for my super-mega, I-still-might-have-to-move-by-the-end-of-the-month garage sale, I decided I had too many big items for sale that I simply did not want to haul outside. So instead, I emptied the living room and dining room, and started setting up my indoor sale.
I had everything sort of well-enough under control, in a minimally scattered and minutely stressful sort of way, when I saw visitors coming up the walk. My friend was progressing slowly due to a box she was carrying. Surprisingly, her son left her in the dust, and came right in by himself. He’d only been at my house once before, yet, he came through like he was on a mission. Which as it turns out, he was: to find Miss Fred.
As he streaked through, it didn’t seem like he’d even noticed my disarray. He never turned his head to check out the mess. He never actually stopped moving past me, but he did toss out an entire questioning sentence: “What got into YOU, Jodi?”
I laughed, as I told his retreating form that I was getting ready to have a yard sale.
“Ha ha! That’s funny!” he said, as he disappeared down the hall to the den.
My first full sentence! Our first discussion!
He used my name. He noticed the changes in my home.
He remembered Miss Fred, and talked to her, too. “Look at the light, kitty!” he said, encouraging her to follow her laser pointer chase toy.
I’m truly honored to be a part of his world, and blessed that he feels comfortable being part of mine. That's a compliment worth saving. I’m still kinda high on it, and as Mark Twain once said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment."
In this issue: Etomology of Compliment, Autism, Robert Brault, Complimentary Journals.
Now posted: : No, No and Yes, Slidell, LA, October 2008
June 04, 2009
I thought maybe
if I kept saying it
it would come true.
I can’t decide
if I really don’t care
or if I care so much
that it’s just
shutting me down.
I know there are
things I must
take care of, and
I know that
eventually, I will.
Doing those things
hope though, and
I can’t afford that
I need to center
on what has to be
set in motion,
done, then finished.
Like me, just
June 03, 2009
Lightening, ME News, Vol. 2, Issue 22
Remember when we were young, and being sent to bed while it was still light out was a crime our parents committed against nearly every 9:00 pm summer night? How could we possibly sleep when there was still good daylight left after dinner– to ride bikes, or sit on the porch, or play hopscotch in the street?
Funny how is gets to be. Climbing into bed onto an early-summer evening’s subdued light is now luxurious. Stretching out like a cat in the orange glow, feels more like a forbidden, indulgent nap than an imposed sentence of wasted time.
Lullabies wash over the window sill: the swing-tat of breezed blinds taps along to the beat of subtle neighborhood noise - a slow car rolling by, an echoing bark from a few streets over, a childish butterfly-flitting laugh, bright songbird whistles and cheerful chirping crickets.
No blanket required. Warm soft breaths of air, slightly damp with sheer humidity are nature’s spa treatment for wintery elbows and dry sunlight starved legs. Evenings like this are lovingly designed to hydrate skin, stir up memories, and recapture long scattered pieces of faded summer souls.
All while lightening up bedtime, as well.
In this issue: More Methods to Lighten up, Gelotology, Laughter Yoga, and Hair color.
Now posted: Suite Life, KY, Slidell, LA, October 2008 & Why Ballet is Important to Working Women, Humor, That's Random