October 29, 2013
Best Day, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 44
Sometimes even mostly bench players can have a good day. They just need to know excellent people and be willing to jump at the chances offered, swing out and stay open. Stay wide open.
October 4th qualifies as one of the best days ever. Surprise upon surprise, and fun. Lots of fun, all packed into one long (and have I mentioned fun?) day.
Some people just have an awesome relationship routine. You tend to do the same things over and over, with the same people, and enjoy them just the same every time, because it’s more about the company than what you’re actually doing.
So, the day started off in a comfortable pattern. We hit our favorite store, shopped around for sale items, and although I didn’t find one, I did find a $40 shirt that was definitely calling my name. It was the sort of shirt that cannot be categorized as seasonal, and it matched at least three pairs of pants. Even though it wasn’t a sale rack find, I eventually decided, I would purchase it, as sort of a treat to my frugal self.
At checkout, it rang up as $4.00! The markdown sticker had fallen off. We moved merrily onto a light late breakfast. Seasonal Pumpkin Spice muffin tops (the eating kind, not the pants kind, although theoretically one could lead to the other) and some ice cold caffeine pumped us up. We power walked through a store I hadn’t been to for a while, tooled around a store I hadn’t heard of, and then an awesome consignment shop.
I have to say, I felt a little rushed at the last one, even though I was kindly hustled out the door in order to make an “appointment.” I thought we might be meeting some others for lunch. Instead, we ended up at a unique cinema/café with plush recliners – the full feet-up kind, and waitresses to take your order from the 4 fold, 8 flap menu. For a short while we were the only ones there, then a solo man came in, sat for a while, finished his beverage and left. Having the whole place to ourselves again was hilarious. When our veggie pizza and mushrooms came via waitress, who also was willing to hike down and back to refill our sodas, well, I giggled some more. The movie, “Runner, Runner” was good, and I have to say I prefer Justin Timberlake’s acting to his singing.
It was a very good day. After the movie was football practice player pick-up and deliveries, a short bit to sit down and then we were off, again. This time to the craft store, where I was culling ideas for my annual Thanksgiving cards, and where my companion became just a bit… cranky. I joked that it must be time to eat, because that’s what I always hear when I’m… cranky. I was trying to decide between two types of fall leaves, when one was plucked from my fingers with the announcement that the other was a better choice. In the register lane, some chocolate covered pretzels found their way onto the counter. “Boy,” I joked, “You really are hungry! Are you sure you want those?” “Yes,” was curtly uttered. So, we stowed my purchase in the back of the car, and… didn’t leave. We didn’t even get in the car. “Follow me,” she said, toting a tote and the bag of pretzels. So, I did. It wasn’t until quite a few steps later that I looked up and realized with surprise, another surprise was ahead.
At Painting with a Twist, it turns out, everyone truly is an artist. 16 people painting the same picture doesn’t result in the same painting. In a little over two hours, lots of laughter and a bunch of silly games and singing, we took home our similar, but different masterpieces.
How much fun can be packed into one day? The answer is quite a bit, and even more, because one day’s good memories can hang on for a really long time. A really long time, and I have the painting to prove it!
October 21, 2013
Unforseeable Season, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 43
It’s that time of year; adjustments begin.
Winterizing. Drawers trade out shorts for sweaters.
Closets give up sandals for sneakers, shoes for boots.
Socks are required inside, and sometimes in bed, at least to start.
Windows stay closed. Heat flicks on. Soups start up.
All this before clocking back time, looming less than two weeks away.
Setting aside time to finish lingering things.
Not exactly sprucing up or tightening down the hatches.
More: hang that picture, apply that decal, move that box, inventory staples.
Taking advantage of sales, buying into bulk; it’s such a fall thing to do.
Somewhat more settle-in invested than most.
Quite un-fond of snow, heading squarely into winter weekends-only errand time.
Incorporating a new evening routine of shades down for privacy.
Leading into a new morning routine of shades up for minimal nosy-cat damage.
Forced to acknowledge the need for something more substantial than
peripheral use of hall lights at 6:00 AM, blocked by opening closet doors.
Not choosing between adding a floor lamp, or switching the fan light on and blade rotation off.
Lazily multi-purposing the happy light for more than just a seasonal fix.
Ritualizing seasonal comfort for the short haul of a long winter.
Easily recognizable as a symbolic blow to any I-am-in-control-of-my-world ego.
It’s really not so much about control, it’s more of a reminder to mind our anticipatory reactions.
Some things are easier to predict that others. In some ways, it’s nice to know what to expect.
Snow always comes, eventually. As do spring showers, summer warmth, autumn’s turning.
Love, though? There’s no prepping for love; love’s the unforeseeable season.
October 15, 2013
Game / Book, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 42
It's a beautiful cloudless October day. I've finished about as many indoor tasks as I possibly could all the while coveting other peoples porches. I knew I'd regret losing my porch for the new digs, but it had to happen, anyway. I tried to convince a friend to let me camp out on hers for a while. But, as it turns out, I'm too late in the day for that. Her porch has already lost its afternoon Sun. I hesitate a little while longer. But, I can see out of my huge windows that the sun is still shining. I consider eating something, but realize it’s not hunger I’m trying to placate. So, I drag up my previous porch sitting lounger from the basement , lug it out into the open garage door, and reconsider this foolishness. I also happen to be holding garbage and recycling, so I take care of that.
It really is a gorgeous day out and I really feel like I need some Sun. So, pride aside, I grab the lounger, unfold it sheepishly, while glancing surreptitiously around trying to determine who can see me. I park my butt in the chair less than a foot from the butt my 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix. It is very bright, and the sun nicely reflects off the inner pages of the book I will finish soon.
I stretch my neck out a bit to make sure the Sun hits into those light wrinkle lines that have become part of my neck. It’s actually not easy to read in this position. At least not with my present bifocals. Which gives me cause to reconsider for exactly the same reason. No one will know if my micro wrinkles are tanned or not. Any color I do manage to get will appear seamless unless of course I look up in the presence of other people, which will probably mean that if I have reason to look up they will probably be looking up, too. Problem and uncomfortableness solved.
I go back to my book with renewed concentration. I was under the impression that this book somehow applied to me. I didn't purchase it, but it’s been in a book box or on a bookshelf for at least 7 years. It might have been a gift, or maybe it was procured as an arsenal. Word Freak by Stephen Fatsis has simultaneously inspired and uninspired me. The inside look at the world of competitive Scrabble playing is fascinating and horrifying and somewhere I don't think I'll ever be able to go.
On a good day, I can't find anything I need even though I put it someplace safe. To me, it follows that memorizing hundreds of thousands of words and their anagrams and their derivatives and their hooks seems unachievable. I struggled through the first few pages of explanation and notations regarding wording and representations of play. I’m two-thirds the way through, and by now, I’ve gathered I'm much more suited for the British version of polite play. I simply do not wish to trounce my opponents, mainly because I'd like them to keep playing with me.
So, it's been a somewhat learned weekend. I sort of have a new understanding of competitive Scrabble… and driveway dwellers. Like every new experience, that last question is the tell.
Am I going to do it again? You bet. As long as there’s a little light at the end of the day, space in my driveway, and a good book, I'm game.
October 08, 2013
Gather, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 41
I didn’t actually count the number of community groups listed in the bulletin, but it looked like there were at least a good dozen and a half, and not a single one fitted me. There was that one that might have somewhat, with a stretch and reach, worked. “Over 35, Singles and Married.”
Well, there’s a mish-mash group if I ever saw one, unfortunately calling to misfits, akin to leftovers. I already knew by looking around each week that I am not among my peers. Some days I still can’t wrap my head around my marked yearly number, but the mirror tells me I’d better start to try. Depending on the day, it truthfully reflects facial traits of the familial women of my life. My lips are thinning and the wrinkles are starting. I wonder if it is because I have been pursing my lips so hard. I was going to add “and so often” but it truly more of a constant. Someone actually suggested the other day that I try smiling. That worked, instantly and a bit beyond. I’m going to need some sincere retraining to regain the former strength of my spontaneous old habit.
For the past few weeks, each time the community group announcement is made, each time I review the groups, each time I say to myself, “There’s nothing here for me.” The answer in the back of my brain runs forward and smacks itself into to frontal awareness, declaring, “So, start one!” Every time, the kick-strength cerebral shout makes me want to jump off my seat and shout as well.
That one thing keeps popping up. At least once a month someone suggests I begin a study group, or host a retreat, or gathering of some sort, somewhere, anywhere, sometime, anytime.
Well, of course I would – but…
Who’s going to come? Everyone I know devotes their extra time to their children and school, and sports and extra-curricular activities, and making family memories.
Who’s going to come? Who will drive to my home or my city every other week… in the middle of winter?
Who’s going to come? Who is allergic to cats? Who won’t like the topic? Who will want to know who else is coming before they commit? Who will decide to drop out? Who can’t afford the gas or the study guide or a babysitter?
I’m also still stuck on that 6th grade horror when I handed out invites and no one came.
I’ve already mentioned this a few times, but truly, I am uniquely unqualified to be leading anyone anywhere. But, gathering… well now… gathering is quite another thing. With enough resources, I gather it might be something I am willing to try.